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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baby Steps No More

Do you ever have one of those days when you just sit back and wonder about where time went? I do all the time, every day. But sometimes it REALLY smacks you in the face that time isn't standing still, regardless of how much you want it to.

Emma Claire is no longer making baby steps. She is now growing by leaps and bounds. Every day, I step back and wonder to myself, "Who is this little girl and what did she do with my chubby fingered Bug?" It is surreal that just a mere four years ago she was this helpless thing that depended on me for every meal, diaper change, and naptime.

Now, she is just a bundle of energy and frankly, a little girl. She has grown to have loves, aspirations, and dreams of her own. She no longer is interested in "babies", but loves to play with her Barbies and her horses. She is the spitting image of myself at her age: an absence of fear and is not afraid to get gussied up, yet doesn't mind getting dirt between her toes.

She has grown to have responsibilities. Today, I asked her to clean up her room, make her bed, collect the trash cans, get the mail, and take out the recycling. She did EVERYTHING!

(Emma Claire cooks)

And it only took me yelling for five minutes one timeout! Hey, she is still a work in progress, just as we all are.

Last night, she slept in her own bed all night long and ALL BY HERSELF. Oh, okay. So she should have been doing that for a long time, but as some of you may remember, she walked in on a robber in her room about a year and a half ago. Needless to say, she is a little leery of her bedroom at night, bless her little heart. She didn't want to, but she did with only a little quivering lip. But she is a brave little thing, and she's back in there again tonight! YAY for only two people in the queen size bed!

My little Em has also been swimming. LIKE.A.FISH. I took her to a local waterpark, and she went down a GIANT slide (Yes, I was right beside her). I can take her into water that is over her head and she paddles around without any problems. (I strongly recommend the Speedo swim jackets. They let kids learn to swim without forcing them to depend on the jacket to hold them up.)

(Emma Claire swims)

The other night, I took her to my softball game with me. There was another little girl, just around her age, whom she made friends with. It was so cute to watch them sit together, hand in hand, inside the dugout.

She is a little sponge. We were walking in my Mom and Dad's garden with my brother tonight when my brother asked about a particular plant that was growing. I replied, "Those are marigolds." To which Emma Claire added, "We have marigolds in our garden too, don't we, Mama?" We surely do. And on the way home, she told me as she pointed out a willow tree along the road, "Willow trees are my favorite trees." I may be partial, but she is one smart little girl.

All of these things lead up to my point for this post. Time flies on swift wings. It will pass you by, and leave in its place just a whisper of a memory. So for now, I will just have to settle for the ticklefests and somersaults that she now prefers over slobbery open mouth kisses and snuggles to the breast.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Infatuated with Kitchen Gadgets

Does anyone else have a thing for kitchen gadgets? These are on my wishlist.

KrumKake Express by EdgeCraft. Imagine the beautiful ice cream cones I could make with these!

Since we need ice cream to go with the cones...
Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker (The Ice Cream Ball) You roll it across the ground to make the ice cream! Tell me that you aren't intrigued or that you wish you had come up with that idea!

I've recently been into Popsicles and the like.

Vacu Vin Stainless Steel Pineapple Easy Slicer. Not that I ever slice my own pineapple, but maybe I would if I had one of these. At least, that is what I will tell the hubs.

Chicago Metallic Slice Solutions 9-Inch Square Brownie Pan Set. Yeah, I am one of those dorks that would buy the Perfect Brownie off of an infomercial.

And heck, while we are getting the perfect cut...
Slice Solutions 9-Inch Divided Loaf Pan Set.

Fusionbrands Poach Pods. Nope, I don't make poached eggs either. But then again, I WOULD if I just had...

Norpro 3170 Stainless-Steel Pancake Dispenser Now, THIS would get used, I promise!

More pancake fun!
Tovolo Pancake Pen I would use this at LEAST twice a year. :-P

Progressive International Lettuce Keeper. Who doesn't want unwilty lettuce?!?! And it lets you wash and store in the same container!!!

This tops my list.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-FM1 20-Ounce Frappe Maker. Frozen coffee rocks my world.

While we are on beverages...
Fruit Infusion Pitcher by Prodyne. Maybe I could kick the soda habit with help from this.

And back to brownies, because what kind of person doesn't like brownies!?!?
Wilton Easy Pour Funnel
Wilton Round Brownie Pop Mold

What are YOUR favorite newfangled kitchen gadgets???

The Object of my Affection (Piggy Tales Thursday)

Fourth grade rolled around, and with it, the magic number TEN! I remember for my tenth birthday, my uncle gave me a little fake fish in an aquarium. With it, he told me that I now had reached "double digits"! Double digits didn't mean anything to me. Just another day for the kids to tease me. In fourth grade, I had my first unofficial boyfriend. We would sit in the back of the school bus with our fingers laced tightly together. We were two of a kind, both sort of the kids in the outer circle. It was a perfectly innocent love. But soon, as all puppy love does, it dimmed and was replaced by another love. This time, the object of my affection had four legs instead of two. I fell head over heels with a horse. Not any horse in particular, just A HORSE. Any horse would do. Before I could have one of my own, my parents enrolled me in riding lessons. This was to assure that it wasn't one of my hobbies that lasted just 30 seconds a short while. After all, I was just a kid who had no idea what they wanted to do in life! Then again, maybe things haven't changed that much after all... Nevertheless, I began riding lessons with a former teacher who went simply by Alice. She was tough, but a GREAT teacher. She put me astride a giant mare (or maybe she just seemed that way) who was just as wonderful of a teacher as Alice. Together, they taught me the ins and outs of horsemanship. Soon enough, I bought a horse of my own. The prettiest old Appaloosa I could ever have imagined. Her blanket of spots served as my head's pillow many times, and her dirty mane dried my tears more times than I can count. Benjamin Disraeli once said, "A canter is a cure for every evil." How right he is. To this day, a good canter will erase any of my troubles. Now, they are few and far between, but back then without Frosty and her rocking horse canter, those young transition years from child to preteen would've been agony. Oh sure, I fell off. I had more tumbles and spills, bumps and bruises than I can even remember. But like Alice always said, "You aren't a rider until you've fallen off." As is in life, you haven't lived until you've fallen. I stumbled through fourth grade, but every time I heard the shrill whinny of that little gray mare (who to everyone else, wasn't anything special) she picked me back up and gave me the strength to trudge on through life.

The Trials of 3rd Grade (Piggy Tales Thursday)

Let's face it. When I was a kid, I was a little bit introverted nerdy. I enjoyed my books and tended to lose myself in those worlds rather than making friends in my own. Don't get me wrong, I had my best friend Ashley, but I was never one of the "in crowd" So, by third grade people started having little crushes, and I was not unlike the other girls in that sense. Mine was a cute little guy with red hair and freckles. But I was just the little girl with big blue eyeglasses and a crooked smile. Anyway, one day, I got a sweet little card with rainbows on it from that redhead that asked me to be his girlfriend (or something along those lines). Now, I should have been skeptical when I saw that rainbow. But I was blind to the obvious. And of course, I was SO excited! But before long, the obvious was brought to my attention by another one of the girls in my class. The card was a fake, written by another little girl.

Regardless of my dorky exterior, I was never the type to be pushed around, even if it wasn't a shove in the literal sense of the word. So, I shoved back. I shoved that fake card author. Hard. Into a desk. She shoved me. A teacher approached and broke in. We were both ushered out into the hall to work it out amongst ourselves.

Now, I don't remember the details of how it came to be, but somehow, that was the beginning of a new friendship. It's funny how things work out. Paige was one of my best friends for the next five years. Of course, in high school, we drifted apart as we did our best to explore the new halls with new friends. Just recently, I reconnected with her on Facebook (Ah, the wonders of the web.) and can't wait to get together in the real world again.

Third grade was a time when you began to realize that people could be mean. That not everyone was a friend. But sometimes, something that seems like the worst thing in your life really wasn't so bad. No, the boy didn't like me. Really, he probably never even noticed me. Maybe, he knew about the note. Maybe he didn't. But that nasty note turned into one of the best things in grade school. I look back on it and realize two things. First, kids are resilient. They bounce back from things that adults wouldn't. Don't think for one second that I wasn't back to whispering about boys the next day. I just had a new friend to whisper to. Which brings me to number two. Kids forgive.

Just recently, I had a falling out with a close friend due to an inadvertent slip of the tongue. I have apolgized, but this was almost six months ago and I fear that I have lost this friend. Kids don't hold a grudge. They fight. They make up. Life goes on.

We all could take some lessons from our younger selves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What About Andrea?

I've never done any of the question posts, but I figured that it was time to take a little looksie into my life. What makes me...ME! So check out Five Crooked Halos for Five Question Friday and link up. Or leave the answers in my comment spot! Be sure to let me know if you have linked up! So here we be!

1. What is one thing you miss the most about childhood?
I miss my grandmother. Every day I miss her. They say that over time, the ache goes away. They lie. The ache doesn't go away. Sure, it dulls a bit over the years, but the pain never leaves. Oh and I miss the simplicity of it all. I miss the ease with which I blew through life, flitting from place to place, time to time. I miss the lack of technology invading my life. I miss the feeling of "no worries". I used to have absolutely no fear of what the future held for me. Now, I worry if my girls will have the same simple life growing up that I did. I worry about their quality of life. I even worry about their retirement, and I'm only just halfway to MY OWN retirement! I miss the slow pace, easy come, easy go attitude.

2. Are you still friends with your friends from high school?
Well, my best friend Ashley (who makes fantastic jewelry, check out her blog here) went to a different high school, but we were friends during the high school years, so I assume that this is the same. In fact, I met my best friend when I was five. Amber has always been a great friend from high school, although I knew her before high school as well. I guess all of the friends that I made IN HIGH SCHOOL are no longer my friends.

3. Is there a catch phrase, cliche, or word that just drives you bonkers every time you hear it?
the c word. And all of you ladies KNOW the c word. It is a dirty, despicable word. And ta-tas! What the heck?!?!? As far as a phrase, I can't stand the phrase, "Don't hate on me," or "Stop hatin' on me." And sometimes, just sometimes, I REALLY don't like the word, "Mom". Most of the time, it is followed by...wait for it...Mom. And then again...Mom. So it goes something like this...MomMomMomMomMomMomMomMom. Mom, can I? Mom, why not? Mom, do I have to? Mom, why? I am sure you can understand my lack of fuzzy feelings for this word at times.

4. What is one thing that you think symbolizes America...besides "Old Glory"?
Hmmm...that's a toughie. I think that Declaration of Independence symbolizes what America used to stand for. But that's a subject that is off limits for me in this blog. Mainly, because I want to keep all of my followers. :o) In the famous words of Forrest Gump, "And that's all I have to say about that."

5. What are your 4th of July weekend plans?
Tonight, my husband offered to take me out on a date. To see Eclipse! He even offered! When I looked at him questioningly, he replied simply, "I'm Team Alice." Tomorrow, my in-laws are coming to visit!!! I haven't got to see my brother, nephew, and NEW sister in law since CHRISTMAS. Tomorrow night, we have a barbecue with some friends. Sunday, we will probably go to the lake and stay till Monday. We kinda fly by the seat of our pants, so only the weekend will tell. :o)

Enjoy your fourth, and fly Old Glory high!
My new rustic bunting from Rural King. It's so me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pick Nicks and Country Miles

By second grade, I was a big sister to Nicholas Wayne. He would have been five or so, by that time. He was also born in my parent's heart, and a gift from another mother. He was my best friend growing up, even though you wouldn't have known it to hear us bickering.

When I was six, everything we did was outdoors. Bicycle riding. Hiking down by the creek. Picnics in the woods. Walking on the trails my dad had meandering throughout our property. We grew up in a little house in the woods in a world where mosquitoes and deer ticks were the only predators my parents had to worry about.
We had picnics by the creek where it seemed as if time stood still, and the world was ours for the taking. That small woods allowed our imaginations to soar. I used to always think to myself, "Picnic. Pick Nick. My parents PICKED NICK." It was one of my favorite words for just that reason.

I remember my little brother telling me one day when I was in a particularly bad mood, "Sissy, don't be such a Johnny Appleseed." What he meant by that was don't be a crabby appleton, but through and through, that was Nick. Always happy. Always wanting others to be happy. To this day, he only wants to please others. I remember whenever I got spanked (with that dreaded flyswatter), my little brother would cry louder than I myself would. He has always had a heart of gold.

As I spoke of earlier, bike rides were a part of our every day routine, it seemed. Our route on our bicycles was a jaunt around the block. A four mile country block, mind you. Those bike rides will always be forever ingrained in my mind because it is the first conscious memory that I have in which I was told about my being adopted. So as you see, I have always known the truth, which is something for which I am so grateful to my parents.

Needless to say, by second grade, everyone knew that I was adopted. It was no secret, but kids had a lot of questions. Of course, I obliged them and explained that I was not "born under my mother's heart, but in it." And I was fortunate that none of my classmates ridiculed the fact that I was adopted. I think they thought that since I acted as though it were special, it made THEM realize that too. And I have those "pick nicks" by the creek and the long, lazy bicycle rides to thank for knowing that fact. The fact that my brother and I were picked. We were chosen.