Monday, February 28, 2011

Daddy's Little Salad

R had to travel for 8 days towards the end of February. He works hard and there are weeks where the Salad may not see him for a day or 2, as he leaves hours before they wake and will come home long after they have gone to bed. But 8 days. That's a long time. I kept them crazy busy, hoping to preoccupy their little minds. But everyday someone mentioned that they missed their daddy in a not so subtle way.

"My belly hurts. I think it's because I miss my daddy."

"Everything looks different without my daddy."

"I want my daddy to say prayers with us tonight."

"My eyes are just watery because I miss my daddy."

"Is daddy still my best friend?"

"How many more sleeps until we see daddy?"

"I could almost feel crying in my eyes because I miss daddy."

Friday, February 25, 2011


I am not making New Year's resolutions this year, however, I am determined this year to finish what I start. In that spirit, I looked at the many, many posts that I started and did not finish and have merged them into this YEAR IN REVIEW.

I care about the environment. See?

Apparently, I also care about alcohol, as evidenced by the 3 Mike's Hard Cranberry boxes.


We made the best of the Salad's birthday party being canceled due to a blizzard that blew in 3 feet of snow. Aunt Jen and Ian braved the roads, arriving with McDonalds for lunch. Then we built the biggest snowman EVER. Fine. Not EVER. I mean if you searched it, you'd see that the biggest snowman EVER was almost 114 feet tall. But ours was still pretty big.

Half Price ticket day on the boardwalk happened on March 27th. We piled the Salad into the van and drove 1.5 hours to the beach for the day. It was frigid on the boardwalk, but the rides were open, we saw the ocean, ate lunch at the Varsity and took a side trip to see Lucy the Elephant. It was a fun, albeit confusing day for the Salad who are used to being in bathing suits at the beach, not winter coats and hats.

Easter Egging!
Our Easter celebrations started on Saturday night when Grammy and Poppy came over to dye eggs. That went as smoothly as can be expected until M accidentally tipped over blue dye all over our ivory kitchen cabinets and his hands. We tried SOS pads, vinegar, bleach wipes, nothing helped. Then I grabbed the 409 with Bleach and that dye literally disappeared before our eyes. I briefly toyed with the idea of using it on M's hands.

You know those ordinary days that turn into one of your best memories? We had one of those days on Friday. R took off from work and we got to watch Ian. The Salad was in heaven. It was a beautiful spring day and after lunch, we piled into the van and headed to Cold Stone Creamery. It was the Salad's first time there and they couldn't believe when I said they could have any flavor ice cream they wanted and then chose toppings! They were in heaven. Of course, I diligently read all of the flavors 3 times. No one paid a bit of attention, instead choosing flavors by how "pretty" they were or their favorite colors. Which is why we left the shop with blue cotton candy ice cream dripped on our shirts and purple raspberry drying in clumps in A's hair. Meh. You only have 3 - 3 year olds once. And thank God for that.

We had a professional photographer take the Salad's pictures. I wanted unconventional photos. I liked the idea of the kids being dressed up and lounging on a rusty piece of sculpture that we found. The photographer was on edge though, worried about getting their clothes dirty. Meanwhile, I suggested taking their picture on a railroad track. Sure the trains still run on those rails, BUT we would have seen and heard it coming from a mile away! We could have grabbed them off real fast. Some people, such worry warts. Ultimately, she did a nice job, though I wish the photos were a bit more . . . gritty.

July in a nut house!
1. We got a private tour of a train!
2. We went to a parade to celebrate our independence.
3. We saw our first rainbow.
4. We attended a street fair honoring Bastille Day.
5. We took a trip to Sesame Place.
6. We celebrated Colin, Quinn and Rhys' birthdays at Linvilla's Pool, where M honed his photography skills.
7. We played with Band-Aids.
8. We made messy art with shaving cream, kool aid, sesame seeds and coffee.
9. We went on a trike hike with playgroup.
10. We watched the Bee movie.
11. We hammered golf tees into Styrofoam.
12. We drove to the beach 3 times.
13. We had our first Starbucks Tazo Passion Iced Tea.
14. We stomped in puddles at Kelsey's graduation party.
15. We swam and swam and swam.
16. We fell in love with Peter, Paul & Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

This was garden week in Salad world. We took a trip to Wolf's Garden Center to buy peaches and lemons during our studies.

I know that many fruits grow in orchards, not gardens, but it was a distinction I didn't think they needed to know at the tender young age of 3. OK. That's not why I skipped that part. I really just wanted to bake a peach pie (or 2!) and homemade lemonade.
I love the beach. I love my babies who love the beach. I love my family who love my babies who love the beach.

This year was infinitely better than our first Halloween when I forced dressed them in costumes, not knowing they had hand foot and mouth disease. No one wants to be dressed like a hotdog when you aren't feeling well. That may have accounted for their poor attitudes.

I guess the year they were almost 2 wasn't too bad. Except for the humongous temper tantrum M threw when we put on his bat costume.

Then there was last year, when M insisted on being a vacuum cleaner. I was up until 3:00 AM the night before, fashioning a Dirt Devil canister vac out of a bolster and he wore it for approximately 6 minutes. But man, he looked cute for those 6 minutes. Also, last year, S was petrified of being outside while there was no sun, with all of those scary "characters" running about.

This year though, The Salad got it. They understood that if they turned on the charm when someone answered the door, they were given candy in return. M choose the perfect outfit for himself this year. A train engineer, something he loves and he felt comfortable wearing. He charged ahead, leading the way for his sisters, who were less tentative about the dark and the costumes this year. S only occasionally looking up to me to ask, "That is just a person in there, right, Mommy?" Or fishing for me to say the nighttime was ok, when she would "casually" mention, "It's really dark outside, isn't it, Mommy?"

We spent Thanksgiving at Aunt Jo and Uncle Pat's new house this year. On my list of things to be thankful for - marshmellow turkey legs and silly google eye games. 'Cause yeah, that's how our family kicks it on holidays.

I had every intention of doing "25 days of Christmas Crafts" this year. I got through about 9 days when I ran out of space in the house - there wasn't a flat surface anywhere that wasn't covered in red buttons, cotton balls or the dreaded glitter glue. I was never any good at math and had failed to calculate that 25 days of Salad crafts meant 75 crafts. That's a sled load of stuff. My favorite day was spent with my mom at her house, stringing fruit loops into necklaces, cozy by the fire. My favorite part of these pictures is that Santa decoration, which seems oddly placed on the back of the couch. It had been there since the Salad helped my mom decorate the week before and remained there, in all of it's out-of-place glory until well after Christmas. Gotta love Grammy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Age of Innocence

This post was originally written on February 5, 2011 - my Fruit Salad's 4th birthday!

After my dad's birthday on January 22, I started talking about the Salad's birthday. It was a rookie mistake on my part that went like this, "What a great dinner to celebrate Poppy's birthday! Yours' is next! Just about 2 weeks now!" And so EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. for the last 2 weeks an ingredient has asked upon waking, "Is today our birthday, Mommy?"

Finally, today it was! We celebrated with family and friends all day, stuffing ourselves with pizza and cupcakes, getting hugged, hula-hooping (thanks Aunt Jo!) and beating the hell out of a pinata. Couldn't have asked for more.

Occasionally, one of them would run at R or I and give us a big hug and tell us that they loved us or thank us for the best birthday ever. During prayers, S thanked God for turning 4.

And while 4 seems so very old to this mommy, I realized we have a few years of innocence yet. For example, A thought maybe she could no longer sleep in her bed, because maybe she wouldn't fit, now that she is 4. She also questioned if she was taller now that she was 4, than she was at 3, a mere 20 hours ago.

Happy birthday, little mama A!

Happy birthday, silly S!

Happy birthday, little buddy M!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Best Buddies

M was asked by "Bett," his "best buddy" from gymnastics to have a drop off playdate at his Nana's house. His first drop off playdate. I am thrilled he has this friendship that is all his own. It is adorable to see it grow, Brett asking to sit next to M at our 4th birthday party, M making sure they had matching orange cupcakes. I mean, this is seriously cute stuff.Unfortunately, I landed myself in the hospital with diverticulitis the night before I was supposed to take him, so R stepped in. I was a bit nervous that M would rather hang out with Daddy or would be thrown off his game when he woke and I wasn't home. However, R opened the door to Brett's, M ran in under his arm and that was the last he saw of his big boy until he picked him up 3 hours later.

I sat alone, feeling sorry for myself, watching the time tick by until I could call and talk to M. I wanted every detail.

Me: "Hi, buddy! How was Brett's?"

M: "Good! Can I go back to Bett's? He had all boy toys! And guns!"

Me: "Cool! What else did you do?"

M: "We slid down the steps! And Bett slid down the railing, but I didn't - maybe next time."

Me: "Ok. What did you eat for lunch?"

M: "Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips. But I didn't eat the chips."

Me: "That's fine. What else did you do?"

M: "Hey mommy? It's quiet time now. Can I go watch Max and Ruby?"

My sweet boy had dutifully answered all of my questions, but now he just wanted some down time with his "girly whirls." How could I deny him?

Me: "Sure, buddy. I love you."

M: "I love you too."

See? Seriously cute.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little Bo Peep?

Conversation with S at the lunchtable:

S: "Little girl pink, come blow your horn.
Wait, wait a second. (Waving her hands for pause.)
That's not right. (Drumming her little fingers on the table, in thought.)
Little boy peep, come blow your . . .
Wait. That's not right either. (I could see her focused so intently on those words, trying to hash them out in her mind.)
Little girl pete, she lost her sheep!
That's it, right Mommy?"

I looked at her eager face, so desperate to get this right and didn't have the heart to say it wasn't.

Me: "Yep! Let's say it together now, S. Ok - Little girl pete, she lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them. Leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them."

Eh. What's the difference?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hush Little Salad

We've been having some sleep issues of late. Namely, I'm not getting enough. My children call for me, all hours of the night, screaming like banshees (Wait - can boys scream like banshees? Is there a male version of a banshee? Note to self - check into that.)
If only the other 2 slept this soundly!

Top 3 reasons this week I was awoken:

1. I just missed you and wanted to kiss you. (Sugar, mommy loves you too - less at 3:20 in the morning though, as say 8:00 ish.)

2. My right foot itches. (While waving her left foot in the air for me to scratch.)

3. My knees are cold. (Seemed unlikely through the flannel Thomas jammies and quilt, but I rubbed them to . . . I'm not sure why I rubbed them. To increase circulation? Create heat friction? Cause I didn't know what else to do? Yeah, that's it. It the last one.)

Off to wait for the wails . . .