Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm an Aunt

I have two nephews and a niece on Chris' side. They are beautiful, sweet children, and I love them dearly.

But there is news from my side of the family. My sister Rachel and her husband Jyoti are adopting this puppy. We all know: First comes love, then comes marriage, then a dog, then a baby carriage. Right?

No pressure, Rachel. I'm going to love being Auntie Sarah to Raja for now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Motherhood is a Bittersweet Symphony

It was just yesterday that I was pregnant, and decided to breastfeed. I took a class about nursing, where the lactation consultant painted a rosy picture of breastfeeding. Although she made it sound nice, I was truly terrified. I was more nervous about breastfeeding than I was about labor and delivery. Seriously. I mean, people were going to see my BREASTS!

But I knew the benefits for Evie and myself, so I decided to try it. No pressure, I would nurse as long as I could. I hoped to make it six months or even (gasp) a year. I didn't really have a firm goal because I didn't want to disappoint myself if it didn't work out. I was just going to see what happened.

Well, the first time I nursed Evie, it was a miracle. She had just been born, and she put her little mouth to my breast and ACTUALLY NURSED! I couldn't believe it! There I was, a MOM WHO WAS NURSING HER BABY! Later, Evie's pediatrician casually mentioned I could supplement with formula until my milk came in, but I dismissed him. I could feed her just fine myself, thanks.

And then the day I was leaving the hospital, the baby blues set in. I know hormones played a big part in my breakdown, as did sleep deprivation and just not knowing anything about caring for this little creature. Evie was hungry, and she was mad. She cried and cried and her nurse nicely suggested we should think about supplementing with formula. But what about nipple confusion and my milk supply? I was paralyzed with indecision. I felt like a failure as a mother already. My body was not doing what it was supposed to -- it was leaving my precious girl hungry!

After a good cry and a visit with the lactation consultant, I felt better. I would give her tiny sips of formula and nurse like crazy until my milk came in. Evie's reaction was my first clue to her temperament. She wanted to eat! We all had a terrible first night at home - me and my hormones, my hungry baby, and poor Chris. The next morning we visited the pediatrician and he ordered us to give her a bottle. Evie sucked it down in minutes and fell into the most peaceful sleep. Right then, we decided to supplement until my milk finally came in.

Just hours later, I was nursing Evie and I heard her swallow! My milk was finally here! Evie had a 24/7 buffet, and often fell asleep while eating. I remember our nursing sessions would take forever. She would nurse for 45 minutes, be alert for 15 minutes or so, sleep for half an hour and wake up hungry! A week or so went by and things settled into a nice routine.

Then I noticed something odd. Evie would nurse for a few minutes and then begin to fuss. She often had this little cough, too. It turned out to be reflux. I had never heard of this, but her doctor assured us it was common and gave us a prescription.

Then she started having bloody diapers. This freaked me out. The reflux wasn't under control yet, and now this. Evie was non-stop crying. I was going crazy. We spent her one-month birthday in the Emergency Room, where they gave her a different RX for her reflux and diagnosed her with Milk Protein Intolerance. I was under orders to cut dairy from my diet and see if her condition improved.

A week later, things weren't much better, so our pediatrician referred us to a Pediatric Gastrointerologist. After speaking with us for a couple minutes, Dr. Brady increased Evie's reflux medicine and diagnosed a Cow's Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance. She suggested I change to formula and I actually cried. Okay, I could still breastfeed, but she warned it would be tough. No eating out, and I had to read food labels to watch for dairy and soy. Trader Joe's was my savior.

Even though the diet was restrictive, nursing was great. It was so nice to have these quiet, snuggly times with Evie. We would settle in with the Boppy, and I would stroke her face as she drank. I would sing to her and I always felt such warmth. I felt like a mother. I noticed how she grew taller and taller. Her feet began to hang off the Boppy. She grew more hair. She even asked to nurse!

Right after her first birthday, I reintroduced dairy and soy and Evie did great. Even though she could drink cow's milk now, too, we both still liked nursing. And so we've gone on and on. I've been waiting for Evie to naturally want to stop, but here she is at almost 20 months, and she still finds it comforting.

But I want another baby. I'd like to stop breastfeeding a few months before we embark on another IVF Adventure this winter. Um, that means it's time to shut down the milk factory. So I cut out our morning feeding a few months ago. Then I stopped our middle-of-the-night sessions about a week ago. Evie would ask to nurse, and I would ask if she'd like a drink of water. (It also helped that I let her sleep in our bed.) It was pretty easy. Then last night she just skipped her bedtime session. I hid the Boppy, and this afternoon, she didn't ask to nurse before her nap.

I decided that was it. I had two margaritas after dinner, and it felt nice. Evie didn't ask to nurse before bed tonight, either. And so this part of our relationship is over.

I'm glad to have my body back, but I am so sad tonight! I feel guilty that I rushed this change, but I also feel proud to have nursed her for so long. I am a more confident woman than I was 20 months ago, and being a nursing mom greatly contributed to that. Evie and I have a bond that was encouraged each time we snuggled close to breastfeed. And I know I'll still think of her little body, stretched out across the Boppy, nestled into me. And I'll love those memories.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Fish Called Pablo

Pablo is supposed to be a turtle.

When Evie's turtle infatuation was at its peak, we visited a local pet store. As luck would have it, among the fish and birds and hamsters we saw that day, they had a tortoise. A girl who worked there brought it out, and Evie had a lot of fun playing with him. She touched it and just shrieked with happiness. I told the girl we would take him, and then remembered to ask how much he was.

PetSmart Girl: Ninety-nine.
Me: Dollars?
PetSmart Girl: Yes, ninety-nine dollars.
Me: Really? For a turtle?
PetSmart Girl: It's a tortoise. And they live for fifty years.

I had to pass. Seriously, ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a TURTLE? Can't you catch those things on the trail by our house? Plus I started thinking I don't want a pet I had to commit to for half a century.

We left without the turtle, but I was busy thinking of a replacement. Evie likes fish, too. (Although not as much as she like turtles.) She likes to swim like a fish and give fish-kisses. And fish are only a couple bucks, so we headed back to the pet store today.

We bought a little red beta and I set up his fish bowl while Evie was napping. I showed her the fish when she woke up, and she was so excited! We named him Pablo and when Chris came home she kept shouting "Pablo!" At dinnertime, she kept yelling his name and gesturing for him to come to the table. That is one trend I am not about to start, but after we finished eating, I let her feed the fish. She dropped in the teeny tiny pellet and Pablo swam to the top and gobbled it up. She kept yelling "Eat!"

A funny thing is she doesn't understand why Pablo can't come out of the bowl. Evie really wanted him to come outside this evening. It took a long time to convince her he had to stay inside. She also wanted him "Out!" of the bowl when she was going to take a bath.

Someone help me. How do I explain this to a one year old?

In the meantime, I guess my new mission is just to keep him in the bowl!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More DIY Toddler Toys

Do It Yourself - Toddler Toys

GaGa and I took Evie to a Parents as Teachers fair last Friday. If you aren't familiar with PAT, you should check it out. It's an organization run by local school districts and it helps parents understand what to expect during each phase of their child's development.

We've been involved with PAT since Evie was born. Barbara, our Parent Educator, visits several times each year. She encourages us that Evie is developing appropriately, and tells us different toys, games, and songs that are suitable for her age. PAT also hosts workshops in our area. This fall we'll be attending fun things like Babies in the Barnyard, Push Pull & Carry, Just Me and My Dad, Let's Make Music, Cars Trucks & Things That Go, and Gym Night.

Evie had a great time when we visited the fair. We were there for almost two hours, and could have stayed even longer! It amazed me that there are so many toys and activities you can MAKE for your child!

Evie stacked rings on cones, fished balls out of water with a net and dropped them into buckets, fit lids from frozen juice cans into a hole cut into a plastic coffee can, dropped shower curtain rings into an empty Pringles can, pushed straws into a Parmesan cheese container, and batted a beach ball with a paper-plate-paddle. Each of these activities kept her busy for quite awhile!

Fun, easy, and cheap! I'm planning to make several of these toys for our house!

Monday, August 25, 2008


So Evie loves The Backyardigans.

It's a cute show. During each episode, the characters take an imaginative adventure. Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin sing and dance their way through each expedition. It's cute, that is, until it consumes your child.

You would never guess how much The Backyardigans comes up at our house. She asks to watch the show on television. She has several Backyardigans sippy cups that she prefers over all others. But the worst part is "Beeba."

Evie, who usually wakes up and snuggles, instead demanded "Beeba" first thing after her nap the other day. "Beeba" is Evie-speak for her very favorite song - "Almost Everything is Boinga."

I used to like Boinga. Alicia Keys sings the song with the rest of the cast, and it's catchy. You can dance to it, and the words are fun. That was before it became the constant soundtrack to our lives.

It started slowly. We used to listen to Born to Play (a CD of Backyardigans songs) in the car. It was great because she loved being in the car. Running errands suddenly became much easier. But Evie soon realized that she didn't have to listen to the entire CD. She began to shout "More!" each time Boinga ended. And so everytime we are in the car, we listen to Boinga over and over and over.

Then Evie discovered we could listen to Boinga on the computer. She randomly yells "Beeba!" when we're in the vicinity of the kitchen, hoping I will appease her. Usually I do, and so Boinga plays much of the time we're cooking or eating.

Yesterday, Daddy burned a copy of the CD so Evie could listen in her room. And so now Boinga is on repeat in that room, too.

I think this is payback. I remember being obsessed with Will You Marry Me, Boy? by Paula Abdul when I was younger. My mom threatened to break the CD if she heard it one more time. Huh, this is one more thing I understand better about my mother. The whole "Wait till you have kids!" thing is just so true...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Extreme Makeover - Big Girl Bed Edition

Today marked a momentous occasion in our household. My baby moved into her very own Big Girl Bed.

Evie was a little hesitant at first, but she did lay down for awhile and read books in her new bed this afternoon. She now points to the bed and says "Mine!" She's comfortable letting her entourage rest on the bed, so she's warming up. We'll see what the next few nights hold!

Enjoy the Before & After photos!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Earlier this week, Evie and I attended a Kindermusik class that was held as a benefit for the St. Louis Symphony. Since my daughter is quite the music lover, we had a blast!

When we arrived, there was a table full of musical instruments. We played with triangles, various percussion instruments, and shakers of all sorts. Then the real fun began!

We sang a cute welcome song, and Evie demonstrated her dancing to the class. We sang Wheels on the Bus, and I learned a few verses I didn't know before. The class made a "train" around the room, and danced to the song. Evie loved it. Every once in awhile, she got the cutest look on her face.

The instructors got out these little eggs that made a shooshing noise when you shook them. We performed the I Can Wiggle finger play, shaking our eggs, and freezing them at the appropriate part. It took a few rounds, but Evie completely understood what we were doing, and followed along.

We also played with scarves, as you can see in the pictures above. We used them to learn about opposites - waving them slowly to the music, and then quickly, waving them low and then high. Evie also got a kick out of just putting the scarf over her face and playing peek-a-boo!

All too soon, the class was over. It was a great morning of movement and music. I hope it contributes to a life-long love of music for Evie!

I Can Wiggle
I can wiggle my fingers. (Wiggle fingers)
I can wiggle my toes. (Wiggle toes)
I can wiggle my shoulders. (Wiggles shoulders)
I can wiggle my nose. (Wiggle nose)

I can stop my wiggles,
1 -- 2 -- 3 -- (Whisper)
And be as still as still can be. (Freeze)

You can also substitute other body parts like head, cheeks, elbows, or knees.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

I've made this recipe a few times, and it's one of Chris' favorites. It's easy, yummy, and only 6 Weight Watcher Points.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken
1 package taco seasoning mix
8 oz apricot jam
12 oz chunky salsa
1 1/2 lbs chicken pieces

Arrange chicken pieces in the bottom of a Crock Pot. Mix other ingredients well and pour over chicken. Cook 5-6 hours on high.

I use chicken thighs instead of chicken pieces. The sauce cooks down and is so rich and tasty!

I usually freeze a second batch when I make this. Just place all ingredients into a one gallon freezer bag, and lay flat in the freezer. Take the bag out of the freezer and refrigerate the night before. Empty the contents right into your Crock Pot and cook as above.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nineteen Months

Sweet Evie,

You are nineteen months old today. It seems hard to believe that another month has passed already. You are growing up day by day, and it happens so quickly.

You've begun to speak much more clearly. In the last few weeks, you have gone from calling Maddy simply "Maa," to clearly saying "Maddy." You love to say "Got it!" when you pick something up. If I say ouch, you ask "Okay?" Last week, you learned to shake hands. "Meet you," you say, meaning "Nice to meet you." Instead of saying "Hi," you now say "Hello," when you talk on the phone.

You are so very independent. From climbing the stairs to putting on your shoes, you want to do it alone. If I'm in a hurry and I put shoes on your feet, you actually take them off so you can put them on again by yourself.

You love to buckle things - especially on your little stroller or your car seat. You enjoy coloring and playing with Play Dough. You got a Backyardigans guitar for our trip to Marysville and you took it everywhere with you for awhile. I've even had to change your diaper while you held onto that thing! You've recently begun to play with shape sorters, and it's fun to see your proud face when you push a shape through the right hole. You have three dolls now, and you are a good little mommy to them all. The other day you sat on the couch and held one of the dolls to your chest, patting her back. It was such a sweet moment.

You really love books. Your haul them out of the book bin and plop them down by me. Your favorites right now are Rainbow Rob and Ten in a Bed. There is a rainbow in the Rainbow Rob book, and you point right to the blue part and say "Blue!" My little genius!

Your appetite has waned a little this past month. My same-old food worries have resurfaced, and I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get you to eat protein. Your favorite foods are edamame, corn, and candy. You ate raw corn at Aunt Shari's and now I have to keep a close eye on you when I'm shucking corn at home. If I don't, you bite right into it! You also like to eat eggs, and I always slip a little whole milk and cheese in when I scramble them. Hey, I have to sneak in calories when I can!

Your sleeping has gotten worse. It's a struggle to get you to sleep, and when you wake up in the wee hours, only the comfort of Mommy and Daddy's bed will do. I enjoy the cuddling, but Daddy doesn't sleep well with you kicking him all night.

You are still so attached to me, but lately you've been playing more on your own. I can take a shower while you play in the living room. I like the freedom, but some crazy part of me feels like you're pulling away just a bit.

I love you with all my heart. There are times when I look over at you, and I just can't believe you're mine. You are so beautiful and smart and loving. You are my best blessing, Little One.

Love, Mommy

Monday, August 18, 2008

Miss Independent

Our door bell rang before dinner tonight. It was Mia and Lilly and Sarah, and they wanted Evie to come out and play. Chris was doing most of the work grilling anyway, so out we went. I brought popsicles as an appetizer, and the girls slurped away. A few minutes later, the door opened across the street, and out came Olivia and her mom. Another popsicle, and we were having an impromptu party!

Somewhere during all of this, my phone rang. As I talked, Olivia's mom pulled our wagon from the garage for the kids. I watched Evie lug the wagon down the sidewalk, with Olivia's mom keeping a close eye on her. (I love my neighbors!)

Then I heard the ruckus. Evie was yelling and crying "No! No! No!" Olivia's mom was just trying to help Evie turn the wagon around and head back to our house. Plus, one wheel was off the sidewalk and in the grass. Evie couldn't possibly maneuver it back onto the pavement by herself.

And this was the cause for the trouble. You see, Evie wants no help. She doesn't want your help when she's washing her hands. Please don't try to help her up or down the stairs. Don't even think about PUSHING her in the stroller when we go for a walk. No, sir. She wants to push the stroller, by herself. Thank you very much, but she thinks she is grown up.

So we endure lots of frustrated crying while Evie sorts this out. Being grown up in such a little body presents a lot of trials. She can't reach things she needs, or she's not strong enough as the case was today. But she still insists on doing it herself.

Tonight I took the wagon, turned it around, and offered to let Evie pull it back to our house. Her feelings were hurt so she just walked in front of me, crying real tears. It must be difficult to want independence, but be trapped in a baby body! Her time will come...

World, watch out for this one!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kool-Aid Play Dough

Today, Evie and I made our very own yummy-smelling Play Dough. And it was easy. Who knew?

Evie was able to help measure the dry ingredients and dump them into the bowl. I added the boiling water and kneaded the dough until it was cool enough for Evie to handle.

She really enjoyed playing! We rolled the dough out with rolling pins, cut shapes out with some of Angel Grammy's cookie cutters, and pressed forks and spoons into the dough to make pretty patterns. We stuck our fingers in the dough, pulled it apart, and cut it with a butter knife. Evie was entertained for quite awhile.

Plus, my kitchen smelled like Berry Punch all afternoon!

I halved this recipe and it still made plenty.

Kool-Aid Play Dough
2 1/2 c flour
1 c salt
3 t vegetable oil
2 c boiling water
2 packages Kool-Aid

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add water and oil. Stir well. Knead until smooth. (Careful! Dough will be very hot at first.) Store in an air tight container.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Evelyn is so like her father in many ways. She looks just like him. (Or what we imagine he would look like if he were a chick.) She doesn't sleep much. She can't sit still to save her life. She talks in her sleep. And now we have another to add to the list: Evie likes pesto.

Tonight we had leftovers. While Evie had beans and rice from our Mexican dinner out last night, I had Panang Curry leftovers from our dinner out the night before. Chris had leftover beef tips I had made, and unthawed some pesto he made ages ago.

Chris made the pesto himself. He is so obsessed with pesto that he even grew the basil. Also you should know that his nose is mostly unworking, so he needs a LOT of flavor to taste anything. This means the pesto is primarily made of garlic and basil, with a tiny bit of cheese and absolutely no pine nuts.

So he was eating the pesto and Evie started whining for a bite of his noodles. He gave her one just to appease her and we watched while she slurped it up. Then she asked for another. And another and another until they were gone. Then they both stuck their fingers in the bowl and wiped it clean.

I must say I take this as a personal insult. I'm not a pesto fan in the first place. But when I was pregnant, pesto was one of those smells that would send me gagging to the bathroom. It was banned from our house entirely.

And now Evie likes it. I even have to pretend it doesn't completely gross me out, since I don't want to negatively influence her food choices. It's two against one, and I have lost this battle. I am always going to have to smell that pesto smell.

At least until I'm pregnant again. I'll just have to hope my next baby evens out the score.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mustang Sally

I was just emptying the dishwasher and dancing in the kitchen with Evie.

Mustang Sally was on the radio, and we were jamming! Evie was flailing her arms around and bopping up and down. I was moving so much I was out of breath. I had a smile plastered on my face, and Evie was shouting "Sally! Sally! Sally!" to the music.

And I had one of those moments: I am so blessed to live this life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This Edamame Needs a Band-Aid

I believe edamame has won first place in Evie's Favorite Food Ranking. It has taken the lead over the long-standing first-place blueberries, and beat out sunflower seeds and black olives. In Evie's opinion, edamame ROCKS!

My mom was over for lunch last week and we had edamame. GaGa was amazed that 1.) Evie ate so much and 2.) she was so skilled at eating it. Evie used to pick the little beans out of the pods with her fingers, but she has become much more sophisticated lately. She perfectly mimics Chris and I now. Evie puts the pod between her teeth and slides it until the little peas pop into her mouth.

She will eat as much edamame as you put in front of her. Tonight, as well as last night, Evie had corn on the cob and edamame for dinner. Good thing we found these little individual microwave servings at Sam's Club. You know, because actually boiling the beans would be too much work.

Evie was plowing through a serving of beans tonight, when one made her pause. She kept saying "boo-boo," over and over. Eventually I took the pod from her to inspect it. Sure enough, it had a boo-boo! I handed it back over to Evie and told her not to eat that pea.

And then my sweet girl gave the poor, injured pea pod a kiss. Oh, God, I love her!

Monday, August 11, 2008

And Away She Went

I worked for the fifteen months of Evie's life. Well, technically, I took the first three months off. Then I worked full-time for five months. Then I worked part-time for five months. Then I worked full-time again for a few months. Then I quit.

During all of this working, Evie was in daycare. Now, I don't think daycare is a terrible thing. She was in a great center, and Emma took fabulous care of her when I couldn't. Evie had lots of love and attention wherever she was. I just didn't have enough time with her.

I tell you all of this so you know Evie and I have not always been inseparable. She used to go off to play at "school" each day, and I went off to work. But then I stayed home.

Since I've been home full-time, Evie has not let me out of her sight. She doesn't want me to go inside to get another popsicle, she doesn't want me to leave her with Daddy for a few minutes, she doesn't want me to go get a haircut. I can't even pee by myself.

I volunteered for VBS this summer, and dropping her off at childcare was a nightmare. She cried so much and so hard. One day, I was able to see her on the playground. She was still crying 45 minutes after I left her. So much for the old "She stops crying as soon as you leave." Another volunteer told me "All the kids get upset when their parents leave, but I've never seen a child as upset as your daughter." Gee, thanks. That makes it so much easier.

So today was a surprise to me.

Evie woke up from her nap, and said "GaGa. Go! Go!" I called my mother and said Evie wanted to see her. Great timing, since the kids were asleep. Evie could have GaGa all to herself! The plan was to visit for an hour or so, when GaGa had to leave to take Maryann to the bus stop. Evie and I would leave at the same time for a little grocery shopping.

We got there and had snacks and played with GaGa. Evie even rode a tricycle for the first time, with her grandma's help. Then we helped wake the kids up and load them in the minivan. Evie hopped right in, too. I explained to her that GaGa and the kids were leaving, and Evie and Mommy had to go to the grocery store. She didn't budge. I told her I wasn't going in the minivan, I was going in my car. GaGa said she would take Evie with her to drop Maryann off and then for ice cream, and bring her home afterwards. Fat chance, I thought. I asked Evie "Do you want to go in the minivan with GaGa, or with Mommy in her car?"

She shouted "GaGa!"

So I got her carseat out of my car, and transfered it to the minivan. I thought Evie would change her mind any second, but she didn't. I buckled her in, and she was fine. Now what? I guess I had to leave. I gave her a kiss and told her "Bye, bye." Not a whine or a cry was to be heard. I got in my car and drove away.

Now, here's the weird thing. I was happy she was with my mom. I felt a little free, and imagined my grocery shopping would be a hundred times easier. But I was also holding back a few tears. My mom has watched her for us many times, but always at our house. Evie has never actually left me to go WITH her.

My shopping was quick, as expected. It hadn't even been half an hour, but I called to check up on Evie. My mom said she cried for a minute when Maryann got in the car and Evie realized it wasn't me. But now she was fine. They were at the bank, and then they were getting ice cream. I was glad she was okay, but I was also glad she missed me.

Half an hour later, Evie was home. She kissed GaGa and said goodbye to the kids. And then I had her all to myself again.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Proof I'm a Good Mother

In high school, I became a mother for the first time. I birthed an egg.

As part of some class, we had to carry around a hollow egg and pretend it was a baby. I guess it was supposed to teach us how hard parenting is. (Let me tell you, this egg never woke me up in the middle of the night.) The object of the project was simply not to break Egg Baby.

I took this assignment very seriously. I decorated Egg Baby like a little person, even gluing a lock of my hair to her pretty little head. My teacher signed the bottom (a birthmark,) and I had my Egg Baby. I nestled her in a handkerchief in a little basket and took good care of her. Not a crack anywhere. I don't remember much more about the week I carried her around. I can't even remember what she was named. All I know is I couldn't bear to throw her away when the class ended.

Fast forward FOURTEEN YEARS. Chris and I are having a garage sale in a couple of weeks, and we are taking on the unfortunate task of going through boxes in the unfinished part of our basement. There is so much stuff down there!

So I'm making my way through a box, and I spot a tiny box from Pier 1. I opened it up, and there was Egg Baby!

Say what you want about me forgetting her name and keeping her locked in the basement. I think it's a testament to my mothering that she has lasted all these years, through many moves, and is still intact. I think Evie just might have done okay in the Mother Department.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Terrible Tantrum

I hope I never judge another parent when I see their child throw a fit. You see, Evie had the tantrum to end all tantrums today. In front of GaGa and the kids. And Aunt Rachel. And a few hundred other people at the Magic House.

The day began innocently enough. We found the last parking spot available and headed in. First we played in the Baby and Me section on the baby gym, in the play kitchen, and in the little toddler boat. Evie was having so much fun!

Then we made our way into the Little Bit of Magic exhibit. I mean, WOW! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful place for children in St. Louis. Evie was entranced by a row of lights and switches of every variety. She must have stood there for 20 minutes, just turning the lights on and off. On and off. On and off.

Then we spotted a little secret mouse house. Evie opened the door, and we saw a mouse picnic, complete with cheese and 7-Up! She actually laid on the ground so she could see better!

Oh, and there was a kid-sized spiral staircase. I squeezed up after her, and there was a giant slide on top. So we spent the next 20 minutes going down and up the slide. (I have to admit, I slid down twice myself.)

And there was the sand box. We have a sand table at home, so you wouldn't think it would be that interesting, right? WRONG! This little hands-on activity caused the tantrum. Evie played and played and played until Aunt Rachel came to get us. Instant and very loud wailing.

Now, Evie has had tantrums before. But generally I can distract her with lip gloss or a drink or, God forbid, candy. Nothing worked. Evie was crying so loudly, flailing about, and pointing back to the sand exhibit. I tried looking in her eyes and speaking to her in a soothing voice. I tried pointing out other exhibits we passed. She was choking and drooling from crying so hard! She cried in the elevator and out the door. She was so sad looking, pointing back and begging "More, more, more!"

When we reached the parking lot, she noticed construction equipment and all the "diggers." That calmed her down a bit. It took a bottle of water, all to herself, to fully get her back to normal.

Evie already has a great love for the Magic House, and we didn't even see most of it. We really had a wonderful time. I hated to leave, too, but I was able to hold it together better than Evie! There is so much more to see and I have a feeling we'll be spending lots of time there in the future. I'm adding a Membership to her Christmas list!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It's my dad's birthday today, and he's far away. We thought a picture of Evie might make him feel a bit closer on this special day.

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear Dad!
Happy birthday to you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hot in the City

It was a zillion degrees in St. Louis today. And so very, very humid. You could even say it was oppressive. Of course, I chose to run errands.

Evie and I had a lazy morning, but headed out around 11:00 to vote. IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY. Then we went to a just-us-girls lunch, and Hobby Lobby. I had a new idea to use squeeze bottles to decorate sugar cookies, and I needed to buy a couple to try out this method. Hopefully it will be easier than the pastry bags and tips I normally use. We'll see next week, when I make cookies for Chris to take to work.

Anyway, getting Evie in and out of the car seat in this heat made me tired and cranky. After I got her down for a nap, I had to clean my disgusting bathroom. Seriously, it was really dirty. And bathroom cleaning always puts my in a good mood, right? Ha!

So, I was crabby. I also had a headache.

But then Chris came home. (I know, you're waiting for me to say he did something sweet to make me all smiles again. Sorry to disappoint, but he didn't.) He asked me what the sign in the yard was for. What sign???

Evie and I went out to take a look. This sign is what made me happy again! A little thank you on my lawn for helping with VBS at church. Not only did I get rewarded when I actually volunteered by talking to Cute Little Surfer about farting, but I also got the added benefit of having a hot day in August made a little brighter.

And a storm blew in tonight, cooling things off. All is well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shine On!

Is it terrible that my baby girl, only eighteen months old, is addicted to lip gloss?

Of course I am the one who started this infatuation. A quick scan of my purse reveals two lipsticks and a lot of lip gloss.


Cherry ChapStick Lip Balm. Avon Flavor Savers Strawberry Lip Gloss. Lancome Juicy Tubes Jelly Ultra Shiny Lip Gloss in Daiquiri. Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm and Moisturizer. L'Oreal Infallible 6 Hour Never Fail Lip Gloss in Sangria. Lip Smacker Watermelon Travel Mini Lip Gloss. The Medicine Shoppe Medi-Chap Lip Balm (Regular Flavor.) L'Oreal Color Juice Sheer Juicy Lip Gloss in Candy Apple. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. No-name Vanilla Sugar Lip Balm. Limited Edition Strawberry Banana Blistex Fruit Smoothies with SPF 15. Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Champagne. Bonne Bell VitaGloss O2 Moisture Stick. Smackers Wavy Watermelon F'Lip Juicees. Bubble Yum Grape Flavored Lip Gloss. Plus some crap in the shape of a flip flop from the dollar bin at Target.

This is in addition to all the lip gloss I have stuffed in every nook and cranny and drawer at home. And the Vaseline I slather on my mouth every night. I can't stand the feeling of dry lips. Uh-oh, maybe I have a problem? But this isn't about MY addiction, it's about Evie's.

The positive thing about her love for lip gloss is I am able to bribe her. When she rubs her lips together, points to her mouth and says "Uh! Uh! Uh!" I know that's the sign for "I need a lip gloss fix right now!" So I use it to my advantage. I can say "I'll give you lip gloss if you finish eating your lunch," or "You can have the lip gloss if you help me pick up your crayons." I can even use it as a threat, as in "If you don't get away from the computer, you can't use the lip gloss any more today," or "If you don't sit down on your bottom in this cart, you have to give the lip gloss back to me."

So maybe this obsession isn't such a bad thing. I'll think of it as another weapon in my Mom Arsenal.

Now, please excuse me. My lips feel kind of dry.

**Want to join the Blog Train? Click on over!**

All Aboard!

As a blogger, I must say I L-O-V-E comments. It's my way of knowing there are actually people out there reading what I write, and it creates a sense of community with my fellow bloggers.

Kelsey over at My Sweet Life is starting a Blog Train! Basically, you use Mr. Linky to add your most recent post, and you comment on the post directly above your own. I'm going to participate, as I will be able to meet new bloggers and GET COMMENTS of my own!

Check out the Blog Train details here and here.

Choo, choo!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Just Don't Call Her Generous

I have a "thing" about telling Evie she's pretty. Because I have such a hang-up about my looks, I want to teach her beauty is more than your physical appearance. So when I tell her she's beautiful (about a million times a day,) I also tell her other qualities she has that I admire.

Me: Evie you are so beautiful! And smart. You are smart. Smart means you know a lot.
Evie: Smart!
Me: And you are also kind. Kind means you are nice to other people.
Evie: Kind!
Me: And you are so generous. Generous means you SHARE with others who don't have what you have.
Evie: No! No! No!

Still working on the sharing thing...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Naughty Ninja

Today, Chris called Evie a "naughty ninja." The nickname works, actually.

She is stealthy. We'll look away for a few seconds, and there she is, somewhere she doesn't belong. Maybe she's standing on a chair at the kitchen table. Maybe she's playing in the dog's water. Most likely, she's in front of the computer.

Evie is really drawn to the computer. She loves the buttons and the mouse. She loves the pictures that come up from our screen saver. She loves talking to Grandpa on the web cam. She loves listening to Almost Everything is Boinga over and over and over.

So she can't help herself. The minute she sees an opportunity, she goes for it. She climbs up on the chair and pushes buttons on the keyboard like a madwoman. If she can't get on the chair fast enough, she'll settle for just standing on the ground, stretching to get her hand on the mouse.

As of this post, our computer is still intact. For now. What a naughty little ninja!