Archive for January, 2010

a whole different world

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The thought never occurred to me for the past 6 years of mothering little girls that we’d end up getting sucked into the American Girl world. Not even when I saw other families with little girls knee deep in it. I didn’t look negatively at those people; I honestly just didn’t think about it. My childhood was filled with Barbie Dolls and Cabbage Patch babies, and the fact that these products are still on the market and popular only allowed my brain to rest upon visions of my little girls playing with those toys. Man, was I way off, or what?

Grandma Indiana had been wanting to take the girls to the American Girl store since she moved to Chicago this summer, but I thought it made more since to wait to go until they actually owned dolls. Annie was all geared up to visit the store as soon as we got home from NC, but Grandma decided to take a trip down to FL putting off the much anticipated visit to the store until yesterday. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. My mom and I decided to make a day of it including brunch there. The girls were beyond excited and couldn’t stop talking about it until we finally arrived. Rather than keep rambling on about it, I’ll just start with the pictures.

We started the day with brunch. As you can see the cafe allows the dolls to attend the brunch as well with their own seats and tea cups and saucers.

Since Mimi’s birthday is this week we decided it would be appropriate to celebrate it during our meal. They even brought out her own cake with a candle.

Violet was a good sport throughout the entire trip with only one or two fussy spells. She eventually fell asleep in the stroller.

It is amazing how much these American Girl doll creators have put into the whole concept. The outfits, accessories, hobbies, books, movies, and even furniture. You can find just about anything for a doll in this place.

Does your doll need to get her hair done? Apparently, the 20-something people in line needed a new do’ for their dolls.

Has your doll got a boo or boo or other physical problem? Well, the doll hospital has got you covered even dressing your doll in a hospital gown during her visit.

Head on over to the shoe section, if you feel your doll is in need of some new footwear.

Have you found that your doll has bad vision? Well, the spectacles section has got you covered. Plus, pick up a pair or 2 of earrings while you’re there.

Of course, we had to get a picture of all of us in front of the Kit and Ruthie section. It’s not that great of a picture because we asked a passerby to take the picture, and she seemed to be in a hurry to hand the camera back to me.

Each historical doll had an entire section dedicated to her. Just to give you an idea, here’s what they had for Kit Kittridge.

As you can see, someone could easily go bankrupt if they purchased even a fraction of what’s offered in this store. I tried my best to keep the girls from wanting everything in the place, but we did let them pick out a couple of outfits for their dolls (including ice skates) and t-shirts for the girls. I figured this will probably be our only visit to the store, so we might as well splurge a little. I am glad that the girls finally got their wish of going to the store. Thank you, Grandma, for making that dream come true for them. It was a wonderful and dreamy day.

Another interesting thing happened on the way to the store. I was warned by the AG operator while making brunch reservations that some kind of construction would be going on from 7 to noon and would cause some noise and the parking garage to be closed. I didn’t think much about it until we tried to get close to the store for parking and discovered that several blocks surrounding the store were closed. It wasn’t until we were driving around the back a few blocks away that we saw a helicopter loading up what looked like a large, stainless steel box with windows and lifting it up that we figured out what was going on. After finally finding a parking space a couple of blocks away and walking up to the store we were told by a police officer that we couldn’t cross the street for a few minutes (even though we could see the entrance to the store). The police officer looked up to point out the helicopter and said they were lifting new elevators up to the top of a building dozens of stories high. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the helicopter in action lifting one of those monstrosities, but here’s a quick snap I got of the helicopter afterward.

blowing raspberries and house monkey

Friday, January 29th, 2010

I know I’ve been remiss in updating lately. This week has been frenzied with just about everyone sick all week. Mike and Annie both caught Mimi’s stomach bug. Mike didn’t actually get barfy, but he’s not been able to eat much all week since last Saturday. He’s still not feeling great after almost a whole week. Annie got sick Sunday night and provided me with lots more loads of laundry to do. Good times. Annie and Mike also got a bad cough. Annie even had a fever and was out of school pretty much all week. She went back to school yesterday, but then today the school was closed for the end of the quarter. So that means that she went to school one day this week.

On top of all that Mike finally had his surgery for making it so that we get no more Annies, Mimis, or Violets. It’s been a mixed bag of feelings for us, but we decided 3 kids is plenty for our family. Mike’s been having to stay in bed since the surgery, and it’s driving him nuts. But it caught up with him today (also because of his cold), so he’s back in bed taking a snooze right now. I’m sure he’ll be feeling better by the end of the weekend.

Violet is getting better about eating her vittles, but she still isn’t real thrilled about taking the cereal. She’s figured out how to spit it out which was cute at first, but not so cute after 2 days of it. Have a look for yourself and tell me that this is not cute in the least.


In other news, we apparently have a monkey living with us. Mimi has quite a fascination for grooming her little sister. The old-fashioned, monkey way. Mimi especially likes to pick out Violet’s “ewwies” from her toes while I nurse her. Weird kid.

barfy mcbarfus

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Yesterday brought on some real drama. It all started with Mimi telling me she was struggling with going #2. I could hear her working so hard to get things moving, but she wasn’t having any success. It was right around lunchtime, so I told her to just try to eat and that it might help soften things up down there. I gave her oranges and water as well in hopes of doing just that. She took a few bites but soon made her way back to the bathroom to do another grunting session with no success. All of a sudden she came out to the living room and leaned onto the leather ottoman and proceeded to barf up what seemed like 2 days of meals. Apparently, she was confusing the feeling she was having in her belly with needing to go #2. Thinking back I realized that Mimi has never really been sick to her stomach, so it must have been a completely new feeling for her. Poor thing!

I was hoping that maybe she just ate some bad food and that this would be the only vomiting with which I’d have to deal. Boy, was I wrong. I won’t go into any gross details, but let’s just say that 3 loads of laundry later and a lot of hand sanitizing/washing made for an exhausting day yesterday and all of last night. The good news though is that Mimi is back to her old self today and ate breakfast with the same gusto as usual. Now let’s just pray and keep our fingers crossed that the rest of the household won’t get pukey:\

overheard or maybe not

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Annie came home yesterday from school and declared that I need hearing aides. Apparently, I ask her to repeat what she and her sister are saying too much and must have a hearing problem requiring medical assistance. She’s probably right to an extent because I do find myself having a hard time understanding what people are saying to me most of the time, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say I need hearing aides. Later in the car ride home from the eye doctor to pick up my glasses (I guess I’m just a mess) Mimi was asking me something from the way back of the van and while music was playing, I might add. Of course, I couldn’t hear her, and I said so. Annie then interjected and uttered to Mimi but audible enough for me to hear, “Remember, you need to talk loud because Mama doesn’t hear so well.” There you have it. Now I’m off to make the ear doctor appointment.

After coming to terms with my deafness I decided I’d try again to feed Violet her rice cereal. I mentioned in my comments on the previous post that I attempted to use formula in the cereal, and Violet would have nothing to do with it. Someone said it would be sufficient to use water, so I decided to go that route. I’m pretty sure that’s all I did with Annie and Mimi, but I couldn’t remember seeing as it was so many years ago. Apparently, Violet has had a change of heart because this feeding session was no more successful than the attempt with formula. See for yourself.

“What are you doing with that thing.”

“You think you’re going to put that in my mouth.”

“Get that away from me.”


“I can’t believe you actually tried to get me to eat that vile, detestable substance.”

Annie, being the budding photographer that she is, asked if she could take over the camera after she saw me snapping pictures of the cereal session with Violet. I agreed to her request.

She wanted to first document my other disability, that being my blindness. I’ve worn contacts for many years but have been an eyeglass wearer on-and-off (mostly off) since grade school because the glasses usually give me headaches. At Mike’s insistence I decided to go to the eye doctor after not going for about 8-10 years to acquire a new pair of spectacles.

Then a picture of Mimi with dinner still on her face.

This horse is on loan from a lady from church that Mimi and I visited earlier that day. She lives way out in the country out by a lot of horse farms. Mimi and I got into a conversation about she really wants a pet horse. We ended the talk with agreeing that she could get a horse for herself when she’s a grown-up. The lady we visited got wind of this and revealed to us quite a collection of horse figurines that her son used to collect as a child. Mimi chose this one, and Annie was there to document it.

And we’ll end with a picture of the little photographer.

nocturnal feeder

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Violet is growing up way too fast. Therefore, I’ve been trying to put off starting her on solids as much as possible. However, the hourly wake-up calls with 30-minute feedings from Violet on Monday night made me realize that it’s probably time to get her going with the rice cereal. Sniff, sniff. Last night was her first night to try it out, and I must say Violet seemed quite pleased with the new stuff being introduced to her. She was even reaching for the spoon and putting it into her mouth each time. I pumped some milk to use as the liquid for the cereal, but it kind of threw off my body for the next feeding. This morning I thought using formula might be an easier way to juice it up. Boy, was I wrong! Violet wouldn’t have anything to do with it. She prefers Mama’s sweet stuff.

not-so-subtle hints

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Do you think he’ll get the hint?


Saturday, January 16th, 2010

As you well know, Mike is not able to stay inactive. He’s always thinking of new ways to keep himself busy. Sometimes these things are impossible for my head to wrap around, but it doesn’t stop him from doing it. Periodically, he likes to take old shotgun shells and reload them to be able to use in a shotgun again. There are several steps to the process which require equipment, so I won’t even try to explain it. However, Mike does like other people to try their hand at it, so he had Annie assist him during his latest reloading session. Annie was in charge of handing Daddy shells and wads. In the end, they reloaded 75 shotgun shells.

instant gratification

Friday, January 15th, 2010

In an effort to get the girls more motivated about their jobs around the house I decided to implement a new system. I saw this reward board posted on a blog recently and immediately knew this would be perfect for my short-termed memory girls. I thought they’d be more excited about the new routine if they got to help make the reward board, so we started the project on this Monday’s family home evening. The process involves lots of Mod Podge for the patterned paper on the frame and sheet metal, and I thought they could handle that step. They did pretty good and also handed me magnets to glue to the back of the tin, circle boxes. There were several more steps, and I have been doing those periodically throughout the week with the girls anxiously waiting for the final product. At last, I completed the final steps today which included inserting chores and the rewards for those chores. The original design called for just putting the chores on folded pieces of paper inside the boxes, but I figured it would be easier to control what chores get done and when. We may not need or have time to have the floors vacuumed and what not.

It now hangs on our computer armoire’s door via a 3M hook that I colored brown with a Sharpie marker.

A closer look. As you can see the “rewards” are things such as coins, stickers, candy, and erasers. The stickers go with the more desirable chores such as brushing Sadie or writing Grandma/Grandpa a letter. Whereas the candy and eraser will require a little more elbow grease to acquire such as washing floors, vacuuming, and helping to fold laundry. The harder/more time consuming chores also result in a few more (or higher valued) coins. It may take a few times to see what chores are most popular and easiest for them to really see what rewards fit best.

In case you’re wondering what that thing is in the middle. It’s a large, flat marble that has “Hawley Helpers” magnified through (I know, it’s super cheesy). I only had 24 tin boxes and had a big gap in the middle. This idea came to me because I have too many of those dang marbles and magnets to last a lifetime. I had to use 4 magnets though to get the marble to be similar in height to the boxes.

In other news, Violet gets really lonely during our dinnertime each night. In order to include her, I put her in her bumbo on top of the dinner table. She loves it!

However, this sometimes proves to be a bit too exhausting for her.

Lastly, the girls got have their faces painted again by Cuddles the Clown again the other night. We didn’t get done with swimming until around 6:00 p.m., and Mike wasn’t going to have time to eat with us due to a scout meeting. I remembered that Culver’s has their kids’ night on Tuesday nights and thought it’d be a fun treat for the girls. We were surprised though to see that Cuddles and Billy were there because they don’t do all the kids’ nights. Mimi was so prissy about her new look. When were walking out of the restaurant to go home she put her hand on hip and shook her bum violently back and forth all the way to the door. It caused a lot of people to giggle.

pet enthusiasts

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Can you imagine a person assigning a profile picture
to his/her vet for his/her phone? Imagine that this
person went through the trouble to pose not real
animals but stuffed animals to photograph purely
for the intent of this profile picture. How pathetic
this person must be. How sad this person must be.
How lonely this person must be. As if the vet’s office
is calling this heartbreaking human being regularly
enough to justify a profile picture for his/her phone.

Wait a minute, this person would be me. Yes, I did
all of the above which means I must surely be all of
the above.

Below is the picture that will be displayed should the
vet’s office ever feel compelled to call me.

In my defense, the stuffed animals were already sitting
there posed while I was making an appointment for Sadie
to get her kitten check-up when the idea sprung to mind.
It’s inexcusable though, and I hold my head in shame.

To make myself feel better, I will also post pictures of a live being. One of my favorites at that. A smiling baby can cure anything.

let the butt-sniffing ensue

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I know, bad title. However, that’s what we’ll have going on around here for the next few days, weeks, years…. I’m doing my best to keep my cool while Lily and Sadie get to know each other because I know that Lily has a hard time with social situations. When we brought Harvey home as a kitten years ago we tried to force the love between Harvey and Lily. Lily got so freaked out that we didn’t see her for what seemed like months, and it took even longer before Lily finally warmed up to Harvey. Even then the “adoration” between Lily and Harvey was mostly one-sided coming from Harvey’s end. Adoration in the form of belly-flopping from the top of a bookshelf onto an unsuspecting Lily who was sprawled out on her back on the floor. Or adoration in the form of a 2:00 a.m. wake-up call under our bed that caused a raucous that sounded like to 2 cats were being tortured. Or adoration in the form of little scabs all over Lily’s skin seemingly from either Harvey’s claws or teeth.

So now we’ve got a sweeter and female kitten who just wants Lily’s love in any form. It was very evident last night when Sadie perched a couple of feet away from Lily and kind of cowered to her with a few, soft mews escaping her lips. (The use of the term lips for cats is debatable because I actually don’t believe cats have lips. Mike differs in opinion. What do you think?) Lily responded with “hiss, growl, hiss, hiss, growl, hiss, long growl (lasting a minute or 2), and one final hiss”, but I think there was actual progress. Mike can’t seem to understand why Lily doesn’t just say to herself, “Oh, look! A baby kitten that’s so cute and cuddly. I’m going to love her and snuggle with her right now.” I had to explain to him about cat dynamics, and that Lily looks at Sadie as an evil foe who is impeding on her territory no matter how cute and small Sadie is. Lily also needs to establish herself as the alpha cat (if that’s possible with females). Plus, Lily isn’t like any normal cat. She’s very shy and nervous even after living with us for over 11 years.

Have a look at the progress for yourself. Sorry for the poor quality as these pictures were taken with my phone.