Eyes Wide Open.

This morning it looked like a scene right out of COPS here on our little, quiet, neighborhood street. There was an attempted burglary. There was a lockdown at our school. There was every cop in the city on our street. And there was a suspect handcuffed on the curb in front of our house. And that was all before 9am in the morning. It was quite an eye-opening experience, that is for sure. All of the suspects were apprehended and our quiet little town has since returned to normal, or as close to normal as we get here in barely controlled chaos-ville.

We might live near LA…but it certainly isn’t the ghetto. Things like this don’t happen here, do they?

Earlier this week we started out at the “Happiest Place on Earth” where I was treated to another eye-opening experience. Since we had the day off of school I promised the girls I would take them to Disney and we invited our friend Audrey. It was a pretty popular destination since a few of Em & Audrey’s friends showed up as well. (They also happen to be some of my Brownie girls, too…they are the best girls ever!)


Girl Power. My little 2nd grade Brownies took on Darth Vader in the Jedi Training Program.


It is a thing of beauty to watch these girls grow literally right in front of my very eyes. It is also a little bit heartbreaking. I can’t think of them growing up without getting that tightening in my chest and a little bit weepy. But look at them! Even last year, there would have been no way that Em and Audrey would even think of getting up in front of hundreds of people on stage to learn how to use a lightsaber. But there they were…


Tell me she doesn’t look like a focused, well…at least twelve-year-old!

Yeah, it has been a trying week on many fronts.
But it is nice to have my eyes opened every once in awhile. I certainly don’t want to miss any of this crazy thing called life.


A Peek at the Future ~ Best Shot Monday

Dear Emma Gracie -

This weekend I had a very surreal peek into the future. It was as if we had fast-forwarded a good twenty years and I got a glimpse at what kind of Mom you will become. It was exhilarating and a bit frightening all at the same time to sit and watch you practically age in front of my very own eyes.

We were watching the neighbor girls and you are completely smitten with Sydney, (which is totally understandable since at six months she is at that great, adorably sweet, and delicious age). You are just fascinated with every aspect of her, even down to the diaper changes!

“Mama, I think Sydney wants to play with this.” “Mama, Sydney likes it when I hold her like this.” “Mama….” and so it went all afternoon. Addie and Madison tried to get you to play with them but you kept telling them, “No, I want to help Mama with baby Sydney.”

When I laid her in your arms and she started to take her bottle from you, the pure joy you were radiating was unmistakable. You were positively beaming. And then you sighed, “Mama, look. I think she really likes me!”

Oh, Gracie. It is so bittersweet. On one hand I love seeing that amazing, caring side of you and it verifies my belief that you are becoming a beautiful (on the inside and out!) girl. And I have no doubt that you are going to be the absolute best mommy someday. But, it wasn’t that long ago that you were Sydney’s age. I mean it was just yesterday wasn’t it? And so my internal struggle continues. I want nothing more than you to grow up happy and healthy, but it oh sometimes it really hurts. Thankfully you are happy and healthy, so it takes a little of the sting off.

So let’s try this. You keep that enthusiasm and readiness to help – but do me a favor and stop growing up for a few years. Let Mama catch up.

I love you, my sweet Big girl.

Em & Sydney

(I wish I had focused more on Em’s face in this photo – albeit Sydney is scrumptious, isn’t she? But I love this photo because it reminds me of my view the entire day. Em gazing adoringly at Sydney.)


The tooth has left the building.

I’ve been waiting ever so (*ahem*) patiently.

Emmie - the toothless wonder

So do you notice anything?

Notice anything?

Yep, we finally have our own Junie B. Jones -  toothless wonder in the house.

Tooth fairy booty

Amazingly enough we were listening to that very Junie B. Jones audiobook on our trip to Hana the day that Em’s first tooth decided to vacate her crazy shark-like mouth.

It has been loose for quite a while now, and her adult teeth are coming in behind her two bottom teeth. I had already made a dentist appointment for the girls for the day we got home from vacation, anticipating a possible need to help get those baby teeth out of there.

So with the threat of the dentist (or Nena!) pulling out her tooth, she wiggled, wiggled, wiggled it, and then got a little freaked out when it started to bleed at dinner one night (I may or may not have forgotten to mention to her that when your teeth come out there might be a bit of blood? Yeah, she is definitely my kid!). But it finally fell out in her hand while we were swimming in the pool that evening. Hallelujah and thank God for small favors!

Once the drama was over I think she realized the anticipation was far worse than the actual tooth falling out. She was practically giddy and has shown her “tooth hole” to anyone she come across.

The dentist said that her adult teeth may actually be coming in in the correct spot since she has a bit of an underbite right now. But I foresee definite braces in her future. And he also was not concerned with the other bottom tooth coming out. So we are back to wigglin’.

And yes, the tooth fairy does make hotel calls in Maui. Just in case you wondered.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Once upon a time there was a fair maiden, who at the ripe old age of two, got her very first bike from her grandma, Queen Debby.


Our Princess E. was really quite interested in the trike…


…but preferred to be pushed around on said tricycle by King Daddy, and didn’t really ever get the “hang of” pedaling the wee bike.


Time went by, another princess, Princess A., was born into the family and the princesses’ aunt, Duchess Meesh, decided that it was time for Princess E. to receive a “big-maiden” bike and pass along the trike to Princess A.


This time it was Queen Mommy who ran along beside Princess E. and tried desperately to help her steer down the right path. But even with the training wheels, Princess E. never really seemed to be too interested in bike riding.


More time went by, (but no more princesses were born into the family!) and Princess A. was given a “big-maiden” bike complete with training wheels by a friend, and Princess E. started to ride her own bike fairly well.

So Queen Mommy removed the training wheels in hopes that her Princess E. would learn to ride sans-training wheels. But, alas, Princess E. just took over Princess A.’s new bike (which still had training wheels on it) instead. Occasionally Princess E. and Queen Mommy would take her training wheel-less bike out for a “run” but it usually ended in the Princess madly exclaiming, “BUT YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN’T LET GO!” And she would return to the second bike that still had the training wheels.


Then one afternoon King Daddy coaxed the Princess into easing through the courtyard BY HERSELF with NO TRAINING WHEELS. And it was decided that the “big maiden” bike was just simply not big enough. Our princess had grown two very long legs. And knees…that kept hitting the handlebars.


So a new, even bigger “big maiden” bike was purchased. And it just seemed too big for the Princess. So the training wheels went back on this newest bike.

But ‘lo – cousins and friends from villages afar, and schoolmates who live nearby, were all learning how to ride their bikes. And that may have just been the push that our Princess E. needed.

Last week, it finally clicked. First, on the training wheel-less bike. Princess E. finally understood the glorious feeling of the wind in her hair as she biked round and round the park. Only stopping when it was mandated by Queen Mommy “time for bath!”


And yesterday, King Daddy was yet again able to coax Princess E. into trying her new bike without training wheels.


And now…she can officially ride a bike…


And they all lived happily ever after. (Until her first big crash, at least.)


The End

A month of six. Already.

Just some photos from a little photo shoot we did this afternoon. The last time I made her sit still for two minutes so I could snap more than one photo was her very last day of being five. And look, she has been six for over one month already!


She looks WAY older than six to me…


And?! Really? Six year olds know how to do the “eye-roll” already? I thought I had at least a few more years on that one.


Yeah. She is all six. And all beautiful.


I command you to…Stop. This. Instant.

E: “Mama? I think that I am six already.”
M: “What’s that?”
E: “Yeah, I think I should already be six, because I can already read and write all kinds of stuff, and I don’t even need your help. So it is like I’m six already, right?”

Right. Oh, boy.

Tree hugger

So, we were in church on Sunday. And she is still just a little bit too short to prop her elbows on the back of the pew when we are kneeling, so she puts a few hymnals down to kneel on for that optimal praying position. The lady behind us was giggling at her perched precariously on top of two hymnals and then she asked Em, “How old are you?”

“Oh, I’m 5 and a half, but I turn 6 on April 9th!” Em said so proudly. And then? The lady made the mistake of saying, “Oh, really? I thought you were at least 7 or 8. You are so tall and your printing is so nice and neat!” (She was writing letters to Daddy during part of mass.)

Cripes. Emma was beaming. “Mama! She thinks I am 7 or 8! Wow! And I’m only 6. Well, I’m almost 6!”

I threatened right then that I was going to put the hymnals on her head to make her stop growing.

I’m not quite sure what is going on around here lately. I find myself just watching the girls, or staring at photos of them and wondering, “How in the world did we get here?” “Where did my little girls go?”

And don’t say I am yearning for a baby, because I so am NOT. I am not even really nostalgic for, or missing when the girls were babies, necessarily.  I love the ages and stage we are at right now. I love our little family and it just feels right. It feels complete.

I am not really sure what I am feeling. I guess I just want them to slow down. I can’t keep up with all of their milestones, their funny stories, or antics. I feel like the days are just slipping through my fingers, along with all of their youth and innocence.

I feel like I am going to wake up tomorrow, and they are both going to be packing to leave for college.

And now? Em wants her haircut. I got mine cut yesterday and she can’t stop playing with it and telling me how she wants hers cut short, too.

I love her hair. I’m trying so hard to remember that it is her hair, but tell me she isn’t going to look even more like she is 7 or 8 with a short little bob, than she would with her ribbons and pigtails?

I’m a big girl now.

Last week I was reading the Sunday paper…um, ok. So really my version of reading the paper = I just scan the front page, maybe the Image or Home section, and then move onto the real reason for the Sunday newspaper, the ads.

Anyway, I was looking through the Target ad (really the only ad that matters) and suddenly it struck me and I blurted out, “Hey! Do you realize we never have to buy diapers or pull-ups ever again!”

J. looked up from his paper (he was more than likely reading the “real news” or at least the Sports or Travel section) a little surprised at my outburst. “Um. Yeah. I hope not, at least.”

Clearly not as excited about my revelation as I was. But Addie has been full-on in big girl panties at night for well over a month with not one accident. I’m beyond proud of her! She decided that one night that she was a “big girl, not a baby, Mama!” and we have not looked back since. I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again because it bears repeating) the “magic” in potty training is just being patient until the kid is ready. Because anything up to that point is just wasted energy.

I actually had planned on putting a pull-up on Addie while we were on our cruise because I figured she’d be tired, in a strange bed, and hadn’t been doing the underwear at night thing for very long before we left, and I didn’t want her to have an accident. But…I forgot to pack them. So, by default we slept in underwear the whole week and didn’t have a single problem.

The night we got back into town, we had been at the airport/traveling for well over 12 hours that day and she had fallen asleep. J. carried her upstairs and put her on her bed and I wrestled her out of her clothing, trying not to wake her up, to put jammies on her. (She had been playing in the airport and plane all day and um…ewww. ) I figured she had had a lot to drink, but hadn’t hit the bathroom, on top of that she was extremely tired all of which could potentially be a recipe for disaster.

So I tried to put a pull-up on her but as soon as I got one leg in, she sat straight up, wide awake and exclaimed, “NO, Mama! No diapers! I need my big girl wears!”

I tried to explain to her that I thought she might have an accident because she hadn’t gone to the potty. She slid off the bed and marched into the bathroom saying the whole way, “NO I won’t. I need my big girl underwear!”

Finally Mama got it through her thick head, we are not going back from where we came. We are done with any thing that has to do with diapers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we are completely problem-free. We had a little funny incident while on our picnic yesterday:

A: “Mama! My underwears gottasome problem!”
E: “Oh, I think she has a ‘bushie,’ Mama.”
M: “A what??”
E: “A ‘bushie!’ When your underwear goes up your bottom kinda?”
M: “A wedgie?”
E: (Peals of laughter) “Yeah! What did I call it?” (More laughing…)

Yeah. I think a “bushie” is something entirely different.

Always with the tongue...