Just a quick note to let you know that I've moved. You can now find me at my NEW BLOG!
Just a quick note to let you know that I've moved. You can now find me at my NEW BLOG!
Oh it's September already?! Whoa Nelly. The kids and I have had 12 whole weeks of summer fun, and I think we're all ready for school to resume! The other day, we took Henry to his kinder orientation at his new school, and he is beside himself with excitement. And we are equally excited to know that he has the teacher we requested (Alison's old teacher!). Alison is eager for 2nd grade, and Kate is growing up way too fast. Every day she has a new word or saying, and she's definitely going through her language "explosion!" For sure.
Oh, and we bought her a big girl bed (after several rounds of her climbing out and about). She's super proud to have her own bed, and if you're a mama or papa of a little one, you know that graduating to a big kid bed is exciting stuff. And I'm sure you also know that once the confines of a crib are gone, the trick is to get the child to actually stay in the bed. Well, Kate? She's the only one of our kidlets who has decided that staying in bed is A-OK. So a big WHEW on that one! Here's a peek at her pretending to sleep (what a ham).
Summer has been hopping busy for the shop, and it's felt like Christmas around here. I've also been doing a lot of investigation, and hopefully soon I'll have some new goodies in store for you. And you, and you, and you!
Let's see what else? Um, not much! Just enjoying the last bits of summer before heading back to the routines and rhythms of fall. Hope you enjoy your last days too.
It's been a while, yes? Oh I've been hanging around, reading your blogs and peeking at your flickr streams. I just haven't had much to say lately.
But now I'm back, and the first thing I'd like to say is: THANK YOU.
Yes. To all of you. Your overwhelming support has been so much appreciated during this difficult transition. Your comments, heartfelt e-mails and cards, your flowers, gifts, plants all meant so much to me and my family during our difficult time.
In the morning when we wake up, as per our newly formed ritual, I carry Kate to the living room to look at a photo of my father. And as if on cue, she undoubtedly points to it and shouts his name. Usually his name is a burst of happiness from her mouth, and part of me feels relieved by her recognition. Yes. She still remembers him. Yes. He's still fresh in her mind.
Alison and Henry are starting to comprehend his physical absence from our lives. Usually a memory will trigger or a thought will pop into their minds, and then a moment of sadness washes over them. Today as we were getting ready for bed, Alison turned to me and said softly, "Mama, I didn't want Buppa to die."
So yes. Sadness does creep into our lives on a daily basis, and it comes at surprising times, like sudden pangs of emotion. But most of the time, we live in our many moments of happiness together as a family. We've made it this far, and I know, as so many of you have shared, life does go on. We're know that now.
Thank you again for everything.
As a little girl, I always enjoyed the evenings, because my dad and I had a goodnight ritual. Every night after brushing my teeth, my dad would come to my room to tuck me in. I’d climb into my captain’s loft-style bed, and my dad would tuck the sheets under me tightly, wrapping me up like a burrito. Most of the time I’d giggle and squirm in attempts to wiggle myself loose, and my dad, of course, would have to repeat the tucking. He’d always feign annoyance, but I always knew that he, too, was grateful for these few extra seconds of time together.
But the most memorable part of our goodnight ritual was when he’d lift my head, and fan my long hair out upon my pillow. The coolness of the pillow against the warmth of my skin was always such comforting surprise. It was my dad’s trademark touch, like icing on a cake or the cherry on top.
Shortly thereafter, he’d kiss me on the forehead, and turn off the light. From my bedroom, he’d make his way to the den, a room adjacent to mine. Most of the time, the light from the den would shine into the hallway, and the shadows and noise would keep me entertained on the evenings when I wasn’t quite ready to fall asleep. I found much comfort in hearing the low strumming of my dad’s guitar or the sounds of Johnny Carson emanating from the t.v.
This evening ritual stopped sometime before middle school, I’m sure. By that time I’m certain I was a self-obsessed teenager who, like most kids, was trying to shed herself of her parents. These years were spent gabbing on the phone with friends, and the distance between my parents and I widened. Wasn’t that true for most teenagers? On most nights quick hugs and obligatory kisses were given before retiring for the night.
But still. No matter how old I got, I always enjoyed listening to my dad’s music spilling into my room at night. His music was like an evening serenade, smooth and comforting. Years passed. College life, dorm life, and finally married life. And still yet. Still when the evenings rolled around, I found myself yearning for my dad’s evening serenade. And oftentimes I longed for our old evening ritual.
One week ago I watched as my dad slipped away. I held his hand while he passed, and for one last time, we relived our evening ritual. In his last moments, I tucked the pillow softly under his head, smoothed his hair down, and kissed him on the forehead before he fell into his final slumber.
Okay so I've been intrigued with cloning (no, not the cloning of the Dolly the Sheep or the Raelian variety), but the photographic cloning. I thought I'd try my hand at it, and grabbed the two family members who weren't fussy (that'd be Alison and Hank in case you were wondering) and subjected them to be my first victims. It was kind of tricky, but certainly a lot of fun. You can view my first attempt here.
I also have a new series of cards (soon to be uploaded). I was rifling through my photos on iPhoto, and found some interesting backdrops for some of my illustrations. This one I kinda cheated because I recycled one of my older illos, but I thought it was perfect for the NYC scene (taken when I met up with the girls!). Here, take a peek:
**** And dear Joyce tagged me with a meme!
Here is how it works: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog with their 7 things as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog.
Hmmm, let's see. Okay, here goes:
• Although I write with my right hand, I do everything else with my left (cutting, steering, brushing hair etc).
• I had what doctors refer to as a "silent labor" -- which means that I didn't feel my contractions.
• Don't believe me? Well you can catch my first labor on national t.v.! Yep, my husband and I were on a popular t.v. show that chronicled the birth of Alison. Cool, eh?
• In high school, I had a good friend named Alison Leslie. Quite a pal for me, Leslie Alison.
• I've been the same height (5' 5") since I was 13. I used to be the tallest in my group of friends, and now I'm just an average gal!
• I've sold many things on eBay, including: two sofa sets, a dining room table, old ski boots, and my car.
• I never was a fan of chocolate until I became pregnant with Alison. Oh, I also used to hate the color pink. . . until I had Alison. Weird.
It's funny how three kids can be raised in the same household, and still be so very different. Alison and Henry were both delayed in speech development, but Kate? Oh my. This girl can talk. And talk. And talk.
For the last year or so, she's been adding new words to her arsenal of speech. She knows the power of words, and she knows how to use 'em to get exactly what she wants. I find it funny (and quite miraculous) that she has picked up on the subtle nuances of language: a shrug of the shoulders, a sigh, an eye roll. She's got them all down pat. Lately when I ask her why she's done this or that, she'll shrug, and say, "I dunno," and then take a swig of milk from her sippy cup.
Her language has moved from words dotted here and there to longer stretches of words strung together. Like real, actual sentences. I've provided a translation for those who are not familiar with baby talk, but I'm sure you mamas out there can decipher them quite well. We're gifted like that. As of late, here are Kate's favorite sayings:
1. I dun lai dat: Usually a run on sentence, "Idunlaidat!", this phrase is Kate's favorite. Plainly stated, it means, "I DON'T LIKE THAT." Yes, ALL CAPS. Because she yells it like that. Usually she says this when she's tired or *sigh* bored of something. Like her sippy cup. Or her shoes. Or her hair ties. She'll bring whatever offending item is bothering her, drop it in our laps, and then, "Idunlaidat."
2. Bad Cat!: This phrase cracks me up, and while the words are as clear as day, it still needs a bit of translating. Henry and Kate are big fans of Caillou, and in one episode (which I have yet to see), Caillou yells, "Bad Cat!" I don't know the context, but I do know that Kate uses it as weaponry when things don't go her way. Henry isn't listening? We'll he's a "Bad Cat!" This usually is followed by a crossing of the arms akimbo.
3. I wan to/I don wan to: These two phrases are like conjoined twins as they're always said consecutively when Kate gets fussy. Imagine a scene where she's tired, cranky, perhaps even hungry. It's way past naptime, and you're, say, at Target. Alone. With three kids. Yeah, imagine. Kate sees a toy/magazine/tampons etc. She reaches for the coveted item and says, "I wan to" (loosely translated to I want to or I want it). You hand her said item to buy you 2 seconds of peace while you finish your shopping, and then immediately you hear, "I no wan to" (or I don't want it). We'll continue this dance of taking items off the shelf and putting them back on. Shelf off. Shelf on.
4. Yoo Hoo!: Again, this is clear as day, and no real translation is needed. Though I do have to say that Kate usually says this in the wee hours of the morning when the house is deathly silent. Like a banshee, Kate cries out, "Yoo hoo! Mama. . . . . . Yoooo hooooo!" The more "o's" she adds to the yoo and to the hoo, the more desperate she gets. I love my sleep, yes, but this wake up call is very sweet.
5. Me Ket! Me Baby!: a.k.a. I'm Kate! I'm a baby! Like most two year olds, Kate is busy developing her own identity. She knows her name, and she often refers to herself as Ket (Kate). A casual passing by the mirror, and she'll point and scream with recognition. "Mama! Ket! Me Ket!" As if to say, hey mama, there I am! it's me! I'm Kate! It's all very sweet!
So there you have it. A guide to babbling Kate.
Onto other news. Some good. Some bad. Wait, let me reverse the order. We'll start with the bad, and then end on a happier note with the good news. Okay?
The bad. My dad is very ill, and I've been trying to deal with his illness as best I can. I've decided to start a new blog, A Precious Minute. The blog is in its most rudimentary stages right now, but I plan to chronicle my thoughts and feelings as honestly as I can. It's mainly for me, but I invite you to share this journey with me, if you wish.
Now! The good! I'm having a sale at ze lovely paperie. Swipe 20% off of your entire order with this secret code SAVECASH Go take a peek! I have some new goods that'll be added soon. Okay, end of shameless plug.
Have a great weekend all!
Motherhood doesn't come with any guide books to help us navigate the sometimes choppy waters of raising children, and yet there was never a moment when I felt that my own mother was lost at sea. She tackled motherhood with great gusto, and despite several college degrees, she chose to stay home to raise my brother and me. For many, many years, we had the luxury of coming home to homebaked snacks, homemade meals, books at bedtime, and hugs at night.
My mother often talked about her ongoing dilemma of career vs. home, and it wasn't until I was in middle school that she returned to the work force after 18 years of being a homemaker. She felt that it was important to regain her identity outside of being a mother, and she managed to balance career and family so well. I've always admired my mother for her determination and strength; she was definitely the captain of our ship.
My mother is retired now, and just recently she has started to care for my father who has fallen ill. Her days are so very long, and I can see the exhaustion in her eyes, and I can hear it in her voice. And yet, somehow, she manages to keep a smile on her face. I wish her much strength for my father's journey back to health. She is my mother, my strength.
To all the mothers, I wish you a very happy mother's day.
This morning I was making my blog/flickr rounds, and Sally's post for today made me stop and pause. You see her Baby J and my baby Kate are the same age. The exact same age (both were born on the same glorious June day). Anyway, it just hit me like a ton of bricks that my baby isn't such a baby anymore. She's no longer an infant but a walking, talking toddler with her own personality and spunk.
My family likes to joke that no one messes with Baby Kate. No one. She's a strong-willed little girl, and she's been called feisty, spunky, bossy, spicy, a pistol, a firecracker. . . I think you get the picture! I suppose her strong personality comes from being the youngest sib, but yet it still surprises me that she's so different from shy, introverted Alison and boisterous, but gentle Henry! If my kids were salsa, I'd rate them as follows: Alison - mild; Henry - hot; Kate - PICANTE. Ha!
Anyway, here's a video clip from a couple of weeks ago. While stopped on the infamous 405 freeway, we saw giant ELMO on the Science Center rooftop:
And here's a clip from today. We went strawberry picking, and Kate ate and ate and ate those berries until her tummy was full. We stopped at Pick Up Stix on the way home, and as you can see our little one has learned to undress herself:
There are so many gosh darn cute babies in my flickr stream, and seeing them makes me (oh gawd I'm gonna say it) want another baby. Oh I said it! The thought of having a little bun gets me all giddy, and then I think about REALITY!! Like the fact that we've been diapering kids for 7 years straight. SEVEN YEARS!!! Not a single break! Yes, we managed to stagger our potty training just right so that there wasn't a single lapse in diapering! Awesome!
And if I owe you an e-mail or a package. . . keep your eyes peeled! It's coming soon!
Thank goodness tomorrow's Friday because, well, I love Fridays. On these days, Hank gets off early (1:35 p.m.!) and the kids have karate. Tomorrow we may get frozen yogurt to celebrate Alison's fabu report card! She's doing phenomenally well in Spanish, and it's truly amazing to know that she will soon be fluent! Whoa!
I also have to turn in Henry's acceptance letter for kinder next year! Egads! How did that happen?! He's very excited to start school, and I'm already starting to get the jitters for him. When Alison started kinder, I worried that she would freak with a full day of Spanish. That's all normal, I guess. Being in this immersion program has been a huge leap of faith!
Kate started her second session of Giggles and Wiggles, and last week she took a 2 day art class (which she also loved!). She loves to paint, and I think she'll be artistic like her sister!
The shop has been keeping me busy, and I'm actually contemplating leaving the real job behind. I have apprehensions about that though. . . I change my mind several times a day! Really! If I did leave the real job, it would be another huge leap of faith! Don't know if I'm ready for that just yet!!! Yep! I'm the captain of S.S. Wishy Washy.
Anyway, I'd like to leave you guys with this (via Katey):
And I also have some new stuff up my sleeve. . . to be unveiled soon. Very soon! Have a great weekend everyone! ~Leslie
There are chaotic days. Days when the sink is full of dishes and the house needs tidying. Perhaps it's a day when Henry is throwing sand in the house or maybe it's a day when Kate is fussing over this or that. These are the days that I feel the pressures of raising 3 children, and it's always you who comes to my rescue. When I'm counting down the minutes until daddy gets home from work, you are the one who helps me make it through the day with my sanity in tact. Your gentle ways with Henry and Kate, and your natural instinct to love and nurture your brother and sister amazes me.
There are sweet days. Like the days Henry picks me flowers from our garden. Or like the day when Kate motioned to her elbow and said, "Elmo." I love that I can turn to you, and together we can share in the sweetness of the moment. That's a sign, I think. A sign that you're turning into a marvelous young lady. A person, who in time, will someday be my best friend and confidant. I can't wait.
Happy 7th Birthday sweet one!