Friday, January 20, 2006

Emma-gging for the Camera

Emma is at such a fun age. She is starting to understand and fully participate in traditions. She may be a little on the sassy side, but you've never heard funnier stories than hers. Wait until she tells you about her dog, Jade, and her cat, Rainbow. I've never had a more loyal companion in all my days - no offence to all non-Emma readers out there.

Emma loves to have her picture taken almost as much as she loves to chew bubble gum.

My sweet angel loves to cuddle with her babies and stuffed animals - anything soft.

This was the first year Emma helped decorate the Christmas tree and she took that job VERY seriously. She liked to put several ornaments on one branch but soon learned to fill in the empty spots. Danny set up the tree and strung the lights beforehand. He was watching us put the ornaments up from the couch. After a few minutes, Emma noticed and said, "Aren't you going to help us, Daddy?" She had a great time and we had a great time with her.

Emma may not "like" Santa, but she loved what Santa brought her. The Cinderella Vanity was perfect - just ask Allison (if you can't find an accessory, look for Ally).

Best of all, our Miss Em is forever goofy and making us laugh. When she's around, life couldn't get any better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

La La La La, La La La La, Ally's World!

Allison is growing up to be quite a personality. I thought I would share with everyone a little bit of Ally's world over the past three months.
May I offer you a chair?

Okay, I kind of look like my Mommy from this angle - or at least Mommy likes to think so!

I have more fun watching Emma open presents than opening them myself. I don't want to get distracted by the pretty paper.

Every once in a while I get just too pooped to party anymore. Aren't I a little angel?

I love to pretend I'm Grandpa Dodde and back into the potty chair like a semi. Sometimes I miss just like Mommy. You see that cute little doggie? Allison would not part from it for the longest time - not even at daycare. Of course, it was one of Emma's long neglected toys. Finally, near Ally's birthday, Emma officially gave it to her as a birthday gift. Wouldn't you know that not long after that Allison stopped wanting anything to do with it...

I know there's trouble around here someplace... If only I could find it.

You want a kiss? Hmm... I'll have to think on that...

Dear Reader:

Pictures of Emma will follow shortly.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Illness Brings Out the Uglies

(and I do mean ugly in the most loving sense of the word)

Emma and Allison have both been sick this week. Emma has a nasty cough that started on Saturday. Allison’s fever kicked in Tuesday night. I took them both to the pediatrician Wednesday afternoon. Emma was diagnosed with an ear infection and Allison with a toddler version of a sinus infection. The doctor figures the different illnesses are the affects of the same bug. I’m sure this is just the beginning. They were both prescribed antibiotics and I presumed that I would only be taking an afternoon off. They would have three good doses of amoxicillin under their belts before going to school. There was nothing to worry about.

Allison woke up around 10:30 Wednesday night and she was burning up. I took her out into the kitchen to get her some Tylenol. It wasn’t until I got her out into light that I realized that I probably wasn’t going to work on Thursday. Her eyes were crying puss and the condition of her nose and surrounding areas cannot be described. Were she not my child, I might have been a little frightened. Luckily I was in “supermom” mode. I cleaned up her face the best that I could, I found the bottle of antibiotic eye drops she was prescribed earlier and gave her a does. You have not heard Allison scream until you’ve heard her scream because of eye drops. Thankfully, she went back to sleep not too long after that.

The next day, I attempted to get ready for work, but it was of no avail. Allison looked even more pitiful in the morning than she did the night before. She is a cranky invalid. Even if I cleaned her up the second before taking her into the daycare building, I would have gotten a call to pick my grouchy, mutant child up ASAP. I saved myself the gas and called in.

Danny was going to take Emma into daycare on his way into work, but she wanted to stay home. I was looking forward to a nice “slug day” with my girls (Trista loves those days where you stay in your PJs all day and just lay around). Our slug day was going to be somewhat modified. I was already dressed and I wanted to take the opportunity to get some things done around the house.

The first things we did were eat breakfast and take baths. Allison loves the water and her baths. Usually the girls have a good time in the tub together. Emma is a more tentative bather. She doesn’t like water to touch her face. If we would allow it, her hair would never see a drop of water or shampoo. Unfortunately, grouchy Allison decided to kick in to high gear. She splashed and splashed. Emma cried and tried to push her away. By God’s grace alone I was able to wash Allison from head to toe and wash Emma’s hair before a cat fight between the girls broke out.

Allison went down for her nap pretty easily after the bath. Emma became nice sister again and sang a couple of songs before closing the door and going into the living room to wait for me. The couple of minutes I rocked Allison to sleep brought back a sense of calm and I was ready to get started on our next task – cleaning the hall bathroom from ceiling to floor.

Emma and I cleaned like champs. She took a wet paper towel and wiped down her potty chair while I did the rest. That bathroom really needed the cleaning. I even wiped off all of the things sitting on the sink. After Emma got tired, she went back into the living room and played. She was super sweet that hour and 15 minutes of Allison’s nap.

Not too long after I finished up the bathroom Allison woke up. She’s not one for long naps. I told Emma that we would eat lunch and take a walk (it was almost 70 degrees yesterday). Emma was ready and excited to go for the walk, but Allison was having a really hard time waking up. What’s Emma’s solution? Bug Allison mercilessly. I cannot tell you how many times I said, “Leave Allison alone,” “Leave her be,” “If you don’t stop touching Allison by the time I count to ‘N’ I’m putting you down for your rest period” at an increasingly louder voice. It doesn’t matter. All she did was get super sassy with me instead. She never stopped.

Allison’s whining and Emma’s screeches and cries started then. They did not stop until Allison went to bed that night. In the double stroller, Allison started in the back but kept kicking Emma and pulling her hair. I switched them around. As you can guess, Emma did the same things. Luckily, exercise is an ideal way to handle stress. I needed it.

I had my cell phone with me and called Danny. I asked him to bring me a Diet Coke on his way home. As soon as he gave it to me, I retreated to my room for 20 minutes, relaxed with my Gone With the Wind puzzle and downed my Diet Coke. It was a little slice of heaven for me – even though I could hear that the kids were giving Danny a taste of my day at the same time.

Danny asked me if I wanted to have another baby after I returned from my oasis. I responded by telling him that I’d been having serious thoughts about cutting tubes all day long. Then, while I was rocking Allison to sleep it started to slip away. I love rocking with her, smelling her hair (no snide comments!) and feeling the pulse of her ever shrinking soft spot. I went back out into the kitchen and Emma was still her royal sassiness – only this time to Danny. I finally got her to sit on my lap and watch Wallace and Gromit with me. She was asleep in five minutes flat. It was so precious. I can’t even remember the last time she feel asleep on me. We waited until she was deeply asleep and then we put her into her crib. She woke up and cried a little, but we patted her back to sleep. I know that Danny and I were both reminiscing about her infant and toddler days. It’s funny how a sleeping child has the same affect on you as a newborn does. The pain just slips away and you forget all about the difficulties – ALMOST.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hello 2006!

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone is healthy and happy.


I hope that everyone who has made resolutions is inspired and successful. Here are my resolutions in no particular order:

Decorate my bedroom and the hall bathroom
To stop swearing
Finish the cross stitch project I started for Aunt Donna
Wear a size 12 or smaller by my 35th birthday (Yikes! I’ll soon be closer to 40 than 30…)
Get on a consistent cleaning schedule around the house
Take a vacation that does not in any way involve the state of Michigan


I have promised many pictures – the girls’ birthday, Emma and Charlie, Christmas, etc. Yet another weekend has gone by and we have yet to download the pictures from our digital camera. Soon, dear reader! Soon!

Blog of Mouth

My sister, Donielle, has entered the world of blogging. Just as I was inspired by Trista, Donielle was inspired by me. One blog begetting another is a powerful thing.

It will be nice to keep up with my little niece, Sophia, as she grows. Please check out her blog at

Update from November - A Confession, Really...

Back in November, I recommitted myself to getting to a healthy weight and getting fit. I had a successful six week run – which included losing over four pounds after a mini-vacation with the Schmidt clan. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and was on a roll. In December, we started Weight Watchers at Work. This should have added fuel to my fire. It did, until a contracting company dropped cookies off to me that I didn’t expect. I hadn’t planned for them at all. That was the beginning of a downward spiral for me. A month later, I’m up about 10 of the 13 pounds I had lost. That’s okay. I am still three pounds to the good from November. Besides, this is a journey and I will be on it for the rest of my life. It’s a learning process for me. I am not perfect. I’m back on program today. I’m going to weigh in on Wednesday no matter what. Using No Weigh In passes has the same effect for me as skipping the meeting altogether. I know that now. Better to pay the piper early than wait four weeks.

Allison’s Latest Tricks

Kisses: Allison not only blows kisses with a big “mmmm”, she is now giving kisses. It is so adorable! On Saturday she spent a good five minutes walking from Danny to Emma to me giving us each kisses. There’s nothing more precious in the world than a voluntary kiss from your child!

Climbing Up and Down: A week ago, Allison could not climb up the little slide in our basement. This weekend, she climbed up on her first try like she’s been doing that for ages. And you have to be careful, too! I left the gate to the stairs open in a rush one morning only to find Allison down three or four stairs. I called for her and she didn’t answer. She knew she was someplace she wasn’t supposed to be. Who does that remind you of, Mom?

Dancing: Allison has really taken off with dancing. She loves to bop around whenever there is music around. It’s fun to watch her enjoy herself so much.

Imitating the family: Recently Allison has taken to imitating us. Last week Danny caught Allison trying to use her toe to turn off the white noise machine in the bedroom like I do! Who knew she’s been watching me do that? She also likes to do whatever Emma is doing. She’s tried to jump and do all sorts of things like her big sister.

Emma’s Growing World

Emma is getting more and more mature as time marches on.

She can (very proudly) dress and undress herself. At the same time, she likes to pretend she’s a baby. Last night after bath, she wanted me to get her dressed “like Allison.” One more annoying little habit Emma has is mooning you. Sometimes the full moon comes with a “poot” as well. If Emma walks up to you and bends over – run for cover! I have no idea how many times she’s said, “I pooted behind you.” or “I pooted next to you.” etc… Pray God that is a phase! If not, she learned it from Danny or perhaps her Uncle Rob!

She’ll try to trick you. She’s gotten sophisticated enough to cry and get a reaction out of you before letting you in on the game. She’ll also tell you that she’s had an accident or made some other kind of mess. Once she’s hooked you in, she smiles and laughs at her joke. She’ll definitely be a prankster. She loves to pretend, too. She’ll crawl around and meow or bark. She loves for us to address her as a dog or kitty and pet her. If you really want to make her day, offer to take her to the pet store. I’m waiting on the day she brings Danny home with a bunny in tow… She’s scared to death of dogs, but she loves cats. Unfortunately, Danny is very allergic to cats. I’ve been told that bunnies can be trained to a litter box. We’ll see.

Her language skills are incredible. She’s picking up on everything she hears. She’s quoting her favorite movies now. If you hear her call you “Chuck”, don’t be offended. It’s a term of endearment in her Wallace and Gromit movies. Unfortunately, she’s also picking up on the bad language that her friends bring in to school. It’s a shame how early children are picking up on truly bad language. I was well into high school before I ever dropped an “F bomb.” This is not to say that her parents don’t use colorful language from time to time (see Resolutions above).

She is getting ready to transfer to the pre-school building. She’s not sure how she feels about that at all. She would like to be with her friends, Charlie and Ben, but she also doesn’t like the “big kids”. I think that this is a cause of some tension for her. I’ve talked with the director of her daycare and much of this is normal. Once children get down there and get used to the new environment they don’t want to go back to the “baby building”. There’s too much to do and explore in preschool.

Emma is such a cautious spirit. She has yet to try to climb out of her crib. Allison will have to teach her how to be an adventurer.

Her tender heart is really starting to take shape these days. A mistaken word or touch can really ruin her day. It is very sad when I pick her up from daycare broken hearted. This is not to say that she’s always nice to everyone else. Danny took her to Sam’s Club yesterday. They ran in to two kids from her school. Danny said that they kept calling to Emma to say hi. Emma barely gave them a second glance. We’re not looking forward to those junior high years!

Danny’s DJ Gig

Danny has been having some fun with his podcasts. His last podcast is incredible! It has songs that sound like Christmas songs but aren’t. You should really check it out if you haven’t already ( He’s working on his first of the new year as I write.

Danny’s also become a journalist. If you like The Onion, he’s got a site for you. Ever since the aftermath of 9/11, Danny and his friend Daniel have had an idea to start their own alternative news website. They are both really creative. If you need a laugh and puns don’t make you puke, check out!

As for Me…

There isn’t a lot going on in my world. Work is going well and we had a lot of fun with the kids over the holidays. Emma starts grade school in three years and I’m trying to figure out a way to be at home when she gets home from school. I would love to be home with both girls right now, but I always appreciated knowing that my Mom would be at home after school. Even if I never mentioned a word about it, it was especially nice to know that she would be there after having a bad day at school. I’ve been giving some thought to going back into teaching. I even started teaching a religion class at church this year. Unfortunately, I hate it. There is no way I could ever be a teacher. I would rather work at Target during the day. I just don’t have that in me. As many of you probably know, I’ve spent the last year or so working out Allison’s birth experience. It got me to thinking about being a Labor and Delivery nurse. I would enjoy being able to comfort women in labor. Maybe I would be able to help other women such as myself. Who knows. I don’t know how I would do that, though. It would require a good time back at school just to be an RN. I’m heading toward 40 and I don’t know if I have the true desire or energy to go back to school for two more years. Besides, my English background doesn’t lend itself so easily to a more science and math-heavy curriculum. Who knows? I’m not counting it out, but it would be hard to incur more college debt just as I’m paying off my Masters Degree.

That’s all from Our Shady Tree today. I am truly hoping to get more pictures posted ASAP!