Friday, August 31, 2012

Week in Review!

We have had a super great week! Kahlil Gibran said, "Let their be spaces in your togetherness." I think those words might have been directed towards mothers and their preschoolers. Evie and I were both thrilled that preschool is back in session!

Monday: We stayed home most of the day venturing out for a quick walk to the park. It was pretty hot and Henry was ready for his nap so we came home. I was able to accomplish lots around the house which always makes me feel good. It was MNO so I hightailed it out of the house to go meet my friends. We met at Wild Ginger this month. Not my favorite place but I'd go to McDonald's just to get a night off duty. Evie was not thrilled that I was leaving and made that quite clear. She told me to just "put her to bed real quick and then go to the restaurant." Of course, she was just fine after I left which seems to always be the case. We had a nice dinner out. I had a skittle salad which is a salad with every imaginable fruit along with a piece of salmon. Wild Ginger is good but we have so many wonderful choices that I just like a little bit more for various reasons.

Tuesday: Evie slept so late and it was the first day of school. She woke up just in time for a quick breakfast and some pictures. Evie had a great first day. Henry and I had fun too. We went to The Monkey's Tree House for some playtime with friends. Henry thought it was a really cool place. He had not been there since he was tiny little guy. We stopped by Simply Living Life to pick up a few things for the week. It's one of those stores that I have been trying to get to but it's not the kind of place that I want to take my two wild hooligans. Now, that I have been there once, it will be a regular stop. We had chicken spaghetti, chicken salad and an orzo salad - all of which were divine! Carl did not go into the office so he was able to get home a little early since he gets more on the road. It was so nice to have an early dinner, kids bathed and everyone ready for bed by 6:15. That gave us more time to hang out as a family instead of rushing around like crazy.

Wednesday: I went to look at some clothes for Henry that a friend of a friend was selling. Henry and Evie played while I shopped. Can't wait to see Henry in overalls and longalls. LOVE that on a little boy!

Thursday: Evie went back to school and had another great day. Henry came home for his nap and then we went to the grocery store before picking up Evie. She did not see us when we walked in the classroom. It's always fun to see her when she does not see me. I was proud to see her sitting on her bottom listening to the story. Evie is not napping much anymore but I am doing much better with it. She has quiet time in her room every afternoon for between 1 and 2 hours. That gives us a little break from each other. I used to put both kids down for their naps and then would rush around trying to cross items off my to-do list. Now, I just enjoy some quiet time in my room too. It's really working out well especially since she is so exhausted that bedtime is super early. Late afternoons, can be tricky but her body is getting used to not napping. After quiet time, Evie was peeking out the door and spotted Courtney. Evie ran to me and asking me if I wanted to go play with my friend, Courtney. It was getting too late for a nap so I woke up Henry and we went outside to play.

Friday: Evie was exhausted from the week and slept really late. She finally rolled out of bed about 9 right when Henry was going down for his nap. That gave me plenty of time with each kiddo this morning but it sure would have been nice if they could overlap their morning sleep schedules just a little bit. We just hung out at home all morning and then met some friends for lunch. Evie wanted to get some new books and movies at the library so we stopped by there on the way home. A friend reminded me how much fun ooblek can be so I tried it again with Evie. She liked it even more this time. It's amazing to see how just a few months makes such a difference with activities like this. Ooblek or magic mud is super easy to prepare - 5 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix it up and add a dash of food coloring. Carl arrived home in time to help make pizza for dinner and then Evie went outside to play with me for a bit. We needed a new baby monitor . . . again. Does anyone else have to replace their baby monitor once a year? Carl spent a long time trying to pair the cameras while I gave the kids a bath. It was getting pretty hairy with Evie. She was so wild but happy! Henry's pajamas some how ended up on the ceiling fan in her room. She settled down with a few books and some cuddle time. Henry enjoyed hanging out in Evie's room in her chair. He's really getting into books. Sometimes he reads books. Other times, he removes every book from the shelf with the swipe of his hand. He likes to use books as step stools. They make really great tub toys too. He throws books down the stairs. He stacks them and organizes them according to his own little system. Listening to books is always fun too.

Hope you had a great week and that your weekend is off to a nice start!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Girls Night Out!

Evie napped yesterday for the first time since Friday. Since early bedtime was not an option, girls night out seemed like the perfect way to spend the evening.

I love taking Evie out by herself and let her choose our destination. Evie selected "the ice-cream place with the big cups not the cones." We left after dinner for our ice cream adventure.

Evie is like a whole different person and so am I when it's just the two of us.  It is so sweet to share special time with Evie without any distraction. Evie loves it too and still chants "girls trip, no boys allowed."

 I love the things she tells me when it's just me and my girl.

"Mama, I do not like red cars. Red cars are for boys. Don't get me a red car, okay."

"Look at the moon. It's high in the sky. Can we touch it? I bet the tooth fairy can touch it. Where does the tooth fairy live? Oh I know, she lives in a castle, right Mama?"

"When I grow up, I am going to be a Mama just like you. I can drive a silver van too and put my sunglasses on my head."

I can hardly handle the cuteness! We went to Sweet CeCe's. Evie loaded up her cup with all kinds of chocolate goodness. That would include chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, brownie bites and chocolate chips plus a few cherries and one gummy worm. Evie had the biggest grin the whole time and we had a blast!

I look forward to lots of girls trips - no boys allowed in our future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day Jitters

No, jitters at our house. Evie was beyond thrilled to go back to school this morning! I was a little worried yesterday because when I told her it was the last day of summer; she said, "Don't say that, Mama." However, this morning Evie was talking a mile a minute about all the things that she was going to learn so hopefully she was not too disappointed when most of the day was spent on routine and procedures.

Carl made Evie breakfast this morning before he left for work. Waffles cut like pizza just like Poppy did for him when he was a little boy. Evie was the only kid in the entire preschool wearing a smocked dress but it was too cute not to wear it! I'll have her in something a bit more practical for Thursday. Evie did tell me that "everybody loved my school dress."

Evie and Molly walked in the classroom together with large grins and skipping feet. She gets that from me! I love schools and the teacher in me just loves the first day of school. Everything is new and exciting, that all wears off quickly and then it's real work being a teacher.

Ms. Karen was ready to greet them and Evie quickly found the dress-ups. She wore three different dresses within the first five minutes of class. Henry enjoyed making his way around the classroom too although the blocks and easel were his favorites.  I am convinced that Henry would have been perfectly content to stay there too but we said our goodbyes and made our way to The Monkey's Treehouse.

We headed back at noon for a picnic with the other families. Evie was happy to see me but mostly because she was starving after a busy morning learning. She devoured her lunch in two minutes flat and immediately asked for more food. It was fun to chat with some of the other kids and their families. Henry enjoyed playing on the playground and I noticed that Evie kept a close watch on her brother when he became a little pet with the older girls.

All in all, it was a terrific first day of school! We are looking forward to an amazing year filled with sweet friends, new experiences and learning.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Oh deer!

We spotted three deer early yesterday morning on our way to church. They were beautiful and so serene frolicking in the front yard of a house in our neighborhood. We stopped to admire them and the deer just gazed at us without becoming frightened. Evie thought the deer were so cute and immediately asked if she could have some deer in her front yard too. Oh dear!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up!

It's been a whirlwind weekend but it was a fun weekend.

Friday: I took the kids to a birthday party at Monkey Joe's. Of course, I showed up too early and the party was a late one! Carl arrived home from work while we were gone and mowed the grass. Evie was in no hurry to get in the bed since she had napped so she stayed up with us. Carl put Henry to the bed for the first time and they both did great! I love putting my babies to bed but it's so nice to have a break. Evie just chatted away until 10 in her bed and then finally fell asleep in the middle of an important conversation with all her stuffed animals.


Saturday: Both kids slept late and then we headed off to a morning birthday party at Chuckie Cheese. It was our first time taking Evie to Chuckie Cheese. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and bright it was inside and it will definitely be on my list for a fun place to spend a rainy afternoon. Carl and I picked up some lunch on the way home for us and then we had a little picnic with the kids. Karen came to babysit our kids at 2:30. Evie was so excited that Karen was coming to see her and not just Henry. Unfortunately, that excitement did not last since Evie did not nap and was a complete disaster! Carl and I had a fabulous date. We went to the Ryman and then ducked into a bar to hear some music during a major downpour. Then, we decided to try out Prince's Hot Chicken which is a local favorite. We arrived around 4 and did not even receive our food until after 5. It's a cash only, hole in the wall with people from every walk of life. Let's just say, it was an experience! Hot chicken is too hot for me. We decided to check out the newly renovated Opry Mills mall and then headed home around 8. Both kids were asleep and Karen was happy to see us walk in the door.We highly recommend afternoon dates because the babysitter does all the work and then you can arrive home to hang out while the kids are sleeping.

Sunday: We were so happy to see our kiddos. This was the longest that I had been away from Henry and I missed him so much. We headed off to early church and then picked up some breakfast before heading back to the mall. Carl's jeans fell apart right when he tried them on at home. We came home to "slippy slide" and then Henry took a nap. Evie rested for a bit and then watched baseball with her Daddy. Courtney and Christian came over with their boys for a little bit which is always a real treat. We love spending time with them and Evie told me that was the favorite part of her weekend.

What a weekend! We packed it in and had a ball. Now, it's time to catch up on some sleep. Hope your week gets off to a terrific start!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week in Review!

What a week! Navigating the world of napping is hard work. Evie just cannot decide if she needs a nap or not. Carl and I think that napping is necessary since she falls asleep sitting up by 6:30 which means she wakes up entirely too early the next day. Call us silly but falling asleep sitting up in your bed probably means you are tired and that a nap might just help. It's been a tiring week dealing with our cranky girl but she is still the sweetest 3 year old around!

Monday: Both kids went to get haircuts and then we ran a few errands. I took them to Pet Smart to see the fish and birds which thrilled their little hearts. Evie loved going to Pet Smart as a baby and it's just one of those things that we never do any more. We played outside with our boys that afternoon which is always fun! Courtney and I enjoyed a glass of wine together and some girl talk. Carl was convinced that Courtney laced the wine with some mood altering drug because I was so much happier after he returned from his jog. It's amazing what a little time away from the daily grind will do for my sanity. I made a delicious dinner of chicken picatta and then went to bed early.

Tuesday: Evie went to meet her new teacher, Ms. Karen. They hit it off immediately because Ms. Karen has a classroom filled with princess clothes plus Molly was there too! Evie loves to play kitchen so I threw a few essentials into a tub for her and made it a real game. She loves this so much that I have been able to accomplish a few things around the house. We celebrated National Waffle Day with a waffle play date. It was wild and crazy but so much fun. I helped make waffles and had no idea that it was so easy. Carl takes waffle duty in our family. Henry ate his weight in waffles and Evie kept wondering where "the syrup like at my house" was since real maple syrup was on the menu. Carl came home to see everyone before going out with a customer. Evie napped so she stayed up late with me. I had so much fun playing with her outside but had a real time getting Henry to sleep that night. Someone always needs me! That's just life with kids.

Wednesday: You can read all about our Wednesday here.

Thursday: I am happy to report that Thursday was a much better day. Courtney and the boys came over for a play date. We had so much fun! Evie asked me if we can do that everyday. Our kids play so well together that it really is a nice break for us too. Henry took a super long morning nap so he thought it'd be great to skip his afternoon nap. He did pretty well but it was pretty crazy juggling two exhausted kids. We went for a play date at Leah and Eddie's house. Evie was in awe of all the princess stuff in Leah's room. Not to mention, the three tiny kittens that they had rescued and were so adorable hanging out in their garage. I am fairly certain that Evie would still be at Leah's house now if I had not insisted that it was time to come home. Henry loves babies and enjoyed hanging with his friend Eddie. Evie and Henry went to bed early since they had not napped which left us to enjoy our delicious beef fajitas from cooking club all by ourselves.

Friday: Henry woke up way before the roosters. He was down for nap time by 7:30 if that tells you anything.  It worked out well because we went to Let it Shine at 10 for some gymnastics fun. Evie is quite certain that she is is ready to compete in the next Olympics. Henry loved the foam blocks and has no idea that he is a 13 month old baby boy as he slid down the slide with the big kids. Everyone was in need of some lunch so we stopped at McDonald's. It's amazing the difference that food and sleep make in children and their Mama's.  After lunch, we all felt better and made a quick Target run for chocolate milk and birthday presents. Both kids decided to nap at the same time which worked out well since we have a birthday party at the witching hour of 5 o'clock. Bring on the cupcakes!

Happy Friday, y'all! Hope you have a terrific weekend. See you on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weary Wednesday!

What a day it has been! Evie and Henry have both been out of sorts and I am exhausted from tending to them all day.Weary describes me perfectly right now.

It started early this morning when Henry was up growing molars. He was not a happy camper. Then, Evie woke up bright and early and had her first meltdown before her foot hit the floor. My coffee did not turn out and I realized it after using my last dollop of creamer. Hot chocolate just does not have the same effect on mornings like this.

Henry went down for his nap easily so I was hoping that our day would improve. Evie and I played all kinds of games. That girl has more imagination than I know what to do with. We played school, park, mommy, tea party, restaurant and cooking show. That was enough playing for me so I tried convincing her that "Camp Mommy" was over and it was time to entertain herself. Evie did not agree and literally stayed within two inches of my person for the rest of the morning.

As if that was not enough excitement for the day, we headed to the park for a "preschool mixer" hosted by the Parent Advisory Council at Evie's school. It seemed like a great idea to get everyone together before the "big" day. Evie was a mess almost the entire time. Henry had a ball and walked all over the place with a big ol' grin as if he was the cutest thing ever. He is pretty cute!

Evie had meltdown after meltdown. Nothing was going her way. Then, Henry was terrorized by a four year old and I had to restrain myself from jumping down that kid's throat. UGH! I ran into a friend who has a child Evie's age and an older daughter. She is one of those people who seems to always have it together - never frazzled, always speaking to her children kindly - you know the type. It was good to see her today because it reminded me that these days are long but they are flying by fast. One day, I might be that mom at the park, who seems to have it all together, serenely walking through the park with Henry while Evie is off at kindergarten . . . missing these days that are so hard right now. My favorite counselor helped me out and made me laugh with a story about her morning.

We got home from the park and World War 3 erupted right here at the Niemeyer Nest. Henry and Evie play well most of the time. Occasionally, as in at least once an hour, Evie decides to relocate Henry to another part of the house or instruct him on how a toy works. Sometimes even bonking him on the head for good measure.  Henry is not too keen on this and it results in tears from both kids. Evie is learning how to use "loving hands" with Henry and it's a real process. A process that causes gray hairs to multiply and years are erased off my life as I negotiate this changing sibling relationship. Henry learning to walk has been a total game changer just like everyone had warned.

You'd think nap time would have been a total success after all of this but Henry woke up approximately 15 minutes after Evie finally went to sleep. He was pretty content to have the run of the toys without Evie's watchful eye. Then, we decided to wake up Sleeping Beauty!

Evie was much happier after her nap but then Henry was a mess! Someone seems to always need a little extra reassurance. One of my dear friends told me that she repeats "love is patient, love is kind" over and over in her head all day. What a splendid idea! I need so much help with this that I decided to jot it down on my kitchen chalkboard to remind me to be patient and kind. I am happy to report that it really works!

We were all overjoyed to see Carl when he arrived home! Carl is such a team player that he pitched right in pouring milk, administering Advil to teething babies and cheering up his wife and children after working an 11 hour day at his real job.

Evie went outside to play while Carl worked in the yard. I relished the solitude while putting Henry to bed and thought about my day while mopping the kitchen and folding laundry. One of my favorite Bible verses came to mind:

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

As difficult as today seemed, there is no where else that I'd rather be right now than taking care of my two precious children. Carl on the other hand is probably ready to escape to the office as Evie is working her magic on him now! He can handle it and so can I - tomorrow is bound to be a better day.