Thursday, October 23, 2014


Life is full of firsts. Perhaps some are better left undocumented, like the first black eye face and the subsequent first terrify-mommy-that-you-have-a-closed-head-injury. 

Chasing a cat down an unexpected flight of stairs. 
Other firsts seem perfectly memorable in photos, until you read the fine print.
Like first soccer game...

Which became first hold-on-to-mommy's-leg-and-refuse-to-participate. 
There's always a first next year.

Like Mommy's first day back to work after maternity leave.

Which lasted about 2 hours before turning into Mommy's-first-drive-back-home-to-pick-up-sick-Elise. 

Then there are the bonafide traditional firsts. 
First bath. 

First view of the ocean.

She warmed up to both events. Really.

First haircut.

First food. 

And absolutely epic FirstFoodFaces

First tooth lost.

And first tooth gained.

First day of First Grade.

And first time on the bus.

First mastery of shapes and colors.

First trip to the library.

Life is full of firsts. Life is full, period.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There's no place like home

Put mildly, Elle has strong opinions. About everything. Unfortunately her strong opinions are often transient, giving way to equally strong but totally opposite opinions. It is for this reason I have historically waited until Halloween Eve or close to it to commit to a costume. Epic meltdowns over Candy Corn Witch attire that was lovingly hand-selected only days before can be a bit exhausting. But for some reason birthday parties are different. She picks a theme and pours her heart and soul into it like a Pintrest Crafting DIY diva of a (gasp) now 6-year old. It doesn't help that her mom is psycho enjoys some party planning herself. I'm not that creative in everyday life, but give me a birthday party to plan, and I become a little obsessed devote a lot of time and effort to the task. Perhaps it is a refuge from my predominantly scientific/analytical day job. Perhaps I crave the look of amazement and joy on my daughter's face when she sees it all come together. Perhaps I just love a good cupcake. 

So Elle wanted a Wizard of Oz party, which was a dream come true for my theme loving planner alter ego. And far more workable than the alternate ideas of Wild Animal Pet Shop Party and Pop Star Frozen Art Show Party. Thankfully, Elle's best friend Grace was on board for a trip down the Yellow Brick Road. Even more thankfully, Gracie's mom (my best buddy) agreed to co-host the party with me. Which was not an insignificant acquiescence, as clearly she knew exactly what she was getting into after last year's Pink Lemonade party, which included painstaking removal of green Veggie Straws to preserve the Pink/Yellow food theme. So it wasn't a given that she'd be game for another bout of my crazy ideas and overbearing, tyrannical, get-easily-carried-away party planning ways. But that's what friends are for, I suppose...

So on to the party. E and G had a blast with the photo shoot for the invitation, and the above shot of them cackling has to be one of my all time favorites. Love these two sweet little girls and their friendship!

We also had some really good sports who showed up in character for the party, and I found some masks for the kids to use as well. 

I had envisioned a photo booth sort of setup with these, but it turned out more of a free-for-all running around trying on the different masks. That was ok. I let it go. 

We started with some Wizard of Oz crafts, then moved on to Pin the Heart on the Tin Man...

And melted a water color wicked witch with water balloons

There was a very transient ceiling fan tornado... but it fell down the weather cleared up before the party ever got started

Party food included Somewhere Over the Rainbow Fruit, Yellow Brick Road Cheese, Scarecrow Stuffing (Pirate's Booty), Glinda's Wandwitches (Star shaped sandwiches on pretzel rods), Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (Animal Crackers), Witches Broomsticks (String cheese cut to look like broom on a pretzel stick), and Melted Witch Punch

Ruby red slipper cupcakes, rainbow cupcakes, Wicked Witch cupcakes, and a Devil's Food cake rounded out the dessert options.

Favor baskets included a Wizard of Oz craft kit, rainbow swirl lollipops, a broomstick pen personalized with "Happy Birthday Elle and Gracie!", and Oz stickers

Elle ditched her Dorothy costume early on. I let that go too. We sang. They blew. Cake was eaten.

Presents opened. With teamwork when necessary.

Decor was deconstructed.

And a good time was had by all. 

Happy 6th birthday to my fun-loving, imaginative, sweet, brilliant, dramatic, opinionated Elle-belle!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day in the life, summer 2014

A typical day in my life occurs somewhere along the spectrum of being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool (sans floatie), treading water in effort to keep my head up from the moment I wake up am woken up until the moment my lifeless body collapses into bed. It's delightful. And exhausting. At the rate neurons are degenerating, I may not always remember these moments, so I thought I would document a typical DITL.
6:30am*: Wake up to the pitter patter of feet running down the hall and Elise's infallible sing-song "Good morning!", immediately followed by "I want somethin' to EAT!" and the ever-popular "I wanna dip my waffle in my yogrit!" which is the latest breakfast rage in the Golding household.
*Wakeup time varies between 5:45 and 7am, the former of which occurs exclusively on weekends and the latter exclusively on days I need to be at work early on time.

Wakeup till 7:15: Varying degrees of success getting big girls up, dressed, and waffle-dipping, shoes and socks on, hair occasionally brushed and pigtailed, lunches packed, field-trip or camp paperwork and fees appropriately managed for Elle, water play items gathered for Elise.

Wake, diaper, feed Em. Feel momentarily guilty for dressing her in her onesie for the next day at bedtime so as not to be bothered with changing her clothes in the morning. Gather extra diapers and bottles packed for baby. Be sure pump parts/bottles ready for work. Coffee. Make breakfast for myself, then promptly parcel it out to pleading children whose waffle, yogurt, sausage, cheese toast, berries, and eggs were a mere drop in the bucket of their cavernous tummies.

7:30 7:45 7:48: Make it to daycare.

8:00: Leave daycare after surmounting challenges incumbent to each child's station in life. Be glad I didn't forget Em's bottles today. Soothe a brand-new separation anxiety stricken Elise. Patiently Repeatedly explain to Elle why she doesn't really need spending money for the gift shop at the bowling alley today.

8:30 8:45 to 5ish: Work. (Relative calm in the storm, no matter how chaotic and busy I may have considered this in my pre-kids life). Stress about finding time to pump. Stress while pumping about a growing worklist or waiting patients.

5:30-6:00: Pick up kids from daycare and head home to dinner, which is mercifully near completion upon our arrival thanks to Chef Dad. Settle various in-car disputes, save baby from her well-meaning sisters' attempts to feed her mulch, and get debriefed about each of their days on the way home.

6-7: Dinner, which should more aptly be titled "Constant-barrage-of-Mommy-I-Need {insert random irrational request here} Fest. Remind baby who I am for a few minutes before bathing her and putting her to bed. Say prayer of thanks (literally) that she is a good sleeper. 

7 - 8 8:30 9:00: Varying degrees of rambunctious (i.e. exceedingly messy) play with E1 and E2 followed by universally unsuccessful coaxing toward bed. Consider bathing them, then remember they went swimming yesterday and that is essentially the same as a bath. 

Targeted wiping of smelly areas, removal of macroscopic dirt pieces. Barter the book reading request down from 24 to 3. Read "Just One More". And one more "One More". Say prayers, distribute kisses. Redistribute kisses that were accidentally rubbed off while I attended to the sister. Say goodnight, close door. 

Stand near door waiting for the inevitable, "Mommy! Can I ask you something?" Use firm voice. Several times. Anticipate several fugitive attempts by the Tazmanian Devil that Elise becomes at bedtime. Redirect. Use firmer voice. Repeat.

9:00 - 10: Clean to a basic level of tolerable-ness. Prepare lunches, bottles, countless other items for the day ahead. Repair enucleated stuffed animals with whatever tools are available to me. Collapse into bed.

*Not included are items that occur in an essentially continuous fashion such as me asking, "Do you need to potty?!"
**The exclusion of items such as my personal hygeine and grooming is completely intentional as these, of course, do not occur.

Wake up. Do it all over again.