Friday, July 29, 2011

First of the Lasts

Yesterday, for the first time, the realization that she is leaving friends that she has known since infancy behind for new adventure. With reassurances that since their mama’s were friends, they would of course still see each other, her panic was short lived.

For me, it was one long, ongoing battle. There was lots of tears.

Today is the first of the lasts.

I have drove to work with two children in my car for the last time.

I entered with her for the last time.
I unpacked her for the last time.
I signed her in for the last time.
I asked for my push out the door for the last time.
I packed her up for the last time.
I collected her things for the last time.
I signed her out for the last time.
I exited with her for the last time.

I left work with two children in my car for the last time.

Upon her departure there were heartfelt hugs and gifts. A box covered with glitter and filled with love. Drawings, messages, feelings. When we got home, she carefully went through the box picture by picture, giving each a hug and declarations of friendship.
The countdown calendar still says three days until her starts her new school. I think we planned it wrong. I think today should have said zero yesterday. To me, that was the benchmark. The Last.
The last picture of Grace with her class

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Potty Trained Princess

Lately, Grace’s whole world has revolved around princesses.

In her world, princesses are the ultimate super hero. They dance and twirl and fly, always help those in need. Oh, and the best thing about being a princess? The clothes.

A few months ago, I found a cache of princess dresses and they became out potty training prizes. You peed in the potty? Pick a prize! What will it be? A dress, a wand, some sparkly shoes??

I don’t know if the dresses have really had anything to do with it (she had announced to me that she would no longer need diapers when she went to her new school ages ago), but Grace has been potty-trained for 2 full weeks now.

The feat required one more dress, the one dress that is missing from her extensive collection. The Princess and the Frog Tiana costume. And through the wonder that is the internet, we were gifted* a dress for her final reward from Wholesale Halloween Costumes.

It fit the bill perfectly. Twirly, girly and sparkly. It was everything I had hoped for and more than what Grace expected. She celebrated by watching the movie while wearing the costume.

And then, sly as a fox, edged over to ask what else she could to do earn more princess costumes.

Just keep smiling like this kiddo.

* sent us the Princess and The Frog Tiana dress in exchange for the inclusion of the links you see above. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Capitol Fourth

When we do something, we do it big time.
(Sometimes I wonder if it is a fundamental fault of ours.)
Day trips turn into overnights with us all the time.

We live close enough to Washington, DC, to take advantage of the city semi-regularly. However, we live just far enough away from it to make it a pain in the ass to get to. When my work put out an all call memo a few weeks ago asking for volunteers to walk with our float in the DC Forth of July parade, I submitted my name. I never expected to be selected.

When I was, it turned into an all out adventure.
This was our day:

9:30 am: Start the trek to Washington, DC

9:45 am: Get a flat tire

9:50 am: Fix flat tire (*totally wanted to take pictures, but I knew that was a bad idea)

9:57 am: Drive to gas station to put air in the spare tire

10:15 am: Leave gas station, but realize that there is no way get there by 11am

10:50 am: Call parade organizer and announce late arrival
What says "America" more than an
inflatable Uncle Sam?
11:20 am: Arrive at parade

11:45 am: Walk in parade

12:00 pm: Wave at family as I pass by
I love the Where's Waldo quality of the picture.
Can you find my family?

12:30 pm: Find family in crowd 
Watching the parade march past.
My favorite? The gay cowboys.
1:15 pm: Load hungry, tired, pissed off children into the car

1:45 pm: Arrive at hotel

2:15 pm: Try to make tired, pissed off children take a nap

2:45 pm: Abandon the nap and go swimming instead

3:30 pm: Give the nap one more try

3:50 pm: Clare falls asleep, Grace goes with Matt to buy much needed wine

4:45 pm: Matt returns with wine and we drink ½ the bottle in 10 minutes

5:15 pm: We head to dinner

6:00 pm: We settle on 4th of July sushi and shumai

6:15 pm: Our children start fighting over chop sticks in a fairly not-child-friendly atmosphere

7:00 pm: We leave the restaurant leaving a wake of dumpling scraps and melting ice cubes

7:05 pm: It starts to drizzle

7:30 pm: We decide we’ve made it this far- if we get wet, we get wet- but we are going to watch the fireworks damn-it

9:00 pm: It never does rain more than a pleasant drizzle and over-tired meltdowns are kept to a minimum with a constant stream of ice cream, angel food cake and strawberries

9:15 pm: The fireworks start and the world comes to a standstill

The spectacular view from our hillside perch
9:35 pm: We load the girls back into the stroller

9:40 pm: They are both sound asleep

10:00 pm: We are all sound asleep

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Feet

I have a dent in my forehead.

It's only noticeable when I raise my eyebrows, and if I'm raising my eyebrows at you there is probably too much going on to notice an imperfection in my scull. I received it as a consolidation prize for walking / falling into the corner of the dishwasher when I was 3 years old. Shortly after that incident my mom signed me up for dance classes.

I will admit those classes served me well. I am a klutz to the extreme. I tend to look down when I'm walking to avoid tripping. The 10 years of tap-jazz-ballet-pointe, has spared me from a lot of injury that could have been much, much worse.

Case in point:

Clare's new hobby is throwing my cookbooks on the floor.

I will admit they are very colorful, ideally located at toddler height and ripe for tossing, so I can't really blame her. On Sunday night, I didn't immediately clean up her thrown book pile. I let it sit until after dinner. Grace was playing on the floor and I was carrying Clare down the single step to our slightly sunken family room. The books lay in our path just on the other side of that step. I was looking down at them. Grace called my name, and suddenly I was no longer looking down at them.

And I stepped on a banana peel book. One foot in motion on the sunken, wooden floored book and one foot stationary on the tile above. While holding a writhing 20lb child.

Was my thunk loud? Yes.
Am I injured? Yes.
Did I have enough grace not to drop the baby? YES!

And that, combined with her incessent begging lately, is the reason why Gracie will also be starting to dance classes on Tuesday.

The class is 20 minutes of tap, followed by 20 minutes of ballet, followed by 15 minutes of creative movement where I assume they just let the kids run around in circles and do the alligator on the floor. Her shoes came yesterday. A full test run was required.

Fully outfitted in tights, leotard and ballet slippers, she jumped into her daddy's arms for an impromptu Swan Lake-esque lift.

She then asked me how she actually does ballet, and I showed my little girl how to put her arms and feet into first and second position, complete with pliƩs.


OK, maybe her enrollment in these classes are as much for me as they are her.