31 October 2010

A Fairy and Superman


Since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, our neighborhood did the trick or treating part of the holiday last night. So, Audrey was finally able to wear her costume. (Every day for the last two weeks she's begged to wear it, and in an effort to keep the actual day special, I've refused her.) It was so much to see her reaction when I told her it was time to put it on.

Yep, that's her ready to go - she was a fairy this year. Those Tinkerbell shoes' heels light up - they were so fun walking in the dark!

I'm not sure if it's having her hair in mini quasi-buns, or the touch of lavender eye shadow, but for some reason she looks so old in this picture.

And I'm not sure how I feel about it!

As Audrey was sitting on the floor while I took pictures, she started spinning around on her bum, so I took the opportunity to document all 360 degrees.

It was very clear that she truly felt special and very pretty. And who could argue?

As for Lucas, he was dressed as Superman.

Except he wasn't feeling so super. (For the last week he's really had it rough - fever on and off, getting five new teeth, he has been suffering, poor little guy!)

He really was not up for a picture - but I had to get at least a couple!

Here's the view of our lit Jack-o-Lanterns from the porch as we left for the "Trunk or Treat" activity.

We only had a block to walk,

but once we got there, it was clear right away that it was just too cold for Luke to be outside, especially with how he's been feeling for the last few days; so Adam and Luke went back home while Audrey and I did a lap around to all of the trunks and collected lots of candy.

Audrey had so much fun! Everyone made lots of comments about what a beautiful fairy she made. Audrey really liked that I was dressed up too - I went with the minimalist, under-achiever costume - black cat (which means I wore a black long sleeved shirt and black pants, paired with some cat ears and tail, and called it good), but she really cracked up every time I meowed! It was still funny after I'd cleaned my drawn-on nose and whiskers and taken off the ears and tail. We had a ton of fun together.

Luke and Adam had fun too. They came home and hung out with some Toy Story and treats.

He was feeling a bit better - at least better enough to look at the camera!

All in all, it was a fantastic (and of course, spooky) night! We hope yours' was too!

29 October 2010

Connecting... On Purpose

Recently I've made the decision to cancel my Facebook account.

I know. (Gasp!)

It may take some getting used to. A lot of different things went into influencing this decision. Are you curious what they are?


Oh well, I'm going to tell you anyway.

To be fair, I am going to miss a few things:

The one-stop, quick briefing of status updates,

the new pictures,


finding someone with whom I've lost contact (with whom I'd like to re-establish contact - these are not always mutually inclusive). :)

What I will not miss:

1. The farmville, mafia wars, and the other various gardening and fishing games. And the near-constant bombardment of invitations to join one thing or another.

2. Receiving “friend” requests from someone you've never even seen or met in actual life. I'm not really interested in cultivating a brand new relationship over the internet. I'm 30, it might be time to grow up!

3. The feeling of not knowing who or what has access to my information, and if it's secure or not.

But the biggest reason is probably the simplest:

4. It's not personal. It doesn't feel real. I don't want to accidentally feel connected to someone because I've read their status update but I haven't actually talked to them in a real, live conversation. I want to feel connected to someone because we regularly talk on the phone or in email that is meant for just our relationship. I want to have one-on-one personal relationships. I don't want what I do know about what's going on with someone to be in the format of a general, public announcement. Which leads me to another pet peeve with Facebook – those super vague status updates that don't really tell you anything about anything. What's the point in posting anything if it only makes you feel confused or at a loss? I don't know. It all just seems false to me. And I don't like it. Facebook allows for a false sense of connection. I want my connections to feel real and I want some actual relating happening in my relationships!

Yes, Facebook is good for being lazy - but that's honestly one of the reasons I have canceled it. I want to live my life with more purpose and not just accidentally keep up with friends. It's too easy to feel a false sense of connection - I want real connections!

I do realize that many people manage to personalize their facebook “friendships” but to me I can't get past the absence of feeling anything real or of substance on the website. I would rather give up the convenience of having superficial relationships with many people and focus on having meaningful and substantial relationships with a few through the good, old fashioned means of email, telephone, letters sent through the mail, and maybe even a few care packages! I want to pursue and build my relationships on purpose! Not by accident or in such an empty public forum.

I realize it'll be more of a challenge to keep in touch one by one, by I am willing to bet that I will feel a significant difference in the quality of my relationships. Here's to connecting on purpose!

27 October 2010

This Year's Line Up

Last night we carved our pumpkins for Halloween. We had a lot of fun deciding on our designs and even more fun trying to keep the sharp knives out of the hands of Lucas and Audrey.

It's SO much fun playing keep away - from a knife - with a toddler and an almost-toddler. Totally. Not really.

The first jack-o-lantern was one that I did. It was big and round and I decided I'd go the path of silly - it's got a huge smile and is cross-eyed.

The next one was also done by moi. It's a happy one, in fact it's so happy it's laughing. Can you see it - eye's nearly closed with mirth, mouth open in laughter.

Up next was Adam's first pumpkin. His is pretty happy too. Slightly crooked smile, it's got a lot of personality, I think.

A lot of personality, for a pumpkin.

And last, but certainly not least, is Adam's second pumpkin - it's decidedly silly as well. Afterall, it's sticking it's tongue out at you. Cheeky wee bugger.

And here's a shot of the lot of them, side by side, on our porch.

We had a lot of fun picking them out and carving them. Audrey was so excited that she got to participate a little more this year with all of it. We are really looking forward to the big day in just a few days!

In the meantime, Audrey and Lucas have started to enjoy a new after-bath/shower activity...

playing inside Luke's crib together.

It's pretty funny how much fun these two have together. They hold onto the rails while they jump on the mattress, they sit down really fast (like they're on a trampoline), they fall over onto their sides, all the while they laugh like crazy! It's my favorite sound - my two kids cracking each other up like only they can for each other.

I also like it when I can take a picture where both of them are actually looking (and smiling) at the camera at the same time. It doesn't happen very often around here.

More on that later....

23 October 2010


I just realized that it's been awhile since I've posted any pictures of The Lucas.

Or Yucas, as Audrey says. He's getting bigger and bigger. And, seemingly, cuter and cuter.

If that's possible.

He's 15 months old these days.

He's still not saying too many words, but that doesn't stop him from being a very effective communicator!

He's still not walking, but that doesn't stop him from being super mobile - he gets around and into everything - he just prefers to crawl for some reason. And crawl he does - he's the fastest crawler I've ever seen. Seriously!

He's such a good baby. We're so blessed to have him!

18 October 2010

"No" Grew Another Syllable!

This is Audrey.

If you know Audrey, you know that she's a pretty smart little kid. If you've been privileged to spend any time around Audrey, you know that there is very little confusion about what she wants. Audrey clearly knows what she wants. And how she wants it. And when she wants it. And where she wants it. Clearly. 100% of the time. And now she has the verbal skills to tell us all of the details of all of the things that she wants - all of the time!!

Conversely, she also knows what she doesn't want. And now she has the verbal skills to tell us all of the details of all of the things that she doesn't want - all of the time!

So much so that lately in our house, no has grown into a two syllable word.

It's not "No." It's not even "NO!"

It's "No-wa".

That's how she says no when she is emphatically against whatever we are advocating.

The best part about how she says no these days – it's in the attitude, she has the oppositional tone of a teenager. It's like she's 2 going on 13.

Me: Audrey, it's time for dinner.

Audrey: No-wa.


Me: Let's go to the store.

Audrey: No-wa.

Or any number of scenarios. Her answer is fairly predictable... unless I say something like:

Me: “Let's go to the Disney Store.”

Audrey: “Dinny Store! Dinny Store! Yay!”

Like I said, the girl just knows what she wants!

14 October 2010


It was almost five years ago that we bought our Pug, Haiku. It was on Saturday, October 29, 2005. She was the runt of her litter and it showed. She was tiny and sweet and so playful.

From the very beginning it was clear - this dog only wanted love. She had to be near us. She panicked anytime we left. She literally followed us around the house. The first few months we put her bed right next to ours - she just seemed to sleep better with us near.

That didn't last long - eventually she made her way into our bed and would sleep between us. But, like most dogs, Haiku was a champion snorer - we couldn't keep allowing her to sleep with us - it made for little sleep for everyone.

With time, she grew more secure in her new home and was able to sleep on her own, in the hallway. Don't worry, we could still hear her snore!

Haiku loved being near us. She always seemed so intelligent - when you talked to her, she would tilt her little head from side as if asking for more clarity or saying, "Really? Tell me more."

Of course, she loved to play and be silly. Pugs are very social dogs - they are bred for companionship. One book I read about Pugs shortly after we bought Haiku, said that Pugs are clown dogs - they love to entertain, to be the center of attention.

Haiku permeated our lives. She was always there. We got her shortly after we moved into our house. She has been here with us for every life change - new jobs, stressful days, and home improvements...

...and the births of our children. This picture is my favorite of Haiku. I was a little over eight months pregnant with Audrey. We were having a cozy morning snuggle.

Haiku was also stubborn. She was difficult to train. She sometimes barked for no reason. She snored like crazy. She always smelled - even freshly from the bath! At about a year old, she started having some pretty significant skin problems - allergies. Over the last four years they progressed and her symptoms got worse and the effectiveness of her treatments lessened.

Yesterday we took her to a vet where we were hoping to find a solution to help her. After his (very thorough) examination of Haiku, he told us of a number of concerns. Some that we were not even aware of. He told us that Haiku was a management case - that we might be able to help her deal with her discomfort, but that we would never be able to cure her.

Adam and I struggled over what to do. The main thing for me was to not keep her for selfish reasons when she was so obviously suffering. I just had no idea how much she was suffering. Her condition had degenerated to the point where, it was clear to me, her little system was just starting to shut down. We didn't want to make her endure anymore of that suffering because of our love for her. So we made the heart-breaking decision to end her suffering by ending her life.

I was not prepared for that decision. I was not prepared for the trauma it was to hold her little body while the technician administered the drug that would stop her heart. I was not prepared for the empty hallway in our home; the home that has always known Haiku feels so empty and quiet without her. Every time I pass by or through the hallway I am shocked at how huge and empty it feels without her food and water and bed and toys. Every meal feels more lonely because we don't have Haiku pacing around our feet, hoping for any morsel that might drop onto the floor (some by accident, thanks to Audrey and Luke, and others on purpose thanks to Adam or me). And the middle of the night misses her too - the absence of the rhythmic sound of her breathing and snoring makes the house feel lonely and vulnerable, somehow. I was not prepared for any of these things. And I'm not sure if I'm prepared for the coming days as the reality truly sets in that a member of our family is gone, and will not be coming home.

I do feel peaceful about that most difficult decision, for Haiku's sake. She was suffering and we didn't want to extend that for our sake. But it doesn't, and will never, negate the fact that that was the most difficult and heart-breaking decision we have ever had to make. And it doesn't mean that we didn't love her. And it doesn't mean that we will not miss her; we will miss all of her, annoying habits and all.

We love you, Haiku. We miss you so much. And we know that you are at peace, no longer in pain.

You will always be in our hearts... until we meet again.

10 October 2010

Ego Boost

Audrey loves everything having to do with Princesses. Actually, it's everything having to do with being a girl: like dresses and shoes and make-up and nail polish and perfume and ribbons and bows, etc. Somewhat ironically, she used to not really like having her hair brushed, so to encourage her tolerance of having her hair done, I started to say that we were brushing her hair so she could look pretty, like a princess.

It worked like a charm; suddenly the combing was worth it – if it meant she would look pretty, like a princess, she could handle it. She no longer fought me when I told her it was time to do her hair. Every time I finish with her hair I tell her to look in the mirror and I tell her that she looks so pretty. Just like a princess.

Which would always make her happy.

This has evolved over time to me just telling her to look in the mirror when I'm done with her hair, and she has started to beat me to the punch and tell me that she looks pretty, like a princess. And, of course, I confirm that, indeed, she does look as pretty as a princess.

Because it's true.

She does.

I am not one of those biased mothers. I'm not!

Well, it gets better!

The other morning I was combing Audrey's hair, and when I finished, I told her to look in the mirror. She looked and said:

“So pretty. Like Mom.”

Yep. Not so pretty like a princess. But so pretty like Mom. Me. My daughter thinks I am pretty.

It may be silly, but I fell in love with that little compliment from my almost 3 year old. It totally made me feel good. It was a nice little ego boost to start the day.

08 October 2010


Last week we went up to visit my sister, Dawnette, for a few hours. The main reason for the trip was to wish Talea a very happy birthday. Birthday number 3. Audrey was super excited. One of her new favorite things is the concept of the birthday. She loves them! I think it's because she's only recently started to grasp what it actually is. Audrey's second birthday was fun but you could tell she wasn't really sure what a birthday meant or why we were doing all these fun things (like presents, cake and ice cream, etc). Luke's first birthday was in July and that was the first birthday she really got excited about. She was happy to be a part of all of the activities and she knew why we were having them - "it's Yuke's burfday!" And she's been able to remember the concept - for instance, whenever she sees or plays with one of the toys that we got for his birthday, she always, without fail, says, "Yuke's happy burfday."

So, when I told her it was Talea's birthday she was really excited. When I told her we'd be going to see Talea and give her a present for her birthday, she peed her pants.

Not literally.

I think.

At least, not that I know of.

We left the early afternoon for Talea's house and when we got there we visited and then the girls wanted to go outside and swing on the tire swing. Audrey patiently waiting her turn while Talea swings:

Then it was Audrey's turn:

Then Luke seemed interested...

but he bailed before Adam could even try to get him settled.

I love that Audrey and Talea are each the other's favorite person. They are so cute together and they really do well with each other - playing and having fun.

After we took a few pictures, Audrey wanted to see the results:

(Oh, and Talea had gone to Dawnette to approve of the pictures that she had taken too!)

One of the gifts that Audrey brought for Talea was (what else?) a Disney Princess barbie doll - the Belle edition. Belle is Talea's favorite. Cinderella is Audrey's favorite. We brought Audrey's doll with us so they could play together after Talea opened hers.

(the perils of having more than one person taking pictures at the same time - this time I can't blame it on Audrey's favorite avoid the camera game!)

And play they did. We were only there for a few short hours but it was great to be there to help Talea celebrate her birthday number 3.

We love you, Talea! We can't wait for the next excuse to come visit!