Wordful Wednesday: The Biz at 18 Months

My blog has suffered under Extreme Busyness Syndrome. So much so that monthly updates for my sweet Isora Rose have been all but non existent. (*To Isora – Sorry sweet girl. I really would have liked to write more about you over the past 18 months but keeping up with you and how quickly you learn everything is pretty time consuming. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love you and your Wiggle Worm ways so no complaints that I loved your sister more, m’kay?)

So I figured I’d take this Wednesday to gush show off brag discuss my sweet baby girl.

This is Isora Rose. 18 months old but just told me the other day that “I 3 year old Mama”.  Ummmm, no, you’re not. But cute that she repeats every. single. thing. her sister says, right? And yes, she talks. A lot. All day. All night. She says words that sound funny coming out of a 18 month old mouth. Like ‘remember’ and ‘medicine’. She nearly always says ‘thank you’ often says ‘please’ and her newest fav is “No. I do it.” SMH. WAY too early for that statement if you ask me. She says all her ABC’s and “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,14,Zoomi” (cause she knows it makes us laugh). She sings along to all our songs in the car. She loves when I sing Alouette and My Favorite Things and 1 2 3. And she loves Bob Marley. Of course 😉

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This little lady has always been sweet and chill but as she’s grown she has blossomed into the most good-natured, smiling and happy child I’ve ever known. She rarely cries (though the closer we come to 2 the more she fake-cries) and if she does get a boo-boo it’s easy to make her smile again. The song ‘Alouette’ used to be her stop-crying song. Now you just say “Boo Teta”. I know. It’s silly. Cedella said it to her once when she was crying and it stuck. They both crack up. Every. Time.

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There’s something else you must know about Iz. She is completely obsessed with her sister. Whatever Ella is doing or saying, Izzie is copying. It’s adorable and funny, as short-lived as it may be. Because one day they will fight over toys or clothes or boys or life but for now they’re pretty inseparable. And that’s cool with me.

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Despite their closeness they are very different children. And that’s the coolest thing to see. All the things that Iz loves that El gets easily bored by. All the subtle little differences.

For example…this kid loves to brush her teeth. It makes her whole day. She’ll say “brush teeth” until I go into the bathroom with her and put toothpaste on her Dora brush.

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She is a Weirdo. With a capital W. In our home Weirdos are just silly people who are different and unique. Weird is a positive. She has Weird in spades. She wore this one snow boot around for hours. Hours. And would freak if I tried to put the other shoe on her. Weirdo.

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And man is she funny. She is constantly thinking of new ways to make us laugh. She’s a natural Goof Ball. I kinda wish I could roam around the house mostly nude with a basket on my head too. Sadly she’s the only one that can get away with it, she’s a trailblazer of physical comedy.

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Like the Corn-Holio. She does this one a lot. Actually she takes off her shirt a lot. When her tummy is free she’ll rub on it like she’s rubbing a Good Luck Buddha and say “Tummy”. Makes us laugh every. single. time.

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And this…her fake pouty face. She’s got you fooled, huh? Keep in mind this face was directly followed by

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a big old grin.

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Did I mention Izzie can and will sleep just about anywhere at any time? No really. Anywhere. Remember this? A booth in a busy restaurant in Chicago.

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And at the Zoo. Even at her favorite place she sleeps.

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Another thing to know about this little lady: she loves to eat. Loves. Anything and everything. The only thing she seems to have an aversion towards is fish (which is weird cause we eat a lot of fish) but she loves everything else. Current obsession? Hummus, PB&J, Turkey and Yogurt. And cupcakes. Anything with frosting is cool with her.

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Always fruit. Off the tree, don’t care. She was digging on that pear. The cuteness of her eating this pear fresh off her Jiddo’s tree just kills me. I love it so.

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She is a book lover just like her Mama and her sis. Current favs include ‘Pajama Time’ ‘Duck on a Bike’ and the Little Critter book ‘I Was So Mad’. And anything that has baby faces for her to kiss. She’s really into kissing right now.

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Though she loves to hang out at Play. she really comes alive at the zoo. On this visit she woke up just in time to chase the peacocks . It never gets old.

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She is a very intense and avid colorer. Have you ever seen a more serious coloring face? She’s doing business here.

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And she has entered the Momma and Baby phase. The second we get to Play. she goes right for the babies. At home she carries around three at a time.

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She even wears her babies while she’s watching her favorite shows (Currently: Daniel Tiger, Super Why, Team Umizoomi and Dora).

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Though she loves taking care of her babies she is still very much Mama’s Girl. I can’t get enough kisses and hugs from this kid. She’s positively delicious. She makes every single cell in my body vibrate with happiness even on the rainiest and grayest days.

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I catch myself sometimes just staring at her. Just in awe of some new thing she’s taught herself or something funny that she’s done. Watching that sweet grin spread over her face is like medicine for a stressed out soul. I love to watch her play and explore and try and persevere.

But seriously, where did I get this blonde haired green eyed child from? Another unique and beautiful thing about this sweet girl.

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But whatever you do. Don’t take this girl’s babies or food….cause she’s a tough girl. She’ll get ya.

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See? Told you she was funny.

Do you have a hilarious child of your own? I’d love to here about what makes your kid an awesome Weirdo!! Please share stories!!

Linking up with Amanda at Dude Mom and Angie at Seven Clown Circus. Go check out their gorgeous families now. Just do it.

Happy Wednesday!!

Wordful Wednesday: The Cottage is the Thing Pt. 2

We had such a fun time up north in Oscoda with my family and Michael’s family this summer. You can read and check out all the sights in this POST.

Late in the afternoon on Father’s Day Michael and his family drove back home (cause they all had to work). So it was just my mom, my two sisters, my two daughters and me.

We had 7 incredible days of just the ladies. It was heavenly. Nothing like living with all your female relations to remind you that this is why people stayed close to home and lived in the same villages if not homes as the rest of their family. It DOES take a damn village to raise your babies and if that village is populated with people you love and trust…well…then Mommy gets to drink a lot more Lime-a-Rita’s and whiskey on her vacay.

Seeing my daughters interact with my sisters is just incredible. And I’m reminded of how lucky I am not only to have sisters, but to have MY sisters. Tracey and Kylara are like my twins and yet totally different from me. Tracey knows me better than I know myself. And to see them with Ella & Izzie…how much they teach them, how much the girls love and cherish each moment with their Aunties.

I mean Kylara just LOVES these kids. And she helped me out so tremendously. I’m so proud of the responsible and caring 17 woman she’s become. She is just the sweetest and most loving Auntie ever. Oh yea, and they call her Ky-la-la.

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And then there’s this…Grandma and Iz. They are so funny together. This makes my heart swell. I love them so.

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Every time we go to Oscoda we go to Dinosaur Gardens. If you’ve been there once you understand. There’s something so off and yet so fun about it. Sure there’s a random statue of Jesus in the ‘heart’ of the Brontosaurus and sinners in it’s tail (I know…that’s not even a real dinosaur which makes it even better). But it’s kitchsy road-side-attraction at it’s finest. If Neil Gaiman had visited here it would have been a setting in American Gods.

Turns out the good folks over at Connie’s Cafe have bought Dinosaur Gardens and are revamping the place while still keeping it’s original campy charm. Which means the place was sprayed for mosquitoes…

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But there’s still these awesome nude-butt cave men. Win. Win. And yes…I touched the butt.

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How cute are me and Ella with our babies in their carriers? It was really cute. Until she didn’t want to carry her baby anymore and had a meltdown and threw Mia and the carrier and I threatened to throw them in the garbage. Ugh. That sucked. Someone really needs to teach this kid that you can’t just put your baby down when you’re tired of her. Sheesh.

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I’m telling you…special bond between these two. And they walk at exactly the same pace. SLOWEST.

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That’s a T Rex y’all. Look out!!

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After Dinosaur Gardens we headed for lunch at Connie’s Cafe. Home of the GIANT cinnamon rolls. Also home of the Best Pot Roast Ever (according to pot roast lover Grandma). It was so so yummy. Glad to have finally had a meal there and enjoyed meeting Connie and her husband.

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We took another day trip to Ocqueoc Falls, the ‘largest’ falls in the lower peninsula. Yea…it wasn’t really what we had pictured.

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But we enjoyed the scenery for a while.

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And even took a mini-hike through the woods. In our Converse. Yea…we really weren’t planning ahead for this day.

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And of course no family of proper Librarians could miss a trip to the local library on their trip.

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Nothing like chillin out and reading books on the beach…

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Izzie grew into her Pisces soul on this trip. She IS a water baby, just like her sister. Freezing or not they loved it.

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Playing in the perfect sand. She could dig all. Day. Long.

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Don’t mind the ‘Assests’ folks. This swimsuit top was perhaps a bit obscene for a family day at the beach, no?

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I love her. I really do. Except there are times I want to choke her out. Kidding… Sort of.

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But what we did a whole lot of is what we do best as a family. Eating and shopping. Seriously I think our entire days revolved around what we were going to eat. It was awesome. Also, I think I went to the local Goodwill 3 times in 7 days. I will forever call it ‘Best Goodwill Ever’. I found Hanna Andersson and Tea Collection dresses for $1 and a brand new Target purse for $12. SCORE!

Spaghetti dinner was a big success. Even Cedella ate her pasta with gusto.

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And played little mommy helping clean up her sister’s face.

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The most special part of the day though is the camp fire. My Mom lives for the camp fire. She’d have a camp fire every single day of her life if she could.

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Most nights we went down to the fire pit after the girls went to bed. We had some proper mother/daughter/sister bonding time. It was really nice. You just sit, enjoy the trance of the fire and tell stories and eat marshmallows. Love these ladies!!  IMG_2781

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But I really wanted my girls to experience the fire, learn some safety and dig on some S’mores. And then Cedella had her first squishy fire-melted marshmallow. And this happened…

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Total freak out. It was hot and melty and sticky and she was thoroughly grossed out and upset about it. What little kid doesn’t like S’mores? My kid. Weirdo.

But she rallied and really enjoyed the Hobo Pies and other fire roasted yummies.

How awesome to be able to have this uninterrupted time with my girls and my siblings and my Mom. I am one lucky mama.

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Hope you had fun going on our Up North adventure with us. If you’re looking for a really lovely place to stay on Lake Huron please considering renting a place from Perfect Landing. Their units are all clean and up to date and their beaches are pristine.

I mean just look at this place…Our little slice of Pure Michigan heaven.

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I already can’t wait for next year!! What is your summer family tradition? Do you have a place or cottage you go to every year?

More summer travels to come next week for Wordful Wednesday as I recap our family trip to Chicago!! Happy Wednesday folks!!

 

 

 

 

To My Sweet Monk

*Disclaimer. This is late. Like three weeks late. And this is long. Really long. But this is one tradition that I have started for Cedella that I am happy to keep. I want her to have these letters when she grows up and wants to know what she was like when she was a kid, or when she becomes a parent, what it was like when I was a young(ish) mother. So grab a cup of tea, settle in, and get cozy, you’ve been warned.

My dear sweet Ella,

You have just turned three. And yet here you sit, so sick and sad and unlike your usual self. And though you may have the flu and we can’t celebrate like we wanted to today, I’m glad you enjoyed your birthday party with friends and family. That makes me feel slightly better about laying on the couch and watching Diego episodes for 3 days now.

I want to tell you a little about who Cedella Michelle, who Monk is, at three years old.

In so many ways it seems like you’ve just been born. I remember that day so incredibly well. There are times like now, when you’re sick and really need me, you are snuggled up on my lap and I feel like you’re just a little baby. Like you’re still this little girl.

But in every other way you are becoming your own individual person. Each day you can do more and more on your own. Each day you need me less and less. It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that I have taught you and nurtured you to the point that you’re so capable and independent. But there’s a piece of my heart that aches every time you tell me “No Mom. I can do it myself”. Cause I know that one day you won’t need me at all. And that day is sooner than later.

This year was incredibly challenging for all of us. And though me and Dad had to really adjust to life with two small children in our lives, perhaps you have had the hardest time adjusting. Life since your sister was born hasn’t been easy for you and I’m at a loss as to how to help you cope.

Before Isora you were our everything. And then we left one morning and came home at dinner time with this new baby and suddenly you had to share the night sky with another star and maybe you felt you didn’t glow as bright any more.

But you have never, ever, ever stopped glowing as brightly to me.

In fact I am so in awe of all of things you’ve accomplished this year that you appear to be glowing a lot brighter, even more fiery, to me.

When you turned two you were talking quite a bit and learning to say difficult words. Now, you astound me with your ability to communicate. Your vocabulary is hard to believe for such a young person. I still won’t get over you telling me all about the “pygmy marmoset and it’s habitat”. (Thanks to Diego for that one.) And when you tell us things like “That’s not a choice” or “Sorry I ruined your picture”.

Though I have to say, there’s one small bit of communication that you’re having a problem with. You say “What?” A LOT. Like your Auntie Kylara before you (who to this day says “Huh?” more than any other word ever) you have a listening problem. Your poor Jido and Teta thought you couldn’t understand their accents or the Arabic they speak to you. But no. You say it all the time. To everyone. Especially Dad and I when we’re asking you to do something. It makes us nuts.

But of all the things you say it’s how you talk to your sister that makes my heart melt. You talk to her how I talk to you. Good and bad. If I tell you “No, Cedella that’s not nice” you repeat that to Isora. But better yet, when your sister took her first steps, you were the first one to say “I’m so proud of you Isora!”

You, her big sister, have the makings of her biggest cheerleader. It’s just what I hoped you would be for her.

You’re funny. One of the funniest children I’ve ever known. On any given day you can say a million hilarious things. One moment you’re strutting around the house with sunglasses and evening gloves on. Then a wig, then a tutu, then an 80’s headband. You say goofy things and you can just about always crack a smile. Though there may be years you don’t think this, right now, you just can’t stop saying “Mommy you’re so funny!”. And the dance you do? The crazy hands and Elvis hips. God you crack me up. And when you giggle it’s like a the sound of a trillion sweet birds singing to the morning sun.

Once you get it in your head to do something, to be something, there’s no stopping you. I see that in you already. A drive and passion to learn and to master something. You can become so incredibly frustrated when a new task is hard to learn. If it takes a few times to understand a new game or to open a snack you kind of freak out. Your anger is quick and intense and just like your father’s. Don’t tell him I said that, ok?

So you hate it when you can’t do something right the first time, I understand. I’m the same way. But when you do master something, look out world! Take potty training for example. One morning this last May you decided you didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. After a frustrating couple of days of peeing on the floor and having wet undies you finally figured it out. I can count the amount of accidents you’ve had since then on one hand. You amaze me.

And you amaze me in your ability to try new things. Sure you play shy sometimes or you don’t have a good feeling about things, and I respect your intuition when it comes to that. Like dance class. You will probably not be a ballerina. Too much structure and not enough freedom. But that’s ok. Cause you are a natural in gymnastics and swimming. I’m so proud to watch you step across the balance beam with a look of concentration on your face that quickly turns to a smile when you reach the other side. Or to see you nervously step into the pool only to effortless climb out by yourself a few  lessons later.

We may not have done that much traveling this year but the few trips we did take I recognized how adaptable and easy going you are. We spent almost two weeks on the beach. When you were growing inside me you swam around like a little fish. I thought you were going to be a swimmer. You love the beach and playing in the water. Me too. And on our visit to South Carolina this Thanksgiving you were great. Well, great as long as Diego was on. Thankfully your cousin Bailey was there to entertain you and show you around.

Maybe it’s because of all these reasons, or perhaps in spite of them, that makes it that much harder when you’re mean, aggressive and angry towards us. When you lash out at your father or kick me. It’s when you hit your sister on the head or push her over as she’s trying to take a few steps, that truly hurts me. I know you don’t really want to hurt Izzie or make her cry, it’s just that your emotions are too big for that little body of yours, they have no where to go but out.

Dad has been so stressed out lately, working a lot, which means I’m stressed and alone with you girls that much more. Parenting is hard my love, don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. So when he’s stressed and I’m stressed we make you and Isora stressed. Just like when we yell, you yell. I see that now. Particularly when the words I tell you come rolling right back out of your mouth at me. When your angry voice sounds just like mine. It’s a tough pill to swallow, watching yourself through the eyes of your child, but it helps me to make better choices, to try and help you, not hurt you.

I am confident that all of the aversion to doing anything and everything we ask of you will be short-lived. That your Tumultuous Threes will be over quickly. Because if this foreshadowing of your teenage years God help us all.

Since changing tactics from yelling and demanding to offering you choices and incentives, things have started getting better already. Where there have been months of battles to get you through bath and bedtime, tonight you’re snuggling and sweet.

A month ago there was a really horrible tragedy in which many children were killed at their school. On that day I was so very sad and couldn’t help but cry as I held you girls. When you asked me what was wrong I told you that someone hurt many children and you asked “Why Mommy?” When I said I didn’t know you looked so confused. And then you said “is that why you’re sad Mommy? Cause you don’t know why people hurt kids? That is very very sad.” And then you held my hand and laid your head on my chest. Your understanding of me, and how I think is unbelievable. Just another amazing aspect of your tremendous personality, you sense and know and feel so much about the problems and strife in this world already. You are at your core a kind and empathetic being and that innate good is your ticket to changing the world.

Now if only I could get you to stop hitting your sister. There are rare beautiful moments when you two are playing together so nicely and in a snap you’re tackling her to the ground or pinching her cheeks. I know some day, hopefully by the time you read this, you two will be the best of friends. But for now, well, let’s just say I will completely understand when she just sucker punches you one of these days. You’re asking for it.

Just the other night, the night before your birthday, as I was putting you to bed I was telling you the story about the night you were born. You touched my hand and told me to keep talking and then you slowly drifted off to sleep in my arms, just as I was telling you about the first time I ever held you. It was magical. I am reminded that no matter how big you grow, in some ways you will always be that tiny sweet new thing to me.

We just started talking about the string that connects my heart to your heart, how it’s invincible but it’s always there. That string that connects our hearts will never break Cedella. Never.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’ll leave you with this. Don’t ever stop watching Doctor Who with me and sneaking chocolate when no one else is looking. And promise me that you’ll always stand up for your sister and for those who need standing up for.

Thank you for being my daughter. Your dad and I are so incredibly proud to be your parents.

I love you to the moon and back,

Mom