Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween #1, Fun Fun Fun!

Molly experienced her very first Halloween. Now she's a pro. She's got it down.

The night didn't quite start out that way, though...

After dinner we tried to get Molly into her elephant costume. We practiced this before Halloween so she'd be ready for the big event. Of course when the day arrived, she wanted nothing to do with her costume. Luckily, other trick-or-treaters started coming to the door. Once Molly saw them in costume, she had a change of heart and the elephant costume went on without a tear.

We were out the door and Trick-or-Treating in no time. One problem. She had no clue how to Trick-or Treat. The first house was a learning experience and was met with a little anxiety. She held my hand tight and bravely knocked on her first door. That's all it took.

By the time we got to the second house, Molly realized that when you knock on people's doors they put goodies in your bucket. Having this epiphany, she let go of my hand and was off to the next house. There was no fear or trepidation in this kid. She was all about the candy. She's never even eaten candy before(I know, I know. I am one of those parents) and had no clue that she was collecting a bucket full of it. But that wasn't the point. She was getting something, and that was good enough for her.

After we were through with our festivities at home, Molly was off to her cousins' house for more Halloween fun. I stayed home and passed out candy. I don't know what went on over at the cousins', but she came back good and tired and ready for bed (yes!). She loved her elephant costume so much she wanted to sleep in it. Luckily she was too tired to do battle to get her way so she got a quick bath, put on her jammies and was asleep before I cold put her into her crib.

Halloween #1 was under her belt. She is now a Trick-or-Treat veteran.

Miss Molly models her costume for all of her adoring fans:

Hello! Welcome to my Halloween fashion show!

This is what the head of my costume looks like. Pretty cool, huh?

Does this costume make my bum look fat?

A head shot for my portfolio.

I'll be here all week. Tell all your friends. Thank you and good night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Carving 101

Pumpkin carving...I figured this wouldn't be an easy task for the I-Aint-Gonna-Touch-It Kid. True to form, Molly was less than thrilled with it. She was a trooper and never gave up--even smiled once or twice (I think just to throw me a bone). But you could tell, her heart wasn't in it.

Good golly, I hate pumpkin slime and I don't have texture issues. I can't imagine what it must feel like to my daughter, who tries to levitate above grass so she won't touch it. So, after a few agonizing minutes, I took pity on her. I snapped a few photos and let her off the hook.

I just know this is going to be gross!

Well, maybe it won't be too bad...
What's this? Eeeewww, pumpkin slime on my fingers!

And pumpkin seeds in my hair!
I think that I'll let Daddy take over, while I stand a safe distance away.

That face says it all.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hallmark Moments

You know those Hallmark commercial moments that you carry in your head? You picture all of those great (and small) events in life and can't wait for them to actually roll around so that you can sit back and watch your Hallmark commercial moments unfold perfectly before your eyes.

Well I've pretty much given up on Hallmark commercial moments. Well, I shouldn't say that I have given up on them all together. I still have them in my head, I have just come to the realization that real life isn't like a Hallmark commercial. My life is great, don't get me wrong. It's just that things never happen like you expect.

One of the Hallmark commercial moments that I always pictured was playing in the fall leaves with my children. Oh, what fun we would have frolicking about in the yard, , chasing each other around throw handfuls of Mother Nature's finest red, orange and gold, diving in piles of vibrant leaves.
When Autumn started to show its colors, I took stock of the realities of my child. She hates new textures--doesn't like to touch things that are the least bit unusual. She's not big on touching, feeling or holding green leaves. Crunchy, dried leaves in monstrous piles certainly aren't going to thrill her. My Hallmark moment was not going to happen. I just hoped that Molly wouldn't hate the experience. And I was totally fine with that.

I was pleasantly surprised. She didn't hate it--didn't love it either--but didn't hate it! She sat in the leaves, touched the leaves, played with the leaves. There was no frolicking or shrieks of joy, but she actually had a good time.

Let me tell you, that was better than any Hallmark commercial that I could have ever imagined. What a huge step for her. I was thrilled. And took about 60 pictures to prove it! Maybe it was a Hallmark moment, after all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Markers, New Mother, Stupid Mistake #537

I found these markers at Target the other day. Aren't they cute! What makes them even more cute is that when snap the lid on, they make the noise of the animal. The dog marker barks, the zebra marker neighs, the fish marker blows bubbles and so on. I thought this was a great idea because it encourages kids to put the lids back on their markers so they don't dry out.

I was so pleased with my purchase that I ran right home and started to remove the packaging. As I did this, I lined them up on a tray for Molly to play with. Surely these will score me major points in the Mother of the Year contest.

As I finished unwrapping the last marker, I finally glanced up at my daughter. Yeah, the sound effects didn't thrill her near as much a drawing all over her face.

She just looked at me with that puzzled expression when I groaned, "Good Golly, Miss Molly!" Okay, that's not exactly what I groaned, but it's a whole lot cleaner that what I actually said and I am not digging myself even deeper into a hole with the Mother of the Year judges!

Thank goodness that the manufactures are much wiser than myself. They made these markers washable so at least Molly wasn't tattooed for the next few days. Crisis averted, but I am way behind in points for the Mother of the Year Contest!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Half-Marathon

I ran a marathon about five years ago. If I'd had a blog back then, the post would have been titled Miserable Marathon. That race took every bit of pleasure out of the sport of running. Every inch of my body hurt, and not in a good way. I had some sort of strain or injury to my toes, feet, ankles, knees, hips and back . On race day, my body was litterally being held together with straps, braces and duct tape. When I crossed that finish line I swore that I would never run again. And I didn't for a very long time. Years.

A few months ago, my crazy friend Ellen asked me to run the local 1/2 marathon with her. I laughed. No way. Not gonna happen. Not in this lifetime. Then Ellen did something evil: she used her beautiful daughter against me. The half-marathon was to benefit her daughter's orphanage in China. How could I say no?

I reluctantly began to train, albeit not very hard. In fact I had a very nonchalant attitude about it. If you know me, you know this is very un-Teri-like. I tried not to run too often and tried not to run too long. This was a complete 180 to my marathon training days. Running actually began to feel good.

Molly accompanied me on every single training run. If I was out running, she was in the jogger stroller. We ran in various parks around town--places that I had never been in the eight years we've lived here. At the end of every run, Molly got to play at the playground so she loved training days.

When race day rolled around, I didn't care about my time. I didn't keep track of my pace. I just ran with my crazy friend Ellen. You know, I actually enjoyed myself! Everything that the full marathon had taken out of me, the 1/2 marathon put back. We crossed the finish line in about 2 hours; a better pace than my full marathon. Maybe there is something to this not taking things too seriously attitude!

One benefit to the race, aside from the big plate of pancakes I ate afterward, was that I got to kiss my husband and my daughter at the end. That made everything worth the effort. Yes, this was a very happy half-marathon! Maybe I'll run another one!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Big Pile of Beautiful Fabric

There is a tradition in China to make a Bai Jai Bei, or Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite people to send patches of cloth along with a note of well wishes for the new baby. The patches are sewn together into a quilt that contains the luck, energy and good wishes of the friends and family members who contributed pieces of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.

While we were waiting for Molly, I collected over 50 squares of fabric for her quilt. I loved looking through the big pile of beautiful fabric, but it was just that: a big pile of beautiful fabric. Since I have no skills in the art of quilting, I was at loss at what to do next.

Meanwhile, half way across the country, one of my very best friends, Anne, was looking through our Journey to Molly website. She came across the link that explained the Bai Jai Bei and showed the big pile of beautiful fabric. She promptly emailed me and asked if she could make the quilt for Molly. "Are you kidding? Of course you can make the quilt!" was my reply. How lucky am I to have such a talented and loving friend? The meaning behind the quilt multiplied one hundred fold the moment she made that offer.

Last summer Molly and I were fortunate enough to visit Anne. In my suitcase was the big pile of beautiful fabric. I left it in Anne's capable hands. I had no idea what to expect, as I gave her very few suggestions. I felt that she was the expert and that she'd know what to do. Boy, did she ever!

This afternoon, Molly and I opened to door to see the FedEx man. In his hands was a box containing the Bai Jai Bei. Molly got the honor of ripping open the wrapping paper and discovering that the big pile of beautiful fabric was now her new quilt. She absolutely loved it!

The first thing she did was to lay it down on the floor and roll herself it.

Then she picked it up and hugged it.

Then she climbed on the sofa and wanted me to cover her with it. It was awesome. It was obvious that she knew it was for her and she bonded with it immediately.

Me? Well I was sitting there with tears rolling down my cheeks (no surprise there!). I never imagined it would be so beautiful! I immediately starting thinking how I was going to display it. My first thought was to hang it on the wall in the nursery.

I was about to go snatch the quilt from my daughter's grasp so it didn't get messed up before it went on display. On my way, I saw a note from Anne sitting on the floor. I chucked out loud as I read it. Here's a direct quote:

Although your Mom and Dad might want to preserve this quilt (by doing something silly like hanging it on a wall or putting it in a drawer) please don't let them! I hope that you will sleep with it, play with it, and take it with you on your adventures. The more it is used, the more worn out it will get, and that will mean you have loved it.

Well, guess who went upstairs to take a nap with a beautiful new quilt dragging behind her!

Anne is part of a group of 7 amazing women who began a friendship 20 years ago in college. Our lives have taken us in all different directions and to different parts of the country, but we have remained dedicated and true. Each person in the group has wonderful qualities that help to cement our friendships with each other. Anne has always been incredibly caring and selfless. I feel honored and grateful that she was the person to make this very special keepsake for Molly

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Anne!

Also, a big thanks to all who contributed beautiful fabric to the big pile!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Trauma for Momma or Molly Gets Her First Haircut

I always tell people that Molly came to us with three things: her name, the clothes on her back and a really bad haircut. We kept her Chinese name as a middle name. The clothes that she wore on Gotcha Day are loving preserved and stored away. The bad haircut, I found, was hard for me to part with.

It difficult to explain, but Molly's bad haircut was one of the few things that she still had from China. It almost felt like I was severing a tie by getting it cut. That's the reason I've waited this long. I have been talking about having it cut for months, but could never bring myself to take her in.

Molly's hair finally got to a point where it was bothering her. It would hang down in her eyes and she was constantly brushing it away. I knew it was time. Reluctantly, I made the call to schedule an appointment. Yesterday the deed was done.

Molly, for the most part, took everything in stride. She sat in a little seat shaped like a race car (geesh, she's a girl...couldn't they get a pony chair or something?) and let the stylist cut away. It didn't phase her a bit. In fact she was more annoyed that the cape restricted her arm movements than she was that the scissors where chopping her locks off. Once the cape issue was remedied, she was as happy as a lark. The only time she got upset is when the stylist was cutting her bangs. Molly had to hold still and that is not a skill she has mastered yet. She shed a few tears, but quickly got over it.
I, on the other hand, didn't handle it as well. I cringed at the first snip. I detested every minute of the haircut. I was snapping pictures left and right but the whole time I was thinking what a huge mistake I had just made. When the haircut was finished, I hated it. It was just what I asked for, but I hated it. Molly looked different and I hated it.

Twenty four hours later, I am finally getting over the trauma. Molly will let me put a little ponytail in her hair and it does look pretty darned cute. And as it turns out, I didn't even have to part with her hair. The salon saved it in a little baggie which they affixed to a Baby's First Haircut certificate, along with picture on Molly donning her new doo. Here's the final product...what do you think?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Am I In Trouble, Or What?

Oooooh, it's my cell phone!

Hello. Oh, hi Mark! I'm so glad you called!

Roaming charges? Don't worry, my mom pays my cell phone bill!

Two hours? Have we been talking that long?

Mom, seriously, there has got to be a mistake in that bill. I hardly used my phone this month.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Picking Pumpkins in Record Setting Heat

Ahhh...fall! Don't you just love this time of year? The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, the air is coo land crisp.

Crisp? How's 90 degrees for crisp! The only crisp things around here were the sunburns that we got by spending all day outside at Freeman's Farm. Oh well, we had a heck of a good time anyway!

The good thing about living is the Midwest is that the fall leaves are beautiful and there are lots of farms that you can visit. Freeman's is really close to us, so Molly and I strapped on our overalls and joined some friends for an afternoon of fun.

We spent the day petting farm animals, eating kettle corn, roasting hot dogs over a campfire, picking pumpkins and taking a hay ride. Molly was having such a great time that even sat on the hay (gasp!). Well at least long enough for me to take a picture.

For me, the highlight of the day was pumpkin picking. This was one of the Kodak moments that I played in my head while we waited for Molly. I couldn't wait to see her expression when she saw all of the pumpkins. I expected to see a face filled with excitement and to hear shrieks of joy. Here's what I got:

After a little coaxing (okay, I bribed her with kettle corn), Molly ventured into the pumpkin patch to help me select this year's pumpkins. She liked all of them so I actually did most of the selecting.

By the end of the day Molly had been run ragged. She actually started to fall asleep while sitting on a pumpkin! Being the astute mom that I am, I realized it was waaay past nap time and that we should probably head home and sleep. You don't have to hit me over the head with a hammer or anything. Geesh, I am never going to win mother of the year!

We loaded the pumpkins in the car and brought them home to the Master Carver: Daddy. I am doing some ego stroking here by giving kudos to his artistic abilities and bestowing on him the title of Master Carver. Truth be told, I hate pumpkin slime and really don't want to have to carve them myself. Tune in to the Halloween poto seest if I got out of this nasty job!