Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

A couple of weeks ago I was at the zoo, standing next to Molly, waiting for the Carousel to begin. She looked up at me with excited eyes and a huge smile. All that I could think at that moment was: My cup runneth over. Truly, it is overflowing.
In this world where so much is wrong and so many people are suffering, I have everything that I ever wanted. Everything that I could ever need. I am so blessed with the gifts that I have been given.
I have the child that I dreamed about; the one I prayed for. The one that makes me believe that I have a purpose on this Earth that is much greater than myself. Her love is unconditional and unending. (As she says, “Mommy, I love you even when I am mad at you.”)

I also have the man of my dreams. He is loving, thoughtful, and giving. We share the same values. We want the same things out of life. I know that I have a partner for life and that alone fills me with joy and peace.

Pretty profound thoughts for a merry-go-round ride, I know. But I swear that was the feeling that washed over me.
So for Thanksgiving this year,
I am thankful for my little family...
the cup that runneths over.

Now that’s a lot of runnething, to be sure.
But on top of everything, I got this from Molly:

Wow! Overwhelming. There are no words to describe the feeling that washed over me with this.
Here’s the backstory: Last Tuesday I watched as kids filed out of Molly’s preschool classroom . Each one eagerly gave their mother a handprint turkey and a “Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!”
I caught a few of the captions from their posters. These are actual captions. I swear.
I am thankful for the Wiggles.
I am thankful for monster trucks.
I am thankful for turkeys.
When my daughter’s name was called, I received:
I am thankful that my mommy got me as a baby in China!
One of Molly’s teachers told me that she, the other teacher, and the director were all in the classroom when Molly said what she wanted written on her poster. Apparently they all got choked up.
Umm, well I can go one better than that. I was reduced to a great big pile of mush right there in the middle of the preschool hallway!
I would have been happy with: I am thankful for the Wiggles. I am thankful for monster trucks. I am thankful for turkeys. Or even I am thankful for princesses, which I assumed her response would be.
But instead I got I am thankful that my mommy got me as a baby in China!
My heart is joyful.
And for the record…I too, am thankful that I got Molly as a baby in China!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Purse Camera

For several years we have owned a SLR camera. It’s big and bulky, has all sorts of fancy functions, and well...I will probably never know how to really use it. I mean I can snap a decent picture in auto mode, but that’s about it.
For some time I have really wanted a little purse camera. One that is small and light, easy to carry, and takes a decent picture. That way I am not toting around the behemoth camera everywhere I go. I can be more spontaneous. I can be free. I can have fun.
So off I go went Best Buy, with the gift certificates that my husband won in a golf outing, to buy myself a new purse camera. I ended up with this. Since I used Tony’s gift certificates to purchase my new purse camera, and because he may use it from time to time, I even compromised and got the blue one instead of the pink one that I really wanted. Marriage is all about compromise.

My new purse camera doesn’t disappoint. It is small, light and easy to carry. Ahem, it also has all sorts of fancy functions and well...I will probably never know how to really use it. But I can snap a decent picture in auto mode so it's all good.
Here are few pics that I was able to take with my new blue purse camera (that I wish was pink) when I spontaneously whipped it out of my bag. Oh, the freedom! Oh, the fun!

Here's a novel picture. Molly at the playground.
Ah, but this was taken with the purse camera
(that I wish was pink).

More cuteness at the park.

Molly and I met two of my former students
and their mothers for lunch.
Normally, I wouldn't have lugged
my camera to this outing,
but now I have the purse camera
(that I wish was pink)! Wahoo!

Molly received a great report from her teachers
at parent/teacher conferences.
We celebrated at Molly's favorite donut shop
and of course, she got the cookie that's as big as her head.

The one noted comment at conferences
is that she is very prolific in her discussions
about princesses. No joke.
They told me that she talks about princesses

Here's Molly's new favorite hairdo.
She calls it her Chinese hair.
I think it looks more like Heidi hair.
Well, except Molly's hair is black not blonde.
 And Molly is Chinese, not Swiss.

Cookie Face.

Molly was recreating the voyage of the Mayflower
in the back of the van while I was cleaning it out today.
She had to "hold on tight so she wouldn't fall off the boat."

Here's our favorite Pilgrim disembarking from the Mayflower.

And like any seasoned traveler, as soon as she's off
she whips out her cell phone...

and starts returning calls.

I guess we have to work on that whole timeline thing.
Sorry Molly, minivans, cell phones and sunglasses
were discovered waaaaaay after
the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

So was the purse camera.

That I wish was pink.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taming the Beast: A Princess Intervention

Molly is a princess addict. And not the cute, love to dress up and pretend I am a princess princess addict. Nope. She’s the sells everything she cares about, alienates everyone she loves, and scores with shady princess dealers in dark corners of toy stores princess addict.
She knows the location of every princess item in every store. She even knows that Spaghetti-O’s with meatballs are the only food product in the grocery store that has a picture of Snow White on it. We have never bought Spaghetti-O’s with Meatballs. She doesn’t even like Spaghetti-O’s with Meatballs. How does she know that Snow White is on the can? Because she is an addict, and addicts know these kinds of things.

The Princesses have the ability to turn my loving, giggling, happy child into a defiant, rebellious, back-talking, tantrum-throwing beast. The whole transformation starts out innocently enough…Molly slipping into a princess frock, pretending to eat a poisoned apple and waiting for her prince to awaken her with love’s first kiss.

But somewhere along the way it morphs into a belief that she is a princess and should get whatever she wants the minute that she demands it. And stand clear if you don’t meet her demands immediately. It gets ugly.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had enough. The straw that broke the camel’s back? Molly had a complete meltdown because I would not buy her a princess pencil sharpener that she discovered in a store window at the mall. A. Pencil. Sharpener.

It was an evil tantrum: The kind that requires me to carry her through a public venue kicking and screaming, attracting all kinds of attention. After I had her back to the car, forced gently moved her arched back flush against the car seat and fastened the straps, I realized that I had had enough. It was time for an intervention. It was time to tame the beast.

Now before any mothers of a princess-loving girls gets their feathers ruffled, let me be clear. I am not a princess hater. Okay, maybe I am, but I am not against little girls dressing up and fantasizing about princesses. Most little girls can handle the whole princess thing with grace and dignity. It is even endearing to watch.  Molly handles it like a crack addict.

Now, I don't think the Betty Ford Clinic handles this sort of addiction. I was forced to come up with my very own Princess Intervention. It started with me ceremoniously boxing all of the princess paraphernalia and relocating it to the basement as Molly watched on in shock and disbelief. Next, I (the Evil Stepmother—how come fairytales never have Evil Stepfathers?) instituted PRINCESS MONDAY, which I calmly explained through an unhappy toddler's fits of rage.

Here is how Princess Monday works: Early Monday morning, I become the Fairy Godmother, wave my magic wand and retrieve the contraband booty from the basement. Next, Molly can princessify till her heart content. All. Day. Long. But at the stroke of midnight, all things princess disappear and the spell is broken. (And I once again become the Evil Stepmother.)

This past Monday was our first Princess Monday.
The week leading up to it was like a fairytale.
No arguments. No nastiness. No throwing of fits.
Here is how the actual day went. Once upon a time……

The fair princess eats her royal breakfast,

Strikes her royal pose,
(Yes, each princess has an official pose.)

And then bites her apple, falls fast asleep
and awaits love's first kiss.
(Yes, I know it's an orange.
Three-year-olds are masters of improvisation.)

Next, Cinderella's clothes are transformed
into a beautiful ball gown.

Finally, Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger on a spinning wheel
and falls asleep for a hundred years.
(This is the official Sleeping Beauty finger prick pose.
Note the slighlty raised index finger
which actually received the finger prick.)

I wish that I could tell you that this story had a fairytale ending, but I would be lying. We still had a meltdown and a couple of tantrums when the fair princess' demands were not met. Guess I should have had my camera ready to document that. Oh, well.

But all in all, the Monday in princess mode was much better than usual. And that I can handle.

We might all just live happily ever after.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chloe's Clippity-Cloppin' 5th Birthday Party!

Meet Sweet Little Chloe.
She turned 5 last Sunday,
and she had a party to celebrate.
But not just any party...
This party had ponies!
Real, live ponies!

Can we ride them?
Just like the princesses do?

First of three pony rides.
Molly really wanted to ride side saddle,
just like Snow White.
Mommy had other ideas...
like face forward and HOLD ON!

Look at this cutie.
The pony, I mean.
Yes, Molly is standing next to
a real teeny-tiny little pony.

A few of the kids with the guests of honor
(Chloe and the pony, of course).

Molly, Abby and Alex waiting for
Chloe to blow out her candle...
so the can start eating their cupcakes, of course.

I think that I will take my time
and let those girls really work up an appetite!

Finally, the cupcake moment.
Pure bliss!

Happy Birthday, Chloe!
Your party rocked!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween X 4

When you are a three-year-old and you find out that you get to attend four different events in your Halloween costume, you think to yourself, "Wow, I am the luckiest kid on the planet!"

When you are an adult (who paid waaaay too much for your child's Halloween costume) and you find out that your child gets to attend four different events in her Halloween costume, you think to yourself, "Thank goodness I am getting my money's worth out of that stupid adorable costume!"

Halloween week was a nonstop funfest for Molly. And fortunately for everyone involved, she was a very good girl. Very good. With the amount of simulation that was coming at Molly at any given moment, the week had the potential to be a meltdown marathon. The Gods must have been smiling down on us last week, because it was delight. Really. I'd be the first to tell you if it wasn't.

So here goes...Molly the Sweet Little Green Fairy at all of her Fall Festivities.

Halloween Dress-up Opportunity #1: Playgroup Party
(well okay, sugar)


And Friends!

Halloween Dress-up Opportunity #2: Little Gym
Molly and her favorite teacher, Miss Emily.

Fairy on the balance beam.

Fairy doing a pullover.

Fairy finishing a pullover.
(yes, I am a proud momma)

Halloween Dress-up Opportunity #3: Preschool Party
Grandmom helping Molly with her craft project.

Dancing Fairy.

Molly's Preschool Class.
Awwww, so cute!

This fairy does a trick for her treat.
Guess I better teach her a little bit more modesty!
Oh well, it was the best trick of the entire class.

Mommy's little Fairy.

Halloween Dress-up Opportunity #4: Trick-or-Treat
Eeeeewwww! Pumpkin Slime!

Carving the pumpkin with Daddy.
Daddy is doing the scooping and carving,
Molly is doing the watching.

The finished product.
Pretty cool, huh?

Ready for Trick-or-Treating.
Check out the green fairy boots!

Obligatory picture with the parents.

Obligatory picture with the pumpkin.

Off and running.

Our Little Scarecrow.

We had the Mommy and Daddy scarecrow last year.
Molly saw the scarecrow with braids this year
when we were at the craft store.
She said,
"Oh, Mommy! We HAVE to get the Molly scarecrow!"
That was a no-brainer.
Into the shopping cart it went.

Happy Halloween 2009