December 19, 2014

December: is this thing on?

not sure if anyone still checks in here or not, but just in case or just in case i go back one day to print stuff out for Lovie, figure i'd update a bit...

Saw Santa the other weekend. Not the mall one but a different one. It was fun. Lovie was excited to see him, Frosty, and Rudolph who she high fived and hugged a bunch. 
Speaking of Santa, Lovie wasn't feeling so great the other day so we stayed home and finally took advantage of some down time with compiling an official list for big guy. She's come a long way with writing and spelling. I love it so much. I helped her very little-- mostly by just enunciating letters for her to be able to spell with more confidence.

Pretty sure you can make out some of this list... .like AIRPLANE, CAT (toy) on the first line there. The second line is BYRB HYRS (Barbie Horse) and under that is CIDS (Kids- Barbie kids). Not sure about the W. Then she has FIRTRUC (firetruck) and HOOS (house- Barbie). Then she wants a POPCORN MACR (maker) and WASHING MASHEN (mashine).


Been making treats to gift away and found a new, easy, favorite: Chocolate Toffee Christmas CRACKer. Holy shit is it ridiculously tasty.

You just layer a pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cookie spray with crackers. Then boil a cup of butter and brown sugar, stirring frequently, for about five minutes after it boils. Pour this atop the crackers and spread a bit. Bake in 400 degree oven till it starts bubbling. Throw on some chocolate chips and let melt, then spread. Sprinkle whatever, if anything, on top. Let cool and holy moly cannoli. I stored it in the freezer thinking it would help keep me away from it... WRONG.


This festive house is a couple streets from us and we love driving by it every night.


Finally... my sweet baby doll is turning F I V E on the 29th.

We're actually having two freaking parties for her- one on the 28th and one on January 3rd.

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve

I stopped off at Wal-mart yesterday and spent about $50 on a variety of items to package up into gallon-size plastic bags to hand out to the homeless folk I see nearly every day. After I picked Lovie up from school I told her that I had a project to do in which I needed her help. She was excited and after telling her what it was exactly that I needed her help with, she was even more excited.

After we ate dinner, I had Lovie put everything into piles--packages of tissues in one pile, granola bars in another, socks in another, etc. Then she grabbed one of everything and put it in the gallon-size bag. We made 10 bags and this morning, on my way to work, I already handed one out.

It's the least I can do, really. I so badly want to do more- and I want to do more with Lovie by my side to witness it. But at least this is something. (And it's about damn time, too!)

Do you know that after I thanked Lovie for helping me put the bags together she suggested that we maybe include our phone number in the bags so the people could call for more help if they needed?

My heart.

My heart.

I'm so immensely blessed. I know I say that a lot. I know most of what I post here is rainbows and butterflies, but, I mean, I'm just so blessed.


November 12, 2014

DIY invite

super proud of my creation for Lovie's birthday party invites:

i used the free version of picmonkey (love!).

i'm so ridiculously excited to put the whole shebang together. should be a ton of fun.

November 7, 2014

year of the princess

One week ago today, we got our first snow of the season. On Halloween.

"Remember when it snowed on Halloween?"

Lovie went as Elsa, of course, to school. Here's a picture of her hair after she'd already changed out of her Elsa dress:

I took ivory yarn and braided into her hair. Looks kind of crappy but she was over the moon to have such a long braid for a day.

When we got home after school, in the dark because SNOW, Lovie changed into her trick or treating costume:

It's funny because she begged us for this costume before last Halloween but ended up going as a pirate then. And this year, despite the Elsa/Frozen craze, she insisted upon Rapunzel.

Honestly, I think it's that it involved wearing a super long hair piece.

Despite the cold, despite the SNOW, we made it to the couple of streets we've been ToTing on for years now and had a good time.


October 31, 2014

oh and btw, happy halloween!

It's been a while, eh? Almost two months. Nothing much to report on truthfully.

School is going quite well for Lovie. She still loves it. We still love it. Her teacher is constantly telling us how smart she is and the other day she started compiling a list of kids she wants to invite to her FIFTH birthday party (in less than two months #omgholdme). She sat there and sounded out each name and wrote down the letters that corresponded with the sound. I was quite impressed. She's also been impressing me with her reading lately. In addition to sight words and other words she knows from memorization, most of her reading is still figuring out the words with the picture, but she totally gets sounding out the words when I tell her to LOOK at the word.

It's pretty awesome. She's pretty awesome. And pretty. ;)

We went on vacation last week. We drove from Chicago to (near) Clearwater Florida. The drive down wasn't so fun. Lovie got carsick twice on the first day. What should've taken us 11 hours, took us 17 that first day. But the second day went much smoother. And of course the time spent in Florida was nothing shy of fabulous. Really and truly.

Now I'm generally NOT a sun and hot weather person. In fact, I hate it. But if you can get me right. on. the. ocean. I'm game. And that's what we did. We found a condo to rent that was RIGHT on the water. The view, the price, it was all just too much to pass up. We laid around in the sun and swam in the ocean the majority of the time. We also went on a pirate cruise (which I'd recommend anyone to do- especially if you have kids). On the last day, we left the condo at 10AM (checkout time) and headed to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium... home of Winter the dolphin.

This place was really and truly fabulous, and a great way to spend our last day of vacation. I have never in all my life encountered a place where every single employee was SO nice. And if you've seen the Dolphin Tale movies, you absolutely MUST visit this place with your kids. Worth every penny.

Next up is preparing for the holidays and Lovie's birthday (in less than two months #omgholdme). We already know where it's going to be and what we'll be doing, but I do still need to book it. I'm actually super excited about this party as it's not a jumpy house. Not that anything is wrong with jumpy houses, Lovie LOVES them and had her last two parties at them. I just think what we have planned, if pulled off, will be super damn fun and cute and memorable. You only turn five once, right? Why not make it a memorable one?

September 22, 2014


I wasn’t supposed to be a mom to a girl.


Not a day goes by that I’m not eternally grateful that not only am I a mom, but I’m a mom to a girl. 

When I found out Lovie was a girl, I honestly was a little disappointed. Not a lot. Not even enough to mention, truthfully; but if I’m honest, I would have to reveal that yes, there was a tinge of disappointment that she would not be a he. It’s just that, in the moment the ultrasound tech told us “it was a girl”, I had this vomit-inducing image of all kinds of pink crap. And high-pitched squeals. And dresses, painted nails, Barbie dolls, etc.

Like I said it was sincerely a fleeting moment that was over as soon as I realized that my baby was HEALTHY and that I was going to finally become a mom.

The first year of Lovie’s life was great. I mean, it’s always been great. Of course, there are always moments when it’s exhausting or whatnot but overall, being Lovie’s mom is the absolute greatest gift I’ve ever been given. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world having her as my child. And during that first year of her life when she wasn’t able talk much or have opinions of her own, it wasn’t too difficult to avoid the pink invasion I fretted over when I first learned she’d be a Girl.

Then she turned one.

And she got gifted her very first baby doll, which she toted around for months.

And it was the sweetest thing I had ever in all my life seen: My sweet little baby doll loving on her very own baby doll.

Soon it became clear that no matter how neutral we made Lovie’s surroundings, clothes, toys… she was all girl.

She is all girl.

My Lovie is absolutely every single thing I envisioned the moment I found out she was a girl.

Thank God.

September 12, 2014

under the stars and moon

The other day Lovie asked for help on her journal. Our journal. She asked me how to spell some words, how to write the date. She asked for suggestions on what else to write after she completed the first part: 

I love you Mama. 
I love you under the stars and moon.

Other than help her spell You and Under (and that there's an E at the end of Love), she did the rest. (The date in the upper right hand corner is my writing--I was writing upside down, which isn't so easy.)

After she was done writing and drawing pictures of the moon and stars, she asked what else she should write.

I suggested she draw a picture.

She then drew me (left) and her (center), then drew Daddy (right).

Originally she drew us without feet so when I asked about our feet, she added them-- including the toes, which made me chuckle as she deliberately counted out five toes for each of us. : )

I'm so glad I decided to do this journal.

September 4, 2014

let's talk about ssss SCHOOL. 

Let’s talk about SCHOOL (I know there are some dirty birds out there who thought of a different word starting with the letter S, thanks to a certain super early 1990’s hit by Salt-n-Pepa), baby.

Lovie started the official school year on Tuesday. I say official because she’s been attending this (Montessori) school since early July, but she was in their summer programs which was much more relaxed than the regular school year. Purportedly.

I tried making a bigger deal out of the new school year than it was. Even Lovie was like, “I’m going to another new school?!”

No, kid. You just have a few days off (end of last week), then you start the new school year at the same school in a different class.


Nope. You’re too young still.

“But you said I’d be going to Kindergarten!”

I was wrong. I thought you were, but because your birthday is so late, you can’t.

“That’s not fair, I wanna go to Kindergarten!”

I want you to, too. And you will. Just not this year.

“But I’m not a napper anymore! And I’m not a baby so why do I have to go with the babies?”

You’re not going in with the babies, there will be others your age and some a year or two younger, but they’re not babies.

“They don’t know anything so they’re babies!”

This is your time to help them learn, honey. You’ll be able to show others how to do things and they’ll be so grateful for your help.

Inside, I was a bit pissed truth be told. We were emailed that children turning five before the end of the year had the option to go into Kindergarten or stay in preschool. At first I thought maybe we would be rushing it if we chose Kindergarten but the fact is that she spent the summer with all the “older kids” anyway. She was already doing all the work the Kindergarteners would be doing come Tuesday. So Taye and I were in agreement to go ahead and put her into Kindergarten. We even were sent a supply list of items for her to bring along on her first day of Kindergarten.

Then a week later, as I’m standing in the playground adjacent to the school building in which they play, waiting for Lovie to play a “few more minutes”, the head of the school comes to me and tells me that Lovie will be starting in Preschool because of her late birthday and because of the state law. Yes, I get the law business and all, but why tell us we have the option a couple weeks prior? (The school communicates primarily via email newsletter so I know the answer.) She went on to say that if Lovie had been attending their school for a year or more (opposed to the daycare/preschool she was in) instead of just two months, we would’ve had the option to put her into Kindergarten.

So, long story short: 

Lovie started the (pre)school year on Tuesday. And honestly, even though all her friends she made over the summer are in the other, older classroom, she still couldn’t be happier.

She’s still all smiles. Every single day.

She wasn’t a miserable child prior to Montessori, but honest to god, she’s a changed child since starting Montessori. She’s always smiling. She’s always happy. She’s always helpful. She’s always kind.

Yes, she has her 4-and-half-going-on-14-and-a-half-year-old moments, but it’s truly mind boggling to me how happy she generally is.

Kindergarten or not, Montessori is definitely the right path for Lovie. I feel so lucky to have discovered this path and blessed to be able to take the adventure alongside her.

August 22, 2014

images from last weekend

Sorting beads. I've been looking into ways to strengthen Lovie's grip so that writing may come a bit more easier to her and, in the meantime, discovered she LOVES beads. So we bought a ton the other week and last weekend, we sorted all of them by animals, "jewels", plain beads, teddy bears. This took some time to do and it was a lovely way to do something that didn't involve the damn television. Can't wait for her to start making necklaces, etc.

The infamous IKEA Kura bed. We've had it for a couple years now but just now finally turned it so that it's a loft bed and Lovie's in love with it! She says the area under her bed is her secret hiding spot. We (she and I) even have a secret password, just for the two of us, when it's time to go into the secret hide-out. :)

Probably my most favorite activity to date. I wrote and drew with white crayon on white paper and then Lovie painted with water colors over the paper to discover words and shapes, etc. Oh my was this a blast. So much fun. She couldn't get enough of it and I can't wait to do more. And again, another activity that didn't involve the TV. 

August 14, 2014

journal writing: the kid edition

While I'm trying super hard not to be too pushy about this, I'm super dang excited about Lovie learning to read and write. She knows how to spell several words and write them. For the most part. She can also figure out what a lot of easy words are by looking at the first letter of the word as well as the the image nearby. She's a smart cookie and I'm confident she'll be a reader and writer in no time...But I'm anxious.

I am. I don't know why exactly, but the idea of her reading and writing excites me so much. I just can't wait for it all to click. I can't wait for her to start thumbing through books. I can't wait for her to write notes unprompted. I just can't wait.

That said, the kid is only 4 (and a half!).

I want her to really enjoy being 4 and 5 and 6 and....

I want her to play and dance and sing and color and paint and fart and giggle and make bubbles when drinking. I want her to retain that innocence as long as she can. I have no desire to rush anything... I'm just super excited about reading and writing.

Enter the Mama and Me journal.

I got the idea via this pin one day while wasting time on Pinterest, and while Lovie's not really a writer and reader quite yet, I thought why not start this? She could draw pictures or get help to write something. Or she could just let it sit until the day came when she could read and write on her own.

One day last week we were talking about letters or reading or something and I mentioned the idea of the journal and how I thought it could be fun to do-- write letters to one another in a journal, just for us, and put them under the other person's pillow when it's their turn. She seemed kind of excited about it, but not horribly so, so I didn't bring it up again. Instead I printed out a cover image for a notebook I already had and started thinking about what I wanted to write and how I wanted to approach it.

I finally wrote the letter yesterday and stuck it under her pillow while she was watching TV after school. My intention was for her to discover it on her own and figure it out but then, out of the blue, while we snuggled on the couch just before bed, she said, "Hey me-member you said you would get a journal to write in and put under my pillow?"

Oh the smile that washed over my face as I nodded and whispered, "Why don't you go look under your pillow now?"

She looked up at me with such glee and ran off to her bedroom where I could hear an exuberant shriek quickly followed by the sound of her feet running against the hardwood floor back toward the living room. I thought her face might break from smiling so much as she handed the book to me and asked me what it said.

I read it to her, of course, and when I was done she immediately demanded I tell her what to write.

I laughed and told her she didn't have to write anything if she didn't want to, that she could even draw a picture. I reiterated that the journal was for whatever we wanted to share with each other. Well, she continued to demand that I tell her how to spell certain words. And when she was all done, about twenty minutes later, she dashed off to my bedroom, demanding I keep my eyes closed (even though she wrote her letter directly on top of me and I already knew what it said: Hi Mama I Love You So Much).

After I put her to bed, I went in my bedroom and opened the book and looked at her writing more closely. Her big smiley happy faces and rounded hearts made my eyes well up. She ran out of room signing her name so she had to put the last letter in front of the first letter, which made me laugh out loud.

I wrote her a little note back and tucked it under her pillow this morning before I left for work. When it's my turn to journal again, I plan on taping this photo of us I took yesterday while watching TV:

(could she look any less interested/exhausted. oh but she's not tired, oh no!!)

I will cherish this book (and hopefully many more to come) for ever and always.

August 11, 2014

still Living La Vida Montessori

Last week was the first full week of Summer Session II, Lovie's 5th week at Montessori. Everything is still fabulous. It gets old writing all positives but hey, it sure beats all negative stuff, eh?

Lovie brought home her journal Friday before last and it was full of letters and numbers and pictures, including one page which kind of blew me away.

I've never heard of this.

Sure I've seen the design and I probably have heard "quatrefoil" in my life, but not enough to stick in my brain. So seeing this in my 4 year old's notebook... well, clearly I had to take a picture of it and post it on Facebook to let everyone know how I'm being schooled by my 4 year old.

Seriously though, this is truly how the past five weeks have been. All a fantastic, wonderful learning experience that I'm trying to bring into our home as well.

We still watch a lot of TV during our downtime, but I've cleared a lot of the clutter out of our home and made more hands-on toys (play-doh, markers, paints, scissors, glue) more accessible to Lovie at any time she wants. I've even bought some beads and pipe cleaners (love the Dollar Tree) to see if Lovie would be interested in doing some crafting (and strengthening of her fine motor skills to maybe help her write better) while TV watching, and, unsurprisingly, she gobbled it up and is now a maker of bead bracelets.

Yesterday we all stopped at Michael's and spent well over $100 on craft supplies including more beads, stickers, drawing paper, etc. When we got home, we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (fun movie) and crafted. Lovie was quite upset because the first thing she wanted to buy--purple glitter glue--was forgotten at the store, but after she got over that, she went to town with stickering up an empty toilet paper roll which we then turned into a flower vase--complete with flowers made from pipe cleaners.

Who have we become?

August 1, 2014

Living La Vida Montessori

Yesterday was the last day of Summer Session I at Lovie's Montessori school. Today is the end of week four Living La Vida Loca Montessori.

Things are still going quite smoothly. There has been a definite change in our home. Things weren't bad before, but they are just really awesome now.

Goodbye playroom overrun with abundance of annoying toys

It was during her first week at Montessori, that I went home right after work instead of picking her up right away, and loaded up almost all of her toys that she doesn't play with. Three, industrial sized black plastic bags and two tubs later, her playroom was transformed into ... tranquility.

All of these removed toys still are in the house- and in her bedroom's closet, as a matter of fact. She hasn't asked for ONE item. It's been four weeks and it's like she has no idea the toys are missing! HIZZAH! Soon I can start sneaking out bags to Goodwill.

Goodbye long drawn-out bedtimes

It was during her second week at Montessori, when she officially moved into the room where nobody naps, that bedtimes became... unbelievably... dream-like... easy. She's just so exhausted from all the work she does at school and not napping, that she's been falling asleep within minutes of laying down and me telling her a story. And there's never any kind of stalling for some water or going to the bathroom or hugging the cat or or or.

Hello beautiful, relaxing endings to our days

It's not that things weren't always like this-- where we just hung out after work and school. But it's just so super different now. So much more calming.

Maybe it's because she's really tired. Maybe it's because I lost a couple hours time being with her every day since she's no longer in the car with me commuting (school is two minutes from home now instead of 40-60), so I'm really trying to soak up every moment of our time together, but honestly, every day after work and school is so awesome and chill.

July 25, 2014

week three of Montessori

Here we are closing out week three of Montessori and, yet again, we're all smiles around here.

Lovie's still in the bigger kid class (4-6 year old) and it only makes sense. I think they had her in with the under 4's that first week because she was brand new to Montessori, but once they discovered how much she knows, they moved her on up. In fact she told me just yesterday that they have a new student in her class but he's just new from the other class... and he's four, too. (That's why I'm guessing they start new-to-Montessori kids in with the younger kids.)

This week she's been doing a lot of punching activity.

No, they don't have her practicing to become Layla Ali. They're having her pin-punch to strengthen her grip to hold a pencil and write.

I'd never heard of this before this week so I did some researching into it and it's quite badass, really. The other day when I picked her up, she forgot something in her room, so we went in and she pointed to a picture on a wall, "That's one of the toys in the room!"  It's was a pin-punching of the Pink Tower that a student did! I read somewhere else during my discovery of pin-punching, that one student (not sure where or when) was so fascinated with pin-punching States that she spent weeks on a project of pin-punching out every single State of the US- and glue each of them onto a map!

Most of what Lovie punched this week were shapes like rectangles and squares but then one day she came home with a punched shape of South Africa! And I guess they sing some Continent song that she really wants me to learn so we can sing it together. And did I know that Australia was a continent?

All the reports I get back tell me she's a great listener and especially loves to help out at lunch. And when I ask Lovie about that she gets all excited telling me about how she's able to set out real plates and real cups and help cut with a real knife and serve real food.

Anyway, week three has been fantastic-- just like the other two. Probably even more so actually, because now when I pick her up, she's playing with several children instead of just the one 6-year-old she had befriended. In fact, she hasn't mentioned much about said 6-year-old.

And bedtimes are still a freaking unbelievable dream. Every single night, she's snoring away within minutes of me starting to tell her a story. And absolutely NO arguments at when bedtime is.

July 21, 2014

DGMETT Blueberry Cobbler: YUM!

Trust me on this. Really.

I followed this recipe along with the advice from one of the reviewers and it's just so so so easy and SO DAMN TASTY. Really.

• 6 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup + 1 Tb. all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup milk

• 3 cups frozen blueberries
• 1 Tb. sugar

• Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 350 degrees.
• Put butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan; set in oven to melt. When butter has melted and browned a little, remove pan from oven.
• Whisk flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl. 
• Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter.
• Add blueberries to butter in pan. 
• Pour batter atop berries.
• Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tb. of sugar.
• Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 50 to 60 minutes.

Let cool a bit before diving in. I ate this without any ice cream but holy cannoli I can imagine how awesome a scoop of vanilla would be atop this warmed cobbler!

July 18, 2014

week two of Montessori

It's the end of the second week of Montessori and things are still progressing amazingly well. It's truly surreal how easy a transition this has been and I feel so immensely blessed as a result.

We did our research before choosing this school. We visited several other schools in the area, though I admit the one she's in is the only Montessori school we visited. Still, we knew it would be a good fit. In fact, we discussed how it was as if the school (Montessori) had been made for Lovie.

And so far we are right. It's a great fit.

The first four days of the program (last week), Lovie, age 4.5, spent with the toddlers and 3-6 year olds because it's the summer program and enrollment isn't as full as it is during regular school year. (During the regular school year, Montessori schools group the children in three year gaps: 15 months-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12. They do this because Maria Montessori discovered that children thrive from interacting, socializing, and learning from each other [in a nutshell-- there are GOBS of videos and stories on this to prove the theory].)  She seemed happy with it for the most part and was even falling asleep during rest time. She made a friend, a 6 year old girl, who was in the "bigger kid" class, but she talked about doing things in the younger class and reports from her teacher were really great.

Then (last) Friday when I picked her up, Lovie came running out to me with all smiles and her teacher told me she had spent the day with the older classroom- and loved it. Honestly, I wasn't too surprised because she really does know a lot already and she gravitates more toward older children. That's part of the reason we wanted to move her out of daycare/preschool (where she spent the last six months in the Kindergarten class). I was, however, surprised the move happened within the first week, but assumed maybe it was just a trial.

But then on Monday after Taye dropped her off, he called me and told me the teacher called after him before he left and gave him Lovie's pillow and blanket because "she won't be needing them anymore" since "they don't take naps" in the bigger kid classroom. Apparently, they moved her in there for good and that's where's she been all week!

The first couple days of the week were a bit rough upon pickup because of the absolutely no nap thing. Her attitude when I picked her up was short. She'd snap at me for the sun shining too brightly on her. I didn't take it personally as I knew she was exhausted and I know how I get when I'm too tired. The past couple of evenings have been much better as far as her attitude when I pick her up. She's not as short with me. In fact, things are wonderful and calm and really, really nice! She's so incredibly happy ALL the time. She wakes up with a smile, she goes to sleep with a smile, she bathes with a smile...

On top of all this, being with the older kids and not napping has resulted in an incredibly easy bedtime routine. Finally! The kid is exhausted come bedtime and has been falling asleep by 8:30 all week (opposed to the 9, 9:30, or even 10PM [even though her bedtime is always consistently at 8--TV off at 7-7:30])! And because Taye takes her to school now, she can sleep in as late as she wants (usually up by 7, 7:30 max).

So week two of Montessori has been fantastic! Lovie's super excited about her notebook at school, along with all that she does with the big kids (and that she's not a napper anymore, of course), and I'm super excited because the transition has been an awesome one and she's back to falling asleep before me in the evenings!

July 15, 2014

all smiles

If I could pick one word to describe last week it would be "Smiles".

(end of first day of Montessori. she was just laying on the couch watching tv and smiling.)

Smiles on her first day at her new school.
Smiles when picking her up.
Smiles while watching TV and decompressing.
Smiles while eating dinner.
Smiles while getting ready for bed and going to sleep.
Smiles the next day and next day and next.

Not just from her either.

The first couple of days were a little rough for me, personally, but that's because I've been so used to driving the sometimes hour drive home with her in the back seat jabbering away. Or singing. (The singing had become so much fun the past six months since she started letting us listen to the radio instead of "kids music." She's got a bunch of favorite songs that she sings along to and it's just a riot to be a part of it.) This week, I'm already kind of used to her not being in the back seat. It still sucks but her happiness, her excitement, her smiles make it all worth it.

I've really come to absolutely love this new school and the Montessori life. It just makes so much sense. I've since been doing even more research than I had prior and I'm getting more and more amazed every day.

The biggest thing for me is when I pick her up. At preschool when I picked her up it was always complete chaos. Always. Someone was always crying and/or screaming and/or running around like a mad dog. I hated it, but I learned to accept it because that's just the way it always was.

Now? It's not anything like that. Even when I pick her up and everyone is outside in the yard it's still calm. There may be some running around SINCE THEY ARE OUTSIDE but it's not like they've been freed after being held captive for a year. It's just kids running around. There's never any screaming or crying or yelling or pushing or shoving or whining. It's really quite surreal most days. How on earth can toddlers and preschoolers and young grade-school aged children get along so well all the time?

The environment. It's the calm environment. The calm, loving, independent environment.

I just don't understand why the Montessori way isn't more implemented in schools. Or why there aren't more Montessori schools that go further than just up to age 5 or 6.

I've learned a lot about Montessori the past several weeks and months. I feel very lucky to have discovered this school so close to where we live. But mostly I feel lucky to have found a place where Lovie will be able to blossom into herself. I'm excited. And I'm all smiles... much like her.

July 7, 2014

new chapter begins

This morning Lovie walked into a brand new (to her) school. It's a Montessori school very nearby where we live. We've been wanting to make the change for some time now, but today was their first opening (day 1 of Summer Program).

We've driven by this school hundreds of times. I've suggested we look into it long ago, but its location and outside appearance kept us from taking that leap till about a year ago when things at Lovie's daycare/preschool were starting to grate on us. I'm not going to speak negatively of the daycare/preschool. It was her home for 4.5 years. They helped Lovie learn to sit and crawl and walk and eat with a fork and use the bathroom. They helped Lovie learn to love to look at books and words and letters and numbers. They helped Lovie learn to socialize.

But it was beyond time to make this move. Lovie needs more.

Yes daycare/preschool was both a daycare and preschool, but it was more of a daycare than a preschool. And I'm not saying Lovie should be "schooled" the entire day she's at school (she's there 5 days a week, 9 hours a day), but I do think she would benefit from more than what was being offered. At home, Lovie is super close to reading. We're spelling new words every single day. At school, they weren't doing any of this with her. She needs more attention. She needs to know that her love of learning is a fantastic thing. Not that she wasn't learning that at preschool because obviously she was learning this from somewhere. But at daycare/preschool, it was more about containing the children and keeping them from hurting one another. They weren't really encouraged to do much of anything but play and that's great and very needed in child development, but it became abundantly clear that Lovie was ready for more.

So last Thursday I brought in a big cake and we said goodbye to that chapter of our lives. And I cried. A lot. The teachers wouldn't stop hugging Lovie. They wouldn't stop saying such wonderful things (her Kindergarten teacher wrote a note to her: "You made me laugh so much my stomach hurt. That's what I'll miss the most. We'll miss you. Good luck at your new school. Be happy, always.") They made a big card for her. They sang a song to her. The kids lined up to give her hugs. Some teachers insisted on more than one hug.

I couldn't help but to cry.

And this morning, she started her new adventure at her new school.

I can't wait to pick her up and hear all about it.

June 30, 2014

interview with a four and a half year old.

(click to expand a bit)

The actual video interview lasted nearly 10 minutes. I won't be posting that as I don't have the editing skills to get it up (too much personal info-- name, address, phone number).

The last answer... melts me. My goodness is she good for the soul.


For other interviews, click on these links: 
Three and a half
Two and a half

June 25, 2014

warning: grab your toothbrush and floss for this sickening sweet sap.

June 25, 2014. Did you know we're six months out from Christmas Day. DID YOU KNOW?! You're welcome. : )

If we're six months from Christmas, we're almost six months from this gorgeous girl turning FIVE.

How on earth is it possible that time really goes by this fast when I spent the better part of my life wishing for the days to end?!?

I can barely keep up.

Neither can these two apparently:

Dad and Lovie fell asleep after Father's Day brunch, and before some mini golf. It was Lovie's suggestion--the mini golf. She said, "On Father's Day you're supposta take your father to mini golf." I thought it was a brilliant idea, so we went and, of course, I got two holes in one while my two playmates sulked.

Seriously though, I know it gets old--reading all the mom sap and all the Look-at-How-Bloody-Wonderful-My-Life-is posts on blogs and Facebook, etc--but really... I'M SO IMMENSELY BLESSED. I can't come here and pretend that I'm not.

Of course I have bad days.

Of course there are times when I want to remove myself from the picture and live life in solitude.

But then I look at my sweet girl or she tells me something funny and it all makes sense again. And life is beautiful and a blessing. Such a freaking blessing!

The other night when it was time for her bath, Lovie was getting in the tub and she looked up at me whilst holding onto my shirt and stepping into the tub (because she's so damn tall now that she insists she gets in and out of the tub by herself) and said, "Mama, did you know that you're my best friend?"

I mean... seriously. This was really said to me. By that little girl right up there just moments before I snapped that picture.

How on earth could I not feel anything but blessed?
And lucky?
And fortunate?
And enamored with life and all things Lovie?

Yeah I'm her mama and all that jazz, but honestly, this kid?

She's just pure amazing.

She's just such a gift.

Not a day goes by when I don't thank the universe for her.

So yeah... six months till Christmas and nearly six months till she turns 5.

Hold me?

June 12, 2014

the only thing better: a father's day gift for gramps!

for my daddy, i picked up a frame yesterday with two 4x6 openings. light wood frame. the top opening will have a print of the blue and white top shown above. the bottom opening will have a print of the image below shown above. this example will be sort of what it'll look like with a light wood frame.

i found the quote on pinterest somewhere but changed some of the wording (hint: "sweet angel"). i created an image on picmonkey and added the words. super easy. and free.

as for Lovie's daddy, he'll be getting another one like last year's big hit.

June 6, 2014

just trying to hang on

It's been a while, eh?

Things were a bit hectic there for a while.

Between work, stuff at home, sickness, vacation, and preschool graduation...

...we've been keeping quite busy.

I can't believe this sweet little doll is quickly approaching 4 and a half. Shortly after this milestone, she'll be starting a new school. A real school. No more daycare/preschool stuff.

We've done a ton of research the past several years and we're so very excited to see what her new adventure at Montessori school will bring. Absolutely cannot wait to see how she thrives. Girlfriend is so super close to reading, it's crazy to me. So far she can spell her first and last names, Mama, Dad, Stop, Pink, No, and she has truly mastered telling me letters that are in just about any word!! Particularly what they start with. Last night, for example, she asked me how to spell Soccer Ball and before I could oblige she told me there was an S and a B in it. She amazes me. On a daily basis, she amazes me. And I have a feeling that once she gets into a groove at her new school, there just won't be much stopping her.

May 13, 2014

easy DIY flowers the kid can do

Even though I was extremely disappointed Friday when I picked Lovie up from school and found no Mother's Day "gift"-- not even a "Happy Mother's Day!" from anyone-- I still managed to have her create something for her grandmothers.

We didn't have a lot of time and I'm not really the crafitiest of people out there but we still did something... and I was super pleased with the results:

It's a card made from a thick piece of construction paper folded in half. On the outside I wrote HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY and then I wrote a note that Lovie dictated. On the inside, Lovie hand wrote her name (and mine) opposite the craft: a vase holding flowers. All made with construction paper.
  • I took three pieces of different colored paper and drew a bunch of different sized circles on them. 
  • Then I gave the paper to Lovie and had her cut out the circles. 
  • Then she took a big circle and dabbed some glue on it and covered the glue with a smaller, different colored cirlce; dabbed some glue on that circle and covered it with an even smaller, different colored circle. 
  • Once our flower heads were made, we glued them on to green pieces of construction paper folded and made to look like stems.
  • The vase is another piece of paper cut out to look like a vase and glued on the sides and bottom. So the flowers are actually removable! : )


May 9, 2014


So Sunday is Mother's Day.

I wasn't always a big fan of the day, but since having Lovie, I've grown to enjoy it. Not to get away from her or have alone time, but to actually celebrate her-- she's the reason I'm a mother after all. And it's the most awesomest thing in the world.

taken at her dress rehearsal for her big recital on... Mother's Day!

Being her mama.

Happy Mother's Day to you!

May 2, 2014

This little girl

still prefers *riding* the big wheel over the super pink Barbie big girl bike i got her

She lights my whole world up so brightly I'm amazed I can see straight most days. 

She drives me so crazy at times I'm amazed I'm not fully white haired.

She's so smart, so inquisitive, so emotional, so sensitive (SO VERY SENSITIVE), so kind, so nutty, so funny, so sweet, so pretty, so amazing.

She still loves ballet and pink and princesses and dresses and skirts. 

She still loves Team Umizoomi and television and saucy pizza (no cheese or toppings) and spaghetti and fruit and veggies.

She spends most of her days at school in the Kindergarten room, where she loves to learn and thrive and continue to amaze us all with her knowledge and comprehension and memory.

She loves playing at the park with bigger kids, but she's also still very smitten with babies and toddlers.

She's just such a kick-ass kid, this little girl. 

April 24, 2014

about last weekend

I came down with a horrible stomach thing early Saturday that put me in bed the entire day. Oh, but first we went to an egg hunt that I will never attend again. Why? Well it was free and open to everyone, all ages. And when they blew the whistle everyone was allowed to try to get some eggs. Everyone. Including moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc etc etc. Lovie got two eggs. She cried till some mom made her son with a basket full of eggs give some to her. It was really crazy. And my puking and fever didn't help, I'm sure.
Nevertheless, the Easter Bunny did come Sunday.
notice how dark it is in the background?? that's what 6AM Sunday looks like!

We keep things super simple for Easter... even so, she's happy.

After Lovie indulged in some chocolate bunnies and eggs (and milk and a peanut butter jelly sandwich), and after I collapsed back in bed for a bit (puking stopped, fever was gone, but oh my word my stomach wasn't well), we actually did something none of us have done before: we went to Medieval Times.

They were having a buy one get one free special plus a free Spring egg hunt. It was a really neat experience. Not cheap, but a really neat experience that I would love to do again when I don't have to worry about my gut exploding (and only with another special).

Lovie with a REAL Princess. :)
They have tons of stuff set up to buy (of course) or look at or drink (of course) in the concession area before you get into the arena where you eat and watch hot men with long hair straddling horses putting on a medieval show of sorts. One of the things they have is this green screen that they can take your picture in front of and then transpose it onto another image. When we saw a sample of a girl dressed as a princes standing next to a unicorn... well, use your imagination. It makes for a super damn cute and cool keepsake, at least.
here she is before getting in front of the green screen

It's been several days now since I puked my guts out... I'm better, but my gut is still so damn explosive feeling. Fortunately, Lovie hasn't gotten sick so yahoo for that.