Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lessons from a little girl

I love being a mom and, for the most part, feel like I'm pretty much on top of things. However, whenever I start to feel too prideful, "something" usually follows to strike me down. Lately, "something" = "Ella." Here are some of the lessons learned:

A two-year-old little girl LOVES all things pink, sparkly, messy, and OFF-LIMITS. I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago and, while I am feeling better now, I was pretty much "down" then. Jon was offshore, leaving us land-lubbers to fend for ourselves. Ella had been asking me all day to polish her nails (her phrase). At the time, I wasn't able to bend over, let alone do an intense toddler mani-pedi, so she was made to understand that it wasn't going to happen. I turned a Barbie movie on for her (which usually cements her bottom to the couch) and laid down on my bed. All was quiet, too quiet, and as my little brother Joey taught me much earlier in my life, silent is deadly. About the time that Barbie discovered that she was really a princess that had marooned on a beautiful tropical island with animals that she could speak with, I started to notice that my house had the aroma of an Asian nail salon. I slithered out of bed and followed my nose only to disover this:

Back in the day, the pharmaceutical industry was forced to implement tamper-proof lids on all meds so that little children and arthritic little old ladies wouldn't be able to access any of the medicine inside the bottle. Someone please explain to me WHY the child-proof nail polish lid has not been invented and utilized?

An eternal truth: when you don't want them to fall asleep, they will. And with a smile on their smug little face knowing that they are thereby destroying any hope of being put down for a "real" nap that will enable you to clean up all that they have soiled in the course of the day.

You can buy world peace for a quarter... or at least a peaceful trip to Wal-Mart. I am not above bribing a child with a merry-go-round ride if they are a good shopper. ("Good shopper", of course, means sitting in the front of the cart (with the strap buckled), maintaining proper footwear at all times, remaining fully clothed, leaving the store with hair in roughly the same condition that it was upon entering the store, not eating any of the items placed into the cart, and keeping all noises (verbal and bodily) at an appropriate level.)

She's happy, I'm happy, and the Wal-Mart checkout lady is... well... maybe not exactly happy, but at least not cursing at me inside of her orthodontia-lacking-head for having the gall to bring a CHILD into a STORE, of all places!

Ahem, some lessons bear repeating: Silent is deadly. Of COURSE she's not playing quietly with her dolls and pretend food. She's found the rogue marker, buried in the deepest recesses of the couch, placed by the sofa manufacturer in the hopes that a random two year old will discover this blue wonder and destroy said couch, thus forcing the consumer to purchase more marker-implanted furniture. HaHa, Emerald Home Furniture, co. fat-cat. Jokes on you, er, or all over Ella...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grandma Foster came to visit us over the Mardi Gras break, and we had sooooo much fun having her here! We tried really hard to get her to extend her trip, but I think she needed to go home and recover. It was a really great two weeks that went by way too fast! Here are some of the hightlights:

Foster had his birthday on February 13 and Merrit on the 10th, so a Grandma-hosted birthday trip to Build-A-Bear was in order the night after she came.

Wishing it was her birthday...
I will be really sad when he decides that he is too old for this. He had a great time and loves his new buddy.
Another day, we decided to go to the Lafayette Children's Museum. Despite school being out for the break (Mardi Gras), it wasn't too busy.

My kids love the bubble exhibit and always try to do this:
(Which is actually harder than it looks...trust me.)

The newscast:

The paramedics: (sorry about the broken ribs, Merrit but you really should've held still.)

The dentist's office:

(How many mouths do you think this giant toothbrush has been in? Despite a rather heartfelt lecture on the importance of NOT putting the t-brush into eachother's mouths, I still think there was a deposit of Ella's saliva on it when we left.)

Bon appetite! (consequently, this is Ella's very favorite meal. She is a total health nut.)

Of course, the zoo was on our agenda. It was a pretty day and I think that G-ma Foster was only on the phone two or three times bragging to all of the people she left behind in Utah about being able to be outside without the threat of hypothermia.
The llamas were VERY friendly:

Proof that fear of viscious animal teeth and saliva skips a generation.

My kids asked if I would get them some "llama food." Um...yuck...no. Grandma's swift and immediate response:

...Anything for her babies.

The "picture tree" at the zoo:

It was so great to have her here...we are planning for the next time!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Team Sports

So, the last few weeks have been quite busy for us. Foster started soccer, and Maya started swim team all within the same week. Between games and three times a week practices, my mom-mobile has been running all over town. I have even had to enroll Jon's junk-mobile to help me divide and conquer the many practices that often occur at the same time.
Here is Foster "assuming the position." He is getting to be a pretty good goalie, but, let's be honest. What makes him fit for this gig is his sheer size. We had to submit his birth certificate to prove that he really is only seven. 5'10" mom + 6'2" dad= a soccer star.
The cheerleaders:
This is where Ella can be found at every single game. Thank goodness for bleachers. They make an excellent jungle gym.

Maya enduring to the end. It was FREEZING this day. (Of course, to all of our "Northern" friends, I realize that this is completely relative.)

Enjoying a post-game beverage.

Their team name is aptly "The Beast."

Here is our swimming girl. I only uploaded one pic of her doing her thing because the picture quality was not good. She has practice three times a week and is LOVING it! We are waiting for a meet that is not on Sunday and she will be ready.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mardi Gras 2009

Mardi Gras. I LOVE it. What is it all about, you ask? It is the period right before Lent for you to get your fun out! So...of course a self-respecting Mormon girl like me wants to jump right in and hang with the Cajun Catholics. Here in South Louisiana, it is an oppurtunity for people to spend LOTS of money to be in a parade (a Krewe), go to balls, and throw beads to the revelling masses. (me.) There is something so completely satisfying about catching beads. I don't know exactly what it is, I just know that it makes me feel very happy inside. Jon's view of Mardi Gras is somewhat different. To him, it is something to endure for the sake of his wife and children. This year, we all were happy. Jon went on a combined Laurel/Priest stake trip to Nauvoo, and my mom came down to visit us (read: grandkids), and see what Mardi Gras was all about. Let me just say that we have a new M.G. convert. While the Bishop was away, we played. :)
Our first parade was at Maya and Foster's school. The second grade got to make shoebox "floats" about a book that they read and put on their own little procession.
Here is Maya with her contribution:
Let me just say that I felt really bad. Apparently, the other parents spent "slightly" more time helping their child with their float than I did with Maya. Thankfully, she was so enamored with the fact that I got a horse to stick on it, she didn't really notice.

We went to the Children's Parade on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. It was a great parade, but we were very early. To kill some time, we walked over to the carnival that was being held at the Cajundome. It was ridiculously pricey so the kids only got to do two rides each.

Ella lurved driving the jeep!

Foster chose this alpine flyer thing for his second ride. As you can see, you get strapped down on your stomach, your little harness thing rises up to about fifteen or twenty feet, and you get flailed around and around and around. He was sooo excited to try this (I was freaking out inside... think of the word "Carney" and then picture this mental image setting up (probably while intoxicated or under the influence of some kind) a complicated metal structure that goes around at high speeds and then picture strapping your only man-child to said contraption. You understand.) Despite my inner turmoil, I tried desperately to get a picture of his face. As it started going around, he looked terrified which quickly to changed to the pre-barf face. (At which point I began visualizing cotton candy puke flying out in every direction at high velocity.) Thankfully, this quickly changed to elation which lasted for one more revolution and then the carney pulled the lever to stop the fun.

Maya, Foster, and Merrit all agreed that the Fun Slide had to be one of their choices. I put my money on Maya to win (thinking of my extensive Pinewood Derby knowledge of the heaviest car always wins), but fearless Foster got a really good start and flew down closely followed by scrappy little Merrit who picked up speed in the end. At least we kept the win in the family. Maya got the "coolest-looking car" award (which we all know is the kiss of death.)

Finally... it was time for the parade to start. About fifteen minutes before the floats start rolling in, the sirens start and then all of the LCRP's come by and slap the kids hands as they whiz by on their sweet motorcycles. (Of course you realize that LCRP's are our equivalent of CHiP's only instead of California Highway Patrol, "LCRP" stands for Lafayette Crappy Road Patrol. I often contemplate how they are even able to stay on their bikes with all of the van-eating potholes around here. Visit us here and you can see for yourself what I am talking about.)

Waiting to get whipped in the face by her next pretty necklace.

I'd like some more please.

That's my girl imitating me.

The haul.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Foster's 7th!

May I just say that I CANNOT believe that Foster is seven?! It seriously seems like only a couple of months ago that we (very surprisingly) found out we were expecting him. I know it is very cliche to say, but I do NOT know where the time has gone! He is such a funny kid. Since moving here he has turned "ghetto" and likes to beat-box and has his own signature hand jives that go along with said beat. One of my favorite little stories about Foster's ghetto-ness was when we were playing Rock Band at our friends' house. Foster was on the drums, Maya on guitar, and Jon was on vocals. When they failed their round, Foster said: "Oh yeeeee-ah. Dat's how we roll." So funny. Not sure he even realized that they weren't good. He gets into his share of trouble but he is so freaking hilarious about it that it is often hard to dish out his discipline with a straight face. On the way home from church the other day, he was acting sad. He said that he had fought with his "best friend" and that they were no longer best friends. I told him that he needed to work on forgiving his former BFF and to move on. He said: " You mean my BFFL." I asked him what this was and he said: "Best Friend Forever.... Lies." What a girl.

Anyway, here are some of the highlights of his special day.

It is our tradition to do breakfast in bed. Here is his tasty breakfast of (as requested) donuts.

I asked Foster what he wanted to do for his birthday dinner. At first he said that he wanted to do Sonic. Jon, in all of his cheap glory, was thrilled with this option. I, however, was not. I told him to think of something even yummier (if this is even possible.) Of course, McDonald's came up next. Finally he decided on IHOP and at the last minute changed his mind to Gator Cove. Ryan, Tanya, Merrit, and McCord met us there and were very good sports about Foster's chosen location. (Tanya is NOT a seafood girl.)

Our boy loves him some crawfish! This night they made them SOOOOO spicy. All of our mouths were flaming hot. This is Foster's disgusting attempt to put out the fire. Dipping his napkin in root beer and sucking on it. Ew. All in the name of birthday memories.

After dinner, we came back to our house for presents and cake and ice cream.

I love this picture. I think his face says it all! What a fun day!