Monday, December 20, 2010


Any guesses as to what the girls have been up to?

A small request

Addison would like to be called by her new name, if you please.  It's "Belle Rapunzel Bisquit Marie Ralph."

Thank you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's in the cards

Jay has been working a lot of weekends.  Which means that I spend a lot of weekends yelling, cleaning moon sand out of hair, and trying, TRYING, to stop and smell the roses.  And while logically I know that I live a pretty stellar life (healthy kids, great husband, gainfully employed, no criminal record), life sometimes has a way of creeping up on you and making you want to take a nap in the clubhouse in the backyard. 

Explaining it this way makes the most sense to me.  Let's say I am a glass.  I can be filled up with a few big stressers or a lot of little tiny ones.  But, big stress or small stress, some days the glass is JUST full.  And it only takes a few drops of stress (or a few drops of juice, as it would be on Saturday) to make the glass overflow.  It doesn't matter that the issue isn't a huge one.  With a glass that full, a few more drops can be too much.

Needless to say, by Saturday night I was tired of yelling, my kids were grumpy, and my house still wasn't clean.  Toys and baby dolls were everywhere and a box of alphabet flashcards were strewn on the living room floor.  Out of principal, I refused to pick them up myself.  So I threatened, I yelled, and the cards continued to lie.

When I finally laid down to go to bed, my cup runneth over.  And not in a good way.  After a few nightmares about midgets (seriously, why is THAT my reoccurring nightmare these days???) I begged a higher power to give me some patience and maybe even a little sanity.  My kids aren't evil... But their mother sure sounds like she is when yelling at them.  Then I remembered someone telling me, "If you ask God for patience, he's going to give you chances to practice being patient."  And for some reason, that calmed me enough to fall into a deep sleep.

Sunday, I woke up and tried to enjoy the kids and their messy quirks.  So when Addi dug through a tub of too-small-Addi-clothes I had just spent an hour putting away, I applauded her sense of style. 

Then I took another picture, because really, the red sparkly shoes totally made the outfit.
Then I took a picture of Sam. Just because the kid is cute.
And then the girls hugged and reminded me again that even though those darn flashcards were still on the ground, life is way too short to get worked up over small stuff like that.
I'd like to wrap this up with a great lesson on how me relaxing and enjoying life led to Addison finally picking up the flashcards from the living room floor and my glass being empty of stress and full of love, respect, and peace on earth.  Instead, Addi DID pick them up, but only after a lot of tears and a (little) yelling from me.  And in true karma style, five minutes later Sam dumped them in the hallway. 

I think I'll just let them stay there. 

It only took 6 days

It only took six days to be able to look at the pictures of all the yummy food I baked last weekend.  Just to prove I have at least one domestic bone in my body, here's the proof.
While I baked, the girls saw the newly fallen snow and asked to go outside.  I sent them upstairs for snow boots, taking advantage of their independence, then got back to icing the brownies.  I turned around to see Sam's back heading out the door, then immediately grabbed her and dragged her back inside.

I choose to just be grateful Addison picked rain boots instead of focus on Sam picking two right flip flops.  It's the little things that keep a girl going.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sporty Spice(s)

The kids are finally at the age where they can entertain themselves for short periods of time without doing structural damage to the house.  A few weeks ago, I found them geared up for a rousing game of hockey. 

And I'm proud to say it only took me seven minutes and three clues to figure out that hockey was in fact what they were playing. 

 My first clue... a pile of raisins on the ground. 
Clue #2:  Sam wearing the bag on her foot and carrying a golf club.
And my final clue:  Addi wearing a snowflake oven mitt, my crocs, and several mardi gras beads.
I'm pretty impressed with their imaginations sometimes.  And with my only needing three clues.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No pictures please!

Among some of the fabulous things that happened last weekend (Festival of Lights, baking with the kids all night Friday, a cookie swap with good friends, great time with the kids and their Papaw and Grandma Carol), there were a few negatives.

You know, small things like Sam yacking all over my bed on Friday night.  Then Addi, not to be outdone, barfing all over my bed on Saturday night.

After getting what might actually count as a 1/2 a night of sleep on towels amid random half-asleep conversations about fluke-pukes and washing the sheets Sunday morning, I woke up and felt...... Off. 

Then the "off" turned into "Holy moly what evil demon has possessed me and what ancient priceless artifact did I willfully destroy while laughing and poking cute babies in the eye to make me deserve this hell that might have been called the stomach flu if it weren't so amazingly evil that flu doesn't even come close to the torture this has given to me and my poor defenseless bathroom."

I like to have cute pictures to go with my blog.  I'll spare you that today, for your sake and mine.  Let's just say Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday have not been my best.  And I really hope that without pictures Jay will somehow erase the image of me sick from his brain. 

But, in an attempt to ring in 2011 with a positive, upbeat, updated Steph (aka Steph 2.0), I will now give you the list of positives I have made about our ill-fated weekend.

Things that ROCK about the stomach flu - by Steph 2.0
10. Super cheap Christmas shows your kids have been looking forward to for weeks are totally over-rated.  Who wants to get dressed up on a Sunday?

9. The Dettmans got an unexpected Christmas show and said it was great!  Awesome for them and letting someone else enjoy it actually made me feel good.

8. My inlaws have never left my house so fast.  Although sad to see them go, I now know what to do should I want to actually get rid of them in a hurry.

7. I honestly could have cared less when I saw the disaster the kids made while I was otherwise occupied.  Free day for them!

6. I got a break from everyday distractions, like Facebook, blogging, and showering.

5.  I napped.  A LOT.  Five hours, in fact, on Monday. 

4. I got to enjoy some friendly bantering about the flu with my other sick friend.  Sorry Beth :( Hope you didn't get this from me.

3. Addi and Sam got to work on their acting skills.  Namely by pretending to be Mommy and yelling "I'm gonna puke!  Rahhh! RAHHHH! Give me a bucket!"  Charming.

2.  You know how the last thing you eat before you get really sick is the last thing you want to eat for years?  Saturday night, I ate cookies.  Fingers crossed I never want another one again.

And, finally.

1. a 7 lb drop in weight.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Style and Grace

Each Monday Addison has her dance class.  Parents are kept outside and really have no idea how or what the kids are doing, which is probably for the best.  I'm sure the kids pay more attention to their teachers and us parents don't freak when we see how our kids act while dancing away our hard-earned money.

Right before Thanksgiving we had a "parents watch" week.  It was pretty fun to watch the kids show off their moves.  And after every "move", they all looked to see that their parents were watching.  We all had our cameras and I'm sure there are 100's of pictures, just like these, all over town.

Presenting.... First position!
 The ever popular fancy-foot-on-the-knee-arms-up-don't-tip-over position.
 And finally, the grand finale...  The "I'm-sure-all-dancers-pick-their-boogers-just-like-this" position.
I wonder if any other parents caught that one on film.


Sam saw this ornament and was so excited.  Because, according to her, it's a picture of her "Pop Pop."  You know, my dad.

What do you think?  Twins?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My super picky eaters

I always hoped my kids would be good eaters.  I feel terrible for parents who have children who only eat white foods... Or chicken nuggets... Or mac n cheese.  Having constant battles over food does not sound like fun to me.

Unfortunately, I was not spared in that department.  My kids scream and cry over food just like every other kid I know.  Serving foods like broccoli, green peppers and onions are highly likely to cause tears, wailing, and gnashing of the teeth.

But I do think that in most households, the kids are not screaming and crying because their daddy ate the last of the zucchini and they wanted more "bikinis" too.  Or there aren't enough banana peppers on their sub and mommy won't share hers.  Or, Sam won't share her plate of black olives.

We also regularly freak out when there aren't cut up green peppers to snack on at will or Sam's soup has more broccoli in it.  Both serious offenses if you ask Addi.

Luckily we keep extra cans of black olives in the pantry and convincing Addi to add them to her soup, cereal, or PB and J calms her down immediately.

Decking the Halls

After a fantastic Thanksgiving and a packed Black Friday adventure starring Jay, me and 5,000 of our closest friends, Saturday morning we decided to decorate for Christmas.  I thought the girls would want to help but after being told 16 times that the ornaments were not bouncy balls, horses for their barbies to ride on or decorations for their dollhouse, they drifted off into Addi's room to play Polly Pocket and Pet Shop.  I checked on them and they were playing so nicely, I just had to take a picture.

I headed back downstairs and after a bit, checked in on the girls again.  Except Sam was no longer in Addi's room.  Because she was in my tub, spraying her baby clean and otherwise soaking everything in sight.
After drying her off and convincing her that her baby looked great, we headed downstairs to finish the decorating.

Our house is festive, we finished our Christmas shopping and didn't have to fight a soul, Sam's baby is clean... all is right in the world at Casa de Ralph.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Life Lessons, via Addi

I am well aware that someday soon, my kids will be smarter than me.  They learn so much every day at school and you can practically see the stuff smooshing into their brains.  I know it's just a matter of time.  Them getting smarter makes it harder for me to slip things past them or distract them when they don't get what they want.

Thanksgiving day, I was attempting to distract Addison so I could talk to my mom about potential gifts for the girls.  Last year I would have just talked to my mom about it in front of Addi - this year, if I start spelling something she immediately knows I'm talking about her.  I asked her to run to the garage and get me a Coke Zero, then started talking to my mom.

A few minutes later, Addi walks in and hands me a Gatorade.  She loves Coke Zero just as much as me so I know she knows what it is, so I said, "Addi, this is Gatorade.  Mommy asked for Coke Zero."

She looked at me and said, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  Then, smiled sweetly.

Interesting turn of events for me, don't you think?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Watching Summer Fade Into Fall

With the change of the seasons comes leaves falling, cooler nights, and darker evenings. Which really translates into two kids who are cooped up in the house, are bored silly and really, really like to drive their mother crazy.

A few weekends ago I started what, pre-kid, would be a few hour project – cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Post kid, it’s taken almost a month.

When I got to the island, Sam and Addi were very, very excited. Turns out, an empty island is a great place to hang out, play, or even take a nap.

Seriously, what did I do with my time before them?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Moms...

...Totally let their kids eat Dairy Queen for dinner.  Right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Check List

Training for my new job = check!

Getting all my ducks in a row at my old job = check!

Making lists, checking them twice, for the upcoming holidays = check!

Running 3x a week to prepare for my ½ marathon = check (and ouch)!

Updating my blog = ummmm…………..

New updates coming soon. I promise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Her inner artist

Lately, Addi is ALL about the art.  I'm very happy to report that she has picked paper as her 1st choice of places to draw, so I can support her new passion without buying stock in Magic Eraser.

Last weekend I saw Addi working very patiently on this...
I said, "Wow, Addi, that is a GREAT picture of a school bus!"  I mean, look at the detail.  It's got the stop sign, the mirror, the wheels...  I was so impressed.

And, she ran crying into the other room. 

When she calmed down she filled me in... It is a picture of me.  Then, she scribbled on it and yelled that I didn't understand.

I'm thinking the cash I have saved on Magic Erasers should go straight to duct tape for my mouth.  Or possibly therapy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

She's got skillz

Thanks to several hundred pieces of candy on Halloween, Addi had all the energy in the world to perfect her new skill.

Any estimates on how long until I find gum in her hair?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Strike a pose

I don’t watch Project Runway. I don’t subscribe to Vogue. Because of my arthritis, I spend the winter wearing shoes that could easily pass for orthopedic wedges. And yesterday, I almost wore pants to work that I had hemmed with scotch tape.

All those things aside, I do like to look nice and be in style when possible. I do own jeggings that I wear with tall boots, and it would just about kill me to wear a sweatshirt to the office. I am by no stretch of the imagination a fashionista like my friend Erin, but I do ok. And if I can get a great deal on a cute new outfit, all the better.

I recently spent what seemed like a lot of money on a tshirt - $30. Do you like it?

Yes, you read it correctly. It says I am training to run a ½ marathon – 13.1 miles to be exact. My BFF Jenny and I ran our first race last summer and were looking for another 5K to run to keep us motivated, and somehow we settled on the Indy Mini-Marathon on May 7 instead. I was WAY too scared to sign up last year. And hitting the “Submit” button on the application this year was a pretty frightening ordeal as well. But, with a LOT of training, I know I can do it. My good friends (and fellow May moms) Mandee and Kim also signed up, so the four of us will make it across the finish line, somehow, someway.

First things first…. I need the courage to actually put ON this shirt.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Minnie and Me

Today was Sam and Addi's Halloween parade at school.  Addi was thrilled (more on that later) and Sam was totally not into it.  We struggled at home for an hour to get her costume on, gave up, then went to school and made Sam cry there.

Shocker... She calmed right down as soon as I picked her up.  And double shocker, I had to carry her around pretty much all morning. 
She did calm down enough to take a few pictures with her friends at school. 
And she was VERY excited to take many pictures with Karter.  He's her "friend" - not sure how deep the bond they have goes but they have been known to switch socks with each other at school on many an occasion.  A boy willing to wear pink socks for a girl?  A keeper in my eyes.
After the parade we headed back into their room for the party.  Or what the parents slyly call "leaving their sugar crazed kids to the professionals."

During the party, a fellow mom made an unusual observation.... Notice anything odd about Sam's table?  Look closely.
OK - now look at the table right next to it. 
Still stumped?  Well, all the blonds are assigned to one table, while all the dark-headed kids are at another.  I asked the teacher if the kids seem to walk in a uniform fashion or try to speak in a German accent and she laughed, then said no.  She said that Sam's table is the one with the kids who don't hit, bite, or throw food.  Kind of interesting if you ask me.   

Hey, don't judge... it never hurts to ask about these things, especially considering my other kid has already started her life in crime as a mob boss.  Sam could be a dictator in the making.  You never know.
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