Monday, July 26, 2010


This weekend we hit a few milestones at the Ralph house. Besides bowling for the first time (which deserves it’s own little spot in blog history), Sam peed on the potty for the first time! For those of you without kids, this may not seem like a big deal, but those of us WITH kids know that it’s huge. It’s a long, messy road but at the end is something better than a rainbow…. NO DIAPERS.

Addi had a milestone of her own, and this is one I never thought possible. Yesterday while I was putting laundry away, I realized that both kids were silent. The TV was off so I knew they had not succumbed to a Spongebob-induced coma, so I understandably expected the worst (given our history of silent children). I found Sam immediately – she had her daycare on the stairs and was patting babies for naptime – but Addi wasn’t with her. I ran upstairs and saw what I can only describe as a miracle.

Addi – sitting quietly in her room, working on a puzzle. The puzzle wasn’t on fire. There were no permanent markers within reach. AND, she was fully clothed.

I was, and still am, a bit speechless.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Hi" Heels!

Just like eye color, I think a love for shoes is genetic. My mom has hundreds of pairs and as a kid I remember shoe shopping as the highlight of my week. And even when the rest of my room was a total disaster, I loved lining my shoes up in my closet and just looking at them. Especially the totally uncomfortable, impractical ones. Those are always the most fun to have on display.

Obviously, Sam has inherited the shoe fetish as well. Most mornings when I go in her room she’s sacked out with her shoes/boots/Crocs still on her feet. When I try to take them off to get her dressed, she freaks out and then calms down the second I put them back on her.

Addi is less picky about shoes – she prefers flip flops most days. However, this week she’s insisted on wearing her dress up high heels to school, and each night Sam has asked to wear them to bed. Addi freaks out, crying “NO, they are MY shoes!”, then Sam cries, then I distract her with her shiny red boots and all is right with the world again. Then we repeat the next day.

Well, Wednesday night Addi was feeling generous. So when Sam proudly donned the purple heels, Addi just kissed her goodnight and waved to her as she went to bed. After ensuring Sam was tucked in with her heels sticking out of the blanket (so she could admire them of course!) I headed to bed.

When I went to wake Sam up on Thursday, I just had to laugh.

Instead of sleeping in the shoes, at some point Sam took them off and displayed them in a place of honor. Then went right back to sleep.

She is SO Kathy’s granddaughter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vanilla or Chocolate?

I have a confession to make.

I have been under the mistaken assumption for the past few years that I am raising two normal children. Turns out, not all kids are like Addison. Most are actually a lot more like Samantha. This does explain how people have 6+ kids and don’t head straight from labor and delivery to the looney bin after each one.

Last weekend we were at the pool and Addi was swimming around. She was a dolphin, Jay was her owner, and she was doing tricks for fish. For a brief moment her ADD kicked in and she turned into a shark, then faster than I could say “Ritalin” she warped back into Flipper. I struck up a conversation with the lady next to me who also has two little girls and said, “Oh you know how it is when your kids pretend to be animals, right?”

Wrong. Turns out, her kid just plays dolls and read books.

After coming home from the pool and from ice cream, Addi and Sam adopted two of Jay’s fishing lures as their pets. Within minutes “Vanilla” and “Vanilla Twist” were valued members of our family, ones the kids couldn’t live without. Addi even made a small bed for Vanilla and talked all night long about the adventures they were sure to have. When it actually came time for bed, however [dramatic music here] Vanilla was GONE. Vanilla Twist was given as a substitute but was quickly discarded as a cheap knock off. He was missing a leg, after all. As the wailing and gnashing of teeth got louder and I ran faster and faster around the house trying to find Vanilla, Jay finally wised up and headed to the garage. Moments later, like a hero bursting through a wall of fire, here came daddy to the rescue. After inspecting the Vanilla to ensure all legs were, in fact, in tact, Addi quickly went to sleep. And Jay breathed a sigh of relief because although new Vanilla had all his legs, he also had a giant hole through the head where moments before a hook was. Luckily a hole Addi did not see.

Vanilla Twist - sans leg

This morning, with Vanilla just a distant plastic memory, I found Addi laying in bed with both legs stretched towards the ceiling. Why? Because she was a possum.

Who knew this wasn’t the norm?

Five miles, uphill both ways

Do you remember how when you are a kid how annoying it was when people would say things like, “You are too young to understand that” or “You’ll ‘get it’ when you are grown up.” Please people… Even at five I knew I was a genius. It's like when people told you how bad it was back in the day.  Just annoying.

Now that I am a grown up, I get it. Some things are just MUCH better left unsaid. It's not that I don't want to explain things to them, it's that it's exhausting and hard and usually leads to more questions.  Some of which I may not know the answer to.  I find that distracting my kids with candy and quickly changing the subject is much more effective.

And now that I am, in fact, a grown up, I know I was not a genius at age five. No way could I be one then when I am definitely one now. And since in addition to being a genius I am also extremely generous, I’d like to share some of my wisdom with you now.
  • Baby wipes are amazing. Keep them around your house forever.
  • Every single time they are holding something red and liquid, your children will 1. develop the shakes or 2. forget how to use their hands.
  • Deodorant, when eaten, is not really that harmful. Neither is lotion, toothpaste, diaper rash cream, sand…
  • Do not ever tell your children that you have family pictures coming up. They will laugh in your face and then get hit in the face with something sharp or hard.
  • Kids will repeat. Exactly. What. You. Say.
  • Reading books upside down is not all that hard.
  • Skipping pages in a book, however, is.
  • Think stubbing your toe on the coffee table hurts? Wait till you step on a rogue Lego at 4 a.m.
  • You can hop on one foot in agonizing pain and not make a sound.
  • It is possible to know the folks at poison control by name.
  • And, that even at your worst moments, you will love your kids more than you ever knew possible.   

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Funny Business

Addi has a fantastic imagination. She’s constantly making up stories about imaginary friends or pets and then acting parts of that story line out for weeks. Then, getting frustrated and upset when you forget the name of her friend. THEN, spending 15 minutes sobbing.

She’s such a gem.

This week her best friend is her imaginary big brother, Rowdy. Rowdy is 16 and in kindergarten (apparently he’s not too bright) and each morning we drop him off in the yellow room at school. Then at night, I listen to Addi taking orders from him, then blaming him when she gets in trouble for whatever mis-deed she’s done.

Lucky for me, Addi also likes me to document said indiscretions, so I can look back and laugh/groan/cry as needed. Like this morning, Addi and Rowdy unbuttoned my duvet cover on my bed, climbed inside, and made a fort. A fort complete with pillows, blankets, rogue pacifiers, a book and several plastic horses. When I yelled politely requested that she remove said items so I could make the bed, she yelled politely informed me that she and Rowdy were not kids anymore, they were groundhogs.

At least today’s creativity did not involve Sharpies.

Turning 16

Last weekend Grandma let Addi play with her cell phone while at the park. And then Addi told anyone (and seriously, I mean anyone) all about it.

“I’m 16 today.”

“Today’s my birthday! I’m 16!”

“I got this cell phone for my birthday. Today. Today’s my birthday, ‘cause I’m 16.”

“My phone cost $20. On my birthday.”

“Shhhh…” [holding up one finger] “I’m texting my friends. Because it’s my birthday.”

“Grandma, I just pushed a few buttons. Then I emailed all my friends.”
It was cute, it was annoying, and it was just irritating enough to make us laugh.

After introducing herself to pretty much everyone in the entire playground, she showed off her phone to some little boys, who were in love with her phone too.  The one in the black shirt?  She declared him "Awesome."
I do believe I'd rather her be Phone Crazy vs. Boy Crazy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Just when you think we are moving in the right direction with regards to Samantha's nighttime apparel choices...
She goes RIGHT back to the boots.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Road Trip!

This past weekend the girls and I headed to Indianapolis for a whirlwind visit. One of my ‘invisible online friends’ was going to be in the area for a wedding, so the timing worked out well. Jay chose to stay home and shampoo the carpets – a job that is best done with no children around – so the girls and I loaded up some tunes, movies, and a few stuffed animals and took off on a road trip Friday after work. I laid down the rules – minimum whining and only necessary stops – loaded movies into the DVD player, and headed east.

Twenty minutes later we had our first stop. Addi and Sam were hungry.

After a surprisingly uneventful, clean and fun dinner at McDonalds and a pit stop in what could qualify as the nastiest McD’s bathroom ever, we headed east again.

We made it an entire hour before our next stop. Sam’s tummy hurt and from the loud noises coming from her direction, I assumed a poo was in order. We stopped at a Dairy Queen, got a few cones and waited for nature to take its course.

Addi proved that she’s her mother’s daughter by making friends almost immediately at the DQ. When a group started towards the door she jumped up and insisted on holding the door for them, then introduced herself to each of them. The youngest person in the crew was a mere 65 so Addi fit right in. She climbed on up to their table and started a conversation with them, and when it came time to leave she was heartbroken to leave her new posse. Well, until she got outside and found a man with a baby and a dog to talk to.

We finally made it to Indy a mere five hours after leaving Peoria (regulary a 4 hour trip, max), thanks to some construction on 465. After filling Grandma in on every turn we made, we headed to bed and woke up Saturday ready for a full day of visiting. We headed over to the Rude house, home of Kelly (my kindergarten BFF), Adam (the hubby), and Elliott and Thomas (two of the cutest boys you have ever seen). Oh, and Gus and Phoebe, the dogs. Addi quickly renamed the dogs and Sam quickly decided she loves babies. She insisted on Elliott sitting between her legs and was quite upset when he didn’t want to.

Still friends, 26 years later...

Thomas, Sam, Elliott, and Addi
After catching up with EA, Helen and Ed too, we headed to Castleton to meet up with Mandee, Jack, Graham, Emily, Barrett, and Uncle Phil. Barrett, Jack and Samantha are all kids from our “May Miracle’s” online birth board, so it’s always fun to get kids from the board together and meet “in real life.” Mandee and I have hung out on several occasions but this was the first chance I got to meet Emily and Barrett.

Addi was in heaven… that’s another post entirely. Sam was also in heaven, but that’s because she spotted a baby and became Graham’s right hand gal. She then insisted (for the next hour) that she must hold “THE BABY!” and once we left kept asking “where baby go?”

It was pretty cute. NOT cute enough to have another baby quite yet. But very, very sweet.

Sam and "her" baby, Graham

Sam, Me, Mandee, Jack, Graham, Emily and Barrett

We headed back to my moms, got MORE ice cream, then went to bed. Sunday morning we had breakfast with another friend, Lynda, then headed home.

For those of you who haven’t fallen comatose from this boring blog, I have to tell you… This weekend was one of the best I can remember. Yes, Jay wasn’t with us and the girls and I both had our moments when we weren’t at our best, but the little moments were just SO FUN. The kids both singing, majorly off-key to every song on my not-Pod. Then getting so excited to hang out with Grandma… Sam getting over her fear of dogs and babies… Just them being THEM. I wouldn’t trade a second of it. And can’t wait for another weekend just like this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Addi surprise

It’s no secret that Jay is an amazing cook. No recipe needed – he just whips of great food each and every night with what seems like barely any effort whatsoever.

Me… Well, my domestic ineptitude is pretty much legendary. Nights when I am in charge of dinner we very frequently have PB&J or hotdogs. I can bake though – I follow the directions to the letter and it turns out just fine. I just usually choose not to. Why take over what Jay so obviously has already mastered? I don’t ask him to take over what I’ve perfected… Like laying on the couch, reading and ignoring the kids. It takes skilz to multitask like that.

Over the last few months, Addi has started to want to help in the kitchen. In the past she always wanted to help me do the dishes, but now she’s getting more into the food prep. She and Sam pretend to make stuff in the play kitchen and quite regularly I find little plates on the stairs, lined up for snack time.

A few nights ago I found Addi making her own special treat. She was very excited to share the recipe with me too. So the next time you come over, ask her to make you some “Addi surprise”.

Fruit snacks dipped in Jergen’s Lotion. Yum.

**Don’t worry. I have poison control on speed dial.**

Friday, July 9, 2010

For the love of the game

Growing up it seemed like I was always involved in sports. Except for my very short stint with soccer, I enjoyed most sports and was pretty decent at them until I realized I could get hurt. Then gametime just stressed me out. Jay played football and swam competitively too, so when talking about our kids it’s never been a question of IF they will be active in sports, but WHEN and WHICH ONES.

As a reward a few months back for some mistaken good dead or another, Jay got the girls a golf set. Addi was excited to become a golfer like daddy and I was thrilled for her to be interested in a non-contact sport. Less chance of her getting hurt, hopefully less cost for supplies… After they played with the set once and then forgot all about it, I found the set stored nicely in the Tupperware cabinet– aka Addi’s “cubby”

I asked her to please put the set where it belonged. Five minutes later I had a game taking place in the kitchen. Addi what exactly she was doing because the last time I checked, golfers don’t wear oven mitts on their feet.

She agreed. Golfers don’t. But hockey players DO. There goes my dream of her having a full set of teeth.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A picture's worth...

Each summer we have a fish fry at our house. Our neighbor catches the fish and Jay fries it up, and the boys drink beer and eventually shoot off the potato gun. The kids run around, yell, run in the house, run out, ask for a snack, don’t eat a bite, and the moms make sure everyone is accounted for and not blown up with fireworks. Typical all-American fun.

Being a good hostess I should have taken pictures of all the fun everyone had. Sadly, there is just one picture from the entire day.

Jay’s dessert. It tasted as good as it looked!


Both kids love to sing and dance.  In the car or at home, we are listening to music and they are running around like two tone-deaf wonders.  Super cute - just a little hard on the ears sometimes.  Especially if Mom joins in.

One of their favorite artists (besides Jay-Z and Hannah Montana, of course) is Laurie Berkner.  Her songs are played on Nick Jr. regularly and anytime they come on, the kids go crazy.  Sam's favorite is the BOOTS song.  Laurie sings, "B-O-O-T-S, BOOTS!" and Sam sort of says it too while stomping around the room.  Then it ends, she cries, I rewind the video and we start over again.  Repeat 45 times.

 Addi joins in as well but generally spells out T-O-O-T-S, TOOTS!  No surprise there (again, Addison is actually spelled C-L-A-S-S-Y).

Anyway, lately it's become a bit of an obsession with Sam.  Dare I say, it's gone too far?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fingers crossed

Here's hoping this is the only time these two ride in a police car.
But, Jay and I seem to be falling down on our OTHER goal of keeping our kids from one day becoming strippers.  So, if you wouldn't mind crossing YOUR fingers as well?

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