Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ode to Sam

Reading old blogs is one of the best things about keeping this history of our lives.  It's hysterical to read some of the crazy things the girls have done over the last five years, and catching up on old times gives me the boost to keep this up.  Yes, I love writing and Yes I love sharing our lives, but it's a fantastic way to remember the mundane car rides and conversations the girls and us have had.

That said, there are many, many more blogs focused on Addison than Samantha.  Yes, Addi is two years older, but there are still way more stories about Addi's antics.  Thinking about it, it makes sense.  Of the two, Addi is definitely the one that provides the better material.  Stories about Sam listening and doing what she's told really don't make for the blog fodder that Addi painting the couch with Vaseline does. 

So, in order to balance the world just a tad, here's a blog all about Sam - and all the things that may not make the blog reel on a regular basis.  Most aren't that exciting, but they are what makes Sam - Sam.
  • She's a total lover, always kissing, hugging, and loving up on us. 
  • She loves babies and plays so well with her cousin Gwenna, and she'd make a great big sister if we gave her the chance. 
  • She's so funny in her own way, dancing and laughing and telling stories about school and her friends and her dog.
  • She speaks very clearly, even sometimes saying words better than Addi does at five years old.
  • She loves to read and will choose being read to over TV, almost every time.
  • She's easy going.  I don't know if I'd realize just how laid back she is if Addi wasn't so strong-willed, but it's fantastic to know how enjoyable easy going can be by comparison.  But, it's nice to not argue 90% of every conversation with her.
  • She's a great accessory.  Even on my ugliest day, if I hold her I feel beautiful.
  • She loves Spongebob because her sister does, but would totally prefer Mickey Mouse.  And 99% of the time, she agrees to Spongebob with little protest, to make her sister happy.
  • I do believe that she adores her sister more than anything in the world - and if there's any doubt, look at pretty much every single picture I take of the two of them.  She's always looking and smiling at Addi with an adoration that takes your breath away.
  • She's determined when she needs to be and stands up for herself if she really wants something.
  • She plays school and is very nice to her "students." 
  • She is by far the best. cuddler. ever.  She is always asking to be held, or carried, or wants to sit on my lap.
  • She barely has to ask and I'll pretty much whatever she wants, because I'm totally mesmerized by her.
  • She is so easy to drop off at school, walking me to the door, giving me a hug and waving goodbye through the door... She has no idea that when I walk away, I smile and almost cry every single time because I can't imagine life without her.
This blog isn't funny, or embarrassing, or memorable because of the large amount of money it will take to clean up the mess she just made.  But, I know in a few years I'll be just as excited to remember these little memories of Sam as I will the bigger moments.

Because Sam is amazing, wonderful, beautiful, and perfect, just the way she is.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just ducky

Wow... what a weekend!  This weekend was filled with friends and family - working out with Beth, celebrating Jill's birthday, having a cookout at the Dettmans, Addi's first sleepover - and today, the Duck Race.

This was Addi and my second time going to the Duck Race - a fundraiser for the Center for the Prevention of Abuse here in town.  Our good friend Beth convinced us it was a great cause, so this year the whole family came out (along with the Dettmans and the Burges.)
Here's a quick recap:

Ducks.  Everywhere.
 Lots of games and prizes for the kids.  Everyone wins!
Addi showed Quacky how to do the squirrel - more on that later.
 And finally, the excitement of the day picked up for the grownups... The chance to win $5,000 when the ducks were released. 
Pretty sure our ducks were in the way way back.  NOT winning.
Even though we didn't win, we still had a blast and raised $ for a great cause.  And spent some quality time in the sun with our friends and family.
If only every weekend could be this great! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sister, Sister

This week marks Addison’s first full week of kindergarten, but also holds some change for Samantha as well – her first week in “green” room. Green room is the 3-4 year old room at her daycare and a wonderful change for us all because of her amazing teacher, Maryann. Not that I didn’t like her teachers before – I did – but Maryann is amazing.

Day one went great for Sam, but day two gave us something we aren’t quite used to dealing with – a bad report for Sam. Apparently she didn’t have on her listening ears and had to go to time out not once but twice. We’ve had days here and there but usually, we get glowing reports from her teachers, so we were surprised.

Before leaving this morning Jay reminded Sam to be a good girl, and I reiterated the point with her in the car on the way to school, adding that there would be no TV tonight if she acts naughty again. She agreed that she would be good and be a good listener.

To seal the deal, I said, “Sam, isn’t it SO much fun to be a good girl at school?”

She said, “Yes. But it’s also fun to be bad.”

I have a feeling she’s more like her sister than we expected.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

China dolls

One of the unexpected perks of having your BFF leave the country for a week to go to China, leaving you sad, lonely, and missing her everyday is the gifts she brings back!

How adorable are these dresses she brought the girls???  Perfect for, say, a trip to Epcot at Disney?

We are less than a month away from our Disney trip!  Then, we can knock a few more things off my list! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Two peas in a pod

Last week, Addison headed where, each fall, kids around the world go.  To the front yard for an obligatory first day of kindergarten picture.

Our girl?  She insisted on taking pictures with her My Little Pony.  Sure, I said, why not.
After she dropped the pony, I got a picture of her looking all sassy.  Which reminds me of a picture my mom took of me on MY first day of kindergarten.  Man, I made knee socks look good.

Once we got to school we joined the dozens of kids in plaid and maroon with even more parents with cameras.  When Addi's new teacher asked them to line up, she and Chloe clutched hands and waited nervously in line.  Then, they walked, single file, to kindergarten.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Samantha is definitely the more laid back of our two kids on most accounts.  But brushing her hair? No way no how.  She throws fits.  She cries.  When I ask if I can cut all her hair off like daddy's since she won't let me brush it, "No! I a girl!" then lets me brush her hair.  Sort of.  I usually give up after a few swipes and let her go to school looking like a diseased animal.

She's a woman of many charms, what can I say.  I just can't stand her crying.

Finally, I did what I never wanted to do.  Sam, Addi and I loaded into the car and we cut her beautiful, straight, white-blond, sticky hair into a bob.  All while I kept saying, "I don't want to do this.  Should I be doing this?  Ugh..."

Do I regret it now? 
How could I regret something so adorable?  And, easier to brush?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Safety First

We Ralphs aren't exactly the luckiest bunch.  Not unlucky, per say, but strange things tend to happen to us.  Exhibit A:  Jay isn't allowed to donate blood because his grandpa may have died from a mad cow disease-type thing.  Strange.
Exhibit B: My father in law, after years of pain and suffering, finally received a new hip.  Which was promptly recalled.

No, seriously.

Add in Sam's random shaking which has yet to be concretely diagnosed, the 20+ cases of strep throat, a bad gall bladder and hand food and mouth disease and you start to wonder what's in the water around here.

So while enjoying a beautiful evening with some friends, it wasn't unusual for us to hear tears.  I mean, really, with four kids under the age of five, you pretty much expect it to happen at least twice an hour.  But when Sam started crying, there was definitely something different about it.  It wasn't the "my sister won't share and hurt my fee-ee-eelings" type of cry, but instead a "oh, man, this really hurts" cry.

After bending it, prodding it, calming Sam down, and determining that it was probably OK, we headed to bed.  But when we woke up and Sam was still in pain, we headed to the doctor for some xrays, which showed a hairline fracture.  A temporary cast and sling and she was good to go, at least until we could see the ortho doc on Monday.
We spent a day on the couch.  Sam was a great patient.  Addison insisted on having a cast as well - can't have the attention on her sister for too long, you know.  Every 4-6 hours Sam would start crying that she hurt and we'd give her some Ibuprofen, feeling so sad for our little girl.
On Monday, Sam woke up in pain.  We slinged up her arm and sent her to school with kisses and meds.  Jay picked her up around lunchtime and took her to the ortho doc.  About 45 minutes later he called to tell me the sad, sad news.

Sam's arm was fine.  The hairline fracture?  Not visible on the same xray the doctor on Sunday reviewed.  The pain she was feeling?  Once they took the cast off she decided she was healed, with not a single mention of it since.  Within hours she was climbing on the couch, running around, her cast and pain a distant memory. 

We are of course thrilled that she is fine but totally confused about the mis-diagnosis.  We've heard of the 24-hour flu, but a 24-hour broken bone?  Of all families, of course it happened to ours.

Do you think anyone would think it was strange if we start dressing our kids like this just to walk around?

Where has the time gone??

In two days we will coast into unchartered territory.  Wearing her Justin Beiber backpack and her new uniform, my little girl will walk into kindergarten for the very first time.  The backpack was by far the easiest purchase to make - she walked right up to it and was sold.

She was excited to buy her school supplies and uniforms and came right home to show off her wares to her dad.  Her favorite part?  The headbands.

Today, she told me she was scared but excited to be in school with her new friend Chloe, so I fully expect her to freak out day one.  But knowing Chloe will be by her side?  I know she'll be fine 20 minutes after she gets to school.
You will find me, day one, sitting in my car and most likely crying like a baby.  Lucky me, Chloe's mom Cathy is MY new friend and deskmate and will be by my side as well, so we can console each other.  But, it's a good thing we both took the day off.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Every day Is Father's Day Around Here

Just a few months back we celebrated Father's Day the old fashioned way.  With smiles, hugs, laughs, tears, slamming doors and asks to move out.  Samantha brought daddy home a cute card and smiled the night away.

Addison... Well, all I can say is that girl will be a LOVELY teenager.  She too made her daddy a lovely card - wait onther minute for that - and gave him lots of hugs.  Then, she got mad when he told her no, then started screaming at him that she wanted to move out and live in a hotel, and went to bed mad.  And the rest of us went to bed confused and tired.

I'm pretty sure Jay is glad Father's Day is only once a year.

**Oh, and about Addi's card...  Her teachers interviewed her about her "great dad" and some of her answers were pretty cute.  Enjoy... We sure did.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Over the past five years I've done a lot of nodding, smiling, and "wow!"ing when it comes to the artwork the girls have done.  They bring home dozens of papers each week and I ooh and ahh over each, then pitch whatever I can when the girls turn their backs.  I do try to keep the really good ones but I spend a lot of time making excuses when the girls catch me tossing out their "masterpieces." 

Until a few weeks ago.  I was seriously floored at some of the art projects Addison brought home.  The detail, colors, and ability to actually know what she's drawing is pretty cool.  Not that I don't love the scribbles and lines Sam brings home - but it's really neat to see the progression of their skills.

Addi's fish tank complete with a goldfish, a pink beta and a pink shark
A princess in the rain

The last thing Addi proudly showed me was a hand she drew on our light magnadoodle.  She was very proud of it and showed it to us all.

A closer look showed me a hand with the middle finger raised.  So I nodded, smiled, and erased it when she wasn't looking.  I guess they can't all be masterpieces.
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