Wednesday, May 27, 2015

picture post!

Just some random shots taken over the last month or so...

Our first trip of the year to the lakeside Dairy Queen in town.
And since Lola's a lot like me in that she can't eat ice cream
without getting it everywhere, I turned her into a Who.  * smile *

Boat fun. The funniest part of this was that we "took the boat out"
for the first time of the year in early April, during a remarkable warm stretch.
 We got to the boat launch and found that it wasn't even open yet.
lol. We turned around and came back. Ha. 


Home with Mommy in her first few days of not working. 


 Ms. Hollywood.

Working at home with Mommy.

Strawberries in the park. 

Ms. Hollywood, take 2. 

 Mommy and Millie. 
We are loving our time together. All day every day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

one month in...

Well, it has been four weeks “at home” now and I think that while I've learned a lot about myself and my girls, I think the top lesson I've learned (or re-learned as it may be) is this: I'm no Martha Stewart.

Case in point: I'm 35 years old and just learned last Wednesday (thanks to Martha!), that the top of the stove lifts up for easier cleaning. What a cool discovery that was (until, of course, I actually saw what was underneath - ick).
My house, while I was working, was always more or less organized, but it was rarely as clean as it could be, as in scrubbed and polished and all of that. But thanks to my “retirement” (Ray hates that word, lol), I've had more time to do more of that.
A couple of weeks ago, I was able to finally go room by room and polish the floors and scrub all the nooks and crannies and everything. I was about two-thirds of the way through the living room, cleaning the floors with what I thought was wood-cleaner stuff when I actually read the bottle: foaming bathroom cleaner. Whoops. Still, it did work rather nicely.
Another thing I've done more of lately is actual cooking. I mean, I did cook a fair amount while working, but that consisted of more quick-and-easy kind of meals. Now, I actually do that whole “shopping on the outside of the grocery store instead of the inside aisles thing” and I've been able to make more things from scratch. Overall, it's working rather well. The girls are actually asking for fruits and vegetables for snacks and I think our food choices are improving, albeit gradually.
But it comes with drawbacks.
A week or so ago, I was boiling water. That's all I was doing. Or trying to do when Ray called to me from the living room, saying that it smelled like something was burning. Sure enough, there was smoke coming from the stove and/or oven and within moments that turned into rather impressive medium-sized flames. 
No one panicked or was in danger or anything, but it was a rather chaotic two minutes.
As we soon learned, I've, um, been neglecting the requisite cleaning of the gunk underneath the drip pans. So, I spent a few hours last week scrubbing and cleaning the stove and oven.
So I'm four weeks in to this stay-at-home-mom thing. How am I doing? Quite fine. I haven't burned the house down yet or anything. But it's not for a lack of trying. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Last night, we were at Lola's spring concert for school and Millie spoke a whole sentence.

It was in the high school auditorium, and we were taking our seats in those chairs that automatically rise on their own, theater-style seats. And Millie sat down but wasn't quite heavy enough to keep it down and it kept coming up. And I was still getting myself settled so I didn't immediately help her.

"I don't like this!" she cried out, on the verge of tears.

OK, it was more like, "Ah oh eye iss!" but for me, for Millie, it was clear as day.


We are getting some new living room furniture soon (yay!!) and so I've been preparing for that.

We plan to get rid of the ottoman thingy that we use to hide our electronics and everything -- we like it but its squishy top makes it so you can't put a drink or anything on top and I miss that. (Instead, I refurnished one of our coffee tables!) So I've been having to relocate our hiding spot.

While finishing that all up this morning, I found -- again -- the stash of about a half-dozen electronic toys that needed to have their batteries replaced. The collection began accumulating about a year ago, when we realized we had a battery shortage but were too stubborn to buy new batteries.

So I spent about 25 minutes this morning tracking down the missing batteries and screwing and unscrewing all of the stupid little battery covers. (Really, the battery covers themselves aren't the issue, it's that I have to go track down the corresponding screwdrivers to open them, and our, um, workroom organizational skills are in desperate need of improvement.)

But once I got them working again, Millie was thrilled.

I don't think she even remembered this little remote-controlled car. I know Mustang didn't. Haha.

They probably played with this for a good twenty minutes, just running from one side of the house to the other, Millie chasing after Mustang, who was chasing after the car. Or, he'd grab hold of the car and Millie would shriek after him, ordering him in her own little Millie to drop it.

To just watch them play together and to just hear Millie giggle, it was priceless.

Monday, May 11, 2015

'Millie sad'

Warning: This isn't a very upbeat post.

We were just at Walmart. Weekly grocery shopping. Millie was sitting in the cart, happily pointing at foods she wanted and anything else that caught her eye, such as, for example, every single Frozen-themed item in the whole danged store.

I was half-talking to her, half-muttering to myself as we went through the list.

She pointed to something red -- I can't remember what exactly -- and said "reh" (red).

I smiled and said, "Millie's so smart," not even breaking stride as I walked further down the aisle.

Usually, she smiles. This time, though, she frowned and shook her head.


I stopped and looked at her, still smiling, "Silly, yes, Millie smart."

She shook her head again, looked down at her feet, hanging below the cart. She looked back up at me and signed, No.

"Yes, Millie is smart," I said, a little more firmly. "Millie very smart."

She just blinked at me, looking rather sad.

"Millie goes to school, right?" I asked.

She grinned and smiled, signing yes.

"You like school?"

She signed, yes.

"School helps make Millie even smarter," I said.

She signed "friends."

"You have friends at school?" I asked.

She signed yes.

Then she looked at me, signing "friends" and then "smart."

"Your friends are smart?" I asked.

"Uh-huh!" she said, emphatically, happily.

"Millie smart too," I said.

She shook her head, signed no, and spoke, "Nuh." (No.)

I crouched down, looked her straight one, "Millie is smart. Millie very smart."

She signed no.

"Millie knows her colors, her shapes, your letters. Millie is very smart."

She signed no. She signed "friends" and then "smart."

I said it again, "Millie smart too."

She shook her head. And then signed her name, and then covered her mouth.

"Millie doesn't talk?" I asked, quietly.

She nodded, and then signed, "Millie sad."

"Millie's sad," I echoed.

She nodded.

Then signed in order three things: her name, no, smart.

"Millie's not smart?" I asked.

She nodded. And covered her mouth.

"Millie's not smart because she doesn't talk?"

She nodded. And then signed, Millie sad.

I'd like to say that there was something that happened now, something that brought it all full-circle, something that helped me help her understand. But there wasn't.

I told her, repeatedly, in several different ways, that just because she doesn't talk like the other kids doesn't mean she isn't smart, that she is super duper smart. She not only knows her colors, shapes and her letters, but she knows sign language and songs and all sorts of important things.

And I did get a few nods, a few smiles.

But she wasn't convinced.

Millie sad, she signed. Millie sad.

We have so many very good days, so many successes. She is making great progress and is learning so much more every single week.

You should hear her say "purple" -- so perfectly.

She is sometimes saying her name, and she is putting two words together.

She's so happy. She's so bouncy and chipper and upbeat.

But she's getting self-conscious. She's getting older and she's getting, well, smarter.

She understands more.

And that can be a double-edged sword.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thanks, Tink.

A fairy's work is much more than at first it might appear!
Suppose your broken clock ticks, though it hasn't in a year!
Perchance you found a toy you lost or jingling bells you hear!
It all means that one very special fairy might be near!
I heard this from the kitchen today, as Millie finished watching Tinkerbell as I accomplished a few household tasks this morning.
It made me smile.
See, while we were at Disney World a few months back, we made the terrible decision to bring along Millie's most prized possession, a teeny tiny itty bitty purple plastic play phone, designed as a doll accessory. Millie found this phone before Christmas and latched onto it, as she does with all small toys. But unlike the others, that she grows tired of after a day or two, this little phone was always clasped in her little fist.
For some reason, I thought we should bring it to Florida.
And, really, in retrospect, we did well. For nine days, I knew exactly where that darned little thing was at all times.
But then, on the day we left, between juggling kids, packing suitcases, boarding planes, keeping children entertained on the flight, etc., the phone disappeared.
Many, many, many tears were shed in the days and weeks that followed.
After a while, she stopped asking for it. But she still "talked" about it. Pointing to the kitchen set it accompanied and always signing for "phone." Ray and I knew that some day, some how, we would end up having to buy the whole stinking kitchen set just for the little phone.
My brother texted me Wednesday morning, asking me for something of his that I have. Or am supposed to have. I tore the entire house to pieces, emptying every single closet in the house.
I never did find it.
But, as I began to very slow process of putting things back into their place, I decided it was as good a time as any to redo my closet, switching out not only the winter wear for summer wear, but to move up the "scrubby" clothes and push back the "work" clothes.
I broke out the tank tops and the shorts.
And as I folded up one of my most favorite pairs of shorts, I felt something in the pocket.
I couldn't text Ray fast enough.
As I went to return the toy to Millie, I played the game that she and I had before played daily, actually several times a day, with that stinking little phone,. I would clutch it tightly in one fist and then hold out both fists, letting her choose a hand. She would pull up one finger as a time as she searched for and unearthed the toy.
The second she saw that unmistakable pink-purple hue she squealed.
And she hasn't let the thing go since.
A fairy's work is much more than at first it might appear!
Suppose your broken clock ticks, though it hasn't in a year!
Perchance you found a toy you lost or jingling bells you hear!
It all means that one very special fairy might be near!
Thanks, Tink. We owe you one.