Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Silly Pics


I was babysitting my best friend Rachel's daughter Anna a few weeks back and my girls decided to put on a fashion show for her. Here they've stopped for a moment to strike a pose. They are so pretty...I think I'm gonna be in trouble in a few years!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Random Silly Pics

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Nora is decked out in head-to-toe green in honor of the day. A big thank you to Grandma Geier for sending out a treat-filled care package for the girls.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Momma Learns to Knit...sorta

Just a quick little note to say that this winter I took up knitting as a hobby, and while I enjoy it immensely, I am terrible at it! My first big project was to make Nora a scarf, and I'm glad I took pictures because its already starting to unravel. I will try to make her another scarf before next winter because this one may not make it. I'm not too upset though, she really liked it and that's all that matters!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Royal Children's Ball

If you were to ask Nora and Emily what would constitute the perfect fairytale evening, they would tell you that it would include dressing up like a princess, wearing a crown, eating cake and ice-cream, visiting a castle, and dancing to Disney Princess music at a ball.

Well, the first annual Royal Children's Ball provided that and so much more! At the beginning of February I began to see ads announcing that a Royal Ball was going to be held at Altgeld Castle on the NIU campus. It sounded like fun to me, and I'm an adult, so I figured the kids would love it. The price tag was a bit hefty; $15 dollars per person, but the money was going to help fund after school programs, so really it was a win-win situation.

Getting ready for the ball gave me a little insight into what its going to take to get the girls ready for prom when they're older. Oh my gosh...I spent all day long steaming our dresses and finding the right shoes and jewelry. As soon as Nora got home from school, I did her hair up in rollers. Then it was hair and make-up for the three of us, and I had a hard time remembering where my tiara and gloves were hiding! (I hadn't worn them since my wedding day; it took a bit of effort on my part to dig that stuff out. As for my dress...that had to be dug out also. It was the dress I wore to Lisa and Bob's wedding). Unfortunately it was raining and terribly cold, but Ryan was kind enough to drop us off at the castle so we didn't have to walk through the dreary elements. However, the girls radiated sunshine and excitement during the drive to the castle; it was easy to feel like spring is on the way!

Nora and Emily were overwhelmed from the moment we stepped inside the castle. A red carpet wound its way up an ornate, curved staircase that led to the ballroom. The ballroom itself was built in 1895 and recently restored, so it was all marble and gilding and polished wood. The Victorian atmosphere, which could be daunting for some kids, was lightened up quite a bit by balloon sculptures and twinkling lights. A grape juice fountain greeted us, as did a pile of Sweet Dreams cupcakes. Everywhere we turned, little girls dressed in head-to-toe frills danced about, young knights and pirates ran through the crowd. It was so cool. Of course the girls wanted cupcakes, so we sat down and ate those first. We danced a little, and then Nora stood in line (for ever!) to get a tiara. I have to admit she looked beautiful when she was done, but during the wait, Emily became very comfortable coloring at the table next to the beauty booth and I spent most of my evening with her there from that point forwards.

They really did a great job making everything kid friendly. There were crayons and fruit snacks at all the tables. Waiters came around with mini hot-dogs and chicken nuggets. Emily and I made crafts while Nora ran off and danced with some of the girls from her school. (That, I admit, was a bit hard. Letting her run off to dance while I stayed out of the way seemed strange, but I have to get used to the idea that she has a life outside of me!)

The evening went very well until about 8pm. At that point they put out the "all you can eat, build your own ice-cream sundae" custard and candies. Oh NOOOO. Major mom dilemma! Within minutes there were hundreds of people standing around us stuffing their faces with Culvers. So tempting, but dairy is so bad for the girls tummies! What to do, what to do??? My heart ended up trumping all common sense when the girls starting begging for a sundae. I wanted to make them happy, I wanted then to fit in, and so we all ate very delicious desserts. Emily had eaten about half of hers when she started complaining that her tummy hurt; Nora managed to eat her entire serving before deciding she had had too much. Oh dear. The evening started to go downhill from there, because they didn't feel good, it was past their bedtime, and they didn't want to leave! Nora continued to run around with some friends while Emily and I tried to walk off the tummy ache.

The evening's festivities came to an end at 9pm, not a moment too soon! I was happy to have an excuse to leave, because the girls were DONE. We left in exhausted tears. At the time I wasn't too happy myself, but in hindsight it was awfully predictable and somewhat funny. These little girls had too much of a good thing and it showed! I've never seen someone fall asleep the moment their head hit the pillow, and after all of our fun, I witnessed two little girls fall asleep in less time than it takes to snap your fingers. I'm sure they dreamed of dancing and sweets.

To view the pics of us all dressed up, click the image below.

Royal Children's Ball

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Captain Caveman Gets a Haircut

If you haven't figured it out from the photo, Captain Caveman is one of Emily's nicknames. We could have opted for Cousin It, but its more fun to yell "CAAAPPPTAINNNN CAAAAAAAVEMANNN!" when she's running around the house in nothing but underpants with utterly tangled hair flying behind her.

Em's hair has always been a mess. She is so sensitive about it getting combed, about it getting washed, about anyone trying to do anything to it. She has had professional hair-cuts before, but I usually wait months and months in-between because the experience is traumatic for all involved. Case in point: Her last trip to the salon was just before school started in August. She refused to have it washed. She had to sit on my lap so I could hold her arms and legs down to keep her from flailing around. Did I mention she cried and screamed the entire time? It seems there is little difference between a hair-cut and torture in her eyes, and people were leaving the salon. How the lady didn't accidentally cut her ear or poke my eye is both beyond me and a true testament to the professionalism of the ladies at the Hair Cuttery. As for me, well, I try my best to laugh it off, and on the outside I do, but sometimes its hard to be the mom with the out-of-control kid. So instead of paying for the privilege of torturing my kid every six weeks, I usually wait every six months. In the meantime she morphs into Captain Caveman.

Well, Emily's hair started to get long, longer than it had ever been. It would take me 5 minutes to comb it, 5 VERY LONG minutes of trying to tease out what seemed like hundreds of tiny tangles. Poor Em would cry and scream and say, "No comb-y hair! No comb-y hair!". Sometimes she'd hit and bite to let me know she really wanted me to stay away. I finally asked her if it would be okay if she got her hair cut. I explained if she sat still and let the "special lady" cut her hair, it wouldn't hurt so much anymore. She listened intently and said, "Yes, cut hair!" and I was so pleased. I was less pleased when, later that day, Nora ran to tell me that Emily had gotten some scissors. Luckily she only chopped off a few bits in the back, so I was able to wait until payday to get her hair done.

And what a hair do it is! Captain Caveman is no more! She was such a good girl for Stephanie at the Hair Cuttery that she was able to get a bob. For the first time ever, she had her hair washed in a sink, and she sat in the chair all by herself. When she started to freak out about the comb, we gave her a sucker and she put all of her attention on the candy as planned. She was so well behaved, I honestly didn't even recognize her. The change was like night and day. I was so happy and proud I actually teared up a little. In that salon I saw for the first time that Emily will be able to fit in to the rest of society, that she's not always going to need special services. Someone actually told me how well behaved she was!!! Never ever did I think I would have that kind of day. After all, its just a hair cut. But it was so much more. My little ragamuffin has grown into a chic fashionista! Oh who the heck am I kidding...she still prefers undies to clothes. Well, its good-bye Captain Caveman, and hello to Captain Underpants!