Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy 35th to Big Philip

Happy birthday, Daddy! In the words of Little Philip, thank you Mamie and Bop Bop for having my Daddy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Consignment Season

This is a picture of my dining room, picture perfect for that next hip dinner party.

For the past year, I have gone through the emotionally scarring experience of steaming, ironing, and safety pinning each outfit from my child's previous season to a wire hanger, ensuring that the hook is pointing to the left in order to sell it in a seasonal children's consignment sale. The goal is to make enough money to buy this season's clothing for both children.

I don't sell any of my hand smocked or high-end smocked clothing. I keep that for my grandchildren so that one day, in long awaited future, my daughter and daughter-in-law will have to to find a way to politely accept and use my lovingly stored family heirlooms despite the fact that children will probably be wearing Teflon spandex or some sun-proof spacesuit by then. In other words, my grandchildren better be wearing smocked clothing at some point or my birth certificate doesn't say Demopolis, AL. I realize this is a matter of opinion but I'm already forming scary strong grandmother opinions at age 35. But I digress...

My rule is that if I cry nostalgic tears as I fondly remember a time when one of my children wore an outfit as I try to put the outfit on a hanger, it gets to stay. The problem is that we are 99% sure we are a complete family. This makes the tears come more freely as I consider that each milestone with Helen is most likely the last I will encounter as a mother. There will not be another child to potty train after Helen. HOW SICK IS THAT? Do I need to remind everyone of the horrors of potty training Little Philip for 18 months???? I literally googled and opened a phone book to find a potty training support group. All I can say is that all those motherhood hormones are cruel little masochistic suckers sometimes.

My only imperfect and earthly saving grace is that hope that I make enough money to then, in turn, buy other children's consigned clothing, each with their own memories in each little stitch, with room to add more memories with my own children tucked neatly inside each outfit. And with even more luck, I'll make enough money to continue to invest in sewing and smocking instruction classes. Those are my new addiction and I eagerly look forward to those moments when I can buy fabric or take a class.

In the meantime, let me know if you want to come shopping in my dining room. We've got a car lot of toddler Tonka trucks in there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helen's Snore

It's 9:45 pm and Helen is sleeping peacefully, for what we bet is another three hours. Then she will magically wake up and scream for over an hour until we surrender and deliver her to our warm bed for the rest of the night. She will wake up at approximately 5:45 a.m. and promptly demand that Daddy (not Mommy) take her to the living room where she will watch Animal Planet while eating gogurt.

But for now, doesn't she snore like an angel?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Helen's Chatter

It is so interesting to hear Helen's speech develop, which has been at an alarmingly faster rate than Little Philip's experience. Granted, Little Philip was plagued with ear infections and did not get tubes until he was 18 months old. Helen has only had two ear infections to date, and nothing to right home about. And let's face it, she is a girl.

So here are Helen's favorite topics.

SQUIRRELS (pronounced QUIRL)! At 21 months, she is obsessed. If she sees a squirrel she will levitate and begin squealing, pointing, shaking, holding her finger to her lips to let everyone know she needs complete silence to lure the squirrel nearer to her. She has no less than three stuffed squirrels in her crib at all times.

Goat - pronounced correctly, this is her second favorite animal in her book. She also called baby cows goats but we'll get there.

Hay kittay! - We have two cats, and she is very loving and wants to rub them all the time.

Ra Ra or Rayeeeeeeee - That's Riley our dog. Riley never let Little Philip sit on him like a pony ride, but Helen has achieved such greatness. I think Riley knows he's lost the battle with the princess of the house.

Mulchhh - Milk. She drinks a good gallon a day.

JoJoot - Yogurt. She eats about 4 servings a day. The girl is not missing any calcium.

Bed - Bread. She asks for plain pieces of bread or whole flour tortillas for snacks. And she devours it.

Cacker - Cracker

Beebee - Baby

Poon - Spoon

Tickle, tickle, tickle - self explanatory

Babah - Brother, although she has recently said brudder as well.

Favorite Phrase so far:

Where Daddy go? (with hands in the air)...answering her own question: At wuck.

I poo poo.
Thanks for sharing Helen.

Monday, January 04, 2010

2010 New Year's Resolutions

In case you missed last year's resolutions here they are. By going there you can see the previous year's resolutions as well.

Renie's 2009 Resolutions - How did I do?

1. Quiet time, every day, without fail. - Massive fail.

2. Baby weight must be gone. Goal? 20 pounds shed by Moss Beach Reunion, first week of June.
Can't remember what my start weight was so let's just call this a massive fail as well.

3. Learn to sew drapes and garments. I'm already taking my first real sewing class this month. By the end of the class I should be able to sew a Lucy a-line jumper for Helen. I also want to learn how to put in a smocked insert to the Lucy jumper and how to put together a bishop dress that has been smocked. My goal? To make some money to add family income...once I learn such skills. I'm definitely learning more and more about sewing. I can make a Lucy in my sleep and even know how to do set in sleeves, collars, pleats, and ruffles now. I also have a smocking pleater now so in the coming two months, I hope to learn how to pleat a bishop, do picture smocking since I'm basically capable of doing geometrical smocking now, and how to put a bishop dress together, all by Easter of course! I would love to be able to market these skills for extra income but time is precious now that I'm working part-time teaching preschool. Still, I love sewing and I do think there is a future in this for me.

4. Potty train Little Philip. Seriously, folks, we are so close. Philip rarely has an accident anymore and it is usually out in public rather than in the house. However, if he sees you typing on a computer, please excuse him when he asks you if you poo pooed on the potty. You see, he gets 20 minutes of computer time every time he poo poos on the potty so he naturally assumes you did the same. Just say yes and enjoy the high spirited affirmation from a three year old for controlling your bowels. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Literally it was last January that we claimed victory. That time spent potty training might be the only time I was tempted to call my doctor for a psychotropic medication. Let's hope Helen doesn't drive me to such a place like that.

Renie's 2010 Resolutions:

Lose 25 pounds and keep them off. No baby headed our way this year and certainly with Helen turning two in March, there is no way I can continue to say "well, you know I just had a baby."

Organize the house from top to bottom. We are cramped, really cramped in our home and our clutter and disorganization does not help. I really think we can revamp several closets and areas in our home to help in this area. We will start with the front coat closet that I'm sitting in front of right now, typing on this computer. Yep, our front coat closet is a computer closet. We are that cramped.

Quiet time. I'm not going to set a daily goal because I know I will not keep it. Let's just say I need to reintroduce quiet time in my life. Daily would be great but let's just start by making it a regular routine again. I know I need it and everyone around me would benefit greatly from the peace I gain by putting myself in the more than capable arms of Christ once again.

Big Philip's Resolutions:

More consistent quiet time.

Eat healthier and work out more.

Give up regular Coke and switch to either Diet or Coke Zero

Clean out my car so it doesn't look like I live in it. There might be upholstery underneath all of that ****. (Renie's subtle suggestion)

Little Philip's Resolutions:

Learn to ride my bike.

Ingest foods that grew in ground. It's been a while.

Learn to listen and obey the first time with a cheerful heart.

Stick up for myself when my little sister bosses me around.

Helen's Resolutions:

I will not bite my brother ever again.

I will not hit my brother or try to shove him out of my mommy's lap.

I will try not to eat my family out of house and home with hourly full meal feedings each day.

I will sleep through the night and not scream like a ringwraith from Lord of the Rings at 3:00 a.m. every night, nor will I refuse to sleep and continue to scream in such a way unless I get to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.

I will be potty trained before the end of the year, maybe by Moss Beach Week in June.

Riley the Dog's Resolutions:

I will try to keep my evening outings to the backyard to a minimum, especially once my parents have settled into bed, knowing that Helen will likely wake them up within an hour of falling asleep.

I will no longer eat napkins out of the kitchen trash can. There will no longer be evidence of such a habit found digested in the backyard, especially by the children's swing set.

I will continue to be the sweetest dog ever to my human siblings, continuing to allow Helen to ride my like I'm a kind of wild horse or something. A spoon full of peanut butter every now and then will help me keep my sweet spirit and shiny coat.

Atticus the Cat's Resolutions:

I will no longer vomit ten minutes after I eat breakfast and dinner and if I do, I will do my best to avoid shoes, bed linens, rugs, or sofas.

I will shed less. This should help with goal number one.

I will not sit and demand a stream of water from which to drink at 6:30 a.m. from the bathroom sink. I will accept the fresh water sitting in my bowl each day willingly and without whining, even though I am twelve years old now, and have tolerated the introduction of a dog, another cat, and two small humans to my very important life.

Julep the Cat's Resolutions:

I will no longer walk across my parents' bodies and faces just after they have fallen asleep or just before their alarm goes off each morning. If I do, I promise to turn the volume down on the purring.

I will try to be nice to any female human guests that come by from time to time. I will especially try to be nice to my human grandparents that come to visit. I realize that this is the third year I've made this goal. I will remind my mother that her weight goal is also making a third appearance.

I will willingly give up my claimed bed that once belonged to the dog of the house, but only if he continues to spoon me as I sleep each night.

Christmas Travel Marathon

Hi, remember us? It's been a while, we know. This was one of those holiday breaks where we traveled a lot. It was almost the kind where we needed an oil change before and just after the travels, but not quite. We would not have it any other way as we were able to see family in West Tennessee as well as L.A. That's lower Alabama for those of you unfamiliar with our terrain here in the Deep South.

Because Big Philip works in education, meager though the pay may be, the payoff comes in a lovely two week break that allows us to reconnect with each other and our family, and that is just what we did. We began by visiting the Moss family in Tennessee. There, one our surprise Christmas present from Mamie and Bop was Skype for each of the siblings. Since then, Little Philip and Helen has been video phoning cousins and grandparents, even calling Aunt Mary Helen in Nicaragua once! No matter who is on screen, Helen puts her hands in the air with a questioning aire and says "wheah Amy?" Amy was grandchild number eleven to come along, just three months after Helen. And since then grandchild number twelve was born to Aunt Beverly and George bringing their total number of children to seven. Grandchild number thirteen is due in July, which will make Amy a middle child of three to Aunt Emily and Uncle Jamie. Try to keep up now, the numbers wildly fluctuate! Below is a picture of the nativity play, starring all the older cousins. Little Philip was cast as Joseph but got stage fright and was quickly recast as a shepherd where his line was "we are so afraid!" Helen and Amy loved spending time with each other, taking care of their baby dolls.
After traveling to Tennessee we came home for Christmas "eve" eve so that Santa to come to our house. Santa was a big deal this year to Little Philip and it was so much fun seeing that special light in his eyes. Well, you can't exactly see the light in his eyes in this picture but he's four so, he's focused on the loot. And we promise Helen smiled that morning, but not when we forced her to look at the camera for this picture. Apparently we disturbed her from her princess tea service.

After about 20 hours in Birmingham we headed to Mobile to be with the Porter and Wettermark family. We were there long enough to really spend some quality time with Memaw Porter in Daphne as well as Grandaddy and Grandmother Wettermark. We even got another picture of the four generations of Wettermark women. Grandmother Helen, Nee Nee, Mommy, and Helen. This is always a sweet moment for us. Despite the chill, Little Philip and Helen headed straight for Memaw's front porch swing during our visit. NeeNee and Poppy completed Little Philip's geotrax train set with the an airport, complete with a remote control airplane that does loops in the air on a track.

We coaxed Nee Nee and Poppy to visit the Mobile Exploreum with us since it was free admission for us as McWane Center members here in Birmingham. For anyone that does not know the a McWane membership is reciprocal with most children's science museums in the country, now you know and it is so worth it. Lots of silly time was spent at the Exploreum. Little Philip was amazed at Daddy's floating head.
Then we were finally headed home, to two cats that were besides themselves lonesome for our return. When we opened the door I wanted to say "we've been robbed!" but alas, that is just how we left our house on December 18th and how we found it on December 27th. Aunt Elizabeth was able to come home with us for the week which was so much fun for everyone.

Then on December 28th we went over to Starkville to cheer on the bulldogs and were able to sit with our friends the Mathews. Miss Diane helped Helen understand the game while Big Philip tried desperately to get Little Philip to sit still and watch the game. Notice the death grip Daddy has on him in the picture.

We've spent the last week trying to clean up while spending some good quality time with each other. Big Philip started work today, and we all return to school tomorrow. I think we will be grateful for the routine to return.