Tuesday, May 31, 2011

THE DRESS Has Arrived

I think the only dress fitting I ever attended was for my wedding dress (although I was measured many times by my mom, who made most of my dresses growing up).

Janae, though--at age four--has already been fitted for a very special dress . . . and it was entrusted to me yesterday (with strict instructions that Janae is not to wear it until her dance pictures this weekend, and then her dressed rehersal and performance at the end of this month).

 


Anyway, Janae and the other girls in her Little Steps class were measured back in November, and they have been talking about their costumes ever since. In fact, some of the other girls' moms have admitted that visions of THE DRESS are what's kept their girls coming out to ballet every week.

 


They are all dying to wear these glittery blue tutus on stage :)

 


Of course, with sparkly blue dresses come high ponytails with ringlets, false eyelashes, and red lipstick . . . so we've got a bit of practicing to do over the next little while.

We tried out the sponge curlers last night (apparently the only way to get ringlets on little girls). Janae was up at 2 a.m., and by 4:00 I agreed to take out the curlers, just so we could all get a couple of hours of sleep.

 


The effect was still pretty good, even after playing outside for an hour (which is when these pictures were taken).

 


 


Anyway, now that THE DRESS is actually in our home (with Janae walking by my closet to look at it several times a day), we are getting pretty excited to see Janae's Snowflake dance . . . or whatever the three- and four-year-old girls actually do once they get onto the stage.

It will be a dream come true for Janae :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Preparations Are Under Way (To Say the Least)

A few months ago, Benjamin asked if we could have a Harry Potter party for his birthday this year. I immediately said YES and started to plan.

Now I can tell you without a doubt what Jason's four least favorite words in the English language are: "I have an idea . . ." (only when they come from me, though!).

Seriously, the possibilities are endless when it comes to a Harry Potter party, and little by little our house is turning into what could only be called a Hogwarts factory.

Here is a sneak peak of a few of my ideas:

Floating candles (we had to try three different kinds of tape, but I'm pretty sure we can now guarantee nobody will be knocked unconscious by candles falling from the ceiling!)

 


Sparkly stars for the enchanted ceiling (I sparkled one side then realized I needed to sparkle BOTH sides to create a truly magical effect. I will not admit to the number of hours this has taken. . . .)

 


I don't think there is anything in our house not covered with glitter at this point (don't tell Jason!).

 


Chocolate frogs (I tried and tried to find a way to make the "real" boxes but finally had to settle for these wedding favor boxes from Michaels . . . but the Belgian chocolate frogs are really good--we've done a practice round to be sure)

 


Wizard trading cards (I'm hoping to find a way to laminate these!)

 


My party--I mean Ben's party--is on Saturday, so I'm sure I'll be busy this week trying to bring more of my "magical" ideas to life. . . .

Stay tuned :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Little Sunbeams . . . and Beyond

I've mentioned before that Alaina has really taken to her nursery class at church, staying there on her own most weeks. She especially loves music time.

The little ones sing a song called "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" while the nursery teacher walks around with a cardboard cutout of a sun, complete with a little circle where each child's face can peek through.

 


One day I went into Alaina's room and saw her imitating this with the end of a coathanger and some stuffies. She was singing, "Sunbeam, Sunbeam" and putting the hanger on the faces of teddy bears and kitty cats--it was so cute!

So, I thought I'd make Alaina a "sun" of her own to play with at home :)

 


This weekend I took my three "sunbeams" to a Primary activity at our local temple. It was mad chaos with about 400 children and their parents, but it was fun to be there . . . at least for a little while.

 


The kids got to tour the grounds, build a smaller version of a temple, and help dig holes for some new trees that were going to be planted.

 


Alaina quickly decided she'd had enough, but I kept her there as long as I could.

 



I tried to get a picture of Ben, Janae, and Alaina before we left, but it turned out kind of like this:

 


and then this:

 


I guess you can't expect too much from a little Sunbeam :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time to Move?

As I read over my last post, I realized it was a little cheesy . . . and not quite true. While it is true that before I had children the only thing I ever wanted was to be a mom, I have to admit that now that I am a mother . . . well, there are still a few things on my wish list.

For example, I wouldn’t mind having a big house in the country, a total makeover, a housekeeping service at my disposal, or even one of those flowering hanging baskets that everyone puts out in the spring.

 


But getting back to that big house in the country. . . .

We live in a town house located in what few would call a “nicer” neighborhood (how’s that for a euphemism?). While we have several wonderful neighbors in our complex itself, when we take a walk on our street--or even venture down to our lower parking lot--we find a bit of a rougher mix.

 


Normally we are pretty oblivious to this as we go on with our lives. Once in a while, though, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

For example, a few days ago, we received a notice in our mailbox. It read:

IMPORTANT NOTICE

USED NEEDLES HAVE BEEN FOUND ON THE COMMON AREA GROUNDS.

Please remind your children that if they do see a needle not to touch it and to get an adult.

Used needles can be placed in a tin can.

WEAR GLOVES AND AVOID TOUCHING THE POINTY END. . . .

If you are not comfortable touching the needle, someone from the Maintenance Committee can do it for you.

The Maintenance Committee will also collect the needles for correct disposal.

________________________________________________

I know what you’re probably thinking: what a progressive community Lisa lives in—they even have their own needle exchange program, right in their backyard! The neighborhood children are involved, too—how modern!

You probably know what I’m thinking, though: Time to move?

 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Three Babies Later

For as long as I can remember, all I wanted was to be a mother . . . I spent 32 years waiting for it to happen.

 


Now it's hard to remember life without these three little ones!

 


Happy Mother's Day :)

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

While My Back Was Turned . . .

The other day I thought I'd get ambitious and take down our Easter decorations while Janae and Alaina played quietly in the living room.

By Easter decorations, I'm talking about a couple of stuffed bunnies and some egg-shaped candles . . . how much trouble could two little girls get into?

Well.

After carefully balancing our festive items on top of the other stuff in our "holiday cupboard," I came downstairs to find Alaina had helped herself to the diaper cream.

 


After snapping a couple of pictures I ran into the kitchen to get the paper towels.

 


 


While I was gone, Alaina got out the baby powder and finished the job--sprinkling it all over the items she'd covered with diaper cream, of course.

 


Later that day I must have had some kind of memory lapse, because I decided it would be a good idea to look up a few Mother's Day gift ideas online while Alaina and Janae colored. Not two minutes later, Janae informed me, "Alaina is drawing all over with markers!"

Sure enough, she'd drawn all over her hands, arms, neck, shirt and pants. With markers. (I swear she had only had crayons when I'd looked away.)

I took her into the bathroom and was surprised at how easily the ink came off (Janae had drawn on her hands with the same markers a few days earlier, and I'd scrubbed and scrubbed without success).

It was then that I realized the diaper cream residue had probably acted as a barrier and prevented the ink from seeping in.

It was apparently our lucky day :)

I honestly used to wonder about mothers who claimed their children had got into such trouble when they'd been left alone for only a minute . . . but now I am convinced that a minute is all it takes.

The only time it's safe to turn my back on Alaina is when she's asleep . . . and even then in might be safer to have Benjamin and Janae take turns keeping watch!

 


How else will I ever get anything done?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lost and FOUND

Janae has a LOT of stuffed animals, but her favorite one by far is a pink and purple kitty named Seraphina.

 


Seraphina has been most places we've been--the school, the park, the grocery store, the library, the church, Grandma's house and dance class.

So, when we realized she was missing a couple of weeks ago, we had lots of places to look. We called or visited everywhere we could remember going, but nobody had Seraphina.

 


At first I thought, "Janae has so many toys--she can live without Seraphina," but then--of course--I wondered what kind of mother would take such a calloused approach to the loss of her middle child's favorite kitty . . . and decided to look for a replacement.

I went back to the store where Santa had found the cat who would become known as Seraphina, but all the pompom kitties had been sold.

I tried the online Webkinz store, and found that Seraphina's particular model had been sold out there, too.

Being the industrious little sister that she is, Alaina came up with a solution: she started calling one of her stuffed kitties Seraphina (just "Phina," actually) and giving it hugs and kisses in front of Janae :)

 


Anyway, we'd all given up hope. Then tonight, Janae was playing upstairs and we suddenly heard a very loud, very high-pitched scream.

"I FOUND SERAPHINA!!!!!!!"

 


Janae had stuffed her into the back of a princess carriage--it must have been the only place we hadn't looked!

After all we'd been through, it was wonderful to see this kitty again. Hopefully she and Janae will have some sweet dreams snuggled up together tonight :)

 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not Much Chance of Cinderella Eating My Daughter (Darth Vader Might Have More Luck with My Son . . . )

.
 


A week or so ago I finished reading a book called Cinderella Ate My Daughter . . . and I have been thinking about it ever since.

I thought about it when I found Janae lying in bed, teeth brushed and face washed, but somehow sporting shimmering pink lip gloss . . . and not just a little bit. When I asked her how she’d put on make-up in bed, she showed me the lipstick stashed under her pillow—so she could look dazzling even at night.

 


I thought about it when one-year-old Alaina picked up a doll and said “dance,” then started singing a Selena Gomez song featured in the Tinker Bell movies . . . and again when Janae asked me if we have any "booty shorts" (I was relieved to learn--as you will be, too--that she didn't actually know what they were, seeing as how she is only FOUR!)

As the mother of two young girls, and a self-declared feminist, I really related to this book . . . at least at first.

I came across Cinderella Ate My Daughter (published in 2009 by Peggy Orenstein, a journalist who is also the mother of a little girl) in a magazine that featured the book and provided a summary. I loved the title and wondered how accurately it would describe the way princesses have affected (and will affect) my own girls (especially since Alaina calls all princesses “Cinderella”!).

 


I was fascinated by what I learned about the Disney Corporation, the history of the Princess movement, and also today’s toy industry (the book was very well researched). I was surprised at how manipulated I have been, thinking—for example—that there were certain things my daughters had to have.

 


Most mothers would admit that little girls growing up today are bombarded with pink and plastic . . . and they might wonder how these little girls could possibly grow up learning that who they are and what they do/think/feel is more important than what they look like.

These issues are at the center of the book. And I was completely on board until I got about three-quarters of the way through.

After that, I got a little annoyed. The author, who really is quite witty, just seemed a little too proud of herself and her observations. She seemed a little too critical of others’ attitudes, even while sections of the book almost promoted the very products and ideals she was criticizing.

The last straw for me was when she compared The Little Mermaid to Rapunzel, and got the story lines wrong :)

After that, I found a few more problems with the book, including the author’s vision of what would be better for young girls (she was sad that the "Courtney Love era" was cut short by the introduction of Spice Girls-fashioned "girlfriend" power, because she saw real potential for a hard-core style of girl that was tough but also feminine . . . not really my ideal, I have to admit).

Anyway, in the end I felt that she was pointing the blame in the wrong place. I don’t think Cinderella is to blame, after all. Maybe it’s just me (I do happen to like Cinderella, as well as Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Snow White, Tiana, and even Pocahontas and Mulan!), but I think the Disney Corporation is no more guilty than any other corporation of corrupting our daughters.

 


I think the problem is with materialism in general (ah, yes, my favorite place to lay blame), closely tied with the media and peer orientation. (Don’t worry—I will not go into much more detail than that.)

I started to feel that even the entire concept of the book itself was a bit sexist, since the problem is really not limited to girls but affects boys as well--as the mother of a young son, I would say equally.

Orenstein argues, for example, that girls’ choices of toys/stories are often limited to princesses, ballerinas, butterflies, and fairies . . . but if you’ve ever looked for items with young boys’ themes, they are mostly sports, Superheros or vehicles. (And, by the way, have you ever tried to find a Father’s Day card that didn’t focus on golf? It’s not that easy!)

Anyway, this book got me thinking . . . and I did put the Thomas the Tank Engine sheets on Janae’s bed (rather than her pink flowered ones) and got out the Sesame Street coloring book for Alaina, rather than the My Little Pony one . . . but it was just for fun!

My girls do have a brother, so they play a lot more pirates, Star Wars, wrestling, and trains than my sisters and I ever did.

 


And, for the record, all three of them would rather watch The Muppet Show than anything else, thanks to their dad.

 


But in the end, I think my girls will be girls--smart girls, pretty girls, well-rounded girls of many interests--and I'm definitely okay with that.

I may just need to confiscate some of the lip gloss . . . and the booty shorts, too, if it ever comes to that :)