Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas 2006

We knew it would be an interesting Christmas, what with Marissa being more interested in opening and playing with presents than it was last year, when she was only 5 months old. We made it through the day with only two timeouts and one major meltdown -- on Lindsey's part.

We started the festivities on Christmas Eve, by going to the local United Methodist Church's 4:30 service. They tell the Christmas story with participation from any children from the audience who would be interested in wearing costumes to play the parts of angels, shepherds, wisemen, sheep, etc. Lindsey, of course, would have none of it and was only interested in seeing the baby Jesus, played by a 3 or 4 month old (a girl, we found out!). She was rather disappointed in the baby Jesus, as s/he was wearing a bright red jumper, and wasn't in swaddling clothes as the story told. And she could only get a glimpse of the baby through the congregation.

Near the end of the service, one of the pastors came to the front to announce that they typically took an offering on Christmas Eve, and they hoped to raise $10,000 for their various missions that day. I later said to Wayne, "How many months do you think it would take your hometown church to raise that kind of money?" I'm sure that for a church of this size, packed to the rafters for all four Christmas Eve services, $10,000 was not a stretch goal.

We went home, had dinner (stuffed pasta shells that had been baking all during the service), then got ready for bed. Lindsey was in bed and sleeping earlier than usual -- we had said many times how Santa only comes when you're sleeping, and she was insistent on being asleep as soon as possible. We put out the traditional cookies and milk, and as Lindsey followed us around for these preparations she said to me "I'm scared!" I think the thought of a stranger entering our house was frightening to her, and she wanted her bedroom door shut all the way. I told her Santa was much too busy to come up to see her, he would just drop the presents off by the tree then would be on his way to deliver presents to all the other boys and girls. She was out by 8:45 -- usually it's after 9:00 by the time she's done reading her books.

Then...Christmas morning. Lindsey awoke at 5 am and Wayne put her in our bed to finish out her night's sleep. She kicked me in the back all through the next two hours -- unintentional, but obviously in need of some legroom! Then at 7:00 we heard Marissa wake up, and two seconds later, Lindsey was wide-eyed next to us: "I think Santa came!!"

We were downstairs in a few minutes, and both Lindsey and Marissa were enamored with the train set that was left for Lindsey. Marissa glossed over the Little People house, but she couldn't get enough of the balloons that were in their stockings that Wayne blew up for them! Another highlight was the $2.99 play cell phone that was in each of their stockings, too. Who knew?

We took turns opening gifts and alternately eating and playing with what had been opened until about 10:00, stopping once for a meltdown when Lindsey didn't want Marissa to play with her Hippity-Hop, and insisted on trying to open a present with one hand while hoarding her Hippity-Hop with the other. A time out and a scream fest for a bit, then back to one present, and finally some breakfast.

Marissa is better at eating than Lindsey -- she doesn't get distracted by things like toys, Christmas and Santa -- she was downstairs and right to the table. Any time Wayne or I took a break to grab a little something to eat Marissa was right there with us, ready to sit down to nibble some more. Lindsey, on the other hand, didn't want to stop opening presents to eat, thus the meltdown. She finally got a little food in her tummy too and was in a better mood.

After all the gifts were open, though, the struggle continued between Lindsey's desire to play with Toy #2 while NOT allowing Marissa to play with Toy #1, which Lindsey had been ignoring until Marissa decided she wanted to play with it. Lindsey was even hoarding Marissa's toys, until we finally had to sequester Lindsey to the upstairs until she learned how to listen and share. It took a good half an hour of screaming and kicking, but finally she settled down, got dressed and was polite and sharing. We had lunch, then off for a nap.

Aaahhhh, a nap, the pleasure of having Christmas at your home with no relatives coming (Sorry, Mom & Dad!). Marissa went down, followed by Lindsey -- Lindsey wasn't even asleep yet and Wayne, Dax and I were snuggled in as well for a lovely two hour nap, all of us. Dax couldn't be happier than being under the covers, curled up against your legs for a nice snooze.

We all awoke at about the same time, then watched Lindsey's new DVD, Cars. Then Wayne made dinner while I pre-emptively fed Marissa. Seeing as Marissa doesn't eat steak, we decided to feed her first, so that we could enjoy our dinner instead of feeding her at the same time. She ate two (count 'em, two) hot dogs, a whole cup of corn, 8 oz of juice and then when our dinner was ready, she ate a little potato all by herself, too. Yep, I'm not worried about this one getting enough to eat!

All in all, it has been a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How to Prevent Identity Theft

When I first told Wayne I wanted to start this blog, he was concerned about security, about having random strangers hit our site, looking at photos of our children, etc. While I can understand this, and have taken steps to minimize as much as possible the number of "strangers" who can visit the site, today at lunch I witnessed a much more risky behavior when it comes to personal security.

I went to our building cafeteria to grab some lunch and saw a woman standing at the end of the food line, talking loudly on her cell phone. She was obviously making arrangements with a hotel for some kind of event, by her discussion I can only assume a wedding reception or anniversary celebration.

She proceeded to stand there and loudly give our her credit card number, including the expiration date and full and complete name as it's printed on the card, in the middle of this cafeteria. I can still remember the first 8 digits of it, not by my active listening, but simply by walking around her and collecting my things as she had her discussion. (Her card also expires in April 2008, in case you're wondering.)

Anyone, and I mean anyone, could have quickly jotted down that number as s/he pretended to gather some salad makings, and there you have it, a new plasma TV, compliments of the dumb woman in the cafeteria. Not to mention the fact that the technology exists to "pick up" cell phone conversations via wi fi gadgets, more people than just those within the cafeteria could have picked up this information.

If someone had decided to take her up on her blatant offer to steal her credit card information, she would probably have the gall to accuse some direct marketer of making it avaiable to criminals, not realizing that she was her own worst enemy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

How many ounces was that steak?!

Lindsey LOVES steak. Seriously loves it. When she was barely over a year old, she would nibble on tidbits of our steaks (prepared medium rare, mind you), and would signal for more.

For the last 6 months or more every time we have steak, whichever parent is responsible for "sharing" with Lindsey always ended up going hungry. We would both end up feeding her bits of our steaks so that we could have some to eat ourselves. It was hard to judge how much Lindsey was actually eating and since it was a "shared" situation, we always figured that we weren't sharing as much as we thought we were.

Finally, this evening Wayne bought three 8 oz steaks for the three of us. He bought them at Lund's, mind you, so they cost around $40 for the three of them.

So after the appropriate amount of time on the grill, he served three steaks of 8 oz each: two medium rare ones for Wayne and I, and a medium steak for Lindsey.

She ate all of it.

Every last bit.

There was no fat left.

I had no idea a little 3 1/2 year old's tummy could actually contain 8 oz of steak, but apparently it can. And...she wanted more, so she ate two more pieces of my steak before we finally cut her off.

She had a piece of bread to boot. We couldn't believe it, I wish I had a photo, a "before" and "after" photo of her full and then empty plate. She even ate it as quickly as Wayne!

After registering our shock, Wayne turned to her and said, "You know Lindsey, not many 3 1/2 year olds get to eat a $13 steak." She just grinned.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Going to a restaurant with little children in tow is always an interesting experience.

Today Wayne had off work as Saturday is Veterans Day. Apparently that's a big holiday in the banking world so they were closed. He planned to spend the day with Lindsey to get in some one-on-one time, so plans were made for a breakfast out, followed by a visit to the Minnesota Children's Museum.

I decided to join them for breakfast out as I had a chiropractor's appt at 8:30 in the morning, so I went with them for breakfast, went to my appt, then went to work.

Since I had an appointment to go to, speedy service was of the utmost importance, and in our haste to save money we decided upon the Edina Grill for breakfast, since we had a coupon for them. They are not known for having the speediest service, however, and we waited and waited to have coffee brought to the table, to order our food, to get creamer, etc.

It is a rare thing when you can actually drain a coffee cup when you dine out for breakfast. Even if it isn't your server who passes you by with a coffee carafe in tow, someone is bound to refill your coffee when it hits the halfway mark.

Not so much today.

Today both Wayne and I sat with empty coffee mugs for quite some time and couldn't catch anyone's attention for a refill, much less to ask about our missing food for the hungry 3-year-old who kept asking where her pancakes were.

Lindsey looked over and saw that our coffee mugs were empty, promptly stood up, looked in the general direction of the server station and yelled at the top of her little lungs, "MORE COFFEE!"

Once the laughter died down, our coffee mugs were promptly refilled, our food immediately came out, and our check was delivered with haste to the table.

I'm not sure that they were really stepping up the service as much as desiring that the pre-schooler leave the restaurant as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I have to share my new favorite photo of the two girls.

Wayne and I have said how badly we feel that Marissa just doesn't get read to. When Lindsey was a baby, and I mean a TINY baby, we read to her every night. By the time she was one year old she had a regular bedtime routine that included reading two or three books every night.

At 15 months of age, Marissa's bedtime routine consists of a bath and a long one at that; unlike Lindsey, Marissa looooves the water, a bottle and then bed. We rarely read to her, and when we try, if Lindsey's around she hijacks the book and the lap and ends up reading the book herself, and Marissa wanders away to play with a toy.

But despite our best attempts to make her a non-reader, Marissa has suddenly found an interest in books! She has one favorite one, "Tails," that she picks up quite often, playing with the tufts of fur and bumpy textures of the animal tails in the book. She loves flaps and textures, colors and shiny panels, and can now get absorbed in a book.

The other night we were getting Lindsey ready for bed, and were reading her books in her room. It was quite early so Marissa was still up (usually she's asleep by the time we're reading books to Lindsey), so she wandered in and wanted to "read" too. They were so cute together, Lindsey turning pages and narrating her book, with Marissa just turning all her pages and grinning.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Can you tell how excited Lindsey was to become Cinderella at Halloween?? Here she is, dressed up and ready to go to the Children's World Fall Festival on Wed, October 25th.

Marissa was a butterfly...not that she cared. She did have lots of fun being at CW, though, with both her parents around. She was lurching about, screeching and grinning, happy to play on all the equipment for the millionth time in a row. And yes, "lurching" is the best word I can describe her walking abilities. She's very steady when she "walks," but when she gets excited and wants to run, she lurches instead, sometimes falling right on her butt, other times falling sideways. It is quite a stitch to watch, especially knowing how quickly she's going to become proficient at it.

Lindsey's best little playmate at Children's World is a little girl named Talayah. Her mom actually works at CW now. We have such fun w/Talayah, we get hugs from her most morning when we drop Lindsey off. Lindsey really wanted Talayah to be Cinderella together w/her, and her mom happily obliged.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

Marissa has officially left the highchair. The last few times we tried to put her in it she would squeal and squirm until we finally gave up and realized -- she's ready for a booster chair!

And not only is she ready for a booster, but she likes to sit at the little white table in the kitchen with Lindsey. Here's a photo of them from this morning, sharing breakfast while wearing their matching yellow sleepers. Yes, the sleepers are EXACTLY alike.

We resisted the urge to buy in twos for a long time, buying Marissa and Lindsey the same but slightly different items. Normally we would buy one a yellow sleeper and the other a pink or blue one from the same manufacturer. But this was a Costco stop, yellow it was, and it had the same decorations on them.

This morning when Lindsey got up she wanted to get dressed immediately. I knew Marissa was wearing her yellow sleeper, so I asked Lindsey, "Are you sure you don't want to get dressed later? It's the weekend, you know!" No, she wanted to get dressed right away.

She had her clothing all picked out (down to the matching lie!) when Marissa heard that she was up, crawled up the stairs and came toddling in. The minute Lindsey saw her in her sleeper, she gasped, turned to me and said, "Mommy, I want to get dressed LATER!" and out the door the two of them went, giggling and squealing.

Some day she will be absolutely appalled that she wanted to wear the same clothing as her sister, but for now it's fun!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Wedding

This past weekend we attended Wayne's nephew Darin's wedding. Unfortunately it turned out to be more of a quick, frantic drive than a nice relaxing weekend, as I had a business trip Sunday afternoon that I had to get back for. But, while we were home we made the most of it.

The ceremony was lovely and the dinner and dance were divine. I wished we could've stayed for more of it. We had to stay long enough for Lindsey to get a few dances in, she was so excited to go dancing! It was great seeing her on the dance floor, holding her little pink and black dress out and twirling around!

Marissa had a great time just walking around in a big space, screeching with delight and trying to keep up with the big kids. She has absolutely no fear and will approach anyone, so different from Lindsey at that age.

When we got home, I pulled my wedding dress out of Lindsey's closet. I don't think she realized it had been hanging there the whole time. She was fascinated with it, and asked if I wanted to get married again. "No sweetie," I told her, "I'll only get married once, because I love your daddy forever and forever!"

She had lots of fun trying on the veil, so I had to take a few photos of her with the veil and her favorite dress-up dress, the dress she wore to Rita's wedding in New Mexico earlier this year. She is such a girlie-girl!

Marissa, on the other hand, was busy competing with Dax to eat the dog food, so I had to snap a few photos of her, too. Yes, that's dog food in her mouth that she's chewing on. Hey, it's the most nutritious food in the grocery store, what else can I do?!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Marissa's 1-Year Photos

We finally got back Marissa's 1-year photos. They are framed and ready to go, so I'm just posting some photos here of them for family who don't get to our home often and wouldn't see them.

We had done a birthday cake for both, it's rather fun to compare the two. Lindsey HATED her cake, she hated being dirty and cried when she couldn't get the frosting off her hands. Marissa, on the other hand, was so fascinated by the cake it was hard to get photos, we couldn't get her to look up to not photograph the top of her head! At one point she shoved both her hands straight into the cake and pushed into it HARD. It slowly moved apart, it was like watching tectonic plates get moved by a great force.

In the last photo of Lindsey, she is looking straight on at the camera, crying. In Marissa's last photo, she has a big chunk of cake poised at her mouth, ready to eat, with a big grin on her face. Could two girls get more different??

Telling Stories

I've written before about how Lindsey has discovered the story of Cinderella. It started with my telling her the story from my own memory, no book in front of me.

Lindsey's now seen the Disney version of this story several tens of times, and has the Disney version down pat. The other night, getting ready for bed, she asked me to read her the Cinderella story. I said, "But honey, we don't have the book of Cinderella, just the movie." She said, "Yes we do!" and she proceeded to pull out an entirely different book, one about ladybugs, and said, "See? It's the Cinderella story!"

Oohh! Of course it is. How silly of me to have forgotten where this saga started -- with the spoken word, from imagination, no books or movies to dictate the telling.

So I "read" her the Cinderella story and read it for her every night right now, from the same "10 Little Ladybugs" book (she does insist that I turn the pages, as if really reading the story).

Of course, she'll let you know when you forget parts. Her favorite two parts are when the mean sisters rip Cinderella's original dress that that birds and mice made for her, and also when the mean sisters are trying on the glass slipper. Lindsey does a fabulous mimicry of the sisters' faces and grunts as they try on the slipper. One of the sisters (she could tell you if it's Anatasia or Drisella) does eventually manage to stick her whole foot in the shoe, but it's so large the slipper flies off her foot and the servant has to catch it. The sound effect that Lindsey has determined goes with this is "PING!!"

While I love telling her the story, I think she tells it best.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let the spelling begin!

Some would argue that we should be surprised by this, but Lindsey is a smarter girl than we realize sometimes.

Wayne and I were talking a few nights ago at the dinner table about a co-worker of his who had bought a “damn nice Lexus.” Next thing you know, we hear from the living room, “a damn nice Lexus??” And we didn’t even know she was listening!

She now thinks “damnniceLexus” is one word and is a kind of car. And as far as we know, she's never repeated it. So now we know we need to start spelling words out.

Yep, she can surprise us sometimes with how smart she is. On the other hand, she insisted on eating spaghetti with meat sauce with her hands the other night.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Labor" Day

Labor Day was anything but Labor -- we took the kids to a local playground (one they hadn't visited a couple of hundred times) and they had fun on the new equipment. Marissa's favorite part, of course, was sampling the tasty pebbles. Though she did enjoy trying to climb up the tube slide, as you can see.

What is it about her that is so much more exploratory than Lindsey was? She likes to splash in the toilet water, eat the dog's kibble, splash in HIS drinking water, and otherwise get into things she's not supposed to get into. We've found more than one toy dropped into a vase by our fireplace.

We've had to babyproof in ways we never knew existed. Lindsey was never this adventuresome -- that COULD explain Lindsey's clinging to my leg during a neighborhood get together this evening. I think she's intimidated by all the other kids, most of whom are older than her, running around and being so familiar with each other. That's the drawback of daycare and two working parents -- she doesn't get to know the neighborhood kids very well.

We stopped by this evening and visited a neighbor of ours who just had Baby #2 -- a girl. She was 9 lbs 8 oz at birth (C-section, in case you're wondering) and in general is a big baby. But in comparison to Marissa and to their eldest who is one of Lindsey's best playmates, she is so tiny and so helpless. I had forgotten how little they are and how sweet they smell. Every time we go to their house I hold her as much as possible. I know we're done having children(just look at the bags under my eyes to understand how very "done" we are!) but I just love holding those little tiny babies! It goes so fast!

Okay, last thing, completely unrelated. My cousin in Atlanta sent me this link to a homemade video on from a group from the UK called "OK Go." It's about the most entertaining thing I've seen lately -- whoever came up with the idea of this as a video clip was a genius -- they are making big waves, breaking into the US market, based on this viral video clip alone. Check it out, you'll be amazed:

I haven't quite figured out how to put links in, so cut and paste this into your browser:

Saturday, September 09, 2006

She's Walking!

Marissa is finally officially walking. She will take 3 or 4 steps on her own now, and stands relatively well balanced.

I've heard walking described as the process of "falling and catching yourself." If you ever see a new baby toddling around, that is exactly the picture you get! Their steps are so jilted, so awkward, they are truly "falling" and catching themselves with their feet, and sometimes barely in time!

Marissa continues to be our "busy" baby, moreso than Lindsey ever was. She goes for the dog water, she goes for the dog food; she bypasses the toys to do these things. Our end table in our living room will often have the following items: a box of Kleenex, a coaster, a board book, a baby toy, and one of Lindsey's toys on it. She will attempt to pick them up in this order: the coaster (which is taken away), the Kleenex box, one Kleenex at a time (also taken away), Lindsey's toy (which are abruptly ripped from her hands by Lindsey), and then FINALLY the toy or book meant for her, which she is promptly bored with and goes off to the next adventure, usually involving the poor dog.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cinderella has entered our lives

Lindsey discovered the story of Cinderella the other day.

She's had a puzzle of Cinderella for some time, and it's been her favorite puzzle to put together. So a couple of nights ago, while she was doing the puzzle, I told her the story of Cinderella. It's interesting telling a story without actually "reading" it from a book -- try it some time, then tell it again and again, and see how frequently the story is exactly the same. Then have a three-year-old point out to you all the indiscrepancies. "Mommy, what happened to her mice?" "Mommy, what about her glass slipper?"

Ah yes, the glass slipper. That has become the highlight of the story, the piece de resistance that cannot be forgotten.

Today we decided to buy the Disney "Cinderella" movie, since Lindsey was so fascinated. She loved it, of course, and watched it three times in a row. And Wayne and I sat down and watched it with her, it was a real trip down memory lane.

There's a point in the story (I had forgotten this scene) when she's ready to go to the ball with the pink and white dress that the mice and birds had made for her. When the stepsisters saw the dress, they tore it apart, tearing off all the little pieces that had been stolen from their rooms. By the time they were done Cinderella was in rags again and in no condition to be presented at a ball. I looked over at Lindsey and her lower lip was out and she had tears in her eyes. She felt so badly for Cinderella!

Of course, a few times we had to correct her that Cinderella was going to a ball and not a ballgame. Slight difference.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Annual State Fair

Today we visited the State Fair. We do it every year -- neither child has ever missed it -- we even brought them in utero!

It's incredible what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time Marissa was 5 weeks old and it was a bit challenging. I remember trying to nurse her in public, being cognizant not to be too terribly close to the animal barns (I got mastitis anyway) and attempting to be somewhat discreet was...well, a challenge.

This year, she's 13 months and she is very close to walking. She took her first steps on Sunday, August 27th, exactly her 13 month birthday. She had fun taking in the sights and especially the tastes -- she loved sharing Wayne's milk shake, fries, cookies, etc.

But the biggest change was actually with Lindsey who, for the first time, wore UNDERWEAR and not diapers to the fair. She also LOVED the rides. I think she went on 8 or 9 rides, and went all by herself! (Except for a few, like the Giant Slide, see below.) Wow! We had so much fun taking her around to those rides. We spent a total of 5 hours there, a record for us.

It makes me think of the day that is coming when she will be too big for the kiddie rides, or even if she's not too big, she won't have interest. Or the days when she wants to hit the fair starting at 6 pm because "all the good stuff" happens at night, i.e. concerts, drinking, etc. I know I know, I'm getting way ahead of myself, but it continually reminds me to drink up these moments, to cherish the innocent smiles as she rides the teacups, to soak up those giggles.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Welcome to The Jenny Life!

Welcome to my blog! This seemed like a good way to put stories to the photos that so many of my extended family members are clamoring for. What are the girls up to now?! What are they doing?! What are WE doing?! You mean you still have a dog?

It only took me three years of being a parent to get a sense of how quickly the next 15 (or 18, or 25) are going to go. So hold tight, open your eyes, and enjoy the ride!