Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kids Bowl Free

On Memorial Day, I wanted to take Ivie bowling. And while checking online for the hours of the nearest bowling alley, Mardi Gras, I discovered something that would change our lives forever...

They have a Kids Bowl Free program in the summer! For no charge, kids are able to bowl 2 games a day, EVERY DAY (except Saturday), for the entire summer. What a deal! I signed Ivie up immediately. And then, after she was registered, it gave me the option to add on the "Family Fun Pass" for only $24.95. And for this minimal cost, 4 adults would be able to bowl with Ivie, also free of charge, for the same 2 games per day all summer. I signed us up and started getting psyched to spend some hot summer afternoons in the air-conditioned bowling alley, working on my very average (even though I was a bowling instructor in grad school) game.

Well, the passes aren't good on holidays, so we had to pay regular price on Memorial Day, which is $4.99 per game. And every time you bowl you have to rent shoes, of course, which cost another $3.70 per pair each time!!! Kind of an expensive hobby, even with the Family Fun Pass, since you have to get shoes each time...

So, always one to make sound financial decisions, I did an internet search for bowling shoes the next day and found some for Dale and me that I think are really cool (for bowling shoes, of course). For only ~$23 per pair, with free shipping! I even convinced our neighbors, Brooke and Danny (whom I included on our 4-adult family pass), that it is well worth it to buy our OWN bowling shoes and save the $3.70 each time we go. Six trips and they're paid off!

Anyway, long story short (I tend to get a bit long-winded on these blogs, or so Dale tells me...), our bowling shoes arrived on Friday afternoon. And we tried them out for the first time tonight. Check 'em out (and take a gander at my score, too! Must be the shoes...)!

The Herman clan is excited about a summer of TOTALLY FREE fun at the lanes!

"Mesame Street"

Last night, we got a babysitter for Macie and took Ivie to her first "live" show. First show, really, as we haven't even braved the movie theater with her yet! We thought 90 minutes of "Sesame Street Live - When Elmo Grows Up" would be the perfect first performance.

What fun we had! Ivie calls it "Mesame Street", and spent the whole week prior talking about all the characters she would see. Our only real disappointment was that Snuffleupagus wasn't on the show. Ivie kept asking where he was, but seemed satisfied with the explanation that he must be sick. Swine Flu, maybe?

During the show, Ivie wanted ALL of the characters to be on the set ALL the time. When only a few were out on Sesame Street, she asked where the other "friends" were. And then was extremely excited when they reappeared. When the show was over, she cried, not wanting it to ever end!

We, like every other family at the show, brought home a couple of souvenirs. I'm convinced that it's impossible not to. There are kids running around everywhere with pennants, balls, and stuffed animals. And just in case you've made it through the first act without buying something, a man comes out during the intermission, onto the floor where everyone can see him, with a room-sized mass of Elmo balloons. Parents don't have a chance. We came out of it feeling pretty lucky to have escaped only with a small soccer ball featuring pictures of all the characters, as well as the soundtrack from the show. I have a feeling it will rule the CD player in the car for quite a while.

Here are some pictures of our fun. I took over 150, but have cleaned it down to 96 as of this morning. I won't make you look at all of them. But the wheels are turning as I try to figure out what kind of book I want to make to document Ivie's first live show!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Headband and "Hat"

We had a little fun around the house today before naptime.

Fashion Statement

Mommy Being Silly

Friday, May 29, 2009

Editor's Note

I feel the need to make something clear to everyone that gets my blog updates via email as soon as I post them...

You will probably find it pretty amusing that in my mom's list of 25 Random Things, there are 2 grammatical errors in her #2, which just happens to be the one in which she says she's a perfectionist.... There's good reason for this, and it is simply that her DAUGHTER apparently doesn't pay nearly the attention she should before hitting the "Publish Post" button.

Here's what happened, in a nutshell (and for those of you that read the blog on the website, it's already been fixed, so you won't see the errors). Mom sent me her list in a Word document. Well, Microsoft Word and don't always get along. And didn't like Mom's list. So I had to retype several of the items before I found a shortcut to fix the problem.

That being said, #2 is definitely one that I typed over. I can assure you that in her original list, Mom capitalized "There", and would never have overlooked the quite obvious flip-flopping of letters in the word "of".

Your reputation is intact, Mom. Sorry that I put it in jeopardy for 21 minutes. Thankfully, most people won't be on their computers reading my blog at 9p on a Friday night. They'll be out at the movies, or at a baseball game, or at dinner in Charleston, or at a bar on Franklin Street, or at a wedding in Virginia...

So why, you ask, am I blogging on a Friday night? That's a very good question. I think I'll go to bed now.

25 Random Things: Nina

It's been a while since I've had a guest blogger. But my mom ("Nina" to her seven grandchildren) finally came through for me.

It will take no one that knows her by surprise that this project has taken Mom a while to complete. And number 2 on her list of 25 things explains it all - it had to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T before she would put her name on it. And, after reading it, I think you'll agree that it is just that. Perfect.

With my previous guest bloggers (Sarah and Matt), I've given a brief overview of their lives (where they live, what they do, etc.). But in Mom's email to me when she sent me her list, she told me that she feels like she wrote her life story. After reading it, I agree; there's not really any more lead-in that I need to give you. By the time you finish reading this, even if you don't know my mom, you'll know her.

Needless to say, "Nina" has met and exceeded my goals for this project. Enjoy reading about one of the most amazing women in the world. I'm blessed and thankful to be able to call her "Mom". You'll soon understand why.

Nina's 25 Random Things:

1) My most favorite number, I suppose my lucky number, has got to be 5. After all, I was born on 5-5-50, and I turned 55 on 5-5-05. It has not, however, won me any lotteries.

2) I am a perfectionist. As hard as I try to fight it, I just can't NOT be one. There are good and bad sides to this. I am extremely well organized on one hand, but on the other, my expectations of both myself and others are really unreachable. This trait of mine has probably gotten me into more trouble than it's worth!

3) I haven't developed too many vices in my lifetime, but I do have two addictions. First, SODA! I was never allowed soda when growing up, except on special occasions. When I married, I found out that I could have one as often as I wanted. And so, it began! I've adjusted to Diet, Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew as of late, and have begun to limit myself to one a day. But most days around 2:00 pm I can be found "indulging". My second addiction is the MOVIES. I love to see first-run films on the big screen! They take me to far-off lands and places. I really can get lost in a great drama.

4) I have two special memories of going to my grandmother Nano’s house when I was growing up. In the springtime, the entire perimeter of her back yard was overflowing with irises – too many types and colors to count. The smell was awesome! And, in the midst of this beautiful garden, was a small rock-lined goldfish pond. It was always packed with red and albino goldfish, and my brother John and I would sometimes rig our own cut-branch fishing poles (safety pins as hooks) and try to get away with as much catch and release as we could get away with. Some days were better than others.

5) I started taking piano lessons when I was in third grade and stopped just before my high school graduation. My mother loved to play, and I think she played by ear. Both of my parents encouraged and pushed me to practice. For a couple of years when we did not as yet have a piano, mom arranged for me to go to the convent every school day, and spend my 30-minute noon recess practicing there. To this day, I can still “plink” around on the piano, but really wish I would have followed up more seriously on continuing to play.

6) One of my passions is sewing. I’ve loved stitching anything from clothes to curtains to grandchildren’s Halloween costumes. My mother passed on this wonderful art to me and was the best teacher in the world. I used to simply hate hearing her tell me to “rip out that seam and start over”, but I learned very quickly to always have “right sides together” before I stitched anything.

7) Back in the day, I was a pretty decent fisherwoman. I learned how to trout fish in high school and introduced my family to fishing at Meramec Springs in St. James, MO. It was a favorite outing for us for many years. I was especially good at “working” a rubber worm after the trout got too smart for the cheese ball bait. It was a real thrill for me to be the only one on the bank netting nice-sized trout in the midst of several older men in waders trying desperately to keep ahead of me.

8) I am NOT athletically inclined. I have no real skills and have been only barely talented at tennis and golf. I played volleyball for one year in high school as a setter, but rode the bench much more than I ever played. My dad spent hours with me on the golf course (he was a GREAT golfer), but much to his dismay (and later, Jeff’s), I just couldn’t ever master the art. Today, when I go golfing, I have much more fun just “hitting the ball” and not getting too worked up over “skills”.

9) Growing up, I discovered I had some artistic talent. My parents graciously enrolled me in Art Correspondence School during my high school years. I worked hard at it with some degree of success until college days drew close. I let the studies lapse, but of course my parents had to foot the bill for the entire course. I have always regretted that! Art, however, became my minor in college and I loved every single class I took. I miss being creative in this regard.

10) Pat Piontek MacClellan has been my best friend since freshman year in high school. We did everything together, from science fair projects to driving the streets of Washington in Pat’s old klunker of a car. It was Pat who I followed to S.M.S., and Pat who I almost lost when she was involved in a horrific car accident after our first semester there. She was my maid of honor at my wedding and, along with her husband, Jim, was baptismal sponsor for our first child. We still manage to keep in touch regularly, even after her move to Michigan.

11) I really LOVE to read. I had a wonderful literature teacher in high school that assigned great classical works that introduced me to whole new worlds. It’s no surprise that my favorite hide-out is Barnes and Noble.

12) Another of my high school teachers, Mr. Welters, instilled in me not only a love for the subject of mathematics but also a passion for teaching mathematics. Ever since my sophomore year in high school, because of his inspiration, I knew I wanted to be a math teacher.

13) My college years (1968 – 1972), were the best years of my life. I felt a real freedom and renewed sense of who I was and what I wanted out of life. To this day, I still get a special sense of peace and purpose walking on a college campus.

14) Some very wonderful things happened to me during my four years at S.M.S. I made some great friends there and met and fell in love with Jeff (we met almost daily at the “corral” between classes). I was honored to fill the position of President of the Association of Women Students during my junior year. It was also my privilege to serve as a Resident Assistant first at Wells dorm my junior year, and then opening the new Woods dorm during my senior year.

15) I graduated from S.M.S. in Springfield, MO with a B.S. in Secondary Mathematics (certified 7-12) and a minor in Art (certified K-9). This was the perfect combination for me. If I grew weary of studying algorithms in the library, I could retreat to my creative side in art lab. My best creations were a sculpted comedic grilled cheese sandwich, a mean weapon-like, stained and polished seam ripper, and a set of eight woven placemats. My weaving class was my favorite because it combined my love of art with my love of sewing. I also shared this particular class with my good and very talented art-teacher friend, Jan Olson Sassmann.

16) After graduating from S.M.S., my first teaching position was a third grade class at St. Francis Borgia Grade School in Washington. Believe it or not, I could not find a secondary math position anywhere close that summer of 1972. But, subsequently, I found myself teaching high school math for 15 on-again/off-again years, about seven of which were part time. I taught in the Waynesville, Columbia, and Owensville school districts. Interestingly enough, I was never tenured at any of these schools but these were great years for me. Teaching was my true calling!

17) After we were married, Jeff and I lived in a trailer. This was our first home in Fort Leonard Wood, while Jeff finished his 4-year Army commitment there. We moved along with our trailer to Columbia and lived there during Jeff’s law school days. We had two children in this mobile home of ours and met our adopted parents, Mitch and Margie Birch who lived two trailers down from us in Columbia. We became very close to them. They were like grandparents to Sarah and Amy. They have both passed on, and we miss them very much.

18) My faith has always been important to me. My parents worked very hard to send me and my three brothers through twelve years of Catholic schools. But my faith really came alive for me when at 35 years of age, I made my first Teens Encounter Christ retreat weekend as an observer. I was duly persuaded to make this T.E.C. by my good friend, Jeannie, who actually became not only my great friend, but also my spiritual mentor. It was at her suggestion also that I began adult ministry classes with Father George Kramer. These classes made, and continue to make a huge spiritual impact on my life. I would be a much different person today if either Jeannie or George had not been a part of my life!

19) Another relaxing hobby of mine has been crocheting and counted cross stitch. I enjoy crocheting afghans and baby sweaters and have spent countless hours creating all sorts of cross stitch items. I am especially mindful of a several year period of time that my mother and I crosstitched purses to sell at area craft fairs. Although only mildly profitable, it was a great mother-daughter time for the two of us. We named our crafty pursuit “Dee and Me Crosstitcheries”. We even had business cards printed.

20) We took many family trips once all four kids were old enough to appreciate the travels. Jeff and I have taken a few ourselves since the kids have grown and moved away. Hands down, my most favorite trips have been those that involved mountains. I love their quiet simplicity and their overwhelming strength. I could sit for hours in their presence just contemplating them.

21) In November of 2006, Jeff and I took our first overseas trip. We went to Italy. It was our dream trip! It was an amazing 12 days and I know that I simply MUST return to Rome. I was fascinated with the art, the architecture, the antiquity of the city. It is a magical place!

22) Shortly after our back and forth stays in Jefferson City began in January of 2006, I became involved in Prison Ministry. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined going into a maximum security prison two to three days a week helping inmates pursue their G.E.D. But, I am now in my fourth year of this work and still absolutely love it. It has given me great insight and expanded my definition of forgiveness.

23) In the fall of 2007, I participated in a Cancer 3-Day Walk with Sarah. She actually introduced me to the idea and it was an experience I’ll never forget. We trained for six months prior to the 20-mile-a-day walk through the streets of Dallas. We made some good friends, camped overnight for 2 nights in 30 and 40 degree temperatures, and most importantly each managed to raise more than $2200 for a wonderful cause.

24) We’ve lived full time in Jefferson City since December of 2007. We’ve down-sized considerably from our home in Owensville and we are content not to have the back-and-forth driving. I’ve unofficially “adopted” a 3-block stretch of road near our home and pick up trash about two times a month. One can’t believe what people throw out of their cars! One day I picked up 8 Wal-Mart bags full of trash, including over 200 cigarette butts. Perhaps this is a “good” manifestation of my perfectionism.

25) How blessed Jeff and I are to have raised four really wonderful children – Sarah, Amy, Scott, and Matthew. I am so very proud of each of them along with their spouses and significant others, as well as our seven beautiful grandchildren – Sam, Josie, Olivia, Ivie, Macie, Brayden, and Gavin. They are all the absolute loves of my life!!

Show-and-Tell, Round 27: "Rainbow", Again

We were bound to start seeing "familiar" Show-and-Tell items at some point. I mean, we're almost to 30 posts on this topic without a repeat! I thought for a second that this was pretty cool, but now I'm thinking that it means that we have too much STUFF around our house...

Anyway, my new rule of thumb is going to be that I won't do a post for the week if it's an item I've already highlighted. That would just get boring, and I certainly don't want my blog to be boring (GASP)!

But I did want to show you how Ivie's Show-and-Tell item today spent her day yesterday. I let Ivie bring her with us to school, but only after she promised that she would leave her in the car. So when we got there, Ivie took the time to make sure she was comfortable and safe - "so the puhleaceman won't get her". So this is what people saw if they looked in my back seat during the day at the office. Thankfully, they also saw the car seat, which hopefully convinced them that a child was responsible, and that they did NOT have a weirdo as a compliance officer...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Individual Toy Bins

This is how we've managed to, at least temporarily, solve the problem of "Mommy, Macie's playing with my tooooooys!!!" And if you didn't read that quote in your best toddler whiny voice, go back and try it again.

Now you understand why the problem needed a solution!?!

Not to mention that this is a great way to keep Ivie's "3+" toys out of Macie's reach. It's not good for my heart to glance over at the girls playing nicely on the kitchen floor and see a necklace of beads, perfectly shaped for getting stuck in windpipes, hanging out of Macie's mouth.

To separate the toys initially (because they all used to be in the same bucket), I sat down with Ivie and we went toy-by-toy through the stash, discussing which ones we thought would be safe for Macie to have in her bucket. A great way to get her to "help" me with the task, and also a strategy to begin to teach her what types of things Macie should not have in her hands. So that when they're playing, she can help me keep an eye on her.

So far, so good...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exercise... OUCH!

I was never a "runner" growing up. All I could think about while running wind sprints during basketball practice was the tall glass of cold milk waiting for me at home (I'm addicted to milk). So even though I was a decent athlete, I never gave running track a second thought. In fact, I never even gave it a FIRST thought. Thank goodness I was decent at softball, since both of those sports were in the spring.

When I moved out to North Carolina for grad school, my roommate/classmate, Rachel, and I decided to train for a marathon. It was my first race ever (not counting elementary school field days at the end of the school year). We finished, and didn't even make fools of ourselves! To prove that it wasn't a fluke, I followed it up with 2 half-marathons in the next couple of years.

At this point, I probably could have gotten away with referring to myself as a "runner."

Then I got married and had a baby. Once Ivie was a year old, I didn't have the nursing/pumping excuse to avoid going out for a run or getting up early in the morning and jumping on the treadmill. So I started up again. Never hard-core running, like races. More like the standard-and-pretty-regular-3-mile-runs just to make myself feel strong and healthy.

Then along came Macie. I kept up the running for quite a while during the pregnancy, until my "run" looked more like a really quick duck waddle. Then I started walking. And when Mac was born, we went on our daily 30-45 minute walks around the neighborhood during my maternity leave.

Then it got cold, and I went back to work. Bad combination. I'm sad to say that I have not exercised, at all, since returning to work. YUCK.

So this weekend, Dale and I made a pact to start exercising. Even when it's not convenient (is it ever with 2 kids and full-time jobs?!?) or when we'd rather sleep in or crash early. We know how important it is - not just for ourselves, but for our sweet girls. They deserve our very best when it comes to staying healthy.

I just finished run #2 on the treadmill since our pact - I'm 2-for-2 with days and runs! And I've got really sore legs to show for it! But I'm going to rely on what Dale will tell you is the ingrained Schaeperkoetter-stick-to-it-ive-ness. We have a tendency to complete what we set our minds on doing (read: we're stubborn!).

I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to refer to myself as a "runner" again, but I'm going to give it my best shot... Because I want my girls to grow up knowing (and seeing first-hand) that things that are difficult to accomplish are well worth the struggle.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Ivie and I had a stimulating game of Hide-and-Seek today. I came up with some pretty good hiding spots downstairs, considering our floor plan is pretty wide open. Not to mention that it's not too difficult to hide from a 3 year-old. We started the game with me hiding first. For the first few times when it was Ivie's turn, she predictably hid in the same spot she'd just found me. Not real creative yet... Finally, when it was her turn again, I told her to "pick a different spot, Ivie!", and went off to count.

I must admit that what followed was not one of my finer moments as a "seeker." I started off looking for her in my typical manner of announcing my every step ("Is she in the laundry room, Daddy? Nooooooooo! Is she in the pantry? Nooooooooo! Is she in the bathroom? NOOOOOOO!") But I couldn't find her, and had pretty much scanned the entire first floor.

At one point while I was looking, I thought I heard her little feet running up the stairs. So I headed upstairs. No worries, I thought to myself. It was about time for Ivie to make her whereabouts known, as she isn't very good at staying hidden and quiet for long. So any minute she was going to start laughing.

But as I went from room to room upstairs, she didn't make a sound. So in my quest to avoid being "taken" by a toddler, I changed my tactic to one a bit more hard-core; no more declaring my next move. I turned silent, tip-toeing through Macie's room, Ivie's room, guest room...

No Ivie.

Okay, seriously. Where was she?!? She'd stayed silent in her hiding spot for a good 4 minutes at this point. I'm pretty sure I hadn't even been that successful, even with all my "good" hiding spots of the day!

Heading back down the stairs, about ready to open the front door and see if she'd escaped outside somehow, I heard "Babby" (her dog on a string, see Show-and-Tell, Round 2). And I saw him moving across the floor just inside the front door. I followed the string, and there she was. Hiding behind the coat rack in the corner of the foyer. I'd walked right past her to go up the stairs.

NICE WORK, Ivie! She started laughing when I found her. I laughed, too, but only to hide my embarrassment at being beaten by someone nearly 1/11th my age. Daddy, to rub it in, said, "You've got to be smarter than the 3 year-old, Mommy!".

For the rest of the evening, even when the game was long over, Ivie continued to say, "Mommy! I HIDE... You COUNT..." It sure is fun to beat Mommy, isn't it, Iv!?! But don't get used to it. At least not for a few years...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 26: Disney Princess Photo Album

I recently printed some pictures of Ivie's friends from her birthday party and put them in her Princess photo album. She's really proud of it. But she's upset that I didn't have enough pictures to fill it up - so I'm still working on that!

Matching PJ's

The girls were both in need of summer pajamas, so I headed to Kohl's last weekend. Halfway through my shopping, I came across a pair they had in both the girls' sizes. All sisters should have matching pj's, right? Last night, they wore them for the first time. So this morning, I snapped a few pictures. Aren't they too cute!?!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ivie's Hair Cut

I got approval from Dale to cut off Ivie's hair. A lot of it, at least. Since Dale and I swap bath nights (Dale on Ivie-only nights, me on Ivie-and-Macie-combo nights), we both get to experience the washing of the hair. Ivie generally cooperates during the bath, but she does NOT like to have her hair combed afterward. So Dale and I thought if it were shorter, she might not fight it as badly...

So tonight we got it chopped off. And we all (most importantly Ivie) love it! Here are some pictures of the process. You'll note that Ivie had a "lolli" the entire time, and got to watch an episode of Dora, so she was happy and behaved perfectly. We celebrated afterward with Moe's (kids eat free on Tuesdays!) and Cold Stone (where Ivie had her standard blue cotton candy ice cream with sprinkles mix-in).





Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Macie Scoot

Got a little video this morning of Macie's preferred method of travel. One of these days, that other knee is going to sneak below her hip and she'll take off crawling. But for now, this works pretty well!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 25: Blue's Clues Doll and Book

This Blue's Clues doll and book set was officially Macie's first gift. My friend, Nikki, sent it to me from Missouri when she found out I was pregnant. At the time, I didn't want Macie to have to "share" it with Ivie, so I put it in a drawer in our guest room for safe-keeping.

As I was looking for batteries the other day (random, I know), I opened the drawer and saw it. I immediately pulled it out and took it to school with me to pick up the girls, using it to coerce Ivie to leave her class and go home with me (she never wants to leave - I guess that's a good thing!).

One thing I've learned since baby #2 arrived. NOTHING belongs solely to the baby (except breast milk, which Ivie accidentally tasted in a sippy cup the other day - apparently she didn't like it, as she made a horrible face!). Since the older child is always going to want what the baby has, even if it's a toy she's totally outgrown (like a teething ring), you might as well just not fight it. Turn the tables, and use it to your advantage. Like getting your kid to leave her class for a "surprise new toy" that awaits her in the car... Don't worry, Mac, you'll soon be big enough to fight her for it.


Ivie has brought several new sayings and phrases home from school. Thankfully, thus far, they've all been either cute ("Miss Rosa's my friend") or have provided us with the opportunity for a teaching moment ("Stop it!"). I know the new words/phrases she brings home from school won't be tolerable forever, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

This morning, she was playing with Macie's "Busy Zoo" toy block. On the top of the block, there are several animals that move through pre-cut patterned mazes. As she played, she was talking to them, giving them instructions and telling them stories.

At one point, to get their attention, she exclaimed, "Babies and Gentlemen!".

Hadn't heard that one before from her. I like that version better than the real thing!


You know how I am with milestones. Before it goes in the baby book (aka, blog), the kids have to PROVE that they can do it. We don't write down fluke occurrences in the Herman household!

Yesterday, Miss Marie told me that Mac had managed to bring herself to a seated position from her belly in the crib. This is huge, because Dale and I have spent a significant amount of time the past 2 months helping her back up after she's fallen when reaching too far for a toy... But Miss Marie didn't personally witness it, so she and I both agreed that Mac had probably used the slats of the crib to help her up. So although it was definitely exciting news, I chalked it up as a possible fluke. Not yet blog-worthy.

Then last night, after putting Macie to bed on her back (she usually rolls to her belly at some point during the night now), I left her room and moved on to Ivie (who was patiently waiting while watching The Bee Movie in her room on the portable DVD player). After 30 minutes in Ivie's room (she didn't want me to leave...), I closed her door and instinctively went to check on Mac, even though I was sure she was sleeping, since I hadn't heard a sound from her since closing her door the first time.

I was wrong.

Mac was sitting up in her crib, looking around in the darkness, rubbing her eyes, but not crying. I quietly laid her back down on her back and she went immediately to sleep.

Another occurrence of her finding her way to a seated position. Still not convinced enough to put it in the blog, though...

At 4:47a, Macie started crying the cry that means she's not going back to sleep until she eats. I don't like that cry. I went into her room to find her, you guessed it, sitting up. Then later this morning, when we came downstairs and she was playing on the kitchen floor, she did it again. With me watching, unassisted by crib slats. And finally, just to prove herself, this morning while she was trying to settle into her nap, I had to go back into her room twice to help her back down onto her belly.

So it's not a fluke. It appears as though Macie can find her way UP from a lying position (exciting milestone!), but isn't quite sure how to lie back down. I think she's going to be a bit high-maintenance for a while...

French Braid

I've tried several times to french braid Ivie's hair. Until this morning, I'd been unsuccessful. For many reasons, really. One, she never wants to sit still long enough. Two, her hair is really thin and falls out of my hands very easily. And third, and most importantly, I'm just not very good at it. Because if I were, numbers one and two wouldn't be worthy excuses.

But this morning, as Ivie and Macie were playing in Mac's crib, I took another shot. And was fairly successful. I say "fairly", because there are several bumpy spots. But I shocked myself by being able to finish, and then discovered that I didn't have a rubber band! Thank goodness I'd already "done" my hair that morning (read: pulled it back into a ponytail)! Out it came, and the braid was salvaged.

Here are some pics of the finished product. Proof that I CAN do it!

It's kind of funny that this happened literally hours after I decided to cut off the majority of Ivie's hair. I think we're going to go with a short 'do for the summer. Assuming that meets with Daddy's approval, of course...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And the Birthday Party Video...

And for those of you that have some spare time on your hands and want to watch a 5-minute VIDEO of the party, here you go!!!

Ivie's Tumblebus Birthday Party Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And Another One!!!

Wouldn't you know it... This morning, when I checked to make sure that Macie's third tooth hadn't gone back into her gums (isn't it disappointing when they do that?!?), I found the sharp little edge of the RIGHT top front tooth, too! So now she has 2 little teeth popping out at the same time. Guess she wants to just get it over with!

I hope the new teeth are the cause of the watery and slightly gunky eyes she had this morning when she woke up. Otherwise, we might be headed to the doctor with another ear infection...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tooth #3

Dear blog-slash-stand-in-baby-book-because-Mommy-is-too-lazy-to-find-the-still-blank-real-thing,-much-less-fill-it-in,

I cut my third tooth today! It's May 12th, and I'm officially 8 months and 2 days old. Tonight, after my bath, Mommy was doing her nightly ritual of feeling in my mouth for a new tooth (it's like she knew it was coming - my Mommy is sooooooo smart!). After I finished biting her with my bottom two teeth (she said "OUCH, Mac!", which made me giggle), she managed to pry my mouth open long enough to feel the itty-bitty sharp edge of the tooth that is popping out on the upper front left side. She was so excited! She even held my mouth open so that Ivie could feel it. I'm not sure if Ivie really felt it or not, but she said she did, and she was thrilled that Mommy helped her try.

Making my family happy just comes "naturally" to me, I guess. And, just think - I get to do it, like, 17 more times before I have all of my baby teeth!


P.S. Mommy calls me "Macie-Mac" so often that Ivie's even started saying it. Mommy thinks that's funny. And I'm starting to wonder what my real name is. Mac? Macie-Mac? Mac-ster? The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend in Hickory

We spent Mother's Day weekend in Hickory with Dale's mom. Saturday night, Ivie and Macie's "cuzins" came to stay (and play!), too.

I snapped a few picture of Luke, who is 10, playing with Macie. As well as some shots of her enjoying Grandma's stuffed elephants and learning her alphabet (never too early to start!).

I also got a rare picture of Dale's mom with her "boys" (tough to get, since both Dale and Emma Jean HATE photos!). Ivie made the picture, too, as she happened to be sitting on Dale's lap when the opportunity presented itself.

You can probably tell from the props (i.e., the coffee pot) in the picture that it was taken at IHOP. Weird, maybe, but I've now had lunch at IHOP on all 4 of my Mother's Days. Isn't that a great tradition?!? Stac, I know you will approve... Gotta love country omelets and blueberry pancakes!!! Thanks to the rest of the Hermans for letting me continue the ritual in Hickory this year...

Look at my TEETH!!!

Just a great shot of Macie's first two teeth! Not to mention her sweet smile...


For Ivie's birthday, Nina and Papa gave her a Show White dress-up outfit. So last weekend, we pulled it out, along with a fairy dress she got last year for her birthday from Reece and Cooper Holbrook, and played a little dress-up. She had a blast. Can't you tell?!?

Show-and-Tell, Round 24: Elmo Blow-Up Doll

We strayed from the birthday gifts this week for an oldie-but-goodie. It was very random, but Friday morning, when we asked her what she wanted to take for Show-and-Tell, Ivie went directly to the living room and pulled out her blow-up Elmo, which I believe we got at the 2007 NC State Fair. Definitely is worth the 10 bucks or so we spent on it!

Show-and-Tell, Round 23: Ariel (for the Tub)

I'm a couple weeks behind on Show-and-Tell. Time for catch-up! Two weeks ago, Ivie chose another of her birthday party gifts, this one from Samuel, to bring to school. Ariel changes colors when she gets wet, though we haven't experienced that yet, because we're not quite sure if she can only be sprinkled with water, or thrown in with the other tub toys. The directions weren't really very clear... So we've avoided playing with her in water thus far!

Ariel came with a fish, too (see picture). The fish probably has a name - but I've not seen Little Mermaid (I know, crazy). So if you know the fish's name, fill me in...!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

9 Hours...

Apparently this is all the sleep Macie needs at night. She's been sleeping, fairly consistently, from ~8p to ~5a. Then she wakes up, talking and ready to start her day.

Too bad I'm not ready to start mine.

So I feed her and try to get her to go back to sleep. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't, and I end up lying in bed listening to her until I give in and try nursing her again. Then, by the time I crawl back into bed, it's 5:45a, my alarm is set to go off in 30 minutes, and I can't fall back to sleep. Of course.

Come on, Macie! Sleep for ONE MORE HOUR! Do it for your sleep-deprived mother who is smack-dab in the middle of her worst two work months of the year! I'm begging you!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Eating Puffs

Last night, I put Mac in her high chair and let her play around with eating those little puff dealies that you feed babies when they're learning how to eat real food. Here's the video, complete with background snippets from Ivie as she continues to try to get my attention... She really is a great big sister - just doesn't like it much when the camera is focused entirely on Macie!

When it Rains...

Dale was out of town last night. Going into the bedtime routine, I was cautiously optimistic, since the girls and I have had a bit of practice with this over the past few months (man, orthodontic salesmen sure do have a lot of conferences!).

My optimism waned, however, when Ivie balked at watching Chicken Run in her room (on the portable DVD player) while I put Macie to bed. Instead, she decided that she would go back and forth from her room to Mac's, dragging books and toys and wanting to play with/read to Macie. Who, at this time of night, was much more interested in nursing and falling asleep.

But, we survived, and after only 30 minutes (ONLY!?!) in Ivie's room trying to convince her to lay down and go to sleep, I finally made it downstairs to clean bottles at 9p. Given the rough way that bedtime started, I was understandably worried about what overnight had in store...

My luck turned, though, and both girls slept through the night. If you call 5a "sleeping through", that is. Ivie cried out first, but went right back to sleep. Then Macie was in and out of sleep for the next 30 minutes, until finally deciding at 5:45a that enough was enough and she was ready to eat.

Around 6:30a, Ivie was soundly back to sleep and Macie and I went downstairs. Mac sat happily on her padded mouse mat in the kitchen, playing with a few toys, while I started the pumping process (so I could hopefully finish and wash dishes before waking Ivie up to get her ready). So far, I thought to myself, the morning was going smoothly (aside from the fact that it started an hour and 15 minutes before I'd wanted it to...).

I should have knocked on wood...

Approximately 3 minutes into my 10-minute pumping session, Ivie started whining/crying out. She does this sometimes in her sleep, so I wasn't too concerned at first. Then, just seconds later, my attention turned quickly to Macie, as a very large amount of spit-up (to put it mildly) came gushing out of her mouth. Though this is not odd after a morning nursing session, it usually comes when we're still in her room. So this particular episode, 30 minutes after eating, caught me off-guard.

So, picture this. Here I am, standing in the kitchen, pumping (you don't have to picture that part if you don't want to!), listening to Ivie begin to cry harder through her monitor (yes, she's 3 and we still have a monitor), and watching helplessly as Macie begins to "play" in the literally-2-foot-in-diameter puddle of spit-up on the wood floor (by dragging both hands through the spit-up, smearing it even further around).

What's a mom to do?!?

I know it's hard to believe, but it gets better. At this point, I decide that I probably should take a break from pumping to clean up Macie's spitting mess and save Ivie from the despair of not being able to get out of her room (we keep her door shut overnight, with a child-proof handle cover on her side of it, since we don't have a gate and her room is right at the top of the stairs).

Just as I start to turn off the pump, Macie decides to reach for a toy that she launched to the other side of the puke puddle. Since the floor is wet (obviously), and she's not too stable when she leans forward, anyway, she slips and falls. Face-first, directly into the puddle of spit. Great. So now Ivie and Macie are BOTH wailing (for entirely different reasons), the entire front of Macie's sleeper, not to mention her face, is drenched with spit, and I'm still trying to get to the point where I can physically do something about it.

Guess I should look at the bright side... At least Mac didn't crack a tooth during the fall. And at least the spit-up landed mostly on the floor, and only a teeny bit on the cute mouse mat. And at least Macie was still in her sleeper that needed to be washed anyway, as opposed to the really cute jumper I intended to dress her in for the day. And at least Ivie didn't pick this morning to learn how to open her door (despite the child-proof handle) and come tumbling down the stairs.

Ahhhh, I feel better already.

5 Years...

Hard to believe that it's been five years since our wedding! For those of you that were in Chapel Hill on the day of our planned outdoor wedding, you remember the torrential downpour that we experienced. One of my first morning memories of that day will always be sitting in my parents' van in the back parking lot of Forest Theatre, watching it pour down rain, crying while talking to Dale on my cell phone, and urging him to make the final decision to move the ceremony inside. It was such a tough call for us to make, because Dale and our friends had put SO much work into making the theatre look gorgeous for the big day.

But we moved it inside, and it was a good thing we did - it rained all day! And not just sprinkles, either. The rain was blowing sideways, I swear. Looking back at it now, we laugh with our friends who braved the deluge, armed with their umbrellas, to come to Gerrard Hall, which we'd quickly "decorated" the day before after hearing of the rain in the forecast. Thankfully, the clouds took a break from dumping rain on us just long enough for us to snap a few pictures with the wedding party at the Old Well before we headed to the reception.

Just for kicks, Dale and I intend to continue to track the weather on May 1st in Chapel Hill every year. The tally so far? 2004: BUCKETS OF RAIN. Every year since: BEAUTIFUL. (Though there IS a chance of afternoon showers today...)

Google tells me that, in the Hindu tradition, rain on your wedding day is believed to foretell a strong marriage. The logic is that a wet knot it supposed to be harder to untie. Makes total sense to me!

Happy Anniversary, Dale! Here's to many more...