Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thanks for Nothing, Sun!

Thanks to CBS, Dale and I got to bed really late on Friday night. Tip-off for the Heels versus Gonzaga wasn't until 10p! We finally hit the pillows, exhausted but elated at the victory, about 12:45a. So we were really hoping the girls would pick Saturday to sleep in.

Ivie didn't get the memo.

At 6a, she woke up calling for Daddy. When he went into her room, it was still pitch black outside. He pointed this out to her and told her that it was still sleeping time, so she needed to close her eyes again.

When he got back to our room, neither of us was optimistic that she might actually go back to sleep. But, lo and behold, it soon was quiet again in the monitor. So we both dozed back off.

Until 7a, when she again started calling "Daddy!! Daddy!!". When Dale got into her room, all I heard through the monitor was "Daddy, it's wakin' time!". Clearly she had looked out her window and seen the sun starting to shine through.

She's too smart for her own good. And for ours.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waking Up Happy

This morning, I let Ivie "sleep in." I didn't HAVE to be at work at any certain time, so I woke Macie up and fed her at 6:45a, then went downstairs to "make Macie's milk," as Ivie describes it, and wash the resulting plastic parts. Then headed back upstairs to get dressed for work.

Just as I was about to go in and wake her up (around 7:25a), I heard Ivie, through the monitor in our room, start singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," from her "Let's Play" book of nursery rhymes (which was the book-of-choice at bedtime last night). She was WAILING, folks - singing with all the vigor she could muster.

I pray for countless more days of Ivie waking up so happy that she can't help but sing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Macie's 6-Month Stats

Macie had her 6-month doctor's appointment today. Again a bit late, since she turned 6 months on the 10th, but I'm horrible about scheduling appointments enough in advance to get them at the right time. Thankfully, the nurses assure me that the immunizations at this age don't really have to be a certain amount of time apart, so my slacker nature (only with regards to scheduling appointments, mind you) won't affect the health of my children...

So here are Macie's 6 1/2 month stats:

Weight: 17 pounds, 7 ounces
Height: 25 3/4 inches
Head Circumference: 44 centimeters

She's in the 75th percentile for weight and head, and the 50th percentile for height. So she's just perfect. Though I didn't need a doctor to tell me that!

Here are a couple of pictures and a video from the doctor's office. I couldn't resist. She looked so cute sitting naked on the table, destroying the paper, staring at herself in the mirror, and chomping on her rattle.


video

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ms. Erin

Ivie and Macie's school has a LOT of wonderful women who devote their days to caring for a bunch of great kids. They teach them, protect them, encourage them, comfort them, discipline them, and, most importantly, love them.

One of these lovely ladies is named Ms. Erin. She teaches the older preschoolers, so Ivie hasn't been in her class yet. But her room is across the hall, so Ivie sees her quite often. And Erin's cute little boy, Mason, is in Ivie's class.

Ivie absolutely adores Ms. Erin. Who wouldn't? She's sweet, kind, and very fun. And also, as we've discovered recently, an amazing artist. How about these pictures that she drew for Ivie? Impressive, huh? Ivie has hung them very proudly on the wall in our kitchen.

Thank you, Ms. Erin, for loving my little girl.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Consignment Sale Bounty

Tonight was the semi-annual Kids EveryWear consignment sale at an outlet mall near our home. I eagerly anticipate this event, as it is where I get all of Ivie's (and now Macie's) clothes for school. It's ideal for finding gently-worn (and pretty cute) clothes for ~$2 that are perfect for wearing on the playground and (potentially) ruining.

Ivie was keyed up to see the loot when I got home. I didn't disappoint, pulling out several t-shirts that I knew she'd love - Tigger and Pooh, Mickey and Minnie, and Pooh and Piglet - along with a Sesame Street nightgown featuring ALL of the characters. SCORE! She was thrilled.

The night got even better for her when she went into her room and saw 41 cents in change sitting on her ottoman. Daily tradition has it that Daddy dumps his change there every afternoon when he gets home, and then, before bed, he and Ivie pull her piggy banks (2 of them, one for "brown money" and one for "silver money") down off her dresser and Ivie puts the coins in, one-by-one. But this time, MOMMY brought home some change for Ivie (which never happens, since I always use a credit card!). So even Daddy was surprised to see the coins waiting.

I didn't witness the exchange between the two of them, as I was already in Macie's room putting her to bed, but Dale said afterward that he just told Ivie that Mommy had brought the coins home for her. After getting dressed in her pajamas, she came in to give Macie and me our goodnight kisses. Afterward, as she walked out of the room and started to close the door, she hesitated and came back in. Entirely unprovoked, she walked to my side, smiled, gave me another kiss, and whispered (since Macie was sleeping in my arms), "Thank you for buying me money and clothes, Mommy!".

Part of me thinks that she's starting to learn to express thanks when people do thoughtful things for her. But the rest of me thinks she's practicing up for when the clothes no longer cost $2 per item and the quantity of money she wants is 41 cents, times, say, a thousand.

If you promise not to tell her, I'll let you in on a secret... All she's got to do is keep that adorable smile. I've got no chance.

25 Random Things: Uncle Matt

Next up for the guest bloggers is Uncle Matt (another sibling with a Facebook page that got peer pressured into writing 25 Random Things about himself).


Uncle Matt works in college athletics, just like me. I like to claim that he saw how much fun I was having and decided to follow suit and go to school for Sport Administration. But, of course, he trumped me by going to the best program in the country, Ohio University, where he could get his MBA at the same time. Not to mention that he met his sweet girlfriend, Carla, while in Athens, Ohio. What a cool cat he is.

I always joke with Matt that he looks like he's 15. Even though he's now 27. I'm tellin' ya, the kid doesn't age - he's still got that adorable baby face. I still call him "Matty" every once in a while, for old time's sake.

Matt and Carla live in Oklahoma, so they don't get the benefit of regular meals out with our parents, either! Though Matt got spoiled plenty being the "baby" of our family, which is also an ongoing joke in our family. I mean, just as one example, he's the only kid that Mom didn't force to take piano lessons - she was too tired of fighting with us about practicing by the time Matt was of age!

Without further ado, here's more about Matty:

1. I LOVE Sun-drop and Coke. They are the greatest sodas ever created and I drink 3-4 per day.

2. I have 2 masters degrees - Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Sports Administration. I am very proud of both.

3. I have hit one hole-in-one when I was in 8th grade. It was the day of my brother Scott's high school graduation and he witnessed it. I ended up shooting 9 over for 9 holes that day.

4. I hate horror films or anything that resembles a horror film. They give me nightmares. I hated watching "Unsolved Mysteries" as a kid but everybody else liked to watch it so I had to cover my eyes a lot.

5. I buy books so I can lend them out to people to borrow.

6. I have played over 100 holes of golf in one day.

7. I want a man cave....equipped with HD TV, all my sports memorabilia, and a mini fridge.

8. I made one B in high school but was barely in the top 10 in my class in GPA. The class of the millennium had a bunch of overachievers.

9. My favorite food is mashed potatoes.

10. I have cooked a rack of lamb before....for Valentine's Day.

11. I wrecked my dad's riding lawnmower into a tree when I was really young. The airbag didn't deploy.

12. I am in the process of making a "bucket list" of things that I want to do or accomplish before I die.

13. I really like Randy Jackson from American Idol and try to talk like him on a daily basis....yeah dog!

14. I have gone through at least 10 cell phones. I dropped one in a toilet and one in the Hocking River.

15. I have witnessed the Cardinals beat the Cubs at Wrigley. The score was 12-3. It was a beat down.

16. I don't take my contacts out for 3 months at a time. When they start hurting, I take them out.

17. I wait as long as I can before I fill up my gas tank. I have only run out of gas twice. I go "0 miles to empty" often.

18. I'm trying to become at least 1/2 Italian. "Park in my spacea and I'll breaka your facea."

19. I really like my job but sometimes wish I could just be a fan.

20. It takes me a really long time to read Sports Illustrated because I like to read every word, every article.

21. I really like to play ping pong but don't get to as often as I would like. I have my own butterfly paddle. Who wants a game?

22. I wear a tie to work every day.

23. I have a really small bladder, I pee at least once an hour but I did drive a record of 5 hours straight once without having to stop. Sunflower seeds were key.

24. I only do laundry when I run out of boxers.

25. I have really gotten into a lot of TV shows because of Carla...Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy & Gossip Girl just to name a few. XOXO

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 18: Puppy and Bunny

Pretty boring names for Ivie's two favorite stuffed animals, huh?!? Maybe it's because they've been with her in her crib (and now bed) from the day I deemed it "safe" enough for her to have anything in there with her. So the naming of them actually was delegated to Dale and me, as Ivie couldn't really talk yet. Hence the lack of creativity and the reason they now officially go by "Puppy" and "Bunny".

Despite their boring names, they are very loved in the Herman house. Sometimes they get to trek downstairs for the day, accompanied by a blanket. More often, they just chill in bed all day. But regardless of where they spend their day, rest assured that they are ALWAYS in the sleeping bag with Ivie when it comes time to close her eyes for the night.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mommy Knows Best - The Sequel

It's all a cute blog post until, the next morning, Ivie wakes up happily at 7:30a (later than normal, although Macie was up at 6:30a), singing about Elmo, and I go into her room to find the same smell as before, but, this time the poopy has escaped the diaper, BIG-TIME.

And Ivie hasn't stayed still in her bed to minimize the damage, either. She's sitting on her headboard shelf, playing with her hair bows. So that means the sheets, the sleeping bag, the pillow, AND the furniture all have evidence of the blow-out.

When poopy is everywhere, it's hard to know where to start. But it's easy to know where you ultimately end up. With the kid in the bathtub, playing happily with toys and amusing her observant sister (who sits alongside the tub in her bouncy seat), while Mommy rinses pj's out in the toilet, bags the poopy diaper and the 15 used wipes, changes sheets, sprays air freshener, and starts the first of what will now be multiple loads of laundry for the day.

All before 8:30a on a Saturday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mommy Knows Best

Disclaimer: For those of you who don't want to read blog posts that include minimal details (only what is necessary to effectively tell the story) about my children's bowel movements, you might want to stop reading now.

For the rest of you...

I should have seen it coming.

Last night, between dinner and bedtime, Ivie had to go poopy three times. After the first time, it took all I had to get her to flush the toilet. She wanted to leave it in there to "show Daddy," who was out of town for the night. It clearly doesn't take long for a child to realize which of her parents gets excited about the size of her poopies! She quickly tired of the trips to the bathroom, though, as the second and third times, she said, "I have to go poopy, AGAIN!" in an exasperated voice.

Fast-forward to 2:15a. I finally pulled myself out of bed after listening to Ivie whine, on and off, for about 15 minutes. Each time she cried out, she went immediately back to sleep. But by the third or fourth time, I realized that I wasn't sleeping anyway, and the whine sounded a bit sickly, so I went in to check on her.

Given the incidents of the last hour and a half before she went to bed, I should not have been surprised when I walked into her room and all my senses were immediately overtaken by the horrible smell. It was BAD, people. At first, I thought she had thrown up. But after walking over to the side of her bed near her head (she had fallen back to sleep by this point), there was no sign of anything on her pillow. So I did what only a mom would do - I stuck my nose up to her bottom. No mistake about it - nasty diarrhea.

Gross.

So I ended up having to wake her. No way I could let her continue to sleep in it. As I changed her pull-up, it was obvious that the mess had taken its toll on her bottom. It was raw, and the poor thing couldn't help but cry as I cleaned her up. I kept trying to encourage her softly (so as not to wake up Macie next door) that it would be over soon. Here's how our conversation went:

Mommy: Sweetie, I'm so sorry it hurts. I'm almost finished, and then you can go back to sleep, okay?

Ivie: Okay. Then will you put my blankie on me?

Mommy: Yes, of course! Listen, Iv, I'm going to put some Butt Paste on your bottom so that it won't hurt when you wake up in the morning, okay?

Ivie: [with a pouty face and a shaky voice] Okay, Mommy. You be gentle?

Mommy: Of course I'll be gentle. It'll make your bottom feel all better.

Ivie: Okay, Mommy.

Don't you know that some of the most cherished conversations you'll have with your kids will happen in the dead of the night? After settling her back in under her blanket and holding her hand until she dismissed me from her room with her standard, "I love you, Mommy," I went back to my bed.

And, at 2:45a, I lay awake for another 15 minutes, not able to go back to sleep. All I could do was think about how I wouldn't have traded that brief conversation for anything in the world. Because out of it came the knowledge that my usually-independent, sometimes-defiant child absolutely knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that she can put her life in my hands and trust me explicitly to do whatever I can to ease her pain. Even if she doesn't necessarily agree with me in the heat of the moment (when the Butt Paste burns a bit).

I'm glad I'll have this blog post to share with her someday when she fails to understand that Mommy knows best...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

25 Random Things: Aunt Sarah

It's taking Dale, Nina, and Papa a while to finish their lists of 25 Random Things about themselves. While I wait, I thought I'd move on to my siblings. First up, my older sister, Sarah...


Sarah is a couple weeks away from the big 3-5. Not old enough to care about me putting her age on here, I hope! Besides, no matter how old she is, she will always be able to make fun of Dale for being older than both she and Tony...

A semi-interesting fact is that Sarah and my birthdays (Sarah, 3/31/74; Amy, 9/12/76) coincide almost exactly with Ivie and Macie's (Ivie, 4/13/06; Macie, 9/10/08), so the age between these sets of sisters differs only by 11 days. We'll see if they follow suit and Ivie ends up being the smart one and Macie ends up being the one that continually strives to be as amazing as her big sister...

Sarah and her husband, Tony, have three great kids, Sam (almost 10), Josie (almost 7), and Olivia (3 1/2). Until this past weekend, they lived in Dallas, TX, but they're now officially back in Missouri. On that note, let the record show that the Herman girls are the only grandkids that live more than 6.73 miles (per MapQuest) from Nina and Papa. Yes, I'm jealous...

Anyway, I digress. The reason for this post is to share with you (and someday the kids) a little bit about their Aunt Sarah.

So here's her list of 25 Random Things:

1. My nickname is Sadie.

2. I married my high school sweetheart. We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16. Tony’s mom never had to set a curfew for him because she knew my mom and dad would be strict enough for the both of us.

3. My curfew was 9:30.

4. My dad is a lawyer and a politician. I still have a desire to go to a County Courthouse on election night to see them bring in the ballots and tally them. They probably don’t even do that anymore!

5. Same goes for pancake suppers, church picnics and fair parades. Love 'em.

6. When I was 15, I drove a 4-wheeler through a barbed wire fence. 1st time EVER on one. I got 56 stitches, a broken wrist and a neck that looked like I had been attacked by Freddy Krueger. I was a really good teenager after that.

7. Except for the time I got into a fist fight in one of the park parking lots.

8. This is the 3rd time I’ve done my 25 random things. There is very little more frustrating to me than technological failures. It should make life easier, not harder!!

9. I am very introverted and have low self esteem. I worry way too much about what people think about me or the things I do. It’s a hard habit to break…

10. I don’t like to be “called out” or recognized. I would much rather just blend in with the crowd.

11. I love new socks.

12. I’ve never had braces.

13. I have a heart for serving people. Whether it’s a part of my job or something I do in my spare time, I love it.

14. My favorite cleaning supply is a toothbrush.

15. But I’d rather clean under piles than put away the piles.

16. I play the clarinet, piano and the organ. Someday I hope to learn to play the violin…..fast!

17. My favorite food is tuna salad. Specifically, tuna salad on toasted wheat bread, topped with a slice of cheese and put in the oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

18. I very much dislike beans. They’re grainy…it’s a texture thing.

19. I walked in the 2007 Dallas/ Ft. Worth Breast Cancer 3 Day (60 miles in 3 days) with my mom. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

20. I’ve always wished I had bit the bullet and gone to school to become a doctor.

21. My most selfish desire is to go to Walt Disney World.

22. I miss hills, trees, the changing of seasons, and snow.

23. My heart breaks for the poor and disadvantaged. Affluence for the sake of affluence makes me sick to my stomach. Last May, I went to Sierra Leone, the poorest country in the world, to help build housing for women with polio (yes, it does still exist) and just to serve these lovely people. You just can’t walk away from something like that and not think how LUCKY you are.

24. I was a “rifle” in the color guard in high school. We rocked. Out of all the things in high school, I miss that the most.

25. I would love to be a runner, but my PT mind won’t let me relax and just run. I’m too busy worrying about my stride, my breathing, how my foot is hitting the ground, etc. Maybe I’ll just stick with walking.

Monday, March 16, 2009

4(ty) Days and 4(ty) Nights

Today is Monday, and it has literally been raining, HARD, for 4 straight days. The worst part about this is that the four days spanned a weekend, which meant that the girls were forced to spend most of this time, indoors, at home. Even though we were able to take an outing to the play area at the mall on Saturday, as well as spend a couple of hours away from home at church on Sunday, we were all feeling a bit claustrophobic by the time we headed outside this morning for the drive to school.

As luck would have it, the rain actually stopped for a couple of hours this morning (giving me the opportunity to get both girls into school without any of us getting soaked). Though she hadn't verbalized the effect the rain was having on her, Ivie's reaction this morning when I opened the garage door said it all. Realizing that she was able to actually walk outside without an umbrella, she stepped onto the driveway and exclaimed, "MOMMY!!!! IT STOPPED RAINING!".

Here in Chapel Hill, we're starting to understand how Noah and his family must have felt after enduring 40 days and 40 nights of non-stop rain. We're 1/10th of the way there...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 17: Snow White and Cinderella

This Christmas, one of Target's hot items for little girls was their exclusive set of the 7 Disney Princess dolls. I wasn't even aware of it until we went to Missouri, and Nina and Papa had purchased a set for my niece, Olivia.

From the time she first laid eyes on it, Ivie was smitten. Since Dale and I had been looking for one more item to round out Ivie's Christmas, I began scouring the internet, hoping to order the set and have it delivered to our house before we returned. Apparently I wasn't the only one who had this idea, as it was no longer available on Target.com, and the only place I could find it was on Amazon, for nearly 3 times the price my mom had paid...

So we made a quick call to our neighbors, the Devers, who came through with an emergency (and successful!) trip to our around-the-corner Target. So Ivie's princesses were waiting under our tree when we celebrated Christmas at home. They were, by a long shot, her favorite gift of the morning.

Two-year-olds play hard with their dolls. The princesses once (for about an hour) pristine hairstyles are long gone, and their shoes and crowns have been put away in a Ziploc baggie for safe-keeping. But even with all the wear and tear that they've suffered over the most tumultuous 3 months they could imagine, Ivie doesn't know the difference, and she loves them just the same.

Today for Show-and-Tell, she chose Show White and Cinderella. Yes, we gave in, again, and let her take two items. Suckers. But we couldn't make one princess sit in Ivie's locker at school all day by herself, could we?!? Everyone needs a friend...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Potty Adventure

Notwithstanding nighttime and naptime, I think it's safe for us to say that Ivie is potty-trained. However, Dale and I haven't been very brave when it comes to leaving her in underwear when we've left the house on "outings". For example, when we've taken her to Carolina games, we've put her in a Pull-Up, just to be safe.

Today, though, we decided it was time to go out on a limb and go to a birthday party Pull-Up-less. If we don't take chances, we won't find out what she's made of, right?!? The party was at a local community park we'd never been to, so we weren't sure if it had a bathroom, but, again, you've got to take chances!

So off we went. When we arrived, I asked Alison (the birthday girl's mom) if they had a bathroom. She said that they did, and pointed it out to me. Although it was behind a locked gate, she had a key. So we were all set. Phew!

About an hour and a half into the party, I asked Dale to check in with Ivie on the need for a potty run. Ivie happened to be playing with Caroline when Dale asked her. Caroline immediately said, "I want to go potty!", so Ivie jumped on the bandwagon and said she did, too. So off Dale headed to get the key from Alison. Everything was falling into place nicely!

Until Dale got through the locked gate successfully, only to find that the INSIDE doors to the bathroom were locked. And required a different key. Which we didn't have.

Great. Now what?

Alison sensed my stress and asked if I had ever had to take Ivie to the bathroom on the side of the road, etc. Nope, hadn't had to do that yet. She then told me how she'd found it to be fairly simple with Caroline, and described the method to me.

So Ivie and I headed off to the small wooded area behind the playground. We went to the backside of a large tree to shield ourselves a bit (more for me than for Ivie, since she couldn't care less at this age!). We assumed the position that Alison had described, and, after only a couple seconds of hesitation, Ivie successfully pottied! Good work, Iv!

So after setting her down and utilizing the wipe I'd snagged from the car, we pulled up her pants and I congratulated her on cooperating so well and going potty in an awkward place and position.

And Ivie turned to me at that moment and said, "Mommy, like a puppy!".

Interesting connection. Yes, Ivie, you did kind of go potty like a dog. But don't get used to it. Humans prefer toilets. In bathrooms.

Show-and-Tell, Round 16: "Dress Up Dora!" Book

The book kick continues...

And it didn't take long for this one to become an Ivie favorite when it arrived at our house on Wednesday night, a gift from the Tuttle family. Don is the President of Dale's orthodontic sales company, Ormco, and we are also blessed to call him and his wonderful wife, Cathy, our friends.

"Dress Up Dora!" has 2 of Ivie's favorite things: Dora and stickers. Can't go wrong with that combination! There's a pop-out cardboard Dora doll, along with stickers of many different types of outfits from around the world. In the book, Dora goes on several different adventures, including trips to Japan, India, Mexico, Africa, Alaska, Russia, Hawaii, and Ireland. So, along the way, she gets to experiment with kimonos, saris, hula skirts, and many different types of dresses.

The challenge facing us over the life of this book is going to be keeping the stickers safe and reuseable. One of them, (I believe it's the Irish dress that Dora wore when dancing a jig) has already fallen prey to Macie's inquisitive fingers. Ivie gave Mac a little scolding when it happened ("Macie, no no!"), but has since forgotten about the annihilated sticker. So all is well.

Thanks for the great book, Don and Cathy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chick-fil-A

Brooke and Emerson joined Ivie and me for dinner tonight. I went through the drive-through at Chick-fil-A and brought it home for us. Here was my order:

2 #1 Combos
-- both without pickle
-- 1 with Hi-C Orange, the other with Sprite
2 6-nugget Kids Meals
-- trade the fries for fruit in one, keep the fries in the other
-- one with white milk, the other with Hi-C Orange
1 Cookies-N-Cream shake
-- no whipped cream or cherry, please

After reading through that chaotic order, is anyone at all surprised that the food didn't all make it into the car, even after the drive-through lady correctly recited it back to me 2 times (once at the order screen, then again before giving me the bags at the window)? As I pulled away from the window and glanced into the big plastic bag (meant to make it easier to carry - they must have felt sorry for me since I was alone in the car), I realized that they forgot to give me one of the Kid's Meals.

So I pulled into the parking lot and, armed with my receipt, headed inside. They were very helpful and apologetic and quickly prepared and handed over the second kid's meal. (The one with fries, mind you.)

In hindsight, it's actually a good thing that they messed it up and forced me to go inside (thankfully the weather was nice, or I wouldn't be saying this - no rain or below freezing temperatures). Parking the car and looking through the bags to take a detailed accounting of what was missing led me to a sudden realization, and going inside allowed me the opportunity to correct a critical error. Despite my effort to clearly spell out our confusing order, I inadvertently left out one essential piece of information...

I forgot to trade the Kid's Meal toys for cups of ice cream!!!

Here's why this is important. Because if you can manage to get it directly to the freezer without your kids seeing it when you arrive home, they won't know it exists. And then, once they go to bed, the ice cream is yours. Unless, of course, you're like me and ordered yourself a Cookies-n-Cream shake instead. Then you can save the ice cream until your kids go to bed the NEXT night...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Delicious"

You probably don't read many blogs that, within a span of two months, have THREE posts in which the topic of fish sticks and macaroni is covered (see "Identifying Trends" and"25 Random Things - Mommy"). Even I, a huge fan of this meal combination, never thought I would stoop this low. But I've learned through my parenting experience thus far that kids have a tendency to make you do things you never imagined possible. Sometimes good, sometimes bad... If you're keeping score, this is probably a point for the "bad".

Tonight, as I was "cooking" dinner, Ivie was standing on Macie's personalized stool (thanks, White family!) at the stove watching me. She was intrigued by the "smoke" coming out of the mac and cheese pot, but it only kept her attention for short bursts of time, so she was up and down off the stool several times in the 8 minutes that the noodles were cooking.

(A few side notes, just for the record. You HAVE to hand it to me for actually cooking the boxed version of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese instead of the microwaveable single servings that are so much more my culinary style. Never mind that the box I used expired in December of 2008. Processed mac and cheese doesn't go bad, right?!? Mental note to not get the 16 boxes of mac and cheese from Sam's Club in the future...)

Anyway, after Ivie asked probably 5 times in this 8-minute time span if the mac and cheese was "ready yet?", (to which Dale commented that he can't WAIT until we start driving for family vacations - pretty sure Ivie's going to be one of those "Are we there yet?" kids...), the noodles were finally cooked and Ivie was able to stand on the stool and watch me put in the butter (don't worry, I only use 1 tablespoon, as opposed to the SIX or something that the box calls for!), the cheese sauce, and the milk. And then I put a serving (or two... I mean, really, Kraft's definition of a serving is absurdly small, even for a 2-year-old) in her bowl.

She quickly hopped down from the stool, grabbed her fork and spoon from the utensil drawer, and reached up on the counter to pick up her bowl and take it to the table. As she walked away from the counter, mac and cheese in hand, she exclaimed excitedly, "DELICIOUS!!!".

There are several things funny about this. First and foremost, neither Dale nor I have ever heard Ivie say the word "delicious". There's not much cuter than hearing your child's vocabulary expanding in a way, and, more specifically, at a time, that you never would have predicted. But secondly, and just as funny, I'm pretty sure I have never, ever, heard the word "delicious" used to emphatically describe Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Not even in the Schaeperkoetter home growing up. And that's saying something for a family who considered fish sticks and macaroni a staple.

Here's to many more "delicious" pots of mac and cheese.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rainy Day Basketball Game

Yesterday, the Tar Heels had a noon basketball game at the Smith Center, so we intended to take both girls to the game (which, because of game times late at night or during nap, doesn't happen very often). That was the plan when we woke up. And it lasted until I looked out the window.

Dreary rain. The kind that lasts the entire day. Yuck. I was not keen on the idea of trudging down the hill from the parking garage to the Smith Center, holding an umbrella, carrying Macie in the Baby Bjorn. No, this was not nearly as appealing as sitting on my couch in sweatpants watching the game while Macie took a long nap in the swing.

So Plan B materialized, and Dale and Ivie headed to the game alone.

By halftime, I hadn't heard from them. It was a toss-up as to whether this was good or bad. Either they were having a BLAST, and Dale didn't have need to text me, or Ivie was wearing Dale out and he just didn't have time to call and lament...

So I sent him a text myself:

Amy: "How's it going?"

In a few minutes, the response came:

Dale: "It's going home. Can you record the second half of the game for me?"

Uh-oh. That's not good. Dale Herman, Tar Heels basketball aficionado, doesn't like to leave games early.

So I fretted for the next 15 minutes until they got home, sure that Ivie had made her last appearance solo with Daddy at the Smith Center. Her behavior must have been less than stellar.

When they arrived, Dale said that Ivie had been great, up until the last couple minutes of the first half. When she put on her jacket and started repeatedly saying, "I want to go home. Let's go home, Daddy." After not getting an automatic response, she grabbed Dale's hat and jacket and held it in his face to further her decision that it was time to leave.

I have to hand it to Dale, though. Ten years ago, the thought of leaving the game at halftime would have bothered him to no end. But he's softened since having his little girls. Now the most significant thing to him is their happiness. And it shows in everything he does, including leaving the Tar Heels game early.

You can always watch the rest on TV, right? Being a daddy reigns supreme.