Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Fall Picnic

Is there any better way to spend the 2.5 hours after work/school on a sunny, 70 degree, breezy, PERFECT fall evening than with a driveway Chick-fil-A picnic followed by bike/scooter/car fun in the cul-de-sac with all the neighborhood kids?

Both girls had a blast with the picnic. Ivie stayed in her seat until her meal was entirely gone, which is unheard of, as she is usually a wander-around-the-kitchen-while-she-eats kind of girl. And Macie? If she's outside, she's happy! And how about those baby blue eyes she's sportin' these days?

I see many more picnics in our future...

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#1)

Ivie is always saying/doing things that make Dale and me laugh. Sometimes the stories are long enough to make into blog posts on their own. Sometimes they're not. But I don't want the really short ones to be forgotten! So this will be my outlet for them. I'll combine several together until it's long enough to be a decent post...

The Trash Can
Yesterday, I scooped Macie up and asked her if she wanted to go to the trash can with me (in the garage). As I headed to the door, I said to Ivie, "Hey, Iv, I'm going to take Macie's poopy diaper out to the trash can. I'll be right back."

She glanced up at me and said, "OK, but don't throw Macie in there!"

Ivie apparently still thinks that I accidentally threw my keys in the trash can several weeks ago along with the various wrappers in my hand. At this point, it's a likely explanation. I've almost given up hope that I'll find them...

How To Say Good Morning
Whoever enters Ivie's room first in the morning is required to start her day off with the following phrase, which she learned from Miss Erin at school:

"Wake-y, wake-y, eggs-n-bac-y!!!"

A surefire way to get a smile out of our slow-to-wake-up preschooler!

Ivie's gotten pretty good at staying "in the lines" when she colors. But she's very critical of others (and herself) if the coloring isn't up to par at any time. She's not scared to look at her, or another child's, picture and say that said person's artwork is just "scribble-scrabble". I asked her teacher, Miss Erin, about it, and she said that "So-and-so is scribble-scrabblin" is the most common tattle they have during the day at school. I get the feeling that Ivie is the culprit in many cases...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Try, Try Again

Dale, if you are trying to come home and watch the DVR'd (yes, I remembered to set it!) UNC vs. Georgia Tech football game before hearing the outcome, stop reading now. Not that that is possible, given the various text messages from your buddies that I know you can't possibly ignore...

When Ivie woke up from her nap today and was sitting at the table having her afternoon snack (Mini Oreos - YUM!), I told her that the Tar Heels had lost the football game that we were watching before she went to bed. Her response?

"Awwwwww... (pause) That's okay! They can try again!"

I'm pretty sure that's not how Daddy reacted to the news. But I like the optimism, Iv!

Friday, September 25, 2009

DUH, Mommy

This morning, I got a little sidetracked trying to set up the booster seat in the kitchen for Macie (I'm maybe a little too eager to get the high chair out of the corner). Because I spent 10 minutes on it that should have been spent getting the girls ready for school, I was rushing around trying to get everything set to go so we could make it to school in time for snack at 8:30a.

So, out of sheer necessity, I suggested something to Ivie that I NEVER thought she'd agree to. You know how she HATES the "dinosaur" nebulizer? And she has to be FORCED to sit on our lap and do it for the required 10-minute cycle? Well, about 4 minutes into our morning session, as we sat watching Pinky Dinky Doo, Macie finished her fruit and began whining to get out of her high chair. So I said to Ivie, nonchalantly so as to not get her fired up, "Hey, Iv, I'm going to let you sit on the chair and do the dinosaur by yourself, okay?".

And guess what? SHE DID IT. Without even a hint of resistance.

But I knew that it must be a fluke (brought on by her obsession with Pinky's story box), given her extreme hatred of the dinosaur and the fact that, in the past, we've had to HOLD HER DOWN on our laps to get her to finish. So no way would this ever happen again.

Then, tonight on our way home from pizza night with the Beales, I told Ivie that when we got home we were going to go straight upstairs, get our pj's on, and then do the dinosaur while we watched Bee Movie. She was like, "yeah, whatever, Mom", and shrugged it off. So after I got Macie to bed and walked into Ivie's room, I told her that it was dinosaur time.

And I'll probably never forget what happened in the next 15 minutes. It was the polar opposite of what I was expecting. She excitedly walked over to her chair, saying, "Can I do it by myself, Mommy?!?". I said "Sure, of course!" and got her started, telling her that I'd be back in a few minutes to check on her.

As I folded laundry, I peeked in on her every few minutes for the next 10 (until the cycle was over). Each time, she was sitting calmly in her chair, holding the dinosaur to her face, and watching her movie. Such a big girl! And, to top it off, when I went in at the 10-minute mark and told her she was finished, she pulled the dinosaur away from her face and, as she reached to turn the machine off, stopped dead in her tracks. Looking at the dinosaur, and then at me, she said, "Mommy, I still see smoke! I better keep doing it!". And she thrust the mask back onto her face and resumed movie-watching position in her chair.

So the kid that HATED the dinosaur yesterday sat in her chair tonight and v-o-l-u-n-t-a-r-i-l-y kept the nebulizer treatment going for 15 minutes.

All because I let her do it by herself.

I'm wondering why it has taken me so long to figure out how I could take advantage of Little Miss Independent's preference of being in control (which she comes by honestly). Definitely a "DUH, Mommy" moment...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Piece of Meat

You never know what kids are going to remember and choose to recite... As we watched Bee Movie tonight, out of nowhere, Ivie pipes up and, verbatim, right along with the cow on the movie, says (in the same frustrated tone as the cow),

"Milk, cream, cheese... It's all me! And I don't see a nickel! Sometimes I just feel like a piece of MEAT!"

Why do I find that so stinking funny?!?

And another unrelated short story for you... Tonight, Ivie was mad at me because I wouldn't let her eat ice cream out of MY bowl instead of her own (I take my ice cream pretty seriously!). So she sat down on the floor in the middle of the kitchen and turned to me with her perfected pouty face, bottom lipped turned down into the biggest frown she could muster.

Macie, after taking a bite of my ice cream (she's allowed, since she can't use a spoon yet), turned and saw Ivie upset. Without hesitating, she took the 10 steps over to her. When she was about 2 steps away, Ivie held her arms out, in anticipation of a hug. And, sure enough, Macie dropped to her knees, into Ivie's criss-cross-applesauce lap, and wrapped her up in a big bear hug. Instantly, Ivie's frown turned upside-down (really pulling out the kiddie terminology tonight, aren't I?), and they both bounced up and proceeded happily back to their respective ice cream bowls.

Sometimes you just need a hug from your sister to get you back on track...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Covering Your Mouth

Every time Ivie gets a cough (which happens a LOT), we preach to her the importance of covering her mouth. Sometimes she remembers, sometimes she doesn't.

This afternoon, Ivie got sick at school (fever/wheezing), and Dale picked her up early. When he got her home, he tried to settle her down enough to get her to submit to a breathing treatment with the "dinosaur" nebulizer. She wasn't fired up about it, but eventually gave in, with the promise of getting to play with her new Cinderella tea set afterward (we are not above bribing our children when the need arises).

As they settled into "Dale's chair" in the living room and got the mask on her face, out of nowhere, Ivie threw up. Everywhere, but mostly all over Dale and Ivie themselves, as the mask on her face caused it to all fly back in their direction. Buckets, as Dale described it to me (because I hadn't yet made it home from work to personally witness the incident). After sitting still for a bit, covered in puke, to determine the proper course of action, Dale carried her upstairs, into the bathroom, and put her into the tub fully-clothed. And then cleaned up the mess.

At bedtime, about 7 hours after this incident, I finished getting Macie down just as Dale was wrapping up in Ivie's room. I stood outside and could hear them talking. There's not much I enjoy more than eavesdropping on Ivie's conversations with Dale...

Dale: I'm sorry you got sick today, Ivie.

Ivie: Thank you, Daddy. I threw up on you, didn't I, Daddy?

Dale: Yes, Ivie, you did.

Ivie: Because I didn't cover my mouth, right?

Dale: (Silence)

When your child's comment doesn't really make any sense at all, how do you respond?!? I think ultimately Dale just moved on and told her that he loved her and hoped she felt better after a good night's sleep. Or something like that. I don't really know. I was too busy rolling on the floor in the hallway laughing.

Macie's First Birthday Party

Sunday was Macie's party. We followed the same pattern as with Ivie's first birthday, keeping the party quaint with only family and the Devers (you count as "family", Nancy!) coming over for a low-key cookout. Exactly the opposite of Ivie's big day, though, was that Macie was well-rested, healthy, and very happy all day (Ivie had come down with a tummy bug the morning of her party, and it was all she could do to grin and bear it that day, flushed cheeks and all).

But back to Macie's party... Ivie was fully occupied and entertained all day by her cousins, Luke and Rod, so I was happy to be able to focus my attention (and my camera!) on Macie all day. But my 120 pictures paled in comparison to the 270 that Brooke took! So I'm going to include several of them here in an attempt to tell the story of Macie's party...

I could not WAIT to show off the adorable hat I'd found for Macie at Party City. She even humored me by leaving it on much of the day...

While the kids were all happily playing, I got a lesson on the "P" setting on my SLR camera from Brooke. She's still better with it than I am, so several of these pictures were taken by her...

Macie was all smiles, all day...

Then it was cake time. She was intrigued by the lit-up candle - I had to clutch her arms pretty tightly to keep her from going after it!

I think she was mostly amused by my face as I blew out the candle. Doesn't it look like she's laughing AT me (not WITH me)?

Macie took an interesting approach when it came time to eat. It was amusing watching her mind work. She touched the cake with her fingertips for a few seconds. But since it wasn't coming apart easily in her hands, she decided to just skip over the "third party fingers" step... She's got a good point - why get your hands dirty?!?

After cake, it was time for presents! Ivie proved to be the big winner, since Macie isn't old enough to care about opening the gifts and Ivie, then, got first dibs on playing with them once they were unwrapped. Here's the loot...

It was so sad to say goodbye to Nina and Papa (who flew back to Missouri that evening), as well as Grandma, Nancy, Doug, Luke, and Rod. Thank you all for making the trip for the party. We had a ONE-derful day with you!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009


You should see the drying rack in our laundry room right now. It's overflowing with clothes that need to be ironed. So chock-full, in fact, that the other night when I was sitting at the kitchen table blogging after the girls were in bed, it fell over from the weight and the clothes all landed on the ground in a heap of sleeves, pants legs, and hangers. Annoying.

As you might have guessed from the current state of the rack, ironing is my least favorite chore. Therefore, I've somehow managed to pass it off on Dale.

I know that I am very lucky to have a husband that irons. In fact, while talking with my mom and dad about this subject last night, Dad indicated that he remembers ironing. One shirt. One time. Long ago.

My mom doesn't remember it.

So, again, let me preface this post by saying that I am keenly aware of how lucky I am...

But the problem with this arrangement is that my husband doesn't need the ironing to be done as often as I do. I am not exaggerating when I say that he has AT LEAST 60 golf shirts in his closet. And that's at this very moment, exclusive of the 15-20 that are hanging on said drying rack. It's unbelievable, really. His hobby is golf. And any time he plays a new course, he has to buy a polo shirt with the course's logo. Resulting in a never-ending supply of golf shirts at his disposal.

I, on the other hand, have maybe 10 shirts that I wear to work and rotate through during the summer. So when we have 2 weeks of laundry hanging on the rack, I have to dig to the depths of my closet to find something suitable to wear (because I hate ironing in the morning before work, and I'm too lazy to do it at night before bed). It's kind of a game to see how long I can go without having to break down and iron.

So, this morning, I donned my last, and least favorite, pair of ironed khakis (I'm embarrassed that I probably have 10-15 pairs of khaki pants/capris, as well, all of which are also hanging on the drying rack, wrinkled as can be) and a Carolina blue polo shirt that has an interlocking NC embroidered on it. Not great work attire, but since I work in the UNC athletics department, I can get away with it, even though it's not something I wear often.

When Ivie woke up, Dale and I both went into her room (Mac was still asleep). I went to her chest of drawers to pick out her clothes, and, as I stood there, she looked over at me and her first words of the morning were not, "Good morning, Mommy!" or "How did you sleep, Mommy?". Nope. She looked at me and said, quite succinctly...

"Mommy, I don't like your shirt."

Now we all know that it wasn't because of the interlocking NC. She loves the Tar Heels! But I think she was instead noticing that it's not usually something that I wear to work. Or at all, really, since, much to Dale's chagrin, I don't golf and therefore don't wear polos very often.

Dale and I just laughed, and his first response to her comment was, "THAT'S going to be in a blog!".

And he's right. Maybe it will encourage him (or even me, for that matter) to set up the ironing board tonight. We wouldn't want our daughter to be embarrassed by her parents! We've got plenty of time for that to happen when she's older...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Painting the Town

This is what happens when Ivie and her cousins, Luke and Rod, are left outside in our cul-de-sac under the sole supervision of their clever and free-spirited uncle/dad, Doug. I've also included a couple shots of Macie checking out the finished product...

Wonder what our neighbor, Jasper, is going to think of this in the morning?!? (He hates sidewalk chalk.) The thought of it led me to drink.

We even had an uninvited guest come to check out our party. Ivie had fun "encouraging" him to hop back into the grass (by pushing him in the bottom with a plastic bowling pin).

Thanks for coming to visit us for the weekend, Herman boys! Ivie can't stop talking about you...

Tar Heel Town, 2009 Style

If you've been reading my blog since its inception, you know that this was not our family-of-four's first trip to Tar Heel Town. I wrote about Tar Heel Town 2008 here and here.

Macie was excited to take part in some of the fun this year, instead of having to chill in her stroller on the sideline. The bounce houses and slide stole the show this time around (not surprising, since they always do). And we got our yearly family picture in front of the blow-up Turn it Blue jersey. (Though the shot I got, included below, has a grumpy Ivie, who wanted a SODA, not a picture-taking session. Note to self to steal one from Brooke to print for our "The Hermans" frame in the foyer.).

As far as the game... Well, let's just say that if Macie wasn't eating goldfish, hot dog, or marshmallows, she wasn't happy. So she ate a lot, and Nina and I took turns the rest of the first half with her out on the concourse letting her walk around. The kids (Ivie, Emerson, and Macie) and Brooke and I barely made it to halftime before heading for the gate.

And 30 minutes later, all three Herman girls were snuggling in their respective beds for naps. Mommy slept for nearly an hour and a half, and the kiddos each for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Can you say, "WORN OUT"?

I'm thinking that Tar Heel Town and one half of football is all I'm going to see in person with the girls for at least the next 5 years. But if it results in a long Saturday afternoon nap, I'm cool with it...

What a difference a year makes...

Tar Heel Town, 2008

Tar Heel Town, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 34: My Little Ponies

Last week at the Kids Everywear Consignment Sale, I found a brand new My Little Pony carrier case, along with 8 ponies, for a whopping total of $13. Couldn't pass THAT up! Ivie, needless to say, was thrilled with this "surprise" from the sale. Much more so than she was with the great deals that I got on 25 clothing items for her fall/winter wardrobe!

So, last Friday, the ponies went to school with her for Show-and-Tell. And the more amazing part was that they actually all made it home safely after school!


(Today, on the ride home from the Museum of Life and Science with Nina and Papa, after Nina finally responded to Ivie's multiple requests for her attention.)

Ivie: Nina, you weren't LISTENING to me!

Nina: I know, Ivie. I was listening to your daddy tell a story. I apologize.

Ivie (laughing): You're not a pollen jock! You're NINA!!!

We need to either watch The Bee Movie less or start expanding Ivie's vocabulary. Or maybe both.

And someday soon I'll stop referencing the Museum of Life and Science in this blog. But I can assure you that we're really getting our money's worth out of this membership!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Macie's 1-Year Stats

Macie's one-year check-up was on Tuesday morning. It went as well as could be expected, considering she had to get 4 shots (3 vaccinations plus the first round of the flu shot). But they also had to draw some blood. Which reminds me. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why they can't devise a process better than pricking a baby's little finger (that part seemed okay, technology-wise, since they used a little box-type thing instead of an old-school stick pin) and then trying to get said baby, now screaming her head off, to hold her finger still enough so that the nurse can get the tiny trickle of blood to somehow drop into the smallest little tube you've ever seen. There must be a better way.

But Mac survived it all, and her favorite part was following the nurses around inside their nurses' station, "helping" with the various piece of paperwork that they were supposed to give me about the immunizations. At that point, Macie would have done anything to not have to be stuck inside that little room filled with painful memories of shots and blood!

So here are Macie's stats, and, for comparison's sake, Ivie's at a year, too:


Weight: 21 pounds, 8 ounces (50th percentile)
Length: 29 1/4 inches (50th percentile)
Head: 47 centimeters ("big", as described by our nurse)


Weight: 20 pounds, 11 ounces
Length: 29 inches
Head: 46 1/4 centimeters

I'm a little surprised that Macie is a bit taller than Ivie was. Macie seems shorter to me, but maybe it's because she's still got those adorable chubby legs - that extra pound is all in her thighs!

Ivie (1 year)

Macie (1 year)

Tuna Salad

When you're pregnant or nursing, apparently you're supposed to limit your intake of tuna. Actually, it's probably seafood in general, but I didn't have to pay much attention to that, since the only seafood items I even think about consuming are fish sticks (only because they're heavily breaded) and tuna salad (which I only eat if it's made by someone in my immediate family).

Dale thinks the tuna salad thing is a bit weird, given my eating habits. And I can't really explain it, either. I mean, it has pickle relish (I don't like pickles) and mayonnaise (YUCK) in it! I guess it's all about how you grow up, and tuna salad was a staple in the Schae house. I believe 5 of the 6 of us ate it, which is pretty good considering there are some pretty picky eaters in our clan (I mean, the only veggies we could agree on were corn and green beans!). For those of you that know our family, you won't be surprised that Scott was the lone holdout on tuna salad. To my knowledge, he still avoids it like the plague...

Anyway, the attempt at explaining why in the world I like tuna salad is not the reason for the post...

So now that I'm not pregnant and am no longer nursing, I made tuna salad the other night for the first time in, probably, 4 years. Crazy. Craving isn't even an appropriate word to describe the way I was feeling as I popped open those cans of tuna (if you don't make 3-cans-worth at a time, it's a waste of effort) and the smell wafted through the kitchen.

But describing the feeling that overcame me isn't the goal for this post, either.

I remember helping my mom make tuna salad when I was growing up. You had to boil the eggs for 15 minutes, take sweet pickles and chop them up very finely, and then, when the eggs were finished, you had to slice them up, as well. It was a very time-consuming process. Though the result was quite yummy, the time it took always seemed a bit excessive to me.

But welcome to the 21st century! Now, instead of cutting up sweet pickles, I use this:

And instead of cutting up eggs, I use this (thank you, Pampered Chef!):

And, a mere 20 minutes later (only because of the 15-minute egg boiling process that I can't figure out a way to shorten), I was finished! And though that first night I was able to have the tuna salad in my most favorite form (spread on a piece of toast, with a slice of cheese on top, in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes), today for lunch I settled for this:

Please excuse the haphazard appearance. Showing off my culinary presentation skills is not the purpose of this post.

Nope. The S-O-L-E objective of this post is to make my sister's mouth water. How did I do, Sarah?!?

Monday, September 14, 2009


Two pieces of background information are necessary before I go any further with this story.

First, Ivie has a love-hate relationship with balloons. Specifically the helium-filled kind that fly away if you let go of the string, and then you're forced to watch them in the sky until they become specks and disappear, all the while wondering why you thought it would be okay to let go of the string for just one second. She used to love them. But then, on our recent July trip to Missouri, her cousin Olivia's balloon from Lambert's flew away. And Ivie was more distraught than Olivia was. That evening, and for days beyond, she would sadly reference the accident. And even now, 2 months later, she goes back and forth on whether she wants to accept the serious responsibility of a balloon when given the opportunity. She says she wants one, but then, as you get close to them, she changes her mind, saying, "I don't want one. I don't want it to flew away!". (We're still working on the correct tenses of verbs.)

The second piece of background information is that I don't generally curse. I add "generally" to that statement because I can't, in good conscience, claim that I've never cursed. Because I have. But it's usually only for effect or when I'm REALLY frustrated or hurt and nothing else seems to work to calm me down. But I also am adamantly opposed to cursing in front of children and, thus, am generally very careful to use such words only in the company of adults. Generally.

OK, so now for the story from yesterday...

We were at Harris Teeter (it's a grocery store out here, for you Missourians out there reading). We were pushing nap time, so our list was short. It included only milk, orange juice (since my parents are coming to visit this weekend), and deodorant (only because we had a Harris-Teeter-only coupon for it). As we were walking around the store, we happened upon Chris and Cameron Egan, a dad and daughter that live a few houses up the road from us in our neighborhood. They are the sweetest family. The parents (Chris and Lauren) are very friendly, and the twins (Cameron, a girl, and Josh, a boy) are mild-mannered, polite, and fun. Ivie adores Josh and Cameron (they're a few years older), so she was very excited to see Cameron at the store. And after passing them the first time, we ended up in the same aisle with them several more times before leaving. We joked that we were following them.

As we exited the store (and by the way we somehow forgot the orange juice, but ended up with bananas and 2 cartons of "Lil' Crunchies" - since they were on sale - for Macie), we passed the balloon corral. Macie wanted one, as always, but Ivie, as predicted, wavered back and forth. She finally decided to get one, after I promised her that I wouldn't let it fly away.

As Dale unloaded the groceries, I put the balloons inside the back of our SUV, with their strings safely anchored underneath of the diaper bag, and turned to get the girls out of the "car" shopping cart (which, by the way, might seriously be the best invention ever). As I stepped away from our car, out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the balloons squirt out of the car and appear to be free from the diaper bag. I reacted as quickly as I could, knowing that Ivie was sitting in the cart watching this transpire, and that she would be horrified if her balloon took off into the sky after I'd promised her it wouldn't. So I literally dove into the car to grab the string and save the balloon. And, in so doing, I SLAMMED my shin against our SOLID METAL UNC hitch cover.


I'm pretty sure it was the most pain I'd been in since childbirth with a bum epidural. And at least that was made better by the fact that it was at least partially expected and I had a sweet baby to show for it afterward. Nothing so cool about this situation. I lost all control of my mouth. I was laid out in the trunk, balloon strings safely in hand, just going off. It was pretty much under my breath, so I wasn't screaming curse words by any means, but I was definitely expressing my opinion of the incident loudly enough that Dale and the girls could both hear me. Clearly.

Seconds later, after the initial shock had worn off and I'd opened my eyes to look to make sure my leg was still in one piece, I glanced over toward Dale and the cart. And there stood our neighbor, Chris, alongside Dale, watching me writhe in pain after witnessing the entire debacle. The only positive spin I can put on this is that, THANKFULLY, Cameron was already in the car and did not hear my outburst. But I could just see that Chris was thinking to himself, "Wow. I've never seen anything quite like that before. You think you know someone. And then this. I wonder if we should put our house on the market and rid ourselves of these sinful neighbors?".

To add some levity to the situation, and to stick up for me a bit, Dale said, "Chris, you've now heard more cursing out of Amy in that one moment than I've heard in the 9 years I've known her.".

So I'm hoping Chris doesn't think I'm this horrible person that curses around her children, or anyone else's, for that matter! But, I'm telling ya - that was a whole lot of pain to suffer through for a silly balloon that probably wasn't going to fly away in the first place. I mean, after reading about what Ivie observed yesterday, do you REALLY think that her paranoia about balloons is going to lessen? In the least bit? Yeah, me neither. In retrospect, I'd have been better off letting it go and telling Ivie that maybe it would land at the feet of a little girl in an impoverished country and give her a fun toy with which to play.

And actually, now that I think about it, I think the rogue balloon was Macie's blue one, anyway. And I can tell you that SHE didn't give a rat's a$$.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shake Your Booty

Ivie takes nightly baths, but Macie is still on an every-other-night schedule (though she's in the toddler class now, and they go outside for recess, so we'll probably need to move to nightly very soon...). While Dale handles Ivie-only nights in her bathroom, on "double-bath nights", I'm in charge in our big bathtub.

At the end of these baths, Dale comes in to help with the toweling off process. He always picks Macie up first and shakes her gently back and forth to get the excess water off, singing "Shake, shake, shake... shake, shake, shake... shake your booty, shake your booty, yeah!". Macie has grown to expect this from Dale, and as soon as he picks her up, she gets a big grin on her face, anticipating the "dancing" that comes next.

Yesterday afternoon, as we were finishing up bath, Dale walked into the room and we let the girls play a bit longer, just sitting watching them. Macie was standing at the side of the tub, with her back to us, and Dale randomly started singing "Shake your Booty" to her. She looked over her shoulder at him, and then started dancing, bouncing up and down. It was too funny - I'm so excited that she's entering that stage where she loves to dance to music. I wish I'd have had the Flip with me to catch it on video - maybe next time!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My 9/11 Memories

Early on the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was in the airport in Indianapolis, ready to fly back home to Chapel Hill. I was just months into my first-ever "real" job with the UNC Athletics Department, but had taken the opportunity to take a long-weekend trip to visit my friend, Stacy, who was doing an internship with the NCAA. I called the trip an early birthday gift to myself...

Our flight that morning was very early out of Indianapolis. I no longer remember its actual take-off time from IND, but it was early, maybe as early as 6a, because I had plans to go to work upon my return home that afternoon. My itinerary that morning had me laying over in Baltimore at BWI.

We landed safely and I was in the terminal when the coverage of the attacks began. The next several hours were a blur as the events unfolded. Obviously, all planes were grounded, and BWI was packed full of people far from their homes and loved ones in the midst of an unfathomable crisis in air travel. No one wanted to stay at that airport. But, really, did anyone want to leave, either?

Late that evening, after a full day at the airport, those of us that were stranded away from home were bused to local hotels with vacancies. They were hard to come by, and I ended up about 40 minutes north of the city. There were no rental cars available, and public transportation had pretty much shut down, as well. I had no choice but to hole-up in my hotel room and watch the news.

It was all so surreal. Did this really just happen to our country? While the coverage was devastating, I found myself starving for more. I couldn't stop watching. I think I was hoping, amidst all the tragedy and the mountains of evidence proving otherwise, that there would be a logical explanation. Some reasoning that would be easier for me to explain to my kids someday than the fact that some people hated our country so much that they killed thousands of people.

It never came.

I spent three days in that hotel room by myself, including my birthday (9/12). Each day, I would call the airlines to see if they had any news about when flights might resume. All of me wanted to get home. But part of me never wanted get on a plane again. Ultimately, I bought my first-ever bus ticket and spent about 10 hours riding home. Our route took us past the Pentagon, and I saw the damage first-hand as we rounded the bend. It was real. I was still in shock.

As I sit here and write this, my heart and stomach are in my throat. My hands are shaking, I'm shivering, remembering that day. I literally feel sick to my stomach. I did not personally know a single person that died in those attacks that day, and yet it affects me so.

8 years later, at this moment, I'm taking a break from all the "things" I have on my to-do list. Taking a break to pray. For those who were on those planes. Oh, the horror of their last minutes of life. For those in the buildings. I can't imagine the terror of trying to evacuate and not having anywhere to go. For those whose loved ones were lost. I know a day doesn't go by that you don't miss your family and friends terribly. For the servicemen and women who risk their lives every day to protect us. We are forever indebted to you. For our country. That we won't have to go through that pain again. And, lastly, for me, Dale, and all the other parents of young children who have no 9/11 memories of their own. That we will, when the time comes, find the words to appropriately and sufficiently explain to our kids what our world experienced on that fateful day.

The Year in Pictures (and some cake shots, too)

Following along the grid, left to right, top to bottom, are pictures (roughly monthly) of Macie from Day 1 to yesterday (Day 366).

Even though her formal (if you can call it that) birthday party isn't until next weekend when our families come to visit, we couldn't let Mac's first birthday go by without a mini-cake and candle. Ivie wouldn't hear of it. Here are some pictures and video of the unofficial celebration...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Macie is ONE!!!!

I'm pretty sure Macie thinks this is the best part about turning one. There really IS something else out there than the seat of the car that I've been staring at for the past 12 months?!? HELLO, WORLD!!!

Happy Birthday, Mac!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When I Was a Moo Cow

(This morning on the way to school as we passed the field with several cows out grazing...)

Me: Good morning, Moo Cows! Look, Ivie, they're all having breakfast.

Ivie: They're eating grass for breakfast!

Me: Yes, they are!

Ivie: When I was a moo cow, I ate grass for breakfast, too.

Me: When you were a moo cow? When were you a moo cow, Iv?

Ivie: In July.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Cheerio

Ivie and I got a good laugh out of this at breakfast this morning.

Macie was clueless. The Cheerio sat there for literally 3 minutes before she wiped it off.

And I know it doesn't look like it (click on the picture to make it bigger and check out over Macie's right shoulder), but I really do wipe down Macie's high chair every once in a while. But apparently I didn't do a very good job of it after the last time she had something orangey-reddishy for lunch/dinner. Maybe carrots? Or pasta?

Pretty sad that it took uploading this picture for me to notice it. Headed to the sink for the washcloth right now...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

UNC NBA Alumni Game

On Friday night, UNC Athletics hosted an event that not many college programs could - an NBA/Professional Alumni game, in which all players had to be currently under contract with a professional team.

Dale and I got a babysitter for the kids and used it as a "date night", although I'm not sure you can call it that when I spent the entire time taking pictures (since we had great seats and I remembered to bring along my zoom lens), and Dale was 4 seats down from me on the other aisle (with the Devers between us), drinking in the amazing atmosphere, particularly for a life-long Carolina Basketball (g)uber-fan. But with 2 children and no grandparents that live close enough to drive over and babysit, we take what we can get!

I must say that it's pretty intimidating to sit down and start to go through 204 pictures to decide which ones will make the cut for the blog, since this is probably the only place these pictures will ever show up (pretty sure I won't print them for the baby/kid albums, which is the only place I keep hard-copy pictures any more). But it turned out to be easier than I thought. Maybe because I realized pretty quickly that it's a lot easier to pick between random basketball pictures than it is to choose between those of the kiddos! Or maybe because I started the process at 9p, determined to finish before going to bed...

So here you go! Just a few of the many shots of the night that I hope capture the excitement surrounding the return of many Tar Heels to Chapel Hill...

The Program...

The Basketball...

The People...

Museum of Life and Science

A few weeks ago, we took both girls to the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in north Durham. Ivie had been before, when Nina was here in January, but it was Macie's first visit. While there, we decided to become members and make it a regular part of our entertainment over the next year. So, yesterday morning, we went back!

I think Macie's favorite spot is the sound room. Mostly because it's the only place (other than the baby/toddler play area) where she is able to run free and not be confined in the stroller. Ivie loves riding the train, particularly the part where you get to S-C-R-E-A-M as you go through the tunnel. She also likes the butterfly house and the new dinosaur trail. And the thing that has proven to get her to leave without making a fuss is the penny press.

So if you ever want to join us at the Museum, let us know. Ivie and Macie would love the company of someone other than their stuffy parents. And we need your help to take full advantage of our 6-person membership!

Macie's Movin' Up!

Friday was Macie's last day in the nursery at school. This week, she'll move up to the toddler room. I must say I was a little surprised to get the call a couple of weeks ago from Miss Gail, asking me if it was okay if Macie moved up a couple of days before her birthday. It caught me off-guard, since Ivie didn't move up until she was about 15 months old. But Miss Gail told me that Macie is more than ready to move, as she is walking like a champ, eating table food, and ready to be "challenged" by toddler toys.

In reality, I think they are ready to get her away from the little ones, since she has become known for stealing pacifiers, shaking swings (with babies in them), and imposing her will through the (mis)use of her massive teeth on tender baby arms. The twins, for two, will be shouting "Sayonara!" as we walk past on Tuesday morning.

While I'm eager for Macie to get to spend time with Emma, Kisha, and Brenda (her new teachers in the toddler room), I'm also very sad that she will be saying goodbye to Misses Linda, Marie, and Joan. These three women LOVE THEIR BABIES. And it won't surprise you that, in return, the babies love them back.

Thank you, ladies, for watching both of my babies for the first year of their lives. You made it easy (well, easier, at least) for me to go to work every day.

First Boo-Boo

We knew it was coming. In fact, I'm shocked that it's taken so long. You know, the first boo-boo (usually on the head) after a baby learns to walk. Walk, that is, just good enough to feel cocky and try to walk downhill, or off a curb, or too fast after her sister.

After being a "walker" for 6 weeks or so, Macie finally got her first major (i.e., that actually leaves a mark) tumble in the books.

You know, it's funny, our babysitter (who was watching the girls so that we could go to the first UNC football game of the year) told us she was so worried that I was going to be upset with her. Ha! Whatever! I consider myself pretty lucky to have not been there to witness the fall, the blood, and the crying. Talk about painful for a mommy! Instead, all I had to see was this sweet face the next day. With only a minor, quarter-sized blemish that doesn't at all take away from her extremely high level of cuteness.

So thanks for watching the girls last night, Colleen. And, by the way, Ivie told us she had lots of fun with you; but, she also "told on you", saying that you wouldn't let her put her princess beauty set in her bed with her. I laughed, hard, and told her that Miss Colleen had made the right choice on that one. We don't need to be stripping the bed, frantically looking for the lost (and thankfully pretend) purple fingernail polish that she "had when she went to sleep!".

Friday, September 4, 2009

Show-and-Tell, Round 33: Princess "Manners" Book

Last week for Show-and-Tell (I'm a week behind), Ivie chose to bring a new book that she received as a gift from one of Dale's orthodontists. It's a book on manners. I haven't read it yet, so I can't really talk much about it. But given that it's sometimes like pulling teeth to get Ivie to remember to say "please" and "thank you", I think it should be a book that moves from the kitchen island to the top of the bedtime book stack in the near future...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Indescribable (but I'll give it a shot)

I've got good news and bad news.

The good news is that I can almost guarantee that this will be THE LAST post in which I mention anything about breastfeeding or pumping.  At least in relation to Macie (the jury's still out, for those of you wondering about a possible 3rd Herman child...).  So my few male readers (and, heck, probably some of the females, too) can breathe a sigh of relief that they should no longer have to screen blog posts for such content before diving in.

The bad news, though, is that this means that the time has come for me to wean Macie from nursing.

With Ivie, it was different.  She weaned herself at about 10 months.  Randomly, one morning, she just refused to nurse.  No warning, just quit cold turkey.  I scoured online articles about "nursing strikes" and kept trying, hoping she would come back around.  At first, she would still nurse at bedtime, but not in the morning.  A few days later, though, she gave it up entirely.  So while it certainly made me sad (it was supposed to be MY decision when we would stop!), I took comfort in knowing that I wouldn't have to take it away from her someday.

Macie, on the other hand, loves to nurse.  And you wanna know a secret?  I love it, too. 

I know that this post might not make a lot of sense to some of you.  Some others might disagree with me.  And a few of you might want to just stop reading right now (because of the content - here's your warning).  But I'm writing this one entirely for myself.  And hopefully for my daughters someday if/when they're trying to decide whether to give breastfeeding a chance with their children.

First, I have to be honest and share the not-so-great parts of this commitment.  There are certainly things that I can't, in good conscience, say I'll miss.  Like dragging four bags to work every day, rearranging our freezers to make room for real food when several shelves are full of frozen breastmilk bagged and stacked in several ice cube trays, using nursing pads, planning our days/weekends/trips around pumping sessions, going through airport security and having them inspect each bottle of breastmilk individually, pumping in airport bathrooms and losing pump supplies in the madness, worrying about finding hot water to heat a bottle when we're out and about (since breastfed babies are spoiled by very warm milk), not being able to run in the morning because I have to use that time to pump instead and I no longer have it in me to set the alarm for any time that starts with a "5", not being able to run, period, because I don't like the way it feels to run with "mama-sized" breasts (sorry for the visual - I warned you) instead of my typically-much-smaller ones, having to stop what I'm working on to put the "Please Do Not Enter (with a smiley face)" sign on the door at work twice a day (and then again to take it off), washing the various pump and bottle parts 4 times a day and making sure to scrub the bottles sufficiently enough to get off all of the breastmilk "grease" (Dale agrees with me on this one),defrosting a bag of frozen milk only to find an apparent hole in the bag as it emits hard-earned breastmilk into the hot water (rendering the entire bag "contaminated"), and, finally, last-but-certainly-not-least, being able to claim my entire body for myself.

But you know what?  If I were to rewind the clock to April 13th of 2006 (that glorious day when Ivie Schae entered our world), even with ALL of these things that made my life as a working, breastfeeding mom a little more challenging, I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe the sagas in the airports resulting from the multiple pump battery pack issues).

Here's why I did it...

I know it might sound odd, very odd in fact, that I LOVE that I was the only person who could get up in the middle of the night to feed my newborn.  And I love that when she was hungry, she needed ME.

And now that she's sleeping through the night (finally!) and drinking out of a sippy cup with her breakfast in the morning (what a big girl!), I love that I still have those 15 minutes with her at bedtime.  15 minutes that are mine alone with my not-so-baby-anymore second child.  Time that is generally preceded by tossing and turning, back arching, and big-tear-making screams on the changing table as she expresses her extreme frustration with the diapering and pajama'ing process after a long day when all she wants to do is snuggle, eat, and go to sleep.  I love that the second we collapse into her glider, I can literally see her relax and go limp.  I love that sometimes we fall asleep there together.  I love lifting her up, sound asleep, and laying her with "Oogly" in her crib.  I love that I'm the only one that gets to experience this.

I know that I am so very blessed to have been given the physical ability to nurse my girls for a full year.  I am grateful that my environment was such that I had the opportunity to do so.  And I am thankful to everyone for their encouragement and support, especially at the beginning when I clearly didn't know what I was getting myself into and was entirely overwhelmed - just ask my husband, mom, and sister, who all pulled me through my multiple freak-out sessions, particularly the one (remember it, Sarah?) when I couldn't figure out HOW TO "TURN OFF THE STINKIN' FAUCET"!  (Remind me to tell you about it, girls, if you go down the breastfeeding road someday, so that you're not caught off-guard as much as I was.)

But, through the good and the bad, we made it, girls!  And I wouldn't trade that time with you for all the Skittles (or Mike & Ike's, or Starburst, or Hot Tamales, or Chick-fil-A Cookies-n-Cream Shakes, though that one comes close) in the world.  And, Mac? Even though it's time to stop nursing, I promise that we'll still snuggle in your glider.  Until, of course, you get old like your sister and want to read books and sing instead.

Okay, enough of the sappiness.  Let's just be honest, really.  Macie will be just fine with a bottle at night.  She might not even notice a difference, and she'll soon forget that I ever nursed her.  It's Mommy that's going to be in withdrawal for a while.  Particularly since it means she no longer has an excuse not to start running again...