Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Basket Treats

Early last week, my friend, Brooke, sent me the link to the cute Easter treat she was planning to make for Emerson's class. And it reminded me that I hadn't yet found anything to make for Ivie's class, whose party was, at the time, about 9 days away...

So a quick internet search for "easy Easter treat" brought me to these, and I knew I had a winner! Jelly beans, ice cream cones, and Twizzlers. How can you go wrong with those ingredients?

On Saturday morning, during Macie's nap, Ivie and I set to work. Her job was to sort the jelly beans, while I handled the careful cutting of the hole in the side of the cones and the insertion of the basket "handles".

After a couple of jelly beans rolled off the table during the sorting process, Ivie learned quickly that if they fell, they were deemed unusable and had to be eaten. The rate at which they "unintentionally" slipped through her fingers onto the ground increased exponentially... (Smart kiddo.) At least I made her share them with me. (Smart mommy, too.)

Here are some photos of the preparation.

Then we carefully filled the cones (and both got annoyed when we inadvertently knocked one over, "spilling the beans" all over the table). I must say that while I was originally bummed that I couldn't find pink ice cream cones and green licorice at such late notice (T-minus 5 days), I ultimately like the colorfulness (is that a word?!?) of our finished product more than that of the example. I also experimented with the length of the basket handle and determined eventually that the shorter ones tended to hold their position better in terms of not drooping to the side. Not sure how the lady on did it with her long handles. Maybe she let her licorice "dry out" until it was stale? Or maybe it was just a different, stiffer, brand? I don't know. And I'm pretty sure none of you care about the direction in which this paragraph has veered, anyway. Moving on...

So, here we are! All set for the party at school on Thursday. Hope the kids like their "Easter baskets"!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Me! Monday (#6): Health and Hygiene 101

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! For those of you that read MckMama, you've heard of this. For those of you that don't, feel free to check out her blog to get the background on how this started as a way to tell about some of the funny things that you generally would refuse to admit to doing.

Sixth Installment...

During the past 72 hours, it was certainly NOT ME who:

1) Wore the same gray sweatpants, non-stop, for 48 hours. Even in public on a trip to the grocery store. Even BACK to bed, as my pajamas, after a full 24 hours of wear.

2) Showered on Thursday night before bed. And not again until Sunday night before bed.

3) Found herself outside with the girls, tissue-less, when Macie's nose began running into her mouth and, rather than running inside to get a Kleenex, instead grabbed the neckline of Macie's shirt and promptly wiped her nose clean.

4) Allowed Ivie to grab some candy-coated pretzels out of the fridge for a snack and eat one before remembering that she'd been outside playing for an hour and her hands were nasty.

5) Doesn't remember the last time she changed her bedsheets.

6) Is fired up that her next houseguest might be the same person that was here last (yea, Stac!). Because it means she doesn't have to change those bedsheets, either.

7) After 2 straight weeks of dealing with Ivie's runny bowel movements for no apparent reason, finally was reminded of Florastor Kids (thanks to a trip to the doctor with Macie for an ear infection and a prescription for a medication that will cause the same), which is designed specifically for that reason, and which she already had in the cabinet. And, after 2 quick days of mixing it in Ivie's applesauce and yogurt, we saw signs of normalcy in the poop department on Saturday night.

8) Can't remember the last time she actually rinsed off Macie's pacifier before handing it back to her after picking it up off of any surface.

In summary, it is NOT ME that is sitting here typing this thinking that it really is a miracle that the girls aren't sick more often...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Playground Photo Shoot

Our weather here today was windy, causing a little chill in the air, though I won't pass up mid-60's EVER. While the sun peeked out a few times, it was mostly overcast. But it seemed like a great day to venture outdoors and let the girls run off some energy (particularly Macie, who's been cooped up inside due to her double ear infection and resulting fever for the past 3 days). And, to be honest, Mommy needed a break from the house, too!

It's been awhile since I've taken my camera outside for an afternoon with the girls, so I thought today might be the perfect day for such an outing. It probably won't surprise most of you that it quickly turned into a playground photo shoot. Like I did at the beach this past Christmas, I'm going to post several (or "an insane amount", depending on your definition) of my favorite photos individually here, so that I can enjoy them full-size . I hope you do, too! As you'll be able to tell, the girls didn't seem to mind that I had my camera along for the ride, even though it sometimes resulted in Ivie not being able to swing quite as high as she would have liked (because I had to take a break from pushing to catch her smiles).

Ivie learned a new way to "swing" from her friend, James, last weekend. This is great, considering she can do this style of swinging without needing a "push" from us. And, of course, her sister had to give it a shot, too...

Macie enjoys swinging, too. It's the best place for her to be when she's winding down from playing and getting ready for naptime, since it doesn't take any effort at all to sit in her baby seat and enjoy the breeze against her face. You'll see in some of these pictures that she's starting to "fade" on me a little bit. And, sure enough, she was ready to hit the sack once we got inside...

And then there's Ivie. Whom you JUST CAN'T PUSH HIGH ENOUGH to please...

Macie gets more and more "brave" with the slide every day. And since she always sees her sister hanging on to this bar before swinging, you can bet she was going to get in on that action...

And a few random shots of the "clubhouse"...

And, finally, of Macie, just being cute (as always!)...

(photo credit to Ivie Schae Herman)

Here's to an early-spring afternoon
spent outside
running, giggling, lounging,
hanging, snuggling, climbing,
playing, grinning, hugging,
swinging, sliding, falling,
and, most importantly,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Show-and-Tell, Round 47: "Patch"

Ivie will occasionally go through Macie's stuffed animals that sit in a basket under her changing table and check out her collection. And then she will decide which of them she likes enough to take over temporary (until Mac is old enough to care and fight back) ownership and move them into her room for royal seating on the shelves of her headboard.

Such is the case with this week's Show-and-Tell. I'm calling him "Patch" (because of the, you guessed it, patch on his left eye). I was forced to come up with a lame name only because he was nameless until this morning when we were getting ready for school, and, when I asked Ivie what she wanted his/her name to be, she responded with "Amy". While I'm flattered that she wanted to name one of her current favorite stuffed animals after me, and even more excited that she actually came up with a REAL name (instead of the ones she generally comes up with that don't make sense and are so phonetically strange that even a grown-up can't immediately repeat the name back to her, much less remember it 2 minutes later), I do believe there is enough "Amy" floating around this house as-is.

So I told her his name would be "Patch". She argued, and put forth an alternate suggestion. "Daddy." When that didn't fly? "Macie."

Then, when I tried to explain to her that we already had PEOPLE with those names living in our house, and didn't need stuffed animals with the same names (lest everyone get confused), she reverted to her typical naming process described above. And said something like "Skeeter". But it wasn't exactly that. Like I said, it was something that I had no chance to remember 20 seconds after she said it. Nor could she repeat it when I asked her to.

So, meet "Patch".

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#10)

Sense of Time

Ivie still doesn't have any concept of time. Which is good, because it means we can agree to do things for an impractical amount of time, and she doesn't know the difference.

Her latest such request? Pretty much every night, to either me or Dale (and sometimes both), as we stand by the side of her bed:

"Can you hold my hand for 50 minutes?"

Nine times out of ten her request is 50 minutes. Occasionally it's 55. Last night, for Dale, it was 3.

Speaking of Time...

Ivie's word to describe the previous day?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whale Spout

Macie found a ponytail holder lying on the table today and brought it over to me. And then pointed to her head.

I took that to mean that she wanted to have a ponytail like her sister. Shock.

I'm a big fan of the whale spout. Used to use it all the time with Ivie, when she was in that annoying stage where the hair is too long to let hang loose, she won't leave a barrette in longer than .02 seconds, and you don't want to cut her bangs, lest she grow up and, in 6th grade, be called a boy by the substitute teacher (in front of the whole class) because she, well, actually does look like a boy.

Oh. Wait. Am I typing out loud?

So. Moving on. As a result of this traumatic experience, my daughters will never have bangs. At least not until they are old enough to physically drive themselves to the hair salon.

Okay, I know you're thinking it. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get my hands on that 6th grade picture someday and post it here. Just so you all can get a GREAT laugh. At the expense of the blogger. Not that it would be a first.

For now, though, you'll have to settle for some whale spout pictures of the Mac-ster. Even though her hair isn't long enough to warrant it yet. But at least she has a "pony" like her big sis...

Show-and-Tell, Round 46: Alphabet School Bus (Again)

I know it's been my rule to not do "repeat" blogs for Show-and-Tell items that have been seen previously on Herman Nation. But rules are made to be broken, right? (Reeeeeeally working on convincing myself of that.)

I'm only deviating from that policy this time because I looked back and thought it was fun to compare the two pictures I have of Ivie with her school bus.

Isn't she growing up right before our eyes?!? Hard to believe these shots were taken only 8 months apart...

July 17, 2009

March 19, 2010

Macie's 18-Month Stats

Macie had her 18-month check-up today. She was NOT a fan of the four vaccination shots, but I, for one, WAS excited that this was the last shot session (at least for vaccines) until she goes to kindergarten. So the Herman clan will get a break from the monster-sized tears until Ivie's prepping for school...

The only thing "of note" from the appointment is that Dr. Dunk saw the watery right eye that the rest of us have noticed with Mac for quite some time. She said that it's probably a blocked tear duct, and suggested we just watch it for now, since most kids will outgrow them by around 18 months (so maybe it will soon pass), and it's not necessary to have a procedure done on it unless it starts to bother her (which it doesn't appear to right now). So we'll keep an eye on that, but, otherwise, she passed her exam with flying colors!

Here are Mac's stats and, as always, for comparison's sake, Ivie's (at that age), too:


Weight: 24 pounds, 15 ounces (50th percentile)
Length: 32 3/4 inches (75th percentile)
Head: 48.1 centimeters (90th percentile)


Weight: 25 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 33 inches
Head: 48 centimeters

So, comparing these number with those taken at one year, Macie's actually put on less weight than Ivie did. Ivie made a 5-pound jump in those 6 months, while Macie only packed on 3. And they're neck-and-neck when it comes to length and head circumference. Definitely sisters!

Ivie (18 months)

Macie (18 months)

Monday, March 22, 2010


I'm a rule-follower. A stickler. Many (including my husband) might call me a goody-two-shoes. And I wouldn't be able to deny it.

I cried in 2nd grade when I accidentally forgot to do an assignment and, therefore, didn't get a sticker on my homework chart for that day. I'm certain it never happened again.

My dad only had to spank me once in my life (that I can remember, at least). My sister, Sarah, and I were in the basement doing something. I don't remember what. But I'm pretty sure I was wrongly accused (it was her fault!).

Scared of the imminent tongue-lashing, I pretended to be asleep when Sarah got home from college the weekend after I had backed her beloved (and freshly-painted) car into a tree just off our driveway (I SWEAR that tree moved). She "woke me up". And she WAS mad. (But I most remember the big hug she gave me after her anger had subsided.)

I didn't have my first taste of alcohol until my 21st birthday when my sister took me to The Mill in my hometown. She ordered me an amaretto sour. I had a few drinks, but stopped way short of finishing it, because I was scared I would get "drunk". To this day, I still haven't had even a sip of beer.

I get nervous if Dale drives more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. And I rarely do (never on purpose).

I get really stressed sometimes on our visits to Dale's mom's house in Hickory, worried that Macie is going to accidentally break one of Grandma's beloved ceramic elephants.

I even found a career in which my sole responsibility is to help the UNC Department of Athletics' constituency (coaches, student-athletes, staff, boosters) understand and abide by the NCAA's rules.

So what's any of this have to do with what's on my mind today?

If you read my Not Me! Monday post earlier today, you know about the Facebook photo contest I entered. And you know that (after a glitch I kind of just glossed over in that post) I ended up winning a $250 shopping spree.

But what you don't know (yet!) is that thoughts of how this contest "shook out" kept me awake last night for over an hour and a half after my head hit the pillow. While I lay there and listened to Dale sleeping peacefully, you know what I just couldn't free from my mind? The fact that the rules of the contest weren't enforced. And I'm embarrassed to say that it actually really upset and bothered me. To the point of keeping me from sleeping.

Silly. Stupid (I know, Iv and Mac, "we don't say stupid", but it applies here.). Insane. Senseless. Weak-minded. Unreasonable. Out of control. Foolish. I know. Because, as the contest organizer so appropriately stated, it was intended to "stir some excitement", "see the products in action", and "hopefully spread the word" about their company. And, in my head, I get that. I REALLY get that. But my heart just couldn't look past the fact that there were explicit rules and that, in the long run, the organizers just didn't believe it was important to take the time necessary to enforce them. To them, and probably to every single other entrant, it was just for fun! But, to me, as you all are keenly aware by this point, it was more than that. $250 of shopping credit, to me (and probably to a lot of you!) is beyond just "fun".

But, in all seriousness, I KNOW that something like this should not cause this reaction in me. It's just not healthy. There are so many important, difficult, unbelievable, and unfathomable problems in our world that should be the things keeping me awake, tossing and turning at night. Not this. I feel overcome with guilt, actually, knowing that there are so many people, so many of YOU, that had much bigger worries and concerns that kept them from resting peacefully last night.

So I just needed to get this off my chest. Admit, I guess, to my small readership out there, that I took this too far. Berate myself in "public". So that I could fully understand the absurdity of my thoughts and level of frustration. This, to me, is taking the first step to acknowledging that I've gone overboard and reign myself back in so that I can move on to the things in life that I know are much more worthy of my thoughts.

I think I'll start by trying to raise my girls to hopefully be a bit more realistic than I am when it comes to how the real world "follows rules". And how it's really important to step away from something and put the situation into perspective before proceeding. I hope this will save them from sleepless nights worrying about things that DON'T MATTER.

Not Me! Monday (#5): Facebook Photo Contest

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! For those of you that read MckMama, you've heard of this. For those of you that don't, feel free to check out her blog to get the background on how this started as a way to tell about some of the funny things that you generally would refuse to admit to doing.

Fifth Installment...

I'm not really a huge fan of Facebook, particularly lately when it seems that it's only good for spreading viruses and causing my co-workers' computers to be confiscated by UNC technology services for upwards of 4 weeks to get them "cleaned". (Which is a totally different story in and of itself. 4 to 6 weeks to get a virus off of a computer? Really? At one of the leading public institutions for higher education in the country? Okay. If you say so.)

In fact, I initially opened a Facebook account only so that I could have access to the pages of our student-athletes if I ever needed to "check in" with (or on) them. There were many times, during those early days, when I would deny friend requests from my actual friends, telling them that I did NOT want to get involved in the time-sucker that is the Facebook "News Feed".

But I eventually relented, started adding "friends", and am now a regular Facebook peruser. It's one of the four windows that I keep "open" in my browser all the time (with the other three being my email, my blog, and the NCAA database through which I find interps for work). It's certainly helpful for keeping up with what is going on in the lives of my friends and acquaintances, particularly those whom I know from my childhood in Owensville, Missouri and my college days at Westminster.

But I'm still not addicted. Or that's what I tell myself. I haven't yet been pulled into Pathwords. Or Farmville. Or the distribution of "gifts" or "flair". And I don't feel compelled to keep my status updated on a regular basis.

Which is why I would NEVER think about participating in a photo contest that is based entirely on (gasp!) "popular vote" via jasmere's Facebook fan site. Because, to take seriously the objective of winning the $250 jasmere shopping spree, I would have to actually solicit votes from my Facebook friends. Which is certainly not my style, and, admittedly, flies in the face of my goal to not devote much time to the site.

But I entered. Because, for goodness' sake, I COULD WIN $250. On JASMERE. And that, my friends, made it worth it.

But I would NEVER stoop to the level of keeping the window with my entry (a picture of Ivie holding several purchased-from-jasmere bags) open at all times from the beginning to the end of the contest. And, whenever time permitted (let's just say several occasions during the day), refreshing the window to see if any friends had voted.

Nor would I enter it as my Facebook status not once, twice, thrice, but, well, six (I think, but might have lost track) times during the course of the contest to make sure it rose to the top of my friends' "News Feeds". And I certainly did not ask my siblings, husband, and visiting friend, Stacy, to post it to THEIR Facebook statuses, as well.

And I would never create a Facebook "Note" and "tag" up to the limit of 25 friends so that they would get a personal email with a request to "Please Vote for Ivie!!!".

And sending Facebook messages out to dozens more Facebook friends to get them to click on the picture and vote? NO WAY.

Also, since I've never been very competitive (I hate games!), I promised myself that I would just focus on obtaining votes for Ivie. And see what happened. Because, seriously, there was no way that I was going to be able to actually win, anyway, right? I mean, how many times have I entered my children into online photo contests that were based on popular vote, knowing that it was a complete and utter waste of my time? So I would not pay any attention to the other contestants' pictures and vote count. It would just be something fun to try, and maybe, just maybe, I would be selected by the jasmere folks for one of the "runner-up" $50 credits that they were going to pick from the group of non-winners...

So, if you looked over my shoulder at my laptop at any point during the contest, which began late Tuesday night and continued through last night, you would NOT have seen four Facebook windows open. One to my "home page", one to Ivie's picture on the jasmere fan site, one to my friend Brooke's picture on the jasmere fan site (more on this later), and one to the general "fan photo" page on jasmere's fan site. And, had you observed me for an hour or so, you would NOT have seen me occasionally refresh these pages and count the number of votes received by the various pictures. Nope! Again, that would have been a total waste of valuable time.

And you also would NOT have found me actually emailing the jasmere folks to confirm that 1) a person could only "vote" one time for each entry, since there was one photo in the contest who had several obvious repeat "voters", and 2) a person did NOT have to be an actual "jasmere fan" in order for their vote to count. Nope. I did not take the time to do that. Because, remember, I went into this thing telling myself it was just for fun and I wasn't going to put much time into it...

So. Enough about this. Other than to show you the picture/caption I used for the contest (for those of you who read my blog but aren't my "friend" on Facebook).

I know you're all on the edge of your seats wondering what happened, aren't you?!? Well, wait no longer...

After all that STRESS and Facebook work, I ended up with 103 comments/votes. The next closest entry finished with 72.

So I won, right? Well, ultimately, yes. But, due to a glitch in the system initially, I didn't get the "official" win from jasmere. I won't go into details (no one other than me really cares, anyway), other than to say that when I brought it to their attention, they were quite professional (as they always are), very apologetic, and quickly corrected the mistake by giving me $251 of jasmere credit (an extra dollar to make up for the oversight).

They asked if I needed a "public" congratulations. I said, "HECK NO!". The jasmere credit is all I wanted out of this!!! Though I DID tell them that I already had this story planned for Herman Nation, even before the results were published, so I was going to need to comment about it on there. They were okay with this, given that they are fully aware that Herman Nation has a readership of about 15!

Anyway, moving on. To make this even better, Brooke was awarded one of the runner-up $50 credits by the jasmere judges! Her photos of Emerson were adorable. Here's her collage (which I jokingly told her was "cheating", since she used more than one photo, but I agree wholeheartedly that showing off these cute clothes would have been difficult to do in one picture without Emerson looking like a pink, unable to move (let alone jump!), amorphous being...):

And because Brooke and I are "in it together" when it comes to jasmere and social shopping websites, we agreed early on during the contest that if either of us won, we would share $100 of of the prize with the other. Win-win that way, right? So now we each have $150 of fun money to spend on jasmere! What a great weekend!

So. The moral of this looooong story? I still deny an addiction to Facebook. And I still believe that I'm not competitive by nature. Whether or not you agree with me, particularly after reading this post, is your call. But I'm certainly ecstatic that I can now go back to only having ONE Facebook browser window open at any given time.

Oh, and I almost forgot. For the record, I'm very glad I didn't ship the bags featured in the photo off to their intended recipients (my sister and sisters-in-law) until after they were able to help me win a shopping spree! But girls, they'll be on their way to you later this week, I hope, if I can get my act together...

Lastly, a HEARTY THANK YOU to all my Facebook friends/blog readers that took the time to "Vote for Ivie!!!". You guys rock. And, now, I'll leave you alone.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mistaken Identity

After letting either Dale (usually) or me (when Dale's gone) leave her room at bedtime, Ivie has a habit of playing in her bed a bit before falling asleep. And, sometimes, that play time results in her needing something that she doesn't have in her room. While we're pleased that she knows that she can't get out of her room to get it herself, it means that she will, instead, call out to us, over and over, until we go back and ask her what she needs.

This happened last night, with her calling out for Dale. The conversation went something like this, though I admit that parts of this reenactment aren't verbatim, as I was listening to it on the monitor downstairs. Not to mention that it happened 14 hours ago and my memory stinks:

First few back-and-forth statement muffled, and I wasn't really paying attention anyway.

Dale (after returning from an apparently futile search in our bedroom): Ivie, there wasn't anything in the baby bed in my room.

: But that's where Little Mousey was last night!

: Well, he's not there now. I just looked.

Ivie (getting increasingly upset)
: But I want Little Mousey!!!!

: IVIE. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what you're talking about. Who is "Little Mousey"? What does he look like?!?

(A little background necessary here... "Little Mousey" is a stuffed animal that Macie received from Nina and Papa her first Christmas, so he's been around quite a while (like 15 months). And he's been in our bonus room, with his accompanying playmat, since Macie outgrew said mat. It's only been this past week, though, when Dale was out of town, that Ivie dubbed him "Little Mousey" and began playing regularly with him. Hence, Dale's confusion.)

At this point, I got off the couch and headed upstairs to help, knowing that "Little Mousey" had to be either in our room or the bonus room. I found him in the bonus room and turned to walk him to Ivie's room to "save" Dale. I met Dale in the hallway, as he was on his way to "look again".

I laughed, and handed Little Mousey over.

Me: Meet "Little Mousey".

Dale: So she was talking about the kangaroo, huh?

: Nope, it's not a kangaroo. It's a mouse.

Dale: Oh.

I laughed all the way back down the stairs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Red" Applesauce

Ivie LOVES "red" applesauce. And since we're hammering the BRAT diet into her right now to fight off the diarrhea that's overtaken her little body during the last 24 hours, it was on the menu for lunch today.

But you know what that means. If Ivie has it, then Macie has to have it. And don't even THINK about trying to feed it to her. Ivie has her own spoon? Then Macie must, too.

Unfortunately, Macie is not as adept with utensils as her almost-4-year-old big sister. But she sure tried. All the way to the bathtub...