Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fresh Starts

Becoming a mother and suddenly having two little people watching my every move and imitating me always pushes me to evaluate my weaknesses and try to become a better person, every single minute of every single day.

One such weakness that I have been actively working on recently is my tendency to dwell in anger and bad moods. I marveled at Anna's ability to be a holy freaking terror in the morning, get a good lunch and a good nap, and wake up fresh as a daisy, laughing and ready to enjoy the rest of her day. But then I would find myself post-nap still upset from the morning and not quite ready to forgive and forget. I realized, however, that my continued bad mood was ruining the rest of the day...was this behavior any better than Anna's morning tantrums? I feel like it's even worse, given that she is 2 years old and I am nearly 30!!

I have realized that a very crucial component to all of us enjoying life together is to be willing to let go and give the day a fresh start. That old saying rings true, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." What productive thing comes out of punishing everybody for missteps in the morning? It's not like my day is any better for a few more hours of stewing.

I have been committed recently to moving forward. We ALL make mistakes, and it's my job as a mother to help smooth out the wrinkles. I have been working on my sense of perspective and controlling my temper, and if I can, I help Anna work through her mistakes and try to teach her how to fix them. If we have a particularly bad morning, I have learned to interrupt the pattern, reset the day, and figure out a way to end the day on a good note. And sometimes it doesn't work. But most of the time, we are able to end the day with smiles and hugs. 

There have even been a few times recently where Anna and I are at serious odds with each other, and I just sink down on my knees in front of her, look her gently in the eyes, and tell her that I want to have a good day with her. I ask for a hug and ask if we can start over. I apologize for losing my temper and I ask for an apology from her. We hug, exchange kisses, I take a few deep breaths, and we both start over with a smile.

In addition to these fresh starts, if we run into snags or issues, I always dedicate a few minutes for mental self-reflection. What happened? What was my role in this? What systems need to be developed to help streamline our lives and make our days easier? What can I do to help our girls be active parts of the solution? How can I react better and be a better role model?

I know the mistakes aren't always going to be this easy. I know we are going to graduate from a cup of spilled milk to major mistakes that might span weeks, months, or even years. But I am committed to guiding these little girls the best that I can, and I hope that they are willing to help guide me too.  And in the meantime, we will just keep giving each other more fresh starts.

Picture Post!

I have been such a slacker with the blog recently. I assure you that we haven't been up to anything wildly exciting, just loving our new summer schedule and filling up our days with fun and laughter. These little girls are the light of my life and it's getting more and more fun as Maddie gets older.

Here are some pictures of our days lately!

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Strawberries from the garden. We never have much of a yield to brag about because Anna helps herself to these on a regular basis!!

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I took a picture of these two taking pictures of each other.

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Anna and Maddie sharing a french fry.

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Lunch time!

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Anna always wants the big cone even though she only finishes maaaaybe a quarter of it, and then gets upset when the rest of it starts melting. Sorry, Pumpkin.

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Baby jail.

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Helping Daddy brew beer

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I told Anna to smile and this is what I got, so I'm preserving it to embarrass her later when she is a teenager. Little stinker. I am not kidding about how that heart dress is her favorite outfit - she will pluck it straight out of the laundry basket as soon as it's clean!

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See you later, alligators!

Anna's Antics

Anna has been SO fun recently, and I just have to share some of her latest stories!

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First dip of the summer.

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Her last day of "school" (Mommy's Morning Out) was last week and we took all of her teachers little gifts. She insisted on carrying them into the two classrooms and she looked beyond adorable holding those gift bags! Anna gave all of her teachers big hugs and promised to see them over the summer when we came back to play. Her Morning Out program was such a positive thing for her this year and I am so happy that I finally took the plunge to sign her up. She is already registered for next year and she will get to be in the big girl classroom!

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Anna wouldn't stand still for a good picture, here's one of Maddie!

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This picture is from when she was a poor sickie - a double ear infection doozie!!

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I have enjoyed building up a summer 3T wardrobe for her, since she outgrew her 2T stuff pretty much overnight. It is not an expansive wardrobe but she is absolutely delighted with it, and she loves showing off her new dresses and shoes to Daddy when he comes down to breakfast or home from work. I love dressing her up in a new favorite outfit and seeing her run over to her mirror to check it out. I even replaced her pajamas collection, and officially retired her much-beloved Elmo pajamas. Her even-more-beloved heart dress is one of the few remnants from the 2T set and I'm not sure she's going to give that one up very easily!!

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Anna got into my makeup one morning. Apparently we need to add "bronzer application" to our summer educational agenda!!

Anna is still a chatterbox, and we have been practicing questions with her recently. Many people ask her questions while we are out and about and I realized that she didn't know how to answer them, so we have been quizzing her and have been amused with the answers! She is now a master of "What's your name? What's my name? What's the doggie's name? What's the baby's name?" and "How old are you?". We also love asking opinion questions like "What's your favorite color?", "What is your favorite food?", and "What is your favorite toy?". The answers seem to change on a daily basis but her latest answers have been "Purple", "Watermelon", and "Minnie".

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She is majorly obsessed with elephants.

In addition to her Minnie toys, Banana Bean has also been having fun with puzzles. We have bought (or been gifted) a few puzzles the next difficulty up from her current collection, and she loves when I sit on the floor and help her put the pictures together. I also found her a cube puzzle, where each side of a cube makes a different picture, and she loves that thing so much that she carries the box around with her all over the house!

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I found this video the other day and I don't know if I've already shared it but it made me laugh, so sorry if it's a repeat.

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Anna has also rediscovered the joy of tea parties, after a several month lull. I was delighted to watch her this week because her new tea party was so imaginative - she invited Mickey and Minnie, served them tea and snacks, said "More tea please!" and pretended to pour out new cups. She even stirred the cups just like I do with my coffee! Anna also plays with her toy kitchen constantly, and pretends to cook me meals. She is so bright and creative, I could watch her play all day!

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She is still a big helper around the house and I always try to introduce her to new things. Now she helps me put away the silverware from the dishwasher, clean up toys in the playroom, put away books on her shelf in her room, put clothes into the dryer, and feeds Kingsley when I ask. I also let her help set the table and to help me sweep and vacuum. Anna also loves to help us out in the garden and with watering the flowers, and of course checking the mailbox - her favorite chore! And you better believe that I have her help me clean whenever she takes artistic liberties with the walls!! I love having my two little companions with me when I work around the house - they make for such pleasant company even if they are actively undoing whatever cleaning I am trying to do!

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Such a pretty girl! Look at that smile :-)

I am so grateful for Anna's sweet, inquisitive personality. She is so spunky and happy, and I love when she holds my hand or comes over for a random hug or runs to me with a boo-boo, even if it's imaginary. She is so curious and eager to try new things, and I love coming up with new adventures for us all to do together. I can't believe that it will be her 3rd birthday in just a few short months, and we have been brainstorming some ways to make her big day special! We love you so much, sweet girl!

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