Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Cora and I love watching the TV show "The Voice" together (or as she calls it: the singing show).  Last night I had DVR'ed the show, so after Milly was tucked up in bed, Cora and I snuggled on the couch to watch a few minutes of The Singing Show together - both in our PJs and snuggled under the pink blanket her grandmother made for her.  Cora had her two arms wrapped around mine, her head on my chest. She said "Mom I'm so excited for tomorrow" (I'm coming to her class to read a book and then staying for lunch). I said "I am too honey." She excitedly said "It's going to be the best day of my life." Then, turning her face to look up at me she very seriously said "Mom, I'm going to remember it forever." Then The Voice started and there was that amazing, haunting tribute showing the Newtown victim's names. And there were no words, and no helping the tears that poured out of my eyes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I, like most of the country, have had a hard time coming to grips with what happend Friday in Newton, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I can't even imagine what those parents are going through.  It's something that, at the request of my husband and family, I finally had to make myself stop thinking about, at least for a few moments at a time, so I could function.  

This morning it was my morning to "sleep in".  About 7:20 I heard small feet go running down the hallway downstairs yelling "I help you daddy! I help tooooo". I just chuckled and rolled over. Then, about 20 minutes later, I had a bigger small person touching my face. I opened my eyes to find a plate full of scrambled eggs and the two biggest, reddest strawberries I'd ever seen. Oh. And this. 

I don't think I have ever felt more blessed than I do this morning. I. am. so. lucky.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Well - this is not the email I expected to get from Cora's school this morning:

Subject line:  Kissing {note my heart skipped a beat here already}

Thought you both might enjoy this. Had to email you before I forgot the details. J J

We are drawing our favorite thing to do at night. Cora started off by drawing stars in the sky and said she likes to look at the stars. Then she drew two people with big fish lips sticking out. She told me that it is her mommy and daddy. Here is what she said.

Cora: “This is my mommy and daddy kissing downstairs. They go downstairs after we sleep and kiss. They lick each other.”
Me: “Do they know this is what you think they do?”
Cora: “No, I spy on them.”

This would be perfect for your blog. J J J I can’t stop laughing.

Oh perfect indeed.  And so now I sit here thinking how to explain to her teacher, without sounding like "I doth protest too much" that we are quite sure Cora has never seen anything inappropriate and that, while we may steal a smooch or two while tidying up and doing chores after the kids are in bed, most evenings are spent with me knitting away and hubby playing video games.  Much less interesting!!  :D

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Cora this evening to Milly:
"You have to be nice so Santa will bring you something nice and not reindeer poop. You're a nice little girl so you'll probably get something nice and not reindeer poop. Believe me you do NOT want reindeer poop."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11-20-12 (aka Why I Took My 5 Year Old to a Tattoo Parlor)

About a year ago, when she was four, Cora asked to get her ears pierced.  I explained to her that she'd have to get a "shot" in each ear.  That was the end of that discussion.   At least it was until last week.  Out of the blue, Cora asked again if she could get her ears pierced. I told her she'd have to get a shot in each ear.  She thought and said "ok".  We went to YouTube and I pulled up a video of a girl about her age getting hers done at the mall.  Lots of tears, a little screaming, and then some smiles eventually.  She watched intently.  And then said "ok".  We talked a lot about what she would have to do - and what she couldn't do - with her new earrings in.  We discussed how it would be a 'forever' thing and that it can't be un-done.  She said "ok". I talked to her dad, and we agreed that it was time.  Quite frankly, I was pretty excited for this fun mommy/daughter moment as well!

In doing a little research (and by research I mean posting to my friends on FB and googling) I discovered something that had never crossed my radar:  a bunch of good reasons to have your child's ears pierced in a piercing parlor rather than at the mall.  Some of them were cautionary: comments by women who used to be that 17 year old with about an hour's training at the mall discussing how little they knew about their craft; to folks talking about the gun misfiring on them, or the fact that a plastic gun can never truly be sterilized.  I finally landed on two very good reasons for me to choose the parlor.  First, tattoo parlors are licensed by the state and must meet specific sanitation requirements (among others) to maintain that license.  Second, and most importantly for mommy, everyone I spoke to said having a professional piercing taper do the work is far, far less painful than having a blunt object forced through the ear, ripping the skin.  Less pain = less sad Cora = happier mommy!  Win.

So I called my local tattoo parlor, explained what I wanted and they were 100% on board.  I asked if we could come in that day (Sunday) to just look around and get Cora used to the place before her Tuesday night appointment.  When I got there, there young man behind the counter went above and beyond answering any questions we had, letting Cora look at any number of of possible studs, and even taking us on a tour of the place culminating in Cora getting to feed the fish in the parlor aquarium.

When The Big Day came Cora was too excited for words.  I picked her up from school and we headed out.  The parlor was a bit more busy and raucous on a Tuesday night than it had been at noon on Sunday so I was very glad we'd gone in ahead of time in a more sedate environment.  Loud music was playing, two folks were already mid-tattoo and three college girls were waiting in the lobby.  As we walked in, another woman was walking out.  She heard me say to Cora "Are you sure you want to do this?"   I noticed that this woman turned around and followed us back inside the parlor.  That was the first of a few times I had to explain: "Ears.  We're getting her ears pierced - that's all."     I always let Cora dress herself.  That day she had done things up right.  She had on a jean jacket, a neon teal, pink and yellow ruffled dress, and rainbow striped leggings. :)  Along with that she had insisted on bringing her giant stuffed Nala lion (from The Lion King).  Imagine THAT sitting in your local tattoo parlor on a Tuesday evening.  I got the biggest kick out of it.

Cora pre-event with the look of "Holy crap I'm excited and terrified all at once"

Mark, the piercer, came out and welcomed Cora.  He was a very tall man with long hair pulled back in a pony tail and a long beard secured by a number of hair elastics.  Cora looked at me and asked - with that purposefully emotionless face that you know will break into tears at any moment - "Mommy, is that the person who is going to pierce my ears?" I said it was.  She replied, with lip beginning to tremble "But I don't want him to."  I had to explain that he was the only one there who could do it and that he would do a very good job.  She put on a brave face and we went on back.  Turns out Mark is the daddy to a little girl and had photos of her up in his piercing room.  I think that helped a bunch.

Without going into another short novel, the procedure went wonderfully!  The first ear was so fast Cora didn't even know it was done.  The second one did see some tears only because she knew what was happening by that point and was a ball of nerves.  She told me after it didn't hurt - she cried from being scared.  All the guys in the parlor who didn't have clients had come to the back and gathered around to watch.  Once the second hole was done and Cora had very quickly dried her tears after getting the mirror to admire her new jewels, they all broke into applause and one nice young dude brought her a sucker.

The deed is done - complete with huge "after event" gumball!

All in all a wonderful experience.  When Milly asks the "big question" in a few years, I know where we'll be going!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


We went to Cora's conferences last night. On the walls were samples of the kids artwork/activities including one where the kids were supposed to show a family tradition.  Cora and I discussed a good one to use would be "Every Friday night we make popcorn and watch a movie."  In looking them over last night every kid had a nice entry - things like "Our whole family has Thanksgiving together," or "We got to Hawks games," or "We open presents Christmas Eve."   This, at the end of the wall, was Cora's.

 Editor's Note:  We have never been to Disney.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Last night as I was tucking Cora in we had this conversation:

Cora:  Mom God made the grass and the trees and the fences, right?
Me:  Well God made the grass and the trees but not the fences.  But She made the wood the fences are made from.  {Cora refers to God as "she"}
Cora:  What else did She make?
Me:  All of nature!  Alllll the animals, allllll the bugs, allll the birds, alllll the plants and much, much more! The bible tells us God imagined and created everything in nature.
Cora:  Wow!  She must have had a HUGE piece of paper to draw that all out before She made them!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Tonight I was singing Milly her ritual 3 songs before sleepy time. After my first two I gently brushed a lock of hair from her forehead and asked her "What do you want for your last song, sweetie?" She equally as gently reached up and touched my forehead and said "I wan' you to be aw done." :/

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I had just come back from being gone on a business trip for three days.  Not home 20 minutes, Milly did something dangerous so I had to yell to get her attention.  This absolutely crushed her little feelings and she started to sob hysterically.  So I went over, scooped her up, patted her back and told her, "Mommy's sorry honey - but I needed to get your attention fast, so I had to be loud. I didn't mean to break your little heart".     To which she lifted her head and looked at me with hangdog eyes and said "You did. You bwoke my hawt."   Ohhhh.  :(

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


In the car this morning I was running through my usual "The Help" based litany and this was my exchange with Milly:

Me:  Is Milly kind?
Milly: No. 
Me: Oh I think she is!  Milly is kind!  Is Milly smart?
Milly: No.
Me: Oh of course she is!  Is Milly important?
Milly:  No!  No I not 'portant.  I Milly!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last night Cora was having a rough go getting to sleep. It was a combination of a late nap butting up against bedtime and getting over being sick and going stircrazy.  So we gave her a small dose of melatonin (nectar of the gods for sleep deprived parents) and this was what she told me:

Cora:  Mom, do you know how melatonin works?
Me:  I'm curious. How?
Cora:  He travels up to your brain, and all your bad dreams, he throws them in the trash can.  The dreams you want to keep, he just holds on to them forever.  Or if you want none dreams that night, he puts them on a self in the pantry of your brain to save for later. Because that's where we put the food we don't eat right away - in the pantry.  And we save it for later.  Because if we ate it all at once we'd be out of food and that would be sad.

Sad indeed.

Friday, August 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Cora

I wrote this for Cora after her first day of Kindergarten on August 15th. I'm a bit late in posting it, and I've not read it to her.  It will be for her in later years to read and understand.  But here it is nonetheless.

My dearest, dearest little one,

Today you took a big step in the biggest adventure any of us will ever encounter: life.  Today was your first day of Kindergarten.  While we’ve had our share of firsts together before today (first day of day care, first day of pre-school, etc) today was somehow symbolic of something bigger.  Today, I didn’t just leave you in the care of others, hoping that they would teach you, guide you, and love you; but today I gave you over.  No longer are you in the relative protection of this mama bird’s wingspan.  Today, as I watched you walk up that new cement walkway, I gave you over to the world. 

We had no tears – neither you nor I.  And for that I was thankful. It was hard to hide my own nervousness – would she make friends, would she like her teacher, would I get a phone call halfway through the day – but it was what I knew needed to be done so that we could both take that walk with excitement in our steps.  Aside from the treat in your lunchbox, the note in your bag, the hug and kiss, the last gift I could leave you with was seeing a happy, proud, excited mom who just knew you were going to love this strange place – even if inside, mom wasn’t so sure. 

Your teacher asked that we not walk you to your classroom.  That instead we find a school helper and let them lead you the rest of the way.  I understood her point – this was to help prevent those last minute “oh my gosh this is real” tears and tantrums (from kids AND parents!) and so I respected her request.  But as the kindhearted blonde in the white and black dress took your little hand in the atrium and began to lead you down that long, long hallway I wondered if I’d done the right thing.  As your little figure got lost in the swarm of students, parents, and faculty I craned my neck for one last view.  And then you turned around. Just to see if mama was still there.  And I was.  As I always will be.  I will always be just behind you – supporting you, cheering you on, believing in you.  Even if you can’t see me.  But on that day I caught your eye just in time and gave you a huge grin and a big wave.  Then you were off again, and got swallowed up in the sea of kids off on their own adventures.

No matter what the next 13 years brings you – and even on beyond – my prayer for you is simple:  remember how very much you are loved, and how very much you are worth.  If you grow up knowing those two things I have done my job and will be happy.  You are my sweet, kind, gentle, sensitive, deep-feeling, curious, smart, darling.  And while those traits will serve you well and endear you to others, they can be hard to live.  Your feelings will be hurt a little more easily.  Your pride will be bruised more readily.  Your self-esteem will be chipped away over things most children would never notice.  And I worry for you over that.  But I would not trade your nature for anything.  Because it will make you into a wonderful woman who has a heart to share with the world and gifts that only God knows the limits of.  And today was the first step on the way to getting the tools you need to share that gift in the best possible way – whatever that may be.  And I hope you share it with alacrity.  I am so proud of you.

I love you Cora Claire.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Cora tonight:  "I love God.  I think she [I love she calls God a she] is beautiful. I love her so much I'd love to go live with her!"

Ummmm ok, but can that wait a while?  Like a looooong while please!?
Number two from Cora tonight: Milly bonked her mouth tonight and it bled a fair bit. Cora asked to say her prayer tonight with no one watching her. But we could hear it "God, please let Milly's lip feel better by tomorrow because she's my sister and I love her."
And finally one from Milly.  My mom and I got ourselves in a bit of pickle as Cora overheard us telling Milly she was soooo cute.  Cora asked what SHE was. I told her she was beautiful.  My mom added that big girls are beautiful and little girls are cute.  Milly looked at my mom and said "MeMe!  I beautiful TOO!"  You go girlfriend.

Monday, July 16, 2012


More Milly Lexicon

Time to continue the ever-evolving vocabulary of Miss Milly Moo (her favorite phrases and her fun words)

Marshows = marshmallows
Pick you up! = pick me up
Mo milk pees (this child is a milkaholic)
I ok!  (every time she falls - which is often)
Hi-YA (with accompanying kung fu cjop)
I help you? = she needs help, stemming from me saying "Can I help you?"
--- see also:  I need my help!
HoppaCopter = helicopter
Hammy Hammy = Handy Manny
Pack-ack = Backpack

And the ever-present:  I DO IT!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Well, I don't have to worry whether Milly can adequately convey her feelings. During a bit of a whine, I tried to comfort her by saying "Milly, it's ok!" to which she scowled and said "No! It NOT ok!"

Friday, June 29, 2012


This evening as we were discussing stuff and things Cora told me that:

"I can pick up anything.  I mean, well, anything but a giant.  That'd just be silly."

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Milly gets a "marshow" (marshmallow) if/when she'll go in the potty.  The most often time this occurs is while she's getting undressed for her bath.  Tonight she came down and told me she needed a "marshow".  Now, Milly did not finish - or even really engage with - her dinner this evening. So the corresponding rule is "no dinner, no treats."  Thusly, I asked her dad if she really had gone in the potty.  He said "I don't know to tell you the truth. It was too loud with the water running.  I'll just go get her one."  As he walked away toward the pantry little miss naked-out-of-the-bath did a little circle dance and sung out "I WIN! I WIN!"   Oy vey.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Today is the birthday of my beautiful, smart, sweet, kind, tender-hearted Cora.  Above is her journey so far from NB - Age 5.  I can't hardly believe its been five years.  Today was a challenge for mom - one that many of you are used to.  Work mom versus home mom.  Today, of all days, the head of all things legal for my very large company (my boss's, boss's, boss's boss!) came into town and invited our team out to dinner.  I had to decide:  Go home to my birthday girl, or go to the dinner.  Hopefully Cora will never know how long I agonized over this decision or how much guilt I wrestled with while making it. 

In the end, Ryan and I decided I needed to go to the dinner.  We had had Cora's party this last weekend with all her little buddies.  So this morning we opened her remaining birthday gift at breakfast (an Easy Bake Oven and all the accoutrements).  Not as exciting as the Barbie Bike, but still a good one.  Then she got a day with Meme and Poppi who brought her downtown to my work so we could all go to lunch together.  She wore a beauiful dress she got for her big day, ordered cheese pizza, ate one slice, stole my pickle spear and most of my french fries, and then was the recipient of a slice of chocolate cake complete with candle from the waitress. :)   After lunch she went off with Meme to a local splash park that has a carousel as well.  As she walked out the revolving glass doors of my company holding Meme's hand, she turned and waved at me one last time.  I hope all she was expereincing was joy and excitement - mommy was, on the other hand, feeling a little blue.   Happy birthday my wonderful, wonderful girl!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Today we celebrated Cora's birthday.  We gave her the Barbie Bike she's wanted.  While she was finishing up opening the rest of her presents, Ryan snuck out the garage and put the bike on the patio.

While Cora was still opening and sorting through her last present, Milly saw the bike out the sliding glass doors.  Suddenly all we can hear, getting louder and louder each time is:  Bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle! BICYCLE! ITS A BICYCLE!!  Luckily Cora is used to ignoring her little sister, so I finally told her "Cora - what the heck is Milly saying?"

She finally turned around and saw it and FREAKED OUT.  I sure wish we'd caught it all on camera. She looked the bike, looked at us, mouth gaping, then asked "Is that for ME?"  I nodded, and told her "Happy Birthday Sweetheart".  It was a priceless moment, and I WISH we would have been smart enough to get it on tape!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Poor Cora apparently watched part of Wizard of Oz at daycare today. She is now having one heckuva time going to sleep - she's terrified of witches suddenly. I went up there and talked to her for 15 minutes about movies (adults playing make believe in front of a camera) and how witches are not real, and about thinking happy real thoughts instead. 
Then when I started to leave, in a shaky little voice she tells me "Mommy, when you leave my room at night, and you turn off the light and go downstairs ... it feels like there's a hundred monsters under my bed." Poor baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Cora this morning: Mom - I love you 25, 1 million, 6, 38 and 84 and then up to the moon, up to outer space, up to GOD and BACK!

Me: WOW! That is a LOT of love, I feel really special! I love you that much and maybe even a little MORE!

Cora: You love me ALL the numbers?

Me: Yes. I love you All The Numbers.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Cora came in to my bathroom to ask me a question this morning while I was mid-mascara application. As she ran back out she shouted over her shoulder "You're starting to look beautiful mama!" And I thought "Thanks. Wait!...."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


We've had an eventful few days here.  

This is a photo of Cora that I took two weekends ago. It plays into my story.  Allow me to begin.

About a month ago, Cora came home and told me she had a loose tooth.  Being not yet 5 I figured it was more wishful thinking but when I gave that little bottom front dude a poke, wiggle it did!  Since that time we've been preparing for The Big Day.  Ryan and I got some cute tooth fairy envelopes to place under pillows, and we've been occasionally checking out Wiggles to see if he wants to get crazy yet.    

Then, this past Friday, we get a call from her preschool.  Cora and another kid "bonked" on the playground and her front top tooth was bleeding a bit.  We called her dentist who said "no bigs just watch it". So we did. (ok so that may not have been his exact words but that's what I heard) The gum above her right, front tooth and its neighbor donned a lovely bruise and the tooth looked a bit "set back" from the others.  But over the weekend it healed up nicely.  Or so we thought.   This morning, Cora came into the kitchen saying she bonked her mouth on the couch and her tooth started to bleed.  Sure enough, it was bleeding a fair amount. We cleaned it up, had her drink some icewater and took a look.  I figured maybe this was some pooled blood that had built up in the gum and she tapped the tooth enough that it let loose.  However it still didn't look just right and I wondered if it was my imagination or if that front tooth looked a little darker than it had days past?  So she went on to school and I called her dentist and made an appointment at 9:00am the next day just to check things out. 

 About two hours later, around noon, I got a call from her preschool that she had bonked head to face with another girl and boom - blood again and now lots of hysterics to go with it.  Ryan went off to get her from daycare, while I called the dentist - again - who said to bring her on in and see her right away.  I sent the info along to Ryan and went to my 1:00 meeting.  About 20 mins later I got a text from Ryan telling me that it "didn't look good" and that two of her front teeth were at a backward 45 degree angle.  Ugh.   So he took her on to the dentist and I sat and waited.  Then I got the text:
          "Waiting. Going to be pulling three teeth."  
WHAT?????   Yeah.  Three of her four top, front teeth are now in a small pink "treasure box" awaiting the tooth fairy. 

So, feeling horrible that I couldn't be there with her I set off on the skywalk (a Des Moines thing - basically some shops spread out over gerbil-trail like hallways connecting buildings downtown) to hit the banks there.  NOT ONE bank had silver dollars or gold dollar coins that I could buy.  UGH.  I remembered our vending machine at work would often dispense dollar coins as change if you put in a five. I bought a terrible cup of overpriced coffee to break my ten and headed back to work sweaty and downhearted.  When I got to work I threw away the unsipped coffee, and hopefully slid my five dollar bill into the machine.  I made my selection and waited.  Cha ching, ching, chingchingchingchingching......  Quarters.  CURSE YOU QUARTERS.  So now I had an icky bag of vend-chips and a crapload of quarters.  Luckily while wandering the skywalk I had popped into the little card shop and purchased a suitably fluffy stuffed kitty cat (the animal du jour lately).  But still... I so wanted her to have something special from the tooth fairy. :(

So yeah, that photo above?  That is the last photo I have of Cora with all her baby teeth. :)   And here she is as of this afternoon - still smiling after it all.

Oh and Wiggles - he's still there.  Probably feeling pretty pissed about being one upped by the top trio.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Well obviously Milly is learning how to work the heartstrings.  While I was trying to get ready to head out the door this morning, she was tugging on my pant leg with her ususal "Uppy Guppie!  Uppy Guppie!"  So I leaned down and told her "Mommy can't right now, mommy's busy."   In response, she stopped, hung her little head and said "But I just wan' hug you."   Oh man.  How can you not stop everything for that?  Answer: you can't.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


In our house, daddy gives baths, while mommy does lotion after. 

Milly came down the stairs tonight, got as far as the landing, sat down in her little bunny hoody towel, put her hands on her knees, looked forlorn and said "I sad."   It was the most pathetic little thing I've ever seen poor baby.  (Turns out she was a bit upset that Cora got to stay in the tub with daddy while she had to come on for lotion time). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I got my very first "I wub you mommy" today from Milly!!  Banner day!

Then my Cora shared this with me:
Cora:  Mom, are there nice things in Heaven?
Me:  Oh yeah. Nicer things than we can even think of!
Cora: {thinking}  Then I bet there's a Pump It Up in Heaven. It wouldn't be Heaven without one!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Milly's vocab has really been taking off and she surprised us last night by starting to point out letters (and getting them mostly right!) in one of her coloring books.  So in honor of our little smarty pants, some of her cute goings on lately:

Me:  {sneezes}
Milly:  B'ess 'ou mommy.

Me: Milly, time to change your diaper
Milly:  Hmm.  No.  No want it. {walks away}

Milly: {from somewhere in the house}  '[C]ome on!  Ome on mommy!  Ome on!  In here.
Me: {tracking her down to the pantry in the dark - turn on the light and pick her up}  And what exactly did I need to come in her for?
Milly:  Mi'ee {Milly} need a 'nack.  Yes.  That 'nack.  {pointing to the fruit snacks}

Monday, January 30, 2012


Cora tonight on the way home from dance class:
Cora: Mom, you know what would be really gross?
Me: No, what?
Cora: If Summit threw up, and dad *licked it*
Me: Yup.. that'd be pretty gross (ew)

Cora: You know what would be even grosser?
Me: I don't dare imagine
Cora: If Summit threw up all over a slide and dad slid down it on his shirt and his tummy!

Seriously - who is this child?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's time!  It's time for Milly's first official entry:

Ryan wanted Milly to come downstairs.  She was disinclined to acquiesce to his request (for all you POTC fans).  So, he started the "countdown".

Ryan:  ONE!
Milly: {appearing around the corner} Two, Free!  Ta-dah!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So Grown Up...

Cora:  I'm almost FIVE.  And when I marry Tyler, I'm going to kiss him on the LIPS.
Me: I think your dad wants to have a talk with Tyler's parents.

--and later, while watching TV--

Cora:  I'm gonna be a mom when I grow up.
Me: I think you'll be a very good mom.
Cora: But I'm not having any babies! They're a lot of work.
Me:  Well to be a mommy, you have to have babies.  You can't be a mommy without kids.  That's how it works.
Cora: {without looking away from the TV - in an annoyed voice}:  Ok. I'll have babies then.