Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Sweet Mockingbird

Last night I tried to knock out a lingering headache by crashing in the bedroom for a bit while Mike played with the kids in the living room.

Minutes later all four of us were snuggling in my bed watching The View on DVR.  As Mike pointed out, I'm pretty popular around these parts.

The fellas ultimately showed little interest in the news of Sherri Shepherd joining Dancing with the Stars.  First I nudged Mike to escape back to the living room, but Michael soon requested to join his Daddy.  I called to Mike, he grabbed our boy, and Sophie and I enjoyed some girl time.  She flipped and flopped a bit but spent a good few minutes spooning with me, requesting more and more tummy tickles.

At one point she sat up and called out, "Mock!"

"What's 'mock,' baby girl?"


When I said it the way she had, with a little force but not really yelling, I realized that she was mimicking what she'd heard me do earlier when I needed Mike to come get Michael.  She was calling, "Mike!"

When I calmed my giggles, I called "Mike!" again so I could share my amusement with him.

"Mock!" she echoed again.

Mike didn't find her quite as amusing as I had, but even he couldn't hold back a smirk when he told her, "That's Daddy to you, young lady."  The next morning he urged her to "Say bye-bye to Carrie!" but she either didn't get it or is just totally on my side.

Sophie's "Mock-ing" didn't surprise me too much that night.  Not only are she and Michael little language sponges these days, she's also been my personal mirror. 

The other morning, for example, as the kids pushed trucks around the kitchen, I looked out our sliding door to the backyard, taking note of spring projects and envisioning warmer days to come.  Lost in my thoughts, I didn't notice much about Sophie when she first stood beside me, but when I took her in I saw her arms were awkwardly wrapped at her waist.  I saw my own arms folded at my waist and knew she was trying to stand just like I was.

"Monkey see, monkey do" has been an accurate description of both kids for quite a while now, but it's especially nice to get this kind of attention lately from my girl.  I guess I better quit picking my nose and dropping the f-bomb.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It was time.

We made the reservations, booked Mike's mom as a sitter, gave kisses good-bye, and (cue the fireworks) spent my first night away from Sophie and Michael.

Mike has been on numberous overnight trips for work since April 2010, but every day of Michael and Sophie's lives has ended with me settling them into their cribs and has begun again with me lifting them back out, nuzzling their sleepy necks.  That is, until recently.

My first night away was essentially a 12-hour vacation in downtown Detroit.  While to some that might sound less than appealing, take a look at where we had drinks, ate dinner, and crashed.  There were a lot of options, but we went with some classics.

Mike and I ate at the Whitney a number of years ago when we paid off $20k in credit card debt--an accumulation of wedding, honeymoon, and new home expenses, along with some general foolishness.  After one tough year on a crazy tight budget, I'm not sure what had been better that night:  the duck confit, the bottle of Syrah, or paying with cash responsibly saved for the occasion.  Mike and I looked forward to going back these years later.

About half-way through my first night away I joked with Mike that married couples aren't supposed to talk about work or the kids when out on dates.  He joked back, "How about that Prince Fielder?"  He and the taxi driver had bantered back and forth on that topic during the ride to the restaurant. 

The reality is our primary common interests are 22-months-old and inspire lively conversations.  Why mess with that?  It also wasn't so bad talking about work or whatever else without our common interests needing our direct attention for an entire evening.

I woke up at the usual time the next morning, a sleepy 5:15.  I had a headache from the couple glasses of wine and a desire not to miss much of the day with the kids.  We went home, took the kids out to brunch, and settled in for another busy week.

- Rocking -

Whenever I watch Sophie and Michael on their rocking horses, I'm reminded of something.

For a while I couldn't think of what it was.   I had a vague vision of a kid...or a frog...rocking on a horse and tipping over.  Then I remembered this scene from The Muppets Take Manhattan. (Click one minute into the scene to see just that moment.)

Of course that scene would get etched into my childhood brain and impress itself upon visions of my own peanuts rocking on their "hoo-wisses."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cheater Soup

Somewhere between soggy-noodled, sodium-rich canned soups and the homemade richness of the turkey frame soup my grandma used to make lies what I refer to as Cheater Soup.  I made it for lunch on this snowy day at home with my kids.

Here's the "recipe."

Saute a bag of frozen mirepoix blend (toddler-sized carrots, onions, and celery).  Add a can of diced tomatoes.  Season with whatever (I used Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle).  Pour in two boxes of organic chicken stock and two-ish cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add a box of whole grain rotini and cook until tender. 


 Since I don't serve much broth to the kids, to them this surely looks like yet another pasta with vegetables and/or meat concoction that I often serve them (our recent favorite of those is penne, ground turkey, olives, feta cheese, and Greek dresssing). 

This one is different to me at least.  What was in my bowl was some healthy comfort food that only took 15 minutes away from this snowy day at home with my kids to prepare.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sophie, Sophie, who do you see?

Ever since a Creative Memories consultant presented at one of my mothers of multiples club meetings last year, I've had a couple ideas pinned to the virtual pin board in my brain (why didn't I invent Pinterest, she asks herself again).

One project was to fix up the scrapbook frames that I worked on previously.  Another quickie little mommy-friendly project that a MoM shared was to make a scrapbook (traditional or electronic) with pictures of family members in the style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle.  The intention is to help little ones match loved ones' faces with their names. 

I narrowly escaped getting sucked into the Creative Memories vortex, but I went with a Shutterfly photobook on this one.  To be honest, I'm usually disappointed with Shutterfly's quality, but they keep sending me irresistable discounts via email. This project, sadly, was no exception to the grainy photo letdown.

Still, I'm very happy with the books overall.  I made one for Sophie and one for Michael, both pretty much the same but swapping their own appearances at the beginning and end.  For example, Michael's starts with "Michael, Michael, who do you see?" (like the "brown bear") and ends with Sophie listing all the people in the book (like the "children").  Sophie's book is the opposite.

We gave the books to the kids after dinner last night, and they were immediately engaged.  They love books in general, being read to, and pointing to different objects on each page.  Last night Uncle Nick and Uncle Joe's ears might have been ringing as Sophie and Michael not only pointed them out in the books but said their names quite clearly. (They also say "Ucka Doe" when placing the guitar puzzle piece in their musical intrument puzzle.  Their language and memory skills are fascinating these days.)

I limited photos in the book to the kids' aunt, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and family pets. I dedicated the books to loved ones who would fit in those categories but whose lifetimes unfortunately did not overlap with Michael and Sophie's--the kids' Uncle Ryan and both sets of my grandparents.  Throughout the year and especially on occasions like Ryan's birthday, we also share a pair of Whispers From Heaven teddy bears with the kids that Mike's mom bought for them before they were born.  They see his picture and will learn his name that way.

As exciting as it was to hear Michael and Sophie start saying "mommy" and "daddy" months ago, there's a special satisfaction watching relationships grow between the kids and their extended family.  These books, learning the names and loving faces, are an effort toward that growth.

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