Thursday, May 29, 2008

Seren's First Trip to Long Island

Growing up, Long Island NY was a sort of "home base" for my family. My mom's best friend from college, Jane, lives in Watermill, NY. The family was (and is) very generous- opening up their home to us in the summer. In exchange for their generosity, my parents would offer to paint the house, work on the pool, etc. I have many memories of lobster dinners, playing in the wild dunes, making forts on the beach, eating Oreos on the back deck and watching baby rabbits appear at the end of the summer. It was awesome!

And being that Jane was my mom's best friend, we would see them throughout the year and during the summer. And so Jane became "Aunt Jane" to my brother and I. And Jane's mom became a third grandmom to me, "Aunt Gwen". Both of these women fully adopted us growing up- sending us cards on our birthdays, celebrating during high school graduations, and generally treating us like family. Jane has two children- both of the kids were older than my brother, John and I. Amy is about three years older and I thought she walked on water. Oh! I loved Amy. She wore makeup and had the best clothes. I still distinctly remember sharing a bedroom with her and thinking that I had really arrived in terms of being cool. Amy is now married and expecting her first. Her brother is married too and has a little son named Mason. We all have aged. And my mom and Jane are still close friends.

And so it was that Seren, Grammy and I made a trip to Long Island two weeks ago. As a child, the 4 hours car ride was ETERNITY! And being that we didn't have air conditioning, my brother and I would simply pass out from the humidity of those summer days spent driving to Watermill. This time the ride was a lot shorter but tiring it is own right as I was keeping Seren entertained.

Seren had a BLAST there. Our stay was too short- just over 24 hours. But seeing old friends really boosted my spirits. The Long Island area is a funny mix of people and lifestyles. The Hamptons are right out of the movies. And over the years, we have seen our share of the rich and famous. Peter Jennings, the Beach Boys, etc. The homes are monstrosities! And no one lives in them as they are "summer homes". However, there are also locals who farm potatoes and corn and dig for clams. So it is a fun mix. Jane has a farm that her family owns, right behind her house. The farm has chickens, peacocks, a pony, two goats, four ducks and some odd looking cows. In short? It was a toddler's paradise.

Seren got to feed a pony. Mason, Jane's grandson, showed her the ropes. They are both two years old and it was a riot to see them feeding the pony. We taught Seren how to hold her hand flat so that Pilgrim the pony could eat from her hand. She shrieked with sheer joy at the experience! And the tractor? Awesome!

Being there with my mom- at a place where I have been coming for years and years- was very special. When I lived in California, I missed Aunt Gwen's funeral and mourned the opportunity to say goodbye to such an amazing woman. Being there this spring, I still felt her spirit. I said goodbye to her again standing on the beach.

It makes me so happy to live close to my parents so that my daughter can experience some of what made my childhood such a happy one. Thanks to Grammy and Jane for such a special time!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seren tidbits and Andy won!

There is much to post about. Our weekend was sunny, warm, fun and truly fantastic! I'll post about this weekend later this week. I had a blast. So much fun just relaxing outside in the sun! Having a two year old can be extremely trying but it can be hysterical too! A few quick antidotes before I forget them.

*Seren can't say "f" yet. So "finger" is "singer". And "foot" is "soot". She calls Sam's flip flops, "slip slop shoes".

* She is getting very interested in the concept of a potty. We purchased a potty last week and she LOVES the idea. She knows that poop and pee go into the potty but it too nervous to try. She likes to sit there fully clothed. Yesterday she asked to take her pants off. And so we sat together like that. When it was actually time for her to use the potty, she got really nervous, requested her diaper be put back ON and then went to the bathroom. We have time. We aren't pushing this. It is going to be QUITE the process.

* Seren loves her music together class. We have been going for over a year. But now we find her singing the music together songs to herself. She really likes going and the day of music class is VERY exciting.

* We had a rough time of naps this past week. She seems to need a lot of time to settle down. While we are BIG into rountines, but it appears as if our routine needs a change. She takes up to 45 minutes to calm herself down. Which then means less time for nap or means that she isn't as tired to go to bed. This week we will try to figure out what works. I put the CD on that we used when she was about 2 weeks old and we were desperate for ANYTHING to work. She liked the calming music. So maybe if we start the nap earlier, she'll calm down sooner. Saturday, she was falling asleep eating lunch after a LOT of playing. But 45 minutes later, at nap time, she wanted to play. I think toddler don't know how to "unwind"- the world awaits! Any ideas?

* Seren can spot a school bus or hear a garbage truck from about a mile away. Just as Sam or I say, "I don't know. I don't see a garbage truck...", one will roll by!

* Seren is hot and cold about hugs and kisses. I have found myself in the past month having pity parties when she doesn't want to embrace me. I can become green with envy when she wants time with Dad (and not me). Since Dad is home with her all day, this only fuels the "I am a bad mom" mentality. But then,this past weekend, she just wanted to snuggle all day. So, I guess it is hit or miss with her these days. And I try to roll with the punches. But man, I love those wet kisses and "big girl" hugs.

And now for exciting news! My blogging friend Laura is extremely wonderful and extremely generous. She announced a contest for May in honor of her twin boys' 2nd birthday which encouraged her many readers to either nominate themselves about a time they helped a mom or nominate a mom friend that helped them. I am so lucky to have become a mom at the same time as so many of my friends. And I can think of 4-5 moms in my life that have been hugely helpful to me in the past two years. But I nominated Andy for all of her help and support during preterm labor and my early birth. And Laura said that Andy won! Yahoo!! It made my week! A big thanks to Laura for being one of those people that brings good to the world. She is an inspiration for sure!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Medical "breakthrough"

Last night, after eating a TON of spaghetti, Seren announced "Tummy hurts."

Now that isn't very exciting but after two years of guessing what the problem is, it is big news. She can actually TELL us now that things are bothering her. I clearly remember the early days with the crying. The tears. What was wrong? Diaper on too tight? Teething? Gas? Itching outfit? What?

And then last night, in the clearest little voice, "Mamma! Tummy hurts." Poor little peanut. I fretted over her pained expression and the fact that she was looking at her belly and pushing on it. Should I call the doctor? What was it? An appendix? Just as I said to Sam, "If this keeps up, I"ll call the doctor", Seren leaned over and out came a sound that sounded like a trumpet! Talk about passing gas! It just went on and on.

Trying not to crack myself up, I managed to eek out, "You ok? You feel better?"

"Yeah. Senen all better."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Updates from

When I became pregnant with Seren, I joined They send you weekly updates on the growth and progress of your unborn baby. It is fun to read about the health of the baby, what is growing when, etc. "Your baby is now the size of a garbanzo bean!"

This has continued since her birth. "Your child is now 1 month old!" "Your child is now 22 months old." etc.

Now I get updates that begin, "Your preschooler this week."


This makes me cringe and freak out on many levels. The first and foremost is, "how is my little girl ready for preschool?" The second response is one that speaks to my planning (control) tendencies (or lack thereof in this case): Where do we send her to preschool? And when?

I talk to some of my friends at work about these worries. I always start the conversation with, "Oh my gosh, have you thought about preschool for little X yet?" They calmly say, "Oh not much. No. Don't worry."

I feel better.

Then they launch into a 15 minute monologue about waiting lists, deposits, child visits, etc.
We don't live in NYC so we don't have to deal with THAT craziness but it still can be a competitive process- one I have NO interest in jumping into. However, I know if I procrastinate too long, I'll regret it.

Good thing I can rely on babycenter to give me both updates on my child and what I'm supposed to be panicking about next. Good thing babycenter's got my back.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Long sentences and Opposites

Seren has been into opposites. Tall. Short. Empty. Full.

Today she was doing laundry with her Dad. Her first seven word sentence? "Some are wet and some are dry."

In other news, Seren has joined Consumerism America. She and Dad were walking through Toys R Us returning a gift that we can't use. Her response to everything? "Buy it!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seren turns Two

On Sunday, Seren's actual birthday, we threw Seren a birthday party in honor of her second year of life! It was a ton of fun. All week we prepared. We cooked. We cleaned. We painted the hallway. We painted the steps. We gardened. It was amazing what we got done!

Sunday, at 11:30, the party started! Grammy and Poppy came with a huge, pink, pig balloon. Seren LOVED it. It help set the tone for our farm party!

I got her dressed in her party dress and party shoes. My parents arrived, for the second day in a row, to help us set up. Seren continued to sing "happy birthday dear Senen" all week so this was VERY exciting. She totally "got" that it was her big day.

Our friends started to arrive. Within seconds, we had a busy household of kids- ranging from 19 months to 5 years old. Lunch was demanded by nearly everyone of them. Sam had done an amazing job of cooking- a lot of food was devoured very quickly.

We decided to do the cake right after lunch while all of the kids were all strapped into thier booster seats/high chairs. We made two cakes. One was a "normal" cake with a candle on it. Seren loved trying to blow it out. We had to help and she cheered when it went out. Then we brought out her sheep cake. (Seren LOVES sheep and sleeps with a stuffed sheep named "Baa-baa".) When she saw the sheep she quietly said, "Baa-baa!".

Compared to last year when she burst into tears at the start of the singing which only intensified as I then had to put my finger down her throat to retrieve some cork she was eating, the cake "moment" was 100% success! It was well worth the effort it took to make the dang thing. (All made, by Sam)

After cake, which Seren choose NOT to eat- afterall, it was a sheep, it was time to play!

In the week leading up to the party, I had envisioned offering the kids an obstacle course. I had big plans. Then it kept saying it was going to rain, rain, rain. But it didn't. In the end, kids are happy doing what kids do best: playing. There was no need for structure. The kids (there were only 4) were nuts just running around the yard. Seren had a BLAST at her party. A complete blast.

Here are some pics of her hoola hooping.

I always thought I wouldn't go the "girly route" if I had a girl. Nope. I found myself searching all over the house for a ribbon to put in her gorgeous curls the morning of the party. I couldn't help myself.

Happy, happy 2nd birthday to our Seren. You are loved much more than you'll ever know. We are so proud of the independent, caring, funny, energetic, singing little girl you are. We have loved to watch you grow. This time last year, you were taking tentative first steps and weren't saying much at all. This year you are running around the house, offering commentary on everything! We can only imagine what next year brings! Continue to be 100% yourself. We love you just the way you are.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Turning two...sniff, sniff

Today I joined Sam and Seren for Seren's 2 year old appointment. She took it very well. Afterall, with all of the nebulizer treatments and colds we have this winter, the staff KNOW us. Kinda like "Cheers."

Seren was so thrilled to stand on the scale all by herself. Weighing in at 28.06 lbs. She stood tall at 34.5 inches. We have heard if you double the height of a child at age 2, that is how tall he/she will be when they are fully grown.

I was off by 1 inch. I was to be 5'8 and am 5'7.

So if it works for Seren, she'll be 69 inches or 5 foot 9 inches tall! Wow! SO strange to think about her being taller than me when she is still hugging my knees.

I have much more to say about her turning two than I have time to articulate. This weekend should be a fun one. We are having a small family gathering! We can't wait. We have a "farm theme" planned. We are all excited to celebrate her second year of life with us.

I feel like it was just yesterday that we were at her one year appointment and debating the merits of switching her out of her infant seat. And now she can tell you all about her car seat, what color it is and if it is clean ("Mess, mamma, mess.")

Life is an amazing adventure. I love watching her grow. I'm one lucky and blessed Momma!

Happy early birthday, Seren. We love you!