November 28, 2012

french braids

I have a pretty fabulous husband. I probably don't tell him nearly enough, and with kids in the house I think sometimes taking proper care of each other gets swept under the rug while we place so much of our energy into taking care of our children. So, I thought that today I would pay a little homage to my fabulous hubby, Calvin.

But, I must begin with a tale about Lady M.

One night, a few months ago, I offered to braid Lady M's hair after her bath so she could sleep on her plaits and wake up with a head of wavy hair. For us straight-haired girls, having a little wave is pretty awesome. And for the record, if crimping was resurrected as a popular style, and somehow made appropriate to showcase in the office, I'd totally be on that train.

So, braid her hair I did, and wake up with awesome waves she did. After being 'ooh'd' and 'ahh'd' over by the older girls at school who monitor her lunch room, Lady M was hooked. Braids were the new straight. It may have also had something to do with not having to sit under the heat of a hairdryer on a warm night, but whatever the reason, braiding has become the new norm after each bath. I've waited for a few years for her to really let me play with her hair, so I'm more than happy to braid away, and always shocked at her willingness to sit still while I do.

Fast forward now to this past Sunday night. Cal and I finished giving the girls their baths, but I was heading to a fitness class, so would not be participating in the full bedtime routine. We had hit a small snag in the plan, however, as Lady M wanted her braids. I had a hot date with my weights and boxing gloves, so my hands were not available that evening. But, my darling husband, and Lady M's loving Daddy said "I'll do it!".

But, you have to french braid, I said. "Well, what does that mean?", he asked. I explained that french braiding was the fine art of starting the braid right at the top and adding the hair in bit by bit as you go along, making sure that her waves went from the top of her hair to the bottom, not having straight hair on top, curls at the bottom. He confidently said "no problem', and I was off to my class.

When I got home that night, I snuck into the slumbering Lady M's room to give her a kiss, as I always do. I just about melted when I saw the four sweet little french braids that her daddy had lovingly put into her hair. Were they perfect? No. Were they well done? Yes, you bet they were. More importantly, I know he did it with love, and made his little girls' night.

The following morning I pulled the elastics out of her hair, though I noticed that the braids didn't go all the way to the bottom of the hair; instead, each braid ended with a small ponytail of loose hair. "What happened there?", I asked. "I ran out of hair", he told me. But, even with the lack of bottom braid, our little girl left for school with wavy hair and a twinkle in her eye.

I suspect not all dad's would be willing to learn to french braid, and I'm happy to be married to one who will. Cal's a pretty fabulous guy for many, many reasons, and this is just one of them.

November 10, 2012

four, part II

Ahh, birthdays. Tuesday night this week was a late one as I prepared for my Lady M's fourth birthday celebrations. We had 11 people for dinner on Wednesday night to celebrate the big day, so I had cake to bake, food to make, presents to wrap and decorations to hang.

Thankfully, I also had the US election results to watch, making for some great (yet nail biting) entertainment. This is in no way, shape or form a political blog, but yeah for Obama! It's funny because I can recall watching the elections on November 4, 2008 when I was (im)patiently awaiting the arrival of my little girl, and excited about the political milestone that took place days before her birth.

Lady M's cake...covered with M&M's because she thought
it would be fun to have her initial all over her cake!
But, back to the birthday... Everything was set to go, all tasks were complete and we had even hung decorations in her bedroom doorway so she would see them instantly when she woke up. Mission: accomplished.

At 5:45 am on Wednesday morning (very early for my little lady who normally likes to sleep until at least 6:30/7:00) I felt her tiny little self climb into my bed and say "mummy, there are decorations in my doorway!". I responded with "why do you think they're there?", to which she replied "BECAUSE IT'S MY BIRTHDAY"!!! Let the celebrations begin.

We had promised her a present in the morning, so I had placed it on my night table for the instant gratification of a first-thing-in-the-morning-birthday-present. Buried within the bag and tissue paper was a new Hello Kitty shirt to wear to school, Hello Kitty socks and a Hello Kitty bracelet. (Can anyone identify the pattern?!)
Of course I thought it would be more exciting to open a new toy, but the thought of giving her a new toy and saying "now put it away, because we have to eat breakfast, get dressed and get you to school where you won't be able to play with your toy" just seemed unkind! So, things she could wear to school were the plan, and she was thrilled.

I had sent a note to school the day before asking if there was any way to celebrate the kids' birthdays in class, seeing as the school has very strict rules about treats and sweets. The teacher let me know that we could donate a book to the class library on behalf of Lady M's birthday, and that they would read the story and sing happy birthday to her during circle time. So, I selected a story called Wild About Books and Lady M and I read it together the night before her birthday so she would be familiar with it. I added a little inscription to the inside cover, packed it in her 'important bag' in her backpack, and she was set to go. She tells me, however, that they already had that book in their collection, but oh well! It was a really cute story, so why not have two?!

So she'd had her morning celebration, her school celebration, then she was off to daycare where they had another little party for her. Whew, what a day for a four-year old, and it wasn't over yet!!

As I mentioned, we had the immediate family over dinner for her special day, and with contributions from the whole fam, it seemed everyone was well-fed and happy. But, nobody was happier than little Lady M who was delighting in all of her gifts - clothes, toys, shoes - and best of all, a beautiful new doll house. What little girl doesn't want a dollhouse that's taller than her, with three floors of fun?! And as it turned out, it was a total hit with both my girls, and my nephew Mr. F. They happily played together rearranging furniture, checking out all the rooms, and bringing more and more dolls and toys to the house to play. It was perfect.

All in all it was a wonderful day, and Lady M went to bed one year older, and happily exhausted. This weekend will be her dance party with eight little girls and my nephew, so the fun isn't over yet! I love a birthday that lasts all week...

November 6, 2012


Four years ago today, I was preparing to become a mum. I was eight days overdue with my first little bundle, and barely had the energy to walk for more than 10 minutes at a time thanks to the little person who had seemingly taken up permanent residency in my stomach. Thankfully, I had been to the doctor the day before, and when the ultrasound indicated that the baby could be as big as 10 1/2 pounds, my doc agreed to induce me. I was due to be at the hospital the following morning, at the crack of dawn.

One induction, two epidurals and fourteen hours later, I was a mum. I was also in shock, because I thought I would only ever have boys (given the track record in Cal's and my families), but in my arms was an 8 pound, 8 1/2 ounce beautiful baby girl. (Thankfully, the ultrasound tech's weight assumption had been quite off!) I was a mum, and I've never looked back.

It was, easily, the best choice I've ever made.

Tomorrow my little Lady M turns four. She is now two months into full-day junior kindergarten, as tall as a first grader, and clever as can be. She's a beautiful little girl who is the perfect combination of kind and silly, quiet and funny. She's a great blend of Cal and I, and is the best big sister I've ever seen in action. She adores Lady A, and acts like a second mum to her, lavishes her with attention and enjoys that they can now play together.

Over the last week we've had a great time counting down the days to her birthday, and this morning was especially exciting because there's only one sleep left until the big day!

I love birthdays. They've always been a big deal in my family, and especially important to celebrate them on the actual day. As I've gotten older I realize that not everyone does that, and it really makes me appreciate our little tradition more and more. My Dad is the real stickler on this one, making sure we not only celebrate on the actual day, but he makes sure that everyone in the fam has a fantastic day, making it special in any way her can. As my brother and I climb through our 30's (Greg's MUCH further into his 30's than I am, for the record), our parents still make our big day's special. Only now we get to celebrate with our kids and spouses, making the party even better.

Tomorrow night most of our immediately family will be over to celebrate Lady M's 4th birthday, and I can't wait to spoil my not-so-little girl. Knowing that she can go to sleep tomorrow night feeling celebrated, loved and just plain exhausted is all I need!

Happy 4th birthday to my sweet Lady M.