Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweetie Pie

Today you are TWO years old.

Time is passing so quickly.
It is such an amazing privilege to watch you grow each day
into the sweetest little girl.

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I'll never forget the morning you were born.
I was scared to death wondering if we'd both be okay.

The minute I laid eyes on you...voila...my fears were history.

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You were pure perfection and we all fell in love that day.

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I remember how you fell asleep over my heart that morning, two years ago.
All the morning's activity was done by 10AM and we were both, deservedly, exhausted.
I kept pinching myself wondering if I had dreamed you.
As we lay there, just the two of us, I glanced out the window
over your tiny head resting on my chest.
And as I listened to your very first breaths here on Earth, I spotted it, clear as day.
The most perfect sign that you; my miracle, my dream...my daughter had arrived.

Sweetie Pie Baby Hospital Rainbow

Not a moment has passed since that I don't count
our blessings for you, our beautiful baby girl.

Sweetie Pie Baby

Yesterday, as I watched you in your father's arms I thought to myself how
very fortunate we are to be your parents.

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You are everything we ever wished for...

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and so much more.

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Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Girl!
You have made our family complete and we adore you,
Mama, Papa & WonderBoy
(Follow this link to see last year's post and Sweetie Pie's First Year Slideshow)


Soldier Boy

WonderBoy is ALL Boy.

Anything classic boy and he's all over it.

You can't pry him away from his trains, construction vehicles,
emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, army men or Star Wars.

Even as a baby in his stroller people would stop and exclaim "he's like a little man."

Yes, he's always been ALL Boy.

When he wanted trains, construction vehicles, ambulances and matchbox cars
I was fine.
He had the gear to go along with each one; conductor's hat, whistles,
construction hats and cones, etc.

When it came time for the army things, however, I was a little less fine.
Of course he wanted all the gear.
The uniforms, the dog tags and, inevitably, the toy guns. (in the form of nerf, water pistols, etc.)
I said no.
For a long time, I continued to say no.

Then, I realized that my saying no is based upon my own fear that by playing with
the army things he would somehow choose a life in the military a decade from now
and that I might lose him in some catastrophic way.

Throughout history children have pretended to be warriors, fighters, servicemen,
doctors, train operators, race car drivers, cowboys and firemen.
They've played cops and robbers, dress up, dolls and House.
"Pretending" is a very important part of childhood; of learning.

My putting my own judgments on what he chooses to pretend to be at ten years old only
stifles his ability to explore and decide for himself.
Further, it may even lead him to build an allure in his own mind of something
forbidden and somehow mysterious...drawing him to it even more.

I decided to allow him the freedom to express what is important to him
however he'd like as long as it is not dangerous to himself or others.
In doing so, however, I believe it's my job to educate him to the best of my ability
as to the pros and cons of life as any of these "pretend" characters.

Now, I don't know what life as a Wookie or a Clone Trooper is like and the research
there is scant so with some things he's on his own.
With regard to others, we've researched and watched documentaries together about
firemen and train operators and have had an opportunity
through friends to visit both "on the job."

As for the military, we have some friends who are retired from different branches
of service both here and in England who have discussed military life with him.
Recently we took WonderBoy to West Point * Army Academy
to tour the grounds and see what cadet life is like.
We also spent a day on the Naval Aircraft carrier Intr*epid.
He was in awe. (I'll be posting the photos of our days there soon).

For now, WonderBoy loves dressing up in his real soldier uniform that was a gift
from a base in North Carolina, boots and all.
He even has real dog tags and his last name sewn onto his coat.
He proudly displays the American flag on his right arm in regulation placement.
Most importantly, he understands that real soldiers are defending our freedom in wars
around the world and that nothing in war is glamorous.
With this in mind, he wears his uniform proudly and in respect for the soldiers
that fought for us in the past and who fight for us today;
some of whom are only 8 years older than he is now.

I have to say that I gasp when I look at him in his army uniform.
He's just a boy...like so many of the boys that are in wars around the world.
I feel for their mothers.
I feel for myself as a mother... but this is his "pretend" now...his childhood.
I am letting my boy be a boy.
Lots of things change in 8 years...lots!

I'm off to find a stethoscope and a white surgeon's coat...
(and, throwing caution to the wind... a matchbox Lamborghini to fully make my point!)
Perhaps I can gently change his mind and ease my own.






Buddha BFF

Sweetie Pie has so many toys.

They're everywhere.

Many toys were WonderBoy's.
I saved them for 8 years just knowing that one day there'd be a Sweetie Pie.

Some were gently used by friends and found a new home here with her.

And many more things pink and girly have been
steadily arriving these past two years.

I know this because there's a virtual obstacle course of toys that
I am either stepping on or overor picking up 20 times a day.

So, imagine my surprise when Sweetie Pie spent the entire afternoon in the yard
playing exclusively with something that clearly did not fit into any of the above categories.

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One Sunday in September

There is no greater thrill for me than to watch the special bond
that these two precious children share
grow with every passing day.

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Thankful Thursday

My Mommy and My Baby


Update on the Infamous Haircut

See Wild Child?
Sometimes she surprises me.

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She hopped right up on that chair without a wimper or a worry in the world.

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Once she caught a glimpse of her fine self in the mirror,
she couldn't take her eyes off her own reflection!
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All the other clients in the salon were giggling hysterically (along with me!) as they watched her sit so tall and proud on the booster seat in her chair; just like a big girl with her coffee (translation...coffee cup filled with M & Ms) and enjoy her blow dry in the loving hands of Lu.
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She loved her new coif,
so did her brother (that's him in the background below gazing lovingly at Beautyrella)

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It looked like this for the entire 15 minute ride home
and then Wild Child returned.


Sleeping Beauties

Hey Mom, can you believe just a few hours of sun and swimming made him pass out like that?

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He's such a lightweight!
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You know what they say, sometimes its the real tough guys
that fall hardest, wouldn't you agree, Mom?
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Yeah, they talk a good game but when push comes to shove...
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they, uh...they...they...

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I love my wild haired child...however, she is doing her best sheepdog
impersonation these days and she can't see a thing so its time for a trim.

I taught myself to cut both JR and WonderBoy's hair but I just don't
have the nerve to touch one little hair on Sweet Pea's head.

I'm going to have to break down and call in a professional!

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Dinner Beneath the Stars: Memories Old and New

Tonight we headed to New York City and dined beneath the stars.

In my teens and twenties I spent much of my time in NYC.
I spent 4 carefree years there completing my undergraduate degree
at New York Uni*versity back in the '80s.
I was a commuter student but since we lived so close to Manhattan, I'd often go in in the morning for classes, then go home.
Then I'd head back in for a late class and hang out with friends until the wee hours.
Yep, those were some times!

After WonderBoy came along; juggling working full-time and
spending every other moment I had with him, I became much more of a homebody.

I'd still venture into the City from time to time...
sometimes on business, but mostly to meet friends.
After 9-11, however, I dramatically cut down on my trips into the City.

It just wasn't the same.

It was hard to look at that skyline knowing that those two buildings that so symbolized our City were gone...and it was/is overwhelming to imagine so many who perished on that day.

When I was in college, I worked on an Exchange in one of the Towers.
I knew those buildings well.

I spent many evenings with friends high atop that beautiful City
at Windows on the W*orld;107 stories in the sky.
It was magnificent.

WonderBoy even joined me there once in May 2000,
as we celebrated my father's 65th birthday with family there in the clouds.
WonderBoy was just learning to walk.
A little more than a year later it was destroyed to dust.

Someday I will show him the video I took as we rode the elevator to the top and how, once we arrived, he stood up against the glass looking down at the City
more than a thousand feet below him.

Somehow the City just lost its sparkle for me after that horrible tragedy.

I realized recently that I am slowly returning to feeling good about being there again.
Although I will never forget those sparkling Twin T*owers, I've decided not to dwell
on their absence and all that they once symbolized as I had been doing these years since.

I am again seeing the beauty, excitement and vibrance in that City that,
before that day in September 8 years ago,
had always felt like home to me.

This summer JR and I decided to spend more time in the City and get back
to what was always "normal" for us.
We also want our children to enjoy all the wonderful sights and sounds that live there and allow them to feel comfortable in what is their City too.

We've made several trips in, both with and without the kids this summer, a few of which I'll be blogging about when I can catch up.

Tonight was one of those trips and I just felt like sharing it.

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful today.
The sun was shining but there was a nice, cool breeze giving way to a crisp September evening.

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My sister, High-Heeled Girl (TigerLily's mom) joined us which made it so much easier for me to linger at all the great shops along the way and not get too many dirty looks from my favorite guys as we walked around SoHo.

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(my Knight in Shining Armor next to this ridiculous imposter!)

I must say that my "non-shopper" boys were patient, as was Sweet Pea, but at a certain point, the bellies were a'rumblin' and that patience was wearing thin.
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So we picked up the pace and trotted toward one of my favorite restaurants.

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This particular restaurant is a whole city block wide.

It's decieving from its entrance because from there you can't see that there's an incredible open air garden dining area in the back.

It's enclosed by the restaurant on one end, two buildings on either side; then by the next street behind the restaurant on the far end.

The garden is beautiful; lined with with trees, twinkle lights, diners, the sky above and ambience galore.

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Their food never disappoints and I just knew JR and my sister would love it.

(and they wouldn't toss us out when they saw 2 kids and a stroller!)

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I realized that I've been coming here for more than 20 years.

I discovered it when I was in college just a few blocks away.

Whenever I cross the threshold, I immediately recall so many wonderful times I have spent there with friends from far and near within its walls over the years.

I am reminded of conversations that still linger there and a youth that, once there, is not so far behind me as I gaze around that familiar space that is identical to the way it was long ago.

We all enjoyed our meals, especially WonderBoy who said it was the best spaghetti with butter and cheese that he ever had. I should hope so for $19.
(He will be eating the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow!)

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As long as there's good food

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and adult beverages;
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High-Heeled Girl is always smilin'....

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(that's the High-Heeled Girl "I Happy" smile)

The kids each brought their friends for dinner.
Luckily those two friends aren't big eaters and
both Kiddie and Barney declared that they were "stuffed" by dessert.

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After dinner High Heeled Girl and I hopped in and out of different restaurants and great little boutique hotels on the surrounding blocks planning our next trips to the Big Apple...hmmm, tapas and sangria; brunch with mimosas and bloody marys...

We have lots of fun places ready to go on our list.

With each visit the sparks that are still present in me that once ignited my love affair with that City, continue to remind me how much I've missed it.

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It's time to make some new memories.