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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Obsessed

I'm a bad mom, there I said it. I admit it. I have a million reasons to justify my behavior, but I'm sure many of you could prove that they are wrong. For the last four months I have found myself placing the Ladybug and Bean in front of the TV while I prepare their breakfast, clean the dishes from the night before, and quickly prepare Bean's lunch for school. For one hour they are entranced with Dora the Explorer. Their eyes transfixed, mouths wide open anticipating the next adventure, and nothing can break them from being hypnotized.

So, it was to no surprise that for Bean's 3rd birthday she was showered with Dora gifts from her grandparents; an Enchanted Forest Dora costume, Dora themed pencils and stickers, Dora strawberry lip gloss, and life-sized Dora pillow, and a miniature-size Dora doll that plays a little jingle once her belly is pushed. A few months went by without Ladybug noticing the Dora dolls until it finally happened. Bean was busy with her stickers and left both of her dolls alone, looking helpless on the floor. Ladybug looked over noticed the pleas of neglect in their eyes as she quickly crawled to their rescue. I didn't think much of it until I noticed how Ladybug held both dolls; one by the neck under her arm with the other pushed tightly to her chest. She held them while crawling, eating and sleeping - which was awesome when Ladybug switched positions at 3am accidentally rolling on the singing Dora. Bean was nice at first allowing this obsession to last for a few days, but she really wanted her Dora's back. Needless to say, I found myself running to Target to purchase two new dolls, which of course backfired. Now instead of two doll to obsess over, she had four. If anyone attempted to touch the dolls she would scream at the top of her lungs then growl, like she does when we ask her to imitate a lion, to fend off the intruder. Things were getting out of control. She was becoming possessed with the spirit of Dora and we needed an exorcism, fast.

Two weeks had passed and I noticed that Ladybug stopped trying to walk because she was so busy trying to crawl and drag the dolls around. Would her obsession hinder her her ability to walk? I grabbed my computer and started to Google about kids with obsessive personalities, and became inundated with a slew of disorders that she may have. I started to panic and reached for my phone to alert my husband when out of the corner of my eye I saw Ladybug standing. She stood there staring at Dora clenched in her right hand. She slowly bent down and grabbed Dora #2 with her left, carefully stood upright, then smiled. She was balanced, calm, and confident. She looked at me, grinned and took one step. Then two...then three, four, five, six....She was FINALLY walking! I tried to hold back my excitement but I could tell she noticed it as my smile felt bigger than my face could allow. She slowly made her way across the room into my arms. I immediately started to kiss her little face and praise her feverishly. She moved her face trying to dodge my attempts, and giggled at the same. She glanced up at me with a coy look on her face, grunted a command, and pushed both Dora dolls to my mouth. I of course, had to give both Dora's a big kiss back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Race

The potty dance was in full effect as Bean alerted me that she had to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, she inherited my clumsy genes as she tripped and fell on her pant leg as she attempted to undress and open the bathroom door. She looked up at me with defeat {and pain} since she waited until the last minute to “go”. I picked her up quickly and placed her on the toilet while glancing back and confirming that Ladybug was safe among her stuffed toys. As I was dealing with the bathroom drama, I heard it; the music blasting from the walker that was a few feet from where I had left Ladybug. She was up and moving. I urged Bean to quickly push but she kindly reminded me that she had to “concentrate”. I stood there tapping my foot impatiently, while peaking out of the bathroom every 2 seconds. I could hear the music traveling farther away from me, moving quickly from room to room. As I visualized her race path, I could picture her laughing in slow motion, head reared back, as she left a trail of destruction.

Ten long minutes later Bean was running back to tend to her dolly tea party, and I started to track the trail left by Ladybug. I ran into Bean's room to find the entire library of books scattered across the bedroom floor. A few books led toward the laundry basket which was tipped over, clothes spewing in every direction. I followed the zig-zag line of Dora the Explorer undies (she is in love with Dora) leading into the playroom. I looked in horror as I saw every single toy drawer wide open and empty. I heard Bean share my sediment from behind me as she gasped with disbelief and disapproval.

“Uh-oh, Addie was bad mom. She needs a timeout for making this mess” she said while shaking her head.

“We have to find her first”, I said quickly.

Scattered toys led to Ladybug's room where we viewed the mess Miss. Tornado left in her wake. Clothes poured out of her drawers, covering the floor, and even sticking out of her crib. A pair of socks were soaking wet, a break I presume, to relieve her aching gums. Shoes engulfed her closet floor and she was still nowhere to be found. Then I saw it....the now quiet walker was parked outside of the guest bathroom door. For one moment everything was still, no sound could be heard. I took a breath and charged in its direction. I couldn't seem to run fast enough as if I were re-enacting the scene from the movie Poltergeist. You know where the mom is trying to run into her kid's bedroom and the hallway gradually gets longer and farther away? Yup, this was me. I finally reached the bathroom, and with caution, opened the door. The room looked soft as a cloud and sitting in the middle, like a winged angel, was little Ladybug. She sat, giggling, covered in toilet paper. As Bean entered the room Ladybug slowly stood up, held her hand up in the air, and said, “Hi”. At that moment Bean and I looked at each other and realized what Ladybug had done.

“Good job!” Bean screamed with delight. “She did it Mom!”

“Ya, I smell it baby, I smell it.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm Alive

Loyal fans and readers....I'm sorry that no new stories have been posted for over a month. I've been emotionally and physically dealing with the cornual ectopic pregnancy and it has lasted a little longer than expected. Please know that things are finally getting better and I can honestly say I can see the light. Healing takes time and I'm almost there. :)

I'm starting to feel the writing itch returning, so be on the look out for stories to come.

Thank you for the support, well wishes, warm thoughts and prayers.

Hugs to you all,
Christina

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Never Take Things for Granted

“Oliver! That's my favorite boy's name and we can call him Ollie for short”, I said with excitement. “I thought you liked Granted. That could work for a boy too”, Brett said reminding me of the name I wanted for Bean. “Granted, that's right. Well I liked Granted Leigh for a girl, but don't think it would work for a boy. Let's just take this day by day”, I said with a little worry since we had just found out that we were pregnant with our third.

A week had passed by and things were going smoothly. My mind was engulfed with thoughts of new living arrangements, what life will be like with a newborn in the house again, how easy it would be if we were blessed with another girl, how difficult it may be with a little boy, but surprisingly I was happy. Happy at the thought of another baby in our lives and without an ounce of stress in my veins, until I saw a major warning sign. I knew since “mother nature” was a week late I shouldn't be seeing anything but I was shown different.

I decided to head into the ER to get evaluated to be on the safe side and was there for 2 hours when I got my results. My emotions were running high. I had gone from being happy at the prospect of a third, to thinking I was having a miscarriage, to seeing the egg sac on the ultrasound and finding out I was 6 weeks pregnant, to finding out that I had a rare cornual ectopic pregnancy (which occur every 1-3% out of ectopic pregnancies). My little one had implanted itself interstitially within part of the fallopian tube and uterus, while resting on a major artery. Without treatment it could eventually rupture, with the potential result of my death by internal bleeding. I was shocked. Overwhelmed with emotions. Was there a way to keep the tiny baby alive? Could it slowly move to the right place with a little TLC? What did I do wrong? What decisions did I make in my life to allow this to happen? I was sitting alone with an IV stuck in my arm. The visions of the Ladybug and Bean hovering sweetly over a bassinet slowly dissolved as my eyes filled with tears. The doctor returned to the room and confirmed that there was no vital heartbeat. He also confirmed that my health history didn't contribute to this unfortunate event and that I was simply lucky {or unlucky} this time around. He also urged that the only way to avoid problems was to get an injection of a chemotherapeutic drug to dissolve the tissue growing in my tube. With no hesitation I agreed to be admitted into the hospital.

The night was long. The drugs had nauseating effects on my body combined with excessive sweats. I fell in and out of sleep. The smell of the hospital blankets helped recall the moment I met Ladybug for the first time. My dream had no auditory significance except the sound of my heart beating. It was if I was reliving the birth of Ladybug on a live video loop. Everything was in first person, but blurry in sight. The visions and feelings overcame me as her warm little body was delicately placed on my chest. The intoxicating baby smell permeating from her head as it rested on my clavicle, as the pheromones saturated my nose telling me that this was the baby for me to love. Then finally watching Bean kindly stroke Ladybug's arms for the first time looped in my brain for hours. I'm not sure why these thoughts—or dreams—overpowered me that night but I was thankful for the memories.

One week and a half has passed, and and I'm still enduring the physical side effects of the chemo drug (as I received another dosage recently), and emotional side effects of this rare ectopic pregnancy. What I do know is that I wish I didn't take my first two pregnancies for Granted, we are blessed that the powers above Granted us the gift of two precious children, and I'm terribly sorry that Granted Leigh couldn't be part of our lives.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anxious Annie

I was seven years old and loved the movie Annie. This was probably pretty normal for most little girls, however I wanted to look like Annie. My mother, accommodating as she was, allowed me to get a perm so that I could have my wish - visualize a short Hispanic girl, with a black Afro (not red), and bottle capped glasses. You can imagine how I became an easy target on that October day.

The morning was extremely hot and humid, so much so that my clothes began to bind with the shape of my body as if being dunked into a pool of water. My mother wanted us to “get ahead” of our public school counterparts so she enrolled us into the only private Catholic school in town. The morning church bells signaled that recess was nearly over for our first grade class, which made my heart beat with relief. I stood up from picking flowers and slowly headed for the door leading into the cool building. I watched all of the kids stare at me as if I were a freak show at the circus. The boys gawked with jaws wide open, and the girls whispered and giggled as I passed by. With embarrassment I started to walk faster, head down, watching my feet alternate into the ground. My goal was to get into that building as soon as the doors opened, but unfortunately I ran smack into the tether-ball pole pivoting me to the ground. All of the kids came running, laughing, and pointing at me confirming I was the freak show they thought I was. I started to get up from the ground when the popular girls, Michelle and Roxanne stood in my way. They started to point out all of the obvious reasons that got me into this situation and proceeded to say: “Anyone who wants to be friends with HER is a loser. If you don't want to be a loooo-ser, come stand next to us.” Not to my surprise, all of the kids stood next to them; everyone except Katie. That's how I met my first private school friend.

Twenty-eight years later those same anxious feelings that I had endured on that October morning overcame me when we took the Ladybug and Bean to a local restaurant for kids night. We headed outside and Bean was instantly drawn to the puppet show taking place on center stage. She tugged on my arms pulling me in the direction leading me to the kid-filled audience. Brett and Ladybug took a table in the far right corner near the moonwalk and sandpit hoping to place an order to beat the crowd. The puppeteers signaled for everyone to stand up to do the hokey pokey, and of course Bean wanted to partake but not without me as her dance partner. As I pointed and shook my index fingers around, I noticed Bean wasn't by my side. I quickly turned around and saw her talking to a little girl. As I approached them the girl ran off. “She wanted to know if I saw her red sand bucket, and I said no”, she said in a concerned manner. “OK, well I'm sure she will find it. Let's go see daddy and sissy and get some food. We can come sing and dance later”, I said gently pulling her hand and leading her to the table. As we approached the table Bean saw the little girl, pointed, and screamed, “There she is! I have to help her!” She then let go of my hand and ran off to join the girl in the sandpit. Bean approached the girl but she ignored Bean as she frantically searched the sand, uncovering lost treasures of dump trucks, shovels, and other lost novelties. Bean was relentless, following the girl to every corner of that sandpit. It was as if a string were tied to their arms keeping them attached. My heart started to pound faster as I watched her, my palms started to sweat, I was on my tippy toes anticipating to rescue Bean from the disaster about to happen. I started to take a few steps in their direction, ready to save Bean from the wrath that stood in that little girls body, when all of a sudden the little girl whipped her head around in Bean's direction. I pictured her pushing Bean and yelling to leave her alone all while making her feel smaller than she physically already is. But to my surprise the girl looked at Bean with a blank stare then smiled. They started chatting about who knows what then slowly walked off and started to play with sand covered dolls.

When I was finally able to coerce Bean to join the family for dinner, I casually asked her what she and the little girl had talked about. She explained, “The girl said her bucket was red, not green and she forgot because she was color blinded or something like that. I don't know why she forgot the color but she did. And the kids took her bucket and HID IT from her because she kept calling it green. They were mean and called her BAD names. So we played with dolls instead that were stuck in the sand. She was nice, mama and dada. I told her we could share my bucket next time.” A small tear emerged from the corner of my eye and I had to wipe it before anyone could notice. Today my Bean was not an anxious Annie, like me, but rather that little girl's “Katie”.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Little Gem

The morning dew glistened resulting in a million little prisms on each blade of grass. As I stared out the window, I was entranced by the nature surrounding me. A cardinal bobbed around searching for food and was startled unexpectedly by a doe and her two fawns making their way through our backyard. I jumped back from the window which alerted our dog who immediately started barking. The Ladybug and Bean were oblivious of the beauty I had just witnessed as their eyes were glued to the television.

“Mom, I want my picture up there like those kids. Look. See? Look. Mom?”, Bean said excitedly trying to get my attention as she pointed to the t.v.

“Yes, Etta. I'll send in a picture, OK? Now eat your breakfast please”, I repeated as I turned around looking back at my reality.

“OK. Thanks, Mama. You are the best mama eeeeva”, she said pulling at my heart strings.

Guiltily I grabbed my computer and searched the requirements to submit a picture to Disney Jr., and found that we had to create a treasure chest for their Jake and the Neverland Pirates promotion. After breakfast we looked in our craft bin and had everything we needed to create the chest – one large box, paper to wrap the box, adhesive gems, markers, fake coins, tape, ribbon, and glittered glue.

“OK, do NOT touch these gems. They are too small and I don't want these on the floor. Do you understand, Etta?” I asked. She nodded her head with temptation.

Moments later the inevitable happened...a gem was missing somewhere on the carpet. I was furious. I kept visualizing Ladybug finding it, putting it in her mouth, and choking. I demanded that she help me look for it by getting on our hands and knees and combing the carpet with our fingertips. She looked for one minute and gave up. She obviously didn't comprehend the degree of my fury. After searching frantically through each carpet fiber like a mad detective, I decided to give up. We ended up playing in Bean's room for the rest of the day since I didn't want to take a chance with the baby. I had never been this angry at Bean before and I felt so guilty for my feelings. She is only two years old. How could I be this mad at her? Once the girls went to bed for the night I decided to complete the treasure chest and unsuccessfully search one last time for the missing gem. I placed the finished product at the foot of Bean's bed hoping to ease any feelings of sadness I may have caused.

“Oh wow! My treasure chest! It's beautiful! Mama! Mama! Maaaaaaaaaaaama! Come see!” Bean screamed waking up the house. I smiled with excitement as I ran up the stairs to greet her. I got her dressed, grabbed my camera, took four good shots of her posing with the treasure chest, then emailed them off. They better pick her, I thought. If they only realized how much trouble parents go through for the slight chance that our kids' picture may show up on t.v. I shook my head and rolled my eyes at the thought. I looked over at the girls playing independently – Bean with her doodle pad and crayons, and Ladybug sucking on an alphabet block. I slowly placed my laptop on the floor, got on my hands and knees and started to growl like a lion. They both laughed and squealed, crawling away from me, enjoying our new found game of lioness chasing the cubs. I was growling in a low volume then let out a huge growl that scared Bean. She jumped back, shook her hands in disapproval, and fell backward over the little chair that was in her way. From the ground she screamed “truce!”. I stopped in shock then jumped up to grab and hug her. I quickly apologized for scaring her then asked how she knew the word truce {I was both proud that she used the word in proper context and her ability to verbalize her feelings}. She couldn't remember where she had heard the word but wanted a turn at being the lioness.
“My turn! My turn!”, Bean screamed. “OK, go! Chase us”, I said returning to the ground to crawl forcing Ladybug to follow in my direction. As Bean started chasing me she yelled for me to stop but I kept going. She got up from her crawl and ran toward me looking at my right foot. “Look, mama, the missing gem!”

“Oh my gosh, Etta you found it!” I said with relief.

“You're not mad at me anymore? I found the gem like you wanted”, she said with a pouty face.

“No baby. I'm not mad. Truce?” I asked?

“Yah, mama. Truce”.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

City to Country Living

OK, so I know I promised to get more stories posted but we literally JUST got our internet up and running in our new home. It's been a very hectic week as we moved from the city to the Hill Country, literally. Some highlights of our trip include the Ladybug and Bean getting flea bitten in the B&B we ended up NOT staying in, our first run in with scorpions, deer roaming in our back yard, two sleepless kids, but overall nothing but smiles. I am now diligently working on my posts in hopes to put a smile on your faces.:)

More to come...

xo

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weekly Post Update

Lovely loyal fans: I am sorry that I didn't post as I hoped today. I will get two stories out this week. My family and I have been crazy with traveling and looking for a place to live the past few weeks. We are moving once again. In the midst of packing, traveling, taking care of the Ladybug and Bean, and working I haven't had time to complete my writing.

In the meantime go back and catch up from the beginning if you haven't already (April blog entries). Here is the first...The Screamer.

xo,
cg

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Case of the Missing Coaster

We decided to hit the local Mexican food restaurant to celebrate my husband's birthday and new job. The noise level was elevated more than ever thanks to the graduation party in the adjoining room. People filled the spaces around the packed tables hoping to snag a seat as patrons finished their meals. We were crammed into a 4 top table with Ladybug and Bean barely fitting at the table in their high chairs. We screamed to hear each other talk, then found ourselves eating fast just to get out of the crowded establishment. I, being a mom of two, was the first to finish eating {embarrassingly, I can eat an entire meal in under 10 minutes.}. My hubby took over feeding duty and I ran to relieve myself from the pitcher of iced tea I had just consumed. The line was incredible. Half of the people waiting for a seat must have been in line for the bathroom! By the time I had returned to our table, a new family was already seated and dipping their chips into the complimentary salsa.

The restaurant energy followed us home. Ladybug was in rare form; nothing could calm her, not even me. She would scream from the top of her lungs and throw her body back into the car seat. This behavior lasted through bath time and the last feeding of the day. She didn't want to eat at all, which is a sure sign that something was wrong. We knew that a long night was ahead of us, and our prediction was right. After an hour of misery she finally fell asleep. No more than two hours later she was up and at it again. Pain showed across her face as if someone was pinching her little arm. The only thing that could be making her feel this way were those pesky little baby teeth making their way though her delicate gums. A little baby Tylenol and Orajel did the trick. She was out 30 minutes later for the rest of the night.

The next morning Bean was retelling her experience at the restaurant and how she and Ladybug were playing with the drink coasters. As I was listening to her story I started to clean out my diaper bag. And there it was....staring me right in the face. A drink coaster from the restaurant with a chunk of it missing. I lifted it out of my bag and held it up in the air analyzing the shape of the cutout. Bean looked up at me and started to laugh. “HAHAHA, that's the coaster from the res-ter-u-ant”, she muttered carefully. At that exact moment Ladybug let out a huge grunt displaying sounds of relief. I threw the coaster on the table, picked up Ladybug, and started to change her diaper. At that moment I had realized what was causing Ladybug so much grief. The missing piece of the coaster was staring me right in the face. Pictures, words, and all.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Road Trip

This past weekend we had to take an unexpected road trip to the hill country. We planned it perfectly; we would wait until their nap time and they would sleep the entire way! This worked until the driver of a large 18-wheeler slammed on his breaks and decided to lay on his horn waking the girls up in unison – a mere 45 minutes into our 3 hour drive. Fifteen minutes later I found myself climbing into the backseat to entertain the girls. Neither Dora the Explorer nor Ratatouille were cutting it. I read them books, sang songs, played patient/doctor with Bean as she administered “shots” in my arm and wrapped my “wounds” with water bottle labels. In between my “doctor” visits, my husband and I were entertaining the idea of a Disneyland trip in the near future. He, being the positive one, thought it would be an amazing trip and something that Bean would remember forever. I, on the other hand, know that it will be somewhat fun; but mostly brutal and exhausting. I mean, would an almost 3 year old really enjoy a themed park at such a young age?

Apparently, yes.

The theme was chic safari. This instantly got Bean's attention; she was thrilled from the moment she stepped through the doors. Her energy level went from medium to extreme in under a second. She took off methodically, like a cheetah hunting prey close in sight. She headed west, investigating every crevice, nook, and cranny. She jumped into the white slip and slide luckily avoiding injury. She started to turn on the water as I quickly reminded her that it wasn't the time. Before I could finish my sentence, she was already out and heading east to investigate further. As I ran to keep up with her, I had realized that I was two steps too slow. She was already on top of the zebra-patterned trampoline screaming from the top of her lungs. “Watch me! Whoooooa! This – is – so - sooooo - fun!”, she said while laughing and jumping. I started to reach for her arm and she pulled away like we had magnetic repulsion. She quickly jumped down and ran toward the huge screen displaying local activities. She gazed at the screen in awe....3, 2, 1....she was off. She quickly jumped up on the adjacent trampoline, laughing and screaming with all of her might. Ladybug mimicked her sister as she too began to scream with excitement - shaking her arms, kicking, and squirming trying to break my release to join her big sister. Brett swooped in behind Bean pulling her down, and started to spin her in a circle while kissing her face. They were having way too good of a time. I looked down at Ladybug's pouty face, her big blue eyes looking up at me, begging me to give in. I rolled my eyes then started to spin Ladybug around while kissing her face as well. Giggles, laughs, and smiles filled the air.

“OK, NOW can we get out of here and to get some food!?”, I asked. “But mom, I looooove it here! This is the best! Can't we just eat here?”, questioned Bean. Brett and I looked at each other with an agreeing nod. “Fine. Throw me the menu babe. I guess we're ordering in”, I said. Bean screamed hooray, ran and started to jump on the trampoline (read: the bed) again.......

Who knew that so much fun could be had in a hotel room; and definitely a lot more affordable than Disneyland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If You Can't Beat Them....Join Them.

The sound of Ladybug repeating “Dad” started at 5am and lasted until I finally rolled myself out of bed at 6am for our morning feeding. I flipped aimlessly through the TV channels hoping for something entertaining. On a typical Saturday morning we'd have both girls fighting for space in our bed while Bean watched early morning cartoons. Today was different. Bean was gone as she had spent the night at her Mamo and Papo's house {nicknamed by Bean – these are my parents} and Brett was out of town for work. I turned the TV off in disappointment. I wondered if she would be awake already, describing to Mamo her cupcake and cookies dream she claims to have nightly. The morning came and went with no phone call. I decided to be strong and just let it go. Besides, I knew she was in good care so I may as well enjoy my alone time with the Ladybug.

The day was slow, actually sort of boring without my talker around. I had forgotten what it was like to only hear myself talk with an occasional grunt, “mama and dad”, and screams for a response. I kept looking at my watch as the minute hand seemed to never rotate. I'd look down at my watch, then up at the clock as if I were an eager child waiting for the school bell to ring....wait..... something had moved....LADYBUG! One second, or minute I should say, she was sitting next to me and obviously a few minutes had passed because she was already a few feet away from me! She had started to crawl! Her left knee was firmly down on the ground, her right knee up in the air, and her right foot was the motor helping her to push off the ground. The crooked crawl, I like to call it. I immediately jumped to my feet, started to scream, and ran to her side. This reaction made her cry. As I tried to calm her with my laughing kisses, the phone rang. They were finally back home and at the front door.

After retelling the crawling story to Mamo we sat down for some “show off” time. I couldn't stop praising Ladybug. Bean retreated to the sofa and started to suck her thumb as Ladybug followed and began to cry when she couldn't figure out how to pull up on the sofa.

“Etta, let's lay off the thumb sweetie”, I said nonchalantly while peering out of the corner of my eyes.

“I'm tired of playing this game...no, don't tell me that. I'm tired of this game”, she snapped.

“Etta, I need you to lay off”, I said in retaliation.

She looked at me, mouth wide open in shock, thumb dripping with saliva....”I'M ONLY 2 yrs old! I don't understand things! I don't know what you are talking about!”, she yelled then started to suck her thumb even harder, as if to actually believe her own statement.

She was upset and jealous. She was used to getting all of the attention and wasn't used to her little sister being in the spotlight. I took her hand and pulled her next to her easel in our living room. “Hey, I bet you forgot to show Mamo how you can draw a quatrefoil”, I reminded her. Her eyes grew bigger with excitement as she jumped off the sofa and ran toward the easel and started to draw. Ladybug crookedly scooted as fast as her little knee could take her and nearly sat on top of Bean's foot. “Perfect!”, I said while giving her a big hug with one arm and patting Ladybug on the back with the other. I continued to praise both of them namelessly as Bean mastered the backwards crab walk across the living room with Ladybug following at her toes.

The praises continued as we had a remarkably perfect dinner. Both girls ate everything presented to them. Not one substitute or alternative menu option was requested. After finishing dinner I kindly requested a little clean up help before heading to bed. She looked at me with that blank stare and repeated that she was only 2 yrs old and didn't understand what I was saying. I calmly repeated myself, hoping that she would take note of the seriousness in my tone. She looked at me, slowly looked down at Ladybug on the floor, and said in a calm, but demanding voice, “Come on Sissy. Follow me”. As my eyes widened and mouth dropped, I watched Bean with my little crooked crawler head down the hall. Backs {and one diaper} in my face, they both rode off into the sunset together...and never looked back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Clothes" Attack

Have you ever noticed that when you really want something, you can't seem to stop seeing it wherever you go? It's like when you get a new car, all you seem to notice is the same-exact-color-model-style- car passing you on the freeway. When I was a singleton, it seemed to me that everyone around me was either engaged or already married. When I finally got married, everyone around me seemed to be pregnant or had already started a family. Now that we have our two beautiful children, everyone around me is pregnant {again} working on #2 or #3. Yes, this has been a gleaming question in my head as my little Ladybug and Bean have been growing like weeds. Are we done having babies?

My mother-in-law had been in town visiting for the past couple of weeks, and on her last day we decided to dig through the clothes bin that was hiding out in Ladybug's closet. We will be getting a new niece in the family and it would be the perfect time to clean house, I thought....And I guess we're done having kids. As she pulled each item out, her movement seemed so fast as if she had four arms moving at one time. Everything else around me seemed to move at a glacial speed, and I couldn't seem to move my eyes as fast as her hands. Memories of holding each girl for the first time ripped through my brain. The first time Bean smiled in her carseat, wearing that tiny yellow and white dress; their “My First” Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year/Valentine onesies, bibs, and hats; Bean's first fancy dress she wore to a wedding and “danced” with her daddy; the preemie-sized blue flowered “blow out” one piece {it never failed to have that reaction with both girls, but it always made us laugh}. All of these visions overcame me and I became so sad. I tried to remind myself that “they are only clothes, material items” and to let them go. I have no use for them anymore and they will do no good unused. I continued to shake my head in agreement that new baby would look adorable in “that” dress and “those” outfits as I continued to part with dear memories. Will I lose those memories I had by not seeing the objects that reminded me of the instance in the first place?

Only hours later, a full bag of baby clothes in tow, we drove away from the airport. Bean immediately started to cry, “I want to go back to California! I want my old house baaaaaaaaack, mama. Please!” Ladybug hollered in response to Bean's cries, trying to calm her sister, it seemed. It was a long 20 minute drive. 5 minutes from home, the car fell silent. Both kids asleep. The car slowly edged up across the driveway and I saw Bean's eyes slowly roll and open in the rearview mirror. She let out a refreshed sigh and was ready for the day. “Can we play now? Can I, can I?”, she said enthusiastically looking out the window. “Sure” I replied, happy that she seemed to be in better spirits. I opened the door, pulled her out of the carseat, and she took off running like a caged animal being freed. She looked so happy. Her hair blowing aimlessly with the strong gusts of wind, her arms flapping like a butterfly, her laughter filled the air making the Ladybug and I smile with delight. “It's a beautiful day!!! I love Grammy and Tampa! I love you, and Addie, and Daddy, and Kody! I love my dress that Grammy gave me!” she sang while running and holding the bottom of her dress as if she were a princess. I looked up from unsnapping the baby from her carseat. I memorized that very moment. That overwhelming feeling of happiness, the gigantic smile on her face, the carefree look in her eyes, the youth, no worries, nothing but love shining through her. A new memory, and a new dress, I will never forget.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Birth of the Original Criblanket

I'm sort of back tracking here, as I feel that this entry should have been my FIRST post. Better late than never. Here is a little background about how The Ladybug and Bean {the company} came about.....

Did anyone LOVE the infant blanket that the hospital gave you as you were released to go home with your brand new baby? Honestly, I grew to love it because of the sentimental value it carried with it. The first time I held my children, the first time I nursed, the first time I changed their diapers....that hospital baby blanket was with me the entire time and keeping my newborn warm. Because of these reasons, I still have the blankets safe and sound - as keepsakes that I will never part with.

As I slowly started to venture back into the "real world" and losing my baby weight, I remembered that I liked to wear my Joe's Jeans, my only pair of Christian Louboutin heels {hey we all have our vices}, and various Anthropologie vintage inspired tops. I started to regain my style and honestly I didn't feel stylish carrying or covering my babies with, well, that blanket. It wasn't stylish. It wasn't functional. It wasn't helping me with all of my daily "baby" issues. This is when the Original Criblanket was born.

Neither of my children loved to be swaddled during naps. So I would literally take that hospital blanket, fold it in half, tuck the sides between the crib slates and mattress, and let them sleep. The problem was that if they barely moved, the blanket would move with them. So I bought cute fabric, made a slight alteration (utilizing removable straps), and created the Original Criblanket. It was a stay in place crib blanket! It is also the same size as a hospital blanket so I used it as a swaddle at night time when they did prefer swaddling (no straps). As each baby got older and started to move around more in the crib (around 4 months) I stopped using the blanket as a stay in place function. However, I realized that I could use it as a stay in place stroller blanket in both my single and double stroller. Another function is a breastfeeding cover, again by using the straps. Also we use it as a regular flat/tummy time blanket (no straps).

Yes, it's a blanket. With multiple functions. But as a mother of two, constantly on the go, it's more economical and functional for me to carry one blanket then 5 different items. The added value of the product is that they are sold as a gift set. Each blanket comes with a matching burp cloth and a pair of no-scratch infant mittens. They are all 100% hand made, take between 1-2 weeks to create (if I don't already have it made) and takes 2-3 days for delivery.
For those paranoid mother's out there {like me}, I took the liberty to have the products tested by an accredited laboratory to ensure that we conform to the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act for Small Businesses.

Final thoughts? They are functional, practical, affordable ($60), safe, hand made, unique, and hopefully one of your keepsakes-to-be.

Hear Her ROAR

“The Leo type is the most dominant, spontaneously creative and extrovert of all the zodiacal characters....”

She squealed with laughter as she tugged on my hair waking me from my three hour slumber. I jumped up from being startled which made her laugh even more. As I sat up I caught my reflection in the mirror and saw the horror staring back. Hair disheveled, raccoon circles from smeared mascara, my head slightly crooked from the pain in my neck, eyes squinting...this was me at 6am. Ladybug on the other hand was bright eyed and bushy tailed. At 3am I had decided to lay her next to me instead of dealing with the screams after her unusual night feeding. I was exhausted and needed to get some rest. She must be in the early stages of teething or experiencing another growth spurt, I had hoped. I mean, why else has she nursed every three hours for the past three days? Why else has she been inconsolable and moody? Why does she yell at the top of her lungs when she doesn't get what she wants?

Three hours later we were back at it. Bean was running around practicing her tap dance routine, and Ladybug eating once again. “Ouch!” I shouted. Ladybug gazed back at me with a devious smile; proud that she had gotten a reaction out of me from the harder than normal tug signaling that she was “done”. I placed her on her tummy time criblanket, tossed a few toys in front of her, and checked the damage. Yup, that'll leave a bruise, I thought. As I took a deep breath, Bean fell to the ground with exhaustion and decided to play with her little sister. She snagged Ladybug's ball from her hand immediately making her cry. “Here, Addie...play with this one”, she said handing her an alternative. Without hesitation Ladybug leaned over and placed her mouth on Bean's arm and bit down as hard as she could with her gums of steel. Bean started laughing and screaming, “She's tickling me! No Addie! Stop!” This made her angrier, so much that she screamed letting out a low sounding growl as if a dog were guarding a bone. “Whoa, Addie”, Bean said reinforcing my thoughts as she threw the ball back in her direction.

Eight nursing sessions later, I was finally back in my bed, head sinking in the pillow, face washed, and hair finally clean...my eyes were closed and the only sound I could hear was the dog snoring. I started to fall into a slight slumber. Visions of the kids flashed through my mind as if I were watching a home video on fast forward. The sounds. The screams. The biting. The screams. The screams.....the screams! I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to Ladybug's room. As I turned on the light I found her laying on her stomach, legs hanging through the crib slates. Her face was red, eyes puffy from the crying, sticky nose matter smeared to her rosy cheeks. I knew what would calm her and quickly started to nurse. No sobbing, no whining, the sad face had disappeared, just a calm baby relaxed in my arms. I started to rock in the chair hoping that she'd fall back to sleep when I instantly endured the same pain from earlier. “Ouch!”, I screamed looking down at her. Her response? The same devious smile glaring back at me.

“...They [Leo's] are uncomplicated, knowing exactly what they want and using all their energies, creativeness and resolution to get it, as well as being certain that they will get whatever they are after.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

Little Miss. Understandings

Nearly almost three years after Bean's birth, we finally let her stay up past her bedtime to experience the stars in the sky. She looked up with excitement, trying to count each one. I watched her expression as she stared in the sky, in awe that they actually exist unlike many things she sees and reads about in her books,. “Where's Noisy and Rocket Stars like in Dora?” Quickly I gave her a kiss, picked her up, then put her to bed.
She woke up at 4am this morning screaming “I have to tee-tee!” Within seconds she was in our room doing the potty dance, eyes wide open as if she had just seen a ghost. I rushed her into the bathroom and relief came over her. As we sat I had realized that it had been an entire week with no diapers. “Wow you are doing so well using the potty! What a great feat!” I said with a congratulatory tone. She looked confused. “We don't use our feet to potty silly, we use our butts”, she said shaking her head with disapproval. She continued to shake her head and walked herself back to her room.
2 and a half hours later I was trying to get ahead of schedule and had started preparing breakfast. The smell of cooked turkey bacon woke her up as she ran down the stairs yelling “I want to help!” “You can help me measure the ingredients”, I said. “ OK! I'll be right back” she said running off as if she had already missed too much. She came back holding my measuring tape and instantly held it up to the bag of sugar stretching it vertically. “It's 6 and a half. Is that enough?” After showing her how to use measuring cups, I could tell she was losing interest since she kept looking back at the Spongebob episode that was on the TV. “Go watch it for 5 minutes as I finish up here”, I said slightly relieved. Ladybug squealed as Bean ran around her in circles, then returning to her Mozart skills on her infant kick and play piano.
After a busy morning of sidewalk chalk, painting, and picking dead flowers out of our garden, we had worked up an appetite. I was craving sushi so we went to my favorite local joint. We were entertained as Bean tapped the chopsticks drumming on the table. The impatient waitress took my order then said, Edamame? Bean gasped thinking she had said Etta Mommy...”How did she know our names!?” The waitress looked irritated then quickly walked away.
After a rushed lunch, we headed back home. Bean ran inside leaving the front door wide open. I struggled with carrying Ladybug in while attempting to wrangle the dog in from running out to greet us. As I entered the house I saw Bean leaning against the sofa, legs crossed at the ankles, eating a piece of turkey bacon. “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT!? “I asked in shock.” I hid it under this pillow on the sofa” she said as she continued to nibble. “Give me that! That's disgusting!” As I scolded her I started to grab it out of her hand. In retaliation Bean pulled the bacon out of her mouth and stuck it in her eye. The agonizing scream made Ladybug cry with fright. “Why did you do that!? Oh my God!”. I quickly ran to the emergency kit, grabbed the eye wash, and started to flush her eye of any remaining debris. After 10 minutes of screaming and crying she finally calmed down. This was my opportunity to do some questioning again. “Etta, why did you do that?” I asked calmly hoping to get an answer. “Because Patrick did it! He was eating a Crabby Patty and Spongebob tried to take it away! And he put it in his eye!” This was my moment to explain the importance of taking care of her eyes. She shook her head with understanding then apologized for her actions.
We started to clean up the pieces of bacon from the floor and sofa when my husband walked in. “Helllllllooooooo?”, he said while fluctuating his voice to make the girl's laugh. ”Daddy!!! I'm so glad you're home! I stuck bacon in my eye and it hurt and mommy told me not to do it. AND Addie SCREAMED loud when I cried. But I won't do it again”, she said running away after finishing her thought. “OK, sounds like an interesting day. Why are you feeding her bacon this late in the day?”, he asked looking at me like a crazy person. I glared at him with “that” look. He took a beeline to the freezer, grabbed the pint of mint chocolate ice cream, planted himself on the sofa, and started eating. “What are you doing? You can't eat that before dinner and in front of them! You are setting a bad example. Why do you get mad at me for eating junk on occasion but you can do it? “, I said. “She was eating bacon in the afternoon! Besides, I'm a hypocrite”, he said with a slight giggle, stuffing his face with another spoonful. Etta ran up to him, placed her hand on his shoulder, looked sideways and said, “You're not a hippo. You're name is Brett.” “No baby, he's right. Sometimes he is a hippo”, I said with a smirk.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Patience

Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, this is one virtue that I didn't possess for a long time {and quite frankly I still struggle with on occasion}. Being a parent I now understand that patience is a virtue and that you MUST possess it in order to stay sane, and to keep your children sane as well. When Bean was born, I couldn't wait for her to start crawling. That day came and went. Then I couldn't wait for her to start walking. That day came, along with her first tooth and her first word - all coinciding on her first birthday. My mom always reminds me to cherish every minute because children will grow up fast; and it's the truth. One minute you are looking at your newborn, you blink, and then a two year old is standing by your side.

It was a sad revelation, realizing that all of those moments were gone – that I'll never get them back with Bean. “I'll cherish and really embrace her next big milestone”, I remember thinking. Since then, I have enjoyed watching her learn how to ride a scooter and tricycle, throw and catch balls from a distance, put puzzles together like a wiz, and draw various geometric shapes impeccably. “What could be next?”, I wondered as I was preparing lunch four days ago. Ladybug was finally asleep in her swing when I noticed that Bean had grown suspiciously silent. “What are you doing!?”, I whispered. No response. I dropped the knife on the counter and ran to the sounds coming from the bathroom. As I reached the hall I immediately noticed that she had taken and thrown her diaper off, leaving its contents on the wall and floor. I entered the bathroom and she was there, sitting on the potty. “I did it! I climbed on the potty like a big girl!”, she said with such enthusiasm. After reminding her to tell me before going in her diaper, she agreed to give it another try later. For the remaining seven hours we had attempted to use the potty 14 times. All unsuccessful. We ran, hopped, screamed, scrambled, slipped, and jumped trying to make it in time. Bean thought it was the BEST part of her day. I on the other hand had realized that we had reached the next “milestone”. The next few days were exhausting and I honestly didn't think she was ready. “Keep going”, “stay patient”, “be a role model for her”, “don't get upset”, “BE PATIENT”, “if I have to clean poop up one more time, I'm going to...” were all thoughts that ran through my mind multiple times a day.....UNTIL today.

It was as if the birds woke her with a sweet inspirational song. “I'm ready!”, she screamed as she came charging in at 6am. It was like she had ants in her pants...running while partially stumbling trying to make it in time. My heart was racing from the live alarm clock as I quickly grabbed my glasses from the nightstand. There she was. Sitting on her little potty, right thumb up in the air, and a smile on her face.
The rest of the day was just as smooth. No accidents in the house, or in the car, at Chuck E. Cheese, or even during her nap time. It was a successful day and we celebrated by treating her to one scoop of chocolate ice cream after her dinner. “I'm so proud of you, sweetie!”, I said while kissing her on the cheek. “We did it by being patient, right?”, I asked. “Right. You have to be patient like the girl in the book. The potty book. She went when she was ready, like me.” Funny kid, I thought as she spoke. Not a moment sooner Ladybug started yelling as she let out some impressive flatulence. “She's definitely your kid”, Brett said nonchalantly. I rolled my eyes, grabbed her, and took her to the changing table. Good lord, another doozy. As I reached for the wipes Ladybug immediately reached for her diaper. “NO!”, I screamed. It was too late. The mess was already in her hand. “Calm down”, Brett said while coming to my aid. Bean quickly jumped off her seat and ran to the bathroom. “Here Addie!”, she screamed while charging full speed in our direction. She tossed the potty book up on the table hitting Ladybug in the face. “Read that.”

Patience. Oh, how I need more patience.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Princess

As the entire world was glued to the TV in anticipation for the Royal Wedding, Bean was skipping in circles around the living room. Ladybug, spinning the toys attached to the stationary entertainer, glanced up every now and then when the cheering crowds increased in volume. "EW! Why are they kissing!?", Bean stopped short. "Because they got married and the girl is now a princess! A real live princess", I explained. "What does a princess do?", she questioned. "Well, first of all they are pampered, have lots of money, live in a HUGE....", I started to say sarcastically. I could see the word "confused" written all over her face. As I bent down to her level I quickly corrected myself. "What I mean is, a princess is always nice. They help when people are in need, are extremely giving, and they love unconditionally."

After breakfast, we headed outside to burn off some morning energy. 4 kids quickly ran up to greet us; two we recognized as our neighbor's kids and the other two were unfamiliar. Apparently an acquaintance of our neighbor had abandoned the children in her care. As she retold the story, she hugged and caressed them as if they were her own. I offered to donate extra baby clothing, bottles, diapers, wipes, etc. since they were left with nothing. We gathered the belongings and rushed them back to their house. We placed the items on the doorstep as we could hear the kids crying inside the home. We could overhear the neighbor singing a sweet song, calming the children instantly. "See baby, SHE is a real life princess", I whispered.

Later that day, while Ladybug and Bean were "discussing" the tastiness of peas, I discussed the adoption that my cousin was going through with my husband. "She will do anything for those kids. She wakes up at 3 to start prepping for the day, has a full time job, drives an hour home to pick them up by 4, cooks them dinner every night...it's amazing", I said in awe. "Mommy, she is a princess too!" I shook my head in agreement.

The day was finally coming to an end and Ladybug was on the verge of falling asleep. She was limp in my arms as the rocking motion calmed her of any anxiety. I noticed Bean peeking into the room as if watching a secret meeting. She tiptoed in, making sure to not make a sound, and slowly approached my side. She studied my movements, listened to my random humming, how I stroked Ladybug's hair; how it soothed her sister. As Ladybug peacefully subsided into a slumber, I placed her in the crib and left the room. I let out a sigh of relief and quickly picked up Bean, hugging her as tight as I could. As I started to plant kisses on her cheeks she grabbed my face with her two little hands. She stared me in the eye, noses almost touching, and whispered "YOU are a princess TOO, Momma. OUR princess."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sleep Training

For 37 weeks, I nurtured my little Ladybug as she baked in my tummy. We sang and read stories to her as if she were already part of the family. Bean would talk to her daily and even share toys with my belly anticipating a response. Since her birth, I have religiously nursed her on demand. When she's in my arms I cover her face with kisses. Every night before going to bed, I will stare into her eyes until her lids get heavy, leading her into a peaceful slumber. As she drifts off she will pinch any object in arms reach, kick her restless legs, and pacify on her helpless binky. I carefully hug her and let her use me as her comfort object until she is sound asleep. This has worked exceptionally well, except the fact that she has been in our bed for the past 8 months. ----- This is when the record stops with a loud scratch and the peaceful music stops. ------- Hello sleep training.

I nervously sat on my bed holding a full glass of wine as the volume on the TV was slightly one decibel above the screams coming from Ladybug's room. It's been a miserable hour and a half and nothing will stop the crying. Of course, I KNOW what will stop it, but a sudden flashback enters my mind of the same pain we endured with Bean only two years earlier. Brett entered our room and said, "40 minutes". A heavy feeling overcame me. "If she is still crying in 40 minutes....", I started to say with an attitude. "We HAVE to do it. She needs to learn", he interrupted.
I sat there, angry and frustrated knowing that we were causing this little baby so much pain. All she wanted was me. She wanted to gaze into my eyes for a moment, to see the love, to study the only face she probably has memorized. To hold my hand until she couldn't squeeze any tighter. To know that I was there to protect and comfort her. "She probably feels like I've abandoned her! She's never gone to sleep without me before, damn it!" I yelled hoping that he'd give in. As we argued about the pros and cons we started to notice that we were getting louder so we stopped. There was silence, no crying, no whining, just silence.......She did it. She was a s l e e p. We waited. We muted the TV. Even the dog poked his head out from under his cover and cocked his head as if in disbelief.

Five nights later we were all enjoying the new sleep routine. I must admit, I did enjoy getting more than 4 hours of rest, but I deeply missed the feelings I shared with Ladybug before falling asleep. After laying her down in her crib, Bean and I went outside to enjoy the cool breeze while chatting about the day on our porch swing. I had tucked her under my right arm and started brushing her hair with my hand when I noticed that she was overheated. 103.4. "Let's get you some baby Tylenol and see how you feel in the morning", I said. As we started to head upstairs she looked up at me and asked, "Can you sleep with me tonight? Like you used to when I was a baby?"
I gasped, "How do you rememb..." I caught myself. "Gladly" I said with a comforted smile.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gumption

Strong Western winds shook the trees as the morning birds chirped in harmony a song only they knew. The garden flowers blooming as the sun beamed down, and the smell of freshly cut grass engulfed the air. Tables, decorated, and lined up. Food, music, and beverages ready to go. All the silverware polished - anticipating for the guests arrival. No, I'm not talking about the preparation for the Royal Wedding, but our Springtime block party. One by one the families arrived, bringing food and desserts to last a week. Kites, hula-hoops, balls, powered toy cars, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, and 15 kids filled the cul-du-sac. The sound of adult laughter and screaming kids echoed for miles.

This was the first block party experience for Ladybug and Bean and we didn't know what to expect. We knew Ladybug would be fine because she is so young. But Bean on the other hand, it could be interesting. My dear husband, Brett, was manning the grill and taking orders like a proficient chef. I was attempting to play hostess while loosely keeping an eye on Bean and trying to keep Ladybug's temper at bay. I was in the process of serving drinks when all of a sudden we heard a loud shriek and knew instantly that it was Bean. I quickly panned the crowd looking for her when I spotted her limping slowly in my direction. Blood dripped from her knee as she cried and mumbled the reason for the accident. I quickly took her inside and fixed up the cut, while listening to her explanation for losing the race. "Those kids are MEAN. They won't move out of the small kids way and I fell down", she said matter-of- factly. When we returned outside I lined up two racing groups {small and big kids} then acted as referee. This game lasted for about 5 minutes as the older kids lost interest watching the smaller kids run with their tiny strides. "They are too slow!", one yelled as they proceeded to run off and grab balls to play catch. The toddlers laughed, unfazed, happy as clams, oblivious to the world.

An hour later, after putting Ladybug down for a nap, I was finally able to relax and grab a glass of wine. I grabbed a cheeseburger, salad, a few chips, and reclined in my favorite beach chair. The juice was pouring out of the meat, cheese melting, the smell of the caramelized onions made me even hungrier. I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and lifted the burger to my mouth....."AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH", the same shrieking we had heard earlier. It was Bean. I dropped my plate on the ground, jumped up, again panning the crowd looking for that same sad face, but this time I didn't see her. I quickly looked to my left and in the grass I saw her on top of one of the older girls, screaming and pulling her hair! Brett quickly ran over to break up the fight; grass tangled in their hair, frantic {crazy} looks in their eyes...."What is going on!?", Brett questioned Bean. She was so out of breathe that she couldn't talk. After regaining composure she proceeded to explain that an older girl started to steal Easter eggs from the 2 year old's while taunting them. So she attacked her. One of the dad's started to laugh while she retold the story and said, "Yah, that's right girl. You got gumption." Bean shook her head, "Ya, I have gum", she said in agreement.

Later that evening, after everyone had left and the only evident sounds were the oscillating fan and the sound machine echoing from Ladybug's room, we explained that physical contact and fighting is not necessary. We were proud of her for sticking up for herself and her friends, but there are better ways to go about it. After some discussion {and negotiation}, she agreed to write an apology letter in the morning. As I leaned over to kiss her goodnight I accidentally knocked her doll off the bed. She immediately jumped up and put up her dukes, ready to fight.

"Etta Bean!", I yelled in shock. "I'm just kidding momma. I have gum, remember?" "Ha, yeah, gum", I repeated as I tucked Bean in Dolly in for a good night's rest.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Kid

"Wow, those girls are beautiful", the woman said to me as I struggled to push the double stroller down the store aisle. I kindly thanked the woman for the compliment as the Ladybug and Bean looked up at her staring back at their faces. "Are you a live in or do you have any openings? My daughter is looking for a nanny", the lady questioned me as if I were in an interview. My jaw dropped and my face must have turned demonic as the woman's eyes widened with fright then quickly scurried away as if to understand that she had made a terrible mistake. "What happened!?", Bean asked worriedly.
This is the thing. If I hadn't birthed my girls I would swear that they weren't mine. Bean has all of my husband's features; from the color of her hair, the shape of her nose, the twist of her smile, and no meat on her bones. Ladybug has my body shape {short and stalky}, but again has my husband's light hair color, blue eyes, and all of his facial features. I guess in hindsight I shouldn't have been angry at the situation but it has always bothered me that neither one of my girls resemble me AT ALL.

Today was probably one of the warmest days we have had all year. It was 86 degrees by 9am, and Bean was eager to play outside. "Pleaaaaase, mama!? Ohh come on. It's a beautiful day!", she begged as I could feel the humidity seeping from under the door. I reluctantly gave in. As I opened the door she quickly pushed me aside and ran out into the driveway, as if it were her first day of freedom. Shortly after, our neighbors joined in the morning festivities and we were all watching our kids play in the cul-du-sac. One of the young boys suggested that all the kids should race and I could be the judge. "Oh ya, this should be fun", I thought as I looked at Bean's excited face knowing damn well that she would be in last place. As I started to line the kids up, Bean feverishly told me to wait as she kicked off her shoes and socks, then neatly placed them in the grass behind her. "I'M READY!", she yelled while stepping back in line with her comrades. I rolled my eyes realizing that I used to do the exact same thing as a kid, then quickly yelled "GO". She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her but laughed the entire way. As she made her way back, one of the older kids yelled "fifth place" as she finished the course. She looked up at me with the biggest smile and said, "AGAIN!" with determination.
After numerous races, the kids finally agreed to sit down for potluck lunch. PB&J's, salami sandwiches, grilled chicken, edamame, Pirates Booty, carrots, boiled eggs, turkey sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, water, milk, and apple juice. As we placed all of the food on a picnic blanket I secretly grabbed one cookie as the kids jumped on the rest of the food like little ants...... everyone but Bean. She carefully anticipated the moves of each kid, ready to pounce like a lion if anyone neared the cookies. A sigh of relief overcame her as they remained untouched. She started to mumble to herself as if pretending to converse with the other children as she slyly grabbed one while peering out of her left eye in my direction. Before I could even say her name the entire cookie was in her mouth - chocolate smeared on her cheeks and hands due to the warm weather. "ETTA!", I yelled in shock. She looked up at me, lifted up her chocolate covered hands, and smiled revealing a mouth full of chocolate covered teeth. "Cookies!", she exclaimed.

Ha, I realized to myself. She is definitely my kid. If only that lady could see us now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Being Pretty

The smell was awful. It was a heavy stench like old wood and plastic melting together in a hot silver tin. My mother would swirl the concoction for what seemed to be hours as the wax became somewhat of a burning lava to be placed on her face. I watched her with awe as she carefully, but quickly, painted the wax on her lip and eyebrows, then waited as it dried and molded to her skin. As it hardened she would proceed to hold her skin taut with one hand while delicately peeling the wax from her face. I can still remember the shape of her pursing lips and frown in her forehead perfectly as if it were yesterday.
As I would witness this torturous ritual, I recall staring at her and thinking that she was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen. Her hair was always styled, makeup always perfect, she was enviously thin {thanks to Jane Fonda aerobics}, and had a wardrobe that I couldn't wait to raid. When she would leave the room to cook dinner I would secretly open her Avon boxes and play with their contents - as if they were my palette and my face the canvas.

Saturday, thanks to my understanding husband, is My Day. I get to do whatever it is I please. Sometimes I choose to spend the entire day with the family, while others I like to have a little "me" time. This Saturday, I decided to have a little personal time by getting my eyebrows and lip waxed at my favorite Ulta Brow Bar, which is a far cry from the archaic method my mother used. The store was running a promotion and doing free makeovers. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity. After sitting in the chair for 30 minutes, I walked out with a new makeup kit that is almost sold out nationwide, killer cat eyes, and feeling like a hot mama. I couldn't wait to get home to see my husband's reaction.
As I walked in the door of our home I could hear everyone in the backyard. "I'm home", I yelled eagerly anticipating their approval of my new "look". I could hear Bean yelling with excitement as she dropped whatever it was she had in her hands. I could see her little shadow growing larger as she rounded the corner when all of a sudden our eyes met and a loud scream filled the room. She quickly averted and headed back outside. "Dadda! Dadda! Mommy scared me! She looks like a clown", she said out of breath. Great, there goes my surprise. I quickly ran upstairs and to the bathroom to dispose of the evidence. I was embarrassed and slightly mortified that I actually thought I looked like Natalie Portman, whom I told the makeup artist to emulate, not Bozo the Clown.

After I washed my face and cleaned the sink of the remnants, I fell backward on my unmade bed. I felt like a complete fool and I needed to curl up in a ball with my tail between my legs. All I wanted to do is feel and look pretty again. I closed my eyes and started to picture myself on a beach, the warm sun beaming on my skin, the sound of the ocean breaking on the nearby rocks...."Momma, are you ok?" I heard Bean whisper from outside my door. "Of course, baby, come in here. Come cuddle with me." She slowly entered the room unsure of what she would see, and I could see the worry melt from her little face as she recognized the one staring back at her. She climbed on the bed, and buried herself in her favorite little nook under my right armpit and my chest. She stuck her right thumb in her mouth, closed her eyes, and held my right hand with her left. I couldn't help but stare at her beautiful long eyelashes, her perfect baby doll complexion, the gorgeous color of her hair, and fullness in her lips....ah, to be young again I thought. Her eyes slowly opened as if she could feel my gaze and her thumb popped out.

"Momma", she said as she traced my arm with her fingertips.
"Yes, Etta?"

"You are so pretty", she said then kissed the backside of my hand. "Just like this" (pause) "I love you."

"And I love you too", I repeated with an understanding smile.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Little Surprises

Being the second child in my family, I remember playing in the sand outside by myself, making mud pies, riding my trike for hours around our U shaped driveway, and studying the thousands of ants in the garden. Recalling all of this and seeing how we treat Ladybug, I'd like to call this neglect. I swore that if I ever had another child that I would make ample time to give her the same amount of attention as we did with the first. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible in our household.

I was working on potty training with Etta Bean for the second time this morning as we could hear Ladybug squealing and laughing. I peaked out from the bathroom to see her looking up at the hanging butterflies rotating from her little disco ball in her swing. We like to call these her "friends" - I never intended her first playmates to be inanimate objects. With the first child we cuddle, coddle, and hover over them protecting them from the tiniest particle from touching their lips. Now, we don't even consider cleaning the binky when it falls on the floor or if the dog licks her tiny hand. Looking around our house there are four, YES only 4, pictures of Ladybug up from the past 7 months. The rest, approximately 50, are of Bean.

Looking at both of the girls we can see a huge difference in personalities. Bean is very carefree, independent, strong, very outspoken, and a daredevil. I strongly believe that it's because we did give her so much attention and this made her confident. Ladybug on the other hand is very timid, scared, and unsure of a lot of her surroundings. During playtime, Bean would study every toy as if she were a little engineer, determined to understand how and why things worked. Ladybug, on the other hand, grabs the same exact toy and bangs it on the nearest unfortunate item as Bamm-Bamm would in the Flinstones.

We sat down outside to have a little afternoon snack, and as usual I placed a few Puffs in front of Ladybug while Bean and I shared some veggie chips and carrots. As we were stuffing our faces, we could see Ladybug frantically trying to grab the tiny pieces with her delicate fingers. As each piece fell from her hand, or get stuck to her face, we could see the determination escalate. Finally with a roar, ahhhhhh, she quickly brought her hand to her mouth and stuffed that little Puff in her mouth as if it never stood a chance. We yelled with excitement and she looked at us with a smirk.
Later in the day I was sitting with both girls and as I was watching Bean play, I was repeating ba-ba, da-da, ma-ma, Et-ta, to Ladybug as I always do hoping that soon she will start to copy me. She ignored me and stuck a toy in her mouth. I got up to help Bean cook "fake food" as Ladybug yawned, giggled, kicked her legs, then roll to her back then to her tummy. She slowly started to rub her eyes and quietly hum and moan similar to a puppy when they scratch their ears."mmmmmmm".....another yawn. MMMMMM, ahhhh. Ma-ma.

This is the funny thing about life. Just when you start questioning yourself about being a bad parent, life will always throw you a little surprise.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Language Barriers

"¡Hola", "Ni-hao", "Shalom", "Bonjour"! Bean yelled excitedly as she skipped through the street. As she continued to skip her forehead wrinkled and eyes tightened as she concentrated. "Momma, how do you say thank you again in Spanish....and in France, I mean French", she corrected herself.
My parents speak Spanish as frequently as they can when in the presence of our children. Bean gets the gist of what they are trying to say, and will react and respond accordingly. A few days ago we attended a couple's baby shower, and there was an elderly woman who took to Bean as if she were a great-great grandchild. I watched Bean listen to this gentle woman, who was whispering stories of what could be long lost family secrets. She was so entranced with this lady that I too thought that she may be a long lost relative. I quickly snapped out of this magical moment when I realized that she was speaking Romanian.

Then there is non-verbal language. Ladybug and Bean can have full conversations with one another even though one is still saying ga-ga. Bean will be running around outside and stop suddenly near our dog, Kodiak Bear. They give each other "that look" then proceed to chase each other, barking and laughing, as if they read each others minds. We were frantically gearing up to head out of the house today when Ladybug started to wail. "She's hungry", Bean stated. "Nope, I fed her an hour ago. She's just fussy. Let's go!", I said trying to gently push her out the door. "But she's hungry!", she said not moving. Ugh, this kid! I looked at Ladybug who was staring back at me with a sad, slightly worried expression on her face as if I may deprive her of food. Man! We'll be late again I quickly fed her then we all scrambled out the door.

I admit {and now realize} that I simply don't listen to them. With all of the chaos circling us daily how is it possible to tend to their every word? They simply want our attention and want us to "hear" when they are sad, angry, happy, content, bored, scared. Verbally and non-verbally.
Ladybug and Bean were laying in my bed for a nap as I sat next to them supervising {yes, I lost that battle} and they were both dozing off. Kody barked and startled Ladybug. She let out a little gasp that quickly opened Bean's eyes. We all stared at each other waiting for the next sound, and that's when I felt it. I could see, feel, and hear the love gleaming in their eyes. Ladybug's binky fell out from the corner of her mouth and she let out a tiny squeal, smile, and leg kick. Bean didn't take her eyes off of me once. She slowly blinked while giving a tiny smile and whispered, "Thank you mama for letting us share your bed". A moment later she opened one eye, caught my gaze, then stuck out her tongue.

Ay dios mio.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Idle Threats

You see it everyday. Parents bending down to their kid's level whispering that someone bad will get them if they don't stay by their side. Alleging that if they make that "ugly face" again, the next time it will stick.....and then there is the infamous "...if you suck your thumbs anymore the doctor will have to cut them off". Yup, this was me today in full effect - to the point that I wondered how my daughter is not scared to wake up every morning. I like to call these....Innocent Idle Threats.

I'm not sure when I decided that threatening a two year old was acceptable, but I have a feeling it was somewhere in between trying to get a good nights rest and the idea of talking {scaring} her into behaving/reacting faster. In all honesty, my intentions are good. Her thumbs look like they are out of a horror movie; peeling, red, sometimes bloody, and scabbing over. If she runs around the store like a hooligan someone may decide to kidnap her, or better yet just kick her out of the store. But seriously, what is the best way to keep your child from misbehaving while understanding the consequences?

This afternoon we had decided to sit outside and enjoy the extremely warm weather. Ladybug was down to her diaper and Bean had pulled out almost every toy in the garage. I was sitting on my beach chair, jeans rolled up, and enjoying a nice cold beer...OK it was a Izze Tangerine drink, but I was trying to paint a picture for you. It looked like we were having a garage sale, minus the beer and low ballers.
Bean kept running to the next best thing like it was going out of style. "Mom, where's my helmet?", "Please? Bubbles? Can I do bubbles now?", "HAHA, watch me!", she said after her failed attempt to hit the ball off her Little Tykes T-Ball set. I was dizzy watching her run around but glad that she was burning off some energy. "Baby girl, let's paint or draw the letters of the alphabet with the sidewalk chalk", I suggested. She looked at me with the kindest little smile and refused, returning to her Barbie car.
Ladybug was trying to eat Puffs by herself and drinking out of her Sippy cup while twisting and turning in her stationary entertainer. Hours had elapsed and it was finally time for dinner. "Come on, let's go. Time to clean up", I said knowing damn well that this would be the biggest challenge of the day. Of course, no response. She kept playing as if I had never said a word. "Two minutes, little one", I reminded her. Again no response. I started to move Ladybug and our belongings inside and Bean came rushing in behind me ready to eat. "No, ma'am. You need to clean up or Santa won't bring you ANYTHING that is on your wish list. You know he see's you every day, just like in the song. In fact, he's going to come and pick up all of those toys outside and take them back", I stated firmly. Her eyes opened in shock, mouth dropped, and took a quick breath in..."What!?". Now I felt like the meanest mom on Earth. The idle Santa threat partially worked. We both tackled the mess the little tornado left in its wake, while Bean repeatedly asked if Santa was going to come after all.

After putting Ladybug to bed with her favorite Criblanket, Bean and I headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She jumped up on her stool, smeared on the toothpaste, and started brushing {and humming} away.

"Hmmm,hmmmm-mmmmm-mmmmmmmmmm, LA, LA LAAAAAAAA, scrub, scrub {brush, brush, brush}...ALL DONE!"

"OK, my turn Etta Bean", I said as I grabbed the toothbrush from her hand. She opened her mouth with a gasp. "That's not nice. Santa isn't going to bring you ANY presents. You need to share and don't pull things out of people's hands!", she lectured. Like I said, Innocent Idle Threats.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Battle

**Sorry that there was not a Friday post, but you will soon understand why**

Friday morning:
1812 Overture was playing in my head as I glanced over at Ladybug feverishly shaking her rattle to the speed of the music. At the same time Bean was running around me in a circle incoherently screaming as if I were her prisoner being tied to the stake. Sippy cups dropping as the cannons exploded, the baby pinching my arms and pulling my hair as I fed her, and Bean throwing toys around like they were confetti. We were in the midst of a battle and I was not about to win.

Friday afternoon:
With bruised arms and tighter stomach muscles (due to picking up dropped cups), I was still trying to gain some ground and win the battle. Bean advertently refused to pick up her toys and showed stronger threats of combat as she pointed her finger to me and said "I'm 16 years old, I'm not a child (thanks, Little Mermaid).
The battle followed us to the park. She ignored my requests and continued to play and toss rocks in the water, REFUSED to eat her lunch but then hijacked my bag of veggie chips. I ran to retrieve them - all while watching her laugh with excitement. Moments later I see Bean and her little play mate whispering as if plotting against us moms. Coyly they each picked flowers and walked them over to us, then ran off laughing and screaming like banchees, arms flailing in the sky, then rolling down the hill as if doing drills and preparing for more combat. They had handed us live grenades.

Friday evening:
"2 more minutes before bedtime" I warned as Bean was finishing her puzzle. Silence. I peered out from the doorway and saw her standing still and staring at me from across the hall. We were in a standoff....who would draw their guns first? "Etta, I'll read one book but it's time to go to bed," I said calmly. She leaned back as if about to sprint, then charged at me like an animal that had fallen into a prickly bush. I was preparing for an exploding collision as I inhaled, held my breath, and closed my eyes expecting the worse. I felt her little cold hands grab and squeeze my thighs with unexpected force and wasn't letting go.
"Momma, I love you", I heard her say. She looked up at me with her big beautiful brown eyes, smiled, then calmly climbed in her bed. The white "truce" flag had finally been lifted in the air.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Memory Games

The moment I gave birth the entire area in my brain that used to hold memories deteriorated. I can barely remember what we did last week much less memories from high school or college. It's rather sad but this is why they started adding DHA in organic milk, right?
Every day I am more and more impressed with Bean's memory. People have always told me that kids have amazing memories, but I never thought that it would be that of a toddler Einstein. "Look, it's like your old car!", Bean points to a black SUV as we're driving down the freeway. "No, sweetie, mine was silver, not black", I said smiling at the attempt. "No mommy, up there in front of the truck." Good lord, she WAS right.

There have been numerous studies, reports, and articles written that say the key to improving/keeping your memory strong is repetition. This is why kids like to play the same games a million times, sing the same songs until they are blue in the face, and hear the same books read to them over and over - to the point that you are ready to accidentally let the dog eat them.

"ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR circles", she exclaimed as she lined up the bracelets on the floor. "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR squares", she added. She looked up at the daybed and counted 4 pillows and 4 dolls with the same vivacity, and then stacked 4 blocks on the table beside her; then quickly knocked them down. "Curious little child", I thought and smiled at her idiosyncrasy. The day went on as usual but for some reason she was stuck on the number four. She demanded 4 more minutes of play time, 4 more cookies when I had already given her two, and 4 episodes of Dora. During dinner this same manic behavior continued. She only wanted 4 chicken strips, 4 sliced carrots, and 3 sips of milk with one final long sip that emptied her glass.

"You are so silly today, mama!" I casually said to her. "Why? Why did you say that?", she replied. I explained how I observed her fascination with the number four and wondered why she never counted any higher. "Team Umizoomi!", she said. At this point she started singing the theme song to the Nick Jr. show that comes on every morning at 10:30 {which happens to coincide with Bean's morning snack and Ladybug's second feeding & diaper change in which the process lasts about 30 minutes}. Embarrassingly, this is when I had to explain to my husband that it's a show that I allow her to sometimes {ok, everyday} watch as I'm feeding the baby. I had heard that song a million times but I didn't know that SHE knew the words - they count to four in the intro, by the way.

Repetition, repetition, repetition wins the day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Little Helper

Being helpful is a behavior that we were all taught at a young age. "Help your grandmother get up from the chair", "Please grab my bra that's hanging from the doorknob", "Mija, grab me a Coke from the fridge, please", I recall my mother saying to me as a little girl. Since I was the youngest child I never had a problem understanding the correct time to be helpful. However, I believe that this is not the case for the oldest child.
One of the greatest things about Bean {Etta} is that she has the most loving heart, and always has your best intention in mind. "Mommy, are you OK!?", she asks after I cough. "Here, let me help you", she says as I struggle with the laundry from falling to the floor as I transfer from washer to dryer. So it was not to my surprise that she would apply this behavior to her little sister.

Our morning routine consists of 30 minutes of Dora the Explorer for Bean while Ladybug {Adelaide} struggles with having to endure tummy time. I was brushing my teeth and looking at my reflection in a daze when I heard Laybug's binky roll off the bed and to the ground. Before I could even run to get it, I see Bean excitedly slide her thumb into Ladybug's mouth and exclaim, "Here Addie, use my thumb! Shhh, shhh, shhh, it's OK!" Of course, I had to run to Addie's aid and explain that although I know she was trying to be helpful, it was not appropriate to put fingers in anyone's mouth. A sigh and an eye roll followed my reprimand.

Instead of our morning walk we ended up running a few errands. Bean's "little helper" instinct came in handy by helping me carry a few light bags of fruit, pick out baby food flavors, and ever-so-politely saying "thank you" to the lady who finally moved out of our way in the baby aisle {Bean could tell that I was annoyed and ready to plow her down since she had selectively ignored my request 3 times}. We got some lunch and decided to have a little picnic at the neighborhood lake to watch the birds and look for turtles. We were enjoying our lunch and Bean accidentally spilled the entire cup of lemonade on herself. "It's cold! I'm soaking!", she squealed shivering. I jumped up and ran to the stroller and grabed the stroller blanket and t-shirt that I keep handy to clean up the mess. No sooner did I hear "Here, Addie! Eat some more food. Open your mouth!" Time seemed to be in slow motion as I dropped everything, pushed the stroller aside, and yelled "N-n-n-n-n-o-o-o-o-o-" - hands flailing. My first thought was that she was trying to feed Pirate's Booty to Ladybug but she was attempting to feed her the baby food that I {ignorantly) left at her side. I quickly apologized and explained that only adults feed babies, not kids. "Sorry mommy, I was just trying to help" Bean said while pouting and lowering her head. This, of course, broke my heart.

The rest of the day was filled with chasing butterflies, spraying the vomit off the baby's stationary entertainer with the waterhose, and enjoying a late dinner at the local Italian restaurant. "It's going to be one of those nights", I thought to myself as we finally paid the bill and I realized that it was close to 8pm {girls are usually in bed by 7:30}. When we got home we scrambled to clean up the playroom, give baths, brush teeth, and get them in their pj's and in bed. Ahhh, quiet time. Ten minutes later the baby started screaming and crying. My husband and I glanced at each other and it was an unspoken decision that we'd let her cry it out. We continued with our nightly chores until I realilzed that Bean wasn't asleep but singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as sweet and as quietly as she could. She sometimes sings herself to sleep during naps but not usually at bedtime. I started to head to her room when I realized that the singing wasn't coming from there, but from the Ladybug's room! I peaked in and saw the baby sound asleep with Bean delicately holding her hand.......The Big Helper.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Screamer

It has been weeks since Ladybug has slept through the night, so it was a pleasant surprise when I woke up at 7:30 this morning. I had actually slept for 10 hours straight! This was the first time in over a year that I've had sleep like this. Ah, things were looking good for this glorious day. Our daily morning routine {showers, diaper changes for both girls, breakfast feedings, and a 30 minute lesson plan in the playroom} went smoothly. "The stars must have been aligned last night", I thought as I glanced out the window to the brightly shining sky. It was no sooner that Ladybug started screaming from the top of her lungs and nothing, I mean NOTHING could stop her. I tried singing, cuddling, Mr. Binky, I changed her clothes and diaper, took her temperature, and even tried feeding her - all unsuccessful. Finally, out of sheer exhaustion her eyes became heavy and she fell sound asleep. Normally I would have panicked and called the pediatrician, but I decided to let her sleep and see how things went throughout the day.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon seemed to be better. Ladybug woke up happy as a butterfly, cured of whatever seemed to be ailing her. We all ended up going outside after lunch to play with bubbles and sidewalk chalk, and Ladybug laughed and squealed when Bean blew bubbles near her head. I've never seen a bigger smile come from that adorable little face. The excitement, joy, and innocence beaming through her bright blue eyes was incredible. The sound of both girls laughing warmed my heart and I was so content in this little moment. We decided to head back to the playroom for an afternoon snack and some coloring when out of nowhere, the screaming started again. It was uncontrollable and loud. Bean and I were like ants that had been disturbed in our ant pile...scrambling and looking around for something or anything that could be bothering her. I quickly placed her on her tummy time blanket and ran to the bedroom to call the pediatrician . I peered out from the doorway and saw Ladybug on her tummy, reaching for her little rattle that was delicately hidden underneath one of Bean's stuffed animals next to her mat. You have got to be kidding me. She wanted her rattle!? Two seconds later, more whining.

This time it was Bean screaming uncontrollably. She was trying to open the purple paint container, twisting and turning the lid with all her might. "Maaaaa-maaaaaaa, pleaaaaase! Open it! Open it!" I quickly ran to her side and opened the paint while explaining that all she had to do was ask nicely. "Whining and screaming is not the right way to ask. You just need to ask me and I'll help you", I said as calmly as I could. Then I looked back at Ladybug to see if she was OK and she was glancing up at me with a biggest smile on her face, as if to say, "Ha! I learned it from my big sister"! Yes, yes, yes....lesson learned. Babies:2; Me:0.

The Ladybug and Bean Blog Changes


When I decided to start my company I knew that I wanted a blog, but never had enough time to really decided what I wanted it to be about.....so finally after much thought I know the focus.

Starting today we will be going through a little change and this blog will feature daily stories about The Ladybug and Bean {our girls}. The stories will be loosely based on our daily experiences and hope that they will be entertaining, fun, and worth a little laugh. We look forward to sharing part of our lives with you all!

Happy reading. ♥

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When is it OK for a young girl to wear colored lipgloss?






My daughter is 2 and a half and loves Dora the Explorer, blowing bubbles, trying to catch butterflies with her net, Play-doh, and watching me put on makeup. Every morning, as I reach for my eyeshadow and blush, she eagerly rushes to my side to carefully analyze how I apply the make up to my face. Then she begs for me to apply some to hers, in which I explain that it's for adults only. As hard as I try to remind this to her daily, it never fails that as we're walking down the store aisle or through the mall she will find colored lip gloss that she just HAS TO HAVE {especially when it's a Dora themed lip gloss}.

I personally don't allow her to wear colored gloss - just plain, clear, SPF 15 chap stick. I feel that 2 is simply too young. I don't need her or anyone else thinking that she is older than what she is....plus she has her entire teen/adult life to wear makeup.

So, this brings me to ask.......what do you think is too young for a child to wear makeup and/or colored lip gloss? Do companies cross the line for putting products like this on the shelf?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Zoc Posen for Target


So, the girls and I were on our weekly Target trip today getting the necessities {diapers, diapers, and more diapers} when I just happened to see this BEAUT hanging in front of me. For those of you who don't have a few hundred {or thousands} of dollars sitting around, you can now get Zac Posen for Target clothing! I quickly snatched up the only size I could find {which happened to be a 3}. Needless to say, I can't fit in it so I'm going to see if the other Target has it in stock to exchange. If not, this is reason enough to help me drop those nagging 10 pounds. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adorable Baby Hangers


I was looking for personalized gifts when I stumbled upon these ADORable hand stamped baby hangers from Julian & Co.  These would make a great addition to a baby shower gift or just a cute way to spruce up the nursery. Also, the backside can be stamped with either a pig or lamb, which I think is precious.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Leading Moms in Business


Need a cute and unique gift for a baby shower!? Want to give back to your community? Want to help The Ladybug and Bean become a more recognized brand? If you answered yes, please keep reading!


We are part of the Start Up Nation "Leading Moms in Business" Competition and need your help! By visiting the link below and voting for us daily, it will help us rank higher in popularity votes. Then,
Start Up Nation will rank the top 200 mom-run businesses across the United States as determined by the combination of popular vote and the special recognition of their judges for certain outstanding contestants.
This is a huge opportunity for us as being a recognized winner {if we are so lucky} because it will allow for more exposure of our products. In turn, we will be able to give back more to the Children's Cancer Research Fund, the ASPCA, and Susan G. Komen Foundation {5% of each sold criblanket gift set will go toward one of the charities listed}. My family personally donates as much as we can yearly, but this would allow for an even bigger donation with help from our supporters. :) Please vote for The Ladybug and Bean once a day until the competition ends on April 22, 2011.

Please visit the following link to vote for The Ladybug and Bean!
http://www.startupnation.com/leading-moms-in-business/contestant/10313/index.php 

Visit our shop to see the latest criblankets available!

Thank you in advance for all of your help and support!
Hugs,
Christina ♥

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


When our daughter turned one a year and a half ago, we had decided that it would be ok for her to watch 30 minutes of "educational television" once a day.  We flipped the channel to Nickelodeon, which I hadn't viewed since being a kid myself, and there appeared a show called Yo Gabba Gabba. Since then, we have watched countless episodes and bought numerous DVD's, a Brobie t-shirt, a pair of Gabba walkie-talkies, and the latest a pair of sneakers! I SWORE that I would never fall into the trap of kid brand marketing, but ahhhhh, these are so darn cute! ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Ladybug and Bean launches online store


The Ladybug and Bean online store is finally launched! Please take a moment to check out at all of the chic fabrics available! I look forward to hand creating a blanket for that special little one. ♥
 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Inspire Your Van Gogh


Bored? Need a fun activity to help get you all through the day? Try painting outdoors!

Activity: Art/Following Directions/Colors

Age: 1 year+

Materials: small-medium painting canvas {Hobby Lobby has buy one get one free specials - got 2 for $8!!!}, non-toxic paints, various sized paint brushes, small cup of water, paper towels

Inspire your little "Van Gogh" with this painting activity. Place the different colored paints in a row, as well as the different sized brushes. Identify each color and brush size to your toddler then ask them to repeat.
Have them start with the small brush and a specific color and draw a line. Then have them clean the brush in the water, then move on to another color that you select. After going through each color you can start showing them what happens when you mix colors {yellow + blue = green; red + blue = purple; red + white = pink, etc.}
After this activity you will not only have a happy toddler, you will have a new piece of art to hang on your wall that you will cherish forever. ♥