Archive for August, 2010

Becoming Mimi.

(And I’m not talking about Mariah Carey.)

When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone called their grandparents some slight variation of Grandma and Grandpa.  Maybe it was Grammy and Grampy or sometimes Nana and Papa or even Ma and Pa but nothing too different from that.  Until I was pregnant with my first child I never gave much thought to what my children would call my parents and my husband’s parents.  I guess I just assumed it would be some variation of the above.  But then, at some point I came across a whole phenomenon where people would ask their parents what they wanted to be called.  I’m not sure if this was always the way things were and I never realized it, or if it was something new.  So, when I was pregnant with Brinley, I had the talk with my parents.

With my father (technically my step-father, but he raised me) it was a no-brainer.  He would be Grampy in homage to my late grandfather.  I knew the decision wouldn’t be as simple for my mother.  To most, my mom is considered a young grandmother.  She’s young at heart, on top of fashion and pop culture and looks amazing.  So it was no surprise to me that she decided to pick something different as her grandmother name.  After a little back and forth she settled on Mimi.

Before my mom chose this name, I had never heard it used as a grandmother name.  When we were discussing it, my mom told me that she had a friend or something that went by Mimi and that she liked it.  So it’s not that I thought it was completely original or anything.  However, since becoming a mom I can’t even tell you how often I hear grandmothers referred to as Mimi.  Yesterday alone I heard it twice within two hours.

The first one was at the doctors office yesterday morning.  We were in the waiting room with a few other people and there was an older woman with a toddler.  The toddler kept mumbling something that I couldn’t quite make out but started with ‘m’ and each time she said it the older woman would go to her.  Within a few minutes Nora started yelling, “Mimi, Mimi!”  I looked around thinking that maybe my mom was in the office for some reason (there are other doctors offices in the building) but didn’t spot her.  I just brushed it off until I realized that she had understood the other toddler girl’s toddler-speak and that she had been calling the older woman Mimi.  After we left the doctor’s office we did a little shopping.  We were in the Carter’s outlet and I was inundated with adorable little girl’s fall clothing.  Nora was in the stroller and Brinley was holding my hand as I got lost amidst a sea of coordinating tunic tops and leggings.  Then it started again.  “Mimi, Mimi!”  Again, I looked around to see if my mom happened to be in the store as well, but she was not.  I realized that Nora was referring to a woman who was shopping near us.  She could only see the back of her and she had blonde hair like my mom.  I laughed and said to Nora, “That’s not Mimi silly!”  To my surprise, the woman turned around and said, “Actually, I am Mimi, just not her Mimi.”

At that point the woman and I got into a mini conversation about the evolution of Mimi and how she hears it all the time now even though she became Mimi seventeen years ago.  And here I thought my mom was being original…. :-)

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How the tables have turned.

In my former life, as a teacher, I hated this time of year.  It meant going into school to set up my classroom, memorizing students’ names, digging out the school year wardrobe and saying goodbye to the summer.  It meant commuting and packing my lunch and setting the alarm clock.  The lazy days of summer were over.  Even though I worked in some capacity over every summer, I was still always outside and having fun.

Now I’m looking forward, in some ways, to the end of summer.  It’s been very hot and humid and that’s getting old.  I prefer the cool, crisp mornings of the fall.  And I look forward to the changing leaves, apple picking and cider donuts.  I’m also looking forward to more routine in our days.  Summer is lots of fun and it means many spontaneous outings and vacations, but it can get a bit chaotic.  By the time the end of summer rolls around there’s a sense of boredom and redundancy in our days.  We’re all ready for a change.  New clothes to wear, new meals to make, new places to go.  And most importantly, time to head back to school!

Brinley is entering her second year of preschool this year.  She’ll be going three mornings each week.  I’m not sure who is more excited about it – me or her.  She really misses school and all of the fun things that she does there.  She loves being around her friends and doing all sorts of activities.  She’s been asking for a few weeks when she will be going back.  For me, it’s a mixed blessing.  I’ll miss her company and the lax attitude of summer.  I’ll miss being able to take our time getting out the door in the morning and sitting around in our PJs just a bit too long.  But at the same time, we’ll have more routine once school is back in session.  Three mornings a week we’ll get up, get dress and head off to school.  Once Brinley is there Nora and I will have some one-on-one time together to do some of the fun things that Brinley and I used to do.  I’m really looking forward to that. I used to dread this time of year but now I’m welcoming it with open arms!

Play area police.

Rain, rain, go the eff away!

I say this with mixed emotions.  Most of me is completely hating the rain right now, but the homeowner, lawn owner part of my really likes it.  It means our near lifeless grass which we’ve watered (according to the water ban) with no avail, is now getting a grand old drink and beginning to look green again.  But this is day four of rain and the girls and I are beginning to go stir crazy.

Over two of the past four days we’ve visited malls.  And apparently so did everyone else.  They were both crowded and filled to the brim with kids of all ages.  We got some shopping done and had some delicious lunches in the foot court, but we also had some too close encounters in the play areas.  See, I’m used to going to the mall in the winter during the week when there is no one there except for me, some old ladies, and a few other SAHMs.  So, going to the mall int he summer when school is not yet back in session is a whole ‘nother beast!

Our mall’s play area looks a lot like this one:

It has a little club house with a slide and a tunnel and then 2 or 3 other climb in/sit in play structures.  The flooring is soft and it’s enclosed with benches.  The sign at the entrance specifically states that the area is for children under 42 inches tall and that children must be supervised by a parent/adult at all times.  However, no one mans the entrance or makes sure that people abide by these rules.

So, on Monday, we ate lunch and then hit up the play area.  It was teeming with children of all ages and heights.  I knew it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable time.  Just as I was about to scoop the girls back up and leave, a boy, probably 8 or 9 years old and well over 42 inches tall, clotheslined Brinley and she fell to the ground.  He kept right on running.  No one stopped him or came over to see if my kids was ok.  I took the girls out and went over to the “Member Services” booth.  I asked the lady working there if anyone checked up on the play area to make sure that people were playing by the rules.  She was very nice and said not typically but that if I had a problem that she could call the security guard over.  I said yes, please and left the area to do some shopping.  When we returned to the play area it was much more calm and the girls got to play for a little bit.

Today, we went to a mall again (I know, I know but sometimes you just gotta get out of the house!).  Again, this mall was crowded but I expected it after seeing the mall on Monday.  We did a little shopping and then went to have lunch.  After lunch we went to this mall’s play area which is almost identical to the other one.  It was pretty crowded but most of the kids seemed like they belonged there.  I decided to assume the role of “play area police” today.  I wasn’t mean or rude, but I stood watch near the slide for a bit.  Kids have a hard time waiting in line for the slide and I was simply there to help them remember to take turns.  (I was also watching out for Nora as she climbed the stairs.)  So anyway, Nora made her way up the stairs and then down the slide.  Once she got to the bottom she was so proud.  She stood up and started clapping.  Within a fraction of a second, one of the too big kids ran by her and stiff armed her to the face.  She fell and he kept right on running.

Now if Brinley, who is almost four, gets bumped into a little too roughly I usually let her work it out and things are fine.  But it’s a different story when a 7 year old boy stiff arms your 15 month old daughter to the face.  So, I did what any other mean concerned mother would do.  I stopped the boy and told him that he should slow down and watch where he was going.  I reminded him that the play area was for small children and that if he was going to play here he really had to be careful.  He apologized.  I’m not sure where his parents were but within a minute or two he was gone from the play area.  I win!

So, yes, I’m THAT mom.  I refuse to stand idly by and watch my sweet little bruiser girl get stiff armed to the face by a boy who is clearly too big for the play area.  I just wish some parents would be more responsible.  I know the day will come when my girls are just on the cusp of being too big to go in the play area.  They’ll beg to go in and I’ll have to tell them no.  Rules are rules.  And they’re there for a reason. ::Stepping down from my soapbox::

Just like her sister.

Raising two daughters is truly an amazing thing.  My girls are 2 years and 8 months apart.  They annoy the crap out of each other yet love each other so much.  The dynamic is both heartwarming and nerve wracking at the same time.  From the moment Nora was capable, she has made it a priority to do exactly what her big sister is doing.  She mimics Brinley to a T.  If Brinley is reading a book, Nora is reading a book.  If Brinley is coloring, Nora is coloring.  When Brinley brushes her teeth, Nora wants to brush hers.  If Brinley is having a drink, Nora needs a drink. If Brinely has to go potty, Nora has to go potty. And it’s not just the activity that she has to copy, it has to be done the same way – sitting in the same chair, coloring the same picture, going through the same motions, using the same cup.

It’s crazy how much she wants to be just like her big sister.  Last night, Nora really proved just how much she wants to be like her big sister.  You see, a little less than two years ago, Brinley had her first visit to the ER.  She fell and hit her head on a wrought iron fire place basket and wound up with six stitches right in her hairline on her forehead.  Nora wasn’t yet born back then, but she was with us through it.  She was a mere 8 weeks along in gestation.  I know she was taking note of it all.

How do I know this?  Well yesterday we had a BBQ.  It was raining so it turned into an indoor event.  After we had enjoyed our food we headed down to the family room to play some Guitar Hero.  The kids were making a phenomenal mess with the toys and the adults were taking turns playing Wii and supervising the kiddos.  It was just about 7pm and we were getting ready to call it a night when we heard a loud thud.  We all turned toward the direction of the sound and saw Nora face down on the brick fireplace hearth.  I ran over to her and turned her over and she had a gash on her forehead that was bleeding a lot.  I picked her up, brought her upstairs and put pressure on the wound.  It just so happened that we had both a doctor and a nurse in the house.  Once the bleeding stopped, both doctor and nurse had taken a quick look and Scott stopped vomiting (he has a weak stomach at the sight of blood), we got in the car and headed to the hospital.  We left Brinley home in good hands with our friends.

Now I am not a fan of Emergency Rooms at all (not that I can imagine anyone is).  The wait is always very long and it’s no fun to see all of these sick/hurt people waiting for care.  But I have to say, it was as good of an experience as a visit to the ER could possibly be.  We were in and out of there in less than an hour and a half.  Nora, unlike her sister, did not require stitches.  The doctor was able to use Derma-Bond glue to close the wound.  Though both girls hurt themselves on or around a fireplace and had their wound on the same side of their forehead, Brinley’s was up much higher near her hairline while Nora’s is more right in the front of her forehead.  It fits her personality.  She’s a bruiser.

She will not be out done by her big sister!


I have an addiction.  It’s not a drug addiction.  Well, maybe it is.  Caffeine is a drug, right?  I’m addicted to iced coffee.  Or maybe just coffee in general.  But more specifically Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.  This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since I’ve mentioned my DD trips in many posts.  It’s bad enough that Brinley has even memorized my ice coffee order and points out every Dunkin’ Donuts when we’re out asking me if I forgot to stop.  For years, I’ve always ordered the same thing:  medium French Vanilla iced coffee with milk and sugar.

Well, yesterday I pulled into the drive-thru on my way out for the day.  I don’t usually look at the menu because I always get the same thing.  But this time a rather large poster caught my attention.  I looked up to see a phrase that said something along these lines “The best of both worlds – chocolate and coffee together.”  And right there was a picture of a mocha flavored iced coffee.  Now I’m not really one to try new things and I love my iced coffee so much that I’d hate to sacrifice such a thing by ordering something new and then not liking it.  But, for some reason, I decided to give it a try.

That was a mistake.  And not in a bad way.  It was TO.DIE.FOR!  I can’t believe it took me this long to try it because it was amazing.  I love chocolate almost as much as I love coffee so putting them together was sheer perfection.  I’ve had mocha flavored drinks in the past but usually they’re too overwhelmingly mocha-y for my taste.  I prefer to actually taste the coffee in my drinks because I love the flavor.  I don’t just drink coffee for the caffeine, I drink it because I truly enjoy the taste.  So now I’m in big trouble.  Yesterday Scott informed me that we need to cut down on our Dunkin’ habit because it’s getting a little crazy. (He’s just as much an addict as I am.)  Apparently we’re spending about $80/month to support our addiction.  That’s on top of the coffee that we already drink at home.  Yikes!  Not to mention, all that sugar and milk is probably not helping in the fitness category either.

Any suggestions on a less expensive, more healthy addiction that’s just as delicious?

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