Thursday, January 31, 2008

Steppin' to the Bad Side

Last night was the big Mr. Zionsville show, with the 2008 theme being "Steppin' to the Bad Side." Since the vast majority of my readers have never seen this delightful production, I'll keep the sentimental comments brief, and just say that directing it again this year was a really fantastic experience. It was so much fun to get out of the house in the evening, to spend time with kids that I love for three weeks, and to pull together a great production. I absolutely adored all of the contestants (as usual), but the skit kids made me want to run away screaming (as usual). I will definitely miss being with the kids on a regular basis now that it's over!

Contestants dressed as convicts for the opening dance: Daniel, Kevin, Jeff, Chris, Tim, John, Morgan, Richie, Tim, Jordan, Jacob, Brant. Student directors and choreographers: Chelsea, Alena, Elyse, Ali, and Allie. Boys on the floor: Rob, Ben, and Brian.

The pageant may be billed as being all about the boys, but let's face it, the girls are the real power behind the show. :) Directors in blue shirts, stage managers in black shirts and jeans, student directors in black dresses: Laura, Nina, Jill, Allie, Ali, Chelsea, me, and Kelly.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sleepless in Lamont

The following is a partial list of Bryn's middle-of-the-night activities on our weekend trip to Michigan. These antics first occurred on Friday night into Saturday and are now being repeated on Sunday night into Monday. It is 3:15 am as I type this, and sleep is nowhere in sight.
* coughing
* sneezing
* nasty moist coughing
* more coughing
* difficulty breathing due to coughing and nasty moistness
(editor's note: the above actions, coupled with our desire to allow the rest of the family to sleep undisturbed by a sick, cranky toddler, are the ONLY reasons that Mommy and Daddy allowed the rest of the actions described below)
* crying to be let out of the Pack n'n Play
* snuggling in Aunt Jill's big bed with Mommy and Daddy
* watching "Finding Nemo" (in her words, "Dory")
* yelling "Mommy mommy mommy!" whenever Mommy closes her eyes
* crying hysterically when Daddy tries to cuddle her
* using Mommy's stomach as a pillow
* rearranging all the actual pillows
* sweetly saying "bye-bye" when Daddy gives up and goes to the living room to sleep on the couch (note: the rest of these actions take place following Daddy's departure)
* pulling Mommy's eyelids up by the eyelashes and encouraging her to watch "Dory"
* laying on Mommy's arm so long that it falls asleep (note: this is apparently the only thing that is going to be sleeping)
* running circles around the bed
* inhaling shower steam in Mommy's effort to clear her lungs
* sitting in the bathroom to read books
* screaming "more Dory!" at the end of the movie
* smiling happily when exhausted Mommy gives in and restarts the movie (no sound this time)
* emptying the pencil jar on Aunt Jill's desk, then sorting all pens repeatedly
* playing with the curtains
* running at the bed, bouncing off the edge, and laughing
* using pens to color on an old calendar Mommy found in Jill's trash can
* crying when sleepy Mommy realizes the danger and takes away the permanent markers
* asking repeatedly for shoes
* wiping nose snot in hair, but violently rejecting tissues
* turning pages of calendar over and over again to look at pictures of puppies
* watching Mommy go "pee-pee"
* demanding "more juice"
* having her diaper changed as a result of the "more juice"
* watching the end credits of "Dory" (again)
* rummaging under Jill's bed and emerging victorious with several Eeyores
* "reading" a "talking" book about Eeyore and pushing the buttons ad nauseum
* opening and closing all of the drawers in Jill's dresser, repeatedly
* spinning the flower-shaped handles on Jill's dresser drawers, repeatedly
* crying for the jelly beans she sees in a jar on Jill's desk
* sucking on one of Shay's pacifier
* rearranging the items on Jill's floor (note to Jill: sorry if you can't find your stuff tomorrow!)
* removing every item sitting on the ledge of the bathtub
* attempting to build large towers out of candles and bottles of contact solution
* crying unconsolably when realizing that a large candle will not balance on top of a small bottle of contact solution
* filling a cup at the sink, then dumping the water down the drain, over and over again, until her pajamas are soaking wet
* readjusting pajama legs to make running easier
* asking for "light;" apparently doing all of these things by glow of the television screen makes it feel too nightlike for her
* brushing her teeth
* "more Dory!" (again)
* continued coughing, sneezing, and wheezing
* eventually passing out from 5:45 to 7:45 (note: this has clearly not happened yet tonight, but I am sincerely hoping for a repeat performance. I could even go for a little longer this time!)
* waking up to start another long day as fussy toddler extraordinaire

Monday, January 21, 2008

I May Be Old, But I'm Online

I am not old. I mean, come on, I'm not even 30 yet. And if 30 is the new 20 (who decides these things anyway?), then I'm practically still in college. Most of the time, I have a hard time viewing myself as a "real" grownup, in spite of the husband, 2 kids, and a mortgage. Often, in circles of "real" adults, I feel ridiculously young and out of touch with the "adult" world. I'm not old, darn it!

This is why my feelings were recently hurt when my sister Kristin was visiting. She was telling a story about something involving locating someone on Facebook, and she stopped in the middle of the story, looked at me, and said, "Wait, do you know what Facebook is?"

Yes, I know what Facebook is. I don't live in the Dark Ages. I'm young. I'm cool. I blog. I check my email a hundred times a day. I may be woefully out of touch with items of national and political interest, but I know what Facebook is. That qualifies me as young, right?

The real reason I got so upset about this, of course, was because I've been feeling rather older these days. Now that I have to plan my trips to the grocery store around 2 kids' nap schedules, life is certainly less spontaneous. Last week, Cathy and I actually had an "outing" to the grocery story. We wanted to do a playdate, but I had no food in the house, so we went to Kroger instead, figuring that between the two of us, we could control the three children. The point being, everything in this paragraph thus far just screams of "grownup."

Upon closer examination of my recent general discontent, I was reminded of a very basic fact about myself: I love people. I love to talk, to organize, to be the center of a group. I love to listen, to hear other people's stories. Being around people energizes me.

But as a stay at home mom, I rarely feel energized. In fact, most of the time, I feel tired and frustrated. My typical excuse is to blame this on interrupted sleep, nighttime feedings, and the cranky toddler mentioned in my last post. But upon closer examination, the truth seems obvious: I am worn down because I'm not recharging myself. Being with people refills my batteries, so to speak, and the more I go without doing this, the more worn down I become.

The solution? Ironically enough, also the source of my original crisis. I decided to join Facebook.

I have quickly developed a serious addiction to this site. I love it. Within a matter of days, I have managed to reconnect with old friends, classmates, co-workers, campers, and students. I'm getting messages from people I haven't heard about since high school. Various friend requests, forums, and groups have allowed me to relive the glory days of summer at Camp Tecumseh. Former students are crawling out of the woodwork to hear how "Ms P" is doing these days. Every time I check my email, I have dozens of messages from Facebook, showing me messages that people have sent and letting me know what new people have located me and requested me as a friend. It's absolutely wonderful.

Ben thinks I have gone over the edge. He keeps worrying aloud that I will become one of those women who leaves her husband for someone she meets online (I say there is no danger of this happening). He sees me sitting at the computer and asks, "What are you doing?" in an overly casual voice that translates to "I can't believe you're checking your Facebook account AGAIN!" But I'm still loving it. Suddenly, in the privacy of my own home, undeterred by screaming babies, I am surrounded by people. I can reconnect with old friends with a few strokes of the keyboard. I can "talk" to dozens, even hundreds, of people every day if I feel like it. And I can do it all on my own timeline. Ahh, human interaction. Even filtered by a computer screen, it makes me feel more connected and invigorated than I have in a good long while.

However, it has not solved the problem of feeling old. Several former students have left me messages along the lines of "Ms. P! I can't believe you're on Facebook!" Although I remind myself that my first class of seniors is now only the same age that I was when I had them in class, even they are starting to seem old to me. This week I have learned about former students and campers attending grad school, law school, and medical school. Many are married; some both married and divorced. It seems that they grew up too.

Anyway, old or not, it seems that I have developed a new addiction. It may just be virtual conncections, but if it makes me less bitter about being woken up in the middle of the night, that's good enough for me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Deep Breath

It has been a very, very long week.

Starting last Thursday, Bryn has wanted nothing but Mommy. Mommy's lap, Mommy in sight at all times, no one but Mommy. She absolutely freaks out if I try to leave her, even just for a minute, even just into another room of our house. While normally Ben is met at the door with estatic cries of "Daddy Daddy Daddy!" and Bryn running to hug him, this week Bryn has cried hysterically at the mere sight of him trying to pick her up, because clearly that means that she will be separated from Mommy by a few feet. This has been particularly hard because I've had Mr. Zionsville rehearsal in the evenings. By Wednesday, we gave up on trying to sever the fussy toddler from my side, and she just went with me to rehearsal.

She has also started waking up in the night and crying. She hasn't done that since she was less than a year old. Clearly there is something going on with her, but we don't know what it is. We just know that she is really, really attached to me and won't let me out of her sight. For the time being, it seems, I am tied to Bryn and house.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

I came across a copy of this portrait the other day and again noticed how much our girls look alike. Compare this hospital portrait of baby Bryn to the photo of baby Shay in the last post. Bryn's face (and the rest of her!) were rounder than Shay's, but aside from that, they're two peas in a pod. Ben and I showed this picture to Bryn and asked who it was, and without hesitation, she replied, "Baby Shay." We told her that, no, it was actually Baby Bryn, and she told us "NO" rather forcefully and insisted that it was "Sho-ay" (which is how she pronounces her sister's name). At any rate, I'm totally fine by them looking alike, especially if that means Shay will grow up to be as cute as Bryn is!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tea Party of Six

Last night at Game Night, the boys "geeked out" (Ben's term, not mine) with some new complicated game and the girls sat around talking for a while. During this conversation, Alicia, Suellen, Cathy, and Kathy all complained that I do not post often enough. I have heard this from others as well, so perhaps my New Year's resolution (does it still count if I make it seven days in?) should be to post more often. And perhaps all of you should resolve to comment more often--it makes me happy when you do!

The featured activity of this morning was a tea party on a grand scale. Up until today, Bryn has amused herself by pouring primarily for herself, me, and Ben. Upon occassion, she generously agrees to give tea to Shay, Dagny, and Tela, as well as any visiting friends or family members. The problem with this is that grown-ups and dogs do not always enjoy the demands that Bryn puts on her guests (meaning that they get bored with this activity). So today I showed her how to set up her stuffed animals to have a tea party, and she thought this was utterly fabulous. The only problem was the Pooh kept falling over into his teacup, so we eventually had to provide him a pillow so he could rest his weary head. Otherwise, Bryn and I hosted quite the successful gathering for four of her "friends" while Shaylee slept.

Bryn spent all afternoon parading around the house in her princess outfit, this time modeled over green boys' athletic pants, producing quite the fashion statement with the blue plastic high heels. She also ate dinner in this getup, so I'm hoping I can manage to keep it off of her long enough tomorrow to remove the melon juice from the front of it!

After putting Bryn to bed, Ben gave Shay another bath in the sink. I'm not sure how well this picture shows it, but this bath made it quite obvious to us that she has grown a great deal since coming home from the hospital. When we first started bathing her in this tub, we marvelled at how itty bitty she was. Now, just a little over a month later, she is too long for the little pink tub. She was rather vocal with Ben about how unhappy she was about being squeezed in there, so it looks like her next bath will be in the regular bathtub. She's also outgrown some of her pajamas lengthwise, although she's still super skinny. Right now she and Ben are both dozing as he feeds her a bottle, so hopefully it's off to bed for all of us soon!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! Here are some of the memorable moments that 2008 has held for the MeyPfan family so far:

Here's Shay serving as a model in Bryn's fashion show.... Bryn received a stuffed horse with many dress-up accessories for Christmas from Grandma Diane. Bryn now delights in using the horse's hat (because why does a horse need a hat anyway?) to dress up her family members. Ben and I are pretty good about playing along, and the dogs have now learned just to hold still and suffer the indignity when she comes running at the with the tiny pink cowboy hat (this is also true of when she wants to serve them "tea" in her new princess cups). However, we think that Shay is really the only one that can pull off the "mini rodeo" look.

And here's Bryn showing off her new Cinderella dress, a Christmas gift from Cathy, Eric, and Christopher. It's quite the lovely ensemble, complete with a crown, a purse, a full-length skirt (note: there is a reason that toddlers don't wear full-length skirts for real--not only do they trip on the skirts, but it is also quite challenging to buckle carseats around all the material), a fancy off-the-shoulder top (Ben is talking about breaking out the barrel early), and plastic high heeled shoes. Due to the scandalous nature of the shirt, we do insist that Bryn wears regular clothes underneath her princess ensemble (which she likes to wear pretty much constantly); in return, Bryn insists that we allow her to sleep with her gorgeous princess shoes in her crib so she can start playing with them the minute she wakes up.

Here are the girls ready to, as Bryn puts it, "go nigh-nigh." We often lay Shay on Bryn's toddler bed (which she still doesn't use for anything other than play; she adores sleeping in her crib) so she can observe the proceedings as we get Bryn ready for bed. Bryn likes to crawl up next to Shay and cuddle, which makes for some pretty darn cute pictures. :)

And finally, proof that the guilty party always returns to the scene of the crime.... The other day, while Ben was watching the girls, Bryn took advantage of the few moments that Ben spent changing Shay's diaper by creating her own hot pink masterpiece all over our dishwasher and cabinets. As Ben said, she is a lucky, lucky little girl that her parents had the foresight to buy washable markers! And she does look regretful here, right? :) At any rate, the markers are now becoming a "basement only" toy!

Hope all of your New Years are going well!