Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weekend of Fun

The pictures say it all....

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #7

1. For me slothfulness is the opposite of creativity.

2. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult was the last excellent book I read.

3. I like fill-ins because they limit my usual wordiness.

4. In nature I like looking at the sky--sunrises, sunsets, starry nights, and peaceful blue skies.

5. Obama should win the US elections (but I'm not an intense politician, so I can still be your friend of you disagree with me).

6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was when watching "Prince Caspian." The talking mice tied up the cat. I really have no idea why it struck me so funny, but I could not stop laughing.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting rid of my current intense headache, tomorrow my plans include garage sales, swimming, and church carnival and Sunday, I want to hear what my pastor has to say about a very touchy subject!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How Our Lives Are Like "Friends"

I realize that today is supposed to be a Thursday Thirteen. I'm feeling a little disgruntled with the T13 though, because I thought that they provided a topic each week for me to make my list about, but apparently such is not the case.

So, I have a very short list this week. It's How Our Lives Are Like an Epsiode of "Friends." Bryn has done some really funny things lately that have made me think of specific episodes of the show, so I'll make the list as long as I can. Then it is up to you, faithful readers, to leave further examples in the "Comments" section until we manage to collectively make it a Thursday Thirteen (sneaky, I know).

1. Shortly after Ross and Rachel break up, she goes out on a date with Mark. Ross sees them leaving for the date and then spends the rest of the night looking out Chandler and Joey's peephole to spy on them when they return. When they do eventually get back, they go into Monica and Rachel's apartment, and Ross tries to come up with an excuse for going over there and breaking up the date. He concludes, "Juice! I need juice!" When Chandler tries to stop him, he lunges for the door, yelling, "The people need juice!" I think of this episode every time Bryn screams, "NEED juice!" In instances like this, I often reply with "The people NEED juice!" and she just looks at me blankly before shoving her cup at me.

2. In season 2, while he is starring in "Days of our Lives," Joey briefly moves into his own apartment. Chandler gets a new (crazy) roommate named Eddie. One morning, Joey drops by the apartment and is distressed at all the things that have changed, such as where the mail is kept and what style of eggs Chandler eats. The final straw, though, is when he picks up the juice carton and it is empty. Another instance of "I NEED juice" occurs. Same connection as above. Not as funny, but we just watched that episode this week, so it came to mind.

3. In one of the later seasons, Joey tries out for a play in which he has to speak French. He hires Phoebe to teach him. He does great at repeating each syllable back to her, but when she asks him to repeat entire phrases, he comes up with things like "eau de foof" and is convinced that he's actually speaking perfect French, while Phoebe becomes more and more frustrated. Unfortunately, this is much the same experience that we have when trying to teach Bryn her letters and numbers. (Side note: I blame Ben for this, because he messed her up at the very beginning by thinking that he was funny in singing her the alphabet song as "t-y-x-q-8-4-g..", simply reading off the order in which her alphabet blocks happened to fall.) Anyway, I now spend a rather significant portion of my day saying the letters one by one and having Bryn repeat them. When I ask her to say "ABC" though, she gets a big grin and says something along the lines of "G4T." She seems to be all proud of herself, like she thinks she's really doing it.

4. In season 2 (I think), Monica and Rachel babysit Ben for the day. While swinging him around, Monica bangs his head on the wall. He then spends the rest of the episode saying "Monica bang!" while the girls try to convince him not to "tattle" on them to Ross. This makes me laugh because Bryn has recently taken a few brief forays into the world of tattling. My favorite was yesterday, when she came running to me to tell me that "Shay pull Brynie's hair!"

5. In one of the later seasons, Chandler and Monica are supposed to be babysitting Emma. They manage to lose her, and Monica has just called Rachel to break the news when Joey carries Emma in. Monica says, "Oh, Emma! Thank God! There you are!" Rachel kind of freaks out, and Monica responds with, "Um, we were playing hide and seek. She just loves it when I'm dramatic!" Bryn has recently started playing hide and seek (again, counting like 8-3-4-2) and the more dramatic we are upon discovery, the more she loves the game. Shay also likes peekaboo, and she likes it best when her drama queen sister is the one playing it with her.

6. When Ross is dating Emily (or actually married to her, I think), she wants him to move to London. He says he can't, because his son is in New York. But in order to save the relationship, he then tries to to convince Carol and Susan that they should move to London as well, so Ben can go with him. They're in the midst of firmly telling him no, when Ben comes in and Ross says in a very excited voice, "Hey, we're moving to London! Hooray! Let's go back!" and Ben gets all excited. Ross is like, "See, Ben wants to go!" and Susan replies dryly, "Yeah, because we leave all our big decisions to the two-year-old." I have actually found myself using this line often in the past few months, whenever Bryn is being really insistent about something, I'm saying no, and someone else (ahem, Daddy) wants to give in.

All right, I got you almost halfway there..... so now you all need to leave some comments to get us up to 13 examples!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #4

What's this guy thinking? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First Day of Summer

In spite of the fact that today was cloudy, gray, gross, and chilly, it was still my first day of summer, and I was determined to enjoy it. This morning, I packed up the girls and met Andrea and Hannah at the zoo. We had a great time roaming around looking at all the animals and even got a chance to take in the dolphin show. I had a hard time keeping Bryn from diving into the shark pool and from leaping into the bear's area (she kept begging, "Mommy, Bryn down with bear!"), which I guess is indicative of her enjoying herself. Because of these escapist tendencies, though, we actually broke down over the weekend and did something we always swore that we would never do as parents: we bought Bryn a leash. You know, one of those harnesses that keeps your kids from running away in crowded areas. Hers is actually really cute. It looks like a little dog backpack (it even has a pocket to hold stuff), and the parent just holds on to the "tail" strap. Bryn calls it her "doggy bag" and every time I let go, she begs me "Mommy hold Brynie tail!" She thinks it's a toy. So I may be THAT mother who drags her kid around on a leash, but at least Bryn seems to enjoy it. Anyway, this picture is of me, Hannah, and Bryn looking at the flamingos. Hannah is eating fruit snacks, which is why she's making kind of a funny face. You can see Bryn in her dog backpack and me dutifully holding the tail.

We were home just long enough to take naps, then it was off to Ryan and Kathy's house for dinner. We had this amazingly yummy chicken and rice dish and then treated ourselves to some Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Bryn sorted through a huge box of Legos from Ryan's childhood and Shay amused everyone with her cuteness. Somehow Kathy and I managed to defeat the boys in a close came of Euchre, in spite of the fact that I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. After arriving home, bathing the girls, and putting Bryn to bed, Ben settled Shay in her high chair and fed her another delectable meal of sweet peas. She ate half the jar and would have happily kept going if we hadn't cut her off. Here you see her trick of giving herself a bottle. Doesn't she look tiny in that big chair???

Monday, May 26, 2008

6 Months Old

Okay, so I know this is a day early and I'm jumping the gun a bit, but I thought I'd go ahead and post Shay's six-month stats. We took her for her check-up on Saturday. She is now 27 inches long, puts her in the 90th percentile. She now weighs 14 pounds and 10 ounces. The doctor said this puts her "slightly below the 50th percentile," but I seem to know an awful lot of kids that passed the 14 pound mark at 3 or 4 months. At any rate, it seems that our estimate of "tall and skinny" is holding true so far! Her head is 17 inches around, which puts her up in the 75th percentile. Glad it wasn't that big when she was born!

Because Shay is now a big girl, it's time to start her on solid foods. She has been eating rice cereal for about two months, but now it's time to break out the fruits and vegetables. We tried her with sweet peas this afternoon, and shockingly, she loved them. Bryn rejected green vegetables from the very beginning (and still does), but Shay gobbled them right up. She actually leaned forward to get the spoon, and when I tried to switch her to the bottle after a small serving, she rejected her beloved bottle and reached for the spoon again. Wow. I guess a love of veggies will keep her skinny though! See below for a picture of Shay's first bite of green...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All Worn Out

We had two other couples and their kids over for games and dinner tonight. Mike, Kathleen, Eric, Cathy, Ben, and I played Bang and Shadows Over Camelot while accompanied by the sound of some very enthusiastic playing by Emily, Chris, and Bryn. Here's Bryn (in her Fourth of July dress about a month and a half too early--but she insisted) and Chris (in his pajamas--also very stylish for a night out) at the beginning of the night.

Since no one has to work tomorrow, we let the games go on longer than we would have normally. Bryn melted down and had to be hauled off to bed. As for the other kids, Emily informed me that she was going to sleep on my floor, and Shay decided to just pass out (as usual).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Parties and Dates

As you may remember from a previous post, Mother's Day was not so much the big occassion for me this year. We were traveling home from Peoria, and no hoopla was made. That was pretty disappointing to me, and Ben promised to make it up to me by hosting a Bryn and Shay's Mommy's Day at a later date. Somehow this morphed into an entire weekend of fun activities for me, so I think I really did get the good end of that deal, in spite of having to wait a bit longer.

I woke up this morning with sunshine coming in the windows. This was wonderful, because while babysitting, I get up before the sun comes up. Plus the last few days have been cloudy, gray, and gross, so this was a good omen on all fronts. Yesterday was my official last day of both babysitting and online grading, so I am now in summertime! Today was the first day that our neighborhood pool has been open, and while we had too much else planned (and it was too chilly) to swim, we did pick up our keycards and are very excited about future outings.

This morning we attended our friend Hannah's 2nd birthday party, which was big fun. Basically as soon as we walked through the door, Bryn took off to play with all of Hannah's toys. We actually had to convince her to come and eat cake and ice cream. This gave us some time to sit and actually talk with our friends Rob and Andrea, as well as the party's other guests, which was nice. Andrea had outdone herself by creating this amazing cake in the shape of Elmo's face, frosted to look just like him, and the kids were very excited about that. We actually had to forcibly carry Bryn out the door at the end of the party; she was having too much fun to want to leave!

After naps all around, my friend/former student Ben W (known around our house as Ben2) came over to babysit the girls, and husband Ben and I went out for a date night. This is a rare occurance for us, and we savored every moment of it. We went out to eat at Monical's Pizza, which anyone from Peoria can surely appreciate! We then went out to the movies and used free passes that we had been hoarding to see "Prince Caspian."

Now, as an English teacher and a book lover, I am most often disappointed by books that are made into movies. The movie is simply never as good as the book. It never lives up to my expectations. But, if truth be told, I didn't have very high expectations for "Prince Caspian." While "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" was good, "Prince Caspian" has always been my least favorite book of the Narnia series. I have actually been known to simply skip that book altogther when rereading the series, which isn't something I hardly ever allow myself to do, even with "The Long Winter" when rereading the Little House on the Prairie books. I primarily don't like "Prince Caspian" because it doesn't have much plot compared to the others; it's basically this: evil uncle tries to usurp the throne, Prince Caspian discovers original Narnians, and Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia to save the day. Certainly not terrible, but not anywhere near as good as the other books.

After seeing the movie, though, I stand corrected. I think this may actually have been the first time I thought that a movie was better than a book. It was very well done. The special effects were good, the scenery was gorgeous, and seeing it on the big screen (where we have basically not seen anything since the birth of Bryn) made it even better. I highly recommend the movie to all of you. Definitely worth the money.... or in our case, free passes.

At any rate, it's a good thing that Ben and I had a good time on our date night, because we found poor Ben2 highly stressed when we got home. Bryn had wet through her pants onto the couch and then flatly refused to go to bed, so she was still up watching "Aladdin" when we got home at 10:00. Ben2 was standing with Shay, rocking her back and forth, because this was the only way that he had discovered to keep her from crying. She's feeling pretty cruddy with teething these days, and apparently she had screamed her little head off all night for Ben2. I felt terrible for having left him with such a mess on his hands, but he reassured me that he still loves our daughters and would be happy to come back any time. Phew. So now it's 11:00, we have gotten both girls to bed, Ben and the dogs have fallen asleep as well, and I am diligently posting my blog before going to sleep, as it is still May (the month of NaBloPoMo) and I cheated (however unintentionally) last weekend. Now that my duty is done, I too am off to bed!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #6

Italicized is the original; regular type is mine.

1. On my laziest day I like to sleep in, take a long shower, eat yummy foods (that I don't have to cook), take a nap, read, scrapbook, and knit while watching a movie!

2. Making lists makes me feel like I'm being productive, although I then get discouraged when the list gets really long and I still haven't checked anything off!

3. I love little girls and big hugs--there's nothing better than when Bryn is so excited to see me that she comes running at me with a huge tackle-hug.

4. This summer I want to have lots of fun with the girls! I actually woke up this morning with a whole list of places I want to go and activities I want to do.

5. A lunch with Melissa, Crissy, and Chuck made me start my blog.

6. Red hearts and orange pumpkins fill two Rubbermaid bins in my basement, ready to be distributed around the house when the appropriate holidays arrive.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to the Trader's Point Creamery to see the cows and shop at the organic market, tomorrow my plans include going to Hannah's birthday party and then having date night with my wonderful husband and Sunday, I want to have a nice lazy day with the family!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #4

13 Reasons I'm Looking Forward To Summer
1. no more babysitting
2. no more tutoring
3. no more online essay grading
(can you tell that I pretty much just want to sit around and be lazy all summer?)
4. swimming in the neighborhood pool
5. tour of Indy parks
6. trips to the zoo
7. swingset and blowing bubbles in the backyard
8. teacher friends available to play
9. sleeping in
10. church league softball (for Ben; we're the cheering section)
11. trip to Ohio in July
12. evening walks
13. visits with family and friends

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #3

Leave your proposed captions in the "comments" section, and be sure to specify whether it's your caption for Shay or for Bryn. :)


Glynis tagged me to do this, so I figured I'd give it a shot....

What were you doing five years ago?
May of 2003.... finishing up my first year teaching at ZCHS. Ben and I had just gotten engaged, and he was graduating from college. We were also planning our three-month cross-country road trip, working out the itinerary, booking campgrounds, packing, etc. We departed for that after spending a week at Camp Tecumseh at the beginning of June.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1. make breakfast casserole for Mom-to-Mom pitch-in
2. hunt down and pack up all of Bekah and Levi's belongings to give back to their parents, as my babysitting gig is now one day from over
3. clean downstairs enough as to make it passable for hosting small group tonight
4. do laundry: lights, darks, and Shay's load
5. spend some time doing online grading
(I originally wrote this at about 7:30 this morning. It is now 4:30, and I have only managed to achieve #1--which then served as both my breakfast and my lunch--due to Shay's incessant screaming as she cuts her first tooth)

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. anything chocolate: last night Ben brought home the divine treat of raw cookie dough, which is more of a treat than a snack, but still soooo good
2. mixed nuts: light on the peanuts, but heavy on the cashews and almonds
3. chips and queso: I have not yet found a brand of eat-at-home queso that even begins to measure up to that at Mexican restaurants
4. popcorn, ideally with salt and butter
5. cheese: lately Bryn has been obsessed with string cheese, and I have been joining her in most of these snacks

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. pay off all our debts, including our house
2. treat friends to vacations with us
3. travel the world
4. adopt lots of babies
5. buy a vacation home on Lake Michigan, for use by my entire family whenever they want

What are five of your bad habits?
1. sleeping too much (or at least wanting to)
2. collapsing at the end of the day instead of greeting Ben with enthusiasm
3. taking too long to return emails, Facebook messages, phonecalls, etc.
4. forgetting what food I already have in the fridge
5. being so busy "getting stuff done" that I don't take time to just play with the girls as often as I should

What are five places you have lived?
1. Illinois - Chillicothe and Dunlap
2. Pennsylvania - Bensalem
3. Butler University - Schwitzer and ResCo
4. Camp Tecumseh - Illinois, Wyandot, and Choctaw cabins
5. Ireland - Cork
(6. Indiana - Indianapolis, Brookston, Zionsville, and Brownsburg)

What are five jobs you've had?
1. Dairy Queen
2. Camp Tecumseh
3. Carmel High School
4. Zionsville High School
5. full-time mommy

What five people do you want to tag?
1. Cathy--hooray for theraputic blogging
2. Alicia--remember that new year's resolution? :)
3. Caroline--to get you back into the habit of "turbo blogging"
4. Andrea--because has been too long since you posted
5. YOU! (I stole that one from Glynis, but I'm very curious to see how far this spreads, as I really don't have a very good concept of how many people read my blog)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mean Girls

It's funny to me how young kids start being "mean" to each other. Bekah, Bryn, and Levi fight over toys all the time. I think it must be an inborn instinct: "Someone else has that toy, so it must be the best one, and therefore I will fight to get it." It's certainly not just these kids; Bryn also fights with Chris, Emily, and Hannah over toys whenever they're together. Hmm.... or maybe it's just Bryn. :)

Bekah's parents are teaching her the names of different emotions, so she really likes to talk about her feelings. Last week, she was "angry" all week. Like, she'd be playing happily, and out of the blue, she would look up and say, "I am angry," then go back to playing. It kind of concerned me the first few times she did it, since I wasn't sure if something was actually wrong, but once I figured out what was going on, it was kind of cute. Anyway, one morning last week, at about 7:30 am, Bekah turned to me, put on her mad face, and said, "I am very angry with Bryn!" Now, Bryn was still fast asleep, so Bekah had not seen her yet that day, so I don't know what they could possibly have been fighting over yet. :) So I asked Bekah why she was angry with Bryn, and she replied very earnestly, "Because she was doing it!" I asked for clarification, but Bekah lost interest in our discussion and went back to playing. So apparently Bekah just felt that in case there should be a fight later, she needed to establish that she was in the right because she approached me first!

Now, this cuts both ways. Bryn has become very used to the principle of "finger-pointing," meaning "it's not my fault!" in any circumstance. Over the weekend, our family piled into "Nana's car" (which is what Bryn calls the van) in order to drive to Peoria. Ben had removed the back seat in order to make room for all our junk. Bryn became very concerned when she realized that a whole seat was missing, and very soberly told me, "Bekah broke Nana's car!" She repeated this several times to both me and Ben, all while pointing at the empty back area and looking very innocent and concerned. Now, obviously, the car was not broken, and Bekah had clearly had nothing to do with the removal of the seat. I think Bryn just wanted to be sure she didn't get blamed for it, and she decided to use Bekah as a scapegoat!

Isn't it funny how early we develop that "don't blame me" mentality? I'm fully expecting Shay's first words to be, "Mommy, it's all Bryn's fault!" :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lack of Blogging

Well, it looks like I have failed in my goal of blogging every day this month. I really did have the best of intentions. We were in Peoria over the weekend for my stepsister Lindsay's high school graduation from good old DHS. In spite of my intense exhaustion after a lengthy car ride with the girls (during which I had to entertain Bryn by singing every children's song I know--which is quite a lot, after 10 years at Camp Tecumseh), after we got settled in at my mom's house, I dutifully headed down the basement and fired up the 1998 iMac. To my horror, I discovered that my mom has cancelled her home internet service, as she just does everything she needs at work. Therefore, I could not check email, blog, play on Facebook, or read any of your blogs for the entire weekend. Quitting cold turkey was hard. They should make a patch or something for that.

I actually did consider going over to my dad's house to use his internet, but as they were in a flurry of preparations for Lindsay's graduation party, I didn't think that was in the best interest of anyone's sanity. So, you will all just have to forgive me for the lack of blogging over the weekend.

Now that I've explained all that, on to the weekend itself..... Thankfully, this trip to Peoria did include more down time than last weekend's whirlwind. We were able to spend some time visiting with all our relatives. I worked on cleaning out my old room, which it turns out will be a far bigger project than I had anticipated, as my packrat tendencies developed early in life. The girls got naps on both Saturday and Sunday (me included), and Ben had some major bonding time with my mom's new huge flatscreen tv. Aside from the actual driving back and forth, it was a pretty relaxing weekend.

On Saturday, we attended my cousin Taylor's graduation party. It was really nice to get to see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins and introduce them to Shay. Even my cousin Bridgette was there, along with her son Christopher. Even though Chris will be four next month, I had never met him (Bridgette lives in Arizona, and we never seem to make it home on the same schedule). Chris and Bryn eyeballed each other warily for the first half hour and then tentatively worked out some sort of agreement as to the sharing of the toy trucks and the soccer ball. Bryn again followed my cousin Nate around all afternoon. He handled it pretty gracefully; I mean, not all 9-year-olds have their very own 2-year-old fan club!

We didn't attend the actual graduation on Sunday, as we figured that the babies would be more of a distraction than anything else. Plus DHS has started having their graduation outside in the football stadium, and it was kind of chilly and windy. So we just headed over to the house afterwards for the graduation party. It was really fun; we got to meet all of Lindsay's extended family, and there were plenty of other kids around for Bryn to play with. In this case, of course, "play" means "fight over balloons." Shay was having such a nice time being carried around by her grandparents that she wouldn't even take a nap. It was a little after 8:00 our time when we finally departed.

The ride home felt long. The girls slept for the first leg, which was really nice, since it gave Ben and I a chance to talk. After that, though, Bryn woke up, and woke Shay with her crying. We had another few rounds of the Mommy Music Box before Bryn declared "no more song, Mommy." Thank goodness. Then she demanded that I hold her, so we stopped for gas and a cuddle. Then she pointed at the gas station and started begging for a sandwich. Really? A sandwich from a gas stations? At 10:00 at night? We decided to pick up some popcorn chicken at a nearby Arby's instead. She was initially very excited about this and wanted to eat it right away, but it was too hot, and then she lost interest and spent the next half hour sobbing, "No! No chicken!" We eventually placated her by turning on one of the interior lights and having me read stories to her. This got us back to Brownsburg, where she collapsed gratefully into her own bed shortly after midnight. Shay was mostly good for the car ride, as long as I kept contorting myself to turn around in my seat and keep a constant stream of bottle flowing into her mouth. The way that girl eats (drinks, I guess, at this stage), I simply don't understand why she's so skinny!

Anyway, it is now Monday morning. Shay is taking yet another bottle, and I have given in to Bryn's begging to watch the "beast" (this would be "Beauty and the Beast"). I'm now faced with the difficult decision as to whether I should unpack from our trip or catch up on all of your blogs... hmm....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Facelift and Fill-Ins #5

Since I've been dutifully blogging every day this month, I decided it was time for my site to get a facelift. I like the white background to the text; I sometimes thought it was hard to read with the navy background before. And what's not to love about the slideshow? More photos to be added as time permits. And so, on to my Friday Fill-Ins.... Original is italicized, mine is in regular type.

1. There is absolutely NO way you can get me to touch raw chicken with my bare hands!

2. Having today off reminds me that summer is almost here and puts me in such a good mood!

3. I cannot live without my bed; I get backaches when I sleep in unfamiliar ones. Ben and I think our bed is the best purchase we ever made; it's soooo comfortable.

4. Having no debts and a huge savings account and traveling the world with Ben and the girls (when they get older) are two things I'd like to try.

5. When life hands you lemons, squeeze them into a cup of water, add sugar, stir, and you have a homemade lemon shake-up.

6. Lighting sparklers on the beach at PPI at night while surrounded by family and friends is one of my favorite childhood memory(ies).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to ZCHS show choir Finale, tomorrow my plans include driving to Peoria (again) and Sunday, I want to celebrate my stepsister Lindsay's high school graduation!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #3

The Thursday Thirteen website didn't "assign" any particular topic this week, so I'm left to come up with my own. I've done a lot of thinking recently about how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life, so here are some shout-outs.... I think basically all of my regular readers will recognize themselves in one category or another. :)

13 Ways This Mama Stays Sane

1. husband/helpmate Ben

2. supportive and loving extended family

3. SAHM friends and commiserates, both near and far, who understand and can keep me laughing about my daily joys and frustrations

4. oldies but goodies (friends from high school and college), who have stuck by me through many seasons of my life, with much good grace and fond memories

5. former co-workers turned mommy friends, who have shared life's recent large transitions

6. single friends who still want to hang out with me, in spite of the fact that I always have rugrats in tow :)

7. married but childless friends who don't let my kids scare them away from the possibility, however remote, of them having children of their own someday

8. working mommy and daddy friends, who tell me how blessed I am to be able to be home with my girls in spite of the occasional bad day

9. small groups, of both the adult and teenage variety, who share their lives with me and lift my family up in prayer

10. Connection Pointe Mom to Mom, for fellowship and the motivation to get up and moving on Wednesday mornings

11. Brownsburg MOPS, who inspire me to new levels of creativity and organization

12. former students, now friends, who remind me that I am young at heart

13. Blogger, Facebook, Yahoo Mail, and Verizon Wireless, who provide me with quick connections to all of the wonderful people in my life :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Alone Time: Clarification and Comments

I certainly did not intend to create any blog warfare with my "Alone Time" post.

Maybe what I was trying to say was unclear. Really I just intended for readers to go "haha" or "how cute" or something equally bland and amused, not start a theme of evaluating my qualifications and performance as a mother. (That being said... Ben, Andrea, and Cathy - I love you all, and thanks for sticking up for me!)

Basically, I thought it was cute that Bryn was made so happy by her "alone time." And I had a bit of a "duh" moment when I realized that Bryn was fully aware that she needed time away, yet I had not realized up until that point that this was my problem as well. I was expecting comments more along the lines of, "You have a smart kid" or "Stop blogging and take a break!"

And upon review, I'm wondering if "alone time" is even what I really meant to say; I think that "down time" might cover it better. Meaning, I can be completely alone in the house and still feel the need to clean, do laundry, and attack miscellaenous chores, none of which are restful activities or lead to that "rejuvenated" feeling. But it is fully possible for me to not technically be alone and still get this "recharge"..... for example, if Bryn is happy looking at books or coloring by herself, and Shay is amusing herself on her play mat, I can then take 20 minutes to myself to read, listen to music, recharge, etc.

I did not intend to imply that my children are ruining my life. What I meant was something along the lines of, "Gosh, we are really in a busy season of our lives right now. Won't it be nice when things calm down a little?"

Let's face it: it's hard to be around other people all the time. I know I felt this a few times in college and in the workplace. So while Bryn loves having Bekah and Levi here as playmates every day, it does take its toll on us. They are not members of our family, so they are not always in tune with our schedule, our rules, and our habits. So while Bryn is happy to build a block tower and then clean up after herself, Bekah and Levi prefer to dump out all the toys they can find, then dig through the stack until they find one to fight over.... er, play with. :) While Bryn knows that she is expected to stay quietly in her room during naptime, whether she sleeps or not, Bekah likes to wander and look for some action. Things like this are a departure from our normal routine, thus causing us all to be a bit more worn down and on edge than usual. When left to our own devices, I often take the girls to the library, the Children's Museum, the zoo, the park, but with Bekah and Levi here too, we tend to stick close to home. This leads to some cabin fever in all of us.

When you combine these daily abberations with the fact that I run out the door to tutor almost every night as soon as Ben gets home, leaving him alone to watch the girls for the evening, you can understand why we're feeling stretched thin right now. But I'm only babysitting for less than two more weeks, and the tutoring will only go for the remainder of the school year, and my online test grading has less than two weeks left as well. So really I'm just in "busy season" for my "work" right now, resulting in a certain amount of stress. What I was going for with my previous post was something along the lines of, "Just a few more weeks until things calm down--thank goodness!"

I realize (or at least hope) that many of you got this from the original post and just didn't get around to commenting, or were scared off by the flurry of angry comments left before yours. I just felt the need to clarify.


A special note to "Anonymous":

I don't know who you are, and I don't think I really want to. I am hoping that you are some kind of random blog stalker, someone that I don't actually know but has somehow happened across my site and for some reason feels justified in commenting on my life. However, I am also aware of the far greater possibility that you are someone I know, perhaps even someone that I consider myself close to. The thought of that upsets me, because based on your comment, clearly you don't truly know or understand me at all.

Whether we know each other in real life or not, allow me to provide a brief introduction to myself and what makes me tick:

Hi. My name is Amy. My husband and my children are the most loved, most amazing, most perfect, most desired, and most important things in my life. I would not trade my sweet girls for anything, and most certainly not for a lifetime of "alone time." I know that the day will come far too soon when they are over at friends' houses, off at summer camps, gone every day at school, etc, that I will yearn for this "together time." There will be more than enough "alone time" in the future, and I wouldn't trade right now for anything.

For as long as I can remember, children have been the desire of my heart. I have always worked with kids, in daycares, in summer camp programs, as a teacher. But more than anything, I have always wanted my own. I have always understood that whatever other personal endeavors I may take on, that I am called to care for, love, and raise children. This includes Bryn, Shay, and any future children we produce, and God willing, adopted children someday. Even when I was in elementary school, I dreamed of the day that I would have my own family.

When I was in the third grade, I opened my first savings account. From that point on, I put half of all the money I received into that savings account. This included birthday gifts, paychecks, graduation presents, any money that came into my possession. From the third grade through my college graduation, I only made two withdrawals from that account: the first was to partially fund a trip to Spain that I took with a group from my high school, and the second was to put towards my study abroad experience in Ireland. Aside from those special events, I continued to save. I didn't use those funds for gas money, for nights out with friends, for gifts, for anything. And that whole time, from my ninth birthday on, if anyone asked what I was going to do with that money, what I was saving for, I had a ready answer: my kids. I have desired a family for my entire life, and even at that young age, I was starting to prepare for them.

In high school, as I have mentioned before, I had an incredibly close group of friends, the "Clan." They always joked that I was the "mommy" of the group. I was the one that people came to with their problems, and I was the one who planned our outings. I took care of my friends. I identifed with the role of "mommy;" for years afterwards, my email and screen name were "clanmommy."

I started dating Ben during my senior year of college. I knew that he was The One when he not only tolerated, but got excited about my dream of having a huge family someday. My dream became our dream. We got married, and I was pregnant with Bryn less than a year later. We were starting to build our family, our dream.

The hardest times of my entire life occurred between the births of Bryn and Shay. We dreamed of expanding our family after Bryn, but I miscarried twice. Never have I experienced anything so heartbreaking, so horrible, as loving a child, praying for it, and then losing it. No one who has not been through this experience can possibly relate. I was able to sustain my pregnancy with Shay because I went to a fertility specialist on the same day I learned of my pregnancy and I was subsequently treated with medications and had my hormone levels monitored closely throughout the first trimester. As Ben and I continue to dream of expanding our family, I am painfully aware of the reality that further miscarriages are a very real possibility for me.

Over the past year or so, there have been several "Anonymous" comments left on my blog, offering various remarks as to how we should not expand our family any further. It is clear that there is at least one person out there, perhaps more than one, who seem to feel strongly that there should be no more children for the MeyPfans, and seem to think that their comments are acceptable or effective. I would hope that if this person (or people) knows me at all, they would understand how incredibly rude, inappropriate, hurtful these comments are. These comments were certainly not written by either me or my husband, which means that the commentary is way out of line, as my husband and I are the only ones who have the privilege of deciding how many children we will raise and when is the right time to expand our family. I have not asked for this unknown person's opinion or criticism, and would appreciate if it was not shared in the future.

Anonymous, I get your point. I hope you get mine.

Wordless Wednesday #2

Please leave suggested captions in the "comments" section. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alone Time

Bryn woke up all sunshine and smiles today, but shortly after joining Bekah and Levi downstairs, she got all fussy. I couldn't figure it out. Aside from the usual squabbling over toys, there didn't seem to be anything big. Cathy brought Chris over to play, which usually thrills Bryn, but if anything, she got even crankier. By the end of lunch, she was crying and set out to climb the stairs by herself, declaring through her tears, "Bryn needs night-night."

I figured that she must just be really tired, so I put her in her crib and expected her to crash. As soon as she was in her crib, though, she was calm and sweet again, asking for various toys by name and saying "tank-oo mommy" after receiving each one. I put down Shay, Bekah, and Levi in succession and settled in for what I hoped would be a nap of my own. I'm pretty much running on empty, what with babysitting 11 hours a day, tutoring at night, and trying to work in time to do online essay grading, all while taking care of my family, keeping my house in passable condition, attacking mountains of laundry, running errands, and traveling on the weekends. All I could think of was how blissful unconsciousness would be.

But Bryn wouldn't be quiet. Over the monitor in my bedroom, I could hear her laughing and talking to herself. She was "reading" herself stories, playing with her tea set, and talking to her stuffed animals. She kept laughing, just really cracking herself up. She was having a blast. At first I was annoyed by all the noise, but when I really started to listen, my mood perked up a bit too just by hearing how happy she was.

And that's when it dawned on me: Bryn was cranky today because she needed alone time. The few shining moments of this morning when she was not fussing were all when she was doing something by herself--coloring, playing outside by herself while the rest of the kids used the slide, watching the last 5 minutes of Sesame Street while the other kids clambored for lunch. She is surrounded by other kids pretty much all the time, and it is getting overwhelming for her. She just wanted to be by herself, to play alone for a while. And once given that time, she was completely joyful.

When I started thinking about this, I realized that this is why I am cranky as of late as well. With the million activities listed above, I have not had any time to myself in a long while. I'm pretty much only alone while driving to tutoring, and I have recently found myself turning off the radio and just driving in silence, enjoying the rare peace and quiet. The rest of the time, I feel stretched thin, on edge, cranky and bad-tempered, wanting nothing but my day to be over so I can rest and refuel--but my typical 7 hours of sleep is really not enough to make up for being "on duty" during the rest of the day's 17 hours.

As soon as I started contemplating this, it seemed that four children in my care entered into an evil plot to prove to me that I am not, in fact, to be allowed the coveted alone time. Bryn's joyful playing alone went on for two hours, complete with constant jabbering and laughs. After about the first 45 minutes, Shay woke up cranky from her nap and continued to fuss until she managed to fill her diaper. Finally, I thought, I could rest a bit. But as I carried Shay back up the stairs and to her room, I discovered that Bekah had taken advantage of the cover of noise my children were providing. Rather than napping peacefully like I had assumed, she had instead been busy building what she called a "fort," and I would call "a gigantic room-eating mess," in the upstairs playroom. She had stripped down her entire bed and dragged all the sheets, comforter, pillows, and toys out into the playroom. Then she had done the same with the futon in that room, as well as the body pillows that are usually kept by the tv. When I caught her, she was starting to empty out the many toy bins into her pile of mess.

By the time Bekah and I had managed to put away all these items, Shay had decided that post-pooping, what she really needed was a bottle to refill her now-empty stomach. Then Levi woke up and wanted nothing but to be held and kind of whimper into my shoulder, while Bekah kept trying to make Shay wear my shoes. Bekah and Levi have now been picked up by their nighttime babysitter, and Shay is now teething on the monkey on her play mat. Bryn is asleep, continuing her blissful alone time. I think it's clear who got the best end of this deal!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend in Pictures

Grandma Diane and Grandpa Dave cuddle Shay at dinner

huge celebratory graduation dinner, featuring aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, and the wonderful Matty B

girl bonding time: me, cousin Kailee, graduate sister Kristin, and stepsister Lindsay

Grammy Tina spends Mother's Day fussing over Shay

my girls and me on Mother's Day, relaxing in our pjs after a long car ride

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day (kind of)

The following is a transcription of my actual hand-drawn Mother's Day card from the girls (with a little help from Ben, I think!):


Shay and I are really embarrassed of our Daddy, and wanted to let you know that we love you very much! If we were old enough to have allowances or to shop on our own, we would have bought you something special enough to convince you we know how wonderful you are. As is, he let us color on this card, and promise to make it up to in two weeks. He's a boob, mom, and we wouldn't blame you for leaving him.

Bryn & Shay

P.S. you are the best mom ever!

When I told Ben that I was transcribing this card onto the blog, he said, "Well, I deserve it. After all, I didn't get you anything." I would like to publically state that embarrassment was NOT my intention in posting this. I actually thought the card was super cute. To which Ben replies, "At least you married someone with a sense of humor." A self-depracating sense of humor, it seems.

But really, since we spent all morning in Peoria and all afternoon in the car, we had decided to celebrate our own holiday (aka "Bryn and Shay's Mommy's Day) two weeks from now, when we are actually at home and can enjoy some time together as a family. So I may have to wait a bit longer than most for my mommy celebration, but I am sure that it will be absolutely fantastic when it does occur. So thank you in advance to my wonderful husband and daughters for not just one, but two days of mommy love!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Off to Illinois

It has been a good weekend so far. On Friday afternoon, we got our dryer repaired, so I have been doing intense laundry since then. Okay, so some people might not consider that big fun, but I am simply thrilled to have clean clothes!

Shortly after the repairman came, my wonderful friend Libby arrived from California for a visit. We went out for a yummy dinner at Puccini's, during which Libby watched Bryn consume a large gumball, observed the proper bottle prop technique :) on Shay, regaled Ben with stories of life at seminary, and got rained on while waiting for Ben to meet us at the parked car. We then came back here, threw the girls in bed, and visited some more.

Today has pretty much been a cycle of visiting with Libby, tidying my house and doing laundry, and attempting to pack up for an overnight trip to Illinois. We're out the door in about a half an hour here, off to my little sister's graduation from Illinois State. We will actually not be attending the graduation, as we figured that two small ones might be a huge distraction / challenge during the ceremony, but we're meeting the family for a celebratory dinner afterwards. Then onward to Peoria to spend the night and do a bit of Mother's Day celebration in the morning before heading homeward.

Congratulations, Sissy! We love you!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #4

1. The carrot cake had an extra secret ingredient; it was applesauce! (thanks to Jennie for the recipe!)

2. Dagny and Tela bark through my window at the construction workers in the lot behind our house.

3. Right now, I need a nap..... unfortunately, it is only 8:15 am.

4. My own kitchen is where I went Thursday night; it was a delightful evening of enchiladas, brownies, and games with Derek and Cathy (and Chris). This was especially a rare treat, as both sessions of my usual Thursday night tutoring got cancelled, thus freeing me up for friends and fun.

5. Why does childbirth hurt so much? Not to scare any of you expectant mommas, but really, I couldn't come up with anything that hurt more. It's very worth it though!!

6. All I can think of is the end of May, when I will be done babysitting, can sleep in, will be able to take Bryn and Shay out and about in the nice weather, will be able to spend more quality time with friends, and (hopefully) will have figured out my job status for fall.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a visit with the wonderful Libby, tomorrow my plans include driving to Illinois to celebrate my sissy's college graduation and Sunday, I want to be appreciated (after all, it IS Mother's Day)!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #2

Apparently I messed up my first Thursday Thirteen..... I did this week's topic last week. So, no worries, I will now do last week's topic and then get on track with week #3.

Last week's topic was the alphabet: pick 1 letter and 13 terms beginning with that letter to describe you. I decided to pick the letter B.

1. Ben's wife - or wifey, as he likes to put it
2. Bryn's mommy
3. Baby Shay's mommy too
4. babysitter of Bekah and brother Levi
5. baby-lover.... I do want more someday
6. Bible believer
7. best darn former English teacher ZCHS has ever seen :)
8. book lover, though rarely reader (sadly)
9. blogger--every day this month
10. busting my butt to clean up millions of toys several times daily
11. bark-silencer (I wish) for Dagny and Tela
12. brave (or perhaps crazy) to be traveling for the next 2 weekends with babies
13. buddy to many

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #1

I believe the point of Wordless Wednesdays is to post a picture to your blog which can stand alone and speak for itself. However, being an English and journalism major, I am not good with being wordless. So here is my adaption of the game: I will post a picture, and you will leave me your suggested captioning in the "comments" section. (My dad inadvertantly gave me the idea for this.) Yes, this really is just a shameless ploy to get more of you to comment, but I think it will be fun! So here's my picture:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dryer Memories

I have been fearing this day for years.

I moved into my first apartment the fall after I graduated from college. I was student teaching as a grad student, and I was sharing a three-bedroom apartment with Lisa and Alicia. Since the three of us had previously shared one tiny dorm room, we felt like the apartment was a palace of space. As my rite of passage into adulthood, and a nod to my obsessive cleaning tendencies, I purchased a washer and dryer.

This was a big deal for me. I went to the library and researched various models in Consumer Reports. I asked the opinions of anyone who seemed knowledgeable on the subject. I stood in the showroom at Sears, examining various models and comparing them to my photocopied pages from Consumer Reports. Eventually, I purchased a washer and dryer set.

That washer and dryer served Lisa, Alicia, and I well that year, doing all of our laundry and even some of our friends', boyfriends', and relatives', as not everyone was lucky enough to own large appliances of their own. When I moved to my very own apartment the next year, the washer and dryer went with me. When, six months later, I moved to a rental house in Zionsville with John (and kind of Sarah) (and later joined by Derek), my appliances took up residence in the scary laundry room in the back of the garage. When Ben and I purchased our first house in Zionsville, the washer and dryer lived in the pantry off our kitchen. They saw the addition of Bryn to our laundry loads. They accompanied us on the move to our new house in Brownsburg. Around this time, I noticed that the dryer was not functioning as well as it once had; most loads had to be run through twice if I wanted them actually dry. But we continued on, and the washer and dryer then bravely bore the added loads produced by Shay.

Until yesterday. As I do what seems like several times a day, I transferred a load from the washer to the dryer. This one happened to be a load of Shay's clothes. I emptied the lint trap. I closed the dryer door. And I pushed the button to start the load. But this time, nothing happened. I pushed it again. Nothing. And again and again and again. When Ben came home, I had him push it. Still nothing.

Ben turned to Ye Olde Internet to attempt to find some solutions last night, and quickly learned that dryer repair is out of his comfort zone. So today we placed a call to an appliance repairman and are waiting to hear back tomorrow. I fear that he will confirm my suspicions that my poor dryer has bitten the dust. Apparently my appliances are not appreciating the fact that we are trying to follow our cult leader Dave Ramsey to financial freedom by getting debt-free. Anyone have suggestions on good but cheap dryers? And until we manage to procure one, anybody local want to volunteer your house for me to dry Shay's clothes?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Almost Forgot

I was actually in bed, petting Tela and just starting to get all comfy, when I suddenly remembered my goal to blog every day this month, and my utter lack of posting today. So with a heavy sigh, I dragged myself out of bed and came down to the computer. My friend Melissa, she trains for marathons. Ryan and Kathy built their own deck. Cathy, Kathleen, and Corie just did cleaning overhauls of their houses. My next-door neighbors are pursuing additional college degrees. Me? I blog every day. You gotta have a dream, right? :) So maybe this is cheating a little bit, since I don't have much of a topic or really anything to say tonight, but I at least want you all to know that I'm making an effort.... lol.

P.S. A special note to my friend Libby: I think you are wonderful, and I am proud to post that on the internet for all to see. You are an amazing person with a clear calling and a true talent. No matter what bad happens, I promise to redeem your trip to Indiana with good food and good fellowship. And a long nap if we can swing it. :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


This was quite a big weekend in the MeyPfan household. We had Shaylee's baby dedication today at church. Basically, this is comparable to an infant baptism, except that there's no water. :) It means that our family stood in front of the church and committed to raising Shay in a Christian household. (I actually had two lengthly paragraphs of theological explanation written here, then went back and deleted it, since that wasn't what I intended this post to be about.)

My mom and both of Ben's parents came over to celebrate the occassion with us. Yesterday also happened to be Bryn's 2 1/2 year birthday, so we were able to make a bit of a big deal out of her as well. All the parents were thrilled with how big Shay is getting and how much Bryn is talking these days. We certainly have two cute girls!

Here's a photo of our family outside the church after the ceremony. I cannot even convey to you how hard it was to get Bryn to hold still and look at the camera even this long when there was a fountain with real running water in the background--all she wanted to do was play with that! Bryn was actually quite the challenge this whole weekend. She cried all through dinner last night, because she was afraid of the fire on the tables at the Japanese steakhouse. Then she kicked, squirmed, and cried into my ear throughout the entire dedication; as a result, I missed most of what Pastor Steve said. She also comandeered the rose that I received at the start of the ceremony and proceeded to whack me with it repeatedly. Then she fussed through the rest of the service, the pictures afterwards, and the ride home. While the doting grandmas didn't think it was that bad and kept telling Bryn what a good girl she is, Ben and I figured that someday, when telling Shay about her dedication, we'll have to tell her that her big sister tried to steal the show. Of course, by then, that probably won't be anything new to her!

And here's our well-behaved little angel. Shay was so good for the entire service. She smiled and watched Pastor Steve very intently, as if she was trying to take it all in. Of course, this is characteristic of her--Shay is a very good baby. Although she is crying more these days due to some intense teething, she is normally an incredibly good baby, rarely fussing and always smiling. She is such a sweet, easygoing little girl. Ben and I joke that Shay is God's way of making up to us for our terribly two-year-0ld. :)
So, in short, we had a wonderful visit with both sides of the family, and both girl received plenty of attention and cuddling. A good but tiring weekend!

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I learned about this thing called "NaBloPoMo" on my friend Glynis's blog. Apparently the Powers That Be (known on "Angel" simply as the "PTB," although that has nothing to do with the topic here) have declared May the "National Plog Posting Month." The challenge is to post every day in the month of May. I'm honestly not sure if I'm up to the task, but I figured that since I managed to post the first two days of the month before I even knew this thing existed, that might be a sign that I should give it a shot. Besides, if I'm going to participate in Wordless Wednesdays, Thursday Thirteens, and Friday Fill-Ins, that only leaves me four days week to come up with my own topics, right? :)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Fill-In #3

Bold is the original; plain text is my answers. I thought there were some kind of odd ones this week, but I gave it a shot. :)

1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are caffeine and lots of cherry grenadine syrup!

2. The stubborn streaks in my daughters often amaze me, yet Ben says it is only to be expected, as they come from a strong-minded mother.

3. You can keep doing that forever, the dog is sleeping. (I'm not entirely sure what the original intent behind this one was, but since our dogs sleep about 20 hours a day, I figured this was a safe answer :) Their other activities include eating children's leftovers, barking at passing cars and workmen, and chasing each other in the backyard.)

4. Be quiet, mix it all together and voila! You have disgusting mess! (What I'm thinking of here is a trick we have used a few times to quiet Bryn while dining out.... she takes a partially filled water cup and pours in salt, pepper, sugar, and anything else that comes in "shakers" on the table. We just have to stop her before she drinks it!)

5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow indestructible flowers. I tend to kill plants, and I'm sure that if I had a garden in my yard, anything that managed to survive me would be killed by babies, dogs, or weeds. I love pretty flowers, but they'd have to be indestructible to survive around here!

6. Baby is best au naturel. There's nothing better than kissing and cuddling a sweet little nakie baby fresh from the bath!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to playing with Andrea and Hannah, tomorrow my plans include shopping for bargains at the Trader's Point garage sale and visiting with my mom and Ben's parents, and Sunday, I want to enjoy Shaylee's baby dedication at church!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #1

I was recently introduced to the "Thursday Thirteen" through my friend Corie's blog. Basically, the author of the original site ( posts a topic each week, and every Thursday, readers are to write a list of 13 items that go with the prompt. This week's topic is:

Since 144 is twelve dozen and equals a “gross”, next week will be our gross issue. Can you think of a gross Thursday Thirteen? Use any definition of “gross” to create your own unique Thursday Thirteen.

So here's my list, which is "13 Gross Things About My Day."

1. the empty lot behind my house, where bulldozers have been working all day in preparation for laying a foundation for a new house

2. Bekah's many trips to the potty this morning

3. the huge chuck of hair that Levi pulled out of Bryn's head this morning and then deposited on the carpet while she cried

4. the upstairs of my house, following my attempt at avoiding fights by having each kid play in a different room

5. trying to nap while the kids napped, only to develop a migraine from the sound of all the construction in my backyard

6. Bryn's after-nap diaper

7. Levi's after-nap diaper

8. Shay's after-nap diaper

9. Bekah telling me that her "butt hurts" and asking me to put "cream" on it after her nap

10. Bekah's hands and face after eating the blue birthday cupcake that Ben picked out

11. Bryn's hands and face after eating her blue cupcake

12. Levi's entire body after eating his blue cupcake

13. my hands after cleaning up the intense cupcake mess

Now all the kids look like Smurfs!