Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dress Up

Every little girl loves to dress up, right.  Well, Lucy has taken it to a whole new level.  First of all, Lucy is a little obsessed with fashion and how she looks.  I have really tried hard not to emphasize this, but apparently it doesn't matter what I say.  Lucy loves pink, she loves makeup, she loves clothes, she loves everything girl.  You can't deny her what she loves, right.  In fact, I had an eye-opener the other day when I picked her up from the day care at Gold's gym.  To give the girl a little credit she did spend a long time getting ready...after a 15 minute hair brush and 3 outfits later she was ready.  After I picked her up, she seemed a bit perturbed.  I asked her what was wrong and she said that she was mad because no one told her that she looked pretty.  What?  Really?  Oh no, I have some more indoctrinating to do not need others approval or compliments to be happy.  Oh boy.

She loves to play with our neighbor Caroline.  They were playing "dress ups" but instead of using the whole box of fun dress up clothes in her room, they used her closet.  I discovered this too late and half of the clothes were on the floor.  Deep breathes, Mama. 

I pulled out my Mommy Toolbox yesterday and used "Love and Logic." 

"Lucy, do you want to clean your room today or tomorrow?"---Choices

"Tomorrow."---Duh, what else would have she said, was that even a choice?

Aram was gone today to do a class in Utah.  I wanted to clean with the kids in the morning, but wanted to keep it positive.  Wishful thinking, I know.  The kids were playing really good so I decided to do my chores first so I could help them with their chores.  Marshall was in Lucy's room with her and Millie and it sounded like they were having such fun.  He came into my bathroom, and very enthusiastically announced, "Mom, come to Lucy's room, we have something to show you!"  I had the thought that maybe he helped Lucy pick up her huge mess and he was proud to show me.  Boy, was I in for a surprise.  I walked in and every single article of clothing from the closet, the floor, the dresser were in a ginormous pile.  "Isn't it awesome?"

Really?  Really?  What was he thinking?  Did he really think I would think it would be awesome?  I was so proud of myself I pulled out my mom toolbox and was so zen.  I calmly stated that I was disappointed and that they would need to be responsible for their actions and clean it up all by themselves.  I left feeling mad but so proud of myself.  As I was listening to the "Focus on the Family Podcast", I was patting myself on the back for not letting my anger take control of me.  Ha, ha...

About 15 minutes later I checked in on Lucy to see how she was doing, and she wasn't doing anything.  So I got a chair so she could hang up the clothes by herself.  I was going to give her a little tutorial on how to do it.  As I was digging through the ginormous pile of clothes to put the chair down, it hit me.  Holy Hell, forget my mommy toolbox, I went off my rocker.  "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????  WHY DID YOU DO THIS?  MARSHALL, GET IN HERE, NOW...TURN OVER..."  spank, spank, spank.  I lost it, completely. 

Marshall went back to his room.   I could hear he and Marshall discussing how they thought that a witch had taken over my body.  They tried to move their dresser over to the door to lock me out because they were scared I was going to turn them into toads.  Ok, I deserve that.  There is no excuse for freaking out on my kids.  But, no matter how many tools are in my toolbox, or how zen I am feeling the contents of a previously filled closet left in a ginormous heap on the floor pushes a girl over the edge.  But, luckily for my kids they got their mom back soon.  But, I am sure the witch will resurface someday in the near future.  Perhaps it will be a 2 time offense of markers on the door, and the couch.  Or Shep throwing a fit because he doesn't want to go to piano...Who knows.  It's an emotional roulette being a mom.  And, believe it or not I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Millie is such a sweet baby.  She has the perfect personality to be the caboose of our clan.  She loves to give snuggles in the morning, the kids all fight over her hugs and kisses.  Marshall is never satisfied until he gets a kiss/hug from her in the morning.  He still has the obsession with putting his hands all over her lips, and speaks gibberish as he does it.  He did this strange thing with Lucy, too.  He just can't help himself. 

It's really funny but Millie loves to blow "raspberries" on us.  If you are laying down she will lift up your shirt and blow a good one on your belly button. 

She's a super good helper.  She ends up in our bed most nights and wakes up before both of us.  So, when Aram gets up in the morning she helps him get ready for the day.  While he is in the shower, she hands him his clothes when he is done.  And, gives him 2 word commands, "Daddy..."  She is known for her two word commands; "Daddy book", "Daddy Poop", "Mommy ba ba". 

She is the best of all my children with routines.  She takes her plate to the sink, as soon as she comes in the door from the garage she lifts her feet for me to take her shoes off.  Tonight she stopped Lucy at the door and helped her take he shoes off.  After the clothes fiasco earlier today she was an awesome helper cleaning up their room.  You just tell her what to put away and she diligently does it. 

She's a smart little cookie, and talks so much for her age.  Lucy=Luc, Marshall=Shall, Sheppard=Bye(?). 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two Americans In Paris

 We only had one day in Paris, which we spent way too much of  in the custumes line at Charles De Gualle Airport, so we really packed it in.  We started at Notre Dame and then made our way down the Seine.  Paris is a beautiful city, every building is ornate and gorgeous.  And, so many of them are built on a large scale it leads you to wonder what they are used for. 
 I took a ton of pictures of the Gargoyles guarding Notre Dame because my boys are totally obsessed with them. 
 We took a little detour to St. Louis Island for the worlds best ice cream at Berhillion.  It really was the best, ever.  Even after eating 3 a day in Italy, this was still the best. 
 Along this whole bridge were thousands of locks in which lovers over the years have pledged thier love and sealed the lock.  We didn't have a lock to contribute so we decided just to lock lips instead. 
 I got taken by this seemingly sweet old beggar lady.  I saw her walking down the street begging, and was going to give to her.  But, just as I was about to change my mind because I felt like it was an act, she started to fall.   I had to help her get her balance, and then I gave her my money.  Well at least she earned it with some good acting.  Throughout the rest of our trip with saw many more "old" beggars hiding their faces with their shawls or facing the ground in the kneeling position.  And, surprisingly these old women had the best hand cream ever because their hands were young, with no wrinkles.
                                                                  Relaxing at the gardens at the Louvre. 
 By the time we made it to the Eiffle Tower it was dark and pouring rain.  On the upside, no line.  We made the journey up the 700 stairs to get the best view in Paris.  I loved it!

                                                              Notice the Eiffle Tower in the distance. 

Roman Holiday

 Ok, Rome is the coolest city ever.  Now that my vote is in, let me explain why.  There are layers and layers of history everywhere you turn.  On our first bus ride through Rome I was in complete shock, "Wow, what's that?"  "Oh my, look at that ruin."  "Holy cow are those apartments built into a roman colum?"  The Romans pretty much rules half the world from 200 BC to 400 AD (don't fact check me), and then it became the center of the church from then until now, and it was a central figure in the Renaissance.  So pretty much every where you look there is something totally amazing, old or beautiful.  I LOVE Rome!!!
       At the Roman Forum.  Notice what's in Aram's left hand, that's right Rick Steves guided us step by step. 

 Another Gelato.  In front of the Collesseum.  What happened there is both totally grotesque and disgusting, but you can't help be in total and and admiration of the structure.  I felt like I was at Lavell Edwards Stadium, subtract 2000 years.  It's amazing what the Romans accomplished archeticurally. 
 Our tourguide for the Vatican.  We got suckered into a guided tour, happy we did it though because the Vatican is totally overwhelming the amount of art that is collected there is just wow. 
 Some of my Favorites. 

 Ok, don't be disgusted with us.  But, we were really craving a burger.  We went to the biggest McDonalds in the world, right in the heart of Rome.  And, yes it hit the spot.  I'm not ashamed I love me some double cheese!
                                                                 A little romance and the Trevi Fountain. 
 Yep, we have insured our fate to return to Rome by tossing in a coin into the Trevi Fountain. 
 Best ambiance ever: Eating pizza and pasta with candellight, with a street performer serandaing us in front of the Pantheon.  Priceless!

 This ginormous building has no function, it is simply a monument to celebrate Italy's unification.  The don't do anything half-ass in Rome.  Pardon my french. 

                                                                On the road again....train ride to Florence. 

Florence and Tuscany

                         Florence is a great city, not my favorite on the trip, but if you are a lover of art it is a must. 
 Funny thing, the food I craved most on the trip was fruit and veggies.  I made Aram stop at a market a day to pick up some for the day.  Luckily, in all the cities there are free flowing water fountains everywhere to fill up our bottles and wash our fruit.  Thank heavens for these or I might have thrown a tantrum having to pay for more water.  Two things I hate to pay for, I feel the are an unalieable right (obviously I grew up in America) are water and bathrooms.  And, when in Europe you usually have to pay for both.  Argh, nothing makes me more irked than paying 4 dollars for Aram and I to drain our tanks.  And, the restuarants are quite comical.  You ask for tap water, and they say they don't have any or that it is "no good", just want my 3 euro for a dumb bottle of water. 
                                                                                   Me and the Man. 
 We met this sweet lady, named Ines from Argentina while in line at the Uffizi Gallery.  She is an artist and had been to the Uffizi many times and loved to share her knowledge.  She ended up taking us around the whole gallery, it was better than any tour guide we could have asked for.  She was a friend and a mentor.  Love her.  I now have a new love for Tiziano, he has the most amazing portraits. 
 This women was recreating this masterpiece in the middle of the street using chalk.  I will never look at sidewalk chalk the same. 
                       Aram and I got about 3 gelatos a day.  One thing Italy does right is their ice cream.  Yum!!!
 Have you ever wanted an Italian Grandma to fuss over you.  Well, that's what we got during our stay in Florence.  She came recommended by our trusty guide, Rick Steves.  Marcella rents out 3 rooms in her home, and everynight when you come in she makes a big fuss over you and makes you tea.  What a sweetie!
 We went on a one day bike tour through Italy.  It was awesome!  We started out at a 16th century castle, where a count and countess still live and is now a winery and an oil press production facility.  We toured the the castle.  Then mounted our bikes and headed off into the vineyards and little towns of Chianti, Tuscany.  It started out drizzling, but our last mile it was like a good old fashion Monsoon, no joke. 

Just had to get a picture of a bathroom.  They call them Water Closets, and literally that is what they are, closets converted into bathrooms.  This one was about 4 feet tall, so you had to hunch while in the closet. 

The Cinque Terre-The Five Lands

 The Cinque Terre are five little towns right on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, considered to be a part of the Italian Riviera.  The towns are connected by train, and trail only, no roads.  Our plan was to go there and a have a change of pace and relax and hike the trails.  But, when I went to buy our pass to hike they informed us the trail was closed because rains the days before and that it was near the end of the season anyways so the wouldn't be opening them back up again.  I was so bummed.  But, we made the most of our first day by exploring our little town of Vernazza and visiting by train the town north called Monterosso. 

 This was the little Pension we stayed in.  It took some work to hook up with the owner since she was going to meet us at the train station and we missed our train.  But, thank heavens it is a small town and everyone knows everyone so a waiter at tracked her down for us.  Everyone in Italy hangs thier laundry.  I decided to join the fun.  We had some soggy, stinky clothes left over from our bike ride in the torrential rains in Tuscany so we hung our own laundry and joined in on the fun. 
 We expected Italy to have the best food, ever.  We were sorely disappointed.  It was very bland and boring.  We even tried to get off the beaten path and hit local spots.  But, Vernazza did not disappoint.  We had some amazing seafood.  Aram said the sardines were out of the this world but I couldn't bring myself to eat them.  But, I enjoyed some prawns instead. 
While eating dinner on our first night there we conversed with a couple from Australia.  I told them how disappointed we were that the trail was closed.  They told us they had been hiking all week despite the closure and many other were doing it, too.  The "Everybodies doing it" attitude gave me the courage the next day to brave a hike.  It was gorgeous!!!  But, I couldn't enjoy the last 20 minutes knowing there might be someone at the gate at the end patroling the hike.  I rehearsed in my mind about 20 different scripts I would tell the guard if he stopped us.  As we turned the corner at the end of the hike we saw him, I almost had a heart attack and had visions of us being held up in an Italian jail.  But, he was talking to some other hikers so we quickly sneaked by him, and then I tried to calmly walk down the hill, but I nearly broke into a sprint because my adrenaline was pumping.  I am such a dork, forever scared of getting in trouble.

Venice: City of Water

 Venice is the most beautiful, romantic, and fascinating city that we have ever visited, or I imagine exist.  Every corning you turn there is a photo op.  But without having kids with us we frankly got sick of being the subject of all the pictures. 
 The best travel advice for Venice is to get lost.  And, despite Aram being a map genius we managed to get lost.  But, no worries it's an Island, we always found our way.  But, as we got lost we found the true charm of the city away from the hoards of tourists. 

 Our lifeline was the Vaparetto (The Water Bus).  I am such a cheap person I considered just buying tickets as we needed them, but at 7 euro a pop the Venice Transit Authority forces you to buy the 24, 48, or 72 hour pass.  Best decision ever.  Venice is a dying city and the whole city is essentially a museum, and the best way to see it is by the water.  There are also lots of Islands to explore other the the mainone.  So, on our second day we branched out and explored some of the lesser known Islands. 
 The Island of Lido has a very chill, Southern California feel.  We walked along the seashore, so now we can say we have walked in the Adriatic.  It was a nice break from the crowds and tourist of Venice. 
 The Island of Burano is my favorite, it is soooooo charming.  It is a fisherman's Island.  So, instead of the ornate decaying buildings in Venice built by rich Merchants of the 13th century.  This little town is still bustling with local fishermen and their families.  It's also known for their lace.  So I splurged and bought a cute dress for Lucy, and a baby blessing dress just in case we get so lucky to have another girl!  Yes, that means I am pregnant.   It was suppose to be an Italian baby, but I guess I am just too fertile. 
 A woman making lace. 
 We didn't make it to Pisa, but turns out we didn't need to.  Burano has a leaning tower as well.  In fact, it leans at a 5 degree angle, same as Pisa. 
 Murano, is another charming Island.  That is known for it's blown glass.  The glass shops were so amazing.  I usually don't like to window shop but when you go to Murano that is the funnest thing to do. 
Because we had the earliest flight out of Venice on Sunday morning we weren't able to catch a bus to the airport early in the morning, because they don't run on Sunday.  Wish I would have figured that out earlier, before I paid for our 3rd night stay.  Because we spent the night at Hotel Marco Polo Airport and had the luxury of sleeping on benches.  I felt a bit homeless, but if it meant we didn't miss our flight, so we could see our kids as soon as possible it was worth it.  But, it made for a really long travel journey; about 34 hours in all.  So that plus jetlag has been killer.