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Friday, July 10, 2009

Two little girls and a slumber party

Thursday night was "boys" night.  The Schwalm brothers took their boys to the Big Butler Fair t0 watch the truck pulls.  Woo- hoo!  Talk about exciting times.

Maggie had no interest in going and yesterday afternoon, Erik decided Will would be able to go with him and not be too bored and cranky, so that left me alone w/ Maggie for the night.  So, I deviously hatched a plan to invite cousin Taylor to spend the night with us so Maggie would be occupied with a playmate and I could "cut" the playhouse walls and possibly prime them.  

It was a perfect plan.  And it worked!  Maggie and Taylor had the best time playing with each other.  I don't think Maggie has ever had such a long period of girl play in her life.  First on the agenda was a marathon dress-up session.  They had a blast trying on the different princess outfits and sporting these fancy hats.

And the conversations!  Soooo funny!   They played princess dress up and applied about 14 pounds of lip gloss.  Then they headed outside to the sandbox and play kitchen where they played "cake maker." (wonder where they got that idea)  At one point, Maggie said to me, "Momma, pretend Taywor is the big sister and I am the young sister."  
I had so much fun watching these girls play.  It was such a privilege to watch. 

When they finally finished playing, we picked up a pizza and watched Tinkerbell.  Those girls ate EIGHT slices of pizza!  I guess I must have starved them all day!  It was so sweet to watch them wolf down that pizza like ravenous beasts, lips smacking and sauce all over their faces, then 15 minutes later, they were snuggled up under a blanket together, eyes wide in awe of the magic of Tinkerbell - wondering if maybe, just maybe, the movie might have some elements of truth to it after all.  

As the credits of the movie rolled, the girls told me they were ready for bed.  I took them upstairs, tucked them in and threatened them, "No whispering and staying up late telling secrets!  Or I'll have to come up here and you'll be in trouble."  I don't think I even made it to the bottom step before I heard soft snoring coming out of that room.  

Being a Mom - it's the best ever!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bravery and Fear

Last night we met up with our good friends, the Nichols, to ride the carnival rides at the Big Butler Fair.  The Nichols twins LOVED to ride everything!  They went high in the sky on this ride.Walker did enjoy riding this "roller coaster" with them but . . .
The Schwalm's are not really ride kind of people.  I hate that feeling of my stomach dropping and I get severe motion sickness - defeating just about every rides purpose.  Erik hates waiting in lines in big crowds.  When we hit the fairs and festivals, we usually stick to the animals, free side shows and the food.  It's just more simple that way. 
Will and his girl friend, Ella, were not big enough to ride the rides.  They were both a little miffed that they didn't get free reign of the midway.  Will wandered off once and was then locked into his stroller.  We gave them both a bottle of tea and they were happy.
But, the Nichols had special passes which allowed us to get ride passes for free for Maggie & Walker and since we didn't have to pay, we hit the midway for the rides.  Let me start off by saying that for a traveling carnival - these rides seemed well built and maintained.  I saw none of the built up grease, rusty parts, etc., that I remember seeing in the days of my youth.  
So, last night, our children, given the opportunity to ride all the rides, explored.  Walker remembers doing some of the rides before.  He is not fond of any rides involving heights and dropping.  This includes the long slides.  .  He has not been on a "big" slide since.  And when given the opportunity to do the slides last night, he declined.  This photo is from two years ago.  You can see from his face  how much he liked the slide.  (On a side note, doesn't he look like a chubby little fellow?  And back then we thought he was stick skinny.  Who knew he'd get even skinnier?!)
Maggie did not and she soon learned she does not like the big slides either.
She starts off Ok . . .
But half way through, she realizes she does not like going this fast.  She then gets to the bottom and is not exactly thrilled with the ride.  
She is determined not to cry, but you can see in her face that she wants to.  
"Maggie?  Do you want to do this ride again?

"NO!  I neber want to do dat ride again!  Neber eber!  Can we pwease go wide the horsies?"

Maggie & Walker enjoyed these nice, easy circle rides.  Here they are on the "speed boats." Check out that crazy "fun house" mural.  Not sure who exactly they are trying to attract to this fun house, but I think the murals are crazy, not attractive!  
Noah on the speed boats.

I'm sorry, Will, but you just can't be trusted.  And you don't meet the height requirements for any of the rides.  Next year you can ride.  And next year you will understand what I mean.  I do have a feeling that Will is going to be the Schwalm that will ride the rides!  He is our resident daredevil.  Don't even get me started on him.  I'm seriously considering making him wear a helmet daily.  He considers himself a big kid in a little boy body.  It can be quite scary.

Maggie & Grace on the speedboats.  Grace is practicing her "princess" wave for when they go visit the princesses in Disney World.

Walker enjoys the speed boats too.   Again, see that crazy lady on the fun house mural?  She looks scary to me - not like she's having any fun.  I certainly hope that's not what we look like when we are at the carnival!  

Monday, July 6, 2009

My non-biological first born children

This tall boy in the yellow shirt is my non-biological first born. 
 I met Alex when he was about the size of Maggie, seen to the right of Alex.  He was a beautiful and active preschool fellow.  He was/is smart and knows it.  This led to the occasional confrontation, but, being the wise, practically- perfect- in -every -Mary Poppins -way nanny, I was always able to give him a logical and stimulating reason for why we were doing things : 


I promise his parents were aware that I used that line.  In fact, if I remember correctly, they endorsed it.  

Alex is now a man.  I recently drove my three biological children across the state of Ohio to visit my non-biological first born on the occasion of his graduation party.  Here I am in my early 30s and my non-biological firstborn had the audacity to grow up and graduate high school.  He'll be returning "home" to Pittsburgh at CMU.  I am way too young of a mom to have a child in college.  The sad part of this story is that my parents were not much older than I am now when they took me, their firstborn, to college.  As someone in my early to mid thirties - I can't imagine being my age and taking my child to college.  Some days it seems as if I just finished college myself!  That is ridiculous! 

This taller boy in the white shirt is my non-biological second born, Drew.
Drew was the size of my third born biological child (seen below in a series of shots of Will attempting to slide down the bridge on the min-golf course) when I first met him.  I met Alex and Drew at the daycare Center I had just been hired at my sophomore year of college.  I had originally signed on to this agency to do nanny jobs, but they had asked if I would be interested in keeping some hours at the daycare, and since I wanted extra money, I said "Sure!"  I remember seeing Drew in Miss Jackie's toddler room the first day.  Something about him just drew (no pun intended) me to him.  He was so very shy - really didn't want to have anything to do with me.  I wheedled, cajoled and bribed him with endless rounds of "The Wheels on the Bus" and the "Barney" theme song to like me.  He was just so adorable that I had to be around him.  It probably sounds weird, but looking back now, I know that God's hand was in this attraction to him.  God had a plan for these magnificent boys to be in my life and He led me right to them.

My life was changed entirely by my fondness of this boy - and by his family which unofficially welcomed me into their family - much to the dismay of the father : ) 

I cannot begin to explain the difference these boys made in my life and how much I grew to love them and their family.   I am so privileged to have been a part of their lives.

Now my children have been blessed with getting to know them a bit by our visits with them.  I know I have grown apart from Drew & Alex.  I'm not a part of their every day life anymore like I once was - which is to be expected.  I at least know that they still think of me fondly - andthat my love for them is reciprocated - at least that's my interpretation based on the extra tight squeezes I get when I hug these boys - I mean men - goodbye.