White Pine, and the world over, according to Carina: the ordinary is extraordinary. A day filled with events that we adults often overlook as nothing more than routine, mundane, and normal is cast in a completely different light when viewed through Carina's wide eyes: it is an adventure into Wonderland.

Monday, June 13, 2011


blogging weekly is asking too much. Or is it?
getting 8 hours of sleep is expecting too much. Or is it?
eating dinner BEFORE Carina goes to bed is unrealistic. Or is it?
taking the time to craft, work with photos, paint, or create is time we don't have. Or do we?

So this past weekend we made sure to try to get some of these under our belts. Except for sleeping. That would've been nice. A teething toddler who MIGHT have a head cold/ sinus infection doesn't sleep very well at night unless doped up on all of doctor's recommended medicines to treat all presenting symptoms: drainage=1/4 tsp of Benadryl at bedtime; Ibuprofen for fever and teething pain; AmoxK/Clav for sinus infection. I followed doctor's orders Friday night and Carina slept beautifully just like she normally does. And then Saturday overnight I felt a lot like Alice of Alice in Wonderland when she chides herself for thinking she gives herself good advice, but in that instance didn't take her own advice. This is one of Carina's favorites lately. And I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO glad because it's one of mine, too. She loves to "Sing Alice Songs". :-)
I half-heartedly decided that I didn't want Carina to take so much medicine at once while also not having much of an appetite lately (a result of teething) and not drinking as much as she should (again teething, darn 2 year molars), but I also knew that her doctor said it would be fine to give her these 3 meds since there was little adverse risk. I should have listened to my good advice and the doctor's. Sooooooo, I only gave her the AmoxK and Ibu. And wouldn't you know it, she woke up a few times both Saturday night and Sunday night and since I'm a light sleeper, so did I. The difference between us: she went back to sleep pretty quickly each time and I didn't. Tonight, Carina, you will be sufficiently drugged according to doctor's orders if you need these meds. Mama needs the sleep and so do you. Trust me. Now begins the mantra chanting to squelch that growing guilt-fear-worry ball in the pit of my stomach. I'm a great Mama. I'm a Great Mama. I'M A GREAT MAMA...

On a MUCH lighter note, I supervised Carina while she fingerpainted a birdhouse on Sunday. A sunny day, a shady place in the grass, a Sunday paper and 4 primary color tubes of Crayola fingerpaint did the trick! I picked up this birdhouse from an arts and crafts supplies dealer on eBAY last fall, but comparable ones are available at Hobby Lobby, A.C. Moore, etc. She and I had SO MUCH FUN doing it in some old clothes we didn't mind possibly staining! All of the paint washed out easily from our clothes and off of our skin. Her favorite colors to use were green, red, and the purple I mixed up for her. She preferred to paint the roof. The sides weren't as much fun or as well textured, according to her. She's not a fan of getting her hands dirty or making messes, so it took a little coaxing to really get her into it. I know she's fingerpainted at school and a couple times at home, but she's still not all about the mess. I hear ya, C. I've NEVER been interested in getting my hands dirty, fingerpainting for extended periods of time, or eating BBQ ribs with my hands (I use a fork). Modeling clay or Kiln clay is another story--that's fabulously dirty fun! More fun, off the cuff crafts to come, dear!

"Mama, I watched Tannnnnnnnnngled."

A little over a month ago, Carina's class watched about 30 minutes of Tangled. She made sure we didn't forget that she had seen it, too. It was as if she was working on her in-born, but well cultivated female ability to drop subtle-but-not-so-subtle hints. As in: I watched it once. I want to watch it again. HINT HINT. 
She not-so-slyly dropped the hint...

While driving along just about everyday, singing "Old MacDonald", talking about cows and hay, or feigning her fear of trees ("Ahhhh, trees!"), she blurted out "Mama/ Dada (depending on who was chauffeuring her to or from school), I watch Tannnnnnnnngled." Since I can be pretty animated and excitable, I got pretty good at egging her on: "YOUUUUUU DIIIIIIID?! Did you like it?" "Mmmhmmm." "What does Tangled do, Carina?" "She puts her hair UP!" "What color is her hair, Carina?" "It's lellow." This conversation repeated itself at least three times per week, and sometimes at least 3 times in one day without any recognizable trigger to set her off on her schpeel about it. That was the funniest part about it.

It was sweet and endearing and exciting for Jared and me to see her so excited about something, anything other than Bee Movie, Kung Fu Panda, (Elmo is a "has been" these days unless we're reading Elmo's Big Enough for A Big Bed book...), and The Big Bird Movie. While we love all of those movies, Carina you are by far their biggest fan.

So as any good, wanting-to-encourage-their-child's-interest parents would do, we determined to buy Tangled for Carina within the month and surprise her with it. Oh, we were soooo excited to do it, too!
Jared was off on a Friday 2 weeks ago and had to run errands at The BIIIIG Store (Wal-Mart according to Carina), so he picked it up, brought it home, opened it like a book and stood it up on the entertainment stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TV so she'd be sure to see it when she would predictably request to watch one of her current favorite movies upon arriving home from school.

WRONG. She breezed right past it into her room to play with puzzles. PUZZLES?! She remembered she had puzzles one of the few times we actually wanted her to notice the TV. Of course she did.
So, when she came out from playing with puzzles, oh about 5 minutes later: just long enough to scatter 2 or 3 whole ones on the floor in her room, we made a concerted effort to get her to slow down in front of the TV by saying, "Carina what's that? What's that on the TV table?" She turned, stared at the Tangled box, and turned around to look at us with the blankest blank look on her face. Her face said,"Could it be? No it couldn't be. All my dreams in the past month (probably), the content of my random interjections into conversation, could it really be true!?" She looked at it again, Jared said,"Carina what's that? Is that...."
"TANNNNNNNNNNNGLED!!!!!! I watch Tannnnnnnngled, Dada and Mama! Pleeeease?!" She ran over to give us big hugs and kisses and then we all settled in on the couch to watch this long awaited and much-hyped by Carina movie.

We all got comfy together, Jared queued up the XBOX and we settled in to watch it. All was going just fine, peachy really, everyone was happy and smiley, that little Tangled baby is just adorable, yadda yadda yadda.
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnn enter "SCARY LADY" who I'm pretty sure the teachers at school knowingly fast forwarded over because, dang, was she scary looking. Scary to a 2 year old. Maybe not to your 5 year old or even to a toddler of the same age range who might not be so aware of the dramatic music and attuned to facial expressions. Carina started screeeeaming, shaking, practically convulsing with pure fear and crying to beat all we had ever seen from her. That ended Tangled. Suddenly. After consoling and explaining that the SCARY LADY had gone "bye bye far far away" infinity times, Carina decided to watch Big Bird Movie. "Big Bird no SCARY LADY, Mama". Tannnnnnnnngled has been shelved for a year or more so Carina can adjust or until she decides she wants to watch it. No pressure there. I remember being scared of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and The Queen from Snow White.

Tangled is now one of mine and Jared's favorite movies. No, not to put on as punishment to get Carina to leave the room, but we seriously watched it over the course of 2 nights and just totally love it. Especially that horse, Maximus. He MAKES the movie. Sure, sure, "shouldn't Rapunzel make the movie?" Short answer: Yes and No. Just watch it, you'll understand.

Lesson learned: preview ALL movies. Especially PG ones. Jeez. We didn't even notice the PG box on the box. You need a magnifying glass to see it! We just assumed and everyone knows what happens when you ASSUME...and boy did we.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

fotos, photos, snapshots, pix, et al.

 May has sure had "quick feet"! (Carina's favorite line in "The Foot Book" is "Slow feet...QUICK FEET")
Here are a few of the photographic highlights.

 Happy Big Girl Bed Day!
 Showing us her silly face. She had just learned this one.
 Dada and Carina inspecting the new arrival.

Carina's 1st BM on the toilet at school! She'd done it at home, but this was a big deal, too!
Miss Nikki gave her an awesome My Little Pony sticker for her accomplishment and Carina told me all about her sticker when I picked her up that day. 
"Mama, I gotta sticker." "Why did you get a sticker, honey?" "Mama, I went caca inna toilet!"

 Happy Mother's Day!

 Expecting Portrait Session with Courtney, Bear, Nessa and Alfred at The Knoxville Botanical Gardens & Arboretum.

The rain held off just long enough for a beautiful afternoon with beautiful photos! Can't wait to meet Izzy, guys, and to have many more sessions with you all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"No", "NO", and "NOOOOOO!"

Originally begun 4/25/11, Completed Today

Dear Carina,

Is there a difference? 

Do we really have to ask?

Or to introduce this topic another way: in the past week your teacher, Dada, and most recently Mamaw all pointed out that you sure do say "No" very well. Ridiculously well. Like, oh my, please just say "Yes" so that we as your loving adults get a little positive reinforcement in our requests of you.  

Surely we aren't the ones being unreasonable, are we? 

Occasionally you do nod your head-full of bouncy, strawberry blonde curls so sweetly and agreeably  for "yes", but sometimes lately a verbal "yes" would be like giving us all a round of applause, or any other sign of encouragement to keep climbing that Mountain of Toddlerhood Independence, all the while guiding you along the way. We're proud of you for asserting your opinions even though at times they seem to be purely a means for you to reach an end: to be a "Contrary McClary" as your Dada and I call you. It's just one more sign of your healthy, on-track development. Or at least we keep telling ourselves this as a form of pseudo-applause for our seemingly unlauded efforts to guide, chide, or encourage you in all sorts of new directions and ventures.
Here's a glimpse into a few recurring scenarios and isolated events that aid in illustrating just what I mean...
  1. You are adamantly opposed to going inside from playing/ exploring outside unless "owsiiiide" is: a) rainy, b) cold, OR c) dark -- even your own hunger is completely unimportant and holds no sway over your steadfast decision to remain outside. We either have to carry you inside, wailing all the way, garnering leers and whispers from the neighbors or slyly get you inside the doorway without you realizing what's going on. And, yes, sometimes we are proud of that. You'll turn out just fine...
  2.  You really do LOVE taking baths, but every night in the last month, right after dinner, you blurt out "NO BATH." just as calmly as you please. As if you call the shots around here...HA! It's hilarious to us (after the bath is underway) because almost as soon as your feet hit the water, you are just happy as a lark to be taking a bath.
  3. Easter dinner was a blast. We adults sat down to eat about 1.5 hours before your usual dinnertime and you were not interested. "NOOOOOO EAT! GO OWSIIIIDE?" Again, funny AFTER the fact. Playing "pass the toddler from lap-to-lap because we forgot both boosters" was due punishment for such a memory lapse. I would say "Never again" to forgetting your seat, but I prefer to NOT eat my words.
  4. However, even as redeeming as it was, you did thoroughly enjoy leading each of Mama, Papaw, and Mamaw around the yard on adventures after we ate Easter dinner. We enjoyed it, too, we promise. Please forgive the general red-facedness and huffing from hoofing it up and down the hills. We're older and flabbier than you are. Said with love, of course. As an aside, I can't fathom the lack of cognizance some folks display when they decide to have their 1st child after they hit 40 years old (depending on the scenario, even 35 sounds old...). How do you expect to keep up with / entertain / play with your offspring? He or she is going at FULL-TILT 24/7 and you're lucidly present between conference(s) (calls), jet-setting, transporting, doing the daily grind of the workplace and working hard for the money in conjunction with home-making, home-keeping, child-rearing, and spousal-loving-supporting-coping. Folks who have earned their degrees, earned their titles at work, and planned their family planning are admirable and mostly practical, at best, in my mind. Estimations of course depending on the sum of all life goals of each partner and notwithstanding outside pressures from family to produce cuddly, kissable, spoilable new, exciting, and unpredictable combinations of your individual DNA. Delusional, distracted, and stretched thin are also applicable descriptors to the over 40 1st-time parents. (I know of people who have waited longer than 40 years old to start procreating, but they are practically on the verge of senility at that point, so no one's calling that a sane decision, anyway.) Just a thought...
  5. You love to help. With anything. ANYTHING. From getting the box of Multi-Grain Cheerios out of the cabinet to doling out "paper" in the bathroom, you are so on top of your "Mama's Big Helper" game. You even "wash dishes": seated in your chair with the tray in place, after Mama washes and rinses the plastic dishes, she hands them to you. You then use your dampened rag to wash them again, hand them back to Mama for her to put in the drying rack, and then wait for your next dish. 90% of the time you will not say "no" to a request for help and that's much appreciated.
  6. There are some art supplies that really excite you and some that, well, just don't. Markers fall into the "Complete and Total Awesomeness" Category. I love that you love them so much and I love that HUGE smile you wear so proudly while you use them so ineptly (usually there's more color on YOU than the paper). I'm not so fond of the predictable meltdown that follows after their use when you're told it's time to put them away. I love you, but wow. You really know what you want. I'm afraid to let you use them more often (until you get a little older) to get you more acquainted with them because I really don't want you to expect markers whenever we color. You're not a fan of being scrubbed vigorously to remove the marker that you coat your hands with accidentally & purposefully.
  7. Play-Doh is another story altogether. Who doesn't love Play-Doh? It's colorful, has limitless possibilities, and is non-toxic (a major plus). Hey, I can't tell you how much Play-Doh I accidentally ate and I turned out good enough. Somedays energy & patience are just in short-supply by the end of the day when you want to play with it and it just has to wait til the weekend for now. When you're a little older and don't need such close supervision, we'll discuss the Play-Doh playtime rules in depth. Again, said with love and understanding, of course. I love children, working with children, being with children, and you are no exception. If you work full-time, have full-time interests, AND parent/ spouse full-time someday, you'll better understand the situation. I promise. I didn't "get it" either until I jumped into those roles simultaneously. I suggest easing into each one of them, if at all possible.
  8. The Park. We love the park. Not as much as you do, but there was a time when we did. We were children once and going to the park was all we wanted to do, too. We remember feeling as you do, wanting as you want, and reeling as you reel when it's time to leave. We love you and feel for your seemingly heart-wrenching loss, but nearly 2 hours at the park is sufficient. Yes, you currently disagree: all dang day, sun-up to sun-down wouldn't be enough. We sympathize with you: all dang day, sun-up to sun-down at the spa or an art museum wouldn't be enough for us either. (Hmmm...when's the last time we did either of those?) We might even get upset when it's time to leave from our favorite places, might even cry a little from not knowing when we might return, but making a spectacle for spectacle's sake is generally not smiled upon unless you're Lady Gaga. We do call you "Baby (or Lady) Googah" though, so perhaps your behavior is nearly befitting. Nearly. We understand how intensely you feel your emotions and we definitely don't expect you to act like an adult already or to never, not ever throw a fit. We get it, babe. Please forgive us for giggling quietly to ourselves when you try to run UP the spiral slide to get away from us when it's time to go, losing your footing and sliding down head-first and backwards, without injury of course, and getting even more crimson-faced & generally pissed off than when you first endeavored UP the slide. You're a funny little gal and you don't even have to try.
The African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child" is no less applicable in its simplicity. 
We do see that you appreciate our collective effort: you shriek with excitement when you see any of us, you give hugs and request kisses with your signature "kiss face", you laugh with us, tickle, cuddle, read, learn and play with us. 
You simply love us.  
All of us. 
And even if by no other means do we see our efforts to broaden your horizons and guide you aren't going unnoticed, it's when you show us exactly how you commend them: you want to lead each of us around the yard on an adventure of your own making. From caterpillars to blowing dandelion puffs, splashing in fountains, walking to the mailbox, coloring with us, helping wash the dishes, trying a new food after someone else does, go down the slide headfirst only after Mama does (which was entertainment for everyone at the park), to do it all on "your time" when you think you've made the decision for yourself, even if it's just 30 seconds after you've been requested to do it and you initially say "NO". 
Determined, focused, attuned and attentive and aware, bright, sweet, loving, and cautiously adventurous are just a few of the characteristics we've recognized in you in the last 2 years. 
No doubt they will be recurring themes in your development, Dear.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Welcome to Trainers 1: The Beginnings of Toilet Training

Ahh, yes, toilet training.

October 2010

Here we are, 2.5 weeks down in her new classroom and she's already making strides.

Messy ones at times:
4/18/11, poop + bathtub containing child from whence it came and multitude of toys = 
"OMG, Mama, when I say I have to CACA, I don't mean you have 30 leisurely seconds to lift the lid on the toilet, gingerly scoop me out of the tub...I MEAN NOW!!!"

However, progress has been charted, even with baby steps.

We're pretty open at home, so if you're offended at the lack of 'appropriateness' or lack of privacy for her in this blog entry (and any future ones for that matter--Uhhh, hello?! Thinking, feeling, sharing Mother here), please make your way to the exit. Everyone does it. Pees and poops, "it" is. I mean "it" is SO common, someone wrote a book for children called just that,"Everyone Poops". And here's another not so genteel way to put it: "Everybody Poops 410 Pounds A Year"

Carina "moved-up" to Trainers 1 at school on April 4th and in this classroom they hit the ground running with potty training as soon as the child demonstrates he/ she is ready and showing interest. We've been working with Carina, complete with gender appropriate demonstrations, and showing her how it all goes down since last Fall, so she's not unfamiliar with this whole shabang and so far has taken to it pretty well. She gladly asks to "go peepee", helps remove her "dadoo" (diaper, for those of you unfamiliar with her language, Carina-ese), asks for "paper" so she can get "all clean, BOOP-BOOP", and then happily, nakey-ly toddles over to the handle to "fush". She's only actually USED the toilet twice so far, but that's two times fewer in diapers. 
I'm notoriously looking for a silver-lining.

Dada has been talking about how excited he is about potty training, pooping in the toilet especially, and so on since...well, since she was in utero. The topic became a hot one once she was out of the womb and filling up diapers faster than we could change them it seemed. The day she took her 1st consecutive, 5 or 6 unaided steps (around 11 months old), Dada looked at her as she was arriving in his arms and said to her,"Look at you, Big Girl! Walking! Now you can learn to use the toilet!" I didn't note even a hint of sarcasm in his voice when he said it either.  Who could blame him?