Thursday, January 30, 2014

She reminds me of someone

Morning tea? Check!

Friday, January 24, 2014


We are a house of discovery these days. Where should we start?

Zahra has discovered makeup. I suppose, if we backup six weeks, we could say she'd discovered vanity. She had never worn a hairbow or headband for more than a minute but all of a sudden she wanted to put them on to look at herself in the mirror. Only THEN would she pull it out. She preened in front of the mirror and admired herself. Honestly, I need a video. I think she's too young for this, right? So, fast-forward to January and she wants to apply BB Cream, blush, and mascara. Zayd was into my makeup at this age, but he was OK with pretending. It might just be me, but I think she is actually "beautifying" whereas Zayd was just painting. As a feminist and Mawrter, I'm pretty sure I've gone astray here. Not until the makeup obsession started did I notice that I call her "pretty girl" about a million times a day. As a lady who shuns the term "princess", obviously I should spend more time highlighting her "executive ability".

 Zayd has discovered nail biting. My little worrying lentil. It's like watching my brother twenty something years ago and I'm nervous about his new nervous habit. (Ha! Wonder where he gets it?!) He actually exclaimed, "look mom!" when he bit off his thumbnail this morning. I think he thought he'd invented nail biting. When I went to clip his nails tonight, there were only six to cut and four chewed to the quick. Then he called me into his bed tonight to get him a bandaid for his nail. I'm hoping this is a rookie mistake. Thoughts? Suggestions?

 And mommy! Mommy has discovered all of the schooling options in San Antonio. Want your three year old in a mixed-age Montessori program? I know the place. Need flexibility to pick any random combination of hours, I can pick your school. Want to go through a grueling application process that feels more like college than pre-k? Check. Want to send your kid to a co-op? We've applied there too. Ugh. I've Google mapped my way between so many schools, work, and home that I would need a combinatorics expert to break it down. I've memorized the cost of a 7:30am drop off for (no joke!) seven schools. Who knows what well pick, but we are definitely well-informed customers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

But how do I get out?

It's a big day in the Mammen house, Zayd graduated to a toddler bed. He has been resisting for so long but I figured it was more show than actual opposition. He is a little guy that doesn't like change. But we bit the bullet today and both kids are loving the new set up!

Our quote of the day, "Mom! How do I get out? How do I get out with my feet?"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Good morning from three Mammens

It has begun! As I wanted to wear my sweater this morning. How long till she finds my shoes?
Pardon their sleepy eyes and messy heads, we just rolled out of bed! We've decided to spend our morning at a car wash place vacuuming their car seats. I think their gonna love it, but I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Making up for lost time

I have had the best weekend with my lentil and lolly. There is nothing to make you enjoy every second like missing out on a while week!
We went to Friendly Spot, Kiddie Park, Landa Playground and library, Trader Joe's and had a blast with every adventure. Oh, and we have watched The Jungle Book three times in two days. We've made play doh feasts and construction sites and had more than a few impromptu dance parties. We hosted a spur-of-the-moment dinner for eight, with three one year olds, a two year old, and two four year olds. No dads allowed!  It was wildly successful and tons of fun.

The Z's behind the counter at Trader Joe's. Our cash register guy was the best.
Zahra was reaching in my bag and shrieking. I assumed she wanted her binky, so I handed it to her. She was after my lipgloss. Uh oh!
His animals have been getting a lot more love since he discovered The Jungle Book.
This is how Zayd likes to watch the fight scene in the Jungle Book: with a weapon, either Zahra's walking ball toy or his ukelele, screaming "hiya" the whole time. It reminds me of my brother in *many* ways.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Missing some Zs

I am in Maryland for work and have left Daddy in charge of the lentil and lolly. He seems to be doing rather well and the Mahncke Mom cadre of support starts tomorrow so I think my Mammens are going to pull through. (In other words, Zayd has playdates starting tomorrow to see them through their last few days.)

So, it takes a village. I have the book but I haven't yet read it. Someday when I have "free time". I suppose now would be the most opportune occasion but I left the book at home.

I have enjoyed getting home from work with a clean slate, napping, and watching hours on end of Downtown Abbey but the truth is I am not at all nostalgic for the days when I had this freedom. When I had it, it felt like an absence of something better to do because that's exactly what it was. When you don't have kids you "take for granted" that you can decide on any night of the week to see a movie or skip dinner all together. I remember being pregnant with Zayd and people telling me, "Go to a nice restaurant while you still can!" "Go to the movies before its too late." "You should travel!" "Sleep now" - always followed by a condescending laugh. But, honestly , if you think about it those not-yet-parents aren't taking anything for granted; there's nothing really that wonderful about having no obligations to little ones.

The real joy is having the kids and sneaking out for a movie with your husband. Or getting the littles to bed and then feeling the "freedom" of your short evening that belongs just to you.

So instead of warning young pregnant or adopting mothers what they need to squeeze in before all heck breaks loose, perhaps we should tell them the way they will learn to appreciate so much more of the lives they get to live once they are mothers. And how you'll never miss the sleep as much as you miss their newborn days. And how it only gets better from here.

Tonight Sam got to take Zayd to gymnastics for a ribbon ceremony. That is something I'm sad to miss.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Roundup 2014

Since I took a nice long break this month, you have missed out on so much. Here is the mother of all Christmas posts to catch you up so we can spring into 2014.

We made a super cute Advent calendar this year with Christmas socks strung from the arch to the dining room. Each sock had a toy or candy in it and by one week in Zayd was telling everyone how he loves his Christmas socks.  Here are some photos of the kiddos right out of the bath opening a knee high sock full of City Work Trucks (a WiFi van, a street sweeper, a snow plow or snow "dumptruck" as we call it). Mostly they got a single Reese's each or a single marker from a set of four. As they get older I would like to get them more experience-based things, but it is hard at this age to promise "let's go see the lights at UIW" or something when they ... are still on the unpredictable side of toddlerdom.

Here we are making cinnamon and applesauce ornaments. It was the coolest thing! You mix the ingredients together with a ton of glitter and bake for a few hours and the things come out pretty sturdy. Zahra definitely bit through a few cinnamon snowmen but a few have survived to see another day! (Find the recipe here.)

I let Zayd cut open the glitter and he was VERY excited.

When Baby started screaming and it came to the heavy duty mixing, Zayd fed Zahra while I stirred.

Don't trust these kids for one minute, by the time I returned with the cookie cutters...

Just before Christmas we had a science day where we made fake snow from hair conditioner and an insane amount of baking soda (8 big boxes?). The snow was cool to the touch and really fun. We will definitely do this again next year, but outside. Baking soda, while a wonderful cleaning agent, is hard to remove from the grain in your hardwood floor. And, yes I was worried while Zayd was mean mugging me holding a snow ball.

Here are our shots from Christmas morning. Can you find my Z's?

We got our family band going early on.

While at Target, I told Zayd that he could pick out gifts for Nini and Uncle Jon. "No, I want to give them my cars." OK. At the house, Zayd chose an ice cream truck for Uncle Jon but didn't see one that he thought Nini would like. I told him we should look at Mommy's stuff and see if there was anything Nini would like. I showed him my scarves and that was a no. Then I opened my jewelry box to see if he would pick some earrings or something. He found a sparkly baubly pink necklace and knew it was just the right thing. Sam and I cut the paper and let him wrap his gifts all by himself (minus us placing tape that would actually hold the things together because Zayd's taping skills are more decorative than functional). For nearly a week Zayd walked around with the gifts in his hands and couldn't wait for Christmas so he could GIVE a couple of presents to two very special people. Here he is Christmas morning holding his gifts and waiting for Nini and Uncle Jon to come down!

So they can open their gifts!

And here's my guys after their gift exchange.

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas morning!

We went to my aunts house in the middle of the afternoon but somehow I took no pictures.  I think it is because both kids were sans-nap and I was sure they would lose it at any minute. Or break something. In any event, I had my hands full. I promise more pics next year. They will be older which I think will help.

That night, Uncle Moon and the "boys" (who are nearly all men at this point) came over and we had a very Pakki Christmas with home-cooked Pakistani food and tons of family bonding time. Zayd *loves* those boys.