Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Archive for May 2013

The Twenty-Third Month of CCS.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this tiny girl lately, probably because we are dangerously close to her second birthday and I am in disbelief.  In my head, CCS is a baby, and then I am around real babies – the kind that drink bottles and grab your finger – and I realize that she’s barely a baby and almost a full-fledged person.  So here’s the story with who Claire Chandler is lately. 

CCS is the girl who loves to try on shoes of all sizes (mine, Avery’s, Jerrod’s) but refuses to leave her shoes on in the car.  She’s the girl who cannot keep it together in the presence of cupcakes.  The girl who gives faux hugs when she’s too busy for the real thing (crosses arms across chest and says “mmmmmm”) and also the girl who showers the dogs with kisses on their backs and sometimes their tails.  Sometimes she’s the girl who gets so upset when she doesn’t get her way that she face plants into her kitty and blanket in utter and total, despondent frustration.  Claire is the only baby/human I know who is extremely smell absorbent.  I can pretty much identify what restaurant she’s been to by a mere sniffing.  Her fragrance of choice is maple syrup.  The CCS can fall head first down a step and shake it off, but holds her arm out in extreme offense and bemoans “aaaaaarrrrrmmmmm” when the AJS touches her.  Although, she’s also the girl who repeatedly shrieked”Abe, Abe” during Avery’s end of school program.  She still likes Elmo but prefers The Bount.  Claire is contemplative and chaotic all at once.  She does something she thinks is funny and then says “joke, joke, joke” until I laugh.  She is not appeased by fake laughter.  And my number one favorite thing that Claire does lately – she leans over and scrunches up her tiny body as tightly as she can and jumps exactly one inch into the air whilst proclaiming “jump.”  Most recently, this has evolved into a double jump (“jump-jump”).

She makes life just a tad crazy – her personality matches her hair.  And, of course, I have to carry a dingy, white (ish) Kitty everywhere I go.


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May 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

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Feeling Lucky.

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Popsicle face Happy Ave

We’ve received a pretty heavy dose of perspective around here lately.  I’ve spent my week hugging my babies and counting by blessings. 

If you are interested in helping the Oklahoma tornado victims, here’s a link to an article that provides a pretty comprehensive overview of ways to help:  If in doubt, giving local is always a sure bet.  Also, here’s a direct link to the website of one of my friend’s sisters, who lost everything in the tornado:

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May 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

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Crazy-Pants Chronicles.

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When I am in the kitchen for any amount of time at all, Claire finds new and unusual ways of entertaining herself.  Her  number one favorite kitchen pastime is drinking sprinkles straight out of the bottle.  Normally I catch her on the tail-end of this activity, and when I look at her reproachfully, she says “yum.”  How can I argue with that?  Today, however, as I was fixing lunch for the kids, I caught that little crazy-pants red (or Halloween colored, as the case may be) handed.  A better mother probably would have cut her off, but I, naturally, whipped out my camera and documented the crime against sprinkles for posterity.

Step 1: eyes on the sprinkles.  Step 2: make casual contact.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3: oh yeah, this is getting good.  Step 4: lose yourself in the moment.

Step 3 Step 4

Step 5: what sprinkles?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Step 6: Fine.  But it was totally worth it.

Step 5 Step 6

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May 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

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Little Moments of Mom.

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I have tried to be forthcoming with my parents in my adult years about how much I appreciate them and that I am aware that they are the gold standard for parents.  Generally, I tend to voice my appreciation via sweeping descriptions for things like supportiveness, unconditional love, generosity etc.  But, as I am now a parent and find myself grappling on a daily basis with how to make the right decisions for my daughters, I realize that things like supportiveness are really comprised of millions of decisions made everyday both predating and also for my entire life.  Making a child feel unconditionally loved is a feat, and it is a feat accomplished minute by minute with masses of small choices – to push aside your work to play, to swallow your anger and frustration, to put the wants of your children above your own.  Unfortunately, children are not the best at expressing gratitude.  Most kids are busy living their lives and slightly impervious to the  people who are bending over backwards for their benefit.  So those day-to-day choices and sacrifices often go un-celebrated.

Today, I’m celebrating just a tiny slice of all the small gifts my mom gave me over the years – those moments that, as a whole, add up to unconditional love.  Today I am celebrating gummy coke bottles at church, paper doll birthday parties, and years and years of family dinners.  I am celebrating my mom, who bought a flop-eared, black bunny (originally named Snow White and ultimately re-named Bun upon discovering he was a boy bunny) “for my dad” for Easter one year.  I am celebrating my mom for the time she bought me a Westhighland White Terrier to help me sleep, and he did.  I am celebrating summer days at the pool with my mom, some of which included my mom walking backwards, inches in front of me, encouraging me to swim a little farther.  I am celebrating the woman who always seemed like she was happy to see me, happy to be around me, happy to have me.  I am celebrating the person who always knew when I needed garlic mashed potatoes for dinner.  I am celebrating the woman who always laughed at my jokes (still does) and even helped me stage a restaurant for my grandparents, The Snickelada, that only served enchiladas and snickers ice cream bars.  I am even celebrating my mom for always knowing the appropriate moments to say “no.”  I am celebrating the woman who made me an award-winning Easter bonnet, a jean jacket covered in sequins and glitter, and my favorite coat one year for Christmas with buttons shaped like sheep.  I am celebrating all the books I never would have read but for my mom – from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to Anne of Green Gables to Jane Eyre.  I am celebrating my mom for making sure we were at church every Sunday.  I am celebrating her for refusing to buy me a Cabbage Patch Doll but making sure I had the fastest roller blades.  I am celebrating my mom because she always celebrates me.

I am celebrating you, Mom, today and always.  For all those moments on all those days for all those years that you thought about how to make life special for me and wondered if I even noticed, I remember everything.  I love you, Mom.

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May 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

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The Table.

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The Table

You may recall a while back, in the days before mobile Claire (those were the days!), my life unfolded on The Blanket.  These days, it seems like our life is centered around The Table – the kid-sized table that is the center of AJS’s craft universe.  We sit, we color, we tackle Claire and fish various coloring utensils out of her mouth.  I feel like most of my days can be broken down according to the following stats:

  • AJS’s favorite crayon of the day: Tickle Me Pink;
  • Number of crayons consumed by CCS: as of now, one, but the day is young (RIP periwinkle);
  • Number of art projects completed: one – a book of index cards illustrated by our very own AJS;
  • Number of CCS attempts to go rogue with a marker: one (again, though, the day is young) – she tried to climb to the top of the slide and chow on the black marker;
  • Types of mediums used: crayons (naturally), markers, and paint;
  • Number of break-downs due to artistic frustration: one – apparently it is very frustrating for the tiny AJS to attempt to capture the perfect color to depict blonde hair;
  • Most random place on my children off of which I have cleaned paint: back of AJS’s neck (no idea); and
  • CCS’s favorite character in the coloring book: The Bount, of course.

Please stay tuned for this and other riveting highlights from our day.  You never know what the color of the day will be.

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May 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm

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Odds & Ends

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Pigtails Biking Into the Sunset CCS

So I have nothing of note to report, but I have a lot of un-noteworthy stuff to report.   They change so quickly – the girls that live in my house seem like totally different people even from month to month.  Each day is punctuated by funny, silly things courtesy of the short people in my life.  At the end of each day, my head is full of all the things that I want to remember.  My all time favorite from this past week is AJS walking up to me, holding out her elbow, and saying “do you want to feel my muscle?”  Upon feeling her elbow, ahem, muscle, she asked “isn’t it so hard?” 

CCS has been slowly learning her colors over the past month.  The color learning curve is somewhat slowed by her inability to say the names of all the colors.  She started with pink, green, and brown.  We were in that holding pattern for at least a week, during which time she only colored with pink, green, and brown.  Black and white followed.  And last week, she got a firm grasp on red, blue, and purple.  She has some sort of vendetta against yellow.  She can’t say yellow.  She can’t say orange either, but she will at least attempt it.  But when I ask her about yellow, I get pursed lips, or she will literally turn her back on me.  Yellow offends the CCS.

In other CCS news, Elmo is no longer number one in heart.  He has been inexplicably replaced by The Count.  Although she can say “count” she persists on calling him Bount.  And, of course, we all now call him The Bount, including AJS.  Well-played, Claire.

After last week’s trike post, not surprisingly, AJS is now the proud owner of a real-deal bike.  Apparently bikes have changed a bit since I was a kid.  My first bike was red.  AJS’s first bike is pink and purple, plastered with princess faces and sparkles, has streamers on the handle bars, and boasts a coach-shaped basket.  I’m afraid of what her bike selection is foreshadowing regarding her prom dress selection.  I must admit that I wasn’t highly optimistic about how she would take to the new bike.  But on day two of bike-riding, she rode up and down our street for thirty minutes.  That tiny AJS is full of surprises.  And wears a bike helmet with kitty ears.

AJS is not so into her toys these days.  We spend all of our free time coloring, painting, gluing, sticker-ing, etc.  The best thing I have bought for AJS in the last year is a deluxe box of crayons.  You know, the one with all the colors.  She wants to know the crazy names of all the crayons, which has introduced some new vocab into our daily lives: “Mom, is this magenta?” and “Mom, I can’t find goldenrod.”  She is particularly entertained by a shade of orange dubbed “macaroni and cheese.”  The introduction of the deluxe crayon box has been a little problematic on the CCS front.  We don’t let Claire color with crayons much because, delicate flower that she is, she bites off the tips  .  Avery spends a lot of time positioning the crayon box out of Claire’s reach.  To be truthful, even letting Claire color with markers has been a work in progress.  She really wants to eat the markers, color on herself, etc.  She will sit at the kid-sized table and color for a few minutes and then try to sneak under the table and color her feet green.  Now, as soon as she disappears under the table, all it takes is one “Claire” in an accusatory tone, and she wordlessly holds the markers out from beneath the table.

Avery Jane is convinced that she wants to live with us forever.  Last week, she told me that when she gets married (yikes), she will still lives with us because her husband will want to see her parents.  I’m sure this will be the case. 

So there is my random wrap-up of things probably only entertaining to me and those who love my kids.  In conclusion, I must ask, do you want to feel my muscle?

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May 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

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Trike Day Trauma.

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Trike Trio Trike Babe

Today, we had Bike & Trike at AJS’s school, which consisted of fifty to sixty four and five-year-olds pedaling at top speed around a bike track.  Needless to say, there was more than one (more than five) collisions.  AJS devoted her time to equal parts triking and equal parts snacking.  A fully stocked snack table is big excitement in four-year-old world.  I was a little worried that AJS was going to be scarred that I sent her with a trike, as most of the four-year-olds were of the bike-training wheel persuasion.  As we left, I asked Avery if she is ready for a big girl bike, to which she responded “I have a big girl bike.  My tricycle.”  So as per usual, I worried for naught.  I love how right now, she is happy with who she is and doesn’t compare herself to other kids.  Is there anyway I can bottle this up and sprinkle some over her in high school? 

I attended with Claire in tow.  CCS was equal parts (1) totally horrified by madness, which instilled insecurity in her yet-to-be two-year-old heart, and (2) extremely intrigued and dying to insert herself into the center of it all.  Fotunately, the abundant snack table was generously open to siblings as well.  Avery had a ball, and Claire loved/hated it. 

Overall, I (like AJS) am content with my lot in life.  But today, as I was struggling to help Avery with her trike, holding a writhing and resistant toddler, and juggling everyone’s discarded snacks, all the while continuously spilling tiny Dixie cups of water all over myself, I felt a pang as I watched moms who had their moms on hand for the day.  I can’t help but think how different our lives would all be with some grandparents on hand.  Man, was I jealous seeing those grandmas present to lend helping hands and hearing those extra cheers of support for those grandkids.  I must admit that the pang is self-induced as we are the ones who choose to live apart from our parents.  But all the same, I have grandparent envy.  Oh the tricky emotions inspired by Trike Day.

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May 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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