Saturday, December 27, 2008

Santa Baby

I love Santa, I really do. He brings me such joy this time of year. He offers me such leverage. Nothing trumps the threat of Santa not coming. These are the only two weeks in the year where sharing abounds and fights are found few and far between. Why? Because "I will call Santa right now and tell him to just go ahead and fly right by this house if you two don't knock it off!" I love that Christmas Eve my kids go to bed without negotiation or chatter because why? "If you two don't go to sleep right now, I will wait up for Santa and tell him that you made the naughty list this year."
The wee one is still too young for such Santa candor, so she indulges a bit more in the naughty list. Here are a few fine examples of what our naughty and nice list looked like this year.

Naughty: Breaking the head of the Raggedy Ann ornament. When asked who did it, everybody blamed somebody and nobody said he did it. Home surveillance tape shows the perp to be about 2 feet tall.

Nice: The kids made a few ornaments this year to add to the homemade tree. There is something very special about unwrapping these ornaments year after year and hanging them on the tree. There is a bell that sits near the top of our tree that my great grandmother made.

Naughty: Standing in the kitchen for 6 hours baking pecan sandies, sugar cookies, and seven layer bars, only to have Reagan lick 75 percent of the decorations before any of us could actually decorate the cookies.

Nice: The tradition of sugar cookies in our home. Every year I bake all 80 of them and the kids decorate them. They then pick their favorites to put on a special plate for Santa. I love that they will have this memory.

Naughty: The flu. Does anything more really need to be said. The most classic flu moment occurred at Christmas dinner when Logan quite calmly stood up from the table and proclaimed "Well I guess I will go to the bathroom since I just dropped a load in my shorts." He hasn't quite mastered the whole social filter thing yet.
Nice: I have had to clean out relatively few puke bowls since my mom is in town. My gag reflex is far too quick on the trigger for vomit. Pus, blood, guts, and poo are totally fine and within my capacities. Vomit, not so much.

Naughty: Santa kind of jipped the oldest. It occurred when in those few days before Christmas I dragged out all of the things that had been squirreled away for months. The neglected middle child was over compensated for, the wee one still isn't really into the whole present thing, and the oldest, who savors everything Santa, had a pile of 3 things.

Nice: Everyone thinks Santa is this really great guy because he sacrifices all of his time one day of the year to take toys to kids all over the world. His reward is countless homemade cookies of all varieties and a glass of milk with each one. You don't hear much about Mrs. Clause. Well, it's Mrs. Clause that does all of the toy making, and ensures that each child is well taken care of. She's the one looking for a parking spot at Target the day before Christmas Eve at 10:00pm to get the most desired item of the eldest child. Her reward? Rockband!! Total score, I am so almost ready to start touring with my mad skills.

Naughty: 5:00am. That's the time we finally let the kids get up. Actual time they woke up 2:00am.

Nice: 5:00am any other day of the year is appalling! But on Christmas day, it is pure magic. Santa always leaves the Christmas tree lights on, that's how you know he's been there. When you are up in the wee hours of morning, before the rooster crows, and the sun peaks over the horizon, those tiny colored twinkle lights of the tree faintly light up the haul below, and the kids squeal with excitement. That is the magic of Christmas.

Naughty: It has been a rather tumultuous year for us. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that 2008 was so NOT my favorite year.

Nice: But it was a year of tremendous growth and learning. The refiners fire has taught me more than I believed I was capable of. I have learned during this season of Christ's birth more about the power of his atonement. I have learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an opportunity to learn great depths of humility. I have learned that friends are a source of strength that I believed only families held. So to "Santa's Helpers" thank you. We couldn't discern your scampering feet, but the gratitude I have is unparalleled to anything I have been grateful for before.

With a house full of kids and dogs the naughty list seems to grow faster than a weed in spring rain. Good thing we have so many nice things to be thankful for!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

A few years ago I told my kids the story of how I saw Santa putting presents under the Christmas tree when I was five. It was magical peaking around the corner watching him pull presents out of his sack and carefully sack them by the tree. I didn't think much of telling them this story until the other day on the way to school Logan mentioned that the existence of Santa is a real hot topic on the playground. Logan, being the lawyer in training that he is, made his case for Santa and sited my tale of seeing him as a child as his evidence. In his mind, case closed. Caitlyn, being the direct child she is, flat out asked, "Is Santa real?" So now added to the list of excellent qualities I have as a mother, lair can now be found there.

Well with all this talk of Santa, and reindeer, and the North Pole, we decided to seal the Santa deal and took them on the Polar Express. During the summer, this train operates as the Grand Canyon Railway taking thousands of people through the Grand Canyon. But come December, the train becomes the Polar Express to the North Pole to see Santa.

On Wednesday we picked the kids the kids up early from school and started the 2 1/2 hour drive to Williams, which is at the base of the Grand Canyon. The first hour was smooth sailing, the kids all fell asleep because they knew it was going to be quite a long drive to the North Pole. During the second hour, we stopped to eat, and it was in that last 45 minutes that the assaults on one another began. It started with the paper bag from dinner being turned into swords. It ended with Caitlyn telling a french fry "You should be dead by now." I know, right? Where do they get this stuff? So after the little chat on why we don't say we are going to kill things, we all hopped out of the car to see Santa.

The train ride was very exciting for the kids. Everyone wears their pajamas and the elves on the train give each person a hot chocolate and cookie and then they read the story of the Polar Express. By the time you reach the North Pole, Santa is on his sleigh and an elf is loading the bag of toys. Logan was hanging half way out the window to make sure he got the chance to see the North Pole up close. I am sure he wanted to submit it for further evidence in his case. Santa then boards the train and gives every child who believes in him a bell. Then on the way back everyone sings songs.

I debated for a while as to whether or not I "heard" the bell ringing, but in the end, I heard it. All 97 of them on the train. But it's Christmas right? And what's Christmas without a little magic?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Have Been Blessed

Since my birthday and Thanksgiving are within two weeks of each other, I have spent much of my "drive time" thinking about this year, what I want out of the next, and what I have to be thankful for. And because so many expressed concerns about the last post, I figured it was high time to bust out more of my insane self and give you a few thoughts on the ten things I am thankful for. It would be easy to give answers like family, kids, friends, and yeah I am thankful for those things, very thankful; but there are the other things in my life that need to feel the love too.

1. Smiles. They are my form of hugs. Being the infinitely affectionate person I am, hugs are a little...oh shall we say...uncomfortable. A smile, and a half wave all are I need to make my day. It shows you care, really.

2. Musicals. I freakin' love um! I mean really, how can you not bop your head and tap your toe when Donny Osmond is singing "Any Dream Will Do." Or feel like Broadway should be calling you any minute because of how good you can belt out "On My Own" in the shower. Even my brother enjoys "Memory " from Cats.

3. Flip Flops. Some of you may know that I HATE socks. HATE them. My feet feel so trapped and when I wear them, all I can think about is how my feet can't breathe when they are covered in socks and shoes. (I know some of you are thinking 'why am I friends with her' about now, but stick with me) Nathan makes me wear socks at least once a week because he says he doesn't enjoy the daily exfoliating treatments he gets in bed from my dry heels. But those other six days I can't wait to get in the closet and get the flips.

4. Words. Although I am an atrocious speller, I can generally find words, even if the situation escapes them. Situations like when you are walking into a store in quite a hurry and you cut the corner a little short and knock over a display. Walmart people don't want to hear "Holy crap, I totally didn't see that," they just want you to clean up the Mac and Cheese on aisle 8.

5. Sense of Humor. It is almost as if the angels said, "there will be many storms in your life, here's the galoshes to play in the puddles.

6. Facebook. Not only is it a place to find people that I haven't seen in 15 years, it's yet another place for me to be humiliated. Like when I thought that I knew someone and was shocked to find them, carried on several conversations via 'the wall' with them, and then realized I had no clue who they are. The person I knew had a different last name.

7. Sunsets. The Arizona sunsets have nearly cost me license. Every night when the hues of purple, blue, orange, red, and yellow peak just above the mountain tops, I forget that I am driving a two ton vehicle and nearly crash into oncoming traffic. My sense of humor makes me laugh, the sunsets make me grateful.

8. My husband. I know I said I would move beyond family, but really the guy deserves some sort of badge of honor for ten years with me. Don't get me wrong, medals are deserved all the way around, but I have pretty much said every stupid thing there is to say both in private and in public, I have freaked out on him more times than I care to remember, and dragged him more places than he cares to remember. He is the yin to my yang, the calm to my crazy.

9. People Watching. It is my form of therapy. When I think I am losing my mind, I go to the mall and watch people to feel better about myself. Like when a lady screams at a sales associate in the store because something hasn't gone according to her expectations. I so would never do that. I would leave the store and talk about behind her back. That is what rational, non- crazy people do.

10. My own skin. I haven't always been ok with being me and felt that I needed to be a chameleon of sorts to please people, or to feel a part of things. I think I may be growing out of my 12 year old, middle school self, and be ok being me. Even if that includes flinging around a hanger while chatting with friends and forgetting that the hanger has a flaming marshmallow stuck to it. I have come to realize I am a little more animated than I thought.

So there it is, ten things to be grateful for. And ten things to work on for next year. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There is no greater suffering than that of trying to answer the question of why. It is "mortality's supreme test" and often leaves us disparaging, confused, and raging. This is never more true than in the inevitable face of death. Why one day a vibrant mother of three can be having dinner with friends who have known each other forty years, and have seen each other through the deep waters of lives well lived, is found the next day on the side of road, in the teetering space between life and eternity. There is no fairness, no equality, no logic. But in the hollowness of why, lies the harrowing of hope. Hope that we too can can live a life full of love, service, kindness, laughter, and passion. Hope that we can continue to weave into future generations that which has been fortified by the generations before. Hope that beyond the despair of aching loneliness, awaits the peace of placant memories. Hope that one day you shall stand before your maker and find your family encircled about you, reminding you of a life fully lived.

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home!
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourn of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
--Alfred Tennyson

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be pumpkins for craving, and candy for snarfing, and costumes galore...It's the most wonderful time of the year! We love Halloween. More so the season of fall in general, but really Halloween is the most fun, least stressful holiday. I mean really, when else can you steal candy from your kids without them noticing or throwing a full fledged fit? Even the dogs got in on the action this year.

The best part of Halloween is always the pumpkin patch. This year they had one at the community center right next to one of the ponds. A place situated such that you drive by and think, "oh my gosh, it's so pretty, look at how cute it is, let's go." Only, you arrive and realize that kids plus pumpkins, plus water, might not be the combination you were looking for. Needless to say, there were a lot of hairy eyeball glances shot in the direction of our youngest. I had no doubt that instead of throwing a penny into the pond to make a wish, she would be throwing in all of the pumpkins she could heave. Thank goodness for the lemonade stand. It might be sticky, but it doesn't cause a scene! The pumpkins still were heaved. She just waited until she got home to drop it on the tile. Lovely mess!!

After the patch, the pumpkins must be carved of course. Although, when you live in a place that is still 100 degrees, you have to wait until the day before Halloween to carve them so they don't rot. This year, that day turned out to be the day Nathan had several meetings, and I was going to have to carve alone. This is when the ol' independent gene that has been passed on to my children actually came in handy. Logan wanted to do his all by himself. He drew the pirate all by himself, and scooped out all of the junk in the pumpkin. He then thought that he would be carving by himself as well, but I quickly informed him that would not be the case. After several minutes of "discussing" that the knife was not a "safety knife," I finally convinced "the Kroeger Home Sheriff" that the knife was indeed not safe.

Caitlyn wanted my help to create the perfect princess pumpkin. Apparently she didn't get the memo that I can't draw a straight line to show a stick. That perfect princess pumpkin looked more like the corpse bride with 3 teeth in Betelgeuse, but she was happy. After two hours of carving, poor Reagan got nothing. Sure she got to scoop a few guts from the other two, but the thought of carving another pumpkin, made me want to drop it on the tile and break it just to not have to carve it.

Because Halloween fell on a Friday this year, the kids were all geared up to hunt candy well into the dark sky. But with foreclosures up, and the economy down, candy hunting was a little tougher then they imagined. Two hours in, their baskets still weren't full, and Indiana Jones and his faithful cat sidekick had enough. The flower? No, she was ready to keep burning the midnight oil. She wouldn't let anyone hold her basket, and she went up to every single house the big kids did. The only house she wouldn't go up to was the one giving away full size candy bars. That's right, Snickers, Milky Way, Skittles, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, and Baby Ruth's. Full Size! I am convinced she knew I was stalking it, and wouldn't take it purely out of spite. I suppose I could have gone up and swiped one in the name of an 18 month old, but the lady didn't look like she would buy it. But two hours of walking, wrestling costumes, and pumpkin carving, I so deserved that freaking Baby Ruth. So I just took all 3 of Reagan's little Baby Ruth's and made myself a big one.

So the candy has been checked, fought over, horded under beds, and is now all eaten. The costumes are packed away with the pumpkin buckets and gobblin flashlights, and we are gearing up for the most gluttonous holiday, Thanksgiving. Then the most expensive, Christmas. Even so, I just love this time of year!!

My Fair Lady

OK, ok I hear you! I know it has been a while since the last blog. But it would appear that my little muse has packed up his things and been on vacation, or left me for another brain, because I got nothin'. Not just uninspired, or lacking in things to share. Nope, just flat out brain dead. Can't put a coherent thought together to save my life. So life just keeps on happening, and I think, "huh, I should blog about that" but do I? No. Plus my camera died and I couldn't find the charger, and unless I can have the pictures, the funny lines, and the music all just so, I really don't want to try and blog. So you can all thank the PSP charger for pulling me from the slump.

It's been an exciting month around this joint! We started the month by attending the Arizona State Fair. This was momentous because I was going through withdraw of the annual deep fried snickers since we did not attend the San Diego Fair this year. So with that deep fried snickers lightly powdered with confectioners sugar on the brain, and a rumor of monkey jockeys that ride the backs of dogs in a race, we were off to the fair. Imagine my dismay when we exited the freeway to find that fair I was so excited to attend, was smack dab in the center of ghettoville. I mean windows missing in abandoned buildings with crack heads talking to themselves on the corner ghettoville. It might be enough to detour a family with more common sense, but us, no. We just put all three kids in the stroller and walked like we had kids that were going to pee their pants.

Once inside the gates, all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair made us forget what was just outside. It was almost like going into Willy Wonka's Factory, except of course that it was 105 that day. So the smells of the elephant rides and the bear show I probably could have done without. We started the day watching a women with a wicked lisp squirt honey into a bear's mouth while the bear rode a scooter, and ended the day chatting with the gang enforcement task team. Ahh, fair memories, and here are a few things we learned in between.

1. Don't buy the first hot dog you see at the fair, you end up with hot dog remorse when you see the same hot dog a dollar cheaper four carts down.

2. Don't let your kids take their allowance money to the fair. They come home with the kid equivalent of the orange shammies you find in the tents. In our case magnets and princess tierra's.

3. Do be very nice to the carnies, show a little leg if you must, they let you on the rides for free when you run out of tickets.

4. Do keep an eye on all of your children, 'cause they can run really fast and those bright lights on the rides are like a moth to the flame for them.

5. Do let your little ones ride the carousel as many times as they want, it won't be long before they are too cool for it.

6. Do bring your own water bottles, because when a kid spills 3/4 of the $4.50 water bottle, it may tend to freak you out in ways you didn't think possible.

7. Don't buy pens from the man who says he is deaf and is selling pens to earn money. Chances are, his hearing aids just don't have batteries.

8. Do go and see the banana derby any time you can. Watching a spider monkeys race in circles on the backs of St. Bernards will make you laugh no matter what kind of day you are having.

9. Do remember that you are an adult and do not have the same body you did when you were fifteen. This is especially important on the tilt a whirl and the tornado, rides that are like the Disneyland teacups on crack.

10. Do go to the fair every year. Not only is it the most fun and fattening day of your life, but the joy your kids find in it is so worth the $140 buck you spent to see it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Calling All Angels

This week is parent teacher conferences around here. You know, the days that your kids get out early and drive you nuts at home, but their teachers gush about how sweet and funny they are. Each year when that bright green sheet comes home for sign-ups, I always mark the first day, at the first time. I figure it is like a band-aid that has been fermenting on a finger for awhile. You don't really know what's going on under there, but you have to find out, and you might as well do it sooner than later.

Because I stay home, I have always viewed my kids welfare as my profession. Their success was my success, and their failures my failures as a parent. This is a flawed perception I realize, not only is it a wee bit narcissistic, but also because they are who they are and there is only so much you can do as a parent. I mean you can't sit next to them the day they take a test and poke them every time they get an answer wrong. You can't go in with an eraser and write their essays for them. Tempting, but no.

So when the school district called at the beginning of the year and said that they wanted to test Logan for the gifted program, I got a little puff of the ol' peacock feathers. I mean, come on all parents think their kids are smartest, cutest, most perfect things in the world, but I got the call confirming it. SCORE! Then reality set in the week after that when he brought home a math test that he got a D+ on. A re-evaluation of things brought me to the conclusion that perhaps the standards in Arizona were different than that in California, so what looked like gifted, was really just material he had already learned. Don't get me wrong, I still took him to the testing, but gifted is a really big word. It's the 5 year old who plays Chopin at the piano without looking at the music. That's not us. We are struggling with Hot Cross Buns on the recorder.

But alas, parent-teacher conferences brought another glimmer of hope. First was Caitlyn. I was a little nervous for that one. She hasn't really been bringing home any homework that quantifies what is going on in class. All she brings home are pictures of rainbows and butterflies. A happy well adjusted kid yes, but I was a little nervous about what she was learning. Turns out, it's a lot. She has patterns down, her upper and lower case letters and used 8 word sentences on the dibble test. The teacher said she doesn't send home a lot of homework because it is all day kindergarten and the concepts are reinforced multiple times throughout the day. I buy that. She also said she thoroughly enjoys having Caitlyn in class because she is so sweet and willing to learn. She even said that Caitlyn cracks her up with the stories she tells. Especially the one about the bad guys that broke into the principle's office and poured hot sauce all over his chair and then ran out the window really fast. There go those peacock feathers again.

After such a positive first conference, I was feeling pretty confident about Logan's this morning. The first thing she brought out were all of his sample writings and his grades for the quarter. Me being me and all that entails, my eyes went right to his writing scores. My heart started to flutter and my teeth started to clinch in response to what I saw. A C- on his first writing sample. What? No commas, no punctuation anywhere on the paper. What? This is my kid, I mean writing should be at the top, he should have issues in math, not writing right? I tried to process all of this information with his teacher sounding like that of Charlie Brown's in the background. I had to focus...what was she saying? Oh, that was a sample of the end of the year test they take? Oh, this was a free write exercise? Oh, he has all A's and a B+ in writing? Maybe I need to calm down. Oh, look at his bird in his picture, it has two wings and a tail; and the airplane says Southwest Airlines on it, that's hilarious! An A in music? Well then. Oh, he's such a sweet boy in class, and you love when he smiles? It just lights up the room? Yes, yes, I know, sometimes, I just get so sidetracked and forget.

So this year's conferences turned out not to have any pus filled green wounds underneath that fermenting band-aid. Nope turns out everything looks great, all that hard work and taking care of things turned out well. They are happy, well adjusted, beautiful, wonderfully successful average kids. And I couldn't be more proud!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

She's Crafty

(WARNING: the song attached to this post has a bit of the James Fry language at the beginningish, listen to the first minute and a halfish, then mute the next thirty (with Kate monster), but then listen to the rest, it's halarious!)

A few weeks ago I was tagged by a fellow blogger asking me to divulge six quirks that I have. To me this was like asking a dog to moo. I mean "quirky" is that person that lives alone with their 6 cats, or someone who perpetually looks like they dressed in the dark. Uhh, that's not me...right?

I then went to Nathan and told him about this little quandary and told him that I wasn't quirky right? I think milk may have come out of his nose when I asked him that. I was then dumb enough to continue the conversation with my mother, who when asked what my quirks are, told me to pull up a chair. Nice. So one night during the middle of the night, I began to ponder the oddities of my existence. I think this is why I never meditate, I mean talk about a Debbie Downer moment, "hmm let's see, what do I do that could be construed as rather odd." This is why I don't read self-help books. But, in a rare moment of self evaluation, here is what I have come up with:

1. I suppose it would be a quirk in and of its self that I didn't believe I had any quirks. Corky maybe, but not quirky. That was before the above mentioned conversations when both my mother and my husband went on for about 20 minutes each about my quirks. I didn't dare ask my brother. Gluttony is not on my quirky list.

2. There may be on occasion a time or two that I have been known to be a control freak. Nathan says it manifests itself most when we are in an area that we have never been before and I start giving him directions...without a map. Which leads to number 3.

3. I can neither confirm nor deny that I may or may not be an authority on everything I speak of. I mean, if I didn't know what I was talking about, then why talk right?

4. This one is closely linked to number 2. It's not really a control thing, I mean it's mine and I am the only one with the password, but I do have to have everything just so on my blog. It spills over into everything that I do that goes out into the world for judgement, but the blog is especially this way. Probably because I am writing and that is what some believe to be my best talent. All of the blog posts are titles of songs. The songs on the play list are placed there because they fit the blog. The quotes at the top of the page are linked to the posts as well. The top quote is a reminder of what the last post was about, and the second quote is a foreshadowing of the new post.

Oh, good Lord, this is miserable! I would rather give birth in a wheelchair 8 more times than have to ever do an exercise like this again. Blogger tagger, we are so not friends right now!!

5. I am convinced that the Bogey man exists and is going to break into my house at any given hour. A perfect example of this was this week when Nathan was out of town. On the third night I decided to sleep upstairs with the kids because the Bogey man would never harm kids right? Well when I got up in the morning to let the dogs out, the sliding glass door was unlocked but the stick was still in the slider gap. So I called Nathan to let him know that someone had tried to break into the house during the night. He reminded me of the incident a few years ago when I made him rush home because I heard people talking in the backyard and the helicopters were over head with the spotlight. I waited in the get away car in the driveway while he checked everything out. Turns out the big bad robber was Mr. Potato Head. I still think the sliding glass door thing is weird though.

6. This one some of you may find shocking...take your nitro pills now. I may often be perceived as a social person, but really, the thought of hosting social events gives me hives. I refuse to throw parties or invite people over because I am sure that no one will come. It is an unexplained phenomenon in my existence, but if you ever wonder why you are not invited over, it's because you won't show. You wanna come over? Invite yourself, then I know you will be there.

When I was tagged, I was asked to tag six others, but if i do, then it will solidify that fact that you are never coming to my party, so I am tagging no one. Just this once, I will be the glutton.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Would You Say...

A picture might be worth a 1000 words, but the things that tend to fall out of the mouths of children are priceless...

Our New Antique Upright Piano

"Mom, how am I supposed to practice at the piano if Reagan keeps coming over and banging on it and screwing me up? Can't we make a schedule where I get it for a few days, then Caitlyn gets it for a few days, and then Reagan can have a few days when she gets a little older."

Caitlyn's Ear Piercing

"Mom, Dad is going to freak out when we get home and he sees that I got my ears pierced. He is gonna say 'What the Hell' isn't he?"

Reagan's Halloween Costume

"Reagan if you wear the hat, I'll give you a piece of candy. Want some candy?"

Slide Rock National Forest...In Flip Flops...

Total Outdoorsy Wife and Kids

Mom, next time we go in the mountains I want to wear my other shoes, these frickin flip flops are freakin me out and my legs are all itchy."

"Dad did they just paint these rocks or something, they are all so red."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ballerina Girl

Well at the ripe old age of five, Caitlyn has reached another milestone. No she isn't reading yet. She hasn't lost her first tooth yet either. Although, she does constantly wiggle teeth to see if any are loose so that she can get some cold hard cash from the tooth fairy. No, the milestone this month is that she has offically quit her first sport. Yes she traded in the ballet shoes for bare feet and has moved on to gymnastics. Frankly, I blame the Olympics and Nastia Lukin. I think she saw that cute little blond on the balance beam and thought, "Wow that could be me. I almost look like her." See why tv is bad? It puts way too many ideas into kids heads! So now there are no more matching tu-tu's and hair bows. No more clicks of the tap shoes against the asphalt as she bounces into the dance studio. Nope, it's just a leotard, and some pink crocs on bare feet. Goodbye wood floors, hello athletes foot.

When I took that picture of her as we were walking out the door, I began to tear up. No, not because she looks so grown up, or because she is becoming this great little person who is exploring her world and who she wants to be; I teared up because I looked at her and thought to myself "Man I would kill to look that good in a skin tight leotard!"

Caitlyn and her little leotard are still just as adorable in gymnastics as they were in dance, and she LOVES it. In the end, I suppose that is what matters most. That and the fact that she has a sister coming up behind her that I can hopefully talk into being a little ballerina girl. Although, with the way she climbs things, I am sure she will be in gymnastics too. Or maybe karate. Oh man, pray for me!