Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Boston

Open cock-pit day at the nearby airport. It was awesome. The kids sat at the controls of MASH helicopters, old airplanes and even some trucks. They loved every minute.

Every time I asked where they were flying to they replied "Boston!" Trained so well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mr. Softie

Tyler has his very first ice cream cone this weekend. Of course he has had ice cream before, but on this evening he held the cone all by himself. He didn't drop a drip and he ate every last bite. Yes, he strutted around TCBY like a rock star. Ive never seen him so happy.

Sometimes I am shocked when I remember that he is only 15 months old. When people ask, I usually say he is 18 months old, without thinking. He is growing up so fast. And he is doing so much. He is running now, no more wobbly baby steps. He rides bikes, climbs ladders and eats all the things 15 month olds are not supposed to eat - like raw carrots and raisins - by the handful - while Im not watching.

Slow down, Tyler T! You only have your first ice cream cone once.


Sometimes I wish this parenting thing were a little easier. Most times it is, if I remind myself to not take it so seriously. If I remember that every little decision will not make or break my children!

But today I wished for someone or something to appear and tell me what was "right."

Drew didn't want to go into his gym class. They have been attending the class for about 6 months and he has always loved it. Trampolines, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls and fun music. He usually runs into the class without hesitation to emerge an hour later with a big smile on his face.

Last week when I brought him for a make-up class he froze at the door. He had gone to his regular class the day before without incident. But, he refused a day later, crying, clinging to me and begging to go home. So he didn't go in and we played with friends instead.

Today it was the same scene. Crying, clutching my leg and refusing my most creative bribes. We watched from the window and he giggled at his classmates and cheered for Ella.

I didn't want to push him too hard if he didn't want to do it, but I know that he loves it. I know that if he just went in for a few minutes he would have a blast. I wanted to force him, but I didn't. My heart was breaking for him, but I was also frustrated as anything. It felt awful.

What would a wise parent do?

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Can Do It!

There is nothing I love to hear more than "I can do it myself!" Well, except when we are rushing, or it involves glass, or large amounts of liquids, or....well see, independence is great, but it comes with a price.

I love to see the expressions on their faces when they do something for the first time. Like flipping their coats over their heads to put them on, or pouring their own milk, or watching Tyler climb onto the couch. As adults the experience of mastering a new skill doesn't come often. But for kids it is all the time and the wonder of it- is that it doesn't lose it's wonder. It is awesome.

But like most things in life it comes with a price. And too often that price is paid by yours truly. Drew is so proud to pee standing up, but who knew how far pee could go or the surfaces it could hit? So there I am cleaning the bathroom, again while my little boy skips off. You want to pour your own milk? Sure! Let me get another roll of paper towels. You can wash your hands all by yourself? Great - let me just remember to turn the water off 10 min later and try not to slip on the soaking wet floor.

Sometimes the price for independence is a skinned knee or spilt milk - but mostly it is pure pride in the form of a giant smile, a huge hug, or a high five.

I think it is more than worth it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Collector

Ella likes to collect things. Anything that is small will do, from paper scraps to tiny toys. For awhile she had a large canvas bag hanging on a dining room chair that was chock full of her "friends." It included my Christmas shopping lists, stuffed animals, the magnetic letters from the fridge, tiny plastic animals, blankets, and other assorted objects.

I feel like I've written about this before, but I can't find it...I need to label better...anyway...

I finally got rid of the bag, but now she has 2 new spots. I made them a mailbox out of our vacuum box. She has used it to store her treasures and regularly cleans the mail out to make room for her dogs and their blankets. They also need to have their toys in there, so they sleep among various plastic.

But, by far her funniest spot for her collections is her bed. I have had to set new rules for what, but more importantly, how many things she can have in her bed. On one of my cleaning expeditions I found the following:

* 5 pairs of socks, all rolled into one sock along with a tiny dinosaur and little chicken

* 7 books

* 3 stuffed animal dogs

* 1 naked baby doll

* 1 small notebook ripped into a million tiny pieces all stacked up

* 1 magnifying glass (maybe to read the notes on the tiny paper?)

* 1 flashlight

Good thing she is tiny and has plenty of room in her bed!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I laughed today...

* Tyler continues to throw everything he can into the garbage. In the time it took me to help Drew in the bathroom, he emptied the entire lower rack of the dishwasher into the garbage. Thanks Ty!

* While at the park, I asked Drew if he wanted to put his hat on. He replied, "No. My head wants some fresh air."

* Ella gave me $33 dollars today in crisp new bills. I can't figure out where she got it and when asked she points to the middle of the kitchen floor. Im hoping she has magical powers that will supply us with crisp bills daily.

This is why Tyler laughed today...for some reason talking about tongues is hysterical to him...every time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Lawn Ornament Lesson

DISCLAIMER: If you are a fan of lawn ornaments, you may not want to read this post. And for the record, they look absolutely adorable on your lawn!

Sometimes life's lessons show up in the strangest places. Like your front lawn.

Our new neighbors have so graciously "shared" their lawn ornaments with us. First they placed the ducks and the deer so the kids could play with them, while Mike and I stood stunned and speechless on our front lawn. A week later we walked outside to find the large bird bath and cement bench placed on our little patch of suburban greenery.

Did I mention I gag every time I pull into the driveway?

I have had to do a lot of soul searching and reflection over these lawn ornaments. Why do they bother me so much? Why do they embarrass me? Why wasn't I able to speak up for myself?

But mainly, why do I care and why am I spending so much time thinking about lawn ornaments?

Since I have talked about this incessantly for 2 weeks, most people advise us to
a. talk to our neighbors and ask them to move them
b. make the lawn ornaments disappear at night
c. just move them back to their yard

We haven't and probably won't choose any of these options. Mike and I certainly want to foster a friendly, neighborly relationship - why wouldn't we? Being neighbors isn't just about waving as you pass, or sharing a stick of butter, it is about developing relationships with the people in your community. We want to model this for our kids and teach by example what it means to be a good neighbor. So, Ill keep the bird bath filled and plant my flowers around the ducks.

But, if you have a black ski mask and will be in the area in the middle of the night - let me know and Ill send you my address!

Monday, March 23, 2009

You Say Potato

Ella and Drew still pronounce several words incorrectly or I guess mix up words too - I love it because it reminds me that they are still my babies :)

"Can we play on the sunset?" - swing set - this one is mostly Ella

"I like to play baseball in the lard." - yard

"Put all the people in the cool bus." - school bus

"Im so busy!" - dizzy

"Can I play with the paputer?" - computer

"Mom, is there faffic?" - traffic

"Im just attending!" - pretending

"Can we watch Fefame Feet?" - Sesame Street

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kiss our....

Stomach Virus.
Lawn Ornaments.

We are so done with you!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Acoustic Set

This song, "sparkly shoes" goes out to all you ladies out there who love your shoes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Ella has taken to speaking another language. Excellent, except for the fact that we have yet to meet another person that speaks this language. So rare, we don't even know what the language is called.

"Asheba cacka duka nog?" she asks with the conviction of a politician.

Last night in the tub she was rambling on and on in her new language. I asked her what language she was speaking and she replied with a mixture of embarrassment and disdain:

"Mommy!! Im speaking sign language!"


Down and Out

This is a strange virus. Sick as anything one minute, and then back to normal the next. Poor Drew he just can't shake it. Lots of laying on the couch and he is barely eating. My poor little buddy, he is especially disappointed because we had planned to enjoy this beautiful day at the zoo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daddy's Girl

I think you will agree, there is nothing like the love between a little girl and her daddy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spending a Day

Each day holds promise of good weather, fun adventures, smiles and laughs. I usually like to spend my weekends chock full of everything I can think of - especially trips that are a little too far or a little too tough with all 3 by myself. I love to enjoy breakfast at the Diner with my husband and my kids. Apple juice gets them excited and Tyler flirts with the other patrons long enough that Mike and I can exchange a few uninterrupted sentences. Then we are off, ready to soak up every minute of our weekend and each other.

So this Sunday I woke with my usual itch. Ready to rush everyone out the door on our way to the zoo or someplace equally exciting. I badgered Mike with questions trying to make decisions on where to go and when. Then something happened. I looked around at my family who were all content right where they were. I sat on the couch and took a deep breath. Maybe I could spend a day just enjoying the day and where it took us.

Spending a day doesn't have to be extravagant, or adventurous, or exciting. It can be lounging on a couch together, "fishing" off the deck and playing catch with your dad.

We had the best day, spent very wisely.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sit Down

Some times I come across something that puts me in my place. Reminding me of what is important, reminding me of how I want to be in the world, of who I want to be. I had to stop and sit and reflect after reading this post and I don't want to forget it, so Im putting it here. Maybe it will inspire one of my kids when they read this one day...maybe it will give them a clue as to what I was trying to do!

I Have a Bone to Pick

Yes, Tyler I am talking to you! In my most stern mommy voice with my most stern mommy face.

This morning you were impossible. Im talking more impossible than ever (that isn't entirely true, because you and I have been on rocky road since you were 2 weeks old, but it sounds more dramatic that way). My hopes were up when you slept until 7:30, but to take away some of your praise, that was due more to the time change than your sleeping habits. Anyway...

You weren't happy from the get go. Cereal was thrown all over the living room. Sippy cups pushed aside. Lots of arching backs and horrific screaming. I held you, I sang to you, I tried to read your favorite books - to no avail.

It continued like this for 3 hours. Through breakfast, coloring, stacking, reading and dealing with the new washer and delivery men.

You cried and screamed. I tried my best, but was so frustrated. I wondered if the neighbors would come over to see if I was passed out on the floor - because why else would I allow my child to scream like this?

So listen little buddy, we need to put an end to this. I know you are the baby and ridiculously adorable and super funny and everything - but enough all ready. It is getting so old.

ps. You are hurting Drew's ears and I am tired of hearing about that too!


We went to the NY Aquarium in Cooney Island this past weekend. Along with fish, sting rays, and walruses we discovered a few other things.

We discovered the joy in just being together. The awesomeness of a child seeing something for the first time. The wonder and mystery of what is under water.

We discovered that we don't like to trust our GPS, we would rather trust our gut and enjoy the ride.

I discovered that I absolutely love Walruses in all of their squishy, chubby, silliness!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


They were supposed to be "resting" so when I heard Ella calling me, I ignored them. Then I heard this:

Ella: Drew, Mommy is not listening, so we can get up now.

After hearing little feet on the floor, I went up to investigate.

Drew: Mom! Ella said we can get up now!!

I told them to lay back down and to try resting again. I told them to close their eyes and to stop talking.

Drew replied: But Mommy, when I close my eyes I can't see!!

How do you keep a straight face?!!

Best Buddies

We had such an awesome day at the park last weekend. We began at the pancake house that just so happens to be across the street - as if it where designed for our family. Tyler napped, they played with a little left over snow, and they swung and slid and ran. We never even noticed that Mike and Ella were getting sun burned on their faces - it was that kind of day.

Ella and Drew found their way over to this Bocce Court. They sat there for the longest time. Mike was off chasing Tyler and I was close enough to know they were talking, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. These moments are happening so frequently now, but they still cause me to stop and watch. I love to watch them - brother and sister, twins, friends.

And then I have to disturb them to catch it with my camera. I can't resist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I remember riding down my driveway, peddling as fast as I could to catch up with my brothers. The wind on my face and in my hair. Feeling as though I was going 100 mph.

Is there anything as awesome as a kid on a bike? Or a dad teaching them how to ride?

Ella and Drew are just learning, but they already have the taste for speed and freedom. I imagine by the end of the summer they will be racing each other and feeling the wind on their faces.

One funny side note: True to the Dargan genes, their heads are much too large for the child sized helmets! Im not sure how I feel about bike helmets anyway...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The King

Tyler is often ruling our roost. Sure, Ella takes charge most of the time despite my attempts to maintain order - but, Tyler is certainly giving her a run for her money. Although he has enough words and signs to communicate his basic needs, he continues to screech. Not just any screech or scream, but a mind numbing, window cracking, call 911 type of battle cry. He screeches for my attention, for food, for a toy, while changing his diaper, and wanting to go outside. He follows the kids around demanding whatever toy they are holding. If he thinks they are getting away he grabs hold of whatever clothing he can and hangs on. Although all of us try not to give in, the screech is just too powerful. Drew quickly hands over a prized flashlight and Ella relinqueshes her favorite puppies. We put books to the side mid-story and hand over food mid-bite.
We huff and puff, complain and roll our eyes - but then he flashes one of his signature smiles or plants a big "Ummmm-Mahhh" kiss and we can't help but smile back and love him.

We are in trouble.

Gone Shopping

A little market with little carts and empty cartons of food. The perfect spot to try out being an adult. They pushed, they sorted, they crashed. They giggled and they laughed.

Unfortunately we found this place at the very end of Winter, but we are keeping it in our back pocket for rainy spring days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Was Here!

We had an awesome weekend, with enough stories and pics to last all week- and enough spring to get us through a rainy and cold week. One of my favorite parts was returning home to these pretty little flowers on our front lawn. The kids were yelling, "It's Spring time, woo hoo!!" I guess I have been talking the season up a little.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Little Girl's Braids

Most pictures of me as a little girl show my hair in braids. One on each side and a french braid if my mom could swing it. I remember standing in the kitchen complaining as she pulled and tugged them into place.

I also remember braiding my dolls hair and practicing on My Little Ponies until I got them just right. Later on I was often standing on a stool in a dark cool barn braiding a real pony's mane for the show the next day.

I have always loved braiding - the hair in my fingers, the pieces laying perfectly, the neat perfect result.

Ella's hair is finally long enough that I can braid it quite easily. She complains, as I did many years ago and I keep braiding anyway, as my mom did years ago. Putting braids in my own little girls hair makes me feel like a mom. Im not playing with dolls or riding ponies. I am the mom to this beautiful little girl in her braids.

I love my little girl, especially in her braids.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


There is a new sherriff in town. He fends off bandits of all sorts with various sticks and cooking utensils - if that doesn't scare you off, then he will whine you into submission.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring, Are You There?

I know you are. I know that you will eventually come. Last week you poked your head into our world and gave me hope - but it was fleeting. This week winter seems colder, darker, icier and oh so boring.

Spring, I am becoming desperate for you. I love to see Daffodils peeking up on roadsides and under bushes. I love Magnolia buds and even better their blooms. I love to shed our jackets and hats. I love warm sun on my face. Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, rides on bikes bought in the middle of winter. Trips to the zoo, aquarium, and every park we can find. It feels so close, but not close enough.

Remember Ella and Drew's first spring? It felt as if our whole family came alive. We took long walks all over Hoboken, drank coffee and lounged on grass not yet turned green.

The next spring was highlighted by the new park exactly one block away and little feet running on grass for the first time.

Last spring it was Tyler's turn to bask in the fresh air, usually strapped to my chest with his legs kicking in excitement.

What do you hold for us this year?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


As seen on Soule Mama today...There is something about this that I love.

Playing Games

Games of any kind are a huge hit around here these days. The favorite is hide-and-seek. What a great game it is - no pieces, no boards, no directions, and you can play it anywhere. The kids get a huge kick out of it, squealing, running, and covering their face with their hands. We love it to, but more laughing at them than with them! They will hide in the same place every time, and the term "hide" is used very loosely around here. They may "hide" standing next to the refrigerator, or laying on the couch with a pillow over their face, or under a dining room chair with half their body hanging out. They also love to hide in the exact spot that they just found you. But it is fun to hear them laugh as you look in ridiculous places, "Is she in the teapot?!" I still love to hide it makes me feel like I am 6 again waiting for my brothers to find me, although Tyler always stands over me laughing and pulling my hair, thus giving away my spots.

After Tyler goes to bed, the big kids chose from their vast stack of board games and puzzles. They get so excited choosing cards, spinning spinners, and finding matches. They are genuinely excited for others to win. Another reason why 3 is the perfect age. Just about everything is fun and exciting. There is very little competitiveness and lots of joy.

It is so simple - a board game or hiding behind the couch - and they light up with happiness. Love it.

Drew "hiding" under a chair and Ella counting to 20.
ps. check out the hair to hips ratio!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Looking into the Future

Since they were born I have see-sawed between enjoying who they are now and wanting a peek into the future to see who they will become. Will they stay close? Will they be funny, athletic, and keep their love of music? So many questions, so many possibilities.

It is amazing that they have no concept yet of the future. Kids this age truly live for the moment, or at least the day. I love to be reminded to focus on the "right now" to soak up all the giggles, hugs, and smiles.

There is no rush, in fact I would be totally content keeping them just as they are today.

ps. We are snowed in today, so Ill need to remind myself of this lesson often today, especially by 4 pm!!