Friday, November 29, 2013

Scout has arrived!

Welcome back, Scout!  Our family Elf-on-the-Shelf made his official appearance today.  We were SO excited to learn Santa had made some changes to Scout's duties this year.  He will no longer fly around the house at night doing mischievous and exciting activities.  The rules have changed, and he now only has to update the countdown to Christmas display!  

Scout's handwriting looks a whole lot like mine!

The funniest thing about getting the house decorated for Christmas this year has been seeing Haley throw a fit about Scout's arrival.  She had real tears when I tried to put him out and even tried to hide him in a drawer.  When quizzed why she hated Scout, she said she didn't want him telling Santa about her being bad.  At least she knows she acts up on occasion! 
Whatever you do, do NOT look in the drawer for Scout!

Black Friday for me meant climbing in a dark attic searching for the Christmas crates.  I broke down and got a fake real tree versus the fake palm tree we have always used.  Needless to say, the palm tree is a whole lot easier to decorate.  However, it was worth it seeing how much fun the girls had helping decorate.

Only two ornaments died in the decorating of this tree

I had my doubts, but I'm finally in the Christmas spirit.  Thanks to and some Thanksgiving day shopping, I've found some fun gifts for the special people in our lives.  The biggest thrill of this season is knowing Scout won't wake me up in the middle of night reminding me to move him before the girls get up!  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Libras in my life

Haley's birthday is September 25, and Jeff, my step-dad, has his the next day on September 26.  Despite my pleas to my doctor, she just wouldn't do my scheduled c-section on his birthday, being that September 26 fell on a Saturday in 2009.  It was probably for the best, since Haley isn't too keen on sharing ANYTHING.

Jeff started giving Haley a hard time about her being 57 and him being 4 on their next birthdays.  Haley didn't think that was funny, but Jeff got a kick out of the idea.  Always one to love a good joke, he had this shirt made:

So, the next time you see Haley around town sporting a funny t-shirt, give her a hard time about being 57!

And, Jeff, thanks for all the practical jokes and laughs.  I'll never forget some of the crazy stuff you have done...

Monday, September 30, 2013


There comes a time in your kid's life when they have to let go of certain things.  After all, you can't send them off to college with a case of sippy cups.  Showing up for the first day of Junior High still in diapers might not be the hippest thing either.  We've had to set deadlines for certain deep attachments with both girls.

Shelby has been madly in love with her aquarium since the day she was born.  My co-worker Annette gave it to me as a shower gift, telling me that her nephews loved it.  Little did I know that aquarium would be the one gift from my shower that would still be used five years later.
Original appearance
It was so cute at first how she would would be hypnotized by the little fish and his plant companions. When she was big enough the push the buttons herself, I was amazed at how "smart" she was to figure it all out.  I assumed she would grow out of it soon enough.  Annette knew better...
Aquarium after two years
We began warning Shelby about two months before her fifth birthday that the aquarium needed to retire.  Even though it has a choice of six songs, white noise, waves, wind, or rain, she always chose the same song.  If my memory wasn't shot due to sleep deprivation, I could dig the name of the song up from my Music Appreciation classes.  However, it now just sounds like nails on a chalkboard, so the exact title escapes me!
Present day aquarium.  Where did all the water go?
The first few days after Shelby passed her aquarium down to Haley were rough, but I'm now comfortable with the idea that she won't be taking it with her on her honeymoon.

Next to retire was Haley's "Pinky".  Pinky was a special gift from my mom, Mimi.  It was a beautiful Little Giraffe blanket that had the most exotic feel to it.  

Leaving the hospital with Pinky

Pinky quickly became my third child.  "Where's Pinky?" was a common question heard on a daily (and sometimes hourly!) basis.  Pinky was accidentally left behind during an Easter visit to my sister's house, so she had to be mailed back overnight to avoid WWIII.  In the event that Pinky needed a bath, Haley would wail by the washer and dryer until she was clean.  I'm surprised Pinky can't write her ABC's with as much time as she has spent in Haley's backpack at preschool.  

Pinky during her better years
However, after four years, it was time for Pinky to retire.  As luxurious as Little Giraffe blankets are at first, their delicate fabric is their ultimate undoing.  I had sewn up Pinky's holes enough to make her 1/3 of her original size.  And, I'm afraid one more trip through the washing machine might just turn her to threads.
Cuddling with Pinky and baby doll 

So, shortly after her birthday, Bryon took Haley to Walmart and let her pick out what she wanted to decorate Pinky's special wall hanging with.  He then made a BIG production of hanging it all on the wall just above Haley's bed.  That way, she could look up at Pinky anytime she wanted.  Again, the first night was rough.  But, it's safe to say family members won't be forced to mail her overnight any longer!  It's just a shame we weren't able to claim her as a dependent on our taxes….

It took YEARS to get that worn-in look!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy birthday, Baby Bear

Our little baby Haley turns FOUR today.  She is nothing less than the most special kid around!  She keeps us guessing, laughing, and pulling our hair out all at the same time.

Parents always wonder what their kids will become.  With Haley, I have NO clue.  Whatever her future holds, she will be no less than CEO as she is always in charge.  (or at least we have to let her think she is charge!)

When asked, all she wants to do is marry her friend Malone and have 100 babies.  She talks about being a mama non-stop.  Anytime she sees baby stuff in the store, she asks if I will buy it for her babies.  Grandma gives her $1 occasionally for the Dollar Store, and she always buys a bottle/pacifier/diapers for her future babies.  And, I can't throw anything out without her pulling it out of the trash to save for her babies.

Best friends
Haley's favorite thing to do is look at pictures non-stop on the computer.  She especially likes pictures of herself from when she was a baby.  She really likes it when I narrate the pictures as she clicks through them.  She LOVES hearing stories about herself when she was a baby.  Who could blame her?  She was a beautiful baby!

Sleeping beauty
(photo by Suzi Neely

No tube of lipstick goes unnoticed with our Baby Bear.  She has a blast discovering tubes in my purse, applying over her entire face.  As frustrating as it is, I still crack up a little at her love of makeup.
Haley likes to stay up late, making funny little scenes with all the many trinkets she won't let me throw out.  When asked, she has such funny stories to go with her creations.  At first, I got onto her for making a mess of her room during the night, but then I started noticing patterns and purpose in the arrangements.  Future Michelangelo?
"Coins on a bed"

"Birthday Cake"


"Birthday Cake II" (notice the 4 candle even made it!)

"Marbles balanced on posts"

"Jar of Marbles"

"Dolls on a bridge" (Bandaid on forehead is just for show)

Haley, you are one special kid, and your daddy and I love you so much!  Never stop keeping us on our toes and tickling our funny bones!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Isn't it ironic, don't cha think?

For years, my mom has been complaining about a lymph node in her neck being sore and inflamed.  I blew it off as just allergies.  No big deal.

A month ago, mom noticed a lymph node in her groin that was inflamed.  She said she was headed to the lab to get a biopsy.  I was headed to work for a 12 hour shift and didn't have time to think about it.  Unfortunately, I got a call several hours later that mom had Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Two weeks ago, mom had a PET scan, an MRI, and a bone marrow biopsy.  For two weeks, I couldn't think about anything else but the results of those tests.

Today, I found out mom has Stage IV B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Stage IV.  Wow.  How could such a healthy, young, gorgeous woman have Stage IV anything??  The cancer has spread to all of her lymph nodes, her spleen, and her bone marrow.  Wow.

I dare you to guess her age

And, yet, I find myself thankful for the diagnosis.  Because my mom has taken such good care of herself and looks so young (how many times have we been asked if we are sisters??), I took for granted the fact that she would live to be 100.  If anything, my mom looks healthier and younger than she did 20 years ago.  So, this wake-up call has been a blessing in some ways. 

After all, how many of us really stop to tell each other how much we appreciate them?  How the fact that they taught Girl Scouts in 1983 still means so much 30 years later?  How seeing them snuggle with your children means more than the world?  
Mimi "scratching" Haley's back with a brush

The word ironic continues to pop in my head.  It's ironic that my mom's dad, Grandpa Walt, lived to be 79 after a lifetime of smoking, drinking, swearing, and bacon-grease loving.  My mom, who NEVER smokes, hardly EVER drinks, NEVER swears, and ALWAYS throws out her bacon grease, is 61.  A cancer diagnosis is quite ironic.

It's also ironic that if there is any stage IV cancer you want to be sentenced with,  non-Hodgkins lymphoma might just be the one you would pick.  It seems to be just like any other chronic disease you live with.  You get a few rounds of chemotherapy every few months, and then go on with your life.  And, the chemo used is an antibody that attacks only the cancer cells.  Losing your hair, throwing up your toenails, and spending days in bed are highly unlikely.  

And, I find it ironic that cancer has stricken our family at all.  Sure, my dad had some kind of malignant skin cancer removed.  And, Grandpa Walt underwent radiation for his prostate cancer.  But, all in all, my entire family has dodged the cancer bullet. We could only avoid it for so long I guess.  Alzheimer's disease has run rampant in my family tree.  Other than that, we've been a fairly heathy bunch.  Until now.  

Two weeks from now, mom will start chemo.  I'm guessing waiting on test results will be the story of our lives from now on.  In the meantime, I'll be praying for healing and reminding loved ones how much they mean to me. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A good time was had by all

This past weekend, we went to Bryon's 20th high school reunion in Santa Fe, NM.  The quick trip turned into quite the learning experience for us all.  The girls had a blast with the grandparents, while Bryon and I enjoyed playing "tourist" and catching up with old friends.

Even though he grew up there, Bryon hadn't seen many of the tourist spots.  We were both in for a total shock upon arrival to set up at the Scottish Rite Temple, aka the "Pink Church".
What secrets lie within?
Every high school gathering back in the '90's involved the instructions, "meet at the pink church."  Prom night after-party?  Meet at the pink church for further directions.  Skipping out on swim practice to go hiking?  Meet at the pink church at high noon.  You get the idea.  

The funny thing was that he and his classmates had never been inside until this reunion.  Who knew there was such beauty housed in the temple?  The theater took my breath away, and the chandeliers looked like they belonged in a European church rather than a Southwestern fraternal building.  Now that the building is open to tours and can be rented for parties, this place has made it on our Must See list for Santa Fe.  

Most beautiful backdrop ever
While we were busy playing tourist, the girls were staying with Bryon's parents in Los Lunas.  Grandma and Grandpa Birdie had all kinds of fun stuff to keep our girls entertained.  Grandpa had a coconut for the girls to crack open and taste. 
He is one brave soul

Fresh coconut milk

Just like an island girl
Grandma and Grandpa also pulled out the tractor and Big Wheels in an attempt to burn energy.
Watch out Nascar!  Here come the Pfaffs.

Caution:  Student Driver

We all met up in Santa Fe at the Childrens' Museum for family day at the class reunion.  For years, we had been trying to find Haley's "money", my mom's word for what makes a person tick.  My money would be dessert.  Bryon's money would be engines.  Shelby's money would be unicorns.  PacMan's money would be dots.  You get the idea!  I've never seen so much joy in Haley's face as when I turned her loose with the face painting crayons.  
Really, Mom?  I get to use as much as I want?
Such concentration in the mirror
Pure joy!
Another classic Haley pose

Bryon also got a chance to go up in the plane his dad recently completed.  The flying experience was a thrill for him, as his dad even let him control it for a split second once they got up in the air.  Will anyone be surprised when one of our girls grows up to be an engineer??

We decided to drive out to New Mexico this trip (Hello, Southwest Airlines, what ever happened to the Wanna Get Away prices??).  I was pleasantly surprised at how grown up the girls were in the car.   We weren't totally exhausted and ready to choke each other by the time we got home.  I think I've got this parenting gig figured out!  

Shelby having fun in the car
The tech gods smiled on us!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Webster's Additions Part 2

More additions to the Pfaff Webster's Dictionary, as vocalized in our household:

Pawn•Ish noun and verb
1.  Paint used to beautify one's toenails or fingernails.
2.  The act of applying color to finger or toenails.
Example:  Mom needed the kids to calm down, so she suggested they sit VERY still while she pawnished their toenails a lovely shade of pink.  
Origin:  Early Haley English
Pretty pink pawnish

Hoo•Wah Hoop noun and verb
1.  A round toy one twirls on one's hips
2.  The act of twirling a hoop around and around one's body
Example:  Shelby became quite good at hoowah hooping, much to her mother's amazement.
Origin:  21st Century Shelby English
Gru•Ined adjective and verb
1. Describing something that has been destroyed.  Similar to ruined, only worse.
2.  Breaking, mutilating, or destroying something of value, rendering it worthless
Example:  Haley snuck into the kitchen while mom was enjoying a quiet bath and gruined her birthday cake. 
Origin: Shelby English, usually said in a whiny voice.  "Haley just GRUINED my _____!"  (fill in the blank)
A gruined birthday cake

Mingos noun
Pink birds that tend to stand on one leg.
Example:  Upon seeing the mingos at the zoo, the girls trying standing on one leg to imitate the funny birds.
Origin:  Early Shelby and Haley English
Look at me!  I'm a mingo!

Mama's birthday

For my 39th birthday, my sweet hubby grilled me a yummy steak and whipped up a red velvet cake.  It was quite lovely.  The girls even let me enjoy a quiet bath afterwards.

But, as I learned 4 years ago, never trust a quiet house...

Any guesses who the guilty party was destroying my cake?  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly to OUR Home

Our homeowners' association recently had a Ladybug release at a local park.   We had a little time to kill, so I took the girls.  This event is going on our "Must-Not-Miss" list of events from now on!

Shelby on the slide
Haley on the slide

Chasing the ladybug kite
After chasing the kite and playing on the bounce house slide, the MILLIONS of bugs were released.  Each kid was given a ladybug catcher to take them home, with the idea that Valley Ranch will be covered in aphid-eating ladybugs all summer.
Just a small example of the millions of ladybugs released

Haley feeling apprehensive about all the ladybugs

Shelby trying the blow-the-bug-in-the-cup technique

After catching as many ladybugs as possible (and even killing a few after they attacked my camera lens), the balloon freak twister made a butterfly and puppy dog for the girls.  He was FULL of all kinds of lame jokes that Shelby found more frustrating than funny.

Bugs + balloon = happy Shelby

Haley holding onto her dog balloon for dear life

and showing it off a tiny bit