Thursday, December 30

Wives Tales

So here is how the story goes and before I start this very personal story I have to include that I am not a superstitious person. No way, no how. I like science and there is usually an explanation for almost everything in life. I also have to include that I can't believe I am telling this story, though I write a blog I would like to think of myself as a private person, keeping information dear to my heart private, but I guess I just feel like telling this story.

Well, when Nyah and I returned to the island to start our new life, as I have mentioned before, Nyah had a babysitter from down island who apart from putting grease in her hair was always bestowing her traditions, superstions and wives tales on me about the way I was raising Nyah. If the babysitter was sick, she thought it was probably because she walked in front of the fridge after ironing, tea and other mixtures could cure symptoms of illness (some do work), Nyah had to be bathed twice a day, the thought of taking a child outside in the rain was deplorable, and the ultimate; when a child bends over to look between their legs, they are looking for their "next brother or sister". 
Nyah January 2009- first week in STX.
My child, of course, was always on her head in a perfect downward dog position so I was constantly teased that I should be careful because the next baby was coming.  Vida was wonderful and never hesitated to get all up in my business but I loved her for that, I needed someone in my business. Laugh it off I did but sure enough Elsa joined us soon after.

Fast forward a year to this October. Nyah and Elsa were staying at my mother in law's while George and I were out on a rare date. When we returned, my mother in law had something to tell me but hesitated knowing I would be upset, she later tells me. 
We head to the gym a couple weeks later, after I had discovered we had been blessed with yet another surprise miracle. The wonderful woman who cares for and loves my children at the gym, Mrs. G., informed me that Elsa was bent over looking between her legs all morning and she was getting after her to stop, knowing that I would be upset if I caught her doing this. Mrs.G. told me this "just to warn me". Mind you, Nyah was almost two years old when she started this acrobatic position and Elsa was but ten months. I guess Nyah has taught her a thing or two and Elsa has even done a front roll she has gotten so into this position. So all I could do that morning was laugh/cry and tell Mrs.G the news. 
After breaking the news to my mother in law, she revealed Nyah was on her head the evening earlier in the month and she already knew I was expecting. 

Seriously? These women are smart (or at least with me just making a safe statement), they've really got something going. I love wives tales, there is always something to them and I just feel extremely lucky to be learning those of another culture and humoring them in their correct predictions. I have to admit that I am sure I will someday be saying these very things to other women if not my own girls in the way, way, way future. So women beware of acrobatic children and the words of down island women.  

And for those who are wondering, this is the last baby. Last hurrah, shows over, thanks folks, nothing more to see here. 

Wednesday, December 29

Sippy Cup Blues

Pardon my rant and rave but I will now get something off my chest that I am completely over, sippy cups.  As Nyah is phasing out and our other child is entering full sippy cup mode, I have to admit, I am little sad. I don't even like the word sippy. One of my favorite perks of breastfeeding is that I don't have to clean bottles and I am serious. 
Sippy cups are nasty little plastic forms with numerous nooks for bacteria an other spores and disgustingness to grow. Believe me, I have done my research and tried every variety but they are all the same, and all equally sneaky with their little hiding spots. I think I have them squeaky clean with my little brushes and cleaning tools only to uncover a hidden nook with something purely disgusting growing. No wonder our kids never need antibiotics, they get a constant flow while getting their daily hydration. 

Our sippy cups hold mostly water with occasional juice. It never fails though that someone loses a cup in a toy box or under a chair or something only to be discovered by George and I sometime later with fermented juice or God only knows what in it. I can't even let my mind imagine the science experiment that would go down in the lost cup if my kids drank milk. Vomit. 
Sippy cups were no doubt designed for spill free independent sipping and thats why I continue to be a willing participant in this battle. These little cups are lucky I am a sucker for independence.  

Tuesday, December 28

Big Up

Sending a big up to Uncle Chris and Aunt Ali. We received your box of treasures today, thank you. Nyah was full of anticipation between each gift. Your generosity and kindness is appreciated. The ballerina says thanks also. 
I will put money on her sleeping in this tonight.

Holiday Chill

Life is moving slow around here and it's been just lovely. Essentially, there could be a blizzard outside, that is pretty much how we are behaving. Relaxing indoors with each other, skipping the gym, snuggling under blankets (thanks to the Christmas winds), indulging in good food and just enjoying our time post holiday mayhem. Just kidding, no mayhem here, our holiday was more than relaxing. 

Our first attempt hosting a holiday gathering was a mad success and was just an all around awesome night spent with family. I keep catching myself reminiscing about the night. This holiday was a pretty much perfect, more about love and time together than ridiculous onslaught of unnecessary gifts. Our love is not measured in gifts, our love for each other is way beyond that and it feels great.
In other big news: Nyah is protesting something major and is in the midst of a serious hunger strike. I think she is trying to convince us that a strict diet of only chocolate (pronounced in Spanish in our house) is all she needs to survive. Elsa has two new teeth, Nyah can now reach the bathroom sink to wash her hands with no stool and we were finally able to turn Elsa's car seat around, she is totally into her new view of the world and it is obvious that she is enjoying the ride. Nyah has learned to button her own shirts and we are expecting a new addition to our family this summer. I know, can you believe it? She can button, pretty awesome life accomplishment and we couldn't be more proud.

Hope everyone is enjoying this relaxing time of the year. Love.

Friday, December 17

Birthday Girl

Yesterday Elsa celebrated her first year of life. We had a small celebration at Nyah's school. The kids wanted to sing to her since they have known her and watched her grow since she was in my HUGE belly (as they like to remind me). It was a nice little celebration, for Nyah also. I brought my camera but forgot to put the battery back in from the charger. Ugh, so no frosting in the hair photos. 

Nyah and Elsa met Santa last night and we enjoyed steel pan music, moko jumbies, and quadrille dancers with great friends. Elsa's major celebration will be on Sunday when her grandparents return from St. Thomas. Photos of messy cake face soon come. In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite Elsa photos from the past year. 
Happy Birthday Elsa, you sweet, vivacious, energetic, active, beautiful little girl. We are so happy you joined our family one year ago.

Wednesday, December 15

Our Time

Nap time is over. For me that is. I think Nyah has finally outgrown the nap- for now. I am sure her love for sleep will someday return. 

We have been in a state limbo lately. If she takes a nap then she stays up way past her bedtime lying in bed talking to herself and calling out one too many times, "Good night Mommy" where she then waits patiently for my reply. If I don't reply she will repeat herself until heard. George loves to trick her by attempting to make his voice sound like mine and then reply "Ni'Night Nyah". He gets away with it every once in a while which he gets a pretty big kick out of. Sometimes she pauses in deep thought trying to decipher our voices but usually replies, "No, I want Mommy". She of course pulls the timeless classics of potty, thirsty, I need to tell you something when sleep challenges her. 
When Nyah skips nap she occasionally becomes grumpy by sunset but can usually hang in there for the day without an outburst of emotions until she hits the pillow hard and is almost asleep before singing her usual routine of songs is finished. 

George also sings these songs when on bed time duty but I often wonder how one can make it through life without learning the lyrics to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". He makes up his own words to these classic rhymes, which is much better and even better when we catch Nyah singing the Daddy version of these songs.

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder where you are
Up above and down below...

I have to admit, during this time of nap limbo I have been trying to push Nyah into taking a nap or at least into quite time (in her bed). I really treasured that time when both girls would sleep and I could do whatever my heart desired, nap, clean, eat, lounge (yeah right), catch up on stuff. I feared not having alone time but then I realized the one who probably needs alone time is Nyah, alone time with her momma. She is getting older and we have many things we need to do, some of which are impossible to do with a curious, active little sister around. So nap time has become our time to do things we need to do...together. I really love this time and now find myself looking forward to it because she is one funny little girl. And one grown up little girl.

How far we've come, from the days when I would work all night and we would nap during the day, together. How I treasure that snuggle time had, me on my side, knees pulled up making my body in the shape of a "u", she in safely in the comfort of the nook I created. 

Three and half years of solid nap time, I gotta say, "Welcome the afternoon Nyah, hope you enjoy big girl".
My favorite little napper.

Sunday, December 12

Graham Cracker House

Nyah and I decided to attempt a gingerbread house this year, actually a graham cracker house. I had a feeling building a gingerbread house would be a challenge so we decided for our first construction attempt would be in graham cracker. We added cream of tartar to a jar of store bought icing to make the icing dry hard. I know, I am such a cheater, I am just not into the raw egg thing in the royal icing because there was no doubt in my mind that Nyah would be sampling our creation. 

I am by no means an expert baker (if the looks of our graham cracker house doesn't make this blazingly obvious), in fact I am just a beginner but even I know the humidity here can make baking a challenge. Melting chocolate, nearly impossible. My first attempt making a pie crust was comical.  The dough was a gooey mess even after adding double the flour. Tasty. I wish high humidity instructions were included in recipes. By the way, I am open to suggestions to my baking problems if anyone has any ideas.

Back to the gingerbread house. We finally got the house standing after a little help from George and great frustration on my part. A little messy but standing, for now.
I felt like the graham cracker house was becoming a personal challenge. Me vs graham cracker house. The construction was not the most exciting part for Nyah, of course she just wanted to decorate. She stole samples of candy and icing during this stage. 
We then added the candy after the icing dried for a couple hours. 
Here is the finished product. Nyah was in charge of the path which of course looks awesome. 
As my finger lifted off the shutter to take the above picture, the house collapsed. The seams didn't break, the house actually caved in on itself because the graham crackers were soggy. Ugh, damn humidity. 

 Guess who was in charge of tree duty while we were working.
 Elsa can't get enough of the tree.
Nyah expertly handling the cleanup of the house post collapse, what would we do without her.
 Until next year graham cracker house. We will master you.

Friday, December 10

Christmas Comin'

Nyah is really getting into the holidays this year and I must say her excitement is contagious. We are really enjoying this holiday season together. St. Croix has some great activities during the holidays, festivals, Carnival, and my personal favorite, a boat parade. 

St. Croix even has their own Christmas carols, Cruzan Christmas carols, and we love them, especially when George sings them. Lyrics involving phrases like,"Mama bake da johnny cake, Chritmas comin', Christmas comin', New Year comin", and "If you wanna be merry, drink guava berry". So we have been jammin' out and getting ready.
The girls were such a big help decorating.
This angel now belongs to Nyah, of course.
She just loves her.
And Elsa, our little tree watch dog. 
She just can't seem to keep her sweet little paws off the tree. 

George is even in getting into the holiday spirit, using Santa as motivation for good behavior. I was never into Santa but now I get it, as horrible as it is the mere thought of Santa not visiting can turn an entire situation around.  George and I will obviously be getting coal this year. Hope you all are enjoying the season.

Thursday, December 9

That's My Name

...and I am back. Sorry for the long hiatus, I just couldn't seem to get it together after our little Las Vegas excursion. I feel like the jet lag has lasted two whole weeks. But, after nearly a week of lavish over the top indulgences and Nyah and Elsa being spoiled by their Nana, 
and the best time ever with friends and family that we love, life is finally getting back to normal and I am proud to say we are now Mr. & Mrs. St. Rose. 
Yes, we are legit though the name change is kinda blowing my mind. Didn't realize how attached I was to Duckworth.  Suzanne Duckworth, that is who I was and who I am. How can I change who I am? I have to admit, my life as a Duckworth has been interesting, a name that is hard to forget. 

I once had a cashier at the grocery tell me after checking my i.d., while I was more than likely trying to purchase alcohol that, "I must have got made fun of a lot as a kid with a name like that." And I recall looking him so oddly because I realized that no, I had never been made fun of for my last name, a name with an animal in it. The idea had never crossed my mind. The last name Duckworth just made for some awesome nicknames. I didn't get a hard time I am convinced because I wore the name with such pride. 

Another time when I was purchasing my first car in St. Croix, a 2004 Isuzu Rodeo, grey with a purple stripe, from a man from England, he saw my last name and absolutely lit up. He was so excited that I might possibly know or be related to some of the Duckworths he knew in Northern England. He explained that the area was littered with Duckworths. 

Duckworth is an awesome name, a name I will greatly miss and the name of my great family but I guess everyone has to grow up sometime. I know I could have kept my maiden name but I often have dreams at night of our family united under one shared name (old school, I know) and could you imagine hyphenating those names,  Duckworth-St.Rose? I don't think so, it would take me all day to sign and I just don't have that kind of time.  So St. Rose it is, and I will sign it with pride (as soon as I can remember to) as it is the name of great, loving, kind individuals too. 

This is my official goodbye to Duckworth, its the beginning of a new era. Let see what comes of it.

Friday, November 19

Bug Battles

What I am about to write will probably make some people sick so I apologize in advance. I am revealing this not so flattering aspect of our life because its real and an issue we battle daily. Bugs. I have mentioned them before but I had another run in with bugs tonight.  Bugs and other little crawling creatures are an inevitable part of life in the tropics and of living in the open air, I have accepted this. Maybe I am tough, rough around the edges, I don't know but it is just my reality.  I also have to mention that we are obsessively clean because well, we have to be or lord knows what would happen. We would be overrun.

My run in with the little suckers began tonight as I poured an entire box of pasta into the boiling salty water as I was preparing Nyah and Elsa's dinner. When I stirred the pasta I began to see little black specs floating to the top of the water. What the heck? I studied them, looked closely, scooped one out and sure enough, bugs. Ugh. It was my fault. The box of pasta was new but I have to keep all things with the tiniest opening sealed tightly and in containers. These containers are a lifesaver. 
Even closing a bag with a clip isn't enough. The little suckers will find a way in. They are relentless. Sometimes the bugs are actually in the food prior to purchasing.  We have returned many items to the store because of visible bugs, we call them weebles. 

The saddest part about tonight was that I had to throw the pasta away. Wasting food makes me feel horrible. An entire bowl, in the garbage. 
I have to admit that I actually finished cooking the pasta while I attempted to strategize a way to get all the bugs out but it just wasn't happening. The girls didn't seem to be bothered by the bugs in the least, happy in their new hideout.
So it was rice and beans for Nyah and Elsa, again. I am sure my children will be repulsed by the sight of rice and beans when they grow up because thats how often we serve it to them. To say they are a staple in our house is an understatement.  

Sigh, such is life on an island. And so our battle continues.

Wednesday, November 17

Our Colorful Family

As Nyah and I were hanging out this morning she sweetly and innocently informed me that, "Mommy, you are pink, I am brown, Elsa is brown, and Daddy is brown like us". 
She is so right, this is a very true statement and the first time she has made it known to me that she is aware of the different shades of our shells. She was informing me in a matter of fact way, like I am the odd one out, which I am. I reminded her that she is beautiful and she agreed. 

It has been on my mind, pretty much since Nyah came into my life, how to instill a positive self image in her and now Elsa, how to develop their sense of self confidence and self love apart from others opinion/approval and how give them the confidence to stand up to those putting them down or heaven for bid bullying them.  I believe one can conquer anything once they believe in themselves. Nyah's comment this morning, conveyed with such pride about her individuality, once again brought this issue to front of my mind.
It definitely took me a long time to realize my own self worth, and I still struggle with seeking approval from certain individuals in my life. I realize that instilling this confidence in the girls somewhat starts with me. I must set the example of self love. I find this both easy and hard at times.

I came across a great blog entry by my favorite blogger the other day, Rebecca Wolf. You can read the entry here about the importance in teaching kids to have confidence in themselves. She sums it up in a way I never could, and don't forget to read some of the comments, they are great too. I found this article refreshing as I am solidifying some of my beliefs and addressing my own personal issues with self confidence, self respect, and self love as we are raising our girls in this society. Its always nice to know others have similar concerns as you.

So let me know what you think and give your self a little love today, because you are beautiful.

Tuesday, November 16

Our Day

I decided to take a walk on the wild side of life today and break routine. Oooh. After we picked Nyah up from school, instead of coming home for snack and nap, the girls and I headed to the beach.  Today was gorgeous. After another week of being stuck inside due to the frequent down poors, school closings and the internet being down, it felt so nice to get out and spend the afternoon with the sun, breeze, sand and surf. Its amazing how refreshing effect nature can have.

Nyah was totally pumped when I showed up to school in my bathing suit (with cover-up on, of course). She kept inviting the her classmates and teacher to come to the beach with us. She has also invited her teacher to come to our wedding and be a flower girl with her. 
After our swim, the girls and I took a walk on the beach. As we were walking and the wind and waves were lulling me into a peaceful and calm states, it struck me that going to the beach and living by the water, something I am still thankful for everyday, is really no big deal to Nyah. She has no idea what its like to not live by the water, to not being able to rejuvenate the soul with just a short drive to the sea. Its just her norm, part of her world. This makes me feel good, hope she appreciates the water someday. Hopefully it doesn't take living in Indiana to make one appreciate the wonder of the water. Or maybe the ocean won't be the part of nature that does it for her at all, and that will be awesome too.
Nyah loves to go out on this pier to look for crabs, even though they give her the heebyjeebies, it is something we have to do each time we visit this beach.
Elsa is eleven months today! She and Nyah are doing a much better job of playing together, more of a compromise on Nyah's part to share, stop tormenting her by pushing her down, laying on her, taking her toys, etc. Nyah seems to get it now and they are buds. 
When Nyah is asleep and Elsa is awake we have to keep our eye on Elsa or she will bust in Nyah's room to wake her. Elsa is becoming the comedian in our house. If we are laughing about something she starts laughing really loudly too, like she totally gets the joke.  Elsa loves to hang out in the oven drawer while I am cooking and I often catch her reading books while we are home and she is off doing her thing. Elsa has started pointing at random things lately and smiling and laughing as I explain what she sees. She is a sponge, learning at every moment.
Elsa is just a joy, she makes everyones day everywhere we go as she is always bursting with happiness. 

I had the best day with our rapidly growing girls. Of course, we ended our beach adventure with some ice cream for Nyah, one of her favorites. Elsa didn't have any, still holding off on the sugar until next month. Can't believe her first year of life is almost complete. It has been a great year.
Love to all.
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