Wednesday, July 28, 2010

what "big girls" do

In an effort to distinguish the appropriate roles and responsibilities of our two girls (mostly since the potty training days) we've talked about big girls vs. babies a lot. And Kiddo knows she wants and needs to be a big girl, because that is good and desirable. This may have backfired on us.

While on vacation she learned, then perfected, the art of a yelling tantrum. (All my pre-vacation posts mentioning her screaming were not such, they were more of a yell, or a high-pitched squawk; I knew this then. I really know it now.) Since we've returned, they've lessened, but certainly not disappeared. The subject of most of them is "what big girls do."

"Big girls wear underpants!" is screamed when we're trying to get her to put on a pull-up for the night.

"Big girls wear pull-ups!" is the cry when we try to move to underwear in the morning.

"Big girls don't wear socks!" "Big girls wear their sparkly shoes!" "Big girls don't go to bed!" or whatever is the opposite of what we've just suggested. She can't stay 2 forever I suppose.

In addition, since she is a big girl, but she's realizing that there are still things that she can't do, that only parents do, I have become "big mama."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

thoughts unrelated to my children

My vacation spoiled me, and I forgot that I have to move the car twice a week. About 1 pm I yelled "Shoot!", herded Kiddo out the door at record speed, prayed Babs would be fine for three minutes in her swing and ran out to move the car. I was too late. The ticket was already there. I still moved my car for good measure (largely because there was a spot across the street). At least the street sweeper can do his job in peace.

My congressman sent out a mailer touting his good works. He bragged about all the money he's shepherded to our area because of his position on the ways and means committee. He told us 1) if he didn't send the pork to us, it would just go somewhere else. Okay, I accept the truth of that statement. 2) The more money we get from the federal government, the less money we have to contribute to get the work done, specifically in the form of property taxes. While it's true that more federal money for projects means less local taxes, but who does he think is paying for the federal government? Oh yeah, my children. I guess this is a good deal.

Why do I feel sheepish about changing pediatricians? I wish my old pediatrician didn't have to know...

Because our house is cooled by window A/C units, some places in our home still aren't so cool. And we're definitely more in tune with the weather outside. This is challenging because the weather is hot, but I'm actually grateful that I have time to think about the heat, and recognize that it's part of life, and live it. I feel less insulated from reality here, and I like that. And this state of affairs made me totally love stepping outside with Kiddo on Sunday when it was only in the low 70s for about an hour, and enjoying that weather too.

Monday, July 26, 2010

welcome home

We went back to our branch yesterday. Kiddo has a loud hacking cough right now, so we only attended the most important meeting, sacrament meeting. Although we went the long way so we could avoid the traffic for the major sport venue we pass, we did manage to get stopped by the motorcycle parade. So, we made it there 20 minutes late, but still in time for the opening song. (Thanks Elder, who led the music for me.)

But this did mean that we sat in the back, which is where the action is. I only whisper yelled at the two kids playing with the live turtle four or five times. And only fed Babs twice. And only was irritated at the kid who wouldn't share Kiddo's quiet book with her for some of the meeting.

But as I led the second song (and was vaguely overwhelmed by the chaos that I had idealized while I was gone) I was reminded that one of the families in the branch had gone to the temple while we were gone, and I thought, the work moves on. I'm glad to be a part of it, right here.

puddles on a Sunday afternoon

vacation wrap-up

Events of the vacation:
*blessing my baby.
*my brother's wedding.
*my family time.
*his family time.
*seeing old friends.
*the farm.
*mini reunion.
*maxi reunion.
*faux skydiving.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, the best part of this vacation was family. The small downside to having so much at once is that it's hard to get to spend time with all of them, and I failed in that respect. For example, I have no picture with me and my dad. Other people do, but I don't. But, we did spend more time with Uncle K, my husband's brother. Here he is with my little one. (He kind of scares Kiddo half to death, so we chose not to force a picture there.) This is about 10 minutes before she pooped all over him. It made me laugh. And he assures me he doesn't care.

the amazing Aunt M

This is Kiddo's favorite aunt, Aunt M. Aunt M pours love and affection into Kiddo, as only an aunt without kids can do (as my husband's cousin H said, watching her unmarried brother play with her kids, thank goodness for siblings without kids, who have the energy to play with mine).

Since she was recovering from surgery, and we were spending time watching my brother get married off, we had not seen much of each other. But then we had a mini family reunion (with few pictures, silly us) for my husband's paternal side. And there was Aunt M.

Midway through the event, we moved from a Jump House (think lots of trampolines right next to each other) to a picnic at a park. Aunt M drove her own car, so we spent most of the trip assuring Kiddo that she would be there when we arrived, and to not worry.

As we pulled up, so did Aunt M. We pointed this out to Kiddo. She looked over, and immediately stated "Need my sunglasses!" Thank goodness they were in the diaper bag. This was completely inspired by coolest Aunt M who was wearing her sunglasses.

Except Kiddo's sunglasses aren't very cool. They are bright pink, and velcro with a strap in the back. Luckily she doesn't know that. And wears them without guile for brief periods of time on her own schedule. It totally cracks me up.

Thank goodness for a good aunt worth emulating in every way.

the farm

Me, my sister, and sister-in-law met at a historical farm. The kids climbed on a lot of tractors. We took a ride on a wagon pulled by a tractor. And we saw some animals (I also fed Babs a lot, so missed quite a bit of the action).

Kiddo started picking up handfuls of dirt from the paths, and throwing them into the pens claiming she was feeding the animals. This was gross, but cute, as long as the pens were empty. Then she tried it on the chickens. They went crazy, super excited (as only chickens can be) to get to the "food." Thank goodness for my sister who had old bread with her. She taught Kiddo that "chickens eat bread, not dirt" and provided her with an appropriate outlet for her feeding needs. Every time she stuck some bread through the fence I was sure she would get bitten. I half hoped she would so she would show some caution. I'm grateful she wasn't. Then we moved on to feeding the ducks. It was loved by all the little children we brought there. And, kept them enough occupied that we, the mothers, could actually talk. (This pictures stolen from Aunt A's blog.)

friends from family

One of the greatest blessings from this past vacation was the time Kiddo got to spend with other children. Our particular circumstances right now limit her interaction with them. There were the fourteen cousins on my side. There was the nursery with more than two kids each Sunday. And in the last few days there was the reunion on my husband's side with offered a whole additional set of second cousins. Kiddo loved it, and it was good for her, both to interact with children her age, and imitate the cousins that were older. It is so funny to see her mimic in word and action what her 9 and 10-year old cousins did. Who wouldn't want to be like them?

And I have a few pictures of some of those interactions. Mostly though I just appreciated them. The pictures here are my sister's kids, and the 2-4 year old second cousins, then one who is just four weeks younger than Kiddo.

(And why might you ask is there no picture of her with the first cousin that is almost her age? Well, for one thing they're two, and that's not a good age for posed shots. Second, those two girls are night and day in terms of personality. One follows the big kids around, and believes she is one (and probably is). The other (mine) lives in her own little world, which I believe is only partially induced by her first child status and dearth of children interaction opportunities. Oh, and I'm not a very consistent picture taker. Her mom is having the same issue.)

pecking order

From Kiddo's mouth:
"Daddy's a boy.
"Momma's a ... " (this stumped her, how could I be anything but the momma? We told her lady, and informed her Daddy's a man.)

Let's try again:
"Daddy's a man.
"Momma's a lady.
"I'm a princess."

Babs received no mention in this particular recitation of the family roles. With some prodding she determined that Babs was a tiny baby.

(And kudos to the man in my life that took the princess pictured above out in public. What a sight they must have been with her pink tricycle down main street!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

two vanquished fears

About a year ago I made my semi-annual visit to the dermatologist. (I have rosacea.) She also checked in on a large-ish mole on my back which my husband had pointed out should be looked at again. Since it was both larger than the approved size and multi-colored, she suggested we take it off. She was pretty sure it was fine, but better safe than sorry. So, I set an appointment to take care of it sometime the next month.

In that period of a month, my dermatologist moved and I got pregnant. So when I called before my appointment to check on how the pregnancy would affect things, I talked to someone who didn't really know my case. And she said I should definitely wait until after the baby was born.

For the last year I have been vaguely nervous about the ever changing mole (it got rounder while I was pregnant, big surprise given the skin movement for that occasion) on my back. I finally called a new dermatologist on Monday. They scheduled me in for an appointment on Wednesday. After 1 1/2 hours of waiting with my infant (while my husband bravely took on the sick toddler at home) (and in which time I saw multiple people come in, get seen, and leave, arghh!) I saw the doctor. He looked at it, said, I don't think it's a problem, but there are some things that are better in a jar than on our skin. A few minutes later he reappeared with a physician's assistant to remove the mole. Ten minutes later it was gone. All I could think was "I worried for a year about something that could be fixed so simply????"

I'll know in two weeks that truly all is well. And I'm glad this is taken care of.


I took both girls to the store by myself the other day. Three stores in fact. I didn't lose either of them (really only a concern for the bigger one). And neither screamed throughout the store (a possibility for both). I did have the advantage that Kiddo's shoes hurt her feet, so she stayed in the cart for the grocery store. But she bravely put them back on to walk the half a block to our house, because I didn't have enough hands (or strength) to carry her and the full car seat.

Now I know I can take them to the store. And while it won't be a daily occurrence, and should only happen when we only have a few things to buy, I'm grateful to know I can.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

appropriate dress

How should one dress when checking on a crying toddler in the middle of the night?

Well, according to Kiddo it is not in your underwear. When I first showed up she took one look at me and said through her tears "mama, can you put a shirt on?" "really?" I replied. She repeated her request. Whatever, I thought, and went to find a shirt.

I returned, she looked again, and continued "mama, can you wear pants?" I thought about refusing, but wasn't really in the mood for a tantrum about that, so left to find some pants.

Appropriately attired, I was now allowed to soothe her back to sleep. (Except she didn't fall asleep before I had to feed Babs, so Daddy came in to soothe, which started a new tantrum, until she gave up, and the two laid in bed until one or both of them fell asleep. All I know is that they were both in their respective beds the next time I woke to feed the baby.)


One of the best parts of being in the homeland for so many events is that my kids got to see all their (living) grandparents and great-grandparents. That's a lot of love. And they are blessed because of it.

Here they all are, in no particular order (I thought I'd do it by age, then realized I didn't know how old they all were...)

(Kiddo saw them all too, but she is less amenable to pictures.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

be it ever so humble

It's hot and humid back here where we come from. Our apartment is still cramped, and did not magically unclutter while we were gone. My husband had to park five blocks from our place last night. The window A/C still makes lots of noise, but guess what?

We're home. And I'm thrilled. As my husband says each time we return, "East, west, home's best."

(So family that I already miss, come visit.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

bungee cords + trampoline =

Kiddo's favorite moments from the reunion. Great-Grandma B bought us all-day passes for fun like the tram, the ski lift, ziprides, alpine slides, bounce houses for the little ones (also enjoyed by Kiddo) and this. Put on a harness, and jump really, really high on the trampoline.

Kiddo chose to go on this event. (I tried to offer her other activities, with shorter lines, but to no avail. "I want to jump on this." Okay.) She waited patiently for about 40 minutes of other people's turns. (It helped that there were other reunion kids waiting too.) She let a strange man (albeit a young one) strap on the harness. And then she jumped, and jumped, higher and higher, and had the time of her life.

When the time was up, she wailed passionately about wanting to jump some more. I pinned her down to remove the harness. I dragged her out of the jumping area. I carried her because she would not put on her shoes, nor did she want me to put on mine. It was tragic to only get five minutes of jumping. (I, on the other hand, was worn out after those same five minutes.) Had the line not doubled since we first got in it, I may have considered another run.

The next day when we saw it again, she wanted another shot. Maybe next time. She loves to jump.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

my first ski lift trip

The best part of the reunion (besides seeing all the family of course) was the lift ride down. As a family, we took the tram to Hidden Peak (11,000 ft). After seeing the snow (a bigger pull for the kids from Arizona than for me, I'll admit), we sent Kiddo down with her aunt and grandma. Then my husband and I hiked 20 minutes down the mountain to a ski lift that we took down the mountain. It took us another 20 minutes to get down. As you can see, Babs got to ride too, strapped on with our "giant ACE bandage" (thanks, cousin D).

It was beautiful, pristine, we could hear the brooks, the wind in the trees, and quiet as only nature can be. It was definitely our favorite activity. Do you think that is connected to the recent (not quiet, not calm) behavior of Primus?

what we know about milk

Heard from Kiddo:

Babs drinks milk from momma. I drink milk in cups from cows. Cows drink milk from grass.

It's the circle of milk.

a wonderful mummy

At my husband's family reunion this last week, we wrapped our own mummies. Kiddo was thrilled to take her turn. While wrapping her, her dad told her she was a wonderful mummy. Not surprisingly, Kiddo translated that to a wonderful momma.

"I'm a wonderful momma," she kept telling me after she was wrapped up.

You will be some day, I'm sure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

the blessing

Our first major family event while on vacation was to bless my baby. Normally we would do this at church where we live, but the opportunity to have all my brothers participate, and have grandparents and great-grandparents there, was too exciting, so we did it here.

After starting with a prayer, all the cousins (and some second cousins) sang "I am a Child of God" together. It was very sweet.
Then my husband used the priesthood to bless Babs. Among other things he blessed her to be a mother. Interesting, and wonderful. Daddy, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, six uncles, two great-uncles, a cousin, and a good friend were in the circle. Two Grandmas, three great-grandmas, seven aunts, a few great-aunts, and a parcel of cousins were in attendance.

When Kiddo was still just a infant lump, I just loved her in all her cuteness. I love Babs too, but spent much of the first few weeks very anxious for her to grow a little so I could get to know her personality. I am less anxious now, and am just enjoying her sweet, sweet smiles, and general contentedness.

How great to have my husband worthy to give this blessing, and so much family there to appreciate it with us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

big vs. strong

As Kiddo reached each milestone (holding head up, rolling, etc.) we would cheer her on with comments of "you're such a big girl." As we started using those phrases with Baby, Kiddo called foul. After all, the way we convince her to use the potty, sleep in her bed, and everything else is by reminding her she's a big girl. Obviously the baby can't also be a big girl. So Baby is "a strong girl" as she reaches her milestones. After about a year this won't work so well, because the milestones are less physical, but I wonder about the different expectations and impressions this will put on the two different girls.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

new skills

Kiddo hid from me, as a joke, for the first time today. When I found her she laughed with delight. Today I thought it was marvelous. I'm sure it will lose its excitement as time goes by.

Also in the last few days she seems to have figured out first and second person. How did it happen so quickly? And she really wanted to carry her snow cone tonight. But I wanted her to wait until she was sitting. As we walked along she kept insisting "I need it! I need it!" Where did "need-want" go? She is growing before my very eyes. And while I'm very proud of her, for the first time, I don't feel ready for her to grow up, and leave these things behind. Maybe part of the problem is that I look at her and see a little girl now, not a toddler. Is that because she's really growing, or is it the comparison to her sister and little cousin, or is it just because she's the first child? This is happening way too fast. (And she's only two. I need to get over this.)

Babes is also getting new skills. Today she rolled over, on accident. Her daddy tried to recreate it. As she almost did it again he jumped and yelled with excitement. She didn't make it though, until she was helped. Maybe tomorrow.

And she's such a good smiler. I will do a lot for one of those smiles, but luckily all I have to do is get her attention.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

the bride

Meet my girls' newest aunt. Isn't she beautiful?
And here she is with all the nieces. I am so grateful to have seen so much of my family. It was MARVELOUS.

wedding dresses

As mentioned, we attended my little brother's wedding. I didn't take a picture of the happy couple (but fret not, many pictures were taken). I, in fact, didn't even take pictures of the sweet matching nieces, or even my own girls. (Again, pictures were taken, so I'm sure I'll get one eventually.) So today I dressed them up in their dresses today for Sunday.

And then I got a picture of them both smiling. This may never happen again for the next 10 years. My sister and sister-in-law found these dresses. They call the little one's dress "baby-licious." So true.

The full shot of Kiddo:
And all the girls whose dresses matched Kiddo's. (The older nieces and Babes had slightly different dresses.) What adorable cousins.
Note the black sweater on the littlest one. They all had one. The one on the right couldn't wait to wear her jacket (it's not on now because it was warm). Mine saw the sweater and yelled "No, I cannot wear my jacket!"

(A wonderful shot of these girls and many more cousins can be found here. It is heavily weighted with photos of the cousin on the right, but she is adorable, (and the blog is by her mom) so it's not a problem.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

so much

In the last week we traveled 2/3's the way across the country, blessed the baby, saw all of my family and a lot of my husband's, attended my brother's wedding and all that entails, and are now worn out. I will slowly post about all the fun, but to get myself started, a picture of my youngest, sleeping in the coat closet at my grandma's house. I believe this closet is approximately (half) the size of my bedroom.