Thursday, December 30, 2010

a little more at Grandma's

Although we missed the 2 feet where we live, it did snow twice on our vacation, allowing Kiddo and Daddy to build a snowman! It has the traditional carrot nose, and less traditional grape eyes. Kiddo loves playing in the snow.
After Christmas I finally saw the lights on Temple Square. And fulfilled my adulthood dream of randomly running into someone I know while in Utah. Note Babs inside my coat. I put her in my Mobi wrap and carry her next to me for both of our warmth. I guess buying that coat too big didn't turn out to be a horrible mistake after all. Lots of people don't initially see her, and then are surprised when her little face peaks out. The longer she's in the hold (we barely both fit at this point) the harder she pushes against me so the coat comes unzipped, and she has more room.
Kiddo learned that she shares a love of Doritos with Grandma. So there are often chips to be had.
It snowed again! And this time she had snowpants, which completely changed the game. While Aunt M shoveled the driveway in preparation of Daddy and Grandma' return, Kiddo literally ran back and forth across the snow covered lawn. Snowpants may be the bane of my sister-in-law's life, but they are a joy to my daughter. (Although in all fairness, they are the exception for Kiddo, not the rule.)
And Kiddo made modeling clay with Grandma. And played with it as much as possible for the next two days. And has asked me at least twice since we've returned home if we have some. One of these days I'll have time to breathe, and truly think about making some with her. But not today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

years and counting

Okay, so we're really tiny in this picture, but my photo editing program (along with much else on this computer) is having fits, so here we are little. These (plus one who couldn't make it) are the women who ... how awful does this sound ... helped me become a woman. I grew into a functioning adult with them. Or, in better words, my college roommates.
The six of us were actually only roommates for one year, but subsets of us were together for up to three years. It started with four, then they added me, then we added one more, then for the last year we all got married, or student taught, or served missions. Basically, we moved on.

But then a couple years later, Gwen wrote to Sue, who wrote to Tayna, who wrote to Anna, who wrote to Tara, who wrote to me, and here we are, thirteen-ish years past graduation, still friends, but more importantly, still in touch.
Here we are holding our youngests. There is also one really young baby, just a month or two, but she (and mom and siblings) couldn't make it. (Sad for us, good for her.) Between the six of us we have 26 children. (I'm the underachiever, make no mistake about it.)

It was so good to see them again. I grew up with them, where growing means becoming an adult. And it's good to see people who knew you when you were just learning about life.

In a thought that may seem unrelated, my aunt J saw Kiddo on Christmas, and told me how much she reminded her of me when I was that age (Kiddo has my eyes). My other aunt K said the same thing at Thanksgiving. And both times when they said that, I felt a sense of security, of being around someone who knows you better than you know yourself, because they've known you so long, longer than you remember.

Although I certainly haven't known them that long, that's how being with the roommates felt. Secure. These are women who knew me as I was getting to know myself. And through letters, we've started families, and are learning to raise them, and it gives me strength to know that they are doing it, and doing it well, and so can I.

I'll let you know next time I'm around...

Monday, December 27, 2010

increasing mobility

Babs finally decided it was time to crawl. She will go about 3 feet, on all fours, before throwing herself on her belly, and flapping her arms and legs like she did before crawling. She will only crawl to me if I'm on the ground, otherwise she looks at me as if to say "You can walk, you come to me." If she does crawl to me, she stops half way, and impersonates a fish out of water. She will crawl to the wind-up toys Santa brought us. She seems the most motivated by them. She needs to be on carpet, the hardwood floors are too slippery.

She's been "almost" crawling for months. It's nice that she finally doing some. Her range is still very limited, we'll see what inspires her when we return home.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

babs' first christmas

She loved the candy. (I didn't really let her eat it.)
She enjoyed her toys, until Kiddo commandeered them.
And got to keep one of Aunt M's presents.
It seemed to be a good day.

it's christmas!

Overnight, Christmas came! Kiddo has been anticipating this day all month. She knows the important detail: it's Jesus' birthday. And she had some idea that presents were involved. We spent a lot of time talking about presents being part of Christmas because of the gift that Jesus is for us. A few days ago we started talking, carefully, about Santa Claus. (She is still petrified of him, and I'm okay with that.)

This morning, we forgot to use caution. "Kiddo, did Santa come?" Aaahhh, she cried in response, until we reminded her that he was completely gone by then. Not only had the stockings been filled, but many, many presents had shown up under the tree.
Then we started opening presents. Kiddo opened the first one. As soon as she saw it (the present, still unopened) she yelled "it's my favorite!" She loves presents.
She also helped open Babs' presents, and anything else that interested her. She was very excited about all of the fun. As she opened a book, Grandma asked her what shape it was? Kiddo announced "A rectangle!"
But eventually, the presents overwhelmed her. We would hand her a present, tell her who it was from, and she would hand it back to that person and wish them a "merry Christmas." We took a break so she could play with what she had.

We also visited Great-Grandma B and family, and then later in the afternoon saw my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents. It was a wonderful day to be with family, and celebrate Christ.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

snow santa

Daddy and Kiddo built a snow man with the fresh fallen snow. They used a carrot for a nose and grapes for eyes.
Then they sprayed it red because it was actually a snow santa. It was so fun to be outside in the snow, to be outside, to have daddy around.
Yes this was while she had her cold. I think going outside is good for one's constitution.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


8 months

I try to imagine loving this girl, with her solemn eyes, more than I currently do, but it's hard. Then she wraps her tiny little arms around my neck, and gives me a sweet baby pat with her pudgy little hands, and I fall in love even more.

the silver lining

We arrived at the homeland two nights ago for Christmas with my husband's family. As we were waiting to get off the plane, I thought I heard Babs cough, but it was such an ugly cough that I hoped it was the baby sitting behind us. It was not (thank goodness for those parents).

By the time we got to Grandma's house, she was full blown sick. It sounds like croup. Kiddo seems to have a lesser preschooler version of it. They are wheezy, snotty, and miserable at night. My husband and I are also miserable as we take turns sleeping for two, occasionally three, hours before switching off again. Of course, we're both also up multiple times.

The timing of it lets us know that they would have been sick any way, whether here or at home. At least here my husband isn't going to work, so we can share the load day and night. And take turns resting during the day. Although ironically, we have no more room than at home, because of our efforts to keep both girls in the room with the vaporizer.

Nights two and three are supposed to be the worst. Tonight will be night three. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

communing with daddy's dad

TV in Grandpa's chair. As his daughter pointed out, he would be so pleased.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

my little dancer

Kiddo had her first dance class this morning. She loved every part of it. She loved having a school, having girls that "will be my friends," the music, the dancing, and of course the mirrors.

She did okay with following directions, I'm sure she'll get better as time goes by.

She did not love that Santa Claus came to visit. (It was the day of the holiday party.) In fact, it terrified her. When he walked in the room she immediately distanced herself from the group, then looked at me with grave concern. I motioned that she could come sit on my lap, an offer she immediately took. Soon, I went and sat with her on the floor so she could be with the girls, and still be safe from the man.

Dance class will be every Saturday morning. She can hardly wait. One mother kindly told me, after learning that she had never had any lessons before, that she was a natural. "It's in her heart" I replied.

Friday, December 17, 2010

really embarrassing when she grows up

I give a lot of thought to how my kids will appreciate being chronicled in their highs and lows as they grow older. I don't know. But I do know Kiddo will want this purged from the records. I'm sharing it anyway. Don't tease her about it when she grows up. She's three, it's okay.

After using the potty she puts the toilet paper between her cheeks and announces to me she has a tail. She does this each time she is undersupervised (often, I'll admit) for the deed. Although I formally discourage it, it always make me laugh (usually on the inside, but the first time she did it, out loud).

big christmas tree

We went into NYC yesterday to see the Rockefeller tree, and whatever else the city had to offer. (Yesterday, it was the ferris wheel inside Toys R Us.) It was tiring, what with the two little kids, carrying both of them a lot of the way, and the rush and bustle. I felt bad for Kiddo, a little person among a sea of legs and knees. But she liked the tree, loved the ferris wheel, and I liked being out with my family.

My mom always took us to do things like this. As we stopped for dinner I realized it's not that these things were easy for her, but that she knew the memories we would form and the experiences we had were worth the effort it took (don't correct me if I'm wrong mom). And I really think it is. And, I remembered that I brought my family to the City because I wanted to enjoy things, so I stopped more often, and took time to ooh and ahh over whatever I wanted to so it wasn't a rush to get somewhere, but a journey.

If we can continue to have outings like this, we may do them more often... or at least keep doing them.

ps- isn't my husband nice looking?


Is it me, or is my daughter really talented? This, a typical drawing, is a person with a head, a body, and legs (complete with toenails)! Plus a belly button, eyes, eyebrows (no face is complete without them), a smile, and cheeks. And this from a girl who a few months ago didn't even like to use paper and crayons.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

turning three

This is how Kiddo's birthday started:
A huge pile of presents where previously there had been none. The one present that was visible before her birthday was high on a shelf, where she would occasionally notice it, and insist she needed a present right now. I decided to keep them hidden until her birthday. Given that, what happened next should not have been a surprise.

After giving her strict instructions not to open any presents, I went to make myself breakfast. Soon there was the sound of tearing. And her interacting with her beautiful princess dishes.

Another warning about not opening presents was issued.

Which worked just about as well.

Then all the presents were moved out of her reach. But then it hit me, in years past, she struggled with all the presents at one time; she wants to enjoy them. So I slowly doled them out throughout the day (and even into the next day in all honesty).

She helped make her own birthday cake, which means I tried to make it faster than she could eat the batter.

Here she is in her favorite present, her ballet outfit:
We finished off the day with a few friends over for cake:
Here she is with her new friend and his mom (his brother is behind him.) She was so excited when he came over, she bounced up and down shouting his name. Then she opened the present. She loves her boat so much. She begged to take a bath so she could "float it."
Here are some other friends who also joined us:

The day seemed to be a hit, from start to finish.

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Monday, December 13, 2010

comfort sucking

Toes. If Babs had her way, she would suck on her toes all the time. Too bad her mom sticks them in footed clothing more days than not, and all nights. Oh well, maybe next summer.

my sweet girl

This is how adorable my little girl looked as she did her part(s) in the primary program. I sure do love her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

primary program

In the middle of our second (and last) practice, I thought to myself "this is going to be insane." Then I thought, "just like a primary program should be." I honestly can't judge whether it was more or less crazy than a primary program should be, I've never actually been involved in putting one on before. But I suspect ours had slightly more than typical craziness. Here are some of the highlights:

*My husband wasn't actually there to provide backup with Kiddo, because Babs was sick. So I was both watching my little girl, and all the other kids, and leading the music, and helping with the program. I think I'd like to do less next week.
*Of the 13 (I think) kids that participated today, no child has attended more than three Sundays in the past three months. At least 1/2 read their lines for the first time today. Two were "walk-ons" from the congregation. These were children we deemed too young to be put in the program today, but wanted their chance at the microphone.
*Luckily, we had a lot of extra lines, because two of the older children, who we had depended on to say a lot of lines, mutinied. Their behavior was sufficiently bad that we told them not to participate, and sit with their mom; then tasked a branch presidency member to make sure that no one changed their minds and decided to come up anyway.
*Kiddo prepared two statements, but got to do four, and the closing prayer. Yes, they let my not quite 3-year old say the closing prayer. No, she would not accept any help.
*Although I tried to prepare by taking her to the bathroom before Sacrament Meeting, Kiddo turned to me two minutes before the program started to tell me she had to poop. WHAT??? I started walking to the door trying to figure this one out (I really couldn't leave), and decided to ask one of my good friends (yes, you know that is a good friend). She actually volunteered as soon as I was in whispering distance. Bless you CE.
*This meant Kiddo missed her first line. So when her second turn came up, she was insistent that she "do it herself!" So I let her state her first line "God is the Father of our spirits" before moving on to the next one. I tried to whisper it to her, so she started whispering. So then I spoke normally, and so did she.
*I prompted most of the kids who needed prompting (which was most of them) because they would repeat whatever they heard, including the other primary leader's accent and mispronunciations that come with an accent.
*We invited the congregation to sing along when they could (after providing them with the words) because of how few kids knew all the songs. We sang a cappella because there is no piano in our primary room, and since we hadn't practiced with a piano, I figured the day of was the wrong time to start.
*I started one song way high. Then I forgot the words, then the melody because I was so distracted by Kiddo trying to hide under my skirt. After dropping the visual aids I stopped singing, and had us start again. I used the restart as a chance to sing just a little lower. My good friend took this opportunity to come sit closer to the front to provide a person to help keep the kids still. This sort of worked.
*Many of the kids in primary are rovers, and move throughout the meetings. Most of them managed to sit still for most of the program. Miracles.
*They all sincerely wanted to sing, say their lines, and participate. They really did a good job.

And it's done. With any luck, this will be the last I do for a long time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

365 days

Last year exactly, on this cold, dark Saturday night, we finished unloading the last of the boxes into our storage unit (earlier in the evening we'd already dumped a whole ton in our small apartment), dropped of the rental truck (good riddance), signed a lease, and moved into our current apartment. It was very nice to have all of our stuff back, but mostly it was nice to be all under the same roof, with no more work separations from my husband. He was grateful to no longer be in hotels. I was grateful to be together again (did I already say that?). We were excited to settle in. We had a dinner that had thoughtfully been provided for us by one of the people in our branch, and dreamed about the future.

A lot has happened since then, but all in all, it's been a good year. We are happy. And we're together. The Lord opened so many doors and windows to get us here, and we have been, and continue to be, richly blessed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

happy holidays

Is it just me, or does she sort of remind you of the dog wearing reindeer antlers in The Grinch who Stole Christmas?

(Yeah, we're sticking to just the side ponytail for now.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

5 feet and counting

Babs still isn't crawling. And that's okay with me. What she is doing is getting very close.

I used to be able to leave her sitting down, and when I came back four or five minutes later, she'd be just where I left her. Now she's learned to lean over onto all fours, think about crawling, even lifting one limb, then reaching out in the direction she wants to go, and falling to her belly. She then reaches whatever it is she wants to get. Or doesn't reach it, and flails around trying to get it.

What this does mean is that the radius of safety that I have to keep around her keeps getting larger. Which really means that the things that I've decided are okay for her to have keeps growing.


Alert: this blog is about my child's continuing adventures in understanding the potty.

Somewhere along the line, we taught Kiddo that carbonated drinks are "spicy" and that's what we call them, "spicy drinks." They of course have a little kick, and little bubbles.

Lately, as she has poured her pee from her little potty into the big one, she sees the bubbles that come from pouring liquid from one container to another, and announces, "My pee is spicy!"

(She's also recently realized that she can see her reflection in her pee. "My pee makes me yellow" she declares, leaning dangerously close to the surface.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

tree, take two

I thought Babs looked super cute today, so I tried to get her picture in front of the tree again. Kiddo, of course, wanted to be part of it.

My husband's first reaction when he sees this picture will be to say "Where are Kiddo's clothes?" That is simple: on the bathroom floor. She took her pants of while going potty before her nap. She took the shirt off (and specifically walked into the bathroom to put it with the pants) while I was making dinner. The real question is why are her clothes off? Another simple answer: she took them off. And I wait until he is almost home to make her put them back on. It's a little game we three play.

And yes, Babs is chewing on a diaper, she loves them so. (It's clean.) It was that, or be facing the Christmas tree to touch it again (which she also did plenty of).

(But they do both look super cute. So I was right about that.)

Merry Christmas.

budding photographer

Kiddo has decided she wants to take pictures. She takes beautiful ones, like this:
Not only are the pictures super wonderful, we also had a small altercation about when she should be done taking pictures, which ended with the camera being dropped on our kitchen (tile) floor. Now our battery door is held shut with a rubber band. But, it still works, so the broccoli rubber band may be an important part of our future.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

o christmas tree

So far, my husband and I have traveled every Christmas except the one when Kiddo was born. So, a Christmas tree hasn't been very high on our priority list (usually it was finals and other end of the semester stuff). The year Kiddo was born we had a tree because my mom was there, and it was super high on her priority list. This year though, Kiddo is old enough, and although we're traveling, it just seemed like it was time. So we bought a tree. It's 3 feet tall, and sits on our coffee table. Kiddo loves it.

When my husband suggested they go buy a Christmas tree, she yelled "yeah! And it will be green!" When they came home with it, she couldn't wait to show me. I put some lights on it, then they hung some of our limited supply of ornaments. It gives our room a festive little air, and is perfect for our small space. Maybe next year we'll have a big one, but for right now this is just right.

(For your viewing pleasure, my first (and perhaps only) attempts at a picture of the girls in front of the tree. You'll see Secundus overly occupied with touching the tree, and Primus occupied with whatever goes on in that little head of hers that is not what I would like her to be doing at the time. Is she dancing? Probably.)

the suspense is killing me

Next week is our branch primary program. This is the Sunday meeting where the primary kids (age 3 - 11) present short messages about what they've learned over the year, accompanied by songs they've learned. The parameters of the meeting suggest that one never knows what to expect from such a meeting, and there are always a lot of surprises. The specific features of my branch suggest that there will be more happening that is unexpected than typical.

First, the leader of the primary is new, she has only been serving for about 3 months. That would possibly be enough time to put together a program if she had had consistent attendance from anyone. She has not. In addition, her first language is Spanish, which sometimes leads to interesting phrasing as she translates from her native Spanish to English. She is so concerned about having a good program, and is not shy about expressing her high expectations; mostly I think she just wants to children to succeed.

There are two English speaking families, but they mostly have not attended for the last two months, so they are not prepared to participate. Each time we talk about the program they state emphatically that they will not participate. They are very rowdy but they love to sing, and know all the songs we are supposed to be singing. They sing with much spirit and see Primary much more as a negotiation of activities and behaviors then as an organization with expectations.

There are two new families who just transferred from the Spanish speaking ward, but speak good English (the children are truly bilingual). They come every week, and are happy to participate, but do not know any of the songs in English (nor is it clear that they know them in Spanish). And two weeks is not enough time to teach them. And they are not old enough to give them papers to read the words. Sadly, only one is old enough to assign lots and lots of speaking parts. The other three just have small parts.

There is also a girl who's mother is learning about the church, but she knows nothing about the norms of church attendance. She is very keen on her opportunity to speak in the microphone though. She complains about all the singing, unless we are singing "Follow the Prophet" (especially since the more energetic family introduced their dance to the song today).

Plus, Kiddo, at almost three years of age has two speaking parts, and quite possibly knows the songs best of any person who will be participating. It's a rough time when you're counting on the two-year-old to keep things going.

Who will come? How much of the program will have to be prompted? or just read by an adult? Will I be the only one singing? How grateful will the woman in charge be when this is all over? I have no idea what to expect this next Sunday, except that I will certainly need a nap afterward. I love my branch.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

she'll love this when she's older

There is no doubt that Secundus is about as cute as can be. But she is also really good at closing her eyes half-way in photos. Almost every time I try to take her picture, I get one like this, which hides her adorableness, just a bit.

I keep trying until there is one with her eyes open. I feel like my mom, and grandma have this problem too. It's good to know she has some traits from the maternal line.

Friday, December 3, 2010

not yet

Kiddo is very excited about her upcoming birthday. Because of some confusion about what birthday means (up until very recently it meant a cake), and some confusion about the passage of time (she seems to know 'now,' 'not now,' and 'maybe tomorrow'), waiting for her birthday is hard.

So on Monday, her daddy and her made a calendar of the highlights of this month: his birthday, her birthday, Jesus' birthday, church, library, and flying to Grandma's house. She repeated this mantra all the time. "First it's Daddy's birthday, then my birthday, then Jesus' birthday."

This morning she realized that we had celebrated Daddy's birthday, so it was now in the past. "It's my birthday!" she yelled. Umm, not yet.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

daddy's birthday

For my husband's birthday he got to work late, attend our town's Christmas Tree lighting ceremony (in which only 2/3s of the lights actually turned on), and dance at "Frosty's Dance Party" in the "Christmas Park" (as Kiddo calls it).

But, he had a brother-in-law in for the festivities which included a homemade cake and frosting, with five candles, which were only partially blown out by the almost three year old.

Was it a good day? He's with his girls, I'm sure it was.

Happy Birthday Honey.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

daddy's girl

Kiddo realized a few days ago that she can draw with her toes. She's pretty proud of herself. Her father also has many varied toe talents (origami anyone?).

Her daddy's best friend calls them prehensile toes. I just think, really?