Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Favorite Song

My big girl loves Neil Diamond. A girl after my own heart. She asks for this song over and over, and dances like mad every time. In this video she's a little camera shy, but it's a good example.

And I have a fabulous video of Lass giggling, but for some reason I couldn't get it to upload to my iMovie. I'll figure it out and post it soon.

A Baby Named Cliff

Oh boy. I read about a baby boy named Cliff today. He's an orphan. He has Downs Syndrome. He lives in a crummy orphanage in Eastern Europe. You can read more about him HERE. His story breaks my heart. Jeannett, the momma who writes the blog Life. Rearranged has taken on the task of raising money for little Cliff to help with the costs of his adoption so that, hopefully, it will be easier for a family to adopt him. This is a cause I felt compelled to give to, and to share with others. So, there it is. The button for the blog post about him is on my side bar to the right, so you can see a little photo of him too. Again, a glaring example that I have so, so much to be thankful for. I'm hugging my girls extra tightly today.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Christmas Tree

Miss's first look at the Christmas tree.

It wasn't decorated yet, except for the lights and garland

and the bow on top.

But she was so fascinated by it. She kept touching the lights and blowing on them, like she thought they were candles.

Then I pulled out the ornaments we got at Hobby Lobby the other day, along with all our other ornaments, and the fun really began.
Check this out:

When we first started decorating she was saying "Tick-a-teek" when she looked at the tree, which is how she says "Trick or Treat!" So we corrected her that it is now time for Christmas and said "Christmas tree" to her a few times. Well, shortly thereafter, she started saying "Kiss tee" for "Christmas tree." But as you can hear in the video I thought she was saying she wanted to kiss something. Duh. But anyway, I'm was so happy that we caught her on video saying "I yuv a snowmin!" because that is one of my favorite things to hear her say, "I yuuv it!" that I don't care if I sound like a doofus in the video.

It was so much fun to let her help decorate the tree. Most of my ornaments have a story behind them. They are the ornaments that were on our tree when I was little, or they were made by someone I love, or given to me by someone I love. I told Miss the story of many ornaments as we put them on. "Your Great-Grandma B made this one," "Auntie and Unka gave that one to Mommy," "Grandma gave this to you for Christmas last year," etc. She seemed to have a blast helping with the ornaments and just kept wanting to get more and more. This morning she was just as excited by the tree.

She repeatedly touched all the ornaments and went from one side of the tree to the other saying, "Touch snowmin," "Touch Sinta," "Touch sharky" (sparkly - this is what she calls the old-school styrofoam-ball-with-sequins ornaments that my mom and aunts made in the 70s), "Touch Pulo" (Pluto), etc. And she commanded me to touch each ornament she named after she did.
I fear that I could get into a rut this month of posting nothing but "Oh-my-gosh-it-was-so-amazing/awesome/wonderful-to-see-Miss-do-this-holiday-related thing-for-the-first-time" gushing posts. I guess I'll call this fair warning, because it's likely to end up that way. I just get all teary every time I see Christmas through her eyes. And it's pretty cool. So I'm going to write about it, and probably gush some too. And then I'll probably do it again next year when Lass is old enough to start to understand all of this for the first time. Hell, I'm getting teared up just thinking about it. Motherhood never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Cookies

Yesterday Miss and I made cookies. Turkey cookies made in the shape of her hand. I'm a competent cook, but I'm the first to admit, I'm not very good at baking. Not yet anyway. I never got into it until recently. The pie a month ago, and now cookies. I tried to get Miss into cooking with me, but because of the danger from knives and the stove, I decided baking would be easier for her to really help with. And she seems to really enjoy it. She was so excited yesterday to get her apron on and get to work in the kitchen. Plus she loves washing her hands, which is how we started, of course.

Then we traced her hand to make the pattern for cutting the cookies (and then had to wash her hands again. Duh.)

She got freaked out by the noise of the mixer at first.

She didn't have to worry about it for too long though, because my $1 garage sale hand mixer, purchased at least 12 years ago (though rarely used), finally died on me. So we switched to an easier method, clean hands and then a wooden spoon. That was easier for Miss to help with anyway.

Unfortunately, Lass woke up right when I put the cookies in the oven, and trying to nurse her, while switching the cookies around halfway through, and then keeping an eye on them because they were probably going to be done before my timer went off didn't really work out. It worked perfectly fine for her, because she got fed. But the cookies didn't fare so well.

Nevertheless, they were still tasty and decoratable, so we waited for them to cool so we could complete the turkey transformation. Miss chilled with her sis while we waited.

Finally the cookies were cool and the decorating commenced. Miss was naturally just as interested in eating the frosting and sprinkles as putting them on the cookies, but we eventually got them done.

And of course I had to let her sample the finished product.

So, as I said, I'm not a baker. And I'm really not an artist, so the cookies are very ugly. But I am proud that they do sort of resemble turkeys. A little bit. I mean, as much as a hand resembles a turkey. And of course, the whole point of the exercise wasn't really the cookies anyway. I had a wonderful time with my girl.

Today we had a very relaxing day. Miss and I caught the end of the Macy's parade. We only saw the last 15 minutes or so, but it was enough to see Santa at the end. Can I tell you that I cried when my girl's face got the most magical expression on it as she watched Santa waving and dancing and got to see the reindeer? It was a perfect day for reflecting on all that I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3 months!!

Somebody is three whole months old today!!!

I can't believe it. The past three months have flown by. But then, it seems like our Lass has always been here. She's such a good and happy baby. She's growing so fast and doing lots of new things. She's enjoying tummy time a bit more and has great head control.

She likes "playing" with toys. I guess the better way to say it is that she notices toys, follows them with her eyes, smiles in response to them, and grabs them too.

She's a real Momma's girl.

She can sit in the Bumbo for a bit longer now. She loves to be sitting up and watching the world around her. In the photo below she is staring at something Miss is doing.

She likes her play mat and reaches up for the toys all the time now.

She loves to suck on the first two or three fingers of her right hand. But she still won't take a bottle!! I think I'm now on my sixth different type of bottle to try with her. This is completely my fault, as I didn't start trying to give her a bottle until my best "window" of opportunity was past. Shoot. At least her feedings have spaced out a bit. She has stayed with the babysitter so I could go do my first evaluation since she's been born, and it went well.

She was sleeping through the night for several weeks (I mean really sleeping through the night, from like 8 to 8). Then I moved her from her little snuggly inclined bed, which we had her in because of some suspected reflux, into her crib, and she started waking twice a night for a few nights. Now she is going to bed at about the same time as her sister (7-7:30pm) and she's back to waking only once, usually around 5:30 am (though last night it was at 1:30!!). I'm hoping she'll gradually get back to the 12-hour sleep stretches, but even as it is, I can't complain. I guess I should say that she's sleeping through the night and waking up really early, but then going right back to sleep for several hours, which isn't too bad! She's starting to get on a bit of a nap schedule, which is great because she is starting to take longer naps in the afternoon at the same time Miss does (right now)!! Woohoo!!

I love every different facial expression she makes. My hubby says she looks like me.

She has started giggling and she smiles a lot.

She is such a joy and we are soaking up every minute of these first few months. I have found that I'm able to really enjoy her more easily that I did Miss. That is definitely not meant to sound as though I didn't completely enjoy Miss's early months, but I was soooo much more nervous about everything with her because it was all new. Seriously. Everything. Having a second baby has allowed (forced?) me to relax a bit, which has helped me to just revel in her babyness and to love every day with both of my girls more than I ever thought would be possible. I don't know what job could possibly be better than this one I've been blessed to be able to do full time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things that made me smile today

1. Two girls took long naps. At the same time!!

2. These big blue eyes.

3. I organized the toys and books in our living room and my hubby's office.

4. Sister hugs.

5. Hearty leftovers for dinner. Chicken stew and chili. Hardly any dishes to do!!

6. This girl:

7. Getting in a workout today!

8. Finding photos on my phone from a playdate we had a few weeks ago. We went to the children's museum and I took some pics on my phone and then forgot them. Miss loved the museum, especially the water room (complete with mini raincoats) and the slide.

9. A trip to Hobby Lobby for some holiday items. I picked up some new ornaments that aren't breakable for Miss to put on the tree. Each one I held up and showed her she said, "Oooh, I yuuuv it!" or "Boo-ful!" She is especially into Santa and snowmen right now. In fact, she said "I yuuuv it!" about almost every Santa or snowman she saw, which kept me smiling the whole time we were there. And when we were picking out picture frames so I can (finally) put up some photos of Lass, Miss kept saying, "No touch" about each frame, after I said it to her once. What a good girl.

10. I finally got a photo of the girls in their matching winter hats as we were getting bundled up to go to Hobby Lobby. I have a hat that matches theirs too. Unfortunately, Lass is not a big hat fan, so it has been very difficult to get a photo of the two of them in their adorable matching hats without Lass being red-faced and screaming. This one isn't great, but it's something. The hats were made by my friend Shannon of Crocheted Goods. I get compliments on them every time we wear them!
Today was a happy day. Very much looking forward to the rest of this week, with Lass turning 3 months old tomorrow, Thanksgiving on Thursday, and our Christmas decorating on Friday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

21-Month "Miss"-cellany

21 months is fun. I *heart* 21 months. My elder girl is so stinking funny at 21 months. She is getting into all sorts of new things, some good, some bad. She likes to climb anything she can. She'll climb onto the counter from her Learning Tower. She tries to climb the cabinets. She climbs me. She climbs her dad. It's not uncommon for me to turn my back for a second and turn back to find her balancing on something she just climbed up on. It's a minor miracle she hasn't climbed out of her crib yet (knock on wood).

She likes to carry and pack things. She had a blast carrying all her importants in a backpack at the farm last week.

She is still our outdoor girl. The girl loves to be outside and explore. She picks things up or gathers them together. She's not afraid to get dirty.

She can say just about anything at this point and in full sentences, if not fully grammatically correct sentences. She says the funniest things sometimes, and almost always in the correct context. If I came to get her to take a nap when she was playing with her Baba (my husband's mom) at the farm last week she would say, "Bye-bye Mommy. See you next time!" Today she was talking on her pretend phone and she said something like, "Hi Grandma. All done talking. Bye-bye, see you next time" (I think "see you next time" comes from the way her favorite show "Yo Gabba Gabba" always ends).

The other day she was doing something that was driving me nuts and I snapped at her a little, "Stop it!" Well, of course today I heard her saying "stop it!" with a little frown on her face. Made me feel like a big heel. I am very careful what I say around her so she doesn't start copying even less savory words or phrases (which I admit I have been known to say on occasion :) and wouldn't you know the one time I did swear in front of her, I heard her mimicking "Dammit!" just a few seconds later. Fortunately I didn't react and she only said it once.

She also has other funny little things she does and says like "I go cazy!!" when she's dancing or "I yuuuv it!!" when she really likes something. She can sing her ABCs, count to 14 and knows all her colors and most of her shapes. She knows almost all of her letters by sight and can identify the sound each letter makes. It seems all of this stuff happened overnight too. One day she was my baby, and the next she was this funny little girl with some serious personality.

She has a little bit of sass in her too. In general she's a very good girl and usually listens when I tell her to do something. Admittedly it sometimes takes me two or three repeats of an instruction, occasionally with a bit of hands on encouragement, before she listens, but most of the time she does what I ask fairly readily. Recently however she has started letting me know when she doesn't like it by letting out a shrill scream while complying with my requests. It's like she's saying, "I'll do it, but I'm not gonna like it!!" We have had a few tantrums and their frequency has increased a bit, but so far these are usually short lived. I must admit there are moments when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing in terms of disciplining my toddler, but we seem to be doing okay so far. And I am learning all the time and figuring it out as I go, so I'm okay with that.

Miss loves to sit on the counter while I'm getting ready and play with my makeup or hair brush. I love watching her imitate me with my makeup brushes. She also loves to have her hair done. If I ask her if she'd like to get pigtails she gets very excited, and she loves to pick out the barrette she wears and her socks. One day we were in her closet as I was selecting what she would wear that day and I held up a shirt and asked her if she liked it. Her eyes got big and she said, "oooh, booful! (beautiful)" Of course that's the shirt she wore that day. I can't get enough of the pigtails. . .

She loves to push her baby dolls around in their stroller, but even more than that of course she loves for me to push her baby dolls around. "Mommy push?" she says. So I do. She also loves to chase and be chased, so we do this often with the stroller as well. The vacuum works too.

Miss loves to play with her sister and hold her. She asked to hold her the other day so I had her sit and placed Lass sitting up between her legs. Miss grinned ear to ear and held her and hugged and kissed her for a minute. Then she kind of pushed Lass away from herself and said, "Play toys?" So I thought she was done with her sister and wanted to go play with her toys. Well she walked over to Lass's playmat and picked up some of Lass's toys, looking back at me expectantly so I would put Lass down and Miss could play with her. She loves showing her sister things.

She is also starting to get interested in manipulating things and learning how things work. She pays very close attention when I show her how to get toys on and off the play mat hooks.

She is also getting into dressing herself. And undressing herself. She loves snaps and zippers and is very eager to do up the zipper of her jammies every night. Fortunately she hasn't quite figured out how to undo the zipper. We had to abandon the few pairs of jammies she has with snaps, because I went in to check on her one night before I went to bed to find her jammies in a heap in her crib and her lying in bed with nothing but a onesie on. After she got up the next morning and I put her jammies back on her, I went to the laundry room for a minute and came back to find this.

Her near nakedness apparently inspired the urge to dance and go "cazy."

And of course the jammies were a great tool for playing a sort of hide-and-seek/wander-around-without-looking game.

She is noticing the camera more and will look at it and say "picture!"

Sometimes now I can get her to stand still for a second and maybe actually pose for the camera. Here she even said, "cheese" for her Daddy.

Bottom line? I love this age. I have loved every stage, every age so far. But I. Love. This. Age. And man I love that girl.

Speaking of love, here's a little sneak peak at a very-soon-to-be-three-month-old. I could just eat her up.