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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Conquering Fears

We’ve been to the park a few times this year, and she has been very hesitant to play on the structures, even though she grew to love most of them by the end of last summer. Today we went to a park with my (newly joined) mom’s group, and she approached the structure with caution. While I stood and talked with the other moms, I watched her begin to play on the slides and the steps. She went down the small slides at first, almost without thinking about it, but then decided to try the big kid slides. The first couple of times she attempted them, she would climb to the top of the slide and then climb back down the little ladder.

I continued to observe her without interfering, close enough to bolt to her at a millisecond’s notice. After a few stalled attempts, she gingerly sat down at the top of the slide and glided down, flying off the edge and landing on her feet before tumbling forward and falling. I hesitated, wanting to swoop in and dust her off. However, my tough girl stood up, wiped her hands on her pants and climbed back to the top of the slide. She went down several more times today, and I was even able to get some pictures.

It's only a slide, I know, but I hope that she continues to walk that line between utter freedom and caution.  She is so precious, but I don't want to ever mistake that for fragility.  I see a tenacity in her that will serve her well, and I hope she never loses it - although I am sure it will cause us to clash often during her teenage years!

Dylan enjoyed himself as well. He had a snack and chilled out with the moms. I snuggled him into my Moby wrap, which is an absolute must for us at the park right now. It lets him check out the world around him a little and stay close to me, while keeping my hands free to chase Abbey around and push her on the swings.

This is a pretty high slide.

Hmmm, there's still time to back out of this.
Whee!  I did it!
Let's do it again!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Madness

We like college basketball in our house.  Abbey doesn't really watch TV, but she knows "ba-ket-ball" and that you say "swish" when the good guys have the ball and "clank" when the bad guys have the ball.  Needless to say, we are all thrilled to be in the midst of March Madness, with our Spartans in the Final Four for the second year in a row.  I, personally, am not thrilled that my streak of beating Ryan in the brackets has ended.  There's no way I can beat him this year.  Boooooo!  This past Sunday, the kids and I went to my mom's to watch the game, and (as you can see), they were not quite sure what all the fuss was about.

Abbey and Nan built some lovely buildings during the game.  Poor Nan is visiting during college basketball's craziest few weekends, and my mom is as big a fan as anyone.  Sorry Nan, but we had to go through those pesky Volunteers to reach the Final Four for the second straight year.
Dylan was getting a little worried that the Spartans wouldn't be able to pull off the victory.  He hasn't been around long enough to witness Tom Izzo's impressive March coaching record.
Hooray!  They're winning!
Dylan loves Nan and her laugh so much.
(Thanks to Stacy for the MSU sweatshirt.  We'd like to think it gave the team the little extra boost they needed to advance to the next round.  He'll be wearing it again Saturday.)

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Monday, March 29, 2010

"He Spit Up"

People often ask how Abbey is doing with her new little brother. When we were at Dylan’s one month appointment (also Abbey’s two year appointment), Abbey told their doctor that, “He cries and spits up a lot.” I like to think that we have come a long way since then. Between the Zantac and getting to know his likes and dislikes, we are finally getting into a groove. Unfortunately, the nighttime groove is taking a little longer, but we are still light years away from those early days of extreme fussiness. She is starting to get a kick out of him, and is even concerned when he cries now. It’s sugary sweet to see her give him a stuffed animal or blanket when he cries, and that makes up for it a little when she tries to push him off his bouncy seat or climb on top of him like a stepstool. As far as he is concerned, she is the most fascinating person on earth; he smiles at her all the time and coos at her when she sits by him.

Of course, some things never change…

Doesn't she have the silliest expressions?


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boy Shoes

Abbey, Dylan, and I visited Stacy, Connor, and Madison today.  Abbey especially enjoyed the playhouse in the backyard, so much so that she did her best to keep Madison out of her own toy.  She also made me some eggs in the little kitchen.  Not too long after trying to shut the door on Madison, Abbey had a tempter tantrum to rival anything seen on one of those nanny shows, so we had to go home (i.e. fall asleep in the car).

Stacy kindly passed along a little MSU sweatshirt (just in time for tomorrow's Elite Eight game) and a pair of Keens for Dylan.  Abbey decided she wanted to wear the "boy shoes" for a while when we got home.  She then kept talking about them being Connor's shoes, and "Abbey's a big girl".  I think she might have a bit of a crush on an older man...


Saturday, March 27, 2010


For some inexplicable reason, I love the movie Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s kind of funny, since I’m not a giant fan of action movies or car movies, but something about it just pulls me in every time. Maybe the cool DMX music on the soundtrack? During the movie, the car thieves (I know, I know) name all of the cars they are stealing (stay with me here; I swear I have a point.) There is a Mustang they call Eleanor, and they refer to it as a “unicorn”, because Nic Cage’s character just can’t seem to steal it.

Eleanor is also Nan’s first name…(oh, and Nic Cage’s character is named Memphis Raines…kind of close to Nashville, ha, ha, ha)

For some inexplicable reason, I love the movie Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s kind of funny, since I’m not a giant fan of action movies or car movies, but something about it just pulls me in every time. Maybe the cool DMX music on the soundtrack? During the movie, the car thieves (I know, I know) name all of the cars they are stealing (stay with me here; I swear I have a point.) There is a Mustang they call Eleanor, and they refer to it as a “unicorn”, because Nic Cage’s character just can’t seem to steal it.

Eleanor is also Nan’s first name…(oh, and Nic Cage’s character is named Memphis Raines…kind of close to Nashville, ha, ha, ha)

I’ve taken loads of pictures trying to get Dylan’s giant grin, and I haven’t really captured one yet. It’s kind of my “unicorn” right now, because it truly lights up the room, and I want to share it with everyone. The other day, Nan was playing with him, and he started laughing. It was the sweetest sound, and I tried to get it recorded on my camera. Thanks Nan!!  However, my camera video didn't capture most of it, and I don't know how to upload video anyway (doh).  So the smile is still my are a couple attempts.

Well, this is just Nan & Dylan!
The picture I took before deciding to try the video.

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Friday, March 26, 2010


Books are some of my favorite things, so much so that Ryan sometimes calls me a bookworm. At one time in my life, I would have been ashamed of that moniker (why is it so "uncool" to be smart, and why don't some smart kids realize that it's not so important to be "cool"?), but now it's a badge I wear with honor and pride. Reading has the ability to do so much for the reader; it can be relaxing, informative, and even transformative. One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is curled up with a good book (not that I have had much time for that lately!)

I had a conversation with my Aunt Jane this weekend about how sad it will be if books are completely eclipsed by digital forms of writing; I hope my children will also grow to love the way books feel in their hands and in their hearts. Abbey already loves her books, and I fervently hope she continues to cherish the magic of the written word.

Hmm, maybe sometime I'll do some posts about some of my favorite books, both for myself and for the kiddos.

GMa Sharon and GPa Don have a great collection of books for Abbey at their house, too.  The books on the end are Sesame Street books that Donnie and I had when we were young.  Each book focuses on different numbers and letters.  Abbey is a major fan of the "Bert's Bath" story, which I actually remember from my childhood.  It's kind of crazy how many of the stories I remembered when I started looking through the books.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

And It Begins

The life of a younger brother can be tough.  Without a sister, I had to work with the sibling I had, even when playing more "girly" type games.  Dylan doesn't even know what he's in for!  According to Nan, however, he will stand up for himself eventually.  She likes to tell a story about how, when I was trying to take one of his toys, he bonked me on the head with a toy hammer.  I probably had it coming to me, but that didn't stop me from making him play school with me in later years (and dance recital, poor guy.) 

Abbey thought she'd try her movie star sunglasses on Dylan while we were making dinner the other night. (Don't worry, I was supervising to be sure that she didn't poke him in the eye.)
No wonder he is so intent on figuring out how to suck his thumb.
My movie stars!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Let me start by saying that we've been extremely lucky in terms of illness with Abbey. Besides the milk/soy allergy (resolved), the peanut allergy (still there), and some minor colds, she's been healthy. However, we took her to a doctor after a few days of a nagging fever. After an unpleasant nose swab, we discovered she currently has a sinus infection. If you have any tips for getting antibiotics into a whirling dervish, please leave them in the comments section...

Anyway, besides refusing her medicine with a savviness beyond her years ("This is MEDICINE!" when I mixed it with her yogurt drink,) Abbey has handled her sinus infection like a champ. She’s been a little quiet and a little whiney (hey, I write when she’s sweet, so I have to write when she’s sour, too), and has actually been taking NAPS. Since she isn’t used to napping, she’s doing most of it on the couch or with someone holding her (thanks GMa Sharon!) I say most of it, because on Monday she found a new nap spot. She spent about a half hour, maybe forty-five minutes, on the couch before waking up a little and wanting some water. Then she fell asleep again…

I asked her if she wanted to move back to the couch as soon as she settled in on her little chair.  She emphatically said no.  Like a caring and concerned mother, I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures.  I thought she'd move quickly, but she slept like that for fifteen minutes.

I moved her onto the chair...
...and she immediately woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Swing Into Spring

A heat wave has taken us by surprise (seriously, on Wednesday, it was warmer here than in Miami, for goodness sake.)  After spending a lot of long days inside this winter, we will take the sunshine and savor it, especially since it will likely relapse into typical spring chilliness soon enough.  This Thursday, we had a park date with my future son-in-law our friends, Colleen & Brendan.  We picked up some food and headed to a neighborhood park, where the kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Abbey and I are both thankful for Aunt Colleen, who is an excellent pusher.  I am not too shabby, but of course Dylan needed his lunch right when the kiddos were ready for swing time. 
Movie star shades (borrowed from Brendan)
Walking to the ship's steering wheel
Dylan resting after lunch.  It's so early in the park season that the garbage cans aren't out yet!
Besties on the slide
I could get used to this park place.  (Good thing, since it's a frequent destination for us during the summer months!)

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Friday, March 19, 2010

You're So Vain

Each morning, I take ten-fifteen minutes to pump some milk.  (Sorry if that is a little personal, but poor Dylan needs to eat even when I occasionally go out without him!)  One thing that never ceases to entertain the kids during this hands-free time is the Gymini.  Seriously, I know everyone has different baby toys and products that they swear by and love for their kids, but this is one thing that I unequivocally recommend.  Pumping is one of those necessary evil parts of breastfeeding; it's a giant pain, but it is also the only thing that gives a mommy any sort of time away from baby.  Dylan, especially because of the reflux, is still eating every 2-2.5 hours most of the time, which means he sometimes needs bottles if I leave him alone with Daddy.  I thought pumping while sitting on the floor of my classroom with posterboards over the window was bad (how I had to pump at work when I had Abbey), but doing it while entertaining an infant and a toddler is no small task.  I need all the help I can get!

Usually, Dylan is most entertained by the elephant and the butterflies.  However, he has discovered the mirror.  Abbey, of course, knows about mirrors - she loves checking out her outfits in my full-length mirror.  Dylan hasn't really paid attention to them before, but this day he was transfixed by the good-looking dude staring back at him from that red circular gadget. 

Those who spend time with Abbey will recognize the question, "What's THAT guy doin'?"
Looking good!
How'd that panda get there?
Hey Panda!  Come over here and play with us.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It wasn't that long ago that St. Patrick's Day meant drinking some green beer at PT O'Malley's at Michigan State.  What can I say?  The school's official colors are green and white - practically an invitation for a special St. Pat's celebration.  Not to mention that Ryan and I ran into each other the day after St. Patrick's Day one year.  Ever the liberated woman (LOL), I asked him if he wanted to get dinner sometime.  Without that forward move on my part, today's celebration might never have taken place!
Hooray for little boys in green!  Dylan was really living it up.  We didn't name him Dylan Patrick for nothing :)
My girl sporting her green...
...and pink and yellow and purple.  She picked the leggings herself.  Really.
Abbey has been talking about cupcakes since her birthday.  We decided (well, I guess I decided, since I am the only one who can reach the KitchenAid mixer) to make some green cupcakes to celebrate the day.  I had the ingredients for the cupcakes on hand, but we needed to go to the store to get the stuff for frosting.  Thankfully, the weather was absolutely beautiful (in the 60s, which is unseasonably warm for this time of the year), so we all piled into the double stroller to go to the store.  Dylan slept later than normal in the afternoon, so we didn't have time to frost them before dinner, but Abbey enjoyed her frosting-less cupcake anyway.  I finished the sweet treats after dinner.  There was no green beer in sight, but I think even the most thirsty of St. Patrick's Day partiers would have enjoyed our cupcakes at the end of the day!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Do They or Don't They?

I am not good at the look-alike game.  You know the one.  "Does he look like you or Ryan?"  "Does he look like Abbey?"  I see pictures of babies and think, "Wow, that looks just like Mom!", and then when I say that, Mom will pull out an ancient baby picture of Dad, proving me completely wrong.

The other day I put Dylan in one of Abbey's old onesies (one of the two gender neutral items she owned at this age), and I took a couple of pictures of him.  Later, I remembered having pictures of Abbey in the same onesie, so I thought I'd throw them up on here and see if they resembled each other when compared side by side.  Overlook the diaper in his - remember, he is a big boy, and I didn't want him to be too uncomfortable!

So, what do you think?

For the record, I do see some similarities, but I think she looked more like Ryan at that age (approximately two months) and that he looks slightly more like me.

P.S. Nan is visiting (yeah! hooray!) and says that Dylan reminds her of Donnie in profile.  Unlike me, Nan IS good at the look-alike game, so I guess I am not completely remiss in thinking Dylan looks a little like me :) 

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beauty and the Brute

Dylan had his two month appointment yesterday, at nine weeks old. His size is truly mind-boggling. Despite continuing issues with reflux, he weighed in at 14 pounds, 6 ounces (95% !!!!) and 24 inches (90%) I looked back at Abbey's records, and she was that size at about 5 months! I asked his doctor if we should be concerned, but the doctor just laughed. I guess I should be thankful that the reflux is just causing a lot of laundry issues and not growing ones. However, pretty soon I'm not going to be able to carry the infant carrier around. Instead of training for my 5K, I am going to have to pick up a weight-lifting routine.

In all seriousness, the appointment went well. They doubled his reflux medication, due to the weight gain, and I hope it makes a bit of a difference. For the most part he is doing a lot better, but I was starting to be able to tell when the medication was wearing off (about 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day.) I can handle all of the extra laundry (Shout and Tide should be sending me dividends between the reflux and the cloth diapers!) but I hate seeing him uncomfortable at all.

He continues to be a happy little guy, smiling at us and finding joy in all that Abbey does - even when it means bouncing him a little too vigorously in his bouncer or shaking toys a little too close to his face. Sleep is getting progressively better, although I hate to even type that for fear of jinxing it. Our goal is to move him to his room and his crib by the end of the month, although it is a bittersweet goal for me. This will be the last time we have an infant in that cradle next to our bed, and it’s a move I am not sure I am quite ready to make. Maybe we can just keep him there. I’m sure he won’t mind inviting friends for sleepovers in our room, right?

Something that makes the move a little less bitter…I will actually have to get some bedding for his room. Time to shop!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Donnie

My brother is turning 30 today!
We love you!
Angie, Ryan, Abbey & Dylan

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Opening Day

(Ok, it wasn't really Opening Day, since the zoo is open all year, but it was our first time this year.)  I don't need to talk about how much we love our zoo.  We've had a membership since Abbey was about two months old, and I have never regretted the cost.  A little bit of spring has crept into the air here, so it was time to load the double stroller into my car and head down the street to one of our favorite places.  Dylan, Abbey, and I met Colleen, Sheila, and Brendan for a day of fun in the sun.
Abs and Brendan sharing a seat, a lunch, and their drinks (as usual!)
Dylan was not overly impressed with the Polar Bear tunnel.  Just wait, little boy, it is such a cool exhibit.  You'll love it.
Abbey wearing her favorite winter accessory (the scarf, NOT the coat) in the Polar Bear Tunnel.  Abbey and I would like to send out a special thanks to Sheila for wrangling Abbey in the tunnel while Dylan ate his lunch.  Sheila actually provided toddler wrangling at several points during the day.  It's no wonder that, as we were sitting at lunch, Abbey kept asking, "Where's my friend?" (Sheila was only gone for a few minutes!)
Run Run Running around the penguin exhibit...One of the perks of having a membership and being able to go to the zoo when it's virtually empty.
I don't know how well you'll be able to read these "Photo Tips" from the penguin exhibit, but they are hilarious.  It's no secret that the Penguinarium desperately needs updating, but the Photo Tips prove it by giving tips for cameras such as "Instamatic-Type Cameras".  (Of course, I obviously need some tips, since I have a flast reflection on my picture!)
Dylan would like to thank Colleen for making him laugh in the Penguinarium.
Abbey loved pressing the buttons to hear the different frog sounds.  Well, she loved pressing the buttons.
Poor Dylan was pretty done with the zoo by the time we got to the amphibian house.
We love playing on the hippo before we leave.  Abbey wanted to point out to me that, "Hippo has a BIG nose."  (You can't really see it, because hippo noses make fantastic seats for little girls.)