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Tiaras and Trucks

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Beautiful moments with the kids.

They happen.

The house stays (relatively) clean, Play Doh is played with and not eaten or ground into the carpet (that happened another day), and the sweetest boy in the world played with the sunlight in the kitchen while Abbey and I celebrated a birthday.  In Toddler World, every day is a good one to celebrate a birthday, because every day is SOMEONE'S birthday.
fascinated by the shadows & the sunlight
that's a birthday cake for those of you without Toddler Vision

still playing with the sun

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Tag Team

Bad days with the kids.

They happen.

I am pretty sure that Abbey & Dylan have somehow worked together to figure out a tag team system of napping and whining.  When one fell asleep, the other woke up.  When one was finally content, the other became inexplicably irate.  We read "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" today (one of Abbey's favorites), and I felt like we were living it!

Abbey really, really wanted me to paint my fingernails after I painted my toenails.  I generally don't do that.  First of all, between laundry and dishes, I chip them within hours most of the time, and also I don't have much time to dry them.  I also generally paint my toenails at night, when the kids are asleep.  But Abbey was in the mood for make-up, and since that meant she wasn't whining, we went with make-up.  Abbey had chosen my purple nail polish, which happens to be one of those 50 second drying time polishes.  I figured I would have time for that.  Dylan had just fallen asleep.  After successfully keeping Abbey far enough away from my fingers to ensure that she didn't pass out from nail polish fumes, I began to screw the top onto the polish.  50 seconds until they were dry.  3 seconds later, Dylan woke up.  God knew what He was doing when He made them the cutest kids in the world.

yes, she took a nap
yes, that is a plastic-coated, paper banana that is a part of one of her books
yes, it stayed clamped between her teeth for the whole hour she slept
I don't mess with her naps
he's barely crawling, but he wants to stand up
he really wants to stand up
so much that he gets really mad when it doesn't work
two band-aids (no serious injuries)
a cup of milk
toast & pineapple
a super soft blanket
30 seconds later, she was crying that she wanted her blanket
it was still around her body
it was one of those days

"...some days are like that.  Even in Australia." (Judith Viorst)

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wet & Wild Wednesday

A little farm near our house has a Wednesday event where the kids can play in a little creek, a fire truck sprays down the parking lot with water, they set up slip & slides on a hill, and a family friendly band plays some tunes.  I wish we would have found out about it sooner; they are only having Wet & Wild Wednesdays in July.  That's where we'll be today, bringing Grandma along so that Dylan doesn't get stuck in the Ergo the whole time like he did the first time!
her friend from our MOMS group
looking for pretty rocks
getting comfortable
following the big kids
having so much fun!
making a little friend under the bridge
having a snack
the fire truck
running down the hill to play in the water
she got a little nervous and really only played in the mist
the gazebo where the band played
Abbey played there and informed me it was her house
she made a new friend dancing around in her "house"

It was a blast, even for me, and I don't like things like creeks.  I know Abbey is so excited to go back.  I am going to buy her some crocs so I never again have to smell the nastiness of dried creek water on her other shoes.  Washable or not, yuck yuck yuck.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Kids Dig Farmville

Farmville is a game on Facebook, and in the interest of full disclosure, I don't play it at all.  So really, this farm is probably not at all like Farmville, but I think of it every time they play with the toy.  The farm was originally a gift to Abbey for her first birthday, but Dylan is already obsessed with it.  I am ashamed to admit that he plays with it pretty much every time he is in his high chair.  I sing along with it so that I don't feel like I am parking him in front of a TV when I am getting their food ready! 

With litte infant Abbey, I was so very careful about her toys.  I tried to stay away from things with too much plastic, too many flashing lights, lead paint.  Ok, so I still keep the lead paint away from Dylan.  Otherwise, though, he is exposed to so much more than she was, because it's already in our house.  I try make sure he plays with things like stackers, building blocks, Sophie the giraffe, and other things that don't have enough stimulation for an army of infants.

But it's so much simpler to clean up a kitchen without balancing Dylan on one hip, so Farmville will remain a permanent fixture in our dining room until he is sick of it.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet Birthday Girl

Our friend Keoki won't officially turn one until this fall, but by then she will be back in China, charming the socks off everyone on the other side of the world.  Luckily, she had a first birthday party here, so we got to celebrate with her.  The kids had a blast playing with all of the toys (Laura has two nephews, and the party was at her sister's house,) and it is always a warm and fuzzy day when I get to see all of my Girls' Night girls together.
chubby babies are scrumptious
the dining room has been transformed into a playroom
kid heaven, I'm telling you
it took a little while, but Abbey felt at home after a while
trucks are fun
look at that hat
first birthdays are magical
watching them toddle across the bridge from babyhood to toddler town
Paul put the frosting on her face, not Keoki
she was a perfectly dainty birthday girl
mmmmmmm, cake
in order to make sure Abbey didn't eat too much sugar before bed, I helped her eat her piece
I had my own piece, too
now you know why I stress out about fitting in workouts

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

When Toddlers Dress Others

I saw on TV that there was a heat advisory in our county Friday night.  This is what Abbey insisted I wear earlier that day.  Dylan and I were innocently playing on the floor, and Abbey was sweeping nearby.  I heard a little voice: "Mommy, can I have the basket?" meaning the basket of hats, gloves, scarves, and various winter gear that is currently hiding in the back of our coat closet.
because one hat just isn't enough
loving the pink as usual
look at all this great stuff!
you're both nuts
this is how you're supposed to dress in this sort of weather

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


Cute kids at the beginning, because I ramble a little today!!

I loved our house the minute we set foot inside. Like many first-time buyers, my love was a combination of potential and imagination; I could see Christmas lights wound around the staircase and a cozy, calming bedroom retreat. Of course, I needed to look past the teal walls (and teal carpeting) to “see” my home inside the house we were potentially purchasing. My imagination has never been a problem, and those things easily disappeared into my mind’s eye. To my surprise, Home Depot doesn’t accept imaginary money, so our house’s potential has been stalled over the years, held back by money restraints, time restraints, energy restraints.

If my issues with our house were simply cosmetic, it would be easy easier to deal with this situation. I would tell myself, “Self, your house might not look the way you want, but you can make small changes. It will take some time, but it will be ok.”

Aesthetics aren’t the only issue, unfortunately, and it’s harder to look past the others. Pick a star, make a wish: I wish we had an open floor plan, since I am in the kitchen so many times during the day; I wish we had a remodeled kitchen, because ours never feels quite as clean as it should considering how many times a day I scrub and wipe and sweep; I wish our school district was better, because education is so dear to me; I wish we didn’t live on a main street, so that I didn’t panic a little each time Abbey goes sprinting away from me outside.

Michigan’s housing market tanked. That’s not my fault. We made a choice, though, for me to stay home with the kids, and that (obviously) affected our financial reality. Even with a job, I don’t know if we could have moved or made any major renovations, but without a job an income, we are basically parked here for a while.

There’s not a second that I think I made the wrong decision. My heart and my head know that I am finally, maybe for the first time in my life, doing what I am meant to be doing. But if anyone knows someone who wants to buy a fixer-upper with a lot of potential or someone who can fast-track us onto one of those major house renovation shows, you know where to find me!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Learning to Share

He has been snuggled, tackled, dragged around the house, and fought over since we brought him home.  And by him, I mean Sparty the Stuffed Dog.  (Did you think I meant Dylan?  I might be a little more lax with the poor second baby, but I don't let Abbey physically drag him around the house!  Yet.)  Grandma Sharon bought him for Abbey during her first trip to Ikea; Ryan was home watching MSU beat Wisconsin, hence the name.  All of Abbey's friends love playing with Sparty, and Dylan has recently discovered his doggy charm as well.

It must be a little tough for Abbey to understand why, suddenly, this little person gets to play with all of her toys.  She is only just beginning to learn to share with her friends when they come to the house or when we go on playdates, but as Dylan becomes more and more brave in his explorations, she has to share with him as well. 

We're working on it.  One of the things I try to do is encourage her to "trade" him if he has something she wants.  Generally, whatever he has is something she wants.  Even when it is something like a teething ring.  Or his spoon.  Not a mind-blowing strategy, but it's one that has generally worked for us so far.

Until Sparty.
"I like this guy.  He is snuggly & soft & has lots of parts to chew on."
(That's Dylan talking; Sparty is a STUFFED dog, not a real one that will actually chew on our kids.)
"Here, Dylan, I want Sparty.  You take this."
Dylan closed his eyes to the plastic potato Abbey tried to use as a bartering tool.
"Seriously??  You're taking the dog and leaving me with a plastic hot dog bun?"
"This is all kinds of wrong!  There's not even a plastic hot dog in there.  This is a farce!"
"That didn't last long.  Now I can play with him again!"
"What kind of operation are you running around here, Mommy?"

P.S. Dylan can't really talk.  The preceding conversation is my translation from his ooo-ahhhh sounds.  I've taken some artistic liberties.

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And More Pink

The bin in the photo below usually holds the majority of the food for Abbey's kitchen and her dishes, teacups, and all other kitchen related items.  Today, she brought this collection upstairs with her.  Only pink and purple items were included in the purge.  Everything else remained on the floor.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breakin' Out

The other night after dinner, Dylan was sitting with Ryan and Abbey while they were building a garage.

Then suddenly he wasn't sitting there anymore. 

He's been working on his own special version of crawling for a while now, but it's starting to really get him places quickly.  As you can see, he made a break for it when he saw the chance.

The next morning Abbey told me she was going for a run.

In Daddy's shoes and no pants.

Maybe if they take off at the same time, I might actually get to sleep for a little while!

(I am kidding.  I don't really want my 2.5 year old and her almost-seven-month old baby bro cruisin' the streets on their own, half dressed and wearing improper footwear.)

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tale of My Love/Hate Relationship

Play Doh and I have a toxic relationship.

Abbey loves it.  Unfortunately, she likes to lick (eew) and eat (double eew) it as much as she likes to play with it.  Now that she is a little older, she doesn't give in to those whims as often as she did in the past.  She does, however, try to give it to Dylan when I'm not in the room.  Since she's only two, she tries to accomplish this by making subtle suggestions like, "Mommy, go in the kitchen and cook dinner."  At nine in the morning.

Since I am such a good mommy and always put Dylan's safety above a silly toy, I don't let her play with it (very often) around him.  However, the other day he took a really long morning nap, and Abbey and I had a little Play Doh party.

The pictures highlight the real reason I don't let her play with it around Dylan.

omg, all of those little pieces will be permenently embedded in my floor
or stuck to the bottom of my feet
or stuck to my actual bottom when I leave the house
yet, I can't resist, "Mommy, make a snowman"

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