Monday, January 5, 2009

reality check

While riding in the car with Sam he said, "Mommy, Siddy is my FAVORITE friend!"

It just melted my heart and literally brought a tear to my eye.  But before I shed said tear, Samuel added, 

"And you're not my favorite, Mommy."

Hmmm.... Reality check.  Eyes are suddenly dry.  But still, I'm content and happy that my little boy has a best buddy in his sister.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

for the Christmas bargain shopper

I've been in a rut.  Oh, for a good 6 months.  I'm not sure that qualifies as a rut as much as it does a new sorry way of life.  I could go on about what got me to where I am but really I can't blame anything or anyone.  It's my own fault and I need to find my way out of it.  I imagine it starts with good old fashioned exercise just to get the adrenaline going again.  I'm not a fan of New Years resolutions but I'm thinking I need one to get myself motivated.  I'll start by slowly but surely trying to find my way back to the things that help make me whole.  This post is one small step in that direction.  So Julie, thanks for trying to help get me out of my rut and this post is for you.

Disclaimer:  This post is only timely for the bargain shopper.  

I want to tell you about a little visitor that was in our house this holiday season.  He's an Elf.  Specifically, he's the Elf on the Shelf.  Santa specially delivered Samuel and Sydney their very own Elf right to our door!  Their Elf came with a book to describe our new tradition.  The way it works is that the Elf watches over the kids throughout the day and reports back to Santa at night on their behavior.  He returns the next morning from the North Pole and the kids find him waiting in a new spot in the house. 

Now, I gotta be honest, I wasn't initially thrilled with the idea that this concept really plays on the "be nice or Santa won't come" part of Christmas.  There's just something about that which really bothers me.  I don't enjoy bribing Samuel, but honestly, I'm not above it.  Mostly my appeal to the elf was that it seemed like a fun idea for Samuel to find the elf each morning.  He loves playing hide-and-go-seek and this was a take on that.  I also thought he'd enjoy naming the elf.  To my surprise, he named him, "Elf".  What kid with pretend piggies named Tierko and Geryl names their Elf, "Elf"?  But, "Elf" it is.

Elf proved to be a fun new tradition and as I suspected the first thing Samuel did each morning was look for his Elf.  The bribery part though, really didn't work for us.  It didn't really bother him in the least if we said the Elf was watching his behavior and would report back to Santa.  Maybe next year that will have more of an affect.   I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given that Samuel recently told me, "I like causing trouble."  *sigh*  But at least I've found some forms of punishment that work because he quickly followed with, "but I don't like being sent to my room or time outs."

So, why do I mention the Elf a week and a half after Christmas?  Honestly, because I didn't have time to post over Christmas.  But the good news is it's likely to be on clearance at Hallmark if you are interested in getting one of your own for next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

random stuff overheard at our house

Mommy:  "What does a duck say, Sydney?"
Sydney:  "qak, qak"

Mommy:  "Good clapping, Sydney!"
Sydney:  "qak, qak" (as her hands clap as quick as she can)

Yes, Sydney's first words are quack and clap, both of which sound exactly like the other.  But Mommy knows exactly what she means!

You know what we are hearing in the middle of the night from baby girl?  SILENCE.  Life is good!

Mommy:  "Samuel, what was the best part of your day today?"
Samuel:  "YOU!"

Mommy:  "Samuel, what was the worst part of your day today?"
Samuel:  "Sydney didn't make me very happy last day" (past tense is almost always "last day" to Sam).  This little guy is having a hard time letting Syd play with toys.  Any toy she has he suddenly wants.

Samuel:  "Mommy, I'm a farmer, and I ride machines, and I plow the fields and put the animals in the barn.  And that's the story of my life."

Mommy (as I'm putting on make-up):  "What are you going to ask Santa for for Christmas?"
Samuel:  "a machine, or make-up!" (hmmm... maybe we won't tell Dad that one).

Samuel (as he pretended to bite me):  "Mommy, I'm a dinosaur and I just bit your bum, and you can no longer go poopy!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1st and 3rd year stats

Just a quick post to document the kids "stats" from their annual Dr. appointments.  Tad came with me to the Dr. and I was SO GRATEFUL.  Normally I go solo to Dr. appointments but since we were taking them both in at once it was a huge help to have 2 parents there.  The 2 kids would not have done well being there from 9 am to 11 am with just me, a small office, and a nurse with a needle.  We all even got our flu shots.  The kids and I got the thimerosal-free one.

Sydney, 1 year
Weight:  18 lbs, 10 oz (7th percentile, but 0% in relation to her height)
Height:  29.75" (75th percentile)
Samuel was the same height at 1 year but weighed 5 lbs more, hard to believe!

No other shots but a flu shot today, which Sydney handled like a champ.  I opt to do the MMR, Chicken Pox, and Hep A when the kids are older due to my own personal beliefs.  Other than that she's up to date on all shots.  

Samuel, 3 years
Weight:  33 lbs, 8 oz (70th percentile, but 85th percentile in relation to his height)
Height:  36.75" (25th percentile)

Samuel did great with the hearing and vision tests.  He could see better than Daddy, even with Dad's glasses on!  No other shots for Samuel besides the flu shot either.  He was all excited to get it.  Ignorance is bliss because afterwards he said, "I didn't like that flu shot Mom!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy First Birthday Sydney!

Well, if you know me on facebook or my parenting message board, you may have already seen this.  But if not, here is a video of pictures to celebrate Sydney's 1st year.  She turned 1 yesterday (12/7).  A letter for her is in the works too!

And here are some birthday pictures.

Opening her present from Mom, Dad and Samuel that morning:
Enjoying her new playhouse!
Chillin' in her party outfit before guests arrived.  
She LOVES this tutu get-up and has been eyeing it for weeks in the closet. 

Picture with the cousins.

Loving her new stroller!

She's a little protective of her new doll and will fight people for it.  LOL!

It's safe to say she enjoyed the party!

Her birthday cupcakes.  Her cupcake is the duck one because she likes ducks.  
Her first word was "quack".  She did not enjoy the cupcake though.  
She put it in her mouth and then started to cry.  I'm not sure she's my daughter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a letter to samuel

This is a letter to Samuel in honor of his 3rd birthday.  It's long and I certainly don't expect anyone to read it (though I do hope he'll have the interest some day!).  But I wanted to put it out here to save it.  Warning:  I didn't hold back on my raves about my little guy in this post. :)  There is definitely a lack of modesty here.

You turned 3 this month.  How did that happen?  Though you have never been a big cuddler, I do remember a time rocking you before placing you off to dreamland in your crib.  As we'd rock, you'd look up at me and get a mischievious look on your face while you giggled.  I could rarely rock you to sleep because you just wanted to play!  I should have known then how much fun you would be now; Still today you thrive on interaction with others.  True, you can take a few minutes to warm to a crowd as you hide behind my leg, but by the end of a gathering everyone is amazed that the energetic, fun, and outgoing little boy is the same as the one who arrived.  You sometimes say to us:  "I'm shy" followed by lots of giggles because you recognize the absurdity of that statement.  

I've heard numerous times from others that you are "a very special little boy" and believe me, Mom and Dad know that better than anyone but it's fun to hear.  There is something about you that brings light, joy and hope to others.  Just the other day you brought a tear to Gumpa John's eye because you spontaneously gave him the biggest bear hug you could muster as you said goodbye.  You often accuse me of "Too much hugging!" and you follow it up with, "Don't hug me, I'll hug you!" as you squeeze me tight and say a long drawn-out, "Huuuuuuuuuugggg!".  

Like your Dad, you seem to know just the right thing to say in such a small number of words.  I'll remember forever the first time you said, "You're the best mom in the whole world!".  Turns out Dad is the best Dad in the whole world and Sydney (whom you nick-named Siddy) is the best Siddy in the whole world and even Jenny is the best Jenny in the whole world - and we thank you for that!  You get me all teary-eyed when you say things like, "We're a great family" and "I like spending time with you, family."  

Recently you told me you wanted to buy a gift for Daddy, just because.  So we took money from your own piggy bank and I gave you a choice that we could either go to the local gift shop or we could go to the hardware store.  Boy do you know Daddy because you chose the hardware store.  You walked slowly through every isle, examining everything closely.  After wavering between a bird house, a funnel, and vice grips, you decided Dad really needed a funnel.  Daddy was so pleased at your thoughtfulness; it turned out he did in fact need a funnel!  It's probably no coincidence that you liked the gift too and Daddy lets you use it for bath time.

You have always had an amazing vocabulary and people are often surprised that you are just 3.  You even are starting to use your own slang like "whatever" (I won't always appreciate that one!), and "no problem, Mom".  "Sure" seems to find it's way in most of your sentences, as in "I sure will miss you" and "that sure is a nice dam" (you're into dams and any sort of area with lots of electrical equipment is a dam to you).

We don't have a lot of children in our neighborhood that you know but you are quite fond of our neighbors.  You make regular trips to Dale and Jackie's and Jackie spoils you with cookies and crackers.  You enjoy visiting Bob and giving him a run for his money in the countless questions you ask him as he goes about his work.

You are getting much better at understanding, following, and even enforcing rules.  You once laughed your way through time outs but you now seem to understand why and when we use it.  In fact, you get embarrassed when you are in trouble and put your arm over your eyes thinking we can't see you.  You take it upon yourself to ensure others are following the rules too.  You put me in time out earlier this year for yelling and you have busted us many times for eating in the family room.  You take it upon yourself to be a 3rd parent to Sydney and ensure that she isn't putting anything in her mouth or playing with anything dangerous.  When Mom and Dad once turned their head as Sydney sped up the stairs enjoying her newfound freedom, you promptly came to us with your hands at your hips and declared, "You're daughter is going up the stairs!"

What a wonderful imagination you have.  Throughout the day we get visits from friends that only you can see:  from Tierko and Boo Boo the pigs, Paw Paw the bear and the dancing bunnies with no names.  These poor friends have been tortured by me inadvertently sitting on them from time to time.  I got a good laugh when you told me that the piggies didn't join us at our friend Heidi's house because you were worried her cat might eat them. 

Virtually every day you wear your froggy swim goggles and I enjoy hearing your reasoning why.  Some days you are a fire-fighter and the goggles will protect you from smoke, other days they protect you from the wind outside, and still other days they are simply swim goggles "for swimming Mom!" - duh!  We get comments from many strangers how much they love your "winter hat and swim goggles" look.  You also have a preference for certain clothes but love being naked the most, which we've started discouraging more since it's getting cold.  Still, you find a way to use your imagination to justify your naked-ness.  It seems every time I turn a corner some article of clothing is now off either due to the tag on it bothering you or for some fun reason like "to help you wade in the deep water in our family room", you say.

You conquered day-time potty training this year at the age of 2 1/2.  It went really well, though I'm certain that's what started this naked trend.  You have not yet mastered keeping your diaper dry at night.  Each morning you say, "It's really hard to keep my diaper dry at night" and we assure you it will come in time.  You moved to a big boy bed shortly before turning 2 and we thought you loved it but recently you are telling us otherwise.  We now hear talk about ghosts in your room, the need for all lights on, and how you don't like the top bunk.  Even our nightly story time, kissing bandit kisses, and songs ("This Little Light of Mine", "Twinkle Twinkle", and "Lullaby") do not fend off ghosts anymore.

This has been a big year for you.  You suddenly went from being our baby to being the big brother.  You handled the transition so well and have only had a great love for your little sister Sydney.  The other day you said to her, "You're my best friend Siddy" and it melted my heart.  And boy does she ever love you.  She follows you with her eyes like a hawk and squeels with delight at the mere sound of your voice.  She does whatever she can to keep up with your antics, and you've already taught her how to climb on furniture. 

Your spirit and enthusiasm make life much more fun.  It became obvious to me at the zoo that very few people enjoy life more as you yelled with glee to all the kids "LOOK AT THAT SHARK GUYS!" while the other children sat more reserved.  You have the highest of highs. But I can not very well summarize your year without mentioning that your spark and enthusiasm also help contribute to the lowest of lows.  Your tantrums can rival the best of them and while your persistence will one day serve you well, it tests our patience more than I ever thought possible.  The truth is, whether it be a good day or a bad day, you take an extraordinary amount of energy, but I wouldn't change a thing about you.  I can only hope that our reserved nature will balance, and not stiffle, you.  I'm so proud of the fact that you have so much joy and confidence and I would be surprised if I ever worried about you finding what you want out of life.

We love you very much Samuel.  Thank you for being you.

All our love, 

Mommy & Daddy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

cool art

I thought this was such a cool idea for art.  What a clever way to get hand prints of everyone in the family and serve as unique art at the same time!  Now, if only those colors of canvas worked well in my house.  I'm sure there is a simple way to make it myself with different colors.  If only I had the time.

By the way, you can purchase this kit at Red Envelope for $39.95.

In unrelated but very important news:  my Mom is getting out of the hospital Friday, exactly 6 weeks after her being admitted.  2 surgeries (open heart surgery to repair many things, and a gallbladder removal), and lots of hard work later she's ready to come home.  New challenges await her and us but I'm excited for her.

I'm hoping things will calm down in my life and I can start blogging again more now that I'll be blogging less on my Mom's Caring Bridge site.  I can't believe I didn't make a post about Sam turning 3 (on November 8)!  What a fun time we had at a local community center water park!  Where did my baby boy go?


P.S. The invitation I designed for Sydney made the Digitreats blog, my favorite spot for Digital scrapping!