Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Christmases

We did Christmas with Matt’s family the Saturday before Christmas. It was a beautiful cold day.
Addie had a good time playing with her cousin Hunter, and it was really good to see my newphew Isaac, who just turned 10. He lives in Austin so I don’t get to see him much. He is a big reader, but had yet to enter the Harry Potter universe, so I got him the first two books. We got pictures of the three little kids in front of the Christmas tree, and Hunter would squat down and say, "Cheese!" every time. Ryan immediately picked up on that and started bending over and saying, "Chee!" It was hilarious! He also has learned to say "milk", although he usually just grunts and points.

Hunter (4), Ryan (1), and Addison (3)

Addison got the Tag Junior from Leapfrog. She holds a little device and presses it onto the books and it will read to her. It will also interact with other pictures on the page, play finding games, play music, etc. You can download the stories to your little thingy. If anyone has some Tag Junior books they want to trade, let me know! We have "If I Were…", "Mr. Brown", and "Kai-Lan Shares". She also got a magnetic princess dress up puzzle, a My Little Pony, and a t shirt made by her cousin.

Ryan was being a pill for a good bit of the day, because he only napped for about 30 minutes. He grumped around in Matt’s lap while we opened presents, and when he opened a toy helicopter, he latched onto it for dear life and screeched loudly if anyone even pretended to take it away! It was really funny. Except for him being so grouchy.

Ryan, Addie, and Hunter in the sand

Making pecan pies with Sugar

Me and my guy

The helicopter he clung to

Two cousins

I need one of these at my house.

Addie barely ate breakfast that morning, and she wouldn’t eat lunch either. Matt’s mom took her outside to play, and when they came back in, Addie promptly threw up! The last time she threw up was when she was about 10 months old, and she didn’t know what was happening. She didn’t cry, though. We rushed her to the bathroom and got her rinsed off , and she looked up at me with big eyes and said, "Mama, I spit!" Luckily, I had changes of clothes, including socks, for both kids, so she was changed and happy. I was able to borrow a shirt from Matt’s mom, since mine was gross.

I got a food processor, pajamas, and a Victoria’s Secret gift card (yay!), and Matt got several accessories for his upcoming Alaskan fly fishing trip (this August). I also got a big box of specialty cupcakes from a place in Austin. There were margarita, banana bread (dipped in chocolate), strawberry, vanilla, and other delicious flavors. When I opened the box, it was like opening a door in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – They were all so colorful and decorative. And BIG!

Ryan eating - prime location in front of the outdoor fireplace.

Swinging at the farm.

This kid is photogenic.

Handsome dudes

We drove around looking at Christmas lights this year in a neighborhood called Prestonwood close by. Each street does a theme, like Bible stories, Rudolph, Christmas at the Zoo, etc. We put the carseats in the Blazer since it’s higher-up and the kids can see out the window better. About halfway through, I realized that Addie wasn’t able to see very much across the car, and since were in a long slow line of cars, I let her crawl out of the seat up into my lap to see. She was so excited about it!! She leaned her head back and said, "Daddy, sometimes I get to sit on Mommy’s lap to look at Christmas lights!"

While out shopping at WalMart (surprisingly uncrowded and well-staffed) two days before Christmas, a family in front of me was having issues with their gift card. They had just returned something at Customer Service and the amount was supposed to be put on the card, but it wasn’t. They were Oriental and there were some language problems, so the checker told them to go back to Customer Service to figure it out. She’d already rung up their stuff, but held their ticket and rung me up instead. Well, the mom came back shaking her head - the line at Customer Service was long and I still don’t think she knew what the real issue was, or wouldn’t have been able to explain it anyway. So they took most of the stuff out of their basket and just held up a $5, indicating they only had that much cash and the checker should just re-scan a few items. The checker still wasn’t getting it, so I intervened and told her to re-ring up their ticket (with everything on it) and that I’d pay for it all. It was seriously like $12 worth of stuff, and I felt so bad for the poor people. The checker finally agreed to do it, so they got all their groceries. I wasn’t trying to embaress the family – when I left they all just stared at me like I was a crazy woman. But I smiled and said Merry Christmas.

The next day, I was in line at Michael’s and had just finished paying when I heard the checker say to Addie, "Oh, honey, don’t put that in your mouth!" I turned to find her chomping one of those chocolate truffles through the wrapper. I immediately disciplined her, then asked how much they were, which was 50 cents. The well-dressed, impatient looking lady behind me was being polite but I could tell she was not pleased. I knew I didn’t have change, so I was digging out my credit card to pay for it when the lady just swept up to the counter and said, "I’ve got it, don’t worry, Merry Christmas!" I was extremely appreciative of the fact that she managed a smile and kind words even though I could tell she was exasperated. It’s frustrating to me sometimes when I can’t be very effective in punishment or discipline because of our location or the circumstances – Ryan was leaning and climbing out of the cart, screaming, Addie was crying and pulling away, and I was trying to get my basket out of line, pay for the candy, and teach her a lesson about stealing, not listening, etc. Instead I just literally shoved everyone and everything under my arms, told the lady thanks with as much sincerity as I could, and trucked out to the car. It’s something for me to keep in mind from now on – just because a mom seems like she doesn’t care or isn’t disciplining her kids, that doesn’t ALWAYS mean she is a bad mom! As if I hadn’t told Addison before to not pick up candy in the store, not to EAT the candy in the store, not to take things we don’t pay for, etc. I will chalk it up to one of the many times that my children will embaress me, and move on. Oh, and the other lesson – pay it forward, because when it’s your turn to be on the receiving end of kindness, you will be glad you did.

Addie can now sing both verses of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Joy to the World, Away in a Manger, Holly Jolly Christmas, Deck the Halls (she tries, at least, but it is filled with odd words), and Jingle Bell Rock. And probably some others too. When we did Christmas Eve stuff, I was going to have Addie make cookies with me using our Christmas cookie cutters, but she didn’t want to at all. I couldn’t figure it out, until I remembered what happened at the farm. When we went over to the fireplace to get our stockings down (it was during the day), she suddenly paused and said, "I don’t want Santa to come to our house. I don’t want him to come inside." I told her that he comes down the chimney to bring us toys and will eat milk and cookies and leave presents under the tree. She thought about it, and said, "While I’m asleep?" and I realized she was nervous about him being there in the house. I told her he would just stay right by the fireplace, then leave, and she was ok then. But later, at our house, she didn’t want to make him cookies, and when we got out the special plate for cookies, she didn’t even want to put ANYTHING on it! So we just didn’t make a big deal about it. We did read some stories, but I think both kids were sick, and instead of lovingly sitting on my lap while we read Christmas books, they pushed and grouched and pulled the pages out of each others’ hands. Also, we were going to try to go to the Christmas Eve service at church (early in the evening, family friendly) but Addie slept really late and when I tried to get her dressed while she watched a show, she screamed and threw fits and sobbed. Ryan was already screaming about something (or nothing), and Matt and I just looked at each other and he decided that we weren’t going. We would have been late anyway, and since neither kid was feeling good (or acting good), trying to get them to behave during a church service would have ended with Matt and I saying some not-so-Christmasy things.

Ryan checking out all our Christmas cards.

Addie in her Santa hat and "boots" that she pulled from the basket

Ryan's unassembled tool bench in Santa's workshop

Reading The Night Before Christmas and eating banana bread hot from the oven

Simple Santa setup on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning, Ryan slept till almost 8, and Addie slept till 9! They both coughed all night and Ryan had a very runny nose (which he is just now getting over), so I think they were both exhausted, and I was glad they got to sleep as late as they needed. Santa brought Addison a big dollhouse, and of course the raccoon and bird that she asked him for a month ago. Ryan got a toolbench and a turtle, and a Leapfrog toy. They both got toy guitars, and Addie also got a My Little Pony set and some Handy Manny tools (since the toolbench was her brother’s). They played all morning, then we ate breakfast casserole. Addie put a bite in her mouth and said, "This is good, Mama", then actually chewed it and ended up spitting it out because it was yucky. She had oatmeal instead. Well, and banana bread. Both kids are huge fans of that! We loaded up and headed up to Bryan to Aunt Sherry’s house, where the extended family gathers Christmas afternoon. Sherry’s house is really nice, but not set up very well for babies (she has two teenagers), so we were constantly running after Ryan as he attempted to climp up the metal spiral staircase or pull breakable ornaments off the tree. He was a super-grouch with a snotty nose, so I know he didn’t feel good. Addie was really good, and LOVED the "jumpaline" that was outside. It was really cold, but all the kids played outside most of the day. Addie and Ryan both crawled around on the trampoline a lot. Later, two little girls, 4 and 6, arrived and basically fought over who got to hold Addie’s hand ( or pick her up). I led the three of them on several "adventures" through the forest, and they all had a wonderful time making up stories as we hiked along.

"It's my perfect raccoon I always wanted in the whole world."

Dollhouse that Santa brought

"Sharing" the Handy Manny tools

Addie and Ryan on the "jumpaline" - look at the static!

Addie was not extremely amused by the fact that her new friends thought she was a life-size posable doll. They were very sweet little girls though.

Addison and Aunt Sherry on the four wheeler

I was starting to get really sick too by this point. Stuffy head, painful headaches, and runny nose. By the end of the evening, we were all tired, so we packed up and headed home. Ryan began screaming after the first 5 minutes, and didn’t stop for the next 40 minutes straight, so we made an unscheduled stop at Matt’s parents’ farm to unload the kids and rest our eardrums. I think Matt was this close to just leaving them there! We stayed for an hour, fed the kids and let them play, gave them a bath, then loaded them back up in PJs in the car at 8 oclock, which was bedtime. They both conked out within 10 minutes.

Overall, it was a low-key Christmas – very different from the last few years, but I’m really glad we were able to let the kids set the pace instead of creating plans and forcing ourselves to stick with them. I know in a couple more years the kids will be up for anything and everything, and they will also be able to reason and understand consequences of their behavior, so we have plenty of time for more "exciting" Christmases.

I have been sick since then, but am finally hopefully on the mend. I guess it’ s just a cold. I woke up with a horrible earache two nights ago and battled it with Sudafed and Exedrin, and luckily it subsided. Ryan still has a gross nose, but Addie seems better, and Matt is better too. We have completely and utterly lazed around this weekend. It’s cold outside and none of us have felt great and we just needed some downtime.
On Tuesday, my mom, sis, and niece are coming for a couple of days, and then my friend Kate and her husband Ryan and daughter Emilyn are coming. We are thrilled with all of our guests, because after the past week of sickness and extreme grouchiness, company will be a nice distraction for us and the kids.

I have Addison’s big-girl room all done, but I’m waiting to take pictures because a little elf told me that I might be getting an accessory or two to complete it. I will promise to post pictures by the end of the week. Oh, and Ryan ended up spilling green paint all over Addie’s floor, bag, and some clothes. In the 5 seconds it took for me to use a screwdriver (in the room), he stood up on a crushed box, reached the small tub of paint, and slowly poured it all out on the carpet. I shrieked, called for Matt to remove the children, and got on the phone to Sherwin Williams to ask them how to get the paint out. They said keep it wet, then use water and a shop vac to suck it up. Luckily we borrowed Thomas and Jamie Cumming’s shop vac later that day and every bit of the paint came up. I was so afraid we were going to have a permanent green splotch on the floor that would become a part of family lore. All we lost was one pair of red tights - the paint had dried before I noticed and it was too late to clean them.
Hope you guys all had good Christmases!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spa report and family stuff

The spa weekend was amazing! I don't think I've had three days with absolutely no responsibilities, obligations, or schedules since I was a baby! I slept when I wanted, ate when I wanted, lounged around the rest of the time, and enjoyed good company with Matt's two sisters and his mom. I always like spending time with them, because they know so much more about the family. I don't know if girls are more observant, or if some things are more important to girls, or what. For instance, Matt's Aunt Cindy's real name is Mary Hope (I think? I might have gotten it mixed up). Her older brother came in and wanted to call her Cindy because Hurricane Cindy was in the Gulf at the time she was born. When I asked Matt about it, he was surprised and had never heard that story.

We went to the Hill County Hyatt in San Antonio. They had excellent food and the spa was very luxurious. We went into San Antonio one afternoon and ate great Mexican food, then wandered around downtown and rode the boat on the Riverwalk. Most of the rest of our time was spent laying around the spa in big thick robes. I got my hair highlighted in the salon, and got a spa manicure and pedicure and a facial. The time just drifted away as we drank flavored teas and took steamy showers. It was lovely.

Matt drove Addie up to Dallas the same day I left so she could have some one-on-one time with Grammie (my mom). They had lots of adventures together doing fun Christmas outings and activities. Matt had Ryan alone from Friday to Monday, when he picked Addie up again. He and Ryan did really well together. They went to the electronics store, had BBQ lunch together, and probably wrestled a lot on the floor. Matt said Ryan was really good, and I know how blessed I am to have a husband who is able and very willing to take responsibility for the kids. He was more than happy to do it!

Addie can sing so many Christmas carols already. She's got the Christmas story down and loves to see all the Natvitiy scenes in the yards as we drive around town. Ok, she likes the Santa on a motorcycle and snowman on the seesaws too. We'll probably drive around looking at lights next week, right before Christmas. Addison plays "Santa and his sleigh" a lot with her animals and the laundry basket. Lately, a big huge stuffed lion we have is "Santa", and he appears in my face asking in a low voice, "What do you want for Christmas, little Mommy?" Addie then tells me not to be afraid and to sit on the lion's, excuse me, Santa's lap to tell him what I want. Ryan is mostly just happy running around after her and screaming a lot. He dances around and around in circles and claps while he "sings", and he has discovered throwing. It's not wild, crazy throwing - he'll just pick up a toy, look at it and examine it, and then fling it as hard as he can. Usually it's stuffed animals, but last night it was my pots and pans, so that game ended quickly. He is also the climbiest baby ever. He crawls all the way up the bunk bed now (he'd been up on the ladder a lot, but couldn't get all the way up), so the ladder had to be unscrewed. And he can climb onto my bed, but has no sense of edges or balance, so when I let him try to be up there, he immediately stood up and toppled backwards. I caught him luckily, but he is too little to be up there with any sort of judgement. I don't remember if Addie was more careful of edges, or if she just didn't climb up when she was still so young. He carries the stool all over the house and sets it by counters, couches, and doors, so he can stand up and see what he can be naughty with. Overall he's still a good baby - not as active as some boys are, but there are definite boy tendencies showing through. He takes his socks off whenever he can and loves to carry his cup of milk around. His new favorite game is dancing in a circle with Addie and I holding his hands singing Ring Around the Rosy and all falling down. His words right now are: Casey, DaDa, Bah (ball and bear), Num, Uh Oh, Thanks, and he's started saying Papoo, which is what the kids call Matt's Dad. Oh, and he says, "Ho Ho Ho" and "There it/he/she is!" when he hides and peeks out at us, or when we hide and peek out at him.

We're doing Christmas at the farm with Matt's family this weekend. I have most of my shopping done, but haven't wrapped anything yet. I love wrapping presents! I'm also working on finally finishing Addie's room. It is entirely painted and the chair rail is up. The furniture is moved to where we want it, and I've started putting the ladybug decals up on the walls, but I'm waiting to get the shelves put up so I can see how to arrange things on the walls. Today I'm painting some of the shelves, and I still need to repaint her "Addison" letters (I'm taking another picture of them so I can remember how they looked with her nursery stuff). I want to have it all done before Christmas.

Addie is loving all the Christmas shows that have been on lately. She has seen Rudolph many times and loves it, and can sing all of Frosty the Snowman. I still need to bake my banana bread and I might make a pumpkin pie for this weekend.

That's it for now, folks!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Annual Santa Success!

We went to our shopping center's Christmas Festival, and it was sort of a letdown because they didn't have any activities going on this year. Last year, they had a petting zoo, tons of craft stations, free Christmas bears, a train, etc. This year, there were two violinists wandering and just the pictures with Santa.

We parked right by Santa, and Addison watched him from the car. I even had talked with her about bringing her pig blanket with her, since she looked at the photo from two years ago and saw the blanket on her lap with Santa. She thought that sounded like a good idea, but when we got out of the car, she said she didn't need it if I would sit with her. I told her that was a great idea, and picked her up and walked quickly to the sleigh. She started clenching and burying her face in my coat, but I climbed onto the sleigh and sat down.

She hid her face and didn't want to look, at first, but then she raised her head to smile at Matt and the lady taking pictures, and slowly started to answer some questions I asked her: "What do you want Santa to bring you?" She mumbled into my coat, but I said she needed to sit up so Santa could hear her, and she sneaked glances at him, told him what she wanted, and hid again. She did manage to get out her list: A raccoon, a birdie, and a turtle for baby. And she said she had been good for Mommy and Daddy. And then we got some pictures! And no crying! Yay!! I was so proud of her!

Santa Fail, part 3

Our neighborhood HOA put together a breakfast with Santa this morning at the clubhouse. We have been trying for at least a month to talk about Santa, getting pictures, telling him what you want for Christmas, etc. I have pretended to be Santa and tried to ask every question he might ask, like how old are you? What's your name? Have you been good? Have you been nice to your brother? Addison was really into it this year, with answers to every question and a clear idea of what she wanted to ask Santa for - a raccoon and a birdie and a turtle for Baby. She was so excited about going to eat pancakes with Santa, and we got dressed in Christmas outfits this morning all ready to go. I talked and talked about it, and our friend Amber was taking the pictures with Santa, so I though Addie would be even more comfortable. We got there and ate pancakes and had a sip of cocoa, and Addie's friend Finley from swimming lessons was there too. The girls ran around and played, and Addie made a Christmas card, and then the time came to see Santa. The brakes came on, the terror showed up on her little face and she absolutely, refused to see him. She didn't want to look at him, to wave at him, to peek around the corner at him - nothing. Finely went to see Santa, and her other friend Serenity went to see Santa. I even told Addison I was going to take Ryan to see Santa, thinking she might as least tag along and watch from afar, but she did not want to go in the same room. So I took Ryan, who was happy and cheerful, and gently sat him on Santa's lap. He immediately screamed and cried, and I laughed. They got pictures (which I am about to go pick up) of him screaming, and I'm sure they are hilarious. But we didn't even get close to anything with Addison. This afternoon is another Christmas festival with free Santa pictures. Maybe we'll have better luck, but I seriously doubt it. Oh well, I tried.

Ryan in a good mood

Addie and Finley

First annual Screaming Ryan Santa Photo

Here's the link to Santa Fail part 1 and 2 (in photos).

Friday, December 4, 2009

No presents this Christmas?

Ok, this is a true emergency - I don't know what to get, or what to tell people to get, Addie for Christmas. Since she doesn't watch commercials, she is not really "into" anything and doesn't know about a lot of toys (which is a good thing, I think!). But now I don't know what sort of toy would really engage her, or appeal to her. I took her to Target and let her browse the aisles, but for about 30 minutes, all she wanted to do was push buttons on toys that made noise, like Elmo or Barbie Laptop or things. She wasn't overly amazed or interested in anything. I think it's because she may not realize that everything there is something that she could potentially own, so she still is slightly disinterested in things she can't touch. Again, which is good ( I know that will change with no help from me, so I don't want to encourage her to want everything), but still. Because she is not specifically into a certain type of toy, I guess I could get a random thing and hope she likes it, but I am not even sure what types of random thing I should get, or tell people to get. So please! Post a comment or send me an email and let me know what YOU would get if you had a just-turned-3-year-old girl. Some of you do!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December already!

Thanksgiving at the farm was fun! We hit another big milestone this year, in that Matt and I were able to converse with adults and eat without someone holding the baby or trailing two feet behind a toddler. Addie was pretty much able to run loose this year with all her cousins, and Ryan did a great job of keeping up with the big kids. We did keep an eye on him, of course, but he usually stayed in the middle of the pack of kids in the backyard, so we could sit on the big back deck and watch him. My mom was also there to lend her eyes and hands, so Matt and I really made the rounds! There is one baby, Caylee, who was born this summer, and I think that is the youngest kid next to Ryan out of the clan - the next oldest are 2 year old boys. It's funny, and I know it sounds like I'm an old lady, but I really cannot believe how fast all the kids in the family are growing up! I still think of Aunt Sally as having 5 kids under 11, but the youngest of her kids is 9 now!! I have been with Matt for 11 years, so it's bound to happen I guess.

The weather was fantastic. Sunny and high of about 65. We brought Casey to roam around and get some exercise. Matt helped his dad fry turkeys and Mom and I came up later with the kids. We went on a long hayride in the late afternoon, and stayed until it was time for bed. We didn't even attempt a nap for Addie, and she did very well. Ryan slept in the pack n play for awhile. He and Matt were both sick last week and were slowly recovering through the weekend, so he was snotty and gross, but seemed to feel okay. We didn't get many leftovers, but we have two cheap frozen turkeys here, and Matt wants to try frying another one, so we will either do it for Christmas or sometime before, just for fun.

Matt at the turkey fryer

Addie and Matt's dad

Ryan being fed and spoiled by Matt's mom

Our frozen African hound dog

Little Ryan, with five of the big cousins in the background - seems like yesterday that THEY were the little boys digging in the dirt, but now they're in high school and college.

I taped the Thanksgiving parades, since we were gone on Thursday and we watched them Friday morning. Matt was feeling crummy, Addie was tired, and Ryan was cranky, so we laid on the floor (freezing, because our heater wasn't working), and watched the parade snuggling under blankets. Ryan was so tired that he fell asleep laying back on my chest. Matt bought a digital thermostat and he hooked it up. Heat at last! We put the flannel sheets on the bed and have been very snuggly and warm the past few nights.

We had our first, but probably not last, episode of Addie calling me "stupid". She was fussy because I was making her pick up her books that she pulled off the shelf, and she whined and said it was too hard, and when I refused to let her quit, she pointed her finger and said, "You! Stupid!" I'll leave my reaction to your imagination, but suffice to say she had BETTER not say it again. I don't even know where she heard it (no, she does not hear it at least ten times a day from her old man). It must have been Schwarz.

We decorated the Christmas tree on Saturday night. We decided to use an artificial tree this year, even though some of my favorite memories were spending the day at the tree farm, choosing a tree, cutting it down, and cooking out hot dogs. For one thing, real Christmas trees from farms are expensive! I can get one much cheaper from Home Depot. And we already had the fake one from my mom. When the kids are a little bit older, I think we will try to find a really good tree farm and make a tradition, but right now, it's too much work!

I made low calorie eggnog (it was okay) and we got out all the Christmas stuff to decorate with. Addie was really excited about unpacking the boxes and seeing what all we had. I had forgotten that I'd put up a lot of her Christmas stuffed animals (many that play music) with the decorations, so she was thrilled to have a whole new collection of animals to play with. She was actually able to hang ornaments on the tree this year, too, and we showed her all the special ones we have. Ryan was very good about not destroying things - he pulled on the branches some, and carried some ornaments around, but has mostly left the tree alone since then. He did have a nice time pulling tiny pieces of Styrofoam apart, though. Addie had eggnog and called it her "special milk". We also have an advent calendar with boxes for every day, and I put candy in them. Last night was our first night, and she was very excited to open it. I have been looking for a good Nativity Advent calendar - we had one growing up and we LOVED it every year. I haven't found anything I like. I'm looking for one with figures of the Nativity (Mary, Jesus, angels, shepherds, etc), where you open a new figure and add it to the scene every day. I did find a magnetic one online for $40, but I'm still looking. I want to start getting each of them an ornament every year, not just a personalized one or one with a picture, but one that reflects their interests or personality. They can take their collection of ornaments with them when the move out one day.

Hanging an ornament

Ryan hanging his first ornament ever

Me sipping non-rotted eggnog

Addie putting the Christmas Toad on top of the tree

Random things about the kids:

Driving through the neighborhood, we were looking at some Christmas lights our neighbors have up, and there was a big inflatable Snoopy. Addie said, "Mama, sing the Snoopy song! Sing it!" I didn't know any Snoopy song, and I said so. She said, "Mama! Yes, the Snoopy song!" and she started singing, to the tune of Scooby Doo, "Snooo-py, Snoopity Do!" It was very cute.

I picked up a bunch of her toys and vacuum, and she came in and said, "Mama, are my friends gonna come over?" Guess that's the only time she thinks I vacuum!

We were driving behind a Longhorn car, and Addie said, "Look, I see a reindeer!" I quickly informed her that it was a horrible Longhorn and that we don't like Longhorns. I taught her to put her hands together and hiss, like the Aggies do. She loved it, and then I heard hissing spitting sound and looked in the backseat. Ryan was clapping his hands and spitting all over, trying to copy us. It was hilarious!

I was at a MOPS meeting on Monday and Addie was playing with the other kids, and then she ran up to the table where we were meeting and tapped my arm and said, "Excuse me, Mama." I have seen other kids do this, but I haven't taught Addie that yet at all. Who knew she could learn good manners from other kids?

Addison is trying out my "other" names. Frequently I'll hear Mom or Mother (which sounds more like Mudder). Last night she said, "This is a very good dinner, Mudder."

Ryan still calls me DaDa, but it is a definite name for ME - he will run up and smile and say, "Dada!" when he sees me. The past few days, he has advance from Dada to Baba, so I guess we're getting closer to Mama?

Addie still loves for me to tell her our daily plans, or monthly agenda, or any other story. She asks me to talk about it. I told her the story about Baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph and all, and she listened and listened and then said, "Talk more about Jesus!" She also, for some reason, really likes it when I sing the car. I usually scan through the radio stations to find a song I know and then sing, and if I stop, she'll yell, "Mama! Sing it! Sing, Mama!" Now that Christmas music is on all the time, I know practically every song, and she is really picking up the songs quickly. She gets excited every time she hears God or Jesus on the radio, when we listen to the Christian station. And I have to tell this story - I was actually at the church picking up my cell phone that I'd left in the nursery, and I parked right by the door and ran inside to the front desk to get it. I left both kids in the car with it running. When I got back to the car, Addie said, "Mama, there is a Jesus song on! The man talked about Jesus. He loves Jesus!" I turned up the radio and it was "My Own Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. I had it on the classic rock station. Another lesson from the classic rock station - Addie can now sing most of 867-5309. She adores that song, and she sang it in the background once when I told her I was going to call her Aunt Jenny.

I have not gotten her room finished yet. I have the bedspread and curtains (not up yet), but I'm still trying to paint. I absolutely cannot do it while the kids are awake, because Ryan can't be left unsupervised for long, and they would of course touch the walls if they were in the room. And I have no time at all when Ryan is not in the picture, except during his nap, which is also when Addie is napping in her room. The aforementioned Aunt Jenny will be out of nursing school next week, so I'm hoping to bum some babysitting off of her for a morning while I finish the paint. Then I can put up the chair rail and decals and curtains, and rehang her stuffed animal net and rearrange her furniture again and finally put the room together. Oh, and I need to paint and hang some shelves too.

This Friday is MOPS again, yay! Then we have a busy next couple of week with Christmas festivities and all. Should be fun! And, we are supposed to get snow on Friday! I took Addie out last year when it snowed for 5 minutes, but I"m sure she doesn't remember. I do have a couple of pictures though.

That's all for now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just stuff

We've been having cold weather, which is nice. Ryan has lots and lots of cute long-sleeved outfits, and Addie has some cute stuff too, so I'm glad to be able to use them. She can finally wear most of her 2T pants - they finally almost fit in the waist, but some are a tiny bit too short. A few of her 2T tops from last year fit. Ryan is in 12 month pants and tops, and a few 18 month footed pajamas. We haven't been too busy lately. Next week we'll go to the farm for Thanksgiving, then the week after that we have a Christmas party, breakfast with Santa, Christmas carnival, then more parties, then Addie will spend a long weekend with Grammie while I spend a long weekend at a spa resort in the Hill Country, courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law. Matt and Ryan will have bonding time, I guess. Not much to really report right now. I have a gross fever blister that hurts a lot and looks really attractive, right in time for MOPS tomorrow. We're going to the zoo this weekend (sunny and 65) with our ABF class from church. Yay!

Yesterday at lunch, I brought over an orange to begin peeling. Before I even had the peel off, Addie said, "That's not bear! It's not bear, Mama!" I didn't know what she was talking about, so I said, "Not fair? What's not fair?" Addison said, "No, BEAR, Mama. Not Bear, that's what Boot's said - It's not bear!" I still assumed she was trying to say "fair", so I said, "Oh, Boots said it? Did he say it to Dora? What were they doing?" She said, "They were having a picnic and all the food and Boots said, "That's not bear" cause all the animals didn't have food." I asked if they had fruit, and she said, "Yeah, an orange." So she was trying to say "fair". When she saw my orange, she knew that it had sections inside and should be equally divided out. So we talked about what fair meant. It still amazes me when she makes these connections, even though it happens all the time.

Ryan is getting much more aware of what's going on around him. He loves to climb up on all the various stools we have around the house (they are usually in the bathroom so Addie can wash her hands, but often they get carried around and moved. He will push it up to the counter when he sees something up there, and will climb up and start grabbing things off the counter. Naughty! He can find the stools anywhere and bring them into the kitchen. He almost pulled the coffee pot off this morning because he saw his sippy cup up on the counter and wanted it.

Yesterday morning, before breakfast, he got up and walked into the kitchen while I was in the playroom. I asked him where he was going and I heard some jibberish. Then, little Mr. Fat Pants comes waddling in, holding the ziploc bag of Cheerios! He had gone in the pantry, gotten them off the shelf, and carried them back in the room. He was saying, "num, num, num". I looked at him and he grinned great big, then took off running across the room to Addie's little couch, where he flung himself down and immediately started stuffing Cheerios into his mouth as fast as he could. He was laughing and spitting Cheerios as I came over to get him. It was so funny. Guess he was ready for breakfast.

He and Addie are slowly, slowly starting to play more, or at least do some parallel play. Today the two of them were running back and forth and falling down on purpose on the carpet, laughing hysterically the whole time. And yesterday, we set up the big pop-up Dora tent and Addison proceeded to take almost every toy she owned inside. Ryan loved rolling around the pile of stuffed animals and then they both sat and read books for awhile.

Ryan loves his "dum ditty" book

Having a tea party - Addie was calling Ryan the Monster Baby and warning all her animals to hide from him. Then I gave her a little bit of real water to practice pouring. You can see it all over the floor, but at least it kept her from shoving the baby for a few minutes.

A few of her comments lately about her beloved little brother:
- Mama, I don't want to have a baby brother. He takes toys away from me and I am very sad.

- I don't want Baby to talk, ever.
- I sometimes wish we don't have a baby.

- She's very into exaggeration: "I want to stay here forever and forever."; "No, I won't share ever, ever, ever!"; "He's not a nice baby ever!"; and we've already started, "I don't get to color EVER." and "You don't ever let me watch a show, EVER!"
- She has started asking what day it is, every day, and remembers what I tell her is going to happen each day. She is still confused sometimes though - almost anything that happened in the past is "Last night", as in, "I watched Nemo last night", or "Cammie slept on the bottom bed last night". Lots of events happen on Saturday, so she is still trying to figure out how she went to a party on Saturday, and then she will go to the zoo on Saturday. She asks about her cousin Cammie a lot now, and says things like, '"Maybe Cammie can come to the park with us, " and, "Maybe we can go to New Jersey later. Maybe we can go after my nap."

She's been having weird dreams, because when I go in to get her sometimes, she'll say stuff like, "Mama, I was talking to the fireflies. Did you see them? There were all over there," or, "Do we have apples? There are lots and lots of apples on the floor, aren't there? So many apples on the floor."

Monday, November 2, 2009

October Update

We went to the Pumpkin Patch for the 2nd year in a row, and it was....interesting this time around. Last time Ryan was about 2 weeks old, but this time things were a mess. Addie has hit an extremely defiant stage and would not listen to me for anything, so I was trying to keep up with her and keep her from running into the road, while manuevering Ryan around in the stroller. He was really fussy and wanted out, but he does not like to hold my hand and walk with me (of course), so he was pulling away and screaming while I was trying to go over to Addison, who would not come or even turn around when I called. To top it all off, there were several muddy sloshy parts in the grass, and Ryan would pull away and then fall right into the mud, and scream when I'd pick him up to try and wash his hands or pants, and then Addie stepped in the mud and fussed about her muddy toes and shoes, so I put Ryan back in the stroller to get more wipes for Addie's feet and he kept trying to climb out and get away!!! Plus, I forgot my camera's memory card, so I had to rely on my wonderful friends to document the "fun" outing. Note to self: some things are worth doing just for the photo op - this was not one of them (although we did get some cute pictures somehow).

The girls have sure grown up since last year!

Addie's birthday party was a lot of fun! We had a lot of kids come, and it was a beautiful day. We cooked brisket and beans for everyone (hot dogs for the kids) and mostly the kids just ran around and played with all the toys. I had a few craft tables set up in the living room. Addie's cake was a haunted house, and it turned out great. It was really easy to do and ended up looking really nice. We had asked for no gifts from our guests, simply because we have an abundance and toys and generous grandparents, but they did get a some nice things.

Haunted House cake with pumpkin patch and graveyard

Enjoying birthday cake!

The poor, poor dog was gated off and forced to wear a witch hat.

Little buckroo and big Papoo

Back to back presents!

On Friday the 30th, we went trick or treating at Ainsley Courte, a retirement home, with our MOPS girls. Addison was sort of wild at first, but at the end, she surprised me so much! I had talked to her last time about shaking the peoples' hands, since they all love to reach out and pat the kids. Addie thought that was neat. This time, when we were leaving, I told her to go up to each resident and tell them thank you. She went up to every single one, looked directly at them, shook their hands, said Thank You, and then game them a hug!! There were probably 15-20 people in the lobby and she did that for each person. I was so proud of her! Most kids would not be nearly so interactive. And most of the time Addison certainly isnt. We'll see what happens next year, but even if it was just a fluke, I was really proud of her. That night, we went to a carnival and Trunk or Treat at a friend's church. The kids wore their costumes again and got lots of candy.

On Saturday morning, Halloween, Addie woke up and watched her shows (they had Halloween episodes of all her favorites - Diego, Dora, Backyardigans, Tigger and Pooh, Little Einsteins, Yo Gabba Gabba, Imagination Movers, Handy Manny, etc), and then Daddy took her in her Halloween pajamas to get donuts. She picked out a big gross looking one with sprinkles for herself. Then, as we set her at the table to eat, she saw her big birthday present: a Littlest Pet Shop with lots of animals. She simply adored playing "pets" this summer when Camryn had some of hers here at the house, and was really sad when we had to mail them back to Cammie, so when I saw a building with a bag of animals at a garage sale, I knew I had to get it. Addison LOVED it, and played with it all day.

Three snakes, three spiders, three year old girl (and one gross donut)

Littlest Pet Shop, biggest mess of pieces

Last year - my little baby!

That night, after our traditional Halloween dinner of chili dogs, we went over to Matt's sister Jennifer's house to go trick or treating with their son Hunter, who is almost 4. We weren't planning on hitting a lot of houses, but on just the one street we stayed on, almost every house was lit up. The kids had a fantastic time, and even Ryan toddled up the walkways with his bucket in hand to get candy. He had a death grip on that thing! Their buckets were loaded down by the time we got home, and they ended up in bed an hour late, which worked out perfectly since it was Daylight Savings time. It was a really fun night for all of us!

Hunter was a "cowboy pirate", once he saw that his cousins both had horses.

The three musketeers

Ryan tried to walk into every single house.

"We're the law in these parts, so give us some candy!"

We bought a Wii a few days ago. It's our first gaming console since Matt's old Sega he bought in grade school. Our ultimate goal is to drop our huge satellite bill, since we can now get the internet, Hulu, YouTube, etc. through the Wii and watch whatever we want online. We're still checking out the features to see how it will all work. That's our early Christmas present to ourselves.

Both kids have been slightly sick lately. Ryan is super stuffed up and super grouchy, and so is Addie. Matt and I noticed that Ryan's clinginess seems to be more directly related to me. I had never paid any attention to it before, but Matt says that Ryan isn't whiney and clingy while he is alone with him, it's just when I'm around too that Ryan feels the need to velcro himself to my pants. Well, too bad for him! Addison is just all kinds of a mess lately too. She cracks me up with eveything she says, then drives me crazy with her deliberate disobedience. She will just stand there and stare at me when I ask her to come eat, go potty, pick up a shoe, heck, even eat candy! It's like she can't believe I would have the gall to speak to her. Preview of teen years already??!!

I bought this skeleton yesterday on clearance to put out front next year on Halloween. If you will remember from a post or two ago, Addison was terrified of skeletons. Now, as you can see, it is her best friend. I think this is one of my favorite "weird" episodes so far. The pictures are priceless.

Hugging and wrapping him up on the couch

Reading him a story

"Press the button Skeletor! Not that button, THIS button!"

He went to Hobby Lobby with us, riding in the "big girl"seat (where there's no car seat), and she had to hold his hand

Hugging him with a "death" grip - I had started to take him upstairs to put away with the other decorations, and she stood at the bottom of the stairs WAILING. I had pity on her and brought him back down. See how red her eyes are?

She found a Santa hat and said, "Santa is at the mall!" I said, "Yes he is, do you want to take a picture with him?" (part of my ongoing scheme to get her used to Santa). She said no, and then I said we could just go look at him, but she said no, and I told her about sitting on his lap and she finally said, "No, I will look at Santa, but I don't want him to look at me." That sounds EXACTLY like me. Then I told her about kids sitting on his lap to tell him what they wanted him to bring them for Christmas, since he brings presents. This was a new concept for her, since last year she was too young to understand any of that. "Presents?" she asked. "Yes," I said, and suddenly she was very ready to sit on his lap and tell him that she wanted a present. I asked her what present she wanted, and she said, " A new animal." She of course already has a million animals, but she gets great pleasure from them! In fact, I couldn't help but buy her three new beanie babies at a garage sale - a monkey, a turkey and a unicorn, because she has her set of "baby animals" that she lugs around. When I asked her later what animal she wanted Santa to bring her, she thought really hard and said, "A cow. "

Here are some random things:

- For some reason, Addie has started to say that when she flushes the toilet, the toilet paper (and everything else) is going to the Y (MCA). She will watch it go down and say, "There it goes! It's going to the Y!"

- She loves her stage/dress up area (mostly at night, right before bed) and often dances beautifully in her mirrors. Often naked, or pantsless.

- Ryan calls everything a "duck". Not sure why, or what he's really trying to say, but he will walk quickly up to me with a shoe or book or toy, holding it high and looking right at my face and say "Duck!!!" as he falls into me and pushes the object into my face. He likes to play in the toy kitchen, especially pushing buttons on the microwave.
That's all I can think of for now....I've got to stay on top of blogging or it becomes too big of a chore!