Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Already three, how can this be?

(Her birthday was actually on the 21st. I'm recovering from the flu some I get a free pass on being late.)

Happy 3rd Birthday, Ella!

As I think back on this past year, two things come to mind: "We made it through two" and "You're really growing up, kid." You've spent a lot of time testing limits and pushing boundaries, but in doing so we've come to this (mostly) good place where you are this seriously amazing kid. 

Because you are three, here are three ways in which I hope you never change: 

1. Your kindness and generosity. There are so many examples I could give, but this one sticks out in my mind. You decided that the Grinch is the one who brings Christmas presents. I asked you what he was going to bring you this year. You told me, "I'm going to ask the Grinch to bring me new Doc McStuffins toys. Because the ones I have now are too small for Marian to play with and maybe the Grinch will bring me ones we can play with together." 

2. Your creativity. I love how you look at the world in your own unique way. You are always busy figuring out new ways to do things and new uses for everyday objects. Some of these endeavors may drive me a little bonkers. Some of them are silly (like when you fashioned a bra for your baby doll out of a hair tie). Some of them may fail. But please, never, ever stop trying.

3. Your sense of humor. I think it's awesome that you understand that sometimes you simply need to laugh. Or as you say, "Right now I'm not Eleanor Mary. I'm a silly goose."

Keep being awesome, kiddo. Let's bring on the preschool years.

P.S. You are not as sneaky as you think. Totally knew you were busy picking sprinkles off your cake. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The plague house, again

Here's a tally of this month's illnesses: 

1 toddler with mysterious on again, off again fever and lethargy but no other symptoms

2 kids with colds. The special, fun, never-ending toddler colds. 

1 husband with bronchitis

1 mom who has battled colds, mystery 24 hour virus, and is finally laid low by a horrible upper respiratory virus/fever/chills/shakes

Naturally this would have to occur right before Ella's birthday party. So on top of feeling like crap I am dealing with mommy guilt for having to push her party back to January. Nothing like hearing your almost 3 year old say over and over, "But Mommy TOMORROW is my birthday party. TOMORROW!" 

Ugh. Can it be spring yet? 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Effective parenting

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I'm a fierce disciplinarian. I'm so intimidating that the following examples of my awesome parenting skillz shouldn't be any surprise.

Example One: "And we shall go merrily to timeout"

Double trouble conspired to tip over the end table. After being told repeatedly not to knock it over, they look at me, giggle, and do it anyway. Then Ella says, "Come on Marian, we have to go to timeout now." And they run off, hand in hand, to go sit in timeout. Without being told.

As if that was not enough, a few minutes later Ella brings her baby doll over to the table. She says, "Mama, New Baby* says she is going to knock the table over now too. But I tell her, 'No no New Baby,' but she going to do it anyway." And the she proceeds to help the baby doll pretend to knock over the table and takes her to pretend time out.

*The dolls in our house have very original names. New Baby was, at one point, the newest baby doll. We also have Cow Baby, Soft Baby, Music Dolly, and Stinky Baby. 

Example Two: "I only has on my bad ears today"

The other day Ella got sent to timeout for not listening. After two minutes I go over there and tell her she can come out. She's sitting there goofing around pretending to be Mr. Potato Head. I figure, whatever, she knows she's free to come out. After a few minutes I hear her call and ask if she can get out. I tell her yes and continue making dinner. Several minutes later I notice she's still sitting there. I peek around the corner and see she's pretending her hands are alligators. Again I tell her she can come out. Ten minutes later she still sitting there. I guess the answer as to whether she found her listening ears was a definite no.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Yes, interwebs, I am 5

Well, at any rate Ella keeps on telling me I'm five. Which I guess when you are two is pretty ancient. She also has told me she doesn't like the lines in my forehead. Thanks, kiddo, guess I'll be taking the money from your college fund and getting Botox.

Anyway, this post has more to do with my incredibly immature sense of humor.

This past weekend, Jim noticed that the caulking on the bathtub had been shoddily done. We had a boring conversation about him replacing it. Nothing untoward about discussing caulk in front of the kids, right?

Monday rolls around and I'm getting Ella ready for school. I head out to the garage to put her backpack and such in the car. The kids dutifully trot out after me, Ella talking a mile a minute about this and that. Now, I'll back this up for a second and mention that Ella has some speech troubles so words don't always come out crystal clear. Thus why I hear my little two year old yell, "Marian! Stop! We don't touch Daddy's cock!"

In true Ella fashion, once she starts talking about a subject she won't shut up. The ten minute drive to school was filled with all sorts of details about "Daddy's cock." Including but not limited to the fact that Daddy's cock was broken and he had to go to the store to buy a new one. And that Daddy's old cock was red but now he has a new white cock.

Whoever said parenting wasn't fricking hilarious?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide- Mommy Edition

I figured since I gave all my readers (yes, all three of you) a handy dandy gift guide for the kids, I might as well make one out for myself. You may send your gift to BFE- just write my name on the box and it will somehow find its way to me, I promise. This gift guide will also serve you well for any other mom of young children on your gift list.

1. Alcohol. Moms have to heavy job of ensuring that the next generation doesn't turn out to be little shits. Doing so means that we have to deal with a LOT of whining and tantrums and utter ridiculous sentences like, "Please stop telling the dog to sniff your butt and go get some undies on." I can give you somewhere along the lines of a gazillion other examples but you get the point.

2. Coffee. This is pretty much self-explanatory. I have not slept through the night since 2011. In fact, I'm pretty positive that I am a caffeinated zombie. I need caffeine like I need oxygen.

3. Babysitting services. You know how every single parenting magazine/website tells you to make sure to take time for yourself, go on dates with your significant other, maybe get your hair cut or fall asleep in a movie theatre? What they don't tell you is that (a) babysitters are freaking expensive and (b) finding the Holy Grail is easier than finding a good babysitter.

4. Everyone else to not have a housecleaning service. I discovered a dirty little secret here in BFE- almost everyone I know utilizes a housecleaning service on a fairly regular basis. While it would be nice to have a housekeeper of my own, I'm kind of a vindictive bitch. It would be far nicer to watch everyone else scramble to figure out how the hell to keep a house halfway decent while doing enriching things with the kids and at least 5 Pinterest-worthy projects a day and pretend that you have all your shit together. I'll smugly watch from the sidelines with my alcohol-laden coffee.

5. Hotel room. I have fantasies about hotel rooms. They all run along these lines: I check into the hotel, while singing, "All by myself! I get to be- all by myself!" (Celine Dion re-wrote the song after having kids.) I change into my super sexy yoga pants and grungy t-shirt. I order room service. I watch crappy cable TV. Maybe binge watch HGTV. After eating a meal in which no one throws food or whines about wanting something different, I go to sleep. I get to sprawl over the entire king size bed and no one wakes me up by snoring or needing to nurse or wanting Mommy to come get the scary things off the bed. I wake up the next morning after 12 amazing hours of sleep. I order room service breakfast. I eat and drink coffee- hot coffee, and not hot from being microwaved five times- while reading a book or trashy magazine. I get to shower and pee without company. If it's a hotel room in a swanky place that has a spa, I will love you forever.

Holiday Gift Guide- Toddler Edition

Since the stores are rolling out all the Christmas stuff, people are making their Black Friday Thursday Wednesday Tuesday shopping plans, and everyone keeps on asking me what the girls would like for Christmas, I figured I'd give you all a handy dandy gift guide for the toddler set.

To make it easier, I'm going to start with what NOT to buy.

1. Any toy that makes noise. In case you weren't aware, toddlers make a ridiculous amount of noise without any help from Tickle Me Elmo. If you give a toddler a noise-making toy, the following things will occur:
  • They will press the damn button repeatedly until you want to gouge out your eardrums with a spoon. 
  • They will press the damn button repeatedly until the toy breaks or the batteries run out. Once it breaks, the ensuing tantrums over the broken toy and demands to go to the store and buy new batteries will make you want to gouge out your eardrums with a spoon. 
Moral of the story: Don't do it. The only exception is if you include a case of wine for Mom and Dad and say these magic words: "It can stay at my house for when Little Susy comes over."

2. Toys that have more pieces than the age of the child. Let's say you are at the store and you see the 100 piece block set. You think, "Oooh, awesome, look at all these blocks! My niece/nephew/grandchild is going to love this! And it's only $10!" Step back for a second while I tell you what's going to happen. Child will see all the blocks. Promptly dump them all over the floor, leaving death traps for the parents. Child will pick out ONE block- you know, the Special Block that was at the bottom of the bin and will require the child to dump out all the blocks in search of this Special Block every.single.time.

If you feel compelled to get the gigantic sets, save yourself some money and divvy up the set between all the kids on your shopping list.

3. Toys with small pieces. I have a deep and abiding hatred for toys that come with small pieces. To begin with, I still have one kid that loves to put everything and anything in her mouth. It's not a lot of fun when I have to tell Ella that she can't play with a toy because it's a choking hazard for her sister or another little kid who comes over to play. Furthermore, the little pieces end up getting lost and then we have a meltdown over "I NEED it!" And I have to explain that I would love to give the piece to her. Except there is a high probability that it's lost in the abyss that is the horrible shag carpet in our playroom. Or possibly taking a voyage through her sister's intestines.

4. Toys that involve a high level of parental involvement. Look, I know the ad shows the parent(s) and kids happily playing with this toy that is too advanced for my toddlers to do on their own but is so super cool that they need to play with it all.the.time. But in real life, Dad has a job and Mom has other things to do than constantly reassemble this thing that is too complicated for the toddler to handle. If you like my kids and want them to eat semi-decent meals, please take a pass on the toys that need an adult every time. Unless, again, you would like to keep it at your house.

5. Electronics. Toddlers are destructive and electronics are expensive. And then there's the whole thing that a two year old does not need an iPad. P.S. If you get my toddler an iPad, you can be assured that I am going to commandeer it.

So what, then, would be a good present for a toddler?

1. Your presence. Even though I'm totally awesome, my kids sometimes get bored with me and like to see other people. Spend the money to come see them. I promise you, they will be thrilled and will be talking about your visit for months.

2.  A membership to the zoo/museum/aquarium/etc. It's something they can enjoy all year long. My kids are 1 and 2 and have the attention spans of gnats (actually, some days that might be insulting to gnats). A new toy is going to be super cool for a week, tops, whereas the zoo is awesome all the time. In fact, some days I'm pretty sure they only keep me around so I'll drive them to go see George and Bobo and the lizards and the bear.

3. A gigantic box. Boxes are cheap and kids love them. Wrap it up in paper for them to happily destroy and you have one amazing gift.

4. Empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls. These are like crack to my kids. Seriously. Combine some with the empty box and you are golden.

5. A personalized photo book. Ella loves looking through our photo albums and seeing her relatives. She'll sit there and tell me all these stories about the photos, real or imagined (like how there's Mommy holding newborn Ella at swim class. Uhhhh....pretty sure that's the hospital bed but okay.).

6. A donation to a charity. Kids are way more perceptive than we give them credit for. Even though she's not quite three, Ella is starting to understand that there are some people who don't have as much as we do. Sure, she may devise devious little plans where (in her mind) some other kid gets all her toys and then she gets new toys (we're still working on explaining the whole charity concept) but she does understand the basic idea of helping out others.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Another post about my toddler saying ridiculous things

Here's another installment of sh*t my toddler says, courtesy of Ella.

Running dialogue in the car: "Marian, STOP. Marian, don't pinch me. Mama doesn't like that when her is driving. Mama is VERY disappointed in you. When we get home you get an X for making bad choices." Gotta be the boss of someone, right? Even if it's your baby sister who is napping. You will respect my authority! (Bonus points if you get that reference.)

"This is my forehead and this is my hair head. Mama you have a forehead and a hair head too." What about Daddy and Marian? "They just has foreheads." Sorry, baldies. 

Upon explaining that certain clothes are now too small for Marian: "That's okay, she can wear it when she turns back into a baby."

When Jim told her the pizza dough needed to rest: "No, I think the pizza dough just wants to have some quiet time."

After accidentally dumping her water in my lap: "Don't worry, Mama, it'll dry." Thanks kid. I love being soaked all the way through to my underwear before 8am. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

12 month update

Stats: 19lb 3oz and 29.5 inches

Clothes: 12-18 month. Although I accidentally grabbed a pair of 2T pants this week and they pretty much fit her...

Teeth: Three more teeth broke through in the course of a week, with the fourth lateral incisor being a bastard hanging out right underneath the gum. I'm sure those teeth are partly to blame for the crap sleeping. If you are counting, that brings the tooth tally up to 7.

Sleep: Sigh. Still not sleeping through the night. Sleep training has commenced but we are still in the thick of battle.

Food: Nothing new here. Still eats a ton, still nurses a ton. I'm hoping that in the next few months she will consolidate some of her nursing sessions. Five times a day sounds reasonable, right?

Words: She's up to about 30 words now, which I think is pretty darn good for a one year old. Right now she's really into talking about "car car" and "go" which may be her way of saying, "Mom, you're super boring, please take me somewhere that has new and exciting toys for me to put in my mouth." (If you couldn't tell, she's still into putting everything in her mouth. I wouldn't be shocked if her first full sentence is, "Take that out of your mouth.")

Milestones: Oooh, a fun one! She's started following directions. Naturally they have to be very simple ("Come over to the changing pad" or "Bring that to Mommy") and naturally she has to be in the mood to obey instead of shaking her head no and running away. She's also become quite interested in putting things in baskets and taking them back out which I sort of remember from some parenting book means something. Or maybe I'm making that up. Marian, if you would sleep through the night I would know for sure. 

Miscellaneous: She briefly showed interest in coloring with a crayon vs. eating it. Baby steps, right?

A rare moment sleeping in my lap

Opening presents at her birthday party

"What is this sugary goodness that you people have been withholding from me?!"

Little diva knew she was the center of attention 

Who doesn't love a messy toddler? 

By far her favorite present- a spatula (thanks Nana!). Perfect for teething and whacking her sister

Opening presents with big sister

Her favorite part of her birthday- being told to rip paper up and getting to play with ribbon

Ella not-so-patiently waiting for Marian to open her present

Nom nom nom 

So there you have it. Twelve months of babyhood. From here on out I'm going to switch to posting sporadic updates, probably with a more thorough update around 18 months. Partially because I'm lazy (sorry kids- there will be no calendars full of your daily cuteness for you to discover later in life) and partially because after a while there's not quite as many changes on a monthly basis. And it would never, ever, have anything to do with opting for a cup of coffee over blogging or needing to keep the kids from pelting each other with toys. Never.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Creepy conversation with my toddler

 Out of nowhere, Ella mutters: The cow is just bones. The cow just has his bones.
Me: Huh?
Ella: The cow just has his bones.
Me: The cow...just has his bones?
Ella: Yes. His skin went away. Now he just has his bones.
Me: What made the cow's skin go away?
Ella: He was counting.
Me: Counting?!
Ella: He was counting and his skin goes away.
Me: Is he an alive cow or dead cow?
Ella: He's alive.
I pause for a moment and wonder what the heck she's thinking about. Me: Where is this cow?
Ella: At school.
Me: In a book?
Ella: Yeah.
Me: A Halloween book?
Ella: Yeah.
Thinking what kind of Halloween book has a skinless cow and wondering if a call to her teacher is in order, I ask: Did the cow say moo?
Ella: NO!
Upon realizing we have a toddler pronunciation issue, I think of what sounds similar: Was it a clown?
Ella: Yeah! A clown with no skin.

I boot up my computer, all the while thinking that a clown with no skin is not exactly a huge improvement over a cow with no skin. Even if it does know how to count. I type "skeleton" into the search bar and Ella excitedly announces, "There's lots more clowns!"

Phew. A cartoon skeleton that counts is okay.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Marian!

My sweet baby girl,

I can't believe that you are already one.

You started off the year looking like this:

Now you're officially a walking, talking, opinionated, mischievous little toddler:

This year has been filled with lots of sleepless nights and spit up. There have been approximately 2920 diaper changes. Countless miles paced while trying to lull you off to sleep. I've had to utter the phrase, "What do you have in your mouth?!" more times than I care to remember. (In all seriousness, rocks and mulch can't taste very good. Give it a rest.)

Even though some most nights I drop off into bed feeling like I've done battle, it's been a fun year. I've loved watching you grow from a tiny baby who wasn't quite sure what to make of the world to a confident toddler who "though she be but little, she is fierce!"

I'm excited to see what you have in store for us in this next year. Knowing you, there will be lots of mischief. Most likely more sleepless nights. But lots of sweetness and slobbery kisses too.

Happy 1st Birthday!

Let's bring on the toddler years.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A case of parenting genius gone wrong

Once upon a time, there was a toddler who really wanted a cookie. She desperately wanted a cookie. She dreamed about that wonderful cookie. 

Enter in Mean Awful Mommy who said that she couldn't have a cookie unless she ate a good dinner. The toddler would try and try to eat a good dinner, but Mean Awful Mommy made such disgusting dinners that it was impossible for the toddler to eat enough to appease her mommy and earn that cookie. 

Mean Awful Mommy got tired of seeing that cookie sitting on the pantry shelf. 

Enter in the Cookie Monster. 

Mean Awful Mommy told the toddler that unless she ate a good dinner, that very night, the Cookie Monster was going to visit the house after she was asleep and eat up that cookie. Then it would be very sad because there would be no more cookies. 

(Pssst, if you're wondering, the Cookie Monster looks and sounds a lot like Mommy.)

The toddler did not want the Cookie Monster to come and eat her cookie. Doesn't that awful Cookie Monster have any sense of ownership? It was her cookie that she got at a birthday party and no Cookie Monster was going to steal it while she was asleep. 

So the toddler gobbled up her dinner and at last got to eat her cookie. 

Mean Awful Mommy congratulated herself on this stroke of parenting genius and poured herself a celebratory glass of wine. 

The End


See, that's where the story would end in most households. Not in mine. 

The morning after the initial success, I told Ella that the Cookie Monster had, in fact, come by the house the night before. However, I told him that she had eaten a good dinner and got to eat her cookie so there were no cookies here for him. The Cookie Monster was so proud of her that he dropped off some more cookies for her to have. (Yes, the Cookie Monster takeths, and the Cookie Monster giveths, because Mommy wanted some cookies too and there was no way to hide all those cookies in the pantry so there was some improvising.)  

This Cookie Monster bit played out well for about a week. Until my wily little toddler caught on. 

Last night we had one cookie left in the pantry. It had taken lots and lots of willpower on my part not to eat that cookie. Ella dutifully ate the first part of her dinner. I let her down to play while the rest cooked. She brings me over her play phone and tells me the Cookie Monster is on the phone. Like a good mom, I say hi and have a fake conversation with the Cookie Monster about that last cookie in the pantry. I hang up and go back to making dinner. 

Then there's another phone call. This time it's the Orange Marmalade Monster. I talk to him too. We have a nice discussion about how we are almost out of orange marmalade and will have to go buy some at the store. 

I hand the phone back to Ella. But wait, there's another call! This time it's the Vegetable Monster. She tells me he wants her vegetables. I'm pretty positive she would be okay with letting him have them. Panicking, I get on the phone with the Vegetable Monster and broker a deal between him and the Cookie Monster. They both agree that if Ella eats her vegetables she can get her cookie. 

Crisis averted. Or so I think. 

The pretend phone rings for a final time. It's the Ice Cream Monster. Ella tells me that he says if she eats all her dinner then she can have ice cream. Crap. By this point you can bet I'm regretting inventing the Cookie Monster. Hurriedly I get on the phone with the Ice Cream Monster. I explain that we don't have any ice cream in the freezer and that I would love to chat more but I have to get back to cooking dinner. 

I can see the little wheels turning in her head. I really want ice cream more than I want a cookie. But if there is no ice cream to be had, then there is nothing for the Ice Cream Monster to steal. If I'm not going to get what I want anyway, why should I eat my dinner? 

Anyone want to take bets as to whether she ate her dinner? 

Yep, despite reminders about the cookie in the pantry, within five minutes she decided she was done. Forget about the cookie. That's nowhere near as awesome as ice cream.  

Toddler 1, Mommy 0. Or maybe I get half a point for the initial success?   

At least I got to eat the cookie. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

That's MY spoon!

There's been some interesting communication going on between the two kids. I'll give you a few examples:

Scene One
Marian: Baba gaga mmmm lala mmmm (plus other baby babble noises- you get the picture)
Ella: NO! MINE!
Marian: AHHHHH!
Ella: MINE!
Me: What are you two fighting about?!
Ella: Marian says she wants my spoon but I say it's MY spoon, Marian!
Me: Why don't you get your sister her own spoon then?

Somehow giving Marian a spoon did solve their bickering. Although Marian does love spoons and simply may have been distracted from whatever she actually wanted by a shiny object.

Scene Two
Marian: Again, happily babbling away. Crawls over to the dog bed which is a big no-no in our house. 
Me: Uh-oh Marian! No dog bed!
Ella: Mama, don't say, "Ought ought ought" to Marian. She just pretending to be a dog.

Seriously, what do you even say to that kind of stuff? I went with, "Well then she can pretend to be a dog somewhere besides the dog bed." Ella told Marian to come be a dog next to her and they crawled around doing some game of their own making.

So here's my question- how much of this is my toddler making stuff up vs. the two kids having their own little mode of communication? I noticed a long while back that Marian doesn't talk as much when Ella is around. Whether that's because the poor kid can't get a word in edgewise or because she is relying on Ella to communicate for her is up for debate. Parenting experts, what say you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

11 month update

How the heck is this little baby already 11 months old?! I feel like a broken record saying this, but I am continually amazed at how fast the time flies by. I swear she was just born yesterday. Today, people are throwing around the "T" word. Am I seriously going to have two toddlers in less than a month?

Stats: Nothing much has changed here. I think we're entering the point where, like her big sister, she is too active to put on any weight.

Clothes: She can still get away with some 9 month clothes. For the most part she's moved into 12-18 month.

Teeth: Still the same four teeth. There are some new ones trying to make their way in and are causing her to be extremely crabby. And to bite. A lot. Thankfully not so much while nursing (anymore). But for whatever reason, she thinks Ella's toes are perfect for biting. Which, as you can guess, is great for sibling harmony.

Sleep: Totally jinxed myself last month. Most decidedly NOT sleeping through the night. One day, right? Right?! For the love of God, someone please tell me these kids will eventually sleep through the night.

Food: Right now she's loving tomatoes. Preferably straight off the vine. With a side of dirt or mulch. And of course still nursing.

Words: Na-na (nurse), duck, ball, Goo-gog (Dougal), Goo-gir (Crilly- think this is her saying "good girl"), and nigh-nigh (night-night) are some of her new words.

Milestones: Ummm, definitely not my favorite milestone- climbing. On everything. And then proudly standing up like she's queen of the mountain and letting out a victory shriek. Such a little daredevil. Pretty sure I will be completely grey before 30.

Miscellaneous: She's starting to demonstrate an interest in books as things to look at instead of eat. She'll sit there and point at various things and say, "Dat? Dat?"

Little baldy finally has enough hair that I can make the tiniest of ponytails or clip in a bow. Whether she keeps it in for more than five seconds is another story.

A rare moment where she's sitting down

Running around like crazy. 

What, doesn't everyone wear one bib backwards and carry another around?

Clearly I don't feed her enough. She has to chase me around with a bowl in hand.

Monday, September 8, 2014

NOT Sleeping through the night. Or, Why I look like a zombie

Neither child has slept through the night in years. Well, maybe a week. In any case, it feels like years when the hours of 2-5am are spent in a state of awful half-awakeness dealing with demands for milk and hugs and lullaby CDs and trying to explain to a toddler that you can't do anything about the fact that it is dark outside.

I'm tired of not only being tired, but of answering questions about why I look so tired from well-meaning friends and strangers and the super-chatty bag girl at the grocery store.

In response to my children's hatred of sleep, I decided to design this super awesome and totally attractive t-shirt, using my vast artistic skills and Microsoft Paint.

Told you I had vast artistic skills. Be very impressed. 

Obviously in real life the shirt won't be white. Instead, it will come in a wide variety of colors- probably all on the same shirt- to hide coffee stains, all the random stuff kids wipe on your shirt, and the fact that you haven't changed your shirt or showered in three days. 

Once you are wearing this shirt, you won't have to make mindless chatter with people or make excuses as to why you look like hell. Simply point to the shirt. Everyone will shut up and run to get you more coffee. It will also help you pinpoint other moms with kids that aren't sleeping through the night. As you are cruising the grocery store at 8am, coffee in hand and wild kids in tow, you can fist bump each other as you pass by and send twin death glares to that overly-coiffed mom from music class who clearly has kids that sleep otherwise she wouldn't be wearing heels and full-makeup- and very clearly has taken a shower already this week- so early in the morning. Solidarity, sister moms! (Except for you, overly-coiffed mom. Everyone else secretly hates you. Get with the program and wear yoga pants like the rest of us.) 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some recent Ella-isms

Toddlers say some pretty hilarious things. Must be some evolutionary adaptation because otherwise the near-constant whining and tantrums would ensure their demise. Here are a few funnies from our house.

-When Ella was being incredibly cranky, I told her, "Ella, you must have put on your cranky pants this morning." She vehemently insisted that she did not- along with the accompanying foot stamp. "I do not have on my cranky pants! I only has on my undies today!"

-She knows she has two different feet. One is the right foot. Naturally, the other is the wrong foot.

-She's very into categorizing anything and everything. Often on our car rides she will start naming everyone she knows and whether they are a big or little boy, big or little girl, or a baby. When I asked her what Mommy was. "You are NOT a girl." Oh really? "You are just a grownup." Apparently all adults are androgynous.

-On a similar note, she will list off all her friends and their siblings. "Haggy* has a baby brudder named Grant, Eeef has a baby brudder named Liam, James is getting a baby sister..." I'll ask her what she has. She will dramatically sigh and say, "I just has a Marian."

-One night at dinner Jim told me I looked very pretty. Ella piped up, "I'm not pretty." Of course my heart sank and I asked her what she was then, praying at two she wouldn't be saying ugly. Nope. She responded, "I'm just pretty whiny." Can't argue with that.

-Her bedtime prayer is, in my humble opinion, pretty hilarious. Jim and I have a hard time keeping ourselves from laughing. "In the name of the Father-Son-Shoulder Shoulder Not Chin Not Knees. Dear God, please bless Mommy, Daddy, Marian, Ella, my boys**, and my baby dolls. Help us to grow up to be good and kind and strong and smart. Please bless Grandma, Grampy, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and our great cousins. Keep us all safe and well. Amen."

*Even though we have met some kids with strange names, we don't have friends named Haggy or Eeef- that's just how she pronounces them.

**Her imaginary friends, The Boys. According to Ella they are the size of her thumb. They get into a lot of mischief and like to hide in strange places, like my mouth, bra, or "arm-tits."

Ways in which my children are like dogs

Long before we even thought of having children, we had dogs. After lots of careful consideration, I realize that having dogs totally prepared us for dealing with two wee little beasties of the human variety. I present to you the similarities between my children and my dogs:

1. Dougal and Crilly LOVE playing fetch. As do Ella and Marian. Sometimes they even throw the ball for themselves.

2. They bring me random things that I can't quite identify and I'm not entirely sure I want in my hand, yet they look up at me with those big eyes and I take the mystery object and praise them. "Thank you for bringing me this lovely...SQUIRREL TAIL?! Is this seriously part of an animal?!" (For the record, this was one of my dogs. But the kids have brought me other equally gross things and expect me to be happy about it.)

3. Whether it's a child or dog, you spend a ton of time dealing with poop. And a lot of time hoping it's in the proper location- i.e., please for the love of God not on the floor or walls or some lovely surprise for me to find when I pull back the sheets to tuck you into bed.

4. Both canines and children have this lovely quirk where when they are outside, they complain and want to go in. And when they are inside, they whine to go out. Every.single.time.

5. They give me four very good reasons why my house is a wreck.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 month update

Super duper late and more like 10.5 months. Here's what the crazy baby has been up to in the past month:

Stats: Somewhere around 18lbs and 28 inches. Hey, you try measuring a moving target and see how precise you are.

Teeth: Still 4

Diapers: I'm very happy to report that she pooped on the potty. Total fluke situation where Jim caught her about to go and placed her on there to avoid having to clean a diaper. One small step toward potty training. By my estimate we have at least 3000 more diaper changes until that magical day.

Sleep: Even though I know I'm going to jinx it I'm saying it- she now has slept through the night a few times. Meaning she is entirely capable of it and doesn't really need to nurse in the middle of the night. She gets until October 6 to be up partying at all hours and then the harsh reality of sleep training is going to set in.

Food: Still an eating machine, although the nursing has dropped down a bit to maybe 10 times a day. Three solid meals a day. Pretty sure she eats way more than her big sister.

Words: New words include naners (banana), ah (yeah), mo (more), all-da (all done), and my absolute favorite, NO! Always said quite emphatically. Because it's way more fun if both kids are screaming, "NO NO NO!" at the top of their lungs.

Milestones: Full on walking. While we were on vacation she would take up to a dozen steps at a time but didn't seem inclined to do much more. Now that we're home, with the dogs to chase around, she toddles after them as fast as her little legs can go. Poor, long suffering dogs! She also thinks it is absolutely hilarious to stand up in the middle of a diaper change and run off with the (thankfully) clean diaper- usually with Ella chasing after her yelling, "Bare bottomed girl! Bare bottomed girl!"

Another milestone that's not quite as exciting as walking but cute nonetheless- clapping her hands. She'll sit there and clap her hands along to music or when she's feeling particularly pleased with herself.

Miscellaneous: She has started in on the Big Emotions of the toddler years. On the down side, this means throwing herself down on the floor shrieking when she doesn't get her way. On the bright side, this means toddling over to give us hugs and slobbery baby kisses. Heart melted.

The "I'm doing something I know I'm not supposed to be doing" look

Cruising around the back yard

We start them young. No reprieve on chores even for the baby. 

Lost in thought. Or, more accurately, wondering how much grass she can eat without me noticing.

Playing with one of her best buddies

Being a holy terror and ripping things off the shelves

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The amazing adventures of Hiney-nor and Ivy-nor*

*Recently I have been informed by my toddler that she and her sister are no longer named Eleanor and Marian. They now go by Hiney-nor and Ivy-nor. Although Stinky-nor, Poopy-nor, Stinky-roo, and Silly Goose are also acceptable names. Ah, the two year old sense of humor.  


While we haven't quite been sailing the seven seas, we have been on a whirlwind of traveling over the past few weeks. Thus the radio silence (although is it still called radio silence for a blog?). 

I did have awesome intentions of doing a series of blog posts detailing our travels. However, the combination of travel PTSD, a crazy two year old, a baby who still refuses to sleep through the night, a massively overgrown garden, and you know, life, have sapped all my energy. 

Here is a much-abbreviated version of what I was originally intending to write.

We drove from Oklahoma up to Chicago. Saw lots of friends, ate tons of yummy food, and visited some of our old stomping grounds. Went to a wedding, drank some awesome homebrew.

Relaxing in the Shakespeare garden at Northwestern

Running around near a freaky statue

Ella thought The Rock was the coolest thing

Chilling in the dinosaur footprint at the Field Museum

Next up: Flew to Big Sky, Montana for a conference. Went to the Museum of the Rockies to see dinosaurs, per Ella's request. Played around at the resort. Took the kids hiking one morning. Had some kid-free time while we ventured to the top of Lone Mountain (or the Lonely Mountain, as Ella called it- think there are dwarves?) which involved a ski lift, tram, then a gondola. Oh, and Jim did lots of science-y stuff.

Mini golf at the resort

Riding the bull. We had to stop and play with this thing multiple times a day. 

Mommy/Marian selfie at the Museum of the Rockies

Hiking along the Moose Tracks path. Did see moose tracks. Sadly did not find any Moose Tracks ice cream. 

Jim and the kiddos, plus a walking stick

At the top of Lone Peak

View from the top

From there, we had a whirlwind three days in Yellowstone. Despite having such a short trip we packed a lot in- hot springs, geysers, canyons, waterfalls, bison (or hippos, if you are talking to the toddler), elk, antelope, moose, a grizzly bear, a black bear, and wolves.

Playing by the water

Hot springs

Clearly not impressed with Old Faithful

Afternoon nap in the Ergo amid the hot spring

Middle Geyser Basin

Hot springs

View from Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring

Early morning waterfall view

Yes, Ella is still in her pajamas. We got the kids up at the crack of dawn

Looking at bison through the binoculars

Family picture during one of our picnic lunches

Mommy and baby moose. Supposedly there are only 6 in Yellowstone so we were super lucky to see two

Hiking around the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

At the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Tuckered out after a long day

Mom, Dad, and two tired kiddos

Grizzly bear. In case you were wondering, this is very zoomed in on my camera- no desire to get close to a grizzly

Our intrepid navigator

Our lunch companions 

Super grumpy bison. It was mating season and all the males were feisty

Playing around in the lake

Hot springs by Lake Yellowstone

Doesn't do justice to the amazing colors of the hot springs

More hot springs

Herd of elk running through the water


Traffic jam

Another traffic jam- everyone stopped for the baby bison that needed to nurse in the middle of the road

Mammoth Hot Springs on our last morning

Yellowstone was absolutely amazing and I wish we had had more time to spend there. We're already talking about doing another trip out there. Along with the Grand Tetons, Glacier, Rocky Mountain National Park...

Then to top it all off, we had to fly back to Chicago and drive back down to Oklahoma. Phew! No wonder I am tired!

I'm putting a moratorium on family travel for, oh, at least two weeks.