Monday, January 28, 2008

Yard Clean Up and a Good Friend

This weekend we had really nice weather and we were finally able to get out and clean up all the limbs and debris from the December ice storm. Okay, Jeff did most of the work but we were all outside. We couldn't have been outside more than three minutes when Emily was already "taking a break" and having a drink and a snack. Her latest thing is to tell me "I do lots of hard work" and I guess this was one of those times. Here are a few photos: break time (before the work even started); raking; sitting in the limbs rowing her boat.

A bit later we were out front cleaning a flower bed when she spotted her good buddy who lives two houses down. We haven't seen him in probably a month and Emily has been talking about missing him. So when she saw him she literally ran to him yelling his name and wrapped her arms around him. I'm not sure what this little guy thought about it, but he complied. They played for a bit then he had to leave. But later in the afternoon when we were out back playing on the swingset, he and his mommy came over and the kids got to play for another hour or so. They played on the swingset, played catch and played with Emily's new hula hoop. And our neighbor played with Zack, our dog. Zack loved having another little person to play with. Here are some photos of the kids playing. It was a nice weekend, we all enjoyed getting some fresh air and we are forecast to have a 70 degree day today. And then snow possible tonight and later in the week!! But we'll take the nice days when we can get them...especially in January!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Bit of Nostalgia

For those of you in my age range, you may appreciate this. I am lucky enough to still have several toys from my childhood and have already gotten a few of them out for Emily to play with. But one had not been taken down off the shelf until last Winnie the Pooh record player and several of my little records that go along with the story books. You might remember these books/records. Tinkerbell would ring her bell and that's how you would know to turn the page. So last night, after Emily spotted the record player in her closet and asked to get it down, I agreed. I might add that while this record player was purchased at least 3o years ago from Sears (the Sears emblem is still affixed to it) and played for what must have been hundreds of hours, when I plugged it in yesterday, it still worked like a charm. I have to say that I don't remember the quality of the records being quite so bad and grainy. I suppose this digital age we live in has me spoiled. Here are some photos of some of my records and my record player, complete with the pennies still taped to the top of the stylus to keep the records from skipping (remember doing that??).

I'm amazed, when putting the first record on last night, how quickly the words and music came back to me, like it had only been a week or two since I last listened to them. Unfortunately, with a very cranky baby and a 3 year old with an attention span of about 12 seconds, the player and records were put back up on the shelf before long. But I did promise Emily that we would get the "toy that turns around" (her words) out again this weekend when Daddy was home to look after Benjamin. Oh, how I love a stroll down memory lane!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Benjamin Has a New Toy!

I introduced Benjamin to a new toy yesterday. Now that he's able to hold his head up well I thought we would try out his new exersaucer. Well, it's not new but new to us. I'm realizing more than ever that these tiny guys grow and develop so quickly at this age that it doesn't make sense to buy new anything. But of course, that's coming from a rather frugal person by nature (this exact toy new at Wal Mart is over $70--I got ours at a yard sale for $15)! It might still be a bit too big for him but he seems to enjoy his time in it. He is usually only in it for 10 minutes or so and then he's done. But he also can't reach out and grab any of the toys yet, so maybe when he can do that he'll spend more time in it.

Here are a few photos of him playing in it. He really reacts to and loves happy faces. Here he is looking at the sun smiley face. If you click on the top left photo and look closely you will see the long stream of drool coming out of his mouth. Yes, we have entered the slobbery, hands always in the mouth stage! I thought the other photo was cute. It's his little legs dangling underneath. He's too short to be able to touch. :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

16 weeks old and ABC's

No, Benjamin does not know his ABC's yet. But he is 16 weeks old today! He is such a happy little guy nearly all of the time and I'm happy to say we've had SIX NIGHTS IN A ROW of sleeping through the night! Aside from a few tummy issues last week that required a move to a sensitive tummy formula, he's been healthy and well. Here are a few photos of my guy this morning. I think the little shirt he's wearing makes him look like a man of the cloth! :-)

Emily has really been working on her ABC's this last week. We have a little placemat that has the alphabet on it and she can trace around each letter with a dry erase marker. She really seems interested in this activity and if I'm in the other room I can often hear her walking through the steps like, "Line, down, across" and so on. I'm also happy to say that she can now spell her name. Not write it, but spell it verbally. So I think we may be well on our way to having some of these letters come together as words. Tonight she asked me, "What starts with"...and then she would insert the letter. Here is a shot of her alphabet work.

Also, a few weeks ago I celebrated a birthday. Apparently we are still celebrating at our house as I was presented with a playdough birthday cake and a rendition of the Happy Birthday song this evening. You'll notice the two plastic pieces sticking out of the cake. These are the candles.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hooray for Emily!!

Folks, she's finally done it. She did #2 in the big girl potty last night!!!! I am so proud of her. I was in a training at church last night so I didn't get to be here for the big event. But Daddy said she basically took herself to the bathroom and did what she needed to do alone and acted as if it was no big deal. I'm so happy for her. This is something we have been trying and trying and trying for such a long time. Yes, she will be going to Wal Mart today to pick out a special toy.

Way to go, Emily!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Children's Museum

After going to the Children's Museum on Monday and finding it closed, we decided to try again this morning. I really wouldn't call it a museum as much as a great big play room with all kinds of hands on things for kids. It was built in an old movie theatre so the room is huge. There was a sand box, rock climbing wall, basketball, puppet theatre, play kitchen, grocery store, hospital, craft corner, dress up, doll house, train set, a music station and the list goes on. We will definitely be going back.

When we arrived there were two different daycare/preschool classes there, but within minutes they all left so Emily, Benjamin and I had the entire place to ourselves.

Emily's favorite things were the real piano and of course the craft area. While playing the piano she would keep playing with one hand and turn the music sheets with the other. And the crafts! There were TONS of different pairs of scissors and real Elmer's glue. She was in heaven. She also grabbed a pair of binoculars and when I asked her what she was looking at she said, "I'm looking at the birds." Maybe she'll be an ornithologist when she grows up! Benjamin and I were also treated to a puppet show by Emily. It was brief but oh so cute.

Above are some photos of my little bird watcher, pianist, puppeteer and artist. It was definitely well worth the few dollars spent for a fun two hours of playtime!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Okay, I'm a mom so I'm allowed to brag, right? If not, please just humor me for this post.

Last night Emily was playing with her foam letters while she was in the tub. She only had five or six letters but luckily there was a vowel in the mix. I put the three letters C-A-T together and said, "Do you know what this word is?" She nodded her head and said, "Yes." When I asked her what it was she said, "Cat." Okay, I was really floored by this. We have not practiced this word or talked about how to spell cat. Perhaps it was just a coincidence but I was still very surprised and pleased.

While I'm bragging here, above you will see a picture Emily drew back in October. We were watching the movie Happy Feet and she wanted some paper and markers. She started doodling on the paper and then handed it to me and said, "Look, a penguin." Sure enough, while being maybe a bit abstract, it looked like a penguin to me. We will definitely save this piece of art.


A very impressed mommy

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mid-winter Blahs

About this time of year, I am ready for spring. The holidays are over and it seems like I've been cooped up in the house for ages. And especially so this year since Benjamin was born in late September prematurely, I didn't really take him outside for the first four or five weeks. By then, it was too chilly to take him out. However today we are having a reasonably nice day so I decided we would go do a few things to let all of us get some fresh air.

Our first stop was at a preschool to get information about enrollment. Emily is showing lots of signs of being ready for some new intellectual challenges and I think school a few mornings a week would be great for her. Unfortunately we learned that there are no spaces in the three year old class so we'll need to wait until next fall to start.

Then we went to the park to play at the playground. Here are some shots of my brave girl climbing the "rock wall" all by herself and then being rather pleased with herself at the top; walking on the movable discs (have no idea what they are called); and swinging. We were only there maybe a total of 20 minutes as it had at that time not warmed up enough and Emily complained of her hands being cold. Mine were, too, so we headed to our little mall instead for some indoor fun and the Children's Museum there.

Our mall is very tiny, although a decent size for the little town we live in. When we got there we realized the museum is closed on Mondays...bummer! But there are a few little rides in the same area of the mall and Emily always asks to ride the Barney tractor ride. She rode that twice. The photo shows her hands blurred. That's how fast she was steering the tractor. Hang on, Barney! Then she needed to potty. Having made great strides in potty training the last few weeks, we went immediately to the potty. As we were on our way, she shouted very loudly, "This place is awesome!" Don't know where she got that but apparently she thought being at our little mall was pretty neat. Once in the potty we realized they were automatic flush potties and therefore, she refused to go. Months ago, her first time on an auto flush one, it flushed while she was sitting on it and she freaked. Therefore, she will not use them. So, no successes today so far but we'll get back on track now that we are home.

A quick stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up two Christmas stocking hangers for our mantle for next year (all Christmas items are 80% off so I literally got these for like $2 a piece--yippee!!) and we were on our way home for lunch and naptime. With rain/snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, this will likely be the last day for a while we will get out to the park. I CAN'T WAIT FOR SPRING!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

NOT the Princess and the Pea...

...but the Princess and the poo. :-)

Emily was supposed to be napping this afternoon and she had an extra special treat for naptime today. Zoe, our cat, was sleeping on the blankets on the end of Emily's bed. So I asked if she wanted Zoe to stay in her room for naptime and she said yes. About 30 minutes later I heard Emily calling to me. I went to her room and she was pointing to a "mess" on her bed. At first I wasn't sure if it was from the cat or Emily. Okay, so now back up a few weeks. Emily has always had issues with doing #2 and the last few weeks she has been going after she is put to bed...and then trying to change herself. :-( I'm thinking this might not be all bad in that she is finally getting uncomfortable with it in her diaper and therefore is trying to clean up. Maybe one day she'll go in the potty!! Anyway, after noticing the mess on Emily's bed, I looked over at Zoe and she was still laying in the same spot, but was now wearing Emily's princess tiara. I had to laugh as Zoe was just laying there like nothing was different. Zoe is the matriarch of our three kitties and is getting quite old and apparently mellow in her old age. Had I not needed to immediately take the sheet off Emily's bed and hence, move the cat, and clean up I would have taken a photo. Instead, here is a photo of Emily hugging her brother earlier today. And so goes our own version of the fairy tale "The Princess and the Poo!" Never a dull moment as a Mommy!

Snow and Happy New Year!

Last Friday night we got another snow storm. The local news station (about an hour away) reported this to be the fifth snowiest December on record. I believe it. We have not been without snow ice on the ground since the ice storm in early December. We still have a bunch on the ground but with temps getting to the upper 50's this weekend, most if not all will be gone. So Saturday someone was chomping at the bit to go outside and play in the snow. We got Emily all bundled up and Daddy, too, and they went out to play. Well, Daddy shoveled but Emily played. We were pleasantly surprised when our friend London from two houses down came outside with his Mommy. Here are a few photos of the kids. They were cute to watch. He was trying to show Emily how to make a snow angel. She got the hang of the arm part, but not the legs at the same time. He brought out his little shovel and rake to help his mom shovel the sidewalk. Of course Miss Bossy Pants snatched London's shovel out of his hands. She didn't want to rake the snow. Thankfully, he is a very easy going little boy and obliged.

This was the perfect opportunity to bring baby brother outside for his first snow experience, too. Someone had given us this cute Pooh snowsuit and he's going to be outgrowing it soon. It was a very sunny day that day and needless to say he was not happy to be out in the bright, bright light. Like me, he couldn't see. So he wasn't out for long.

Our New Year's Eve was as low key as you might expect for a couple with a three year old and a 13 week old. I made some things to snack on and we settled in to watch Shrek 3. Emily made it half way through and then asked to go to bed. It was only about 8:30 but the girl likes her sleep! Jeff and I made it to maybe 10pm before we were in bed. We are so exciting!

We got our first babysitter ever on Dec. 29th so we could go out and celebrate our wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a dinner out and a movie. Dinner was especially nice. Nothing fancy, but for once we didn't have to fumble with highchairs, booster seats, cutting up someone else's food, cleaning up spills, getting kids out of car seats, etc. We actually had an adult conversation. And I only worried about Benjamin 3 or 4 dozen times that evening!

Happy New Year!