February 28, 2010

The View From Here...

February 27, 2010

The View From Here...

February 26, 2010

The View From Here...

February 25, 2010

The View From Here...

A post title inspired by MckMama...

You didn't expect me to stay in Kansas for long, did you?

February 19, 2010

Baby, Baby...

Oh my goodness. I am slated to fly to Chicago in a matter of hours, and I have so many things to wrap up around here. Like... oh, I don't know... PACKING for my trip!

I just wanted to thank you all for the wonderful suggestions! I have chosen TWO winners for the "ideas contest".

First, to Tricia for the book idea. I will admit that I had heard this from another source, but it is my absolute FAVORITE idea ever for a baby shower- in lieu of greeting cards, everyone is asked to write a personal message to baby or Mom and Dad in the inside cover of a book. What a great way to start baby's book collection! I hope we have a lot of participants!

Second, to Kendra for the thank you card idea. What a huge time-saver it will be for Kelli to have that stack of thank you cards purchased, addressed, and ready to go. Great suggestion.

If you ladies will send me your address (through email or facebook), I will get your little thank you gift sent right out! Thanks a million!

I must go. Clean. Pack. Get my house ready for the girls to boss Nana, Graycop, and Tyler around. Until Tuesday...

February 18, 2010

Another 6 for the books...

Happy half birthday, Little A. Today, you are 18 months old.

It's been a while since you've been weighed and measured. We'll do an update when it comes time for your check-up, but I would venture to say you are close to, if not 25 pounds.

You are still a great eater, although I do believe you have finally started to slow down a bit. You enjoy bananas, cheese, chicken, pork, green beans, broccoli, carrots, mandarin oranges, turkey, and macaroni & cheese. You prefer vanilla ice cream to other flavors. You love to feed yourself with a spoon, and you are learning how to pierce things with a fork. You enjoy carrying around your snack traps filled with cheerios or goldfish. You prefer to drink out of Sassy's "coffee cup" sippie cups, so that is what I give you most often.

You are starting to become more and more interested in reading books. You love to help turn the pages, and we encourage you to do so, even if it is in the wrong direction some of the time. One of your favorite things to do is to sit on Mom or Dads lap in the rocker in your bedroom and read Little Feet Like..., a touch-and-feel book for your piggies. Your favorite page is the page with the soft blanket!

You still love to sing and dance, and you still love your cube! We even borrowed Lynzee's version of the cube, so now you have twice as many songs to choose from! Your two favorite songs to sing are Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Tic Toc.

You are picking up new words all the time. You say Mommy, Daddy, Sassy's real name, Nana, Graycop, Bumper, and Charlie well. Some of the phrases you say are "all done" and "thank you". You can use the signs for more, all done, and milk very well. We are still working on eat, drink, please, thank you, banana, and cracker. You can say poo-poo, and you often tell us when we can find that in your diaper! Some of the other words you can say are Hi, Bye, Yeah, No, Shoe, ball, baby, see, and bath.

You have been starting to favor comfort objects, but have not decided on a favorite yet. You tend to grab your cuddly blanket or silver kitty most of the time. You also still use your center fingers of your left hand to self-soothe.

You love to climb! You can often be found on one of the kitchen chairs, quickly making your way to the top of the table. You do not like to take no for an answer. Sometimes, when you get angry, you kick and yell and throw yourself backwards. You have even started to bite. We correct you, but we still love you!

Most of the time, though, you are a very sweet girl. You give the most scrumptious kisses a baby girl could give. You make us smile and laugh every day, and we are so thankful to have you as our own!

February 17, 2010

VDay Recap...

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone. We did a few things holiday related, so here is the recap...

February 6th: Package came in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa in Minnesota. It was filled with Valentine's goodies, including new fuzzy pink and purple slippers that Grandma knit for each girl. Sassy put hers on immediately:

Little A was more interested in the adorable knit hedgehog that Grandma sent the girls to share:

Argument ensues over sharing said hedgehog. As a distraction, Mommy decides to take Sassy to get her hair cut, but only after a quick shower. Mommy and Sassy take final long-hair pictures outside, Valentine's style:

We attend party, but not without taking pictures on the car ride there. Hey, it's me we're talking about here.

We go to party. Eat. Do crafts. Chase children.

Sassy and Daddy leave early for the annual Daddy-Daughter date night, held at the rec center. Shockingly, Sassy chooses to wear a regular dress this year instead of a princess dress-up dress. Mommy is a bad Mommy and does not obtain a single picture from pre-event, event, or post-event.

Mommy and Little A go shopping.

February 10: Sassy and Little A have Valentine's parties at MDO. They bring home a lot of candy.

February 11th: Mommy goes into Sassy's preschool to help the kids play school-wide heart bingo. This consist of running around like a mad person telling 3-year-olds that they have numbers to mark that they can't even identify yet, let alone find and mark quickly. Afterwards, we proceed to Sassy's classroom for her classroom party, cookies, and goodie bags.

Later, Nana and Graycop watch Sassy and Little A while Tyler and I go out to dinner and run errands. Happy Valentine's Day to us.

February 13th: Tyler leaves bright and early for Monica's to lay her kitchen floor. I take girls to a special fundraiser for MDO, a Saturday Valentine's edition where I dropped the girls off from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Happy Valentine's to me!! I return home and do paperwork for the rest of the day.

Later, Sassy goes to LMB's house for a sleep-over. Tyler returns home and we watch Meet the Fockers after Little A goes to bed.

February 14th: Tyler leaves bright and early to finish the job at Monica's. He leaves me a cute stuffed pig that I had fallen in love with a while back:

Little A and I have an impromptu photo shoot outside in the freezing cold. With no coat. And no shoes.

Sassy and I make him a carrot cake with orange-cream cheese frosting. With real carrots. Then, I proceed to torture myself by allowing her to stay up until he returns home... at 9:15 pm. Fun times.

February 15th: I take the girls to the final Valentine's Day party for another Mommy group. At this point, I am way too exhausted to even put the camera I hauled inside to use. Fun was had by all. The end.

February 16, 2010

Social Graces...

Sassy has just entered her seventh week of formal preschool. She is doing fabulously, really.

She can write her first name upon request, without being shown how to do so. She even addressed signed all of her Valentine's this year- each and every single on of the ninety she had to make for various events. Clearly, we accomplished this in small spurts!

We had her first parent-teacher conference EVER. It went great. Sassy is a delight to have in class, and she is doing the things she should be doing. She plays nicely and models well for the other children. She is a good listener. Oh, and she has quite the wardrobe and fashion sense, according to her teacher...

One thing that I have really gotten a kick out of is when Sassy brings home a good behavior reward. At school, there is a program that we'll call M**** Manners. (M**** for the name of her school).

When the kids (Pre-K through 2nd grade) are caught doing something good, they receive a M**** Manner. This consists of a small slip of paper that is filled out by their teacher and subsequently hung on a giant bulletin board inside the entrance to the school. The kids get to go to the office each time they get a M**** Manner and choose a prize from the basket- various trinkets and lollipops and things.

Sassy thinks M**** Manners are the bees knees. She can't wait to burst out the front door and shriek that she has received a M**** Manner that day. So far, she has received M**** Manners for being a good listener, following directions, helping a friend feel better when he was sad, and singing louder (something she apparently needed some work on before her music program).

Oh, and just today, she told me she got a M**** Manner for sitting criss-cross applesauce with her spoons in her bowl (aka sitting cross-legged with her hands in her lap, for those of you who don't speak toddler). The look on her face when she tells us these things, so serious... well, it's priceless!

I love that her school uses positive reinforcement. I love how the kids are caught being good. I love that I can see her little self-esteem level rise every time she proudly shows us her prize. I ♥ it!

February 14, 2010

LOVE surrounds us...

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2010

Ti Ta...Ti Ta...

This is Little A's favorite song these days. She will stand up, rock sideways, transferring her balance from one foot to the other, and sing yell TI TA TI TA until someone pays attention to her.

Once we do, we help her fill in the lyrics.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, I'm a little cuckoo clock. Tic Toc, Tic Toc. It's... ONE... o'clock...

At this point, she squats into the deepest little squat her chubby legs can manage. When she hits that low point, she yells CUCKOO and propels herself into the air, both feet off the ground... usually falling promptly on her rump. She giggles, gets up, and begins again. TI TA TI TA...

We repeat this process 492 times until Mommy can't take it anymore. I usually sign all done and tell her we're finished.

Her response...

She comes right into my face, purse's her lips into a tight "O" shape, and sings Whoa Whoa Whoa until I chime in.

Row, Row, Row your boat...

Yes, she owns me.

February 10, 2010

New 'Do...

It's been a long time coming.

Sassy has taken the plunge.

She's entered the world of semi-short hairdom.

Let me back-track a bit.

For several months now, Sassy has been asking us to allow her to get her hair cut short like LMB's. Her hair is much finer than LMB's, and I have been reluctant to let her do so. Especially now, before summer. The thought of going an entire summer without being able to pull her hair back into a ponytail is dreadful.

I finally had her convinced to wait until after her Alice in Wonderland Tea Party Birthday to get it cut.

Well, then it started to become annoying. Stringy. Yucky. She was getting yogurt in it in the mornings. Lollipop crust stuck to the ends. Yeah. Eww...

Finally, after having one last battle to brush it, and after reviewing this picture...

...I suggested that we go get her hair cut. My vision was for something similar to this, but a bit longer so that we could still pull it off of her neck.

Baby steps.

So, we gave her a quick bath and took one last picture of the long hair:

And, we were off.

I like the way her hair turned out. Just as I feared, she look so much older. But, it suits her well, I think. Do you?

We've had less battles int he morning, and she loves wearing a barrette every day!

She's my pretty, pretty princess, regardless of hairstyle!

February 9, 2010

He's A Three-Weeker...

Yesterday afternoon, I was on the phone with my cousin, Kelli. You know, the one who is EIGHT months pregnant (as she so nicely corrected me on in the comments section of a previous post). The one who we are throwing the baby shower for? The one who has the naughty puppy?

Well, we were chatting away when she received an incoming call from her hubby, who she may or may not have been arguing with at the time. Seeing as they may or may not have been on civil speaking terms, she may or may not have been surprised that he was calling, and promptly informed me that she'd call me right back.

So, I get back to working, and a while later, my phone rings.

Per caller ID, I can see that it's Kelli.

I answer the phone, and all I hear is, "He's a three-weeker."

I say, "What?" as I attempt to figure out what in tarnation she is talking about.

Then, it hits me. My mouth gapes open as she continues on. "He's.a.THREE.WEEKER. I really do have the world's worst dog. They called Randy and told him that Morty will require the third week of training."

Inpatient training.

At doggie boot camp.


Kelli goes on to explain that when they enrolled in the obedience school, the instructors said there was the rare possibility that he would require a third weeks' stay.

Rare, like in 20 years of operation, 6 or 7 dogs have required it. And, one of these dogs had a rare neurological condition that resulted in a sideways walking gait. This is what was told to them.

Does anyone else find this completely hilarious?

The fact is, they feel as though Morty is highly trainable. In their professional opinion, he is just choosing not to listen.

Trying to stifle my laughter, I reassure her that it's probably the right thing for him and hopefully another week will make him a new dog.

Then she said in a sorrowful voice, "It's funny. I was just discussing this with my Dad yesterday. I just knew he wasn't doing well. He's my dog, and I just knew..."

Aha haha ha ha.


"It'll be okay," I tell her.

C'Mon Morty. We're rooting for ya!

February 8, 2010

Not Me! Monday: Super Bowl Edition

Welcome to a special Super Bowl Edition of MckMama's awesome blog carnival, Not Me! Monday! A place to lament over celebrate what we did not do the past week...

Yesterday, we did not drive out to the country for an awesome Super Bowl party.

My friend Monica does not have a husband, originally from New Orleans, who is a huge Saints fan. We did not spend the entire football season listening to her say If I have to hear one more thing about these Saints...

Clearly, she did not promise her dear hubby an over-the-top pre-game seafood boil, New Orleans Style, if those Saints made it to the big show.

And we, her friends, in no way became beneficiaries of this promise. Nope.

I digress.

We did not pull up into their driveway with a car that looked like this:

And this:

More on that later...

We did not witness 25 pounds of fresh crab legs and crawfish, strewn with potatoes, garlic, corn on the cob, andouille sausage, and mushrooms be hoisted up to counter level...

...and spilled onto newspaper for our eating enjoyment!


We did not stand around the counter like cave-people and rip apart that seafood with reckless abandon, sharing hot drawn butter while tossing crustacean carcass to the wayside in a haphazard manner. Not us!

I did not learn how to behead a crawfish, peel the tail, and de-vein the meat prior to eating. The process did not make me a bit queasy. Especially when someone referred to the vein as a "poop chute". Ahem...

I didn't feel the least bit guilty eating him:

The men-folk did not continue devouring their pray long after us ladies had our fill:

We did not, in the meanwhile, spend a lengthy amount of time debating whether the term Who Dat required a question mark at the end. We are not grammatical beings, us ladies.

Tyler, in all his crawfish glory, did not look more radiant than the day our children were born into this world:

Monica's Dad did not manage to polish off a large amount of food, leaving behind this pile of shells, cobs, and general mess:

There was not an insane amount of food left over, plus 10 additional pounds of seafood yet to be cooked:

I did not wish to be carried from house to car, for fear that my stomach would perforate!

And, now... for the truly Not Me! Monday-worthy part of my story...

I am a city girl, born and bred. So, it comes as no surprise that moving to Iowa for college and then to Kansas to start a new life was a bit of an adjustment for me.

In the years past, going to the country was synonymous with going to a place that didn't have a 3-story shopping mall, some high-rises, and a Super Target. You may recall my discussion on country living here.

So, nowadays, when we venture out into real country, my fascination abounds!

So, here's what happened yesterday, in a nutshell... Not Me! Style, of course.

On our way to the party, we did not see several cows off to the side, very close to their enclosure fence. I, being a huge dork, did not ask practically get down on my hands and knees and beg for Tyler to pull over so that I could get out and photograph the cows.

Tyler did not roll his eyes and tell me I was insane. I did not persist in my begging, and he did not proceed to pull over so that I could get out.

As soon as we left the center path of the road, our car did not immediately begin to sink. Tyler did not try to pull out, to no avail. We did not spend 10 minutes maneuvering back and forth in hopes of climbing out of the mess.

Tyler did not get out of the car to push it, sink 12 inches into the snowy-muddy muck, and get back into the car to give driving out another try. His second try was not successful.

He did not leave the car once again so that I could climb over the center console and take the wheel as he pushed us back onto the center portion of the dirt and gravel road. We did not proceed forward the remainder of the mile to their house in complete silence.

To Tyler's complete disdain, I did not blurt out our hilarious very serious story to anyone who would listen the moment we entered the house. Several people did not put their boots and and proceed outside just to see our car. I did not assure them that if they thought our car was a sight to see, they should check out our tire marks further down the road...

After the party, when Tyler's tummy was full of crawfish and crab legs and he was in much better spirits, I did not have the nerve to ask him to stop at the site so that I could take pictures for my blog.

He did not reluctantly oblige, staying in the center of the road this time...

And, although the cows had ventured much further from the fence, Tyler did not allow me to take my picture...

...from the comfort of the inside of our car!

February 5, 2010

That's What Friends Are For...

Remember this post from a few days ago?

All I have to say is a giant THANK YOU to all of my friends who took the time to write lengthy, thoughtful responses! That means a lot!

I will definitely be putting a few suggestions to the test, and I will keep you all updated!

Simple Pleasures...

The other day, I was in the midst of my daily blog reading, when I came across this post at one of my favorite blogs, Kelly's Korner.

Simple Pleasures.

What a concept.

I have always been keen on deciding what things in life to be thankful for. When I was in middle school, I got a little book called 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. Not only did I read the book from cover to cover, I also highlighted my favorites things. The ones I could relate to.

Seriously, what sixth grader does things like that???

It's been funny to come across the book over the years and take a glace through it. Some of the things highlighted still completely hold true. Others, well...

I though it would be a good thing to reflect on these simple pleasures a bit more often. So, I thought I'd start today by making a short list. Hopefully, in the future, I can delve into some of my simple pleasures in detail. Won't you join me?

1. Diet Coke. Especially fountain Diet Coke. Especially fountain Diet Coke from a place like Sonic or QT, where you get get crushed ice.

2. Using a blanket, towel or robe straight from the dryer. Especially in the winter. Especially when it smells like fabric softener.

3. Watching Sassy find ultimate joy in blowing out the dandelion seed heads:

4. Listening to Little A begin to say more and more words. Watching her run to the back door and yell "Chaaa-lee" and "Bum-pa" as she sees the dogs playing in her cute little voice.

5. The scents of fall- burning leaves, pumpkins, apples, fresh baked cider donuts, chili... you name it!

February 4, 2010

Snow Baby.

Rosy cheeks, a rosy nose.
Bright blue eyes, skin so fair.
Sweet baby kisses fill the morning.
Never do we notice the cold of winter,
For we have you to warm our hearts.

February 3, 2010

Da-Zanya Tales...

Who is the world's pickiest eater??

Ding ding ding ding! Wha-ooh, Wha-ooh. Sound the alarms. We have a winner!

When I became a parent, I never fathomed the amount of struggle I would incur that revolved around food. Eating. The mere act of ingesting food as to gain nutrients required for the body to function properly.

Maybe you don't understand. I don't know where this girl came from. She is the product of Tyler and I. Two people who quite enjoy eating and all things food-related. Hello... have you ever met me? I like food a little too much, really...

Now, I know she is three. I know that being picky is a rite of passage of sorts for toddlers. I just feel like her food issues have reached a whole new level. A pinnacle, of you will, of battles and tears and the like.

She eats breakfast well. She loves cereal with milk. She enjoys the occasional mini pancake or oatmeal square. On rare occasion, I can even get her to eat a (gasp) banana. We're cool with breakfast. The fact that it takes her 52 minutes to eat half a bowl of cereal... well, I will leave that for another post.

Then, there's lunch. I try very hard to switch things up and give the girls a variety of meal plans for lunch. I try to have fun with it. Some of the things I will make- peanut butter & jelly or Peanut butter & honey, macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, quesadillas, pizzas on tortillas or flat out bread, turkey & cheese roll-ups, tuna boats, hummus with pita & veggies, chicken nuggets, cubed up meat & cheese, various fresh fruits & veggies, raisins, black beans, chick peas, scrambled eggs, etc. The meal that I can typically get Sassy to successfully eat about half of- a peanut butter sandwich. Sometimes. On a good day.

She just won't eat.

However, here's where my issue arises. I know the old saying- no child will starve themselves. And, how true, how true. On an average of 4.3 minutes after finishing cleaning the kitchen after lunch, Sassy proclaims she is hungry. Famished. Starved. She cannot possibly wrap her little brain around the reason that Mommy becomes angry with her when she says this.

We've tried conventional. Oh, you're hungry? Well, let's see here... I think I set aside the sandwich you didn't quite finish try. Here you go...


She wants crap. Cheeze Itz. Goldfish. Fruit Snacks. Candy. I mean, get real. Umm... no.

Oh, and don't even get me started on dinner. Dinner has become a miserable experience in the SPH, which is really too bad, considering Tyler and I pride ourselves on the fact that we take time to sit at the table as a family and eat together every evening.

I'm at a loss for what to do. The evening usually starts with Sassy asking what's for dinner, to which I reply with the appropriate answer. Thus begins a horrible tantrum-throwing debacle.

For example... the other night, I replied that we were having lasagna. I don't know that Sassy has ever had lasagna, but spaghetti is one of the few meals that she will typically eat occasionally try if it's Tuesday night and she is wearing a blue dress with yellow polka dots. Just sayin...

Immediately, she starts whining and sobbing and pleading with me. I don't want da-zanya Mommy. I don't like da-zanya! Please, please don't make me eat da-zanya!!!

Here I am, standing in place and questioning if I really just asked her to lick a block of arsenic or something. "Sweetie," I tell her, "Lasagna is a lot like spaghetti. It has noodles and lots of cheese. I think you will like it!"

But no. That's just the thing. Once her mind is made up... forget it. If she says she does not like lasagna, she won't eat the lasagna. And, if we make her take the no thank you bite, she will proceed to make herself gag and vomit all over her plate. Been there, done that. Every time. Never fails. So much for the magic of the no thank you bite.

I am at my wits end. I don't know what to do or how to react. I have tried so many different things- no thank you bites, making her a separate meal, not letting her have anything the rest of the day, giving her choices, having her help me shop for, prepare, and cook meals, letting her fill her own plate from choices on the table, ignoring her, giving in...

I am so worried about where this will take her in the future. I do not want to lead her down a path of disordered eating. I can't help but be concerned that she is not getting the proper nutrition... we call her ribsy, for goodness sake! I want her to have a full tummy and a nourished mind so that she can learn and grow and succeed...

Is that too much to ask?

C'mon Mommy Warriors... tell me like it is. What works for you? What should I be doing differently? Help a Mama out... I'm begging you!

February 2, 2010

Exploration Adventures...

What better to do on a cold, dreary Sunday afternoon than take a trip to Exploration Place and have an adventure?

Tyler had a side-job this weekend, and was gone all of Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday. We had a very snowy day Friday, and they even cancelled school (only in Kansas...). By Sunday afternoon, I was at my wits end and had to get out of the house. So, I coerced my Dad into making the trip to EP with us.

It had been a long while since we had been there. By my recollection, this may have been our last trip. Over a year ago! I used to take Sassy there all the time when she was a baby and we lived closer.

The traveling exhibit they are featuring is called The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head. Of course, we headed to this exhibit first. It was surprisingly crowded there. I don't quite know what I expected- it's winter and it's the weekend. We had a good time nonetheless.

Sassy spent most of her time at the build-a-potato-head table. She made some very masterful creations:

With hair-dos to match her own, of course:

Little A honed in on the slide, and the rest was history. She climbed:

And zoomed:

And whizzed:

Sassy was proud of the guys that she made:

I laughed when I saw this shrine to the Mister himself. Contemplated bowing or paying some sort of homage:

After a while, we headed to the airplane section, a permanent exhibit. Sassy got her build on. With, quite possibly, a little help from Mom:

We checked out the airplane made entirely out of licence plates:

Next, we ventured into the Kansas is Our Home area, another permanent exhibit. Little A checked out a skink or two:

We gazed out at the Arkansas River and The Keeper of the Plains. I asked Sassy if she thought the water in the river was warm or cold. Her response... warm. I don't think so...

Sassy joined another little girl in the tornado simulator. The wind speed picks up as the "experience" goes on. I though she would be terrified, but she thought it was a riot!

Honest to God, it blew her little headband right off her head and sent it flying out of the bottom of the apparatus and across the floor 15 feet. Impressive.

We also gazed at the tornado creator thingie. I do hope you appreciate my technical terminology here.

On the way to the lobby, Sassy and Little A stopped and played vet. Little A thought it was all in good fun to tear down all of the hanging lab coats...

They played so nicely together. It was adorable:

As we were getting ready to leave, there was an announcement over the PA that stated Mr. Potato Head himself was moments away from making an appearance in the lobby.

I didn't think we were too terribly interested until Sassy screamed I WANT TO SEE MASHED POTATO HEAD at the top of her lungs. I about died. Laughing, of course.

However, once she approached smashed potato head, she grew tentative. She wasn't giving that potato a hug anytime soon.

Little A had to show her how it was done:

Well, sort of.

Since we were already downtown and all, we just had to stop in at The Donut Whole for an afternoon snack sure to ruin the girls' dinner appetites. Hey, you're only small once, right?

*taken back in June. Ah, warmer days, come back to me!

Fun times had by all. Two tired, worn-out girls on a quiet ride home. Mission: Accomplished!