Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life in our house, this week, Part 2

Thursday  .... Audrey sick with a fever
Friday .... Chad & I sick with a fever
Saturday ... Carter & Chloe sick with a fever

Oh, January, I am growing to despise you.   Snow days, sick days, Carter's birthday plans ruined.  This is what January is becoming.  :(

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life in our house, this week

The time has come in our family where we need these:

 Lately the craziness at the table has just been ridiculous.  So ....  time to intervene.
I told Audrey and Carter that for every rule they follow completely at dinner time, they will receive one point.  When they reach 100 points, we will take them out for ice cream.  Where they can practice their manners once again.As you can see, they have already earned 10 points ... beginner's luck?
Moving right along....
Chloe has bonked her head at least once a day for the last week or so.
And the following photos show why:
She loves to climb ... and she can now climb the coffee table, the sofa, the chairs ...
and she thinks she's a big kid.  
Only she's not. :)

  Fortunately she seems to have 9 lives...

Lately I am really enjoying watching the kids relate to each other.

"Big Kid" Chloe has taken to joining Audrey & Carter on the couch to watch Saturday morning cartoons.  Chloe's verbal repertoire now includes "Wa-wa" (Dora, as in the explorer) and "Wii"(as in the video game system).  Ugh.

But even more, I am enjoying seeing how Chloe has begun relating one-on-one with each of her siblings.

Audrey's relationship with Chloe is very much your typical big sister role.  Audrey enjoys reading to, carrying around, and "leading" Chloe in all sorts of girly fun.  I can just see the admiration growing in Chloe's eyes.  Everything Audrey has - Chloe wants to get into!

 It's nice because Audrey is old enough to actually help out with Chloe.  And maybe because of the age difference, there is very little jealousy or rivalry.  Audrey has been very helpful lately - so much that Chad & I decided (for a number of reasons) that she should get a small allowance now. 

I have never seen a kid so excited to make up a job chart for herself :)

Then there's Carter & Chloe.
 They are two little lovebugs.
(That is, when Carter is not tackling her or sitting on her head.  Like I said, 9 lives.... Although I really think he does it in love.  Kind of like how junior high boys tease girls they like? Yup, I'm going with that explanation....)
 They really do enjoy each other.
And since Audrey is gone at school all day, they spend a lot of time just the 2 of them.

Here they are - YES, watching TV together.  I love how he has his arm around her!
Seriously, they don't watch that much TV but the pictures sure seem to say otherwise!

Oh, and I'll leave you with this little news flash - Chloe STILL loves to chat on that phone!

Little Mommy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How can 18 months go by so quickly?

Baby Girl Pink Baby Announcements
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10th Anniversary

So we're back.  It's amazing what 24 hours or so away from home can do for one's spirits.  Refreshing is the word that comes to mind.  It was nice to be away, it was nice to be away with Chad, and it was nice to be away with Chad in the city of brotherly love. 

We started out with dinner at Bahama Breeze in good old nearby King of Prussia ... because we couldn't leave til rush hour and we certainly didn't want to spend our precious time sitting in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway.  So we ate and talked and enjoyed the time alone! 

We stayed right across from Penn's Landing and down a few blocks from "Old City".  Penn's Landing is supposedly where William Penn "landed" in Philadelphia.  Now it is the home of a seaport museum and a few old WW2 submarines, as well as being the place to go for fireworks on New Years or July 4th.  (I will admit that I did not know all this before, despite growing up only about 30 miles away.  Actually, much of this trip was an informative history lesson for me!)

 View from our hotel window out toward the Delaware River/Penn's Landing

 Another view toward Market Street

Bundled up out front of the hotel in boots and down jacket, and ready to hit the sights!
This is what stinks about having a January anniversary ... it is never, I repeat NEVER warm out.  Unless you fly off to the Caribbean.  Which we will probably never do until the kids graduate from college ...

 We started at Christ Church .
We saw (and sat in) the pews belonging to George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross.
We also ran into Audrey's teacher & her mom here, no lie!
What are the chances???

Next we headed to the visitor center and saw a 30 minute movie called Independence - a good intro for the things we would see later on.
Independence Hall, which is currently covered in scaffolding.
But we had a great tour and I actually learned a lot!  Probably helps that this time I was actually paying attention and not counting the minutes until the school bus stopped at McDonalds.
I have a totally renewed appreciation for the history surrounding our city.

... since we are the "Keystone State"

This is where it all began ... the decision to separate from England, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the making of the Constitution ...
The tour guide made a point I hadn't really realized before.  When our founding fathers signed the D of I, they really thought they were signing their own death sentences.  After all - they really did not want to start a war.  And if they lost the war (which they realistically thought would probably happen), then they were sure to hang for treason.  But they still felt they needed to take a stand for what was right and fair.
Thank God for people of principles.  I don't feel there are many left these days.

We headed over to the City Tavern for lunch.  This tavern has been around since colonial times.
And the founding fathers came here to debate what to do about England way back when.
But ... for us -there was no debating.  Just chatting about our day.  And wondering what the kids were up to.  (Yes it was nice being away from them - But we still missed them!)
We also took a stroll down Elfreth's Alley, also known as our nation's "oldest residential street".
It is so cute and quaint, and people still live in these houses (and have to deal with tourists like us walking through ...)

What a great day.  It is so great to just get to hang out together and have no one asking for snacks and drinks!  Here's to many more great years together (and many more fun trips like this)!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Outta here!

Tonight Chad & I are headed down to Philly .... OVERNIGHT!  (And without children I should add...)

Woo hoo! 

It was our 10th anniversary on January 6th and some awesome friends from church offered to come stay overnight with our kids ... so off we go.  We are planning to spend the day tomorrow checking out the historical stuff that I haven't seen since I was on a field trip in grade school and ran through it all at lightning speed.  Maybe visiting Independence Hall sounds nerdy to some but it sounds fun to me.  Anything that exercises my brain (beyond resolving sibling arguments or thinking about what to make for dinner) sounds good to me right now! 

TTFN!  (Ta Ta For Now!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chloe at 18 months

I haven't been keeping up with my monthly updates ... I think from now on I will just post about Chloe's growth and development as interesting changes show up.  

So lately ... well, interesting changes have been showing up.   :)

First:  the positive developments.

Chloe is saying more words.  My favorite new word by far is "Please" ... she signs the word "more" while saying (oh-so-sweetly) "Please!"  It is way cute but now she does have the idea that if she says please (and gives her sweetest smile) that she can have anything she wants.  Which has occasionally led to a meltdown when the request is for cookies for dinner! 

Here is a little sneak peek at her saying please ...

Moving onto other developments ... Chloe has learned to "sing."  Her favorite right now is "Twinkle, twinkle little star" ... she sings it - well, her version of it - while doing hand motions (the best part is that she can make a little diamond with her fingers - too cute).  She enjoys music and also does a little dancing when music comes on.  

Today she started a Mommy & Me swim class.  She really seemed to enjoy it and she was totally relaxed in the water.  She is a little bit of a fishie ... every night after dinner she begs for a bath (with sign language) and if you ask her if she wants to get out ... she hides in the corner of the tub!  

Chloe's new favorite thing is BOOKS.  She loves to look at book after book - as long as they are interactive in some way (lifting flaps, touch & feel, etc.)  I hope she keeps loving books ... like her mama!

And one of my favorite new Chloe developments is that she is giving hugs, kisses, blowing kisses ... and sometimes it is totally unsolicited.  She will just reach for you and say "Ooh-wah!" and hug you.  So sweet.

And now for the more, ahem, "challenging" developments ...

Chloe has become quite the picky eater.  She has about 5 foods that she will dependably eat (well, excluding ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, and the like).  The rest of the time?  I am busy guessing what she might find worthy of putting in that delicate little mouth of hers.  Or cleaning up the mess after she has tossed her plate and every last piece of food on the floor.  You think I'm kidding.  The other night I gave her some macaroni and cheese.  What kid doesn't like good ol' mac & cheese?  Well, I placed it on her tray, turned around and that quickly the whole bowl had been thrown on the floor.  UGH.  So, she had applesauce and crackers for dinner.  Because that is what her highness would allow to pass by her lips that particular night.  This too shall pass, this too shall pass (repeat to self while counting to ten). 

[However, she does have a little bit of table manners lately.  She has been using a spoon with increasing accuracy ... because of course she refuses to let us feed her anything.  Miss Independent!]

Chloe also knows when she is being naughty.  The problem is:  If I reprimand her and she knows I am not happy.... she will turn around and do something even MORE naughty.  It's like a mini-standoff!   Example:  Me:  "Chloe, don't bang that on the coffee table!"  Chloe:  Bangs item even harder on coffee table.  And then throws everything on the coffee table on the floor.  All while giving me a defiant look.  Other example:  Chloe tried to pull something out of the wall socket.  Not good ... so Chad gives her hand a little smack and says "NO Chloe, danger!"  She looks at him, sizes him up, and laughs while trying to pull it out again.  The louder he reprimanded her, the more determined she was to defy us.... My, oh my.   This too shall pass, this too shall pass (repeat to self while counting to ten.)

Chloe has also picked up another skill ... and this one is our own fault ... she wants to play Wii:

Of course, all these "challenges" are a normal part of developing into a little person, so I take the picky, naughty stuff with a grain of salt at this point.  It's all about exploring her world and figuring out boundaries and understanding cause and effect at this point.  She is just exploding with new actions and words and funny stuff each day, and  I am just so happy to have her around.  She is a little ray of sunshine and fills our days with lots of laughs right now!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carter take the wheel

Carter has learned what the different stop light colors mean.... which means that he now sits behind me and tells me how to drive.

He doesn't understand that sometimes it's okay to turn on red.  He reprimands me almost every time I do it  -"Mommy, don't do that!  That light was red!"  He also gets upset if I go through a yellow.  Nothing like having a preschooler tell you how to drive...

Today as we were driving to church, he told me to stop braking at the green light.  There were cars in front of us.  And what's more ... I wasn't even driving, CHAD was!  Now I'm getting corrected when I'm not even driving. 

Other funny things Carter has said or done lately --

C:  "Mommy, A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for conifer."
Me:  [Conifer???]  "Umm ...okay..."  (Actually this is from a show he watches, but STILL!)

Carter spent most of Christmas Eve night learning to hop on one foot.  He went from being unable to do it at all to hopping 10 times on one foot!  The look of pride on his face was a Christmas gift in itself.

Looking at our wedding pictures:
Carter:  "Mommy, why do you look like a princess?"
Me:  "Because I am wearing my wedding dress ... you dress up like a princess on your wedding day."
A minute goes by.
C:  (With a pouty face)  "I want to get married too."
Me:  "You do?  Why?"
C:  "I want to look like a princess too..."
Oh my.  He also wants a princess or Dora cake for his birthday ...Time to make more friends that are BOYS!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

11 step program for potential parents ...

I swiped this from a friend's facebook page.  Bet it makes you laugh!  (or at least smile ...)

Thinking of having kids?  Do this 11 step program first!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas in Buffalo

On the day after Christmas, we headed to Buffalo, NY to have Christmas with Chad's family. All the siblings and cousins and grandparents were together, which is always so special. A big shout out to my sister-in-law & her husband, Andrea & Matt, for hosting 16 people under one roof ... 8 of those people being age 10 & under! We had a loud, chaotic, crazy great time!

A few highlights:

Little boys bonding over Toy Story 3

Playing in the snow (which is ever-present in Buffalo from like December to April...)


Explore & More Children's Museum.
Carter spent 95% of the time right here at this ball launch. He LOVED it.
He wanted to flap his arms so bad, but here he is holding them down like a big boy. :)

Chloe had her own fun playing with the balls.

This lion is wondering what kind of whackadoos go to the zoo in freezing temperatures ...

Apparently WE do!
Here are Grandma & Grandpa with all 8 of their grandchildren.
One more is coming next summer! Yippee!
(And no, I am not the one producing the next grandchild... that honor would go to Chad's sister Molly)

Yes, there are buffalo in Buffalo!

We did a lot of fun things, but really the best times we had were just sitting around the table and talking, eating, playing games, competing in Wii Rockband, eating some more ... times in which I was just enjoying myself and didn't think about taking pictures.
It is such a joy to watch the kids enjoy each other so much and to see how much all the children have grown and changed since we last saw them. Hard to believe that the oldest cousin is now 10!

Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Day 2010... catching up here...

Why are these kids smiling so big, you might ask?

Looks like Santa came!

Guess what?
He brought Chloe .... a phone.
Which she promptly took behind the tree to start pressing buttons. Hmm, sound familiar?
(And we gave her the boots ... doesn't she almost look like a teenager here ... wearing uggs and texting???)

Chloe also promptly raided her brother's stocking and ran off with his tic-tacs.
Unfortunately, she couldn't get them open.

After opening presents at home, we headed over to my parents house for MORE presents and for dinner with them and my brother, uncle, and best friend.

Audrey & Mom-Mom

Chloe & Pop-Pop ... who got on Chloe's good side with cookies

Look! I made it into a picture!

A zillion presents and the kids are playing with .... bubble wrap

Daddy relaxing with the kids.

It was of course a very fun and exciting day.
But that next morning we were busy with laundry, packing, and trying to get out of town before the snowstorm hit!
And then we were off to Buffalo, NY for Christmas #2 with Chad's family - material for another post ... coming soon!

Christmas Eve 2010. Yeah, I know it's late.

It has become tradition for Chad to take the kids on a Christmas Eve morning hike. Which I love because I can get some last minute stuff done! And the kids of course think it is great fun.

Before any big excursion like this, however, you need a good hearty breakfast to start you off. So Daddy makes his specialty -- Pancakes! And on Christmas Eve they include sprinkles and chocolate chips. :)

And now, with bellies full of pancakes ... they are off!
Walking sticks and all.
Chloe was too little to go along this year ... but maybe next year she will be up for a hike!

In the evening, we head to our church's Christmas Eve service.
Then it's back to the house for goodies and getting ready for Santa to arrive.

Here are the kids after church.
And what is up with Chloe's face?
Who knows.
I think she just likes to ham it up for the camera these days....