Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year's costumes were in honor of a favorite book at our house these days: "Frog and Dog have a Party."
The awesome pictures in this blog are courtesy of  Evantide Photography. You should check them out!
Maggie's First Pumpkin

We managed one block of Trick-or-Treating with our friend Lucy the Dragon

The knocking part was easy. Saying "trick or treat" when the stranger opened the door was not. A few of the less scary strangers did get a thank you.

This little frog loved everything about trick-or-treating--except when the door closed.  She threw herself at it at almost every house and then would take off running for the next house.

The sweet rewards!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where did all the steaming went?

Sitting at the dining room table with Magnolia is always an adventure. Like her Papa, she eats very slowly. She is distracted by almost anything. She has her captive audience. Usually, her food is cold or uneaten by the time the meal wraps up.

"Where did all the steaming went?"

Hmm, how am I going to explain this.

"It disappeared." Furrowed brows. Nope, that isn't going to work.

"Your food is cool now, so there isn't any more steam."

"But where did it go?" Darn.

"Well, it mixed in with all the other air so we can't see it any more." How far do I go explaining diffusion and the molecular make up of matter?

I look over at her. She is bending this way and that, lifting up her placemat and looking under the table.

"I'm looking for the steaming that's all mixed in," she says matter of factly. "I didn't find it."

Thankfully, distracted by something else, she returned to her slow eating process and didn't press me for a better explanation.

Friday, October 29, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 on 10/10/10

I've always wanted to participate in the 10 on 10 photo project:
Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments. Then share your beauty with us!

10/10/10 seemed like a must. They are not the best pictures in the world, but they capture our day, even if the posting is almost two weeks late.

8:00 am - Breakfast
9:00 am - Waking Up Papa
10:00 am - Sisters Playing

11:00 am - Greek Orthodox Church

12:00 pm - Lunch!

1:00 pm - Everyone was no pictures
2:00 pm - Grading Pre-Calculus Midterms...Blahk!

3:00 pm - Maggie Waking from Her Nap...Why does she bounce like that? 
4:00 pm - Entertaining Maggie While Driving

5:00 pm - Finding a Cricket with Papa

6:00 pm - Blowing Dandilions

8:00 pm - Getting Creamed by Brian for the 9th time...Next Week We are Switching to Cribbage

9:00 pm - At least we are together, right?

10:10 on 10/10/10

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Magnolia's First Haircut

For those viewing through facebook, click through to our blog to see the video clip. I sped it up so you could see the entire wiggly process. If you make it to the end, you will see Maggie talking about her new hair.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kaleia @ 1.25

***Disclaimer: I am post-dating this one. I've had some notes for a post in my draft folder for over a year now. I can't remember enough from this exact stage to fill in more details, but I didn't want to lose the notes I had made at the time. I love you, Kaleia!

Kaleia is s full-fledged walker now. She loves putting small things inside larger containers -- boxes, pots, etc.-- especially if it has a lid. She is not as interested in animals and their sounds as her sister was, but recently she made her first real animal sound, other than screeching for dogs: quack. Right now, almost everything says quack. Or maybe everything is a duck. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Letter to Magnolia at 2 1/2

Oh how you've changed the last six months! I thought after you hit two years old, your rapid development would slow. If at 2 you were no longer a baby, at 2 1/2 you are a full-fledged little girl. Sometimes you tell me that you are still a baby or will be a baby again soon, but for the most part you declare yourself bigger. I agree, you are bigger and have shed your baby ways, most notably in your speech. These are some of the phrases you are trying out:

"Don't worry about it."
"Oh my gosh."
"Nothing." (You use this one when asked "What are you doing?" and you are afraid the true response will be unacceptable)
"Goomeez, dogs." You have so many fun word approximations. This one (which was your way of saying excuse me) was one of the first we noticed and still is a favorite. Though, it seems like we barely have time to capture these mispronunctions before they are gone. Already Keia has become Kaleia.

"Mama, where Aaare you?" You may look like your Papa, but you are turning into a little mini-me. You watch me closely and I am your preferred parent for most tasks. As your personality emerges, I've watched you start to struggle with things I struggled with as a child. I'm hoping that will help me anticipate your needs. You are definitely more shy lately. But sometimes you declare, "I'm not going to be shy." And you aren't. I love that.

"That's Papa's spot." You are very concerned with doing things correctly and are quick to inform people of their mistakes. This is especially true with Kaleia. Sometimes it is helpful -- like when you inform us that she getting into the dog water or making her way to the stairs when the gate was left open. Sometimes it's annoying, like when you reprimand us for giving Kaleia pain when she's crying on the change table.

"Does the big fork go here, Mama?" This need for reassurance on the correctness of your actions has been combined with your helpfulness. You are still pretty independent and want to do things on your own, but these days you give up more quickly and cry for help in order to do things right.

"Mama, you have blue eyes. Papa has green and brown eyes, called hazel." Along the same lines, you like to rehearse what you know and what is happening. It often feels like we have a play-by-play announcer in our house. You are especially obessed with eye color and whether or not people are girls and therefore have 'ginas or boys and have a penis.

"Mama, that's a red hand, not orange." Another thing you have become obsessed with is traffic lights. While walking together, I taught you about crosswalks and how we know it is safe to cross. You watch for the red hand or the white person all of the time. Papa tried to correct my misteaching by telling you that the hand was actually orange. This totally rocked your world. For days, you repeated that the hand was red. If we disagreed you grew upset, so we dropped it and let you think it was red.

"Papa, Stop! The light is red! That means stop!" Naturally, you developed an interest in traffic lights for cars too. Each time we drive through an intersection you announce your knowledge. One day, Papa turned right at a red light. You freaked out! So we had to explain free right turns. I never expected to have a backseat driver so soon!

"Different eat." In addition to your bossiness, you are pretty opinionated, especially about your clothes, but have also begun to battle over your food. When the options presented do not suit your liking, you request to have different food and, like many things in your young life, you prefer consistency. You have yogurt or a bagel almost everyday for breakfast.

"What is happening after my snooze?" You also want to know what is happening at all times. You want to know what day it is and love to cross days off on the calendar. On the positive side, routine and keeping you informed of what is happening battles your increasing "whys" and "whines."

"Have to go Paawtttty!" Our bed time routine is pretty consistent, including your calling to go to the bathroom after all other steps are complete. The annoying part is that the request is usually legitimate. Somehow the poop that wouldn't come five minutes ago, will magically come as soon as songs are sung and bedtime kisses are given. What's a parent to do? Make you sleep all night in your own feces?

"When I am 3, I can wear panties to bed." "You have to be 7 to crack eggs." You are pretty much potty-trained and could probably wear panties to bed now. But one day when you asked me when you could wear them I told you three. I've learned that I have to be careful when I tell you what the rule is, because you hang on to and enforce them.

"You are happy, Papa? Why are your eyebrows sad?" You are still very in tune with people's emotions. You've grown more affectionate. Out of the blue, you will rub my back or stroke my face and tell me that you love me. You still need and give kisses as a cure-all for pain. Mona and Baby are still very special and are well cared for. You pour out your love on them, mimicking everything you see us do, including giving them time-outs, announcing that Baby needs to calm down.

"Mona needs to go potty." Your imagination is elaborate and active! In spite of your need to have things predictable and just so, you are able to pretend just about anything. You love imagining yourself as a banana when you are wrapped in your yellow towel and demand that we eat you. In addition to raspberries (or zerberts) you request blackberries and blueberries on your tummy.

"Would you like some pancakes?" You still love to cook -- both pretend in your kitchen and for real in Mama's kitchen. You know about letting dough rest and can handle a whisk pretty well. Holding your knife in one hand and your fork in the other, you cross them back and forth, to cut our pretend food into little pieces. You "read" my recipes and count the ingredients.

"Can you read with me?" Books go with you everywhere, even to bed in the dark. You have memorized lots of lines and say them on the correct page. Sometimes you read front to back, other times back to front. You still love books where you identify things, but books with a plot line are piquing your interest. Your current favorites are The Three Little Pigs, Walter the Wolf, and Curious George.

"I need to take a bath. I'm pretty stinky." So much of what you do and say makes me laugh every day. You brighten my day and challenge me to grow. I cherish you.

Lova the moon and back.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You at 2

**Disclaimer: This post is over 6 months overdue. I started writing it just before Magnolia's 2nd birthday. I'd work on it, then life would get busy. I finally finished editing it and wanted to share it before my letter to her at 2-1/2. I know it is long. Mostly, it is for Magnolia, but I thought some of you might enjoy learning more about my daughter through my eyes.***

A letter to Magnolia:

These are things that I've noticed, that I love, that I never want to forget about how you are at 2.

You are growing, changing, learning so fast it is hard to keep up. We find you copying almost everything we do. We see elements of ourselves in you as well as your own emerging personality. You get excited, just like me, over little things like a cozy bed or blueberries hiding in your yogurt. You've inherited my ticklishness, but unlike me, you invite it. Papa loves this! Just like your Papa, books go with you everywhere -- to the potty, to bed, in the car. You "read" on your own and to Kaleia. Kid books, contemporary art magazines, it doesn't matter.

Everyday new words come out of your mouth surprising Papa and me. We already miss your baby words like "nu-nu" (bunny). You say things like "Sounds good" and "A-K" (okay) and at 2, call yourself "you," which is no wonder since that is how we address you. Some of your attempts at correct pronunciation are hilarious. "Ho-ho-potty" (Hippopotamus) is one of my favorites. Or like how you can't just call something little or small. It has to be "little tiny baby ho-ho-potty" in a high sqeaky voice. You also still accompany speech with signs when you are really excited. And at times your increasing vocabulary makes you pretty hard to understand.

These breakdowns in communication are beginning to turn into meltdowns because at 2, you are very emotional. When faced with a choice you are often crippled with regret after your first choice and passionately flip-flop between wanting the two choices. (Sorry for the times we could not hold in our laughter. It's just really funny.)

The easy choices for you are whether you want to do something on your own or if you want help. You are independent. For the most part you dress and feed yourself. You love to brush your teeth and floss. Sometimes you even do your own airplanes when you need encouraging to finish food on your plate.

Although you prefer to do things for yourself, you love to be a helper. If you hear the dishwasher open or the dryer door close, you come running to help put dishes away and fold clothes. I can't cook a meal without you running in asking for a chair so you can cook too.

To balance your newfound independence, you've also grown more affectionate. You ask to be held more these days and love to cuddle. You like to give back rubs--and we love receiving them. Much of your days are spent caring for Mona or Baby or the animal of the day, rocking, feeding (both breastfeeding and in the high chair), and putting her to bed.

Your caring nature goes beyond the pretend world. You are in tune to whether people are happy or sad or tired, often equating the last two. You've moved beyond Mama kisses as the cure-all. Your kisses apparently have healing power now too and you generously administer them whenever you hear someone exclaim in pain. You have soothed us all, including yourself and have even taught Mona the art of healing with kisses.

You are especially in tune to your sister's needs, often hearing Kaleia's waking cries before the rest of us. Your peek-a-boo makes your sister laugh the hardest. Recognizing when Kaleia needs a toy, you happily provide one for her, sometimes even sharing your Mona.

But the sharing must be on your own terms. You say "No, no, no Keia" when she gets into something you believe she shouldn't have. But you are your bossiest with the dogs, often banishing them from a room or instructing them to sit. Even so Otis can get you to laugh harder than anyone but Papa. You and he will often chase his tail together. Your animosity may come from the fact that Otis likes to eat your books and wooden puzzles. Usually, you just state that it is sad, and play with the mangled puzzle pieces anyway.

That you are able to forgive this offense so easily is impressive because you LOVE puzzles. Both jigsaw and magnetic-bear-dressing entertain you for hours. You build towers and lines with blocks, organizing by shapes and color. You are always on the look out for matches. You love to count and say your abc's. You can be distracted while driving in the car by finding letters.

You love to sing. Sometimes you practice songs you know or make up your own. You've got twinkle, twinkle little star down and can almost do the ABCs, but you are pretty shy about singing when you know someone is listening. At bedtime, we sing ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, and Rock-a-bye Baby, with the occasional bonus track: Itsy-Bitsy Spider.

There is so much I treasure and love about you at 2. I know you will outgrow many of these things and others will form the building blocks of your character, but either way they make up a layer of your story that I will always love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mascara? MaScary!

Does any toddler NOT do this?

Word of the Week: Question

Question: (noun) 1) a single sentence addressed to someone in the interrogative form in order to get information 2) a communication or declaration setting forth facts or particulars.
"Mama, I have a question for you. What are we having for dinder?"

"Mama, I have a question for you. This is Lion. He is a Papa and he went to the store with me and he went in the car with me two times."

Bad Choices at Bed Time or Cute Bed Buddies

Giggles...crying...more giggling...harder giggles...

I guess I should go in and remind them to go to sleep. It is getting late. looks like the light is on.

I open the door to see this...

What's a Mama to do?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Natural Number Sense

As I am cooking lunch, Magnolia informs me that she wants three peas and three noodles.

I give no more and no less.

She stares at the plate bewildered. Then her eyes light up and she says, "Mama, I want five peas and five noodles."

Again, I oblige.

This time her confusion doesn't last as long. As she stares at her near empty plate Maggie exclaims, "Mama, I want EIGHT peas and EIGHT noodles."

This time when I hand her plate back, she is crestfallen. "Mama, I want....I want...," she stammers, eyebrows furrowed.

Sensing that the mounting frustration is going to trump our little number sense lesson, and not wanting to count large numbers of little peas and noodles, I suggest, "You want a lot of peas and a lot of noodles?"

Relieved and enthusiastic, she replies, "Yeah! I want a lot of peas and a lot of noodles!"


As a math teacher, I am more and more amazed at how natural the concepts of number sense come to kids. I am baffled at how students get them so messed up by the time they get to high school (Number sense is one of the most struggled with topics on our state exam). I won't spend too much time on my education soap box here (maybe another blog in the future???), but I think these natural situations are the best way for letting kids develop a solid number sense.

Friday, October 1, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments for all to find and see.