Sunday, November 23, 2008

Airing Out, Church Issues and Pretend Problems

Talk about a good laugh. Saturday morning I had the luxury of sleeping in until 8am! Yee haw! Once I got up and fetched John Michael from his crib, I headed out to see what the rest of the gang was up to. Everyone was in the playroom, the girls watching tv & Mike hanging out with them. But the funniest thing was Gracie. She had worn a sleeper to bed the night before (it went down to the 40s), but apparently had warmed up in the morning. She was stretched out on our green reclining chair "airing out." Which in Gracie-speak means lying naked on our green chair (holding her blankie & sucking her thumb)! Pretty funny sight when you are not expecting it. When I laughed at her she said, "What?. . . I was hot!"

In church, John Michael got a little loud toward the end - he just gave out a waah or two. But Clara thought it was important to speak up in her not so quiet voice and state "Mama, take the screaming baby out." And when I didn't. A little louder now, "Mama, take the screaming baby out now!" We had several comments about it on our way out of church.

Then on the way back from church, the girls started one of their many pretend games. Gracie asked Clara what she wanted to watch on the van tv (we don't really have a tv in the van, this is one of their pretend games - it's amazing. I have no idea why it is so entertaining, but they discuss it & will pretend to watch it for quite a long time considering there is no tv anywhere). So Clara chose something out of the long list that Gracie gave her & then Gracie tuned in the channel. But that's when it all went bad. Apparently, Clara wanted a different channel or wasn't listening or something. But they ended up arguing. Arguing over their pretend tv. Arguing over the program they were watching on their pretend tv. Amazing how siblings have that love/hate relationship.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Yay! - thanks to Laura for the links to more free layouts. Here is the new free layout with my Christmas look. If you saw my in between look, it was a little busy. And Mike didn't like it because it had white text & he can't get the background to load at his work. White text on a white background apparently doesn't make for easy reading!

So, here it is & I'm done "sprucing" things up for now. Heavens knows the house needs more sprucing up than my blog!! I can go back to all the fun things I want to blog about now. I have some things I've been wanting to write about for a few days now, so I'm hoping the weekend will give me the chance to catch up. Check back on Monday and see!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trying for a new look

Okay - so I changed the background on my blog, but I really wanted to have something winter-like or Christmas-ey. The only catch is I'm using free blog layouts & don't know how to make these fancy designs myself. Well, beggars can't be choosers. So until I get the time to learn all about HTML and fancy layouts, it will have to do. Just imagine that it looks fancy & puts you in the Christmas mood...ha, ha!

And yes, yes, there are other things that should probably take precedence over my blog ... dishes to be done, laundry to be dried and folded, husbands to chat with. So, those are all the updates for now. Too much updating & there won't be time for blogging!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Boys & Trains

While I was putting the girls to bed the other week, Mike was trying to keep John Michael happy until I was free to put him to bed. It wasn't the easiest bedtime, and I had to take Clara out to see the moon to try and calm her down. When we came in, I heard a whoo-whoo. I thought - what is going on? Has Gracie gotten up and is playing with the trains? Then I realized - how silly of me - it's the boys playing trains! We had a big Geotrax layout in the playroom last week and Mike discovered that John Michael loves to watch the trains.

So when I was done with the girls, I headed in to watch the boys and the trains. I'm not sure who likes them more. Check out the look on JM's face:

He couldn't get enough of those trains. I think someone else was enjoying himself as well...

Here's some video of the boys playing.

Okay, so JM's attention is taken by the *fascinating* cardboard tube instead of the train. Meanwhile, Mike continues to man the train station. JM continues with his exploration of the cardboard tube...

Then, (the part I didn't get in the video, of course) John Michael continues playing with his new favorite toy and Mike continues to act as train engineer. His trains kept getting stuck on various parts of the track & he was sending out "helper" trains. So involved was he with this rescue operation that he failed to notice what John Michael was doing. A dangerous thing at this age. So, helpful Mommy that I am, I speak up with: "Umm, honey - do you think maybe you should take a moment to look at the baby? Is he supposed to be putting the cardboard tube in his mouth and gnawing on it?" Needless to say, the train engineer had to put off the train rescue and conduct a different rescue operation!

Clara's Future?

Last Friday night, we had a great time watching the launch of the space shuttle Endeavor. There wasn't any coverage on tv (on the channels we get), so we watched it on the internet. I haven't ever really talked to the girls about space shuttles, so what little they know about it comes from Curious George Gets a Medal (George goes into outer space & then launches himself out of the rocket to return to earth by parachute). We ate dinner & the girls had baths while we were waiting for the launch time to arrive. It ended up being quite a countdown for us - we made it to the computer with a minute to spare.

It was really neat watching the girls excitement about it, particularly Clara. She just loves the idea of an "asgra-naut". Here are two short videos from that night. The first is prior to the launch & the second is just after watching the shuttle launch.

We told the girls we could watch some of the video while the astronauts are in space, so that should be neat as well. It's amazing how many things there are for them to learn about in the world and how the internet makes it all so accessible.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What's new in John Michael's World

Mosquito Bites (see video below!)

So - lots of new things for a little guy. Just last week he started babbling up a storm. It's pretty funny. Here's a snippet of it:

We're up to 5 (yes, five!) teeth now. Apparently, he thought it was a good idea to have three teeth come in on the top all at once. The two front teeth are just barely coming through. But he must be feeling better. After last week's lovely schedule of waking up every 1-3 hours at night, he's gone back to a much nicer schedule of just being up twice in the night. You wouldn't think that just getting 4 hours of straight sleep could make such a big difference, but it definitely does! Anyhow, his crankiness and inability to sleep last week were also due to the fact that he had an ear infection. He's happily taking his amoxicillin (that stuff is sickeningly sweet!) and hopefully healing up. I think it was all a ploy to try and get out of his second dose of the flu shot. Little does he know - we're going back next week to get it!

Okay, onto the crawling. I'm a skeptic on this one, but Mike & Gracie both say he is crawling. I have yet to see *true* crawling. Which I consider to be up on hands and knees and going forwards (or backwards, I guess). He's definitely doing the "army crawl" (as my friend Katherine termed it) and can slither around on his belly (and pivot really well!). But he's not really in that - whoa, where did he go? if you turn your back for a second. I'm looking forward to it, but also a little worried. I know there was at least one time where I "lost" Clara. We were in our house, but she was so fast and I'm sure I was distracted.... so therein ensued a frantic search for a crawling baby. It's amazing how many places a baby could be! And not helpful that they don't understand to answer you when you call. So, I imagine JM will be a baby on the loose at least once, if not several times. At least this time I can enlist two helpers when I am hunting for him...

Since I don't have any video of the "crawling" that is supposedly going on, here's a sample of one of his favorite activities. And yes, the background noise is annoying. And yes, it's a Tootle golden book computer game that we bought for Clara. (have to work on checking these things out better before buying...)

Finally, hats. The hats are only new because it is finally "cold" here in the mornings. When we head out to take Gracie to school on MTW, it's still very chilly in the mornings. So in an effort to be a "good" mommy, I pop a hat on JM's head. What we have is basically just a step above the newborn hat - it's a a blue velour number that just fits snuggly on his head and you cuff it up. Just like a normal ski hat for a boy. Except that it is a very bad design for a newborn. Clara informed me on the way home today (when I asked if he as asleep) "no, but he can't see anymore." When we got home, I discovered that the cuff was now acting as a blinder. Hmmm, so much for the "good" mommy effort.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What is JM doing? Clara-isms! Gracie's future occupation

What is JM doing?
  • He's trying so hard to crawl! He's not there yet, but he can sure rock back and forth on those knees. He's doing pretty well at getting around even without the crawling though. He just pulls himself along on his belly (it's made easier by the wood and cork floors)!
  • He's also into chewing on everything. He's got two sharp little teeth on the bottom, so you have to watch him. He tried to chew on my leg the other night. He settled for the cuff of my jeans. I've got a good story about him chewing on things & trains - I'll post some pix and a video soon.
  • Now we know that JM loves socks - his "look" (as Gracie would call it) is to wear them hanging about an inch off his toes. Then he likes to suck on that extra bit until it is thoroughly drenched. Dee-sgusting as the girls would say! When we are out with him, people are constantly warning us that his socks are about to fall off. Little do they know - you don't want to touch those suckers (ha, ha) once they are cold and soggy!
  • Apparently the fascination with socks can be hereditary. When we were in Amarillo for John Michael's baptism, Joe was telling us about how Mike always loved to chew on his (Joe's) socks. Well, the other night, Mike was in his socks and JM was on the floor and guess what??? Mike ended up with wet socks.
  • Starting to eat more foods - loves green beans (sampled tonight for the first time), does not love zucchini (horrible shudders, followed by raspberries to get that horrible flavor out of the mouth), loves peaches, pears and probably any other fruit I get around to pureeing.
  • "Ligging" Room - this is where we spend lots of our time so we get to hear lots of references to this!
  • "Oak" - the best part of the poached egg
  • In a "jippy"- the way Mommy would always like you to pick up your toys, instead of dragging it out so it takes an hour
  • "Noggie" - most people call these little blankets with ribbons "taggies", but Clara decided this was a good name for JM's (who is our first baby to really like it - he seems to find it endlessly fascinating)
Gracie's future occupation
  • Event/Party Planner - If you were to spend more than a day at our house, you would come to this conclusion as well. At least several times a week we have some sort of celebration or event at our house, all orchestrated by Gracie. About a year ago, the fascination was with holding birthday parties for her various stuffed animals. She has since added more variety into her schedule. In the last few weeks we have had: a fall carnival & festival, a fall parade, Elvis's birthday party (with actual presents - even though we have no idea when her real birthday is and we usually celebrate it in April), an afternoon at Texas Hot Tubs (the restaurant that Gracie & Clara run from the kitchen in the living room), a tea party complete with water and M&Ms, a piano concert last night (she used her song book from the library and "played" and sang about six songs for us - we were warned several times about no talking), another parade, and the list could go on & on if I could remember it all! Sometimes you can get worn out with all the celebrating.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monster Madness

Okay, in my Mimi & Pap visit post, I promised to follow up with the monster story, so here it is.

It was the day before Halloween, so we had put on a Halloween "parade" so Mimi & Pap could see the kiddos costumes (and honestly, so I could make sure I had all parts & pieces required and everything fit!) They did that & it was pretty fun and then we sat down to another good dinner (what can be better than having your mother's cooking?? Oh, and to be fair, your dad's grilling?) Then while the girls were having desert & I was gathering up the rest of our things to load into the van, I asked Pap to tell the girls about what he used to do on Halloween to scare me & my sisters.

I wasn't paying too much attention since I was trying to focus on not leaving behind one of the million "necessities" we had brought with us. I certainly didn't want to drive home without a special blankie, friend, slippers, cup, etc... So, while I thought Pap was merely telling the girls a story he must have decided the real thing in action would be better. Now, this isn't the same mask from when we were growing up (Dad says that was an ape with part of the furry chest), but of course the effect was just as good. The video doesn't really capture it all because by the time I heard the shrieks and the giggles and grabbed the camera, it was hard to capture everyone in the same room!

Anyhow, everyone had a good time. At least for the first few minutes. Clara got overwhelmed and started crying. But never fear - we convinced her to try on the mask & all was well. Gracie even overcame her fear & put the mask on herself!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy (Belated) Halloween

The Wizard of Oz Gang
The Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion & (taking the pix) Scarecrow

Trick-or-Treating was a blast for the girls this year. They are both old enough to get the concept, last long enough to make it around our 1-mile loop and actually eat the candy themselves. JM was really just along for the ride. A few people decided he needed candy, but he mostly just got a walk around the block (and boy is he getting heavy - I decided to indulge in a few treats that night after that workout!).

We headed out early this year because the girls were really looking forward to handing out candy as well as trick-or-treating. So it was light when we started out and you could barely contain the girls' excitement. Gracie was skipping around the driveway singing "we're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz..." We knew that kind of energy couldn't last though, so we decided to take along the jogging stroller. After we got about 1/4 of the way around, it started getting put to good use! Although pushing 80 lbs of girls isn't a lot of fun - especially when you forget to fully inflate the tires (think no turning at all!). But Mike soldiered on, faithful tin man that he was. Do you like his hat? We got lucky and had silver spray paint leftover from Gracie's trike painting. That was one of the many things we did in the two hours after he got home from MS before we went trick-or-treating.

When we got home, the girls handed out some candy and then got down to business - examining the haul. They both got an unbelievable amount of candy for the number of houses we went to! It's hard to tell here (I think half the candy is behind Clara on the chair), but they each had enough to fill up the bowl that you hand the candy out in! They've been really enjoying their candy this year. They went through it that night (well, Gracie really did) and separated it into likes, don't likes and maybes. Mike & I were the benefactors of the don't likes (Kit Kats, can you believe it???? My favorite!).

Then the next fun part of the evening started - hanging out on the porch swing waiting for trick-or-treaters. We had left one bowl of candy out while we went around the block and most of that was gone, but we still had a second bowl of goodies to give out. We got a few trick-or-treaters, but not enough to satisfy the girls! They started up a chant "we need more trick-or-treaters" and would get especially excited when a car went by, trying to wave them down for treats. Around 9:00 we finally convinced them that all the trick-or-treaters were done. And that was that for Halloween 2008. Oh, except for the constant candy eating that is going on now. So far, they are managing to get a piece in the morning, afternoon and a couple in the evening!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Visiting Mimi & Pap

Since Mike was gone all last week, we went over to Dallas to visit my Mom & Dad (Mimi & Pap) on Wednesday and stayed until Thursday evening. I was pretty worn out by Wednesday nights, especially with bedtime. My timing wasn't just right & so I usually ended up with one crying girl at the time I also had John Michael screaming to be nursed and put to bed. So, I was really looking forward to having a few more hands to help at that time. Plus, we hadn't seen Mom & Dad in a couple of weeks and the girls were really looking forward to the visit.

Once we had about half of the house packed up (the girls each packed a suitcase - and they were both full. I think they might have been a little confused about the length of our stay in Dallas!), we got in the van and headed over. My plan for Clara to take a nap and Gracie to have some quiet time for the hour trip across the metroplex was foiled. Only JM stayed on plan and took a nap on the drive over. So we got to Dallas excited, but not rested.

John Michael loving his first meal at Mimi & Pap's

John Michael decided eating was the first order of business & I was glad to let Mimi feed him! I think he is having pears for this meal. He also enjoyed sweet potato, applesauce and some cereal while we were visiting. He couldn't seem to eat enough last week. He loved having Mimi feed him. She would actually play with him while feeding him, unlike Mike & me who are usually just concerned about getting the food in & then being able to eat ourselves. It was good to see the little guy have so much fun.

John Michael may have been forced to eat pureed fruit, but the rest of us enjoyed a great lunch of Gracie's favorite (that she only gets at Mimi & Pap's) - bagels with cream cheese, lox and capers. Of course, the lox is her favorite part. I had to explain to her after she first had it a few years ago that Mommy couldn't be buying it all the time for lunch & dinner for her!! Then the girls did a little artwork, watched a little tv, and played around the house. Nobody really took a nap (John Michael included). Clara looked wistfully at the pool, but she finally gave it up (the high was in the seventies ... brrrr for the pool).

Then it was on to dinner. A great roast and sweet potatoes (Gigi analyzed the difference between her two pieces of sweet potato - the first was stringy, the second was not). And of course, the Halloween desert. The grownups passed, but as the pictures show below, the girls really enjoyed their treat.

The girls loved the Halloween cupcakes that Mimi bought them for a treat.
But boy are they messy - too bad there were no dogs for cleanup!

Stop that Ball story - okay, Mimi has to tell this one on her own. Use the comment button down below, Mimi & add your story about Clara & her favorite Dallas bedtime story.

After the girls were in bed (thanks to Mimi!), I struggled with JM who seems to not need much sleep. The video below shows his last stretch of wakefulness, playing with Mimi just before 9pm. Just before this, he had a round of "bonkees" (bashing foreheads) with Pap that gave him the giggles (but I missed getting that on film since I was on the phone with Mike).

So that was the first day in Dallas. Since this is getting so long (and I am so slow posting since half the family has a bad cold), I'll wait until a second post to tell about Pap the Masked Monster. Pretty funny - J, S & C, I'm betting you can guess what this story might be!

Right before we left - a happy moment
together for JM & Clara Rose!

Please use the ...

The girls were having a grand ole time in the playroom yesterday. Home from his week long trip, Daddy helped them each build a fort. Gracie's had "carpet" (a blanket) and a chair and a "couch" (a blanket and a stuffed animal). Clara's got built later in the day, even though Gracie's was clearly big enough for both. But she wanted hers to match. Anyway, Mike helped Clara build her fort after I unearthed a comforter to use as the fort cover. Mike's always in charge of construction. If it involves more than draping a blanket over a few chairs, I'm out. These were fancy forts - couches, chairs, even bookcases were used for support & I'm pretty sure there were clothespins involved as well. So, Mike got the second fort "condo" built & we were hanging out with John Michael in the other part of the house. Gracie came scampering back and asked Mike a question. I didn't pay attention to the question, but noticed she was reciting letters as she left the room, so I tuned in to see what she was spelling: "G...R...A...C...I...E...G...R..."Hmmmm. She has known how to spell her name for about a year so this seemed suspicious. I queried Mike about what she had wanted to know. He replied that she wanted to know how to spell "Please Use the Knocker."

So now you know what the kids have to put up with from their Daddy. Mostly it is pretty funny, but I pointed out that he might be confusing her a little about this whole spelling thing as it is all still a little new to her (and we haven't really gotten beyond spelling Gracie, Mama and Clara). I told him that if he wrote out the words she wanted, she would copy it onto her own paper.

Well, tonight I got to see the result of that. Apparently, Gracie talked Daddy into printing the letters with dots so that she could trace over them. But something went wrong in the translation... her fort sign now says "Please Use the Knookr".