Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ian's Turn

Our family is now on day six of the stomach virus. Laurel is recouping, but unfortunately Ian has it. Starting 3 a.m. this morning, he has been sick, sick, sick. He's starting out worse than Laurel. Maybe he'll get it through his system faster than Laurel.

A quick anecdote for the sick fellow:

Ian and I make a quick run to the store. We buy only two things: milk and rice cereal for Laurel. He's happy as a lark, especially since he gets to hold Laurel's cereal as we walk to the back of the store to get the milk.

We get to the checkout line and he plops the cereal in front of the cashier. She smiles, and Ian chirps, "Hello, hello, hello," and frantically waves.

After we pay for our purchases, Ian insists, "Mommy, I hold the receipt."

"Ok, buddy, here you go."

He happily waves it in the air as we head out to the car. Once he's buckled in his car seat, I decide to test his memory.

"Ian, what did we get at the store?"

"A receipt, Mommy!"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Our Little Thief

We're now on day four of Laurel's stomach virus. She got sick once yesterday and had diarrhea. Paul keeps reassuring me that the little bit of breast milk she is keeping down has a lot of nutrition and I shouldn't worry so much. But worry I do. She was already skinny, being in the 90th percentile for height and 25th for weight. After four days of not really eating or drinking, she's looking really thin. Today, she's managed to keep down about four ounces of rice and banana cereal and four ounces of water. She's nursing every chance she can, mostly for comfort. Seeing her walk around, point at objects and blurt out, "Da," gives me hope that she's feeling better.

Laurel is normally a little spitfire, running about terrorizing everyone in her path. I'm missing that trait in her right now. I know it will return in a few days. Meanwhile, I am reminiscing this particular little story about her:

A couple Sundays ago, I was putting together a nice breakfast for our family. Laurel had already eaten her oatmeal and was running from room to room playing with anything that caught her eye. Paul helped Ian get into his booster chair and put on his bib, while I was putting pancakes and bacon on the table. Ian started complaining that he was hungry, so I quickly placed a slice of bacon onto his tray.

Paul and I finished getting napkins and glasses of water while the kids were busy doing their own things. Next thing I know, Ian screamed out, "Aaaahhhh!"

I quickly walked over to my little guy and inquired, "What's wrong?"

"I want bacon," he yelled.

"Where's your bacon?" I asked as I searched his bib, in his chair, and on the floor around him. The bacon was no where to be seen. "Did you eat your bacon?"

"Nooooo!" he whimpered.

"Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh," cackled Laurel.

Paul and I both did a double take of our sweet daughter. She was toddling away, looking back at the three of us and laughing, all the while clutching Ian's slice of bacon.

Laurel's book recommendation:

One of the books that seems to comfort Laurel while she has been sick, is My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss. It's the artwork that she finds so interesting. The paintings by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher are simple and whimsical. Each page focuses on a color and its corresponding emotions. Today, Laurel feels brown: Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown. Then I feel slow and low, low down. Ian on the other hand, being with Grandma and Papa feels pink: But when my days are Happy Pink it's great to jump and just not think.

I found some activities to go along with the book:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hide and Seek

Thank you to everybody wishing Laurel well. Only throwing up once today is a huge improvement. She's not eating much, and she's definitely not acting herself. Normally, she runs around the house terrorizing Ian. Today, she mostly slept, and when awake, she sat still and half heartedly played with a few toys. Cuddling was her priority.

While Laurel slept, Paul and I decided to play hide and seek with Ian. Being all of two, Ian doesn't quite understand all the rules, but it's fun to play with him anyway.

Ian and I duck into the kitchen to count, while Paul finds a hiding spot.

Me: Ok, Ian, you and I will count to ten and Daddy will hide. Then we'll go find him. Ready? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Let's go find Daddy. I wonder where Daddy is hiding?

Ian darts straight for the family room area and immediately finds Paul behind the kitchen/bar area.

Paul: You found me! Great job, Ian.

Me: Ian, this time you and Daddy count and I will hide.

They count and soon find me on the other side of the staircase.

Me: Ian, you found me! Ok, this time you hide and Daddy and I will count. Go hide!

Ian runs off into the living room. Paul and I count aloud and together say, "I wonder where Ian is hiding?"

Ian: Here I am, here I am.

Ian runs towards us from where he was hiding, no seeking necessary on our parts.

Me: Ian, you need to stay in your hiding place until we find you. How about you and I hide and Daddy tries to find us?

Ian: Ok, Mommy, ok.

Ian and I hide on the other side of the staircase. I squat down to Ian's level and hold him so he won't run towards Paul. Paul counts and begins searching for us.

Paul: I wonder where Mommy and Ian are?

Ian: We're over here, Daddy, we're over here.

Me: Sh, we need to be quiet so Daddy can't find us.

Paul: Is Ian by the couch?

Ian: No, Daddy, I'm over here. I'm over here, Daddy!

Me: Ssshhh-shhh-shhhh. (Giggling.)

Paul: Is Ian by the t.v.?

Ian: No, Daddy, I'm over here, over here, Daddy!

Me: Ssshhh-shhh-shhhh. (Laughing.)

Paul: I wonder where Mommy and Ian are hiding? (Laughing.)

Ian: We're over here, Daddy, we're over here!

Paul: (Standing almost next to us and laughing.) Where could Mommy and Ian be?

Ian: Daddy, I'm over here! I'm over here! Over here, Daddy!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Vomit Target Practice

Last night, all four of us were cuddling in the big bed reading stories. Once we finished the last story, it was time to brush teeth, something Laurel usually looks forward to. Normally, she gets very excited and makes the toothbrush sign by swiping her right pointy finger across her open mouth. We just have to give her the toothbrush, and automatically she pops it into her mouth and brushes away with sheer delight. Last night, however, she was arching her back, trying to wiggle free of my grasp.

I thought she was acting this way out of sheer exhaustion, so I told Paul and Ian to kiss her goodnight. When brought to an upright position, Mount Laurel exploded, vomit covering her, our down comforter, and me.

I'd like to know, where in the mommy contract did it say I would repeatedly be used as vomit target practice? This is the fourth time Laurel has successfully made her mark in as many months. I'm not talking spit up, not even projectile spit up. No, I'm talking completely emptying out one's stomach of chunky puke, puke big enough that you can tell what the vomiter had for dinner.

I'd also like to know how it's possible for a 20 pound baby toddler to spew a quart's worth of vomit. Seriously, Paul and I were waiting for her head to spin.

Needless to say, it was a long night. I chose to sleep on the floor next to Laurel's crib so that I could clean her up when needed, and needed I was. Poor thing, she got sick about eight times in a ten hour period. The washer and dryer are still going.

Fortunately, I was able to get her in to see the doctor early this morning. Good news, she's not dehydrated and it's just some stomach virus that's going around. Bad news, it could last five to seven days. I was sure that would not be the case, since as of that point Laurel had gone five hours without spewing. Once home, I was telling my parents, who were wonderful enough to babysit Ian on such short notice, that I thought Laurel was doing better when, oh yes, you guessed it, she vomited on her and me again.

About four this afternoon, I decided it was time to try something besides water since Laurel hadn't lost her cookies in the last five hours. Chicken broth, noodles and crackers were on the menu. She kept signing more and pointed at the chicken broth, but refused to eat the crackers or noodles. After about six spoonfuls of broth and some sips of water, she was done. I reached down to pick her up from the highchair, rested her on my hip, and of course she upchucked on us both again. Aha, but I was smart enough to be sporting a very large towel! Only Laurel had to be changed. Question, will I be smart enough to elude her target practice in the middle of the night? Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


One of the reasons we chose to live in our current house, is because it has a secret kids' room. The original house had the normal three feet deep coat closet underneath the stairs. Previous owners took out the back wall, allowing the closet space to open the entire length of the staircase. They also put in carpet and a string of lights, making it quite cozy.

Once we moved into the house, we added our own special touches to the secret room. I hung the unicorn rug my dad made for me when I was kid. We stocked a wire shelving unit full of games and books. The bones of the staircase created some natural nooks that are great for small books and toys. A nightstand and a little persons' folding dinosaur chair add comfort. I hung evergreen garland and placed some birds and lizards in it. Puppets and stuffed animals peek out from various hiding spots.

Whenever we have a consortium of children over, they inevitably end up in the secret room. While the adults are busy talking, giggles are heard from within the heart of the house. My husband once opened the door to the secret room to check on my then three and five year old nieces, only to be greeted with, "Close the door, please." At least they were polite.

Ian recently decided to make the secret room his space. He parked all his big trucks and cars inside. There is only enough foot room for the wee ones to get in and out. Of course that's the point of this space, KIDS ONLY: NO ADULTS ALLOWED! When I looked in on him to be sure everything was alright, he yelled, "Mommy, go away!"

More book recommendations:

When I taught second grade, I loved reading Weslandia to my students. Paul Fleischman writes a wonderful story about a boy who doesn't fit in with his peers. In the boredom of summer, the boy creates his own world, including an 80 character alphabet, crops, clothing, and even sports! Eventually, his once tormenting peers are enticed and become his followers. I love the use of imagination in this book. The artwork is bright and colorful, just absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to share it with Ian and Laurel in a few years.

And for the wee ones:

Laurel adores her book, Moo, Cow, by Salina Yoon. Being all of ten pages, it's a quick read, which is great for active babies/toddlers. The simple pictures of an adorable cow cover a two page spread throughout the book. There's a short rhyming phrase on each page, discussing a cow's activities throughout the day, and ending with it going to sleep. Laurel loves to touch the cow's fuzzy nose on the cover. She frequently looks at this book while playing independently.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Can I?

Ian has discovered the question, "Can I?" and is using it with exuberance.

"Mommy, can I make noise, can I?"

"Mommy, can I go there, can I?"

"Daddy, can I play trucks, can I?"

"Mommy, can I do pway-dough, can I?"

"Mommy, can I read Thomas book, can I?"

"Daddy, can I go to fire truck museum, can I? Can I, Mommy, can I?"

And to that last question, we answered, "Yes!" Oh boy, oh boy, was Ian excited!

Phoenix has the world's largest fire truck museum: The Hall of Flame Fire Museum. We were there once before, of course Ian loved it even more the second time around. Laurel was just happy to tag along.

Firefighter Ian

Firefighter Laurel

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Disappointment, but then again...

Following up on last night's movie:

I know better, I should never watch a movie after reading the book. I had so many expectations for The Devil Wears Prada, but most were not met. Sure, the movie was entertaining, but there are so many funny moments in the book I was hoping for, that realistically just could never fit into a two hour movie. Too bad someone didn't think to turn it into a TV series.

But, I got to have time for myself. Whoo-hoo! And like I said, the movie was entertaining, just be sure to read the book after seeing the movie.

And then there's tonight. Tonight? Yes, tonight, hello? Battlestar Galactica is back! Yes, I'm a sci-fi geek, can't help myself. The show is really well written, I find I'm always in suspense. Other shows my geeky side loves: Eureka and Dr. Who. Anyone else want to come out of the closet?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head, Please

Rain, glorious rain. Brrr, it's cold, it's cloudy, it's rainy, it actually feels like winter.

Laurel, Ian and I decide to venture out and experience rain, a rare occurrence in our neck of the woods. Coats on, umbrellas opened, stroller cover on, and we head out to get the mail and walk around the block. Laurel is not fond of the stroller cover and throws a fit when I first try to put it on. I can't really blame her, kind of scary to be enclosed like that. Once we get outside and it's raining around her, she calms down and starts to enjoy herself. Ian giggles with glee when he realizes he gets to hold his own umbrella.

Tonight, Paul is off to a friend's birthday party while I stay home with the kids. Alright everybody, join in for my very own pity party. Ready, one, two, three, awwww...NOT! I'm taking the opportunity to do something for myself. I read The Devil Wears Prada a couple months ago. It was a funny, mindless read, that was a great escape from everyday life. Anyway, I rented the DVD to watch tonight. So without further ado, I bid thee goodnight and happy weekend!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

sshhh, the baby's sleeping...

Laurel's a light sleeper. Tiptoeing in socks on the carpeted floor in front of her room can cause her to wake up. Heck, me just thinking about her seems to wake her up. I have noticed that when Ian is away for the day, gallivanting with Grandma and Papa, and I'm downstairs sitting, trying to not move, not even breathe or bring Laurel to mind, she naps a lot longer. Instead of tired (cranky and screaming), she wakes up rested (happy and coos and babbles).

Ian can't always be away while Laurel takes her morning nap. And no, he won't take a morning siesta. Trust me, I've tried. I'm lucky he takes one in the afternoon. So the alternative is to teach him to play quietly during that time frame. I didn't think to do this with my two year old son, but my husband Paul showed me it was possible. The key is set up and consistency.

Set up involves making Ian aware that it is Laurel's nap time and of what is expected of him. Bending down to his eye level, I hold his sister in front of him and make him stop playing with his toys. "Ian, it's Laurel's nap time. Give her a kiss."

He kisses the top of her head.

"While Laurel sleeps, you need to play quietly. Make sure your toys don't make music or noise. If I hear music or noise, the toy goes away. Ian, what happens if I hear music or noise while Laurel is sleeping?"

"Toys go away," he usually responds.

Once he acknowledges his responsibilities and consequences, I take Laurel upstairs for her nap.

The second any unnecessary loud beeps, sirens, music, etc. reaches my ears, I walk over to Ian and dole out the consequence simpling stating, "Ian, you made this toy make noise, it goes away."

In the beginning days of this behavior modification, Ian would cry, scream and chase me down trying to get his beloved toy back. Seems contrary to the whole idea of making it quiet for Laurel to sleep, but if I want this to work, I dare not cave to his pleas. Instead, I suggest other engaging activities. I read books with him, get out play dough or puzzles, or show him how to play with his cars and trucks quietly. I don't spend Laurel's entire nap time playing with Ian, although sometimes I do for fun. Most times I am trying to get the endless to-do list done. I just spend a few moments redirecting and modeling appropriate, quiet play. Once he's absorbed in his task, off I go to blog tackle the laundry.

Later, when Laurel wakes up, you can literally see Ian's ears perk up. "Mama, Laurel's awake."

"Yes, Ian. You did a great job keeping quiet, didn't you?"

"Mama, I stay quiet while baby sleeping."

"Yes, you played quietly. Thank you," and I give him a high five and a hug.

That hug never lasts very long. He's ready to grab his toys and make some NOISE!

Another book recommendation:

On Ian's behalf, I recommend My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis. It rhymes, it's repetitive, it has a dump truck, a car, a jeep, a moving van, a bus, a tow truck, and prairie dogs. Prairie dogs? Yes, prairie dogs! A dump truck haulin' a load of bones (of course bones, the characters are all dogs) gets stuck in a hole and requests the help of passing vehicles. Help, please, help, does anyone know, how to make my stuck truck go? Eventually, a tow truck comes to the rescue. Not told in the story, but through the illustrations, are the prairie dogs stealing bones from the back of the dump truck. It took a couple of readings before we noticed there was a story within the story. Absolutely fun to read. And read, and read, and read, you know how it goes with toddlers.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A First Birthday

We celebrated Laurel's first birthday this weekend.

Being seasoned birthday partiers, Ian and Riley (both two years old) felt it was their job to show Laurel how to open presents.

Let there be cake!

Hmmm, what's this? Let me try just a smidgen.

Oh glorious day, that was good! Must.Have.More!

Don't worry my little vessel of sweetness. I don't bite.


Oops, in all my excitement, I squeezed too hard.

Check it out, I'm totally getting away with making this mess. Squishy, squishy, splurt.

Here, Papa, would you like some of my cake?


Friday, January 12, 2007

Gaining More Independence

Laurel sits in her highchair, mouth wide open like a baby bird, waiting for the next spoonful of oatmeal. She closes her mouth around the spoon, and then grabs the handle. The twinkle in her eye tells me she's up to something.

Gently, I unclench her fingers and pull the spoon out of her mouth, then scoop up more oatmeal. Wide, open mouth ready, in goes the spoon. Her mouth clamps down tight, and again her fingers put a death grip onto the handle. "Baby, do you want to feed yourself?" I inquire, and let go of the spoon to watch what unfolds.

A smile creeps across her face as oatmeal oozes out of the corners of her semi-opened mouth. Slowly, she pulls the spoon out and examines it. Most of the oatmeal is still on and now dripping onto her tray. She puts it back into her mouth, and this time keeps her lips closed. There's an "Aha!" look in her eyes as she takes out a clean spoon.

Laurel celebrates her accomplishment by banging the spoon on her tray. Soon her eyes look over at the cup of oatmeal I'm holding. She points the spoon in the same direction. I try to take the spoon from her, but she's not having any part of that. She forcefully pulls the spoon away and again points it at the oatmeal. "Oh, so you're a big girl and want to do it all," I joke.

Laurel smiles at me, bangs her spoon a couple more times and points it directly at the cup of oatmeal. It's like she's smirking at me and saying, "Ha, funny mom, now give me the d*** oatmeal."

I do her bidding and bring the cup closer to her and tip it a bit so she can reach the spoon inside. Laurel cackles (seriously, cackling is her trademark!) as she dips into the oatmeal. She pulls the spoon out and examines it to make sure that indeed something is on it. Into the mouth it goes. Success! On second try, she holds the spoon upside down. All but a coating of the oatmeal falls onto her tray and bib. Upon seeing the oatmeal laying there, Laurel decides it's time for art, and spreads it with her spoon.

"Laurel, would you like some more oatmeal?" I ask and jiggle the cup in front of her.

She is too absorbed in her artwork to be busied with feeding herself. I know better than to try and take the spoon away from her. I grab another spoon from the utensil drawer and begin shoveling the remaining oatmeal into her gob. To my delight I find she can multi task. She happily paints away and opens her mouth as the spoon approaches. Within a minute, she finishes her remaining cereal, and manages to coat the tray, her face and hair with oatmeal. Time to take her and the highchair outside to hose everything off.

And book recommendation month continues...

A series of books our family adores, are the bear books by Karma Wilson. We introduced Ian to her first book, Bear Snores On, when he was about six months old. The story depicts a bear sleeping in his den for the winter. Animals find refuge there and start having a party, when suddenly, Bear wakes up! Ian loved it from the beginning. Laurel just now has the attention span to sit through most of the book and enjoy it.

Also in the bear series, are Bear Wants More, and Bear Stays Up for Christmas. All three stories are told in rhyme, and done so well that Paul and I, even Ian, can pretty much recite them word for word. Wilson uses wonderful verbs in depicting her tales, great for vocabulary development! One of my favorite passages from Bear Snores On:


*When looking for pictures of the books online, I discovered there is a fourth in the series, Bear's New Friend. I have not read it yet, but plan to check it out at the library.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Kiss Will Make It Better

Our bedtime ritual usually ends with all four of us cuddling and reading books in Paul's and my bed. Laurel is in my lap, and Ian is laying against the pillows next to me. Ian gets squirmy and decides he needs to get up. As he adjusts his weight and leans forward, his chin rams right into Laurel's unsuspecting head. Her screams fill the entire house, heck the entire neighborhood.

Ian is worried. "Mommy, Waurel is crying. Waurel has a boo-boo."

"Yes, Ian, her head hurts."

"Don't cry Waurel. I'll kiss it and make it better."

He leans in, and places a delicate kiss on her head. "There you go, Waurel, all better."

The screams continue, but Paul and I simultaneously say, "Aw."


And the book recommendations keep coming...

Laurel is active, to put it mildly. It is difficult for her to sit through more than a couple of pages in most picture books. And yet, I found one. She loves to look at and listen to Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long. I actually sing the tune as we go through the book, which I'm sure helps Laurel sit still and relax. The sweet illustrations also get her attention. Instead of using the song's traditional materialistic words, Sylvia Long rephrased it to focus on things parents and their children can share together in sight and sound. "...mama's going to show you a hummingbird. If that hummingbird should fly, mama's going to show you the evening sky."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stickers, Stickers, Everywhere, and Not a One That Sticks!

Both Ian and Laurel are taking antibiotics. One has a sinus infection, and the other has an ear infection. Laurel doesn't mind taking her medicine. In fact, she gets very upset when she sees me giving Ian his dose and thinks she's not getting her fair share. She stomps towards us, arms frantically moving up and down like a gorilla, loudly complaining in short vowel tones the entire time.

Big brother, on the other hand, puts up a fight. Having three of us sick, and becoming tired myself, I cave and bribe Ian with stickers. For Christmas, he received a wonderful gift that is a combination coloring book and stickers galore (700 to be exact!). Better yet, the subject matter is that of Thomas the Tank Engine, which is one of Ian's all-time favorite characters. Once Ian realized he was to earn two stickers for taking his medicine, the task became a lot easier. I need only state, "Ian, medicine and stickers," and he'll come dashing into the kitchen.

Now it's eight days later, and by my calculations, he has a collection of about 32 stickers. He tries sticking them to his bed, bookshelves, the refrigerator, couches, tables, and himself. Fortunately, the adhesive doesn't actually stick to any material for very long. Unfortunately, Ian won't let us throw away his stickers. He has this growing mass of stickers he lovingly picks apart to look at each individual figure.

Being a toddler, Ian is easily side tracked by other toys. Stickers are left everywhere throughout the house. Laurel delightfully stumbles across them and immediately chews them like gum. Upon walking onto a cold, wet mass that must have been spat out by Laurel, I realize I need to gather Ian's stickers together and keep them out of sight until requested by their owner. I search high and low, under and between, outside and inside objects, and only find about twenty stickers. Hmmm, either Ian is a better hider than I thought, or Laurel's on a new diet.

I'm changing Laurel's diaper. Off go her pants, one sock off, second sock off, what do I discover? A sticker stuck to the bottom of her sock. Same night, I'm getting into my pajamas. I reach down to take a sock off, and of course discover a sticker stuck to the bottom of it. In my earlier search, I didn't think to check the obvious objects that would be the most in contact with the floor. I find a couple more stickers on the bottoms of shoes, and in Ian's bed. I'm getting closer to the 32ish count, knowing when I least expect it, another one will pop out at me, like in Laurel's poop.

Three for the Price of One:

A train book both Ian and I agree is superb, is Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis. Bold pictures and its lyrical tale about a boy playing with his train set and toys, make this a fun read for everyone. It pulls you right in with: "Sun's up! Morning's here. Up and at 'em, engineer!" Like the turning wheels of a train, the rhythm continues throughout the book, to the point you're bobbing your head to the beat. The pictures are engaging and lead to many discussions about the busy toys loading/unloading the train and the sights the train passes by. The ending makes for a good lead to put your little one to sleep: "To the roundhouse you are bound. Good night engine, safe and sound." Ian can not get enough of this book, neither can I.

In honor of the above anecdote, I will post about two books on Ian's behalf. If your child loves Thomas the Tank Engine, he/she will probably enjoy A Crack in the Track and Go, Train, Go! I myself, put up with them only because Ian loves them so much. The wording in both books tries to rhyme, and occasionally succeeds. The story line in A Crack in the Track (the better of the two in my opinion) revolves around how things come to a halt when a crack in the track stops all the trains from running. The track gets fixed and things return to normal. Go, Train, Go!, has Thomas transporting a judge to a train show, in which they run across some obstacles that might make them late.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Of Course, The Caterpillar Book!

Laurel, 11 months old, is a completely different breed than her 2 1/2 year old brother, Ian. One area they are distinctly different, is in their book preferences. Ian has an amazing attention span, always has. He loved to sit through quite long picture books (i.e.: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) as early as six months. Laurel, on the other hand, will listen to the first page or two, and then squirm to get out of your lap and go about her business. She is constantly on the go, therefore, I am pleasantly surprised to find her interested in Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I loved this book as a child, and am just tickled pink that both my kids love it too!

The story is about a caterpillar who eats, grows, and becomes a butterfly (a circle of life learning opportunity, sorry, that's the teacher in me). The verse is humorously repetitive (...but he was still hungry). Older tots can count the fruit the caterpillar eats through.

There are a few things about the book that seem to hold Laurel's interest.

She loves to turn pages. The fruit pages are layered, making it easy for her small fingers to manipulate them. The holes found on those same pages are huge attention getters. You can't help but poke your fingers in and out of each one.

Eric Carle's illustrations are absolutely bright, beautiful and spaced out well (meaning it's not overloaded with images). I don't like Carle's artwork in all his books, however, the medium he uses for The Very Hungry Caterpillar suits me just fine. Laurel's favorite part is the butterfly at the end of the story. We love to flap the pages so it looks like it is flying above her. I believe that is what she is attempting in these last two pictures.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Book a Day, Keeps Boredom Away...

I was just over at the wonderful Mary P.'s blog, where I learned of a fun Meme. The January challenge is to post about a book a day. This idea comes from Sassy Student. I love to read children's books, and with two little ones running about, you know I'm reading, and reading, and reading! So I decided I would try to post about a book as often as I do normally post, which sadly enough won't be everyday since I just can't seem to fit it in. But with this challenge, I may post more. Hurray, let's give it a try!

A book, I absolutely adore, is Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers. It originally was a gift for Laurel, since she's the baby, but two year old Ian is the one who can't get enough of it! He loves to talk about the babies, and what they are doing in each illustration. The story line is repetitive, so Ian quickly learned the text and can pretty much "read" the book word for word. The sweet pictures and verse portrays baby antics well. At the end of the book, it reads...

Everyday, everywhere, babies are loved-
for trying so hard, for traveling so far, for being so wonderful...
...just as they are!

I always tear up. Hey Ian, grab me a tissue please. Darn mommy hormones!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Friend or Foe?

Ian has an imaginary "friend". His name is Mr. Tune. So far, this is what I know about this character in Ian's life: he has black hair, likes to sing and spin, plays leap frog, and he tends to show up when Ian is not too sure about things, is in timeout, or is scared.

One night, while the four of us are eating dinner, Ian yells out, "Mr. Tune, go bye, bye."

"Ian, Where is Mr. Tune?" I inquire.

"Mr. Tune's ofer tere," he informs us as he points towards the front door.

"Bye, bye, Mr. Tune. Bye, bye," I say as I look towards the door and wave.

"Bye, bye, Mr. Tune," adds Paul also waving towards the door.

"Did Mr. Tune go away?" I ask.

"Mr. Tune go bye, bye," states Ian. "Bye, bye, Mr. Tune," and he frantically waves his arms in the air.

"Bye, bye, Mr. Tune. Bye, bye, Mr. Tune," Paul and I both keep repeating and waving.

Laurel's now trying desperately to turn around in her high chair to see who it is that we're all talking too. She glances at me as she turns from side to side, as if to say, "Lady, you're nuts!"

Monday, January 01, 2007

It's New Year's, Time For Change

Ah, Happy New Year everyone! Time to reflect and make some changes. Or at the very least, time to think about change, and then let enough time pass that nothing happens.

In our neck of the woods, change is evident in some of the trees. It is finally fall here. There are a scattering of deciduous trees in our neighborhood, a couple in my own backyard. We changed the kid unfriendly landscaping (visualize Ian patting a prickly pear cactus with his bare hands, OUCH!) this last October, and purposely planted some Chinese Pistache. Now our kids can see some lovely red leaves to prove there is a change in season.

Change, something I'm not afraid of. In the last four years, my life has undergone major change. A divorce, life in the single lane, true love found, marriage, new house, two babies, quit being an elementary school teacher to be a stay at home mom, yes, some seriously major changes. Whew, I am exhausted, but also, I am grateful for each new experience that has helped me grow as a person.

Tradition dictates that with a New Year, we make a New Year's resolution. The Babylonians celebrated this tradition, typically returning borrowed farm equipment. Hmmm, I don't think I've borrowed any farm equipment this year, despite the landscaping project. I guess I need to think of another resolution. Think, think, think. It would be nice to choose something that I'm motivated in and will actually achieve.

One area I'm sorely lacking in, is exercise. This doesn't mean I'm heading to the gym any time soon. Blah, boring. I just need to get out of the house and move this languid body. The kids need to get out more too. We're something of homebodies, not good in my opinion. Fresh air, new sights and sounds would do us all a world of good, especially after being cooped up sick the last week (I'm healthy, just both kids and Paul are sick) . Going to the park, the zoo, a museum, yes, yes that's it! I'm excited!

Ok, I've found my New Year's resolution: everyday, we will get out of the house. Going to a park, the zoo, a museum, counts. Going to the store or mall, doesn't. Playing in the backyard counts, after all, we did redo the landscaping and have a humongous sandpit to dig up, and grassy area to run around in, we should utilize it. The point is to get out, get moving, and have fun!