Monday, June 30, 2008

Hello, Scotland!

Hi, Grandma!!! Hi, Grandpa!!! We have to shout so you can hear us all the way in Scotland.

Yesterday, we saw the movie WALL-E. We really, really liked it. Now we run around pretending to be Walle and Eve. In the movie, Walle keeps trying to hold hands with Eve, so that's what we do. We hold hands everywhere.

The nice people at the movie theatre gave us these blue watches that have Walle and Eve on them. Ian wears his all the time.

This morning Mommy had us play in the backyard as soon as Daddy went to work. It was already hot out, so we put the tents up for some shade.

We needed a tunnel to ride our scooter and trike through, so we moved the tents to the patio.

Like everyday, Ian checks for edible strawberries. No luck, the birds got to them first.

Mommy said we looked red, so we had to go inside and cool down. Some cold drinks do the trick.

Of course, popsicles make us cold faster!

We know you're having a great time in Scotland. We miss you. Sending you hugs and kisses! Love from Ian and Laurel.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Hooray, Paul is back home from his trip to Austin. But, Grandma Ann and Papa Dave are still on holiday in Scotland. I have not done as great a job as hoped to post pictures of Ian and Laurel. We have just been so busy.

One thing that takes a bit of time is the garden. We planted a variety of sunflowers, corn, carrots, sugar snap peas (already taken out), zinnias, cosmos, moss rose, marigolds, and something somewhat small with dainty white flowers I no longer remember the name to.

It's starting to look rather spent, the hot June heat is just too much for some of the plants,

although the sunflowers seem to still be doing well.

The birds sure love them, especially these feral peach-faced lovebirds.

I'm getting used to being a taxi taking Ian to preschool two days a week, and Laurel to a tot class one day. We've also participated in a kids' club at the mall and gone to the dinosaur museum yet again. But the highlight this week has to be going to the circus.

Ian and Laurel were both very unsure of it at first. We briefly went to the preshow activities, but the weird looking people, sparkly outfits, and loud music were overwhelming for our first timers.

Riding the escalator up to the level where our seats are, definitely helped the kids relax. To them, it's a fun amusement park ride.

Ian and Laurel feel safe in their seats, far away from the entertainers, yet close enough to watch, be amazed and laugh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


A quick post for vacationing grandparents who are missing their bambinos, and for a certain Daddy (aka Tickle Monster) who is away on business. The kids are keeping busy (and therefore, me too)...

Outside by 8:00 a.m., it's already 90 F! Ian loves this huge beach ball.

Of course, there's nothing more relaxing than a ride in a boat.

Monkey see, monkey do...

Silly, Ian. The scooter might work better on a different surface.

While Ian's at preschool, Laurel is pleased to get the playdough all to herself.

I give you Princess Laurel. Laurel summons her fairy godmother...

"Make a wish!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Natural Consequences Suck

While eating at the table, Ian tends to be a bit, um, wiggly, to put it mildly. Paul and I find ourselves constantly reminding him to sit still in the middle of his chair. We reposition him, and for about a minute he will be fine. All too soon, Ian scooches toward the edge of the chair, dangles and kicks his feet, stands up, sits down, and generally keeps in a constant motion.

Unfortunately, such behavior can't go long without undesirable consequences. During lunch, Ian again is wiggly and begins pushing and pulling his chair in and out from the table. Just as I reach to reposition him, the chair slips out from under his body. With a loud smack, Ian's face hits the edge of the table and he falls to the ground. Screams of pain immediately follow.

I scoop him up and quickly inspect his injuries. There's a scrape just under his nose and swelling already showing signs of bruising stretching from his right cheek to his upper lip. It's obviously very painful, and I do my best to console him. Tons of hugs, a band-aid, and a cold paper towel finally do the trick.

Falling is a natural consequence children learn from. It's a physics lesson and behavior modification at the same time. But part of me can't help but wonder if I couldn't have done more to prevent this accident. As I type this post, it dawns on me that I could have used a logical consequence to change his behavior. Whenever he gets squirmy, I should take his chair away and let him stand while eating. Of course, he may still be in constant motion. I guess a follow up consequence would then be time out.

I don't expect him to sit perfectly still while we eat. He is, after all, an energy exuding four year old. But he does need to be safe. There's no fine line as to when the wiggles become dangerous, but I should try to help him learn appropriate "manners" while sitting at the dinner table. Obviously, when he's sliding his chair in and out of the table, it's a safety issue, and a consequence would be apropos.

There's quite a learning curve while doing this parenting gig. I try to keep my children safe, help them learn about their world, teach them manners and how to contribute in our little circle of family and friends. But sometimes the lessons come naturally and painfully. Ian marches on after this afflictive experience, and hopefully a little wiser.

Here are a few pictures of my brave wee man. No, they're not with his boo-boos, I just can't bring myself to take pictures of his wounds. But here are some from his first day of preschool a few weeks ago:

Ian gives and receives a goodbye hug from Daddy.

"Let's go!"

Ian and I arrive a few minutes early to help him get used to his new surroundings. There's a center of seashells and buried treasure to explore.

The Kermit crabs pique his curiousity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Laurel's First Hair Cut

Laurel's two and a half. I finally decide to take her in for her first haircut.

Paul did not really want me to cut it. He says her hair is beautiful, and it is. I think he is afraid I'll have the hairstylist hack it off. Fear not dear hubby, I love to put Laurel's hair into ponytails, so most of the length will stay.

I don't dare cut Laurel's hair myself. The last time I tried, it was a disaster. I only attempted to give her some bangs to get the hair out of her eyes. The first snip was crooked. Of course I tried to even it out, but again, it was crooked in the opposite direction. It kept getting shorter and shorter, and finally I had to just stop before it looked like she had a buzz cut. Lesson learned, I cannot cut hair.

Reading the newspaper, I come across an article about kid centered salons. Bingo! So today, we head to a place called Lollilocks. Whimsical describes it perfectly. We walk through the door, and Laurel immediately runs to the different chairs you can sit in. They look like those rocking rides at parks. A tough decision, but finally Laurel chooses the dinosaur chair.

First a bit of water to get the hair wet. No tears, but Laurel is obviously not a fan of the squirt bottle.

Hair is wet, Laurel is still, we're ready for that first clip. Hold your breath...SNIP.

Of course, sitting still is quite a challenge for a toddler. After a while, you just have to wiggle and look around.

Not to fear, a lollipop will save the day. I hold the lolly and ask Laurel to tell me its colors. She is still an entire two more minutes while the stylist quickly tries to finish cutting Laurel's hair.

But alas, the wrapped lollipop no longer holds Laurel's interest, and she loves to look in the mirror at what's going on.

Ah, finally, the reward... a lolly of course!

Did Laurel like getting her hair cut? I would say, YES!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Look Who's Four

Ian, you're four years old. Your father and I will need some time to get use to that fact. It still seems like yesterday you were born.

In honor of your fourth birthday, I write four things I adore about you:
  • You still need to hold something soft when having a big drink of something, whether it be milk, juice, or water. Usually, you hold the bottom hem of your t-shirt, it's always there for you.
  • Most of your playtime is spent redesigning your train track and making up stories as you push your engines and train cars along.
  • You love an opportunity to cut things up with scissors. You spent a great deal of your birthday party time cutting out the details of your crown. You also love to cut things out of magazines, especially cars and trucks, and possible toys you may get for special events like your birthday and Christmas. Somehow, we've lucked out, and you've only cut your hair once.
  • You are a collector. You are currently trying to get all available diecast characters from the movie Cars. You are also trying to get all engines, train cars, train sets, and other miscellaneous characters from the wooden Thomas railway. The mini brochures that come with the packaging of said products are wrinkled and torn from hours of you perusing what you still need.
Little man, we love you.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Childhood Fantasies Intermingled with Nasty Truths

Laurel and Ian love the Disney movie Peter Pan. This week, Paul is on vacation, so he's seeing it in greater detail. They've already watched it twice this week. The obsession with Peter Pan goes beyond viewing it on a television set. Ian loves the song that plays when the Crocodile shows up to chase Captain Hook, and I have to sing/hum it for him at least three times a day.

And whenever we are eating, the kids ask for me to tell a story that includes themselves as characters. It usually starts with a request from Laurel, "Mommy, I want a story of me and Ian sleeping and Peter Pan and Tinker Bell coming to our rooms."

With a deep breath, I begin the tale. "One night, Laurel and Ian are sleeping soundly in their beds. A breeze blows on them as Peter Pan and Tinker Bell fly over them. Peter Pan whispers, 'Wake up, Laurel, wake up, Ian.'"

The story continues almost verbatim to the Disney movie since I have not read the novel yet, although I have recently purchased a copy. One big difference I make in my story telling, is incorporating Paul and myself into the story. Heck, I want to visit Neverland too!

This last month, Paul has had to work some really long days, often getting home after the children have already gone to bed, capped by a week long business trip to Las Vegas. Obviously, his absence is on their minds and concerns them, for they do miss him when he's not around. This became especially apparent in one retelling this week of our family's version of Peter Pan.

ME: When Laurel and Ian open their eyes, they see Peter Pan and Tinker Bell flying in their rooms. Peter Pan says, "Hi, would you guys like to go to Neverland with Tink and me?"

Both Ian and Laurel say, "Oh yes, oh yes, but we need to get Mommy and Daddy first."

So they go and climb into their Mommy and Daddy's bed and ask, "Mommy, Daddy, can we all go to Neverland with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell?" So Mommy, Daddy, Ian, and Laurel all fly to Neverland with Peter and Tinker Bell.

IAN: No, Daddy can't go. He has to work late.