Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Girls' Day

Today, Ian went to the mountains with Grandma and Papa to visit Great Grandma Eva. Paul works today, leaving Laurel and I to do as we pleased. Laurel's first request was to watch Teletubbies. This was a treat since Ian typically vetoes it when we chose a program to watch.


Laurel's next request was to paint, so I had her make some birthday cards for us to give beloved family members. We have lots of birthdays to celebrate in March and April.





Some lunch, a nap, and then we were ready to dress up. Laurel received a trunk full of princess outfits and accessories for Christmas. She loves to put on the jewelry, but had yet to wear an outfit. I decided to put on one of my fancy dresses, hoping she would follow suit. It worked! Isn't she beautiful?



Afterwards, she must have felt that she needed to prove she isn't a girly girl, so she grabbed the toy toolbox and set to work fixing the front door.


We ended our day by taking a walk around the block. She loves to wear Ian's Mickey Mouse Ears. It's so funny that she knows who Mickey Mouse is, but has only seen him in a show once about a year ago. Once she has her hat on, she grabs my keys and is ready to go.









Along the way, we have to stop and smell the wildflowers.






I love to watch her try to balance on the edge of the sidewalk, treating it almost like a balance beam.



A tradition on our walking trips, is for Ian and Laurel to bang every passed street light with their hands. Today proved no different.





Laurel, thank you for a wonderful day full of memories.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Independence on His Own Terms

Do you ever pause a moment and think, "How did we get here?"

I'm in the kitchen heating a can of soup, when I hear Ian bark an order to Laurel. "Laurel, read a book to me!"

"Okay, Ian."

Her sweet voice comes from the bathroom. My curiosity piqued, I walk to the room in question. There they are, Ian on the toilet and Laurel reading to him. Ian's patience with his sister's attempt at reading expires, and he grabs a book of his own. It's a sweet moment, one that I must capture on camera.



Then the thought occurs to me, "Weren't we battling potty training with Ian just yesterday?"

No, it wasn't yesterday, but last October when I was quite discouraged. It was our second attempt at helping him gain more independence from diapers, but he was still not ready. Paul and I decided to put the potty training on hold until Ian showed he was ready and would take the lead.

That day came. The Friday before Christmas, as I removed Ian's nighttime diaper, he informs me, "Mommy, I want to wear underwear."

A bit leery of him possibly not having any follow through, and me having to clean several more accidents, I hesitate before I respond. I tell myself to have faith in my child. I smile up at him and say, "Ok, Honey. Run up to your room and go grab a pair."

I can still hear his footsteps as he excitedly ran up the stairs and into his room.

Paul and I were a bit apprehensive about the timing of starting the pottying process since there were a couple of family parties to attend and my three nieces were coming over to spend a couple of days and nights with us. We didn't want to use diapers or Pull Ups at all since they seemed to only be a crutch and hinder any success. Underwear it was, and we let Ian take the lead.

Ian has not worn a diaper since that day, not even for naps or nighttime sleeping. I think maybe the first three mornings he woke up soaked, but none since. There has been an occasional accident during the day, but only little trickles where he caught himself and ran to the bathroom.

We still remind him to use the bathroom, especially before car trips and bedtime. He has yet to learn how to keep his pants on while sitting on the toilet and how to wipe himself clean, things only essential for starting preschool next year. But man, oh man, he is diaper free! Oh how proud we are of our little man!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sick



Ian has passed his cold on to Laurel and Paul. Runny, red noses and deep wet coughs, just lovely stuff. They are all miserable. Somehow I have managed to ellude this virus so far. Paul thinks I have a superior immune system thanks to eleven years of exposure while teaching.




Poor guys. You know they're sick when they refuse to eat cookies and ice cream. It's heart breaking, absolutely heart breaking.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Setting Limits


See this picture? Ian is extremely sad. But, aha, he's getting a lesson in planning ahead.

We are at a park having a picnic. Both Ian and Laurel are eager to finish eating so they can attack the playground equipment. Ian declares, "I'm finished."

His sandwich is only half eaten, and he has barely touched his carrots or chips. Paul and I comment, "Ian, you will not be able to eat later, so you must finish your lunch now. Do you understand?"

"I understand, I'm done. I want to go play."

I really don't want to argue with him and force him to eat, so I view this as a learning opportunity. We allow Ian to make this choice, and off he heads towards the playground. Laurel is soon in hot pursuit, but being a faster eater, she has already consumed twice as much as Ian.

The two of them have a great time running, climbing and sliding. All too soon, it is time to head home. As we load our little family into the van, Ian asks, "Mommy, can I eat the rest of my lunch now?"

I cringe as I hear the inevitable. Sadly, I respond, "No, Ian. We already ate lunch, but you can drink your water."

"No, mommy, I want to eat my lunch!"

His voice starts to go up an octave, and his breathing gets heavier.

"I'm sorry Ian, lunch time is over." And with that, we buckle up the the kids and drive home. Ian's cries for food continues. Paul and I try our best to not respond. Many thoughts cross my mind about being a bad parent because I am starving my child. As doubt sets in, I look to Paul for reassurance. He looks at me and shakes his head. I take this to mean I should not give in.

Ian continues to cry for about five minutes, and then relaxes. We start to talk about the fun things we did that day and sing some songs. The moment has passed, but hopefully the lesson has stuck. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cough, Achoo, I Love You

My poor wee man has a Valentine's Day cold. Watery eyes, runny nose, and lots of coughing encompass his world today. Sometimes he tries playing with this beloved cars and trains, but he lacks the energy to pursue his imaginary worlds for longer than 10 minutes. After two minutes of trying to make a Valentine's Day Card, Ian announces he is finished. We read, and read, and read, but now it is only DVD's he asks for. We already watched Toy Story, and have just started Cars. I really, really hate to even complete one movie in a day, and here we are starting movie number two. Sigh.

So here I am, asking you wonderful parents and caregivers of the blogosphere what you do to entertain your children when they are sick. Books, drawing/crafts, TV, and sleep aside, what else entertains your children when they are feeling under the weather?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Crafting and Snow Fun Weekend

We had a fun packed weekend. Saturday, the kids made Valentine's Day crafts at the Arizona Youth Museum. You know it's a good time when there's paint and glitter glue involved. Laurel and Ian got to make placemats, heart shaped finger puppets, flowers, and a couple heart posters.















Surrounded with fun art activities, and what draws their attention? The magnetic letters on the white board of course!












Sunday, we drove up to Flagstaff. After a three hour drive, we reach our destination and get to play in the...









SNOW!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Chair Fun

Screech. Screeeech. SCREEEEEECH!

I pause from loading the dishwasher and find Laurel dragging the chairs around the dining table. They resist against the tile floor and complain quite loudly.

"Aw, Laurel, are you redecorating the eating area?" I comment.

Too busy to answer, she continues moving the chairs around. SCREEEEEEEEEEECH! SCREECH! SCREECH!

All the chairs are now corralled together on one side of the room. She squeezes her little body between them and climbs onto the one in the middle. Proudly she sits there, looking between the slats of the chair.



Paul walks over to observe our little criminal. "Laurel, you're in jail!" we both laugh.

"I in jail." Giggle, giggle. "Mommy, Daddy, I in jail." Giggle, giggle.

She plays a bit, sitting in different positions, getting up on her knees to look over the top of the chair, of course then standing. "No, Laurel. Sit in the chair," both Paul and I chime.

Quickly she sits and places her hands through all the openings between the chair's slats. Laurel again tries sitting different ways and directions. Then, in the blink of an eye, the novelty wears off, and she escapes.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cupcake Craze

I love to bake. There's something very therapeutic about mixing some ingredients together, watching them rise and bake, sometimes adding some frosting or, joy of all joys, adding sprinkles, and then tasting the hopefully deliciously sweet results.

So far, I've limited myself to cookies, brownies and other bars, and boxed cake mixes. It just wasn't enough. Suddenly, I found myself searching Google for cake recipes, you know, the ones from scratch. In my search, I kept coming across dedicated cupcake blogs. The thought of making already individually prepared little cakes, each one perfectly frosted, is intriguing. Oh yes, I am hooked.

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I find myself craving strawberries, thus the search for the perfect strawberry cupcake and frosting began. As we know in our internet searches, there are so many sites to choose from. Well after much skimming and head spinning, I finally decide upon a recipe that makes the cupcake and frosting using fresh strawberries.

Recently, I've become obsessed with the idea of using cake decorating tips. I love the pretty swirls that adorn the cupcakes I see at the supermarket. Without much knowledge on the subject, I blindly purchase a tip. My husband later informs me I should have also purchased a tip coupler. Oh well, I decide to pop the tip into the cut corner of a Ziploc bag and just go for it.

Here's the end result:



Pretty, but alas, only okay tasting. The frosting is much too sweet. I kept adding more and more confectioner's sugar, trying to thicken the consistency so I could pipe it. Sigh. The cake itself is more like a muffin, kind of heavy. Hmmm, perhaps I'll try a different recipe. So many recipes, so little time. Happy baking!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Intuition

I've recently joined a Mom's Club, and tonight we are having a Discipline Forum. Purse and keys in hand, I say goodbye to Ian and give him a hug and a kiss.

"Mommy, where are you going?" he inquires.

"I'm going to talk with some other mommies about our children."

Plainly, he states, "Oh, are their kids not doing what they say either?"

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl Sunday

Our little family actually watched the Superbowl.

Laurel's perspective of football as she watches a tackle: Mommy, they giving hugs! Then she smiles sweetly, jumps up and down and giggles.

Ian's perspective of the same tackle: Ah, ah, aaaahhhh, they bump into each other and roll around. Aaaahhhhh! Then he runs off, throws himself to the ground and rolls around, screaming the entire time. I feel lucky he didn't include Laurel in his replay.

Two different kids, two very different perspectives.