Monday, July 30, 2012

Laci's Day

On Friday, Laci and I took the day off to have a special fun day before the start of kindergarten. I'll write more about Laci starting Kindergarten later. It's a big decision for us to send her now. But right now is about her fun day.

We started off with a walk / run. I am really looking forward to the day I can take Laci with me for a run while she rides her bike. Friday was not that day. She isn't very consistent on her bike so I ended up mostly walking. Plus, we took the trail through the woods near the creek by our house. It is so pretty over there and you feel lost in nature. She was very easily distracted and we counted all the animals we saw - birds, bunnies, chipmunks and frogs. The final tally was 27!  The walk ended poorly because she said she rode her bike over a small frog. I didn't see it so I don't know if it was a frog or a leaf but she cried for a long awhile. We took a shower when we got home and she fell out of the shower and hurt her bum. It bruised up pretty bad. :(
The day got so much better. She asked Charlie to come with us to the Children's Museum. He made the right choice and came with us. How do you say no to your little girl? It was a really fun time there. It was such a different experience taking just her - she is a little older and can do some of the other activities. But dressing up is still her favorite and I think she put on every dress up and got on every thing there. It was really nice not to have to chase Calvin either and we could focus on her.
Sitting and coloring was a new addition to our Museum activities. 

She had to sit in anything that was sit-able.

And she loved anything that involved dressing up.

Dressing up and making faces was the best.

Next on the agenda was her kindergarten assessment. We have been by the school a lot. We like to play on the playground. But Laci had never been inside. So it was fun to show her around and to see the classrooms, cafeteria and gym. It is just fueling her excitement.

Finally, we hit Starbucks. Starbucks is one of our favorite mother/daughter treats. We splurged and got a muffin too. The lady next to us said she thinks the muffins are phenomenal. Phenomenal is now one of Laci's new favorite words. It turns out iPhones are just as much fun as photobooths and we spend a few minutes taking silly pictures. We ended our date with a quick trip to Kohl's for some school clothes before heading over to get Calvin. It was a good day!
Getting the chocolate off her face.

Mad Faces

Silly Faces

I think we were going for sweet faces.

Sad Faces? Or angry faces?

Surprised Faces!

Happy Faces 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Glimmers of a 5 year old...

I have one child starting the "terrible twos".  I have another one getting ready to leave them.  Don't let the name "terrible twos" fool you.  It's not just for 2 year olds.  I have compared notes with my mom friends.  Each year gets worse.  There is a consensus that age 4 may be the worse.  They don't throw tantrums with screaming and kicking.  Now they can reason, talk and cry.  But there is a glimmer of hope.  I have also heard from others that magical things happen at age 5.  Kids grow up!  They change.  They mature.  They listen.  I am eagerly waiting Laci's 5th birthday with very high expectations.  

Recently, I have seen glimmers of this maturity.  Laci has started to listen to us.  She has put away her dishes when I ask her too.  She has picked up her toys.  he picks out her clothes and gets dressed by herself.  She tried a bean Sunday night.  She even went to bed on her own the other day.  I know they are just glimmers.  I also saw her throw a tantrum because I wouldn't go to the bathroom with her the other day.  I was 10 feet away.  I thought she could handle it.  But I have hope.  We are only 2 months away from that magical 5th birthday!  I have hope.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh "Two"dles!

Calvin has been 2 for a few weeks but I haven't had a chance to write about it. Where has the time gone. It's hard to believe that my baby isn't quite a baby anymore. We only go to the baby aisle at the store for diapers and wipes. Within a year or two, we won't even need to do that.
I need to find the picture of him smiling during the singing.
Even now I sometimes hear him sing "happy birthday" to himself.
He's making that change from baby to toddler and soon little boy. He runs, jumps, dances. That boy sure loves to dance. The kitchen has become his favorite dance floor. After dinner, I often catch him singing Ring Around the Rosie and dancing around in circles. Twinkle Twinkle is another favorite. But the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog Dance is still his favorite. It's funny because just in the last few months has he started to play with his boy toys from his 1st birthday or Christmas. He loves cars and his Little People car ramp. For his birthday, my mom gave him a little trainset. He loves it but still gets pretty frustrated with it. I often find him dumping the wooden box and just sitting in the box. I still try to clean up the train tracks every day but it seems so futile because he just dumps them out the next day! He loves playing with his little figures and they all play together - Little People, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street and Princesses. I'm glad we still have all of Laci's playsets and he plays with them. She occasionally does too. Sports is still his main love. Anything with a ball. Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer. He is a mini Purdue fan. He knows who Purdue Pete is and gets excited to wear his new Purdue clothes from his grandma.
I love the look of terror on Charlie's face.  That's the look we all
have when Calvin has a tennis racket, ball or club in his hand.

Go Purdue!

The biggest change of all in the last few months has been his talking. He talks pretty well - at least to us he does. I'm so glad we had the second set of tubes put in. I can't believe the difference it made for him now that he can hear. Right now he repeats everything we say and it is so funny. He's like a little parrot. Sometimes we say funny things just to get him to repeat it. He's a sweet little boy too. The other day, I told him he can't eat his cereal in the family room and I moved it into the kitchen. He sat down and said "Okay, sorry." It was so cute. He has the sweetest little inflection when he says No too. We play this little game where I sing a song and he interrupts with "Nnooo..." For a long time, he only said no and would only nod yes. But a few days ago, he started saying "yeah" or "okay". The first time he did it, he said "yeah" so clearly, Charlie and I just looked at each other and asked "Did he say that?". Now he answers with "okay" a lot but the inflection still isn't quite right. He's figuring it all out.
We are definitely in the "terrible twos" world. I told Laci that we need to be prepared for lots of tantrums. I also warned her that it will last a few years.  We have to start disciplining. I am the world's worst discipliner so I hope I can do better this time than I did with Laci. It's hard to stay strong in a tantrum and so easy to give it. He still goes to bed early and is usually down by 7:30. I have noticed that when he is tired, the crankiness is more. But isn't that true of all of us? When I picked him up at school, his teacher told me that they are working on sharing with him and to stop screaming when he doesn't get his way. I agree that he doesn't share and he screams a lot! I told her that I have to remind myself a lot that he is TWO! She said she does that a lot too. :)
He may be a "big boy" now but he is still and always will be our Little Guy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yep - I'm that mother...

Some friends and I were talking recently about how we find ourselves using the phrase "I'm that mother" a lot.  As in, I'm that mother that allows her child to scream at the store.  Or I'm that mother who can't control their child at restaurants.  Or I'm that mother who bribes their child to be good.

When Laci was a baby, it was a pet peeve of mine to feel the down looks of those other mothers - mothers with older children or mothers with more than one child.  I always felt less of a mother because I only had an infant and they were so much wiser and experience.  I felt like they were looking down at me for those same reasons.

Well, now I am that mother.  I realize that I am not looking down on mothers of infants.  But it's more of a friendly nod.  Because I know that special secret of motherhood now.  It's a secret that I can not tell them but they will know soon enough.  I know a lot of people struggle with the change that having a newborn comes with.  But to be honest, Laci's first year of life as being a mother was the easiest.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to those easy days.  The routines.  We were so big on routines that first year and I think that is why it was easy for us.  And we were ready to make that big change of life.  But almost 5 years into, I do feel wiser.  I do feel like I have more experience.  I know that while every year brings challenges and is harder, every year keeps getting better and better as my kids grow up.

I am now that mother.  I am that mother that doesn't think anyone else can love their own children as much as I love mine.  I am that mother who doesn't think I can love my kids any more or be any more proud of them and then the next day, I do love them more.  I am that mother that knows she has a wonderful family and thanks God for them every morning and every night.  I am that mother that thinks her kids are geniuses and everything they say or do is the most wittiest, cleverest, smartest, funniest thing ever.  Or the flip side, I am that mother who wonders why nobody else seems to struggle with bedtimes.  I am that mother who wonders why nobody else seems to lose their temper with their children.  I am that mother who wonder how other children seem to behave at outings.

I now look at new mothers and I do feel like I know that special secret of motherhood.  But I can't tell them.  I think back to 5 years ago and wouldn't have believe anyone if they had told me. It's not really something you can put into words or share.  It's unique to everyone.  There is no right way or wrong to do things.  We're all just doing the best we can.  We are all doing what is best for our family.  I never knew how strong the bond was between mother and child.  And it grows stronger every day.  They are on a wonderful, exciting journey and they will figure it out themselves.  Their family will be as unique and wonderful as mine is with adventures, traditions and special moments and their own way of doing things.  And I am so happy and excited for new families.

Calvin's Tea Party

Last weekend, Laci had her first room playdate where her friend was dropped off and they played for a few hours.  She was so excited and it went really well.  The first 30 minutes was tough because Laci wanted to do everything and her friend was still checking things out.  So I pulled out a craft kit we had recently gotten.  After they got warmed up, things went great.  They got the tea party set out and had a tea party, complete with water and cereal.

Calvin clearly did not want to be left out and went and had his own tea party at the kitchen table.  Notice the empty bowl of cereal, the tea cup and if you look carefully, you will notice he is wearing Laci's dress up princess shoes.  Very classy, Calvie!

Another new fear

A few weeks ago, Charlie and I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to a thunderstorm.  Fortunately, neither of our kids have ever woken up to thunderstorms.  We suddenly heard the loudest lightning/thunder ever that shook the house.  We knew the lightning hit close and assumed maybe the golf course next door.  The next morning, Charlie came back from his run at 8:30 and said that the lightning hit one of the duplexes down the street and that duplex and half of the one next to it had burned down.  He tends to exaggerate so I walked over to be a gawky neighbor.  He warned me not to take Laci because it was still pretty bad.  I was amazed at what I saw.  The house had burned down.  The firefighters were still putting water on it to ensure it was all out.  We drove by several times that weekend.  There was a lot of activity - the homeowners were sitting with neighbors on the back patio and what was left of the house was being boarded up.  


We didn't think much of the effects of the fire for awhile.  Laci had a lot of questions - where will the people sleep, how it did happen, what about the firefighters.  We were very careful not to tell her that the fire started with lightning because we didn't want her to be afraid of storms.  It's amazing how these little minds work and how they just keep thinking.  About a week ago, we realized that the neighborhood fire has really scared her.  She is terrified of fire and her house burning down.  They had a fire drill at school so I think we may plan one for home too.  We have showed her all of the smoke detectors in the house and we point out the sprinkler systems at stores.  We talk about where the fire stations are and how to call 911.  When we walk near the houses to go to the pool, she always talks about how sad it is and asks if they will be at the pool.  

But she has still made the connection between lightning and fires.  Fortunately, we have had a few pop up thunderstorms the last few days.  My yard is thankful.  But Laci is terrified.  As soon as the sky gets dark, she attaches herself to me and doesn't leave my side.  We went to the library the other day right when it started to cloud over.  We have never made a library run so fast - in and out to avoid the storm.  No looking at the fish.  No playing with the toys.  We spend a lot of time looking at the radar assuring her that the storm will be fast.  She is not scared  of the storm.  She will tell you that.  She is scared of fire and her house burning down and now knows that lightning brings fire.  She asks lots of questions like how will the fire get inside?  If we leave the doors and window shut, will the fire stay outside?  And the hardest question of all to answer - how do I know we won't have a fire?  I can't know for sure but have faith that we won't and have faith that we will be taken care of.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chick Fil A Fridays?

I've written about Taco Bell Fridays before.  Even though we do it every single Friday night, I still look forward to it.  This Friday, Laci came up to me after school to whisper something to me.  She asked to go to Chick Fil A for dinner.  Eeks!  Change?!?  Charlie doesn't do change.  I told her that she would have to ask Daddy.  She mustered up all her courage and asked him if we could have dinner at Chick Fil A.  It was so funny watching his face.  He clearly did not want to change.  But he did for his little girl.  We had dinner voluntarily at Chick Fil A on a Friday night.  Crazy!  I know it was painful for Charlie to make a slight change.  But the kids loved Chick Fil A and ate all their dinner! 

I think I may have Taco Bell for lunch today.  :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Whoops - bad mother's intuition

Sometimes I guess wrong.  A few weeks ago, Laci had a hangnail on her thumb and it grew into a cut at her fingernail.  That should have been simple enough.  But she picks at things and it never healed.  Last weekend, I noticed that it was swollen around her thumb and didn't look too good.  My mom suggested asking a pharmacist what kind of ointment to use on it.  I never did.  The kids have check ups next week and I figured it could wait until then.  I asked Charlie to look at it a few times but he never did.  I continued to try to put antibacterial ointment on it but there was no cut or drainage.  It's just red and swollen.  Finally, Friday night he looked at her thumb.  His reaction was something along the lines of "Why haven't  you taken her to the doctor for that yet?!?!"  At this point, I noticed that her finger nail was started to come off at the base.  So Saturday morning I found myself at med check for a hangnail gone wrong.  Laci is now on an antibiotic and has an antibiotic cream.  I keep kicking myself saying this all started with a hangnail! 

Of course Laci loves the attention of a doctor or medicine and is thrilled that she got to the doctor and has not one, but two medicines! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

College: School with a bed and a desk

Tomorrow Charlie is taking the Praxis exam.  He is thinking about changing careers and right now teaching is at the top of his list.  If anyone has any other career change suggestions, shout them out now.  Anyway, he needs to pass the Praxis to get into the transition to teaching program at a university near us.  Fortunately, it is only a one year program.  I explained to Laci that tomorrow Daddy is taking this important test and I would be taking them to school in the morning.  This started an entire list of questions showing what her view of college is.

Me: "Daddy is thinking about going back to school and he needs to pass this test first."
Me: "Yes, college so he can get a new job."
Laci: "So it will just be the three of us?  Will we be able to visit him?"
Me: "What?!?"
Laci:  "Isn't college the school where you live with beds and desks?" 

I suddenly remembered how we have always explained college to her.  When she is grown up, she will go to school and live there without us. 

Me: "Yes, if you are 18 - 21.  Daddy's school is nearby so he can still live at home with us."
Laci: "He can?  Is he going to ask his teachers if he can still sleep at our house?"
Me: "Yes, we will run it by them first."
Laci: "What if they say no?"
Me:  "We'll just keep asking until they say yes.  Daddy isn't going anywhere."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Where's Calvin???

Bedtime with Calvin has always been pretty easy.  Although lately, it is starting to be a bit more challenging.  I don't know if we need to adjust the time or what but it is taking several trips back into his room every night before he is down.  We are developing some new habits - I'm not sure if they are good or not.  He is getting very picky.  His crib is now full of stuffed animals.  Not small stuffed animals, lifesize stuffed animals - Dora, Mickey and Diego.  Plus Dog, Ninny (blanket) and small Mickey.  And he has to organize them in the correct order.  And he has to have the correct pacifier.  To find the correct pacifier, he takes 5 in his crib at once.  Sucks on one, rejects it.  Sucks on the next, rejects it.  Until he finds the correct one.  If he only goes through a couple of pacis, the rest stay with him.  He has slept with all 5 pacis in his crib before.  I am not sure what he is looking for in a paci.  Then he lays down with ninny wrapped over him - don't forget his feet!

By the time he is finally asleep and everyone is in their place, his crib looks something like this.  It's getting harder to find Calvin in it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

God at Work

I love a good God at Work story.  Here is my little one of the day.  Without going into too much detail, I learned some information this week that I am worried about - some changes I need to make.  I was on the treadmill today at lunch and two people were talking about the exact same problem I have.  I did something I have never done before - I butted into the conversation and asked the lady next to me about it.  I never talk to people when I run - I'd be out of breath.  But the coincedence was too big.  Her situation is very similar to mine and it was nice to have someone to ask questions to.  I have no idea who this lady was and will probably never see her again.  But I'm sure she was put in my path today for a reason.  It was encouraging. 

Speaking of running, the reason I was running today is because I had a never discouraging run yesterday.  I ran a Fourth of July 4.5 mile run.  It was awful.  I had really been looking forward to it and had set a goal of 40 minutes.  Based on my training on the treadmill, I should have had no problems achieving that.  But it was so hot yesterday.  Even at 8 am, it was already 80 degrees out.  It was a horrible run.  I started off strong and slowly got worse.  At 3 miles in I was ready to give up and walk the rest of the way.   I walked more than I planned but at least I finished - in 42 min 30 sec.  The positive thing is that I found out that my GPS watch was very accurate and I liked using the pace feature.  The first mile was great.  While it was discouraging to see my pace slow, it never slowed as much as I thought it might.  So I ran today to make sure I would not give up on running.  And ended up with a great run (4.5 miles in 40 minutes) and full of information.  It restored my faith in running and in God-incedences.