Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

She wouldn't stick her hand inside to clean out the seeds. Notice the 6" knife sitting precariously close to the 2-year-old?

The cutest baby ladybug ever.

Two little ladybugs and a fighter pilot.

Trick or treat, smelly feet, give me something good to eat.

This has been Kate's mantra over the past few days. We watched The Great Pumpkin this afternoon to prepare for tricks or treats, and we practiced saying "trick or treat!" all day long so as to be ready. Then we got to the first house tonight, and she said: "Daddy, pit ee up!" (Daddy, pick me up.) It was very cute.

This morning she tried on her ladybug costume and roared. She planned to be a scary ladybug. She ended up being a shy ladybug, daintily picking just one piece of candy from each bucket she dipped her hands into. She even gave her Nerds back to one of the kind ladies to gave her 2 candies, much to my dismay...mmm, Nerds.

When Tim got home, he carved the pumpkin, and Kate thought that was the best thing in the world. We lit it up and put it out on the driveway looking back at us, so we could see it from the door. Kate was also able to see it from her toy room and, after she got dressed in jammies for the night, spied it from the window and screamed Hi Pumpkin! Nigh nigh pumpkin! in her adorable outdoor voice that was sure to wake the neighbors. Then she put her shoes on all by herself and took Daddy outside to say good night to it in person. She laid down next to it, and seemed to want to sleep there on the driveway. Tim quickly picked her up, lest any of those pirate or Cinderella scorpions come hunting for Halloween treats.

Our Halloween adventure lasted about 40 minutes, from getting dressed to arriving back at home after visiting all of 3 houses. Kate did a great job, though, and wasn't too scared of anyone. We also didn't run into many people. That probably helped. Claire was snug as a bug (pun intended) in my arms, although she was a little warm. It was like 75* outside. I should enjoy this, and do for the most part; I grew up having to create Halloween costumes that carried umbrellas as part of their get-up.

Hope you had a spooky Halloween! Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A new sleeping arrangement

Kate took her Saturday afternoon nap on the sofa (Daddy's the Best), and today she wanted to sleep on her floor for naptime. She played for about an hour, but then did fall asleep for about 2 hours. I think Tim will have another job this week: converting her crib to a toddler bed. My baby's growing up.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Claire the Destroyer strikes again


It wasn't me. You didn't see it happen and can't prove a thing.

Destroying Thomas' tracks.

So tired after Taz's fini flight.


Also, it is now 2:30 and the girls have been in bed (and awake) for an hour. An hour. For the love of GOD, go to sleep already!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yay, Grampa's here!

Well, not yet he isn't. But he's on his way from fire-ravaged San Diego to hang out with our rowdy bunch for the weekend. Tomorrow morning when Kate sees him, she'll say, "Yay! Grampa's here!" After she gets over her initial fright at having a stranger in the house, that is. She's a little shy at first, but warms up to people in short time.

An update on my father's situation, for those of you following at home: none of his stuff was destroyed. There was some question about his office for awhile, but that is fine as well. There's a lot of dust/ash/soot on his deck, but other than that he's good. We're all very thankful.

Kate starts soccer on Saturday. I know. Soccer for 2-year-olds. Ha! Should be entertaining. She'll get to wear her tenny-boots (her term) and run around with other kids her age, so it should be a swell time. Also, since she's off the chart height-wise, she'll probably be able to just hit the other kids and steal the ball away if she is unable to use her fancy soccer skills to do so.


Update: bummer. Grampa can't come visit afterall. They're opening up his office on Saturday to make up the fire days. Until Thanksgiving, then, dad!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Windy day for the park

We went to the park this morning for lunch and swings. There weren't any swings, and lunch got blown to the ground by gusts that seemed capable of knocking over grown people. But overall it was fun; I think we are getting there (to the easy part of parenting. There is one of those parts, right? And it's really long?). A couple of months ago, a trip to the park with the two girls and just me would stress me out like nobody's business. Now, depending on the park, it's easier. Kate is more corralable (is that even a word?), and Claire plays nicely in her stroller, so I can chase Kate when she gets out of hand or needs some help up the stairs. It's also better now that it's in the 80s, instead of the 110s, because playing in that kind of heat is just cuh-ray-zee.

I didn't bring the camera, so I have no photographic proof of the fun we had, but I trust that you will believe me anyway. I like that part of our relationship, don't you? The biggest fun was the steps, of course. Kate loves steps. She could probably go up and down steps all day long and be happy as a clam. I was pleased because she didn't fall going up and down those stairs today. And then! wait for it....she went down the slide all by herself. As in me standing on the ground and her swishing down without so much as a hand to hold. She wanted to go again and again and again and again. I finally had to drag her away from the slide so that we could go grocery shopping.

So that's been my day so far. That and a phone call to my dad to make sure all is still okay. He's still fine, is staying with friends, and so far as he knows his stuff is still solid and not ashy. Good luck, everyone in San Diego!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 2

I am guessing by your silence that you are either:
  1. Busy and have not read about my toy despair, or
  2. Do not agree with my method of fixing the situation and are trying to avoid me, all the while *tsk-tsking* me and my mothering skills.

It is day 2 of Operation Clean Up Your Toys or Else. It is also school/daycare day, so it hasn't been a good measure for how things are going. We haven't been home much yet today. (Big thank you to Camille for a lovely lunch!) But I do think that Kate knew I was unhappy with the situation yesterday, and as Tim pointed out, I don't think she likes it when I'm mad at her. She was extra sweet to me this morning. I'm not really mad at her; I'm just frustrated with the level of mess that this house has reached, and she is a big contributor. So we're working on that.

And she has ways to earn her toys back. If she gets things out and then puts them away when asked to, she will get a toy out of time-out. She's a pretty smart kid, so it will probably be Thursday morning when all of her toys have earned a pardon.

Claire is cruising now. I think that's what you call it when they walk along the furniture? Leave her at one end of the coffee table, come come back moments later, and you will find her at the other end of the table (especially if there is a beer or a remote control at the other end). She is also walking behind her push-walker by herself.


Monday, October 22, 2007

I. Have. Had. Enough.

Last week I begged for a solution to the toddler-clean-up issue. It's a new week, and things have not gotten better. It does not help matters when my husband's employer keeps him at work for 60-70 hours a week. Him not being home + messy house + toddler who won't listen = pissed off mommy.

I called my sister-in-law, Sheila, for help. She said that she has gone the route of the silent butler, and that did the trick. Kate got several chances to pick up all of her toys today, and I told her that any toys left out were going into time-out. The first time (this morning before we went to the park) it worked like a charm. She did not want her beloved books to go into time-out. This evening, it did not work. I gathered up the toys and put half on top of her bookshelf in her toy room, and the other half in the closet. She lost a lot of toys today, including both Dora dolls. Somehow I feel a little bit better right now, empowered in a way. I also feel like a Bad Mommy. I have a feeling that tomorrow when the whining begins, I will begin the self-doubt phase, and wonder if I wasn't a bit too harsh. So, note to self: you did the right thing! Don't give in! You must win this fight, either tonight or 3 years from now!

Regarding other family members: best of luck to my dad and the rest of San Diego who have evacuated their homes due to wildfires. Hope your place is still standing at the end of the week, dad!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bit of a nighmare, isn't it?

Recalls. Everyday there are recalls on toys, highchairs, car seats. Even children's clothing isn't safe. I just went through about 8 pages of babycenter's recall list, and am hopeful that we don't own anything that has excessive amounts of lead, can be taken apart by a toddler or a baby and choked on, or that can catch on fire if held under a lit match. How did our parents protect us when we were little? There was no internet to show you pages upon pages of items that were dangerous for children. Also, there were no seat belt laws. I guess we were just lucky? Are we just supposed to ban toys now?

I am not a germophobe (which isn't to say that I let my kids lick the floors, although I'm sure they have done so while I've been on the internet reading up on the latest airborne illnesses), but this latest MRSA scare has me a bit concerned. They closed down one high school here to clean it after a couple of teenagers got staph. Um, how do you clean a whole school? Books, anyone?

Deep breath.

On a different subject, I have come to realize that my girls have special abilities. Not as in Heroes-type special abilities, but interesting just the same. Claire: she is the destroyer. She can take an object, dangle it tauntingly over the side of her highchair, and drop it just as you shout noooooo! and dash in slow motion to try and save it. Almost all items end up broken, usually with a distinctive *crack* as they hit the ground. So far: a key chain that makes made several noises, a plastic plate Kate loved to eat off of, the matching cup, and various other toys. Just this morning, Kate was waiting for breakfast and started playing with those keys, and what do you know. They started working again. Crazy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Having a 2-year-old is like using a blender with the lid off

I hear Jerry Seinfeld said this. And it is so true. Take, for instance:

Kate got another birthday present in the mail today. This time it was the postman who put the box in my carport (what the hell, people? What is wrong with putting it on my porch, where I will likely trip over it as I try to juggle keys, a baby, a toddler and 2 precariously balanced bags of groceries?). Luckily there were no chocolates (is that really lucky?) that melted in the box, just wrapped goodies for Kate from her Aunt Carrie. She ran screaming around the house demanding that I open it as I tried to pay the babysitter, change Claire's diaper, put the groceries away, and not trip over toys that were scattered methodically around the house.

After I did open the box, she tore into the gifts like a starved child looking for food. She opened all of her presents (thank you, Carrie) in 3.4 seconds, and then determined that it would be a hoot to dump all the styrofoam popcorn onto the floor. I had the windows open to let the cool air in, and you guessed it. Popcorn everywhere. It's a bit windy today. Yay for me. I tried to get Kate to pick them all up (she was the one who dumped them out, after all), but she declined in not so many words.

So now I have a question for you parents out there: what do you do when your toddler refuses to help clean up? Last week she got a spanking (for a defiant "no" when I asked her nicely to pick up her puzzle), and then she didn't get to play with the toy for several days. Tim's mom used to have the silent butler come over at night and pick up any errant toys that the boys failed to put away, and that mean old butler boxed them up for a month in the garage! I am close to hiring that butler. But first, I shall pick your brains. Help me, please!

On a more pleasant note, the girls are playing nicely together, for the most part. Kate is ecstatic when her sister wakes up from her naps, and gleefully runs, shouting, into their room: "Dare's awate! Dare's awate!" She yanks all toys from her sister's hands, unless she's in a frivolous mood and then brings several toys over for her sister to chew on.

Claire is interested in shoes like her dad is interested in airplanes: she's obsessed. And she's getting fast; I must constantly roam the house for wayward flipflops, lest she get her pudgy little hands on one and start chewing on it. She is also fascinated by Starbuck, and gets all kinds of talkative when she spies him.

Kate is becoming more industrious every day. Recently I was apparently late getting her breakfast, so she helped herself to a cookie from the tupperware container on top of the counter. I was feeding McLaren at the time, and I was so amused by Kate's problem solving that I let her keep the cookie.

She came with me to the dentist today (I'm still not sure how they talked me into that. A 2-year-old. At the dentist while I got my teeth cleaned. For an hour. With nothing to do but get into every. possible. thing. in the room.). She actually did remarkably well, waiting for me. She did not let the dentist or the hygienist look into her mouth once, but she did partake of the free toys on her way out.

Also: I love going to the dentist. I know, it's weird. But I love that shiny clean feeling you get after they clean your teeth. But beware! There is a new paint-on fluoride treatment, and it sucks! Opt for the regular stuff! It's been 3 hours now, and although I've brushed my teeth with more vigor than one ought to, I still cannot get that damn stuff off all the surfaces of my teeth. Yuck.

I am so tired. Is teething a virus that is going around? I'm going to go pretend to nap, and let you get back to your afternoon. Don't forget to tell me how you deal with your toddler who won't clean up!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkins and crawling

Where's Kate?

Hold on to your shoes! Hide your breakables! Return all coffee mugs to their rightful place on top of tables and counters! Guess who's crawling? Good guess. Yes, Claire is finally getting somewhere when she gets up on all fours. For the past couple of weeks she would crawl a pace and then collapse on her belly. She got around a bit doing this (i.e., she wouldn't always be in the same place that you left her if you walked away for a bit), but now she is full up crawling. She must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. It's amazing the things kids can do after a good nap or a long nights' sleep.

Yesterday we went to Apple Annie's orchard in Willcox. Fields and fields of pumpkins! Corn! Hay rides! Sunflowers! It was wonderful. Last year we went and it was freezing (probably like 55* or something silly like that), so we were prepared this year. And of course it was 75* and I was roasting. A group of us went, including my sister and her family, and Dana and her family. Kate and Eric waited for the great pumpkin together last October, but this year they were more interested in playing in the dirt.


Remember the Great Pumpkin, Kate?

Let's go find him again!

Playing in the dirt is better than waiting for the Great Pumpkin.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who's your secret mommy crush?

The Today Show. It's a bit of a back and forth discussion every morning:

Kate: "Dora! Boots!"
Me: "Matt! Meredith!"

I always win, unless she's sick. This morning she is painting, so I have free reign over the TV. Today they discussed secret mommy crushes. The number one category was Hollywood actors. I agree: mine are probably Nick Stokes (CSI:) and Jack Carter (Eureka). Who are your secret mommy crushes? I promise not to tell.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Belgium has won

I bought my waffle iron a decade ago at a garage sale. It was brand new, and it cost $5. Over the past year, the griddles have started to become sticky, and I cannot get the stick off. And even though I add oil to the batter and/or the griddle itself, the first waffle (and sometimes more) sticks to the iron, and I end up with this:

Little bits of waffle, scraped off the pan in tiny chunks. The waffles still taste fine, but they don't have that nice square, in-one-piece appearance that most people prefer. Yesterday I made waffles and Every! Single! One! of those damned things stuck to the griddle. I have put off buying a new waffle iron mostly because I am cheap, and also because the majority of waffle irons in stores today are of the Belgian sort. Big squares. I don't really want Big Squares. I want normal, tiny-squared, in-one-piece waffles. So I am here to announce that Belgium has won, and I will be purchasing a new waffle iron. Pllllllb.

On the topic of Halloween. Is this not the cutest? Foot ghosts! Love.

Also: it is no longer fall. I was wrong. It was a temporary nip that was in the air. Today it will be 95*, and there is enough humidity that the swamp cooler isn't working. On the up side, it is mid-October and we are still swimming in the pool.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's FALL!!

I woke up this morning to find a chilly house, and a cold kitty whining to come inside. It was 44* in our backyard (and probably all over Tucson)! Fall is here.

Autumn is my favorite favorite season. College football. Brisk mornings and nights that beg for warm drinks such as Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. Good running weather. Leaves, changing from green to gold to orange to red, falling gracefully from the trees. In Seattle, fall meant you had to dress in layers for that Husky game: start out with a t-shirt because the sun would warm you, and bring a thick sweatshirt (or rain slicker) for when the sun dipped below the Olympic mountains and left you shivering. It meant chilly sailing weather, the kind where you came back from racing with numb fingers and a red nose.

My sister got married in October, several years ago, and we got to attend. It was up in the mountains of eastern Arizona, in Greer.

I had never seen such a vibrant shade of yellow. I keep hoping that we'll make it back up to Greer before we leave Arizona, but I'm not sure that will happen. Camping with 2 kids would be a fun trick, huh?

Full sails in Maine.

Yreka, CA.

Claire is cozy in her Ducks outfit.

Kate learns to paint.

Last night Tim and I went to see The Kingdom. It was really good! We rarely go to movies; after paying the babysitter and adding on the dinner tab, it usually costs about $100 for an evening out. A hundred dollars! And it was even a jeans kind of date. But we really liked the movie, and the sushi beforehand was awesome.

Next weekend is a trip to Apple Annie's orchard to find the Great Pumpkin. Until then, bundle up out there! It's nippy.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kate's 2 year photos

Here's a sampling of Kate's 2 year photos. My favorite is the first one. Which one do you like best?

Friday, October 05, 2007

That cat

Every time it crosses my mind that it wouldn't be so very difficult to give the cat away, he does something to save himself from a life in a new home.

Over the weekend, it was Kate chasing him around the living room, trying to catch him so she could squeeze his jowls and say "chubby cheeks! chubby cheeks!". And she did catch him, and he let her do that to him. It was hysterical, and mind-boggling that he didn't bite her hands off.

Yesterday I got a new spray bottle for Starbuck. He has been naughty enough lately to warrant a new one. I filled it with water so it would be ready when he bit Kate or me again. Kate immediately found this new toy after her nap, and began chasing Starbuck around the living room with it. Again, he exhibited more patience than I sometimes have for her, and just matted down his ears and scowled at her.
Today he let several kids lay on him/pull his tail/hit him with dolls. So, bitey as he can be sometimes, I think he is also smart enough to know when I've reached my boiling point. Lucky him.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Random stuff, and stealing from other bloggers

I had a nice pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks this morning, and am feeling on top of the world. It's amazing how a nice cup of joe can do that for you, isn't it?

So apparently today is National De-Lurking Day (thank you, Katie, for letting us know about this important day of tribute! No lurking on this blog! If you visit, leave a comment!). The things people come up with... But she got some fun comments as a result of her post, so I'm going to steal borrow her idea, in hopes that if you are visiting you will leave a comment. She asked her readers where they would live, if they could choose just one place. Money was no factor, of course! I couldn't answer her question without listing several places I would find ideal, but I s'pose I could narrow it down to 3:
  1. Boise, Idaho
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Queenstown, New Zealand

I love all three places, and hope that some day we will be so lucky as to live in one! I am pretty sure that Tim feels the same way about these cities, so at least I have that going for me. I especially would like 4 distinct seasons, mountains, and water close by. Good weather would be nice, but as you can see by numbers 2 and 3 above, that is not necessarily a deciding factor.

Now, on to my own question. What is your great love of the moment? What thing have you just now discovered and you can't live without it, or what thing is on your TRULUV4EVA list even though it's so last year? As usual, I cannot come up with just one thing. Damn. So here's my list:

  • Johnson & Johnson's Vapor Bath for Babies (thank you, Carrie!)

  • my loaner car for the day: an Acura MDX, brand new. The steering wheel moves away from me when I turn the engine off, to allow me more room to get out. There is even one of those cameras that allow you to see behind you when you're in reverse. And it has that new car smell, which is So Different from that 2 carseats in the back/stale cheerios/is there spilt milk somewhere in here? smell. All I want to do is zip around town with the music turned up and the sunroof open. But I have no carseats, so I will be staying home, glancing forlornly at my vehicle that will turn back into a pumpkin tonight at 5pm.

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks!

  • Flat Earth chips:

  • Razzberry M&Ms

  • Naps. I never get them, but I am so in love with them.

  • Syrah. Love.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SO big

Who's the princess?

I almost forgot to post the results of Kate's 2-year well-baby visit. I guess they probably call them pediatrician visits now. Anyway, the measuring tape confirmed my suspicions: Kate is really Really tall.

height: 37" (off the chart for her age, again)
weight: 31 pounds (92nd percentile)

Claire also got weighed and measured (8mo):

height: 27" (64th percentile)
weight: 18 pounds 14 ounces (70th percentile)