Monday, October 31, 2011

New Thing #60: Boo! A Hallowe'en-derful day!

Happy Hallowe'en! 
I just figured out how to make the fonts look different! What a day! Okay, fine, let's get into what we got into today.

Since this was LP2's first Hallowe'en and the first time LP1 has really gotten into it, I figured we should make good use of the day. And get our money's worth out of their costumes, too. Today was a day to Make the Rounds and show off their costumes. And who better to show them off to than some of the people who love them the most?

I made some calls this morning and it wasn't long before we were off. First up on the list was Grammy. We met her at her office and she took us on a tour to meet some of her work friends. The LP were delighted to see Grammy and were bouncing up and down to tell her their (in the case of LP2, incomprehensible) stories. Everyone in the office had been given candy by the Health & Wellness Team and as a result, they were all-too happy to give some to our little butterfly and shark. LP1 soon caught on to everyone's willingness to give her a treat and it wasn't long before she would just approach a desk, smile broadly at whomever was sitting at it and hold out her hand. She was rewarded every time. I'm happy to report that most times she also remembered her manners, too.

Not a bad haul for a half-hour's work! Thank you to all the ladies in Grammy's office who so willingly parted with their treats...particularly the Coffee Crisp...uh...not that I ate it or anything.

We said goodbye to Grammy, clutching our bag of treats and made our way over to say hello to Daddy. We don't often visit Daddy at work but the LP love it when we do. LP1 immediately demands that we "bring me my numbers!" as soon as we walk in the door. She's not attempting to balance the budget but rather sit in Daddy's chair and play with the calculator. She also enjoys writing him notes and drawing on her fingernails with highlighter. LP2 sat with Daddy and had a bottle. I got the most gorgeous picture of the two of them. I think this will be one that comes with me when I go back to work, provided I remember to print a copy.We didn't stay too long with Daddy...just long enough to cause some chaos.

Next up would have been Grandad and Nan but we've made plans to see them later this week as they've got what is turning out to be the family cold in their house. We were headed to go see Grandpa when I suddenly found us at the tail end of a police chase that had been going on all morning. For real. I knew something was odd when I saw two cruisers parked on the highway overpass I needed to take to get onto the highway. As we got on the highway, a police SUV came roaring up behind me. I had that thrill of fear you get when you think you're being pulled over but when I moved over, it continued to roar past us. I could see flashing lights ahead of us and the traffic was abnormally slow for midmorning. A news report came on the radio, explaining that the police had been chasing a stolen truck all morning. The reporter was giving a live report, explaining where the truck was...and it was just ahead of us! There were unmarked police cars around us. I was pretty sure I knew which ones were the unmarked cars and my suspicions were confirmed when they suddenly pulled over a car that was driving extremely aggressively just in front of us. I was relieved that they had pulled that car over because I was starting to plan how I could get away from this driver before he got us all into an accident. I don't get out much, so this was the most interesting car ride I'd had in a long time. By the time we got to Grandpa and Grammy's house, I could barely sit still.

The LP, on the other hand, were so excited by it all that they had fallen asleep. LP1 awoke when I opened her door and immediately wanted to get out of her carseat and into her costume to show Grandpa. LP2 continued to sleep. I brought his seat into the house and he slept for at least another 45 minutes. Eventually he woke up, too and was just as happy to see Grandpa. The LP had lunch and soon had Grandpa doing their bidding, from fetching toys to going outside to investigate things. Oh and yes, they also got him to open something else for them, too...

It took little persuasion to get Grandpa to crack open the bowl of candy for later that night. It also took little persuasion for me to eat roughly 1/4 of the chocolate in this bowl. Thank you, Grammy and Grandpa for the Coffee Crisp(s). And the KitKat. And the Smarties. And the Aero bars. Okay, and the Mr. Big, too. Here we can see LP2 going for the grab-whatever-you-can technique. HANDS OFF THE COFFEE CRISP!

After awhile it was time to leave. The LP were getting tired. We came home and once they stopped fighting it, both of them went down for naps. I broke my "NEVER WAKE THE LP" rule and opened their doors and made lots of noise after they had been sleeping for only an hour. We had to eat dinner before trick-or-treating and I knew Auntie K and Uncle L were coming over for a visit. The LP were also happy to see their auntie and uncle, although LP1 was a little melty-downy due to being so tired.

Once Daddy was home, it was time to head out for some trick-or-treating. Off they went with Daddy to the first house. LP1 knocked on the door and then promptly ran inside. She's used to doing that because most of the time, when we go to someone's house, it is someone we know. She got inside the neighbour's house, realized she had no idea where she was and let out a mighty wail. It took a little while after that for her to regain her enthusiasm for trick-or-treating. Daddy and I had to switch it up so that I took the LP and he stayed home to distribute candy - normally we do it the other way. LP2 on the other hand, had no idea what was going on but was happy to sit in the ninky nonk (aka the wagon) and throw candy around. I think he also liked seeing other kids in costume.

After we had done a few houses, the LP had had enough. We returned home and all of us gave out candy for a bit before leaving to go see our friends D and T and their kids. LP1 was especially happy to see her friend B there. They ran around and played while Daddy and I had a hops and barley beverage with our friends. When it became obvious that the LP were worn out, we left. Putting them to bed has never been easier. Down they went with nary a fuss.

Today was probably a long day for the LP but they were, for the most part, their happy selves. They willingly let me change them into and out of their costumes several times today. They had enough sugar and junk to last them several weeks. They were taken from place to place to place and yet through it all, they had giant grins. I would say that this Hallowe'en New Thing was a definite success. I would also say that I am glad it is only once a year!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Thing #59: Just another reason why I seriously dislike birds.

So...I didn't get to posting on Thursday (mainly because we didn't do anything, more on that in a moment) but I'm determined to get Friday's New Thing posted. Technically, as I write this, it is actually very early Saturday morning. Are we really going to argue over technicalities after all we've been through? Surely not.

We didn't get to our New Thing on Thursday for a variety of reasons. The LP had a half-day at daycare in the morning. Once I picked them up and brought them home, they were exhausted and clearly needed naps. LP1 went down like a ton of bricks but LP2 was a little more resistant. I was watching him on the baby monitor. He was sitting up in his crib, looking around his room. As I watched him, I started wondering what he was looking at so intently...and then I realized he had fallen asleep sitting up! It was absolutely adorable to see this little guy, sitting up, hands on his lap, sound asleep. He startled himself awake and resumed looking around until he fell asleep again. Eventually....TIMBER! Down he fell, onto his side and down he stayed for the next three hours. See what I mean about being tired? LP1 lasted about an hour and a half for her nap. We chilled out together until LP2 finally woke up. By that time, we were nearing get-ready-for-dinner-time and the activity I had planned just didn't work. So I scrapped it. Sometimes it is easier to let the New Thing go, rather than try to force it into the day.

The LP had another half-day at daycare today to make up for the one they missed on Tuesday. LP1 had a nap when we came  home but LP2 decided napping was not on his agenda today. Shortly after LP1 awoke, Auntie K came over. Today was sunny but cool. We bundled the LP into warm fall sweaters and headed into the front yard.

Oh look - the Mexican birdfeeder is still in the tree! It remains untouched by any neighbourhood wildlife and Daddy still hasn't noticed it yet. So it shall remain in the tree until it either disintegrates or Daddy looks out the window and says "what the hell is stuck in our tree?"

We weren't out to ruin more tacos today. Nor were we going to make some elaborate craft. Instead, we were going to throw birdseed on the lawn. Yes, you read that correctly. I've given up on making a birdfeeder or some other Martha Stewart-esque elaborately crafted way of feeding birds. I decided that we were just going to throw the seed all over the lawn and see what happened.

Auntie K and I bought some wild birdseed at the Bulk Barn yesterday. It was fourteen cents a pound. There was exotic birdseed for thirty four cents per pound but I'm not out to subsidize birds, so I cheaped out.

I explained to the LP what we were doing and they were immediately on board with this plan. I threw the first handful of birdseed into the air and like seagulls to a french fry in a parking lot, they were at my side. LP1 was joyfully showering the lawn. I put some in LP2's hand and helped him throw it. He found this to be incredibly amusing. Soon all of us were getting into it and the front lawn was covered with birdseed.

Here birdie birdie birdie! Come get some wild birdseed!

LP2 and I also put some seed in the bird feeder hanging in the same tree as the Mexican birdfeeder (the previous owners of our house had left it there, do you really think we're the kind of people organized enough to purchase and hang any kind of bird feeding device?). When the food ran out, Auntie K and I took pictures of the LP as they played in the front yard. As we were on the driveway, she was suddenly overtaken by inspiration and ran into the house for some chalk. When she returned, she had LP1 lay on the driveway and she drew a crown above LP1's head. Genius. Next she drew a tail on the driveway and we had LP2 sit down so it looked like he had suddenly sprouted a tail. Super genius. We managed to get a few pictures before they squirmed away. Auntie K drew conversation bubbles with words but getting a picture was tough. She was next pressed into making a hopscotch um...court? field? square? What do you call it? This is why I can't write late at night. I can't think. Anyway, she drew a hopscotch thingy and took turns playing with LP1.

LP2 was intrigued by the different foliage in the front yard and spent some time playing with leaves and pulling up weeds. LP1 wandered over and did her customary hug-a-tree routine (I've never seen a kid hug trees as much as LP1 does) before she found a stick and started hitting an evergreen shrub with it, claiming she was "gardening". After attempting to climb a tree and telling Auntie K "this is too difficult",  I was getting chilly and decided it was time to head in. I'm a total wimp and spoiler of afternoon outdoors time. I fully admit that. 

We spent the rest of Auntie K's visit playing inside and forcing her to read books and magazines and flyers. My dreams of birds landing on the lawn to eagerly eat up this buffet of free food have yet to be realized. I haven't seen a single bird check out our spread. I'm starting to think it must be us. Have we been deemed a "no eating zone" by some bird union? WHY WON'T THEY EAT ANYTHING WE PUT OUT FOR THEM??! Is it the wild birdseed? Are they picky eaters? What is up with that?!

I am now going to spend the rest of the weekend surreptitiously peering out the front windows in search of birds. I hope whatever  you get up to this weekend, it is more exciting than Birdwatch '11.

Yeah, the hopscotch thing only goes to 5. It was still fun, though. What do you call it? Now it is driving me crazy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Thing #58: "I'll take "Hodgepodge" for 200, Alex"

Back in the time BLP (before Little People), I used to like watching "Jeopardy" (hey, I've never claimed to be anything but a total nerd) each night. Nowadays, it is a great rarity when I catch it. I don't mind - my life is definitely fuller and better for having less TV in it. One of my favourite categories on there was "Hodgepodge". You just never knew what kind of clue would come up. Such a mystery! Yet the best kind of that didn't remain unknown for long.

I am calling today's New Thing "Hodgepodge"...mostly because I didn't really have anything planned. Today was our third day of staying home and keeping things low-key. It was a cold, damp and rainy day out. The LP are on the mend and definitely recovering but I still felt that we needed another day at home, particularly since they are supposed to return to their half-day at daycare tomorrow. I thought of a few things to do but really, I had nothing. So I decided we would just do whatever we felt like doing and leave it at that.

We started out with banana pancakes with strawberries for breakfast. It felt like the kind of day where you have warm, yummy food. Personally, I am not a fan of bananas but the LP absolutely love them. After breakfast, LP1 wanted to go play in her room. So off we went. I closed the door to prevent anyone from wandering out and we spent the next hour playing together.

This is what "hodgepodge" looks utterly destroyed room. We played with puzzles, toys, My Little Ponies, put on fairy costumes and otherwise engaged in a little rah-rah-wreck-the-place.

There's something to said for just engaging in some free play and letting the LP do whatever interested them. LP2 has discovered puzzles. He likes trying to fit the giant baby-friendly pieces into their spots. He is also very interested in eyes right now and takes great delight in poking stuffed animals, our animals and the other people in the house right in the eye. LP1 has a great imagination and likes to play with the My Little Ponies...when she's not wrapping her dolls in blankets and taking them for a walk.

Everyone eventually grew bored with playing in LP1's room and we headed upstairs. Shortly after, Grandpa turned up for a visit, bringing with him coffee, chocolate milk and Timbits. He was greeted with enthusiasm by the LP and it wasn't long before he was being bombarded with requests to play games and give horsey rides. Eventually LP2 fell asleep and went down for what would turn out to be a long nap. LP1 got Grandpa to read her "Fox In Socks", a tongue-twisting book Auntie K and I used to pester him to read us when we were young. This was followed up by what LP1 calls "The Singing Mermaid" ("The Little Mermaid" to you) and then a spot of playing with the trains.

Grandpa joined us for lunch and not long after, LP1 announced she was ready for a nap. I was able to have a brief visit with him before LP2 awoke. Grandpa had errands to run, so he left soon after. LP2 and I read a few stories, watched the "ABC Song" on my favourite educational website and spent some quality time together before he decided that the vacuum cleaner was more fun than I was. I can live with that. It was nice to have some one-on-one time with him.

When LP1 got up from her nap, nobody was in a mood to do anything in particular. I tackled a few domestic duties while they did their thing. It wasn't long before we got into the dinner-bath-bedtime routine. We didn't do anything especially spectacular today but who says every day has to be spectacular? Sometimes it is okay to just have a run-of-the-mill day, especially when you're recovering from a cold. Or so I tell myself, anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Thing #57: The Mexican bird food disaster is redeemed by some indoor camping

Necessity may be the mother of invention but sometimes it creates weird children. I think I should either stop reading other blogs or start following instructions more carefully. When I catch myself thinking "oh, I can make this work with a few substitutions", I should just stop myself and say "no, actually, you CAN'T."

Allow me to explain.

On the same blog where I got yesterday's idea for painting with pudding, I also noticed that this Mother of the Year had made a bird feeder with her child. They took an ice cream cone, rolled it in peanut butter and covered it with birdseed before proudly hanging it from a tree in their yard. "Hmmm," I thought to myself. "I bet our two little bird watchers would love to do something like this."

There was just one problem. We didn't have any ice cream cones. Okay, fine, two problems. We also didn't have any birdseed. I was so convinced that this would be such a great project for the LP that I didn't want to let these details deter me. A quick scan through the cupboards and I somehow ended up convincing myself that covering a hard shell taco with generic-brand Cheerios would equate to the same thing. The box claimed the cereal was made from whole grains. Birds like grains. The taco shells had cornmeal in them. Surely birds enjoy cornmeal. Maybe this would be a genius plan.

Except that it wasn't. The LP are still a little young to fully get into this project. Maybe if I did it properly and let them roll an ice cream cone in peanut butter, it would have gone better. But LP2 hasn't had peanuts yet and I didn't want today to be the day I learned if he was allergic to them. So I sat beside them and explained what I was doing as I smeared peanut butter on the taco shell. I gave them each some cheerio-like cereal to help stick on the side. LP1 was more interested in sticking her finger on the side of the taco, getting some peanut butter on and licking it off. LP2 was more interested in eating the cereal. Eventually we did get the taco covered.

I know this photo is hard to see but hopefully you get the concept. I thought maybe I was onto the Next Big Thing for bird feeding.

Once the taco was complete, it was time to take it outside. Except that it was cold and blustery out and the LP still have horrible colds. I tried to get them to stand at the window to watch me as I did it but they didn't care so much. I was on my own for the Hanging of the Mexican Bird Food.

I stuck the taco in a tree and returned inside, certain that soon we would have some hungry customers. Nope. Not even the squirrels would touch it. It sits in the tree still, untouched and now soggy. I'm going to leave it in there and see how long it takes for Daddy to realize there is a taco covered in peanut butter and cereal in our tree. THAT will make for an interesting conversation.

So...let's just call that an epic fail. Maybe next time I'll actually follow the directions and get better results. It was time to think of something else.

LP1 has taken to crawling under tables lately and exclaiming over how fun it is. She usually wants me to join her but tends to pick moments where I am doing something that requires my full attention, like finely chopping vegetables so nobody chokes on them during dinner or trying to get that awful voice-automated service a certain phone company has to understand what I am saying so I can be connected to someone to explain my cell phone bill. Maybe today was the perfect day to start playing under tables.

I pulled the chairs out from our dining room table and fetched a very large, soft Manchester United blanket Daddy had received on his last birthday. Even though we rarely-to-never sit and watch soccer  games, it is mandatory to support Man U in his family. I think it was in my wedding vows that I would, from that day forth, rather be a Red. As I know as much about soccer (football?) as I do about underwater welding, this was fine by me. This way if someone ever asks me who I support, I have a team and don't look like a (total) idiot. And I am assured that I remain in Nan and Grandad's good books.  Well, as much as I can. But to get back to it, I got the giant blanket, folded it in half and spread it out under the table. I threw books, blocks and pillows from the couch on top of it and then I went in search of the LP. They were happily destroying LP2's room. I've seen coverage of disaster areas that looked better. I asked them if they wanted to go camping upstairs. LP1 immediately understood what this meant. LP2 put his arms out to be picked up, figuring that if he sister was excited about something, he should get to come along, too.

I am happy to say that indoor camping was a much better idea. We chilled out underneath the dining room table for most of the morning, reading books, playing with blocks and laying on pillows. The LP eventually would leave to play with other toys but would return again. I think LP2 really enjoyed it. Long after LP1 had gone on to other things, he would crawl under the table and look at me with a big grin on his face, waving his arms as if to say "come on, Mom! Get under here! This is awesome!" And I needed no other invitation. It was a good way to keep the LP entertained as we stayed inside for yet another day. I wrote a little message under the table. It was in pencil, so don't have a fit. But even if it was in Sharpie marker, who cares? When was the last time you wrote a message under a piece of furniture? Go do it sometime and maybe years from now, you or someone else will read it and you'll smile at the memory.

When the LP finally went down for naps and I was doing my customary put-the-house-back-in-order tidy, I put everything away. As soon as she got up, LP1 headed right for the table. "My camping is RUINED!" she wailed. I explained that it was just done for now and that we would do it again. And we will...because you know what? Hanging out under a dining room table with two little people is fun.

Check out our sweet campsite. Sure, there's no water and a campfire ban but we've got books and pillows and each other. What more do we need?

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Thing #56: In which I get tired of telling them not to put everything in their mouths and give the LP paint they CAN eat...

If I ever had to make a top ten list of my favourite movies, I think "Office Space" would probably find room somewhere on that list. As someone who has worked in an office environment, this movie resonates with me. It probably does for many people. I thought about that movie today and the classic line "somebody has a case of the Mondays", because it seems the LP were having their own Case of the Mondays today. I have held several different jobs so far in my life but none of them have been as rewarding, challenging, demanding, fulfilling, wonderful, frustrating, interesting, fun and all-consuming as the position of Mommy. It is a job where you are both manager and front-line worker. The pay is in kisses, hugs and that look of total love your Little Person gets when you walk into their room after they've first woken up. Yes, you get barfed and peed upon but you also get early-morning snuggles when someone creeps into your bed just before sunrise and little hands are placed on your cheek tenderly. So while I'm not back in the office environment just yet, it seems a Case of the Mondays can happen anywhere. And while I can just ignore the co-worker with it, when it comes to the LP, I actually have to find a way to solve it.

We had an excellent weekend. On Saturday, we took the LP to Pumpkinfest at the Royal Botanical Gardens. LP1 was delighted to discover that there were FOUR bouncy castles to test out. She convinced Daddy to go with her on the whirling strawberry ride and sat by herself (!) on a ride where Alice-in-Wonderland style caterpillars went 'round a mushroom. LP2 played in the hay, roared with laughter as Daddy kicked acorns and tossed him into the air. On Sunday, Daddy did an acoustic set at a local cafe we have started going to. Grandad, Nan, Grandpa, Grammy, my Auntie Y and Uncle D, Auntie K, Uncle L and my friend M joined us for brunch and music. The LP were very well-behaved and had a wonderful morning. In between all that, we tried to keep things low-key at home because the cold was still pouring out of LP2. As I predicted, LP1 has now come down with it, only she sounds like a hoarse blues singer and has a more productive cough.

Today started out very differently. For the first time ever for us, both kids slept in. Normally they are up between 6 and 6:45 am. Every. Single. Day. LP2 didn't stir until 7:30. I was watching him on the baby monitor and let him play until he started to make it known that he was ready to get up. LP1 didn't get up until nearly 8 am. This was my first clue that they were a little off today. I decided we all needed to snuggle in our bed together and watch morning children's TV. For a little while, they were content to do this. Eventually they got bored and then they got melty-downy. We made it through breakfast before I realized that we were out of several important items. Uh-oh. This would mean a trip out into The Outside World.

Getting out of the house with small children is a process. No longer is it about throwing on jeans, a sweatshirt and slicking your hair into a ponytail. Oh no. It requires fighting to wash faces and hands lest people think you have Dirty Children, wrangling the children so they will go into their rooms, keeping them away from the toys, books and stuffed animals calling their attention, arguing over what one will wear and just trying to get clothes on the other squirmy kid, hunting down elusive shoes and putting on appropriate outerwear before performing the complicated feat known as Getting Into the Carseat. I can get us dressed, ready to go and at the front door in about 25 minutes. I consider this impressive. I'm sure there are other parents out there that can do it in less time but I'm sure I don't care. It's not a competition. We're all in this together.

We successfully made it out into the real world and got what we needed. We came home and there were meltdowns. It wasn't pretty. I got LP2 down for a nap and fed LP1 before getting her down. Naturally, just as I was thinking about doing something luxurious like having a shower, LP2 woke up. He wasn't feeling well and didn't want to eat or have a bottle or be held or be put down or play with toys or be read to. Eventually he settled for an arrowroot cookie in one hand and a snuggle with me. I don't normally watch TV during the day but we were laying in bed together, watching "Days of Our Lives", a terrible soap opera I haven't watched since my university days. LP2 was interested for awhile and then wanted to play peek-a-boo with the pillows. I obliged him, as I was tired of rolling my eyes constantly at the TV. LP1 woke up in a roaringly unhappy state not long after. She also could not figure out what she wanted.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about what we would do today. LP1 loves to paint. We are running low on paint. During my regular weekly chats with Santa, I told him about this special Dora the Explorer paint I think LP1 would like and I know he put it on the sled for her but since that sled won't be flying over our house until Christmas, I obviously couldn't use that. I also wanted to give LP2 a chance to participate. I googled "how to make your own fingerpaint" because I remember Grammy making it for us when we were little and discovered that it is a very easy recipe...if you have both cornstarch and food colouring. Given that I am not Martha Stewart, I had neither. I came across a brilliant blog entry where the mother added food colouring to vanilla pudding. Hmmm....I did have chocolate pudding on hand. Still no food colouring.

And thus, today's New Thing was born.

The LP were obviously feeling like hell. As I'm sure I will be soon, when they inevitably pass it along to me. Usually when they are sick we either bring them into the bathroom, turn on the hot water and let the steam fill up the room to help their congestion or we bring them into the shower with us. I had already decided to throw them in the shower later this afternoon. I had chocolate pudding. They needed something to do that was both fun and highly unorthodox to keep them entertained. It was all too easy.

Just one average, run-of-the-mill pudding cup...

...dumped into a large bowl. Easiest craft set-up EVER.

I gave each of the LP a paintbrush and some pudding. LP1 immediately understood what she was doing but LP2 needed a bit of help at first. I put the paintbrush in his hand and helped him get pudding all over the page. It wasn't long before he was dragging the paintbrush through the pudding on his own...and it wasn't long after that before he was mashing his hands all over the page...and soon after that, he was sampling the "paint". Both kids painted on the paper for a little while but soon turned their attention to painting on themselves. Fortunately I had anticipated this and removed their shirts. I let them get chocolate pudding all over their faces, hands and bodies. They were eventually going in the shower anyway and the rest of it could be cleaned up. Hearing them laugh and watching them play was entirely worth the mess they made.

This was one time when I didn't mind that LP1 just wanted to get her hands dirty.

The LP produced beautiful works of art. By the time they were finished, they had also produced a better frame of mind. Maybe the tylenol had kicked in or maybe the change of pace was just what they needed. All I know is that I had two little chocolate-covered urchins who were more than happy to be hosed off in a warm, steamy shower. Case of the Mondays...solved. For today, anyway.

LP2's masterpiece...a nice blending of paintstrokes and little fingers all over the page.

LP1's work of we can see liberal use of the "drag my fingers through pudding" technique.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Thing #55: Chocolate really DOES fix everything.

Hiiiiii. Look, I think I should just be straightforward with you and come right out and say what we both already know: lately I have not been posting on a daily basis. I'm truly sorry. I think I've told you before that I tend to post after the LP have been tucked in for the night. Sometimes I'm just too worn out or it gets too late and I lose my ability to communicate coherently in English. Other times, Daddy and I are having a TV date. I generally don't watch much television but there are a few shows that Daddy and I watch together. We figured out a long time ago that we like very different television shows (if I ever have to watch another show about Nostradamus featuring some "expert" wearing a vest that looks like he shot and skinned hotel-room draperies, I may very well just smash myself in the head with a hammer) but we also figured out that if we could find a few shows we both liked, it would give us something to share and to "develop a mutual common interest" they kept going on and on about in our marriage prep classes. Maybe it sounds silly and like we're a hundred years old, but having "our shows" to watch is kinda like a weekly date but one where we can just max out in comfy clothes in our basement, catch up on what's on the PVR and just relax. Sometimes we have really interesting, deep conversations. Other times, we make each other laugh by mocking what we're watching. And some nights we both just sit together, companionably, enjoying just being able to relax. But to get back to my original point, if we're having a hang-out-together-and-watch-TV kind of night, I usually don't get around to blogging. But if you've stuck with it and are still popping in, please know that I really appreciate it and that I do try to post just doesn't always happen.

With that said, I once again have two days to cram into one post. I'm not going to do two separate posts and pretend like I did it all at once. I'm just going to shove it all in, sit on the proverbial suitcase and hope it closes.

On Thursday the LP had another half-day at daycare. It was Pajama Day and all seemed to be going well. We got the LP up, breakfasted and changed into clean pajamas. Off they went with Daddy. The drop-off went well, with everyone happy to be there. About thirty minutes later, I got a text message from our daycare provider saying that LP1 wasn't happy. We think that changing into her jammies and then being surrounded by other people dressed to go to bed somehow threw her off. Fortunately she soon recovered and both kids had a great morning. I think if Pajama Day happens again, we'll just send LP1 in her regular clothes.

LP2 has had a bit of a runny nose all week. At first I chalked it up to his slowly-emerging front teeth because even though "they" say it is a myth that children have runny noses when they are teething, LP2 seems to do just that. On Thursday afternoon, however, I began to realize that poor LP2 was brewing a cold. Children seem to go from "fine" to "sick" in record speed. As the afternoon wore on, it was obvious that LP2 was feeling terrible. He had a runny nose, red eyes and a bit of a heavy chest. He couldn't settle and everything would make him cry. I knew that we would be in for a long night. I elected not to do anything with them that afternoon. But before you think I'm some kind of awesome mother, I should also tell you that I was trying to make dinner and even though both kids were melting down, I attempted to distract them so I could get it done instead of just giving up and telling Daddy that dinner was up to him when he got home. Why do I do that? Fortunately I learned my lesson. Dinner doesn't matter. The LP do.

When LP2 is sick, he generally doesn't sleep well and will only sleep in your arms. Think about how terrible you feel when you have a cold. I bet you like to snuggle under a warm blanket, lay somewhere soft and try to rest. Now just imagine you are a very small person with no understanding of why you feel awful. You would want someone to hold you, too. LP2 hasn't been sick very often but Daddy and I have been through it enough to know how it goes. We spent the night taking shifts with him. Eventually he did stretch out on our bed and sleep for a little while, although it ended up chasing Daddy into the guest room to get a bed with enough room for him to sleep on. Needless to say, it was a long night.

Mercifully, there was coffee to get us up and going this morning. LP2 was still not himself and LP1 was full of energy. We made a quick run out this morning to stock up on more Tylenol but I decided that would be our only outside activity for the day. It was a cold, grey day, punctuated with periodic episodes of rain. It was a good day to stay indoors. Today was also a day where LP2 didn't want to be put down for very long or left to his own devices. He continued to only sleep in my arms, so it was difficult to get anything else accomplished except for taking care of him. I guess babies are good that way in making sure their needs are met.

LP1 awoke from a very long afternoon nap on the grumpy side of the bed. LP2 still wasn't himself. As I sat there, holding him and trying to jolly her into a better humour, I decided that we would bake together. Once again, I feel compelled to tell you that really, I have been making muffins from scratch since I was about 10 years old. For some reason, I had a bag of oatmeal muffin mix in the cupboard that only required the addition of water and an egg.  I thought that maybe the LP would enjoy "baking" again. After consultation with LP1, we decided that these muffins needed some chocolate chips.

In Mommy's Baking Sweatshop, we pay the workers in chocolate chips because it is cheaper and, as I discovered, it keeps them happier. Also, you don't need to go to the ER for an x-ray if you swallow a chocolate chip.

I put LP2 in his high chair and sat down at the table beside LP1. She was helping me measure and pour ingredients into a large bowl. We were banging the measuring cup on the table to make sure everything was level when I heard banging coming from the high chair. LP2 was watching us and imitating everything we were doing. He took great pride in banging his hand on the tray, just like Mommy and his sister. This just illustrated to me that he really does take in everything and that I'm not totally nuts for talking to him like he understands. 

LP1 had great fun pouring ingredients into the bowl and mixing them up. I think the best part for both LP was when I brought out the bag of chocolate chips and gave them both some to sample. Listen, half the fun of baking is in eating the chocolate chips. That's why you buy the jumbo bag instead of the regular bag.

No-Name standard ingredients led to a great fun. We were all giggling together as we ate chocolate chips and mixed up the muffin mix. LP1 felt very important as she helped and LP2's happy grin returned when he realized that chocolate chips are pretty good.

Once the muffins were placed in the oven, the LP lost interest in staying in the kitchen and we moved on to other things...until the timer went off. When the muffins were cooled, it wasn't long before they were making it known that they wanted to try some. Now. I obliged them. Our muffins were deemed a great success. Don't get me wrong - I know they are not connoisseurs of baked goods - but I think they enjoyed making something together and then getting to sample the results of their work. Oh, and the chocolate. We can't forget the chocolate. It made all of us feel better.

When the world outside is cold and dreary and you're feeling out-of-sorts, sometimes a hot muffin, loaded with chocolate chips is just the thing to bring some sunshine to your day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Things #52, 53 & 54: In which we buy Hallowe'en costumes, have visits, play on the floor and do some activities

Three posts in one! Welcome to our busy fall. Some people say summer is their busy season. For us, it has been autumn. I'll skip the pleasantries and just get right to it.

I think we all have people in our lives that keep us on track. I am blessed to have many such people. Daddy is good at making sure my eyes are at least open before he leaves in the morning. Because I know that the most faithful readers of this blog are Nan and Grandad, it reminds me to get to it (no offense to anyone else out there, but I know for sure that they check it daily), although sometimes I am late. And Auntie K is the one who often not only reminds me of things we need to do for the LP, but she always offers to help. On Monday she came through yet again. She reminded me that I have been saying for nearly a month that I need to find Hallowe'en costumes for the LP, noted that costumes were half-off at Old Navy and noted she was available to come with us on a shopping trip. And not for the first time this month. She has, in fact, offered several times. She even sent me a message the last time she was in the US for business, stating she could pick them up there if I wanted. Obviously it was time to take her up on it.

This was a first experience for both LP. For LP1's first Hallowe'en, I made her costume myself with the help of my aunt. She was the cutest little monkey in the history of the world. Last year I happened to be in New York with Auntie K and I picked up her costume there. She was the cutest little flower in the history of the world. I figured she was finally old enough to choose her own costume...or to be steered towards one with subtle hints. I decided that whatever costume LP2 didn't have an obvious problem with would be the winner.

We picked up Auntie K and made our way into Old Navy. I don't get out much these days to places like malls. I forgot just how big they can be. I probably sound like such a yokel but it is true. Old Navy seemed positively enormous. We eventually found the costume section. There were two costumes available in LP1's size: a cupcake and a butterfly. At first she wanted to be the cupcake but after viewing the butterfly, she was sold. She will be the cutest little butterfly in the history of the world. There were more costumes in LP2's size. His choices were a robot (LP1's preference), a chicken and a shark. I loved the chicken but the shark had that certain je ne sais quoi to it, too. A quick message to Daddy to help led to the decision to go with the shark. We tried it on LP2 to make sure it would fit and surprisingly, he really seemed to like it. He even let me pull up the shark head hoodie and take a picture of him. He will be the cutest little shark in the history of the world.

Coming a doorstep near you. Give them lots of candy. Mommy likes chocolate.

On Tuesday the LP had a half-day at daycare again. Shortly after we came home, Grandpa, Uncle L and Auntie K popped in for a visit. Given that they are usually tired out after a full daycare morning, the LP did very well. They were happy to play with everyone and once again, Uncle L was bossed around by LP1. Once everyone left, they went down for naps (simultaneous naps! What a rarity!) and slept for at least two hours (another rarity!). It wasn't until after dinner that our "new" thing really happened. The LP were playing while I tried to get the dishes done. I came into the living room to round them up for their usual evening baths when two things happened: LP1 asked me so very nicely if I would please come sit and draw with her on the floor and LP2 pointed up to the ceiling, looking for me to get the helium balloon down for him. I was about to refuse both requests when it hit me: why was I about to say no? What would happen if we just stopped and played? Would the world end if they had their bath later than usual? And so I stopped. I got the helium balloon down for LP2 and I sat on the floor beside LP1. I alternated between colouring various Dora pictures and playing with the balloon. I guess I should explain the balloon. It was from my uncle's retirement dinner on Thanksgiving weekend. The LP have a tremendous love for balloons (or "banoons" as LP1 calls them), but particularly helium balloons. We could probably get rid of all the toys and just have a house full of ever-changing balloons and they would be thrilled. They have certainly loved this particular balloon. The ribbon attached to it is gone. It has been through every room of our house. They like to play with it, get bashed in the face with it and let it loose. LP2 delights in pointing up at the ceiling and bouncing up and down with anticipation that someone will bring it down for him.

And so we played. I don't know for how long but I do know that we had fun. It was a good reminder to myself that I need to stop doing all the time and just work on being. I've probably said that before but it remains true. The whole world can wait. Colouring on the floor and hearing giggles of delight over a helium balloon won't last forever.

The balloon...right before the green ribbon on it was lost for good. See how worn out and tired it is? This thing is like the Velveteen Rabbit of party accessories.

I don't know if it was just stopping to play or the fact that the LP are doing trial days at daycare now or what it was, but last night before I went to bed I decided it was time to start doing what I guess can be called "learning activities" with the LP. I'm not a teacher and I don't think I would make a particularly good one. I am, however, a nerd. A nerd who loves to learn and who has always enjoyed playing school. Before LP2 was born, I used to think up "units" that LP1 and I could work on...a Hallowe'en unit, a Christmas unit, an Easter unit, etc. I would print off colouring pages, we would read books about the topic, watch educational songs online and really dive into the topic. I know I enjoyed it because we would just stop everything and be together. I think LP1 enjoyed it, too. We hadn't done anything since last Easter. I decided it was time to start again, especially now that LP2 is a little older and can participate more. I realize he might not fully grasp everything but that's no reason to leave him out. Children don't learn unless you do stuff with them.

Obviously today's focus was on Hallowe'en. We had picked up two mini pumpkins earlier today at the grocery store. I gave one to each of the LP. While LP1 and I discussed the pumpkin's colour, shape and texture, LP2 played with his, poked at it and touched it and then eventually threw it out of his high chair. He roared with laughter at the noise it made when it hit the floor. Good enough for me. Since LP1 was insistent that only Daddy can carve a pumpkin, she settled for letting me cut shapes out and helping me tape them to the front to make a jack'o'lantern. I let her pick what shapes the eyes and noses would be on both. 

Once our pumpkins had been turned into construction paper jack'o'lanterns, we read a story about Hallowe'en that we had picked up last year. Both LP clapped at it and LP1 wanted it read again. So we read it again. Hey, if they want to hear a story again, I'm going to read it again. But not two more times. Even I have my limits.

I had wanted to bake cookies with the LP. When I was growing up I think we had cookie cutters for just about everything. I remember baking cookies for every holiday and decorating them. While Christmas was always my favourite, I always enjoyed decorating Hallowe'en cookies because you could do it wrong and just say it was "spooky". Generally I enjoy making most things from scratch. There's something very satisfying to me about following a recipe from start to finish. However, the LP are too young to really bake with. I don't think they have the attention span to get through measuring and mixing ingredients, rolling out dough and cutting out shapes. And also? I don't have cookie cutters for every occasion. I will have to raid Grammy's baking drawer next time I'm out there. It occurred to me that from the LP's perspective, putting anything into the oven qualifies as "baking". A solution suddenly presented itself:

LP1 chose these. Nothin' says lovin' like putting pre-made cookies in the oven!

We put the cookies on the cookie sheet together and put them in the oven. While they were baking, I gave the LP pictures to colour. I put a pencil crayon in LP2's hand, put my hand around his and dragged the pencil crayon across the page. Once he realized we could make lines, he was hooked. It wasn't long before he was tapping his pencil on the page and making dots all by himself! LP1 loves to colour and needed no encouragement. She went to town on hers. When the cookies were done and cooled we wasted no time in trying them. I give that Doughboy full marks. He makes a great cookie.

As the LP love music, we each took a cookie, snuggled together and fired up my laptop. There is an educational website we love, full of songs about what seems like every topic from the ABCs to the times tables. We found the "Pumpkin, Pumpkin" song and continued on with our Hallowe'en theme. We watched some other songs about Hallowe'en and then eventually decided we wanted to watch some ABCs, a song about the days of the week and those five little monkeys jumping on the bed.

What was the point of all this? I don't know. Part of it was to help the LP discover and understand Hallowe'en. Part of it is that if we have an actual activity to do, it helps all of us to focus. Maybe a part of it comes from some desire to teach (but only my children). Or it could be that I like something with a beginning, middle and end. Again, I don't know. But I know it gave us all time together and that we had fun. Oh, and I know I think we'll be doing it again soon!

When I look at this picture, I think the theme of today was "THE MANY FORMS OF THE PUMPKIN!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Thing #51: Quiet Times, Walks, Visits & Lunch

Hi. I haven't had much time to post this week. Did you miss me?! I missed you as much as you missed me! Let's just get into it & skip my lame-ass apologies.

When we last spoke, we were gearing up for a big Thanksgiving weekend. It was a wonderful, busy weekend, jam-packed with family and friends. Daddy and I are so proud of the LP. They just rolled with it all and were so very well-behaved throughout the weekend. When you have small children, there is always the potential for meltdown when you cram too much into their days. The LP were their usual sunshiney, funny, curious selves. We were especially proud of them during my uncle's retirement dinner. It was held at a lovely restaurant in Kitchener and we were prepared for having to excuse ourselves from dinner at a moment's notice but I am so happy to say that we didn't need to. The LP ate their dinners, played with the toys we remembered to bring along and when they did get tired of sitting at the table, there were more than enough family members who were all-too happy to have a visit from them....Grandpa in particular! I overheard one of my uncle's aunts comment to someone about how she couldn't even believe there were young children there because they were so good. I freely admit that this was very satisfying to hear...but we already knew our children were the most wonderful, perfect and darling little souls to ever tread this earth. Or something like that.

We had enormously delicious dinners with both sides of the family and thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with everyone. It is funny how sometimes you need an occasion to just stop and be thankful for all your blessings. We certainly are blessed. Oktoberfest was also a great time. Daddy, Uncle L and I all rode a mechanical bull at some point during the night. I still have a series of ugly-looking bruises on my leg but was hilarious.

After all the excitement of the weekend, my instinct was to keep it low-key on Tuesday. The LP and I had a quiet day. We read lots of stories, played with their toys and had some snuggle time while watching a bit of TV. It wasn't anything ground-breaking but I think it was just a good chance to slow down a bit for them (and for me, too). I love snuggling with them and finding those little moments where we can reconnect, hold hands and just enjoy being in the moment.

On Wednesday, the LP had their first half-day at daycare. LP1 ran right in and yelled "HEY EVERYBODY! I'M HERE!" LP2 was a little more hesitant but he went into E's arms after a moment. I had a debate with myself about how to say goodbye to them. E was heading inside with LP2. LP1 was already playing with the other kids. While I wanted to give them hugs, kisses and reassurances that I would be back at noon, I didn't want them to suddenly realize that I was leaving and get upset over it. I'm sure this is the dilemma of every parent standing on the daycare threshold. I eventually called goodbye and left. I think that once daycare becomes a regular routine for them I can say a proper goodbye.

It always feels weird when I am in the car by myself now because I am so used to having the LP with me. I met a colleague for coffee. Because I've been living in a bubble for a year now, I forgot all about the interesting area our office is located in. As we sat in the food court of the mall near our office, I had to remember to close my mouth and stop staring. There were so many things demanding my attention...the man drinking something out of a paper bag at 10 am, the uh..."lady of the night" who I guess had just finished her shift, stomping through...the painfully frail junkie with a hacking cough...and a random assortment of other people. Have I become a stereotypical suburban mom? Probably. It was nice to catch up with my friend, although I was reminded again about my impending return to work and all that will bring.

I picked up the LP at noon and was happy to learn that they had a great morning. LP1 gave everyone hugs when we left. LP2 did his crying laugh and just wanted to be held for a little bit. We headed home and when it became clear that naps weren't on the horizon for them, jumped into the ninky-nonk and went for a walk together. There may have been some sugar-filled treats purchased for them along the way. Sometimes it's just fun to have a treat.

On Thursday morning, Uncle L dropped in for a visit, much to the delight of the LP. LP1 put Uncle L through his paces. She had him playing with dolls, bunnies and frogs. They were "picking blueberries" in the guest room, snuggling under blankets and building forts. Uncle L was game to play and to do LP1's bidding. When he and Auntie K are ready, I know they will be wonderful parents! After Uncle L left, I got all of us ready and we headed over to Grandpa and Grammy's house. Grandpa had a few errands to run and needed a driver. I won't say I was the greatest driver (still trying to master standard) but he got everything accomplished. We had lunch with Grandpa before returning to their house to play with the toys there and to put a fresh battery in the snow clock.

What is the snow clock? It is this snow globe-style clock that plays music. Generally, it is for Christmas but because LP1 loves it, Grandpa keeps it out all year, much to the delight (?) of Grammy. When the new batteries were put in, LP1 wasted no time in activating it. It wasn't long before LP2 noticed and wanted to check it out for himself. He was equally entranced by it. This was all the incentive Grandpa will need to bring out all the noisy toys at Christmas.

The LP have left for another half-day visit at daycare. Daddy dropped them off today and I'm sitting in a very quiet house, trying to plan my next move. I had originally decided to go back to bed but it would seem I'm wide awake! I see the vacuum cleaner in the corner so I'm thinking some duties domestica...sigh. I'm not sure what we'll do this afternoon or if I'll post again so if I don't, happy weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Thing #51: An early post for the long weekend!

Well, this is unprecedented...I think. The LP are currently having a nap and aside from the ferociously loud noise of the washing machine, the house is very quiet. I'm getting ahead of the game by posting during the afternoon instead of late evening because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to post tomorrow and I can't spend this weekend mired in guilt over my dilatory posting habits. Before I get to our adventures (so far) today, allow me to explain...for those of you not in the know, this weekend is Thanksgiving, one of my all-time favourite holidays. Anything devoted to eating I can get behind. And probably get a bigger behind as a result. Yes, Thanksgiving comes much earlier in Canada. Probably because way back in Ye Olden Times, nobody could go anywhere near the end of November due to horrible weather and everyone sat around being unthankful that they couldn't go eat turkey at someone else's log-cabin house and drink mead or whatever pioneers drank (maple syrup vodka? how do I know, it's not like I was there and I'm pretty sure they don't cover that at Old Fort Wherever), and so someone decided it was a wise idea to move it up to the beginning of October. Or so my theory goes, anyway.

This weekend is going to be a very busy one for us. On Friday, the LP are going for a three-hour visit at daycare and then will be having a sleepover at Grammy and Grandpa's house while Auntie K, Auntie J and I revive our traditional "Sisters And Misters" evening of beverages with Daddy, Uncle L and Uncle M. For several years we would attend a local establishment after Thanksgiving dinner and find creative ways to get home at the end of the night (the pizza delivery man, paying some random guy $20 to drive us home, etc). We're bringing it back this year but this time we are going to Octoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo and this time we have already made arrangements for staying over. I am very much looking forward to this because the last time I went to Octoberfest, I was pregnant with LP1 and obviously I was not raising a beer in toast to the oom-pa-pah music. In fact, it marked the last time I was able to wear normal person jeans before giving in and wearing maternity clothes. You may not know this, but in the earlyish days of pregnancy, right as you are starting to develop a tiny bump, pants that fit you in the morning absolutely do not fit you at night. So my much-beloved jeans at the time were fine when we left the house but by the end of the night I had to undo them because they were making an indent on my belly. I began to worry that the baby would be born with a button-shaped dent in his or her head and I decided it was time to get into the maternity pants. This is when I learned one of the more wonderful secrets of pregnancy: maternity pants are probably the most comfortable pants in the world. No other clothing is as supportive, flexible and comfortable...well, until the end of pregnancy when everything irritates you and you have like, one outfit you love and you cry when it is laundry day (or at least I did). But getting back to those jeans...they were my favourite. After LP1 was born and I was pregnant with LP2, I became convinced I would never, ever fit into them again and I ended up donating them because I didn't want to see these too-small jeans, mocking me in my closet. I am happy to say that I will be returning to Octoberfest this year in the same size, although in a different and far less superior pair.

What am I talking about? Oh, right, our weekend. So you know about Friday. On Saturday we will have Thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family at Grammy and Grandpa's house. My Uncle B is retiring after 30 years as a doctor and my Auntie M is hosting a retirement dinner for him on Sunday at a restaurant in...somewhere. I should probably fish out the invitation and figure out where. And on Monday we are having Thanksgiving dinner with Daddy's side of the family at Auntie S and Uncle J's house. I bet that come Tuesday, I will not be able to fit into my previously mentioned jeans, particularly if Daddy's Auntie M makes her world-famous trifle. I'm drooling at the thought of it. Although this will be a busy weekend, we will be surrounded by family and that is something I am very thankful for.

LP1 has been asking to go to a pet store again lately. I know that both kids love looking at animals and since I had to make a quick run to the grocery store, I thought I would make it easier on all of us by taking them there first. Since I wanted to make an outing of it, we went to the PetSmart on the mountain because it is huge and has both a doggie salon and a pet daycare, so there would be even more animals for the LP to look at.

On our way in...fortunately the LP haven't yet figured out that you can actually buy pets at the pet store. They just think it is a fun place to go see animals. I'm good with that.

Today was a great day in PetSmart. We saw brightly coloured fish, fluttering birds, kittens chasing one another, doggies getting haircuts, dogs chasing balls and pooping on the floor in the doggie day care (WHY do we always see animals pooping?!), guinea pigs and even dwarf pigs. The dwarf pigs were curiously compelling. They had hairy faces with little goatees and hairless bodies. They seemed a little shy but when they came out of their enclosures, they shivered uncontrollably. The sign next to their display stated they are loyal, intelligent and will do tricks to get treats.

I sent Daddy a message, asking him if we could get a dwarf pig for the low, low price of $89. He responded with an immediate "NO!" and then promptly called me to find out where we were and why we were looking at pigs. As much as part of me wanted to see his face when he came home to find a pig in the house, the other part of me knew who would be cleaning up after it and I have enough to do, thank you very much.

We eventually left the pet store and wandered into a clothing store. I was half-heartedly looking for  Thanksgiving outfits for the LP and maybe something new for myself. I think I need someone to come shopping with me, though, because I tend to dither over things and never make a decision, particularly when it comes to clothing for myself. There is just too much to look at. Sometimes I need someone to say "THIS! Try this on, it will look good on you!" I can usually make a snap decision on clothes for the LP but nothing jumped out at me today for any of us. We left and headed for the grocery store. As we were nearing the end of our shopping, everyone was getting tired. A pumpkin spice coffee for me and a pumpkin-themed cookie for the LP revived all of us long enough to complete our errand.

We were heading home from our morning out. The sun was shining, it was warming up and there was good music playing on the radio. I decided to pick up some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch because hey, sometimes you just gotta break out of the routine and get a treat. Yes, I could have made some at home. All of us love grilled cheese, however, and there was just something compelling about cruising through the drive-thru and having lunch immediately provided for us. So I did just that and once we got home, we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch together.

LP1 has now arisen and I can hear LP2 playing in his crib. Thus ends the quiet. I hope you have a marvelous weekend, whether celebrating Thanksgiving or just doing whatever it is you do. I'll see you back here on Tuesday (remember, Monday is a holiday!)

 When I looked over my shoulder into the backseat earlier today, this is what I saw. Of everything I have been blessed with, Daddy and these two little people are the three things I am most grateful for in my life. I hope I will always remember to give thanks for them and not just on long weekends in October. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

New Thing #50: Playing & Singing

I'm writing Wednesday's post on Thursday morning because last night Auntie K and I were working on something together and I didn't get a chance to sit down and blog. So here we go...

Wednesday morning started with some cuddle-up-and-read time together. LP1 pulled her favourite books out of the library book bag and brought them over to LP2 and I on the couch. No, this isn't something new but I am enjoying their willingness to sit and read together at all hours of the day and not just at bedtime. LP2 kicks his feet and makes happy noises and helps me turn the pages. He is definitely interested in the books now, too...provided of course, that they are short, colourful and interactive.

I rounded everyone up and we headed out to spend some time with Grandpa. Both LP were beyond excited once we got there. I think part of LP1's excitement also stemmed from a dish of candies Grammy had left out on the coffee table in the living room! We had barely entered the house before she spotted them and wasn't long in helping herself to some jellybeans and those little soft pumpkin candies.

Grandpa and I had planned to do some things with the LP but they had other ideas. LP1 had a very, very long nap in what she calls "the princess bed". It is really just the bed in the guest room but hey, if she will willingly sleep in it, she can call it whatever she wants. LP2 slept in what his sister now calls "the strawberry bed". This is just a crib with a Strawberry Shortcake blanket Aunt Y made for Auntie J back when she was a baby but again...we're okay with her calling it the strawberry bed! LP2 had a much shorter nap and was able to spend more time with Grandpa. While they were playing, Grandpa called something "pretty" and it wasn't long before LP2 was saying "pretty, pretty". He's at that stage where he is suddenly bursting with all kinds of new skills. So far this week he has said "bird", "pear" and "pretty". Naturally he doesn't say them when you ask him to, so I think Daddy thinks I'm making it up but I assure you, LP2 is working on communicating. I love seeing his thought process. He tips his head to one side, looks at you and then makes the attempt. He has also figured out how to point at things. A few days ago, we were looking at birds out of our dining room window and he pointed at them. Every time I bring him near the window now, he kicks his feet and points as if to say, "hey Mom! There are birds out there!" I think it is pretty amazing how in just ten short months how much development has happened. LP2 knows who certain people are, is trying to make words and is a crawling and climbing monster. Still waiting on the walking part but I'm not in a rush for that. LP1 made us wait a long time and I've come to the conclusion that every kid walks when they are ready.

After everyone was up for naps, we all piled into the car to run some errands for Grandpa. I was extremely nervous because this was my first time driving standard with Grandpa. As a former police officer, Grandpa is a vigilant driver and I always have that element of nervousness with him. However, I only stalled the car once and he was very complimentary about how the whole thing went, so I felt much better by the end. We said goodbye to Grandpa and made our way back home.

I have been pushing Daddy to do a live acoustic set and to his credit, he has been preparing. After dinner he was setting up an amp, his guitar and the mic when the LP and I wandered downstairs. As soon as LP1 saw the microphone, she headed right to it and insisted Daddy lift her up. It wasn't long before she was singing for us. LP2 and I danced together while she went through her greatest hits. We were treated to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Row Row Row Your Boat" and the "ABCs" in a medley. Daddy played the guitar and we exchanged "we are so proud" glances. All of us were laughing together. It was a wonderful little family moment in the midst of what is turning out to be another busy week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Thing #49: you get two posts for the price of one!

Look, don't yell at me about being behind on posting. I feel bad enough as it is. Monday was a busy day. Daddy was in a charity golf tournament all day that ran late (yeah, rough life, I know) and I had my tranquilized-elephant-doing-ballet class. I ended up having to call Grammy to watch the LP so I could make it to my class. By the time I got home, all I wanted was to fall into bed and forget I had calf muscles.

But don't despair! Today I'm going to make it up to you by posting catching you up on what we did yesterday AND today...TWO posts! But combined into one! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! Is this working? Am I selling you on it?

On Sunday Nan & Grandad came for coffee and a visit. They also brought the LP some new books and a train set! Best day ever! Both the train set and the books were an immediate hit. "Animal Kisses" and "I Love Dogs" (the sequel to "I Love Cats") were perfect for the LP and I had to read them over and over and over again. I think I have now read "I Love Dogs" just as much as "I Love Cats". Thanks, Nan and Grandad. Really. I'll make sure the books are tucked into the diaper bag for their next sleepover so you can learn to love dogs, too.

Sometimes the best part about when someone gives the LP a gift (aside from the thoughtfulness, of course) is their reaction to it the next day. LP1 remembers and usually runs right to whatever it is. LP2 crawls over to it and immediately gets a big grin on his face, happy it is still there. And so it was the case Monday morning when they re-discovered their gifts from Nan and Grandad.

When Daddy set up the train set in the basement on Sunday afternoon, it took him roughly 3 minutes to figure out how to make the track go under the bridge and curve around so it was all a giant circle. I, on the other hand, spent at least 35 minutes trying to accomplish the same thing when I moved it up to the living room Sunday morning. I'm not joking. Of course, I was being assisted by the LP and this took longer but I'm not going to hide behind them. I had no idea how to make it work. Thank heavens I'm not an architect. I suspect my buildings would collapse. Eventually I got it together and we spent a very long time playing trains together. Chooo-choo! Chugga chugga chugga chugga choo CHOOOO!

It was a quiet day on the train. Nobody even thought there would be a sudden everywhere, trees knocked over and houses covered in baby drool. Yes, the train was a victim of LP2. Fortunately we can rebuild. It just takes a long time to get it right.

When we were done riding the rails, it was time to hit the books. "Animal Kisses" is a book with different things to touch on each page. We had to go through each page veeeerrrrryyyyy slowly. Everyone got a chance to touch a scratchy tongue or a velvety nose or rubbery fish lips. And then..."I Love Dogs". Big dogs. Small dogs. Dogs that chase sticks. Blah blah blah. We all love dogs. As soon as it was over, this little voice piped up: "read it again, Mommy!". So we read. Again. But I'm not really complaining. We were all snuggled together under an afghan my grandmother made me a long time ago. There was nowhere we had to go and nothing we needed to do. It was lovely.

Barney may not be quite as well known as Robert Munsch or Dr. Suess but you definitely know how to write a compelling children's book. I tip my hat to you.

Later on in the day Grandpa dropped in with Uncle D. Grammy and Grandpa were going to Uncle D and Aunt Y's house for dinner and Uncle D had picked him up earlier in the day. I had coffee with them while the LP ran around, showed off their toys and demanded that Grandpa read "Animal Kisses". After they left, LP2 and I were looking out the window at this rogue flock of birds. LP2 has just figured out how to point and was pointing at the birds, laughing heartily. Great. Another bird lover. I was talking about the birds when he suddenly busted out with "bird"! Ok, fine, it was more like "be...r...d" but HE WAS TRYING TO SAY BIRD! I was so proud! How did he get to be such a big kid?! It won't be long until he'll be talking up a storm...I just know it.

If yesterday was a day that maybe we didn't exactly venture into huge New Thing territory, today was the polar opposite. Today the LP and I did a big New Thing but just not together. Today was our first trial visit at daycare. Oy vey. I've been preparing LP1 for it but I wasn't sure how LP2 would react. When we got there, LP1 immediately ran over to the toys and started playing with them. LP2 gave E, our daycare provider a big grin and stretched out his arms to go to her. Once she took him, he snuggled right up against her. He didn't even cry when I left. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this day. I didn't cry, either. I was nervous and hopeful that they would have a good morning, but mostly it felt right. After resolving that I would not call to check in, I left.

The two hours apart flew by. When I came to get them, LP1 informed me that she wanted to stay. LP2 did his I'm-laughing-and-crying-at-the-same-time thing he does sometimes when he saw me. He was happy to see me but also sad because he realized I had left and had just come back. By all accounts, they had a wonderful morning together. They played, they made a Thanksgiving craft and they had apples at snacktime. They go back again on Friday for a three hour visit. LP1 is already telling me she can't wait to go back. This is a good thing. It also makes my return to work a little more real...the end of being a stay-at-home-mom is coming. Over the next two months we'll be doing a gradual transition so that by the time I do go back to work, going to daycare is familiar to them. And, I guess, for me, too.

All works of art are proudly displayed on our front door. On the left is LP1's turkey-feather-hand. On the right is LP2's. One day I won't believe how small their hands were but right now...well, right now, those hands seem pretty big. They're the size of my heart.