Monday, August 31, 2009

For Anyone Who Has or Knows a Toddler...

As I was browsing over at this morning I came across this list. I thought it was so cute and so true I just had to share it.

Toddler Rules
If it is on, I must turn it off.
If it is off, I must turn it on.
If it is folded, I must unfold it.
If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.
If it is a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.
If it is high, it must be reached.
If it is shelved, it must unshelved.
If is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.
If it has leaves, they must be picked.
If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.
If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.
If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected, and thrown on the floor.
If it is closed, it must be opened. If it does not open, it must be screamed at.
If it has drawers, they must be rifled.
If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor, or table.
If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied. If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.
If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.
If it is a stroller, it must under no circumstances be ridden in without protest. It must be pushed by me instead.
If is has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.
If Mommy's hands are full, I must be carried.
If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.
If it is paper, it must be torn.
If it has buttons, they must be pressed.
If the volume is low, it must go high.
If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.
If it is a drawer, it must be pulled upon.
If it is a toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.
If it has faucet, it must be turned on at full force.
If it is a phone, I must talk to it.
If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.
If it doesn't stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.
If it is not food, it must be tasted.
If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk, or toilet water.
If it is a car seat, it must be protested with arched back.
If it is Mommy, it must be hugged.
I am toddler!

-- Author Unknown

Fortunately I have not had any personal experience with stroller struggles, bug eating or car seat protests but I still have a few more toddler years to go. With everything else I can definitely attest!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've Been Tagged...

I'm new to this whole blog thing so thanks Leigh Anna over at Sunflowers & L.O.V. for tagging me for this meme...

Here are the rules of this one:
1. Collect the book that you have most handy
2. Turn to page 161
3. Find the 5th complete sentence
4. Site the sentence on your blog
5. Pass it on to 5 other bloggers

And here is my answer...
The book closest to me is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It's now a way overdue library book. Apologies to the person who has it on reserve!! I promise it will be returned tomorrow!!!
Anyway, back to the rules -
Page 161, 5th complete sentence:
"Her arm goes up, a weak arabesque."
And now for the 5 other bloggers -


Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Night = Family Fun

Friday night is traditionally pizza night at our house. I typically spend Fridays grocery shopping and running errands so the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a big dinner. Plus are Fridays not a day for relaxing and winding down for the weekend anyway?

Usually pizza night consists of two - sometimes three - frozen pizzas. I buy whatever brand is on special or cheapest that particular week. Since Gabrielle has been so into the Food Network this week I decided tonight we would make homemade pizza together. Gabrielle and I have done this one or two times before but I believe even then it was from a kit or a mix. Tonight the dough and even the sauce were from scratch.

The pizza turned out to be really tasty and a lot more filling than the frozen variety. We rarely have leftovers from the two or three 14" frozen pizzas and there are just three of us eating!! Barely half of the one homemade pizza was eaten tonight and we were all stuffed. I started thinking of all the different types of pizza I could make and all the different toppings I could use. Ed then gave me a pizza challenge that I have not yet decided if I will accept or not. I have a week to decide if the challenge is too completely absurd to attempt. Maybe I'll write about the Great Pizza Challenge in a later post, once I have made my decision.

Dessert is an occasional treat around here but Gabrielle had seen a recipe on the Food Network that looked too good and easy not to try. We made Banana Empanadas. You can find the recipe here. I sliced the bananas and Gabrielle stirred in the brown sugar and cinnamon. She also cut out the circles from the pie crust using a large plastic cup.

Ed had a little dance party with the girls while I put the empanadas in the oven and began straightening up the kitchen from dinner. Cooking with a 3-year-old's help is quite messy!!

And here are the empanadas!! So delicious and so easy. Gabrielle gives them a thumbs up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Next Food Network Star

The past couple of days I have had the television on the Food Network almost all day. Gabrielle has actually really been enjoying some of the shows. She will sit on the couch and watch for a few minutes, then will go to her own kitchen to whip up what she saw made on the show. She copies everything she sees the chefs do and even copies what they are saying as they cook.

Gabrielle is making a pasta dish while watching Giada
on Everyday Italian. Later she is going to make
some chocolate hazelnut cookies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She's Way Too Little But...

Samantha is already trying to sit up on her own! I've noticed for a couple of weeks she needs very little support and help to hold herself up. If she is being held she does not want to be laying back. She wants to be sitting up, watching everyone and everything. So just for kicks yesterday while playing on the floor I decided to sit her up and slowly let go to see what would happen.

This is what happened...

She only sat for a few seconds before she started to wobble and lean. She was a little slumped over as well but I was still surprised that she managed to hold herself upright long enough for me to take picture. She is not even 4 months old yet!!

I looked in Gabrielle's baby book this morning and saw that she was sitting up alone at 5 months. I do remember that she was able to sit with very little support around 4 months though because she was able to sit in her high chair when she started cereal and baby food.

Samantha will be our last baby so it is very bittersweet to see her grow up so quickly. I don't think I will be encouraging any new milestones and if anyone can tell me where to find a switch to slow down her growth please let me know!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Ears Are Listening

Kids really do say the funniest things and they really do absorb everything they see and hear whether we realize it or not. There are a few times I have been surprised by something Gabrielle has said or done and I truly do not know where she picked it up but admittedly a lot that she imitates I have to take full responsibility for.

Samantha has now entered a screaming phase. She screams all the time. She screams when she is happy. She screams when she is mad. She is just loud - like head ache inducing, ears ringing loud. This morning while in her bouncy seat Samantha was screaming and talking. Gabrielle was trying to tell me she had to go potty. Once we got to the bathroom, a little further away from the noise Gabrielle looked at me and said, "Baby Samantha keeps screaming and I can't hear what you are saying!!" I cannot tell you how many times I have said something similar to Gabrielle when she is trying to talk to me during one of Samantha's fits. Then Gabrielle suggested, "Just give her a bottle of milk and make her quiet." She then proceeded to explain to me how to make the bottle, to shake it up and feed Samantha. I guess it has not taken her long to figure out the one thing that will always quiet her sister.

Having a new addition to our family has been an adjustment for all of us. The first couple of months were the hardest (so far anyway). Gabrielle was having to get used to not having all of the attention and I was trying to figure out how to give both of them the attention they each needed and wanted. It was only when I noticed how Gabrielle was playing with her baby dolls that I realized just what the poor little girl was having to deal with when it came to Momma. Yes, Gabrielle cradled her baby, fed, changed and burped her baby lovingly but when it came to her baby's sister (role played by me) she would repeat over and over "not right now", "in just a minute", "'re gonna wake your sister." Man, did I feel guilty! Fortunately since then we have all adjusted better and I try not to always put Gabrielle's needs and wants second to her sister's.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sleepless Night

Samantha has reached a new milestone - she is now rolling over onto her tummy. There are two problems with this: 1- she really, really, really dislikes being on her belly and 2 - she has not figured out how to turn back over onto her back.

A few weeks ago while playing on the floor she rolled over onto her belly for the first time. Even though I marked it on her baby calendar as her first rollover, I decided it was a fluke occurrence because she would not even so much as get on her side for days after that. Three days ago, however, again while playing on the floor, she rolled over once again. For a couple of days prior I had seen signs of what was soon to come. She was "traveling" quite a bit in her crib, laying on her side while pushing with her feet against the mattress and crib sides to spin in circles. And then sure enough, she rolled over. She has not wanted to stay on her back ever since. I lay her down, she rolls over. Again and again and again. Each time she fusses and cries as if she had no choice and was placed on her tummy against her will.

I woke up to Samantha's fussing around 4:00 this morning. She had rolled over. Her left arm was caught beneath her chest. She could not decide if she wanted her pacifier or her fingers and was unsuccessful at keeping either one in her mouth for more than a couple of seconds. I sleepily picked her up after realizing holding her pacifier in her mouth was just not going to do. For what felt like hours, I rocked a wriggly and squirmy baby. After feeding her to calm her down I was faced with a decision: go to bed only to fall asleep minutes before my alarm was to go off or stay up, double up on the coffee and try to have a productive morning.

Regretfully - **yawn** - I chose the latter.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Miss Independent

It is very hard to believe but Gabrielle will be turning 3 in just over a month. What is even more difficult to believe is how much she has grown up in the past year. I never realized just how much children change between the ages of 2 and 3. Sometimes I look at Gabrielle and think "Who are you? Where did my baby and toddler go?"

With all this growing up Gabrielle has found a new independence. Her favorite thing to say it seems is "I can do it myself." I used to look forward to her being able to do more for herself but now I'm finding out with her independence comes often more work and patience on my part.

While at Bible School a couple of weeks ago Gabrielle learned how to wash her hands all by herself. She can turn the water on and off, pump out the soap, lather, rinse and somewhat dry her hands. She has become almost obsessive now about washing her hands. She probably has the cleanest hands of anyone I know. We also are now going through a bottle of soap in a matter of days and there is always a puddle of water on the floor and counter.

Another skill Gabrielle has picked up is turning the lights on and off - on and off, on and off, on, off, on, get the picture.

Gabrielle has never been much of a climber. I've always been able to put things just barely out of her reach and not had to worry anymore about it. She has now discovered she can move her bathroom stool from room to room and all of sudden she has access to hundreds of once forbidden treasures. Our house is small, our closets are stuffed and I'm now running out of places to put things to keep out of her reach. Childproofing for a clever 3-year-old is much more challenging than childproofing for a new walker.

Now that Gabrielle is about to turn 3, she has turned into quite the fashionista. She apparently knows much better than I about what matches and what shoes go with what outfits. She is very firm with her opinions and I truly believe she would fight to the death when it comes to what she is going to wear. "No, no, no - that doesn't match." - another common phrase said. She even refused one Sunday to wear a new dress my mom had just bought her. Gabrielle had worn the dress the day after my mom bought it to my mom's church. It didn't matter to her that we were now home and going to our church where no one had yet to see the dress. She actually looked at me and said "I just wore that last week." Needless to say I could not convince her otherwise and she wore a different dress to church that morning. I didn't think I had to deal with clothing issues for at least another 8-10 years!

It is quite the honor - and at times very entertaining - to watch her personality come out and see the little person she is becoming. But with looking back at all the changes from this past year I can't help but start to worry about how much more she'll change and grow up in the upcoming year!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dress Up

Today Gabrielle and Samantha played dress up together for the first time. I guess it was more like me playing baby doll with Samantha, dressing her in Gabrielle's dress up accessories, but it was too cute and Gabrielle had a good time. Plus for the first time I think Gabrielle realized that Samantha would indeed get bigger and be an actual playmate one day.

In the beginning of playing Gabrielle was not too excited about Samantha wearing her things but after a few wardrobe changes, some picture taking, and some encouragement she eventually warmed up to the idea and had a lot of fun with it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Missing Grandmom

Over the weekend we met Ed's brother and his family at Granddad's house. It had been a little while since we all had gone for a visit on the same weekend. Gabrielle had fun playing with her cousin. The dads took them to the park while me and Aunt T stayed at the house to play with Samantha. It was a short visit but still a very nice one.

Being there with Samantha for only the second time since she was born, however, really got me to thinking about Grandmom. Ed's mom passed away last October. Even though she had been sick for a while, for me the last two weeks of her life caught me off guard. It happened just too quickly to even try to wrap my head and heart around it. We had only known we were expecting Samantha for about a month and Gabrielle had just celebrated her second birthday. I was too caught up in the happiness of the moments to even try to deal with any other possibility.

Being at the house and seeing all the photos of Grandmom with the other grandkids made me really sad. I couldn't help but wonder what she would think of Samantha - who by the way has Grandmom's name as her middle name. Would she think Samantha looks - like me or Ed? I could imagine what Grandmom would say when she heard Samantha's little giggle and saw her sweet smile. I knew Grandmom would find Gabrielle's dancing and singing and all of her performances as sweet and amusing as I do. I'm sad that Gabrielle is too young to have the memories of Grandmom's weekly visits, each time bringing her a new book. I'm sad that while we at least have pictures to show and the stories to tell Gabrielle, we won't have the same to show and tell Samantha.

Even though I am sad about all the moments Grandmom will miss, I know she is in a better place. I also like to think she can look down on us from time to time to watch her grandkids grow.

Grandmom, Gabrielle, & Granddad - October 2007

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mini Vacation

Last week my daughters and I spent the week at my mom's. It was a much needed break for myself and them and we had a great time. For me it was just nice to be with my mom everyday and to have those extra set of hands to help with the girls. I was able to get some work done but also to relax. I did not get caught up in every day stresses that I then got impatient with my girls and I was able to play and have fun with them.

The week was probably the ideal vacation for Gabrielle. She had a tv and dvd player in "her room". She watched for the first time "Bambi" which has now become her current favorite. Not only did she watch it for the first time but also the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th,... Seriously she watched the movie about 8 times while we were there. It is no longer available for purchase so my mom let Gabrielle bring it home with her. She has only watched it once since we got home 3 days ago but has asked several times every day if she could watch it. My little drama queen likes to re-enact various scenes from her favorite movies and what is her favorite scene to act out from Bambi? Well the most tragic scene of the whole movie of course. Yes, my future actress keeps acting out the scene when Bambi loses his mommy.

Gabrielle loved that she was able to play with play-doh every day. I just wonder why she can play so well by herself at my mom's but at home she needs me to play with her every second of the day!!

We went to Vacation Bible School at my mom's church every night. Gabrielle called it church school. Gabrielle just loved being in a class and being around other kids. She literally cried every single night when it was time to go home. The theme was Boomerang Express and boy did Gabrielle love the theme song. She really got into the motions to the song. I need to get a copy of the dvd for her to sing and dance along to at home.

Bible Story time

About to fry fish (goldfish) like Jesus did for his disciples

Riding the Boomerang Express

About to get her certificate on the last night of Bible School

On Wednesday my aunt and Granny came to visit. I love seeing Gabrielle with Granny. Gabrielle is typically shy around everyone at first and we don't see Granny that often. But the last couple of visits we have had with Granny Gabrielle has really warmed up to her. Gabrielle kept bringing Granny toys and books to play with and coloring pages to color. She really just has such a good time with her Granny which I think is so sweet.

On Friday we went to the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and a really neat park in Morehead. I've taken Gabrielle to the aquarium the past three summers and it is amazing how much more she loves it with each visit. During this visit, however, she kept asking where the dolphins were. While we didn't get to see in any dolphins unfortunately Gabrielle did come home with a very cute stuffed dolphin. Samantha even liked watching some of the fish and she came home with a purple sparkly sea turtle which her sister keeps trying to take for herself.

At the aquarium:

At the park:

It was nice to get away for the week and spend some quality time with my mom. We have been home only a few days and already I miss my mom. She will be here visiting and babysitting for us in just a couple of weeks and then will be here again in September for Gabrielle's birthday. But I really think I may have to make a long visit with her a semi-regular thing - if she will take us!!

While we had a great time at my mom's we did miss Ed and wished he could have been with us. The last real vacation we took was the summer before Gabrielle was born. The past year Ed has worked nonstop. Up until Samantha was born he was working 12 hour days, 7 days a week. There were days that Gabrielle never got to see her Daddy. Now his work schedule is starting to get back to a normal pace. I'm really hoping in November we can take a long weekend trip and get the relaxing family vacation we need.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Catching Up

For the two or three of you out there keeping up with my blog, I know it has been a while since I've posted. I wish I could say it was because we have been keeping busy doing fun and awesome things. We've had some fun but for the most part we've just been busy with everyday life sort of things.

Gabrielle finally after almost a year learned how to ride her tricycle. We bought it for her 2nd birthday last September. Once the weather turned cooler and the more pregnant I became the less I felt like playing outside unfortunately so she did not have too many opportunities to learn. But finally in the kitchen one day she started pedaling!! Now we have to master steering. We did take her outside and got her on video. If I can ever find my fire wire on this cluttered desk of mine then I will upload and post a short clip of Gabrielle riding her tricycle.

We went to a friend's pool yesterday and had a great time. This was Gabrielle's second experience in a big pool. She really does love it. I am hoping before the summer is over we can all go to the public pool in Wake Forest but taking Gabrielle and Samantha by myself is not an option so we'll have to wait until Daddy has a day off work. Maybe next year we can do swim lessons.

Today we have a busy, busy day. I'm taking the girls to my mom's tomorrow for the week for Vacation Bible School. I have to finish up laundry, pack, straighten up the house, return library books, exchange a top at Kohl's and finish up some data entry work and still get to bed at a reasonable time so that I can leave early tomorrow morning. I don't know why I overwhelm myself with impossible to-do lists!