Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane...No! It's a post!

I've been slacking lately, I know. I'm just keeping busy with the girls. I can hardly believe that this week is the Fourth of July already. Jason and I met the day before the Fourth so it's a pretty special holiday for the two of us. I'll be baking cupcakes with Elsie later this week and making no bake cookies too. We bought red, white, and blue sprinkles for the top so Elsie's already looking forward to it.

One of Elsie's favorite toys when she was a baby were stacking/nesting cups. She LOVED them. She loved them so much that the two sets we had of them are mismatched and half lost. So, we bought Claira a new set yesterday. She's definitely ready to handle the job of knocking down. It turns out that Elsie's love for stacking cups is still quite strong. They came to church with us this morning. She did manage to share them with Claira for awhile last night. Elsie would stack them up, and Claira would knock them's funny to see Elsie react to Claira knocking them over because usually Elsie is the one knocking down a block tower Jason or I have built. This time, the shoe is on the other foot, and she didn't enjoy it at all. I had to get her started giggling and then they had a lot of fun together.

Today, we bought Claira her first baby doll. Elsie got her first doll for her first Christmas so she would've been 10 months old. She wasn't really interested in it for awhile. I'm sure it was well after her first birthday before she took any interest in them at all. Claira is a completely different story. She's fascinated with dolls. Elsie's into dressing them so I end up with a baby on my lap helping her often. If Claira's in my lap as well, she just grabs ahold of the doll and doesn't want to let go. When Elsie wants it back or wants to switch for another doll, Claira throws a tantrum...not a little one. So, today we bought her first dolly, and her face lights up whenever she sees her. It's so sweet.

Elsie and I have been making some fun changes to the playroom this week. We went shopping and purchased some ABC's, a couple of alphabet posters in print and cursive, a "Jesus Loves Me" sign, and some days of the week. I'm still on the lookout for a type of wipe off calendar, but I haven't found quite what I'm looking for yet. We also bought some workbooks so we can start doing just a couple of pages each day. We started with colors because she already knows all of her colors. I want her to get the feel for the activities she's actually doing. It's pretty simple stuff. There will be a column of cars on each side of the paper, and she needs to draw a line to match the yellow car on the left to the yellow car on the right. This skill needs some work. She has no trouble identifying the matches, but drawing a semi-straight line to connect them is tough. They also will give a group of objects like colored balls and she'll have to circle all of the blue ones. She's really good at that. Underneath, there will be 3 blueberries, a boat, and a train for her to color blue. The activities are quick and easy, and most importantly--she loves doing it. We haven't done any this weekend, but she's asked about it both days.

I'm just getting practice in before we really start homeschooling, which probably won't be this fall but next. We need to do a lot of curriculum research before we decide on one, but we have plenty of time. In Illinois, you're not required to start homeschooling until your child is 7, and we'll be starting well before that. I'll probably be writing a lot about this in the next year.

Weekend Elsieisms:

We were shopping this weekend, and Elsie HAD TO HAVE a Hannah Montana shirt. During the shopping trip, Jason was pushing the cart and singing, "I might even be a rockstar..." Elsie responded, "No! I'm a rockstar!"

I've had a headache for a couple of days so I picked up some Tylenol while I was at the store awhile ago. It was sitting out on the kitchen table and Elsie asked what it was for. I told her that it was for my headache and she said, "Well, I need some for headaches sometimes too." Jason asked her, "What gives you headaches?" and Elsie piped up, "YOU!"

Jason was sweeping the kitchen floor, and Elsie kept getting in his way. Trying to distract her, he asked her where her babies were. She told him they were in the living room sleeping. So, he told her they were probably hungry and she should wake them up to feed them. She responded, "Well, I only have two boobs, and they're not growing." For the record, she does have pretend baby bottles and uses them all the time. I have no idea what made her think differently this time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My new best friend

I implemented a new discipline technique at our house yesterday...we introduced Elsie to the wonderful world of time-outs. Of course, that means she did little else yesterday than sit in time-out. Sometime over the past few months, whining has become a daily ritual at our house. She's always fussing and crying when she doesn't get her way. Now, I tell her all the time that crying doesn't get you what you want, and trust me, it doesn't get anything for her. She does it anyway. I know she has the vocabulary to express what she wants to us, but I constantly find her crying and moaning instead. These little tantrums have managed to sneak out of our house and show up in public too! (I know, I know, the nerve of those little rascals!) Seriously, they show up at church, at friend's houses, at the name the place, tantrums are found there! So, I decided I'm done making excuses for her...she's just tired, blah blah blah. Anyway, yesterday I picked a time out's just a spot in the hallway which I can see from the living room or the kitchen. Bonus: there's nothing fun about a hallway. There's nothing actually in the hallway. So, yesterday she must've found herself in time out at least a dozen times. My goal for the time out is for her to learn how to calm herself down and use her words to tell me what she needs. These are things that I know she's capable of, and I already encourage her to do. She's gotten praise for quite awhile now whenever she responds in a good way to a situation or an answer to her request.

So, yesterday didn't go too smoothly. She'd sit in time out, crying, with her arms stretched out to me...pitiful look on her face. I couldn't look at her for fear I might breakdown with her. Anyway, she must've gotten the picture because she hasn't had a single time out today. Not even a warning. Usually, she wakes up in the morning and finds me nursing Claira in the living room. Her mood is usually good and she'll curl up on the couch and ask to watch toons. She'll ask if she can have a bagel and some orange juice when I'm done nursing, and she's content to wait. OR, she'll wake up and come out half crying, requesting to "hold you, Mommy" and cry louder if she needs to wait. Today, she walked into the living room crying, and I asked her if she wanted to watch cartoons. She reached the recliner, stopped, lifted her head up, and said, "Good morning, Mommy! I want to snuggle with you." I told her I'd snuggle with her as soon as I was done nursing, and she said okay. "I'm not cryin' or fussin' I don't need a time-out." I had to smile at her, but really. It's as simple as that. I don't expect everyday to go as smoothly as today, but I'll take a vast improvement any day!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Elsie was helping me bake cookies this weekend. When I cracked open an egg, she asked, "Can I hatch one too?"

Though we know very little, we've been speaking more Spanish around the house lately. At dinner, Jason was telling Elsie how to say "please" in Spanish. Instead of "Por favor," she'd say, "Four Five Four."
He was also telling her that "C(Si) says yes," and she'd respond "A says no."

We went shopping at Toys R Us for the first time in a loooong time, and Elsie brought home a new doll and doll clothes. The doll clothes came out of the box first so she happily put those clothes on her dolls. When the new doll was taken out of her box, the first thing she did was start taking her shoes off. "Why are you taking her shoes off already?" I asked. Elsie answered, "Because she's home."

Elsie calls Claira's baby food "sauce."

I was in the kitchen and Elsie came in pushing a doll in her baby stroller. "I'm shopping, and my name is Ash-uh-ley," she told me. It was just funny the way she tilted her head to the side when she did it. Also, Ashley is a really great girl who just graduated high school. She goes to our church and sometimes leads the Praise and Worship for the 5 and under Children's Church. I just wanted to remember that she's someone she looks up to right now. Funny, I remember teaching Ashley in children's church, and now she's teaching my daughter. Am I really this old?

Jason's younger brother, Eric, is getting married in a few weeks. We've bought the girls dresses to wear, and I've bought a dress to wear so there's been some talk about the wedding. Whenever the subject comes up, Elsie thinks Eric is going to marry her. We can't convince her otherwise. I hope she isn't too disappointed when the big day arrives.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Claira and Daddy catching some ZZZzzzzzzzzzz's.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Something this Mommy won't do....

I don't trim the girls' fingernails. When Elsie was a newborn, I did...very carefully, usually while she was sleeping. Then, one day I had an accident and got a tiny bit of her bled, she cried, but I cried longer and harder than she did. Since that day, I just don't trim her fingernails. I've never trimmed Claira's. It's Jason's job.
As mommies, there's very little we don't do. Remember all of those things we said we'd NEVER do before we became parents? Are there any left that you haven't done?

Anyway, if you're wondering where on Earth I've been...I'll tell you. I'm still around, but Claira has turned into a little lunging leopard or something. I used to be able to hold her on my lap, and I'd blog one handed. Those days are long gone because she won't sit still for two seconds. She's grabbing for the keyboard, reaching for the mouse, chewing on wires. It's nearly impossible to even read an email online. Type a blog entry? Forget about it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


When Elsie wants to watch the Berenstein Bears, she'll say, "Mommy, how about we watch The Newest New Bears." If I ask her about the BERENSTEIN bears, she'll tell me that's not it.

Yesterday, she heard someone talking about the Milky Way on t.v. so we spent the rest of the day talking about the Milky Way, the solar system, planets, sun, moon, and stars, etc. Later that evening, I overheard her talking to herself about the Milky Way, the Juicy Way, and the Water Way. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at her, and she did not understand what was so funny!

Tonight, I returned some movies to Blockbuster and exchanged them for new ones. Elsie asked to "watch a movie" and that made me kind of sad. Once upon a time, she'd request to "watch a woovie." I miss that. Also, she used to say, "Wake wuck!" instead of "Wake up!" in the mornings. That's long gone as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy's Day

I know I don't tell him as often as I should, but our two sweet girls have a really great daddy in Jason. My parents divorced when I was only two, so my dad wasn't around a lot while I was growing up. Even though my mom remarried while we were still quite young, I guess my brother, Joel, and I didn't share many interests with him. Anyway, it was very important for me to find that ONE person to spend the rest of my life with. Perhaps it's even more important to me that the girls have a daddy while growing up. The relationship between father and daughter is such an important one. I'm sure not everyone would agree, but I think that a good father-daughter relationship is an important part in raising strong girls.
I really enjoy watching Jason interact with our daughters. I'm home with them everyday, and there are lots of things that they run to me for, but there's a side to their relationship that only a daddy can fill. Elsie's relationship with Jason has grown a lot in the 7 months since Claira has been born. I've watched them become incredibly good buddies, and Elsie has turned into quite the little sidekick, following daddy around in the garden, doing yardwork, going to prayer, grocery shopping. They have their own little jokes and games to play that I'm completely clueless about. And, she's already got him wrapped tightly around her finger...he's painted Elsie's toenails more times than I have and if she sees him with money and makes a request, he empties his pocket in no time. Time. That's all the difference. It's one of the greatest gifts. He spends time with his daughters. He spends time with his family. For these things, and so many more, I give thanks this Father's Day for a husband that spends time being a daddy, one our girls can count on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My husband is a turkey!

Really, he is. I sent him off to the grocery store a little while ago. We sat down beforehand and made out our meal plan for the upcoming week and a grocery list. I told him to get stuff for guacamole so we could make it tomorrow. It was important to have the ingredients tomorrow because guacamole is something Jason really loves, and it requires cutting...and I got him a cutting board for Father's Day. He also got a GPS unit, but he completely knew about it because he picked it out, and he's been using it since before we went to Indiana. Anyway, the point is that the cutting board was a surprise, and those are hard to come by in this household. Well, he returned from the grocery store, we put the groceries away, and I sat down to check my email. Within about 2 seconds, I turned around to find him cutting into avocadoes already! Geez! So, I gave in and gave him the cutting board early.

You're down to one surprise, Jason, and you're not getting it before tomorrow! (P.S. Love you dearly!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

"I can say it now." -Elsie, the Commentator

Is that how you spell commentator? I'm not going to look it up. Two things really stand out in my mind lately about my growing three year old. The first thing is that she keeps a running tab on everything that's going on in our house, and she tells you about it. Constantly. She's always talking. If I leave the girls in the living room to use the restroom, Elsie runs to the door about every 5 seconds. "Baby Kella is chewing on her toy." "Baby Kella is laughing." "Baby Kella fell down!" You get the picture.

The other thing I've been hearing a LOT lately is "I can say it now." She'll say, "I can say Claira, Mommy. I can say it now." She still calls her "Baby Kella" though. Funny. Yesterday, she wanted yogurt after lunch. When I asked if she wanted vanilla or 'nana, she told me, "Don't say nana, Mommy. I can say banana now."

This is our third summer in Illinois, and I've measured her growth by the changes I see at the playground each year. The first summer, Elsie liked the slide, but we stood right beside her and guided her down. She also like the swings. There was no climbing ladders for her that year. Last summer, she screamed at the sight of the swings but loved everything else. And, she was ready to tackle the biggest slides and ladders with no help from Mommy. I spent the entire summer prepared for her leg to slip as she clumsily climbed up a ladder. It never happened. This summer, she's pretty self-sufficient on the slide. She climbs up the ladders quickly and effortlessly, and I don't worry at all. She does enjoy the swing again and beckons us to "push higher!" It seems that I've officially became a mommy to a big kid. Well, minus the potty training...whose terrible idea was that?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Praise God I don't need a day job...

So, I believe I've got another sinus infection. I actually spent most of the winter feeling pretty well myself so I can't complain much, but it's tough to be sick while you're nursing! I have suspicions that taking some cold/allergy medications while I was pumping for Elsie may have caused some of the trouble with my supply. So, I'm being really cautious about what I take and how often I take it. It doesn't help that Claira has woke at 6:30 a.m. the past two mornings. I need sleep!

Anyway, I'm trying not to hold her too much in an effort to keep her healthy. I guess she had her fill of playing on the floor yesterday because she will have none of that today! She's spent half the day screaming her head off. Awhile ago, I finally got her calmed down and nursing so I started singing to her. It was part of my brilliant plan that if I stopped singing and she started to fuss, I'd just start singing again and she'd nurse happily, thinking she was just upset about the singing. Well, Elsie piped up and said, "Mommy, we have that song on the computer so you don't need to sing it." Yeah. Apparently, I'm no rockstar.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Before I forget them...

A couple of nights ago, my Mom, Jason, and I were playing Skip-Bo. Elsie was sitting on Jason's lap and insisted on holding some cards of her own. Then, she matched her cards up with those in front of Jason.
Daddy: Elsie, wouldn't you like to help Mommy? I think she needs help.
Elsie: Well, she's not the only one who needs help!

My mom has had Lucky Charms for breakfast a few mornings this week. A couple of mornings ago she was making herself a bowl of it when Elsie told her, "I don't like that cereal. I just like the pretty things in it."

Lately, Jason and Elsie have been adding fun things when they say "I love you." Jason will say, "I love you, yabba dabba doo!" and Elsie will respond, "I love you too, dabba doo!"

They also came up with a little game using your hands as jellyfish. If you've seen "Finding Nemo" you know that you don't get shocked if you bounce on the top of the jellyfish. So, Elsie will touch Jason's hand...on top, she's fine, but if she touches the bottom of his hand, she gets tickled. This game has also carried over to our expressions, and we'll say, "Jellyfish, I love you" for no good reason but we're silly like that, I guess!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Mommy's Lap is Never Empty...

Well, I suppose there's a rare occasion where an empty lap might actually occur in now, for instance. I'm sitting here typing with no one in my lap. Shock, I know! We got back from Indiana Sunday evening and my lap has been quite full since then. Both girls haven't been feeling well so they've been quite clingy. On Monday, I was nursing Claira and Elsie was fussing and whining, "I want to hold you!" So, she climbed up on my lap as well and was fast asleep in all of about 7 seconds. Claira fell asleep, and I got up, leaving Elsie asleep in the chair...she was up on her hands and knees, asleep! That didn't last long, but it would've made for one entertaining picture, I assure you.

Anyway, we got up bright and early on Friday morning and were on the road at 7 a.m. Now, for some of you that might not be a big deal at all. But, it was quite an accomplishment for us. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to make our way to Indiana Beach where we met my Mom and stepdad as well as my younger brother, Jared. I hadn't been to the amusement park in about 8 years, and it was the first time for everyone else in my little family. We pretty much stuck to Kiddieland though. Well, and the food places...I needed to visit the Taco Shop, Elephant Ear place, and the Fudge Shop. Don't ask me why, but it was all just as delicious as I remember. You can't find an Elephant Ear at an Illinois carnival to save your life. They have funnel cakes and something else that I don't remember the name of, but it is just not the same. Anyway, Elsie had so much fun riding all the kiddie rides. And, I thought it was quite a bargain to ride all she wanted for just $16! Around here, we pay about $20 for like 5 rides so Indiana Beach is a deal!

Obviously, Kiddieland is a sure way to get Elsie to smile!

That afternoon, the storm clouds started rolling in so we took Elsie on a couple of last rides and headed for home. It started to sprinkle on us as we walked back across the bridge to the parking lot, but we made it to the car before the rain really started. Then, we headed toward the hotel to check in and relax for a bit.

After awhile, I called my dad and found out he was actually working in Chicago and wouldn't be home until Saturday. My stepmom, Rene, was babysitting but sent Madison to her Grandma's so I could pick her up there and take her back to the house. So, we ordered some Pizza King (YUM!) and picked her up. By that time, it was raining quite hard and was very windy. We got home to find severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches in effect until late. We turned on the radio to listen for updates and immediately heard that there was a tornado 12 miles North of where Rene was babysitting. So, I called her to let her know since I figured she'd be in the car with Kaleb by that time. Sure enough, she was in the car, and blessedly, she wasn't far from a gas station so she pulled over and waited out some of the storm. We were glad to see her and Kaleb home safely after that.

On Saturday, we got up and went to eat lunch with a lot of family. Elsie got to play with several of her little cousins, which is always nice for her. I'm sad that we don't live near more family members with young kids. She makes herself right at home anytime children are around.

It was Claira's first time meeting some of her great-grandparents so that's always a special time.

Four Generations: My Grandma, My Mom, Myself, and My Daughter:

Saturday afternoon, we headed back to my dad's house and hung out for the rest of the evening. It was the loud, giggly fun that it usually becomes when you mix our family with theirs. The kids just run around and play happily. You can't really ask for more than that.

Sunday morning, we met my brother, Joel, for breakfast at a restaurant in town, and I heard my name being called out as soon as we walked in the door. Now, it's not everyday that you hear the name Mandalynn being called out in a public place. I was pleasantly surprised to follow the voice to a very familiar face...Mama Bannon! She's a lovely lady, and the proud(I'm sure) Mom to Amanda, one of my best friends from high school. I haven't seen her in years so it was nice to get to have a little bit of face to face time with such a sweet woman. I miss them both!

We had a nice visit with my brother, and I'm glad we got together with him. He and I are two very different people, and we don't talk often. But, he's my brother, I love him, and we actually do get along pretty well when we are together. After breakfast, we headed back to my dad's house to say goodbye and then on to pick up Mom and her things for the trip back home.