Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Switch

Does your child have a switch? You'll be having a great, wonderful day with your child and then suddenly, it's as though someone, somewhere, flipped a switch and turned your child into anything but pleasant. Elsie must have one. Somewhere.

Yesterday morning, Elsie was playing with her Cinderella doll (polly pocket type doll) and she found one of the dresses had gotten stuck in its drawer and torn. She brought it to me, holding it out in one hand before her. "Look," she said. "It's broke." I told her that I was sorry and said that she could throw that one away and play with another one of the dresses. "But this one's pink. And, it was my FAVORITE," she responded, her face plastered with a puppy dog look the whole time. I tried to distract her with other dresses, but blue, white, yellow, and red just wouldn't do. Luckily, it wasn't long before we were on our way out the door and the pink dress was forgotten (temporarily).

Later that evening, Jason was home, and I was telling him how well behaved Elsie and Claira were during our outing. In the middle of our conversation, Elsie decided to share her sorrow with her daddy, telling him about the "broke pink dress in the trash." After we explained what happened to him, I praised Elsie for being so well behaved lately and told her we'd get her a new pink dress for her Cinderella doll. All was well (temporarily).

Fast forward to today. Elsie was really good all morning long, through lunch, and while Claira napped. After Claira woke up, we headed to Target in search of a pink dress for Cinderella. We quickly found one, wandered through the toy aisles, grabbed some baby food, and I announced it was time to checkout. As we made our way to the front of the store, Elsie commented, "I thought we were going to get me a pink dress?" I told her she was carrying the pink dress and she clarified that she wanted one for herself. I told her we weren't buying clothes today, and her smile turned upside down, but she still walked without protest. When we entered the store, I told Elsie not to touch everything along the aisles, which is one of her favorite pastimes. Still, it was no surprise when she kneeled down to look at all of the add-on impulse buys up near the registers. While she checked out toothbrushes and hand sanitizer, I put the contents of our cart onto the belt. Then, Elsie turned around to declare that she wanted to put the princess up there. When she spotted it already done, she immediately started crying. The crying followed us out to the parking lot and was steady the whole way home. I spent the late afternoon wondering where the Elsie from yesterday was--the one who was happy to leave JumpZone and her friend with no complaints. Somewhere in Target, she pulled the switch.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We're not morning people around here. The girls are both night owls, which works out okay for us because Jason usually gets home between 6 and 6:30...I know that in a lot of homes, it would be time for dinner, baths, and bedtime so I'm thankful we get extra time with the girls in the evening without the worry of getting them up early. On the other hand, it makes playdates and morning activities nearly out of the question. Storytime at 10:30?? I can't guarantee we'll be there...some days the girls are up at 8, and some mornings Claira sleeps until 11! I don't complain because she's still not sleeping through the, if it's a sleep in day, I'm all for it.

We're still co-sleeping, which makes nursing really convenient. Claira woke up this morning to nurse right as my phone rang, which woke Elsie up so I had her retrieve the phone for me. It was my friend Lisa asking if we wanted to go to JumpZone. I had no idea there was even one nearby so we got ourselves out of bed, fed, dressed, and in the car. Actually, I think JumpZone is a bit of a bargain...we usually pay about $4-$5 for a 10 minute jump in a small inflatable at carnivals around was only $8 for 3 hours of jumping fun. Anyway, Elsie had a great time running around with her friend Payton. Lisa and I got a chance to chat while watching the girls whiz by us in clouds of giggles.

Here's Elsie sliding down a giant dump truck.

Elsie and Payton on a much needed drink break.

Claira and I...about two minutes before she fell asleep...she looks tired here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's a pollywog?

Elsie periodically calls me "Miss Martin." She often makes up new names for herself so I haven't thought too much of it, but one day I asked her about it, and she said because you're my teacher like Miss Martin is Caillou's teacher. Miss Martin is my teacher name.

Claira is pulling up now, and cruising. Thankfully, she keeps her trick performing to a minimum so far. The more mobile she gets, the harder it is to update this blog (or do much of anything else for that matter)! She's on the go all the time...climbing all over us like a little monkey...she's constantly trying to roll over while she's nursing, and she gets down off of my lap while nursing too, then gets made and grunts at me to pick her back up.

"Lemonade sure is tasty on a hot, sunny day." -Elsie

We had a playdate this morning, and Claira was fussing so Elsie was trying to calm her down. In her sweetest voice, Elsie was saying, "Claira, I know you want to be up front with Mommy, but only grown-up drivers sit there. We can't drive because we're small so we can't see. I know we're both little, but I'm still the big sister. I'm here to tell you it's going to be okay." I was cracking up. Where do kids come up with this stuff?

Yesterday, the girls and I were reading and Elsie brought a book about colors for us to read. At this point, she can read them to us so that's what I usually let her do. "Yellow duck, yellow cheese. Blueberries, blue ball. White rabbit, white milk. she was saying until she got to the page for gold. Then she said, "Shiny star, shiny buttons."

On the way home from JumpZone, we picked up some Krispy Kreme donuts and Elsie asked for the "sparkly one." (meaning the one with sprinkles)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This and That

Here are a few odds and ends that I missed out on posting over the last few weeks.

These are just a few pictures I've taken of Miss Claira...Isn't she sweet? I'm having Photoshop issues and really need to learn how to do it right...unfortunately, my free time is in severe lack mode so that won't be happening anytime soon. In the meantime, enjoy!

Claira, climbing all over Daddy. She doesn't sit still for a moment!

Last Saturday, we had a get together for small group. We had just seen Breanna the evening before when she went to see Wall-E with us so the girls were thrilled to see each other again. They ran off to play right away.

Aunt Angel the Great moved into an apartment a few months ago that doesn't have a laundry room so every once in awhile we get the pleasure of having her company while she does laundry here in between work at the church. We're always thrilled to see her, especially Elsie. Here she is trying on Aunt A's sunglasses. I'm still surprised she managed to get them back!

Yesterday, we were eating lunch in the kitchen when Elsie spotted a flower outside the window and told me about it...tada! Here's a couple of pictures of Jason and Elsie gardening all the way back in June...look at that sunflower now...they're HUGE, way taller than I am! We've also already had radishes, but there are little tomatoes and cantaloupes growing so I hope to be eating them soon. A storm a few weeks ago separated part of our fence, and some raccoons feasted on our corn before we got it fixed.

The Evolution of Hide n Seek

It's been about 6 months since we moved into this home. I can remember coming to walk through it a couple of times before we moved in. Each time, Elsie played the same game...she'd run through the house, closing herself behind closet doors and climbing into the bathtubs. There were few words that followed her wherever she went, "Come find me!" Of course, we did. We'd search from room to room, calling out to her and asking, "Is Elsie in the kitchen?" She'd ALWAYS respond, "NO-OO!" At times, she'd get impatient and tell us where she was, "I'm in the bathroom!" When we found her, she'd burst into a fit of giggles and could barely count at all while we took our turn to hide.

Yesterday, Claira woke up from her nap, and I joined her in the bedroom. The way I was sitting must've been shielding her from Elsie's view at our doorway because she walked in the room asking, "Where's Claira hiding?" I told her she wasn't hiding at all but told her she could count to ten, and I'd help Claira hide. Elsie began counting as I slipped out of our bedroom holding Claira in my arms. I grabbed a book to keep her quiet and situated us on the floor behind the recliner. "Not ready, I'm coming!" wafted down the hallway seconds later followed by Elsie's footsteps. She entered the room and circled it before spotting us and announcing, "I found you!" errupting into her usual fit of giggles. As Claira and I left our spot behind the recliner, Elsie declared her turn to hide, taking our spot. That's her current phase of hide-n-seek. She hides exactly where I was just hidden, and I get to watch her hide there. She also sits quietly and doesn't make a sound while I search for her.

I don't know if she means to do it, but I find it interesting that in both cases, we know just where she is. If we didn't see where she hid, she'd tell us, and now that she's stopped telling us where she'd hidden, she hides while we're watching.

Earlier this week, Claira played alone happily on the floor while Elsie and I snuggled in the recliner. Of course, she fell asleep after about 5 minutes, but I couldn't stop thinking about how big she is. She's growing, learning, changing, and amazing me everyday. One of these days, I know I'll be longing for a simple afternoon of hide-n-seek, and I'm glad I'll find it here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Save Me, Saturday!

It's been a busy end of the week. Elsie is still expanding her food choices...she's tried peanut butter and jelly as well as hashbrowns in the past two days.

Last night, we went to see the movie Wall-E at the theatre. Elsie's friend, Breanna, came with us. She usually comes for a playdate every third Friday of the month. The two of them kept us busy, that's for sure. Jason and I each made a trip to the ladie's room...well, men's room in Jason's case. We always seem to be blessed with a nearly empty theatre when we go. It's nice because the girls can wander up and down our row switching seats as they please without disturbing anyone. It was a great movie so I recommend you see it! Claira happily slept through everything after the first 10 minutes.

This morning, we went to sign Elsie up for her first dance class. Classes start the second week of September, and I'm so excited to dress her up like a little ballerina and watch her twirl around. We made a trip to WalMart this morning to pick up a couple of leotards and tights. Later today, we're going to take her for her very first haircut. I'll probably have a whole post about that afterwards. We might try and find her some ballet slippers while we're out.

Miss Claira is growing and having new experiences everyday. She pulled up for the first times this week. Put that girl in front of an open toybox, and she'll find a way to get to it! Also, in less exciting advancements (at least for Mommy), she has already learned how to get down off of my lap. I'll be sitting in a chair holding her, and she'll roll over to her belly and slide down my lap until she's standing on the floor. I can hardly even believe she's doing that so early. Of the two, Elsie is definitely the snugglebug (even at 3) but I didn't expect Claira to learn escape techniques so soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sound the Trumpets!

Elsie has tried both meatloaf and sloppy joe's for the very first time ever this week. I'm happy to report that she loves them both. Yay for a three year old who's willing to try new things!

Right now

Claira is napping on the floor in Elsie's bedroom. Well, on a bed of blankets on the floor in Elsie's bedroom. Why? Because the door to our bedroom is locked. Why? Lately, Claira is giving Columbus and all other great explorers some competition as she crawls from room to room in search of new and exciting lands. In my effort to deter her, I closed all doors in the hallway today. Silly me. I didn't think the bedroom door would be locked when I closed it. And, there's no way to unlock it from the outside. This whole thing should be a piece of cake because the upstairs bathroom has entries from our bedroom as well as the hallway. But, on the other side of that door in our room is Elsie's bed so the door won't budge open more than an inch, and if I push too hard, it sounds like the door is going to crack. Oh, happy day!

Oh, and I've heard that the Locked Door Bandit looks strikingly similar to the Pumpkin Pie Snatcher. Imagine that!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


A Pie Snatcher. A Pumpkin Pie Snatcher.

(Note the finger holes)

The suspect is estimated to be about 40 inches tall and about 40 pounds. She has long, light brown hair often worn in a pony tail and sneaky blue eyes. May be wearing a purple Hannah Montana t-shirt. Last spotted terrorizing her little sister while watching Miss Spider's Sunny Patch. Please forward any information you have to 555-SAVE-PIE.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pizza Party

A bunch of guys from church, including Jason, headed to Peoria for a Promise Keepers Conference Friday and Saturday. So, I invited Stef and her girls over to our house Friday evening so the girls could make pizza. Now, my intentions were to snap some cute photos of them making pizza. That did NOT happen. Things went way too quickly, and I was busy satisfying the chanting, "My turn!, Me next!, Hey! I wanted to do that!" not to mention the fact that I must've forgotten that 18 month olds still put everything in their mouth because I handed Mya a piece of dough to flatten, and she promptly tried to take a bite. Don't worry, I grabbed it back in the nick of time. Needless to say, I have zero pizza making pictures. Better luck next time. We did have a lot of fun, and it's super easy to do. Since I don't actually make the dough, we like to buy Pillsbury's Grands Biscuits and flatten them out into mini pizzas, then we just top them with some pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese and bake! They're pretty yummy too. Afterwards, the girls had plenty of time to run up and down the stairs making all the noise they possibly could.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blackberry Farm

Yesterday morning, I woke up to Elsie's plea, "Let's get up, Mommy." I shuffled myself out of bed and down the hallway while the pleas continued..."I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, I want waffles." I made my way to the kitchen, opened the freezer, and turned to find the stove clock staring me in the face. 10:34 it said. I can't even believe we slept in that late. What I can't believe even more is that Claira slept until 11:54! Yeah, I checked her breathing a few times.

When we were all finally up and ready for the day, we met Stefanie with her girls, Lydia and Mya at Blackberry Farm. There are trails to walk on, and the girls always enjoy endless rides on the carousel, ponies, train, and wagon. It was a great afternoon for it...the sun was warm and the breeze was cool.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Funnies

Last week, Elsie kept calling me "Miss Martin" and I couldn't figure out why. After a couple of days, I finally asked her why she was calling me that...she said, you're my teacher like Miss Martin on Caillou!

Earlier this morning, Elsie had asked for a drink so I went to the kitchen, and she followed. Claira army crawled after us, grunting her thoughts about the whole thing all the way. When she reached the doorway, I turned to her and said, "Hi, Claira." She stopped, smiled and waved, and then resumed her crawling and grunting pattern.

"You know you're growing when elastic doesn't fit." -Jason

"Don't play with my shirt, it's not a toy!" -Elsie to Claira


School of Mine

I recently started another blog, which is devoted to our adventures in homeschooling. If you'd like, check out School of Mine.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, Monday

It was a gloomy day here in Chicagoland. We woke up to thunderstorms...the kind of thunderstorms that provide you with nearly continuous thunder. In my case, they also provide me with a continuously jumpy, clingy, frightened 3 year old. We also ended our evening with thunderstorms and a tornado warning. Don't worry. We sought shelter in our basement. It's lovely to have a home with a basement. On the other hand, our house is a split level so there are windows in every room. So, we huddled together in the bathroom around the corner from the window in there.

My Wii Fit finally arrived on Friday, and I do mean FINALLY! I had to stalk numerous online stores before I could even order one, and I had orders placed and cancelled twice before I actually got one. Now that it's here, we love it. All of us. Except for maybe Claira. It has inspired some fun talk already. Elsie calls the Hula Hoop the "Hooly Loop."

We had a wedding to go to on Saturday and as we were getting ready, Elsie told Jason, "I don't want to go to the recession (reception). I just want to go to the weddin'. Later, at the wedding, she asked me, "Where are all the Grandmas?" I had to explain to her that "all the Grandmas" are still in Missouri to which she replied, "Well, let's go back to Eric and Randi's weddin'. It's their turn again. Then we can see Grandma!" Of course, half way through the wedding, I hear, "I have to go to the bathroom." What's really grand is that I asked Elsie to wait, and she waited a good 15 minutes to go.

Yesterday, we went to the mall after church. I had to hit the Gap sale and got some CUTE stuff for Miss Claira. I've bought a few things for fall for Elsie already, but I'm hoping she'll be able to wear a lot of stuff from last winter. What was great is that it gave Elsie another opportunity to go potty outside our house. I'm really happy that she's telling us when she has to go and we're out and about. I was worried about that before, but she seems to be a pro already.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Elsie the Big Girl

Elsie is doing soooooo well with potty training. She hasn't had any accidents since Tuesday. She even made it all the way through church on Wednesday and went potty when we got home. Yesterday, she went poop in the potty for the first time. She's already repeated that today. AND, she woke up dry yesterday morning and this morning...something that rarely happens for her at all so two days in a row is pretty impressive.

Sorry about all the poop talk on the blog lately, but I'm proud of my girl and super thrilled at how well she's doing considering how long it's taken us to get here.

Princess Party

Last weekend, we went to a birthday party for Princess Breanna. Her mom, Janette, did a great job organizing it, and the girls had a ton of fun. First, they had a Princess Tea Party. There was a game for them to play. Then, they did some dancing to a dvd of Princess Songs, and Janette read them princess stories. After that, there was cake and ice cream, and Breanna opened her presents.