Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Aunt Associations

I can see the gears ticking in C's brain as Aunt J walks in the door.  He peers through the storm door, looks up and asks "See?" (=Uncle S).  He repeats this several times, not accepting "he's not here" for an answer.  He realizes they are a pair and that they usually arrive together!


Fruits and Wrinkles

After bath night tonight, M emerged from her room, pajamas adorned, holding her arms up jazz-hands style and announced:

"Mommy, my fingers are wrinkled like a blueberry!"

At least she knew the reference was supposed to be a a tiny fruit!

I was reminded of the books I bought last time I was visiting my best friend in Seattle.  I purchased two books by Sara Anderson, a local Seattle author, Fruit and Vegetables, "two board books that are good enough to eat."  Very neat books, with beautiful illustrations of some of our favorite (and some obscure) fresh foods!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Scary Movies

Who knew G rated movies could be so terrifying?  Apparently M thinks so, anyway.  There have been several movies she has refused to watch a second time due to certain characters or certain parts that were just too much for her.  For example:

  • Toy Story 2.  While the first of this series is her absolute favorite movie, she will not watch the second one. All she says is that she "doesn't like the elevator."
  • UP! She would not watch this again because she didn't like the dogs and just kept asking why the dogs were mean anytime they appeared in the film.
  • Peter Pan.  We just watched this movie for the first time last night, and I imagine we will not watch it again.  She said she didn't like the pirates, and she spent twenty minutes crying after the movie because she felt sad that the dog was put outside in "time out."
She has a need to decompress after watching a movie she has never seen before.  She needs to reflect on what she saw and talk about the ways it made her feel.

Also, she really does not understand "bad guys," and its diffcult to explain the role of the antagonist to a three-year-old.  I just told her "there is always a bad guy, and he always gets what's coming to him in the end" (at least while you're watching G rated movies when you're 3!)

Who knew she'd be so much like her mama (I cannot watch anything even remotely scary/tense/suspenseful, to the point that I get panic attacks.  Not even commercials for scary movies.  Eeep!)


Saturday, March 27, 2010


Daddy spent the day continuing to rip apart the front yard by cutting down a 50 foot siberian elm tree from the front yard.  The tree has been nothing but trouble and it finally crossed the line when it dropped a large branch on the hood of my husband's suburban last summer.  We've known it had to go, but we were waiting for a good time.  Today was that day!

The kids were highly impressed by all of Daddy's hard work:

C smiles by the stump.  He looks like he is fussing, but he thought he was smiling!
This is the face he made when we said "say cheese!"

M and C on the felled trunk.

C poses with the 3 foot chainsaw!

M and C with their two uncles, Uncle M and Uncle S!  Thanks for your help today, guys!!!


And So It Begins...

"Mommy, how do you get a baby in your tummy?"



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Playing the Parent Game

"Mommy, can I watch a movie tonight?"

"No, honey, I dont think so, you watched Tinker Bell last night, so we are not going to watch another movie tonight"

"No! You were supposed to say, 'Go ask your Dad'!"


Rhyme Time

M must be learning about rhyming words at school, because she's been noticing and making her own rhymes a lot lately. We play a rhyming game in the car.  Mama asks "what rhymes with ____", and M answers with her own rhyming word (sometimes they are not words at all, but she gets the point).  She seems to like to use the letter "L" to make new rhyming words.  Here is a funny example from today's ride home:

"What rhymes with 'sock'?"
What rhymes with 'green'?"
What rhymes with 'dog'?"
"What rhymes with 'two'?"


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Neighborhood Parks

M names the parks after the color of the slides:

"The Blue Park" , aka Centennial Park

"The Red Park"  aka Hessel Park

And our favorite, "The Green Park" aka Mayfair Park.  This is the park that is closest and easiest to access from our house, which we visit almost every day.  We walk, bike, and most preferably drive the Barbie Jeep.

M taking her motorcycle to The Green Park (July 2008)

The whole family at The Green Park (June 2009)

We are lucky to live in a community that values its parks and recreation, that we can have so many fantastic options so close to home.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Clickity Clack

"That's my railroad tracks"  M announced.

I was so impressed with how she sorted all of the colors and lined them up, I had to take a picture!  I'm such a dorky mom, thinking everything my kids do is brilliant!



The kids get along amazingly well.  I am so impressed with how mature M can be when it comes to sharing with and caring for her brother.

This weekend, riding on the Sit N Spin.  C cannot operate the toy independently, so M helped him out!

Tonight, enjoying story time before bed.  ♥

Bead Boy

Yes, not only does C enjoy wearing headbands, he also located and adorned himself with every bead necklace he could possibly find in the house.  He wears them so proudly!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Manners

C has learned a very important word:  "please" = "Peee"

He uses it when he asks for more.  "Moe Peee"

Usually with a long pause in between the two words, and some prompting by us.  But its so cute and sweet!
Polite little boys are such darlings.

“A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

At work, we were given this really neat flier, published by Chicago Wilderness, about the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.  It was powerful, and triggered nostalgic thoughts about all of the time I spent outdoors as a youth and teen.  Follow the link for the full description and to see the flier. In short, the Bill states that every child should have the opportunity to:
  1. Discover wilderness -- prairies, dunes, forests, savannas, and wetlands
  2. Camp under the stars
  3. Follow a trail
  4. Catch and release fish, frogs, and insects
  5. Climb a tree
  6. Explore nature in neighborhoods and cities
  7. Celebrate heritage
  8. Plant a flower
  9. Play in the mud or a stream
  10. Learn to swim
I would also like to add "playing in the rain" to that list. :-)


P.S. today was a much nicer day, and we enjoyed Scott Park again, this time under the nice warm sun.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singin' In The Rain

I often struggle with getting the kids out in "extreme" weather.  I myself prefer to snuggle up in my frumpy pajamas and hang around the house.  As seen here:

Baby M and Mama chillin' in our jammies, December 2006

However, I am also a proponent of No Child Left Inside.  And to me, this means not just is balmy spring and summer days.  When I was a kid, we were outside as much as possible, all year round.  So, I have made efforts to take the kids out in the snow, and today in the rain!  Granted, it wasn't down-pouring, just sprinkling enough to get us wet.  But we were out for over an hour, and went to two different playgrounds.  C loved the swings, and would even hold his head up and try to catch the rain in his mouth.  We got muddy and wet, and had a blast!

M's best line of the afternoon:  "It doesn't usually rain at the park."

I replied "Yes it does honey, we just don't usually go to the park when it rains!"


Little Drummer Boy

As the adults wrapped up breakfast and read the newspaper, we heard some drumming coming from the playroom.  We looked over to see C just pounding away on our hand-made wooden drum box!

He was focused on his task, and doing a really great job!

I could hardly get his attention, but finally he gave me a huge grin.

rat-a-tat-tat, and arum-pa-pum-pum.


Full Sentences??

Yesterday, around bed-time, one of my husband's buddies came over with his digger to help him fill in the trench in the front yard.  The kids watched in awe out the window the whole time!

As things were wrapping up, it was after 7pm, which is late for C.  I asked him if he was ready to tucked in.

I swear, the next thing he uttered was a full sentence:  "iwama Daddy"  (= "I want my Daddy")

Its true, Daddy does usually tuck him in at night, and he waited patiently for Daddy to come back inside to tuck him in.


Body Language

C has been fascinated with body parts this last week, and his vocabulary in this realm has skyrocketed.  Just this week, he now can identify and say:
  • Ear = "Ea-r"
  • Nose = "Na"
  • Teeth = "Teee"
  • Eye = "Ahh"
Soon he'll be singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Treasure Hunting!

With the vernal equinox upon us (Yay!!), I wanted to plug one of our favorite family outdpoor pasttimes - treasure hunting!  Namely, letterboxing, and starting today geocaching too!

M and I have been treasure hunting since last summer, when the Urbana Park District started the Wild About Parks Quest (WAPQ).  Since I was personally invested in the program (I have authored six of the thirty clues), I started trying it out elsewhere around town too.  I wanted to get a feel for what *real* letterboxers do, to make sure we were doing everything kosher for the WAPQ, and to get ideas for how to formulate my own clues.

We love treasure hunting.  We get so into finding the boxes, stamping-in, and re-hiding them when we are finished - and being sneaky throughout the experience too. It is just such a great hobby for families - gets you exploring your environment, exposes you to parks and natural areas (and playgrounds!) you may not have been to, and it's down-right addicting!  Once you've found one, you just can't wait to find another. 

M, baby C, and I seeking the Busey Woods WAPQ letterbox.  This particular photo even got us famous - that's right, my big butt was on the back cover of the entire UPD's January-April Leisure Guide!

M, super excited about treasure hunting!

C nestled and asleep in his Ergo baby-carrier while I stamp-in at the Crystal Lake Park WAPQ letterbox.

My husband and I even searched for boxes on our anniversary trip to Starved Rock last summer!  Photo: Me hiking to the French Canyon at Starved Rock State Park, letterboxing supplies in hand!

Today, we decided to sleuth out our competition.  The Champaign Park District jumped on the bandwagon, stole our idea, and started a Geocache Stash.  Obviously, it is inferior to what we have been doing with UPD, but I must admit it was still fun for us.  The real problem is that it is not an event *anyone* can do - you have to have access to GPS technology, which most lay-people do not.  I have a smart-phone, but I had to download a special application, and I had difficulty getting my GPS to work correctly (turned out I had the units defined incorrectly).  Before I solved the problem, I got so frustrated that I called the CPD to ask if they had any loaner-GPS units for people to borrow for their event.  They do not.  I just can't imagine that they are going to get the kind of turnout that we have had at UPD, without providing access to all people.  Despite the technology barrier, we did have fun, and as always, M's favorite part is when we get to  
"tuck it back into bed to go to sleep!"


P.S.  Keep your eyes out - the 3rd clue booklet for the Wild About Parks Quest premiers on April 1st!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Smarty Pants

Had to gloat just a little:  I had M's parent-teacher conference today, and she is drastically improved since her fall conference.  Teacher even said, academically, she is as advanced as some of the children in the class that will be entering kindergarten this fall  (she still has one more year of PreK)!

She went from only recognizing 4 letters, to knowing 90% of the uppercase alphabet (and more than half of the lowercase letters too)!  And she can rote count to 29!! (in the fall she counted to 7).  I'm so proud of my little girl.

Keep your fingers crossed - M's PreK program is on the cutting block of the state of IL budget, and may lose 100%  funding. :-(   We've been so blessed to have her in school and with such a great teacher, so it will be truly heartbreaking if it is cut.  I wrote to our senator, but he is already in support of the program, so I felt like I was preaching to the choir.  Send some prayers our way!


"Child" proofing

Just thought I would point out some of the extreme measures we have had to take to keep RoscoeDog from destroying things while we are away at work.  I find it comical that we expend more effort child-proofing our house against Roscoe's shinanigans than we do on child-proofing for the actual children!  The list includes:
  1. Close ours and M's bedroom doors to keep him off of the beds.
  2. Close C's door to keep him off of the loveseat
  3. Place three xmat spikes on the couch - to keep him from getting on it and making huge lick puddles.
  4. Make sure all bread and food are out of jaw's reach. - this includes anything on kitchen counters or stove, and any snack foods that may have wound up in the living room the previous evening.
  5. Ensure that the treat and food containers are tightly sealed.
There are certain foods he is destined to conspicuously chow down (even while we are home!).  These include, but are not limited to:
  • Curtis Orchard apple donuts
  • Cookies (i.e. the girl scout trefoils from last night...)
  • Corn cobs?!  No idea why...
  • Whole loaves of bread
  • He has also been known to steal food right out of the kids hands (its like stealing candy from a baby!)
I guess when apple donuts and cookies are involved, who could resist? 

Lounging - Winter 2005

Roscoe performs his famous "4-stair sit"; tail, rump, hind legs, front legs (April 2006)

Regal RoscoeDog


    Thursday, March 18, 2010


    C can be a strange little boy sometimes.  This morning, M decided she wanted to wear her baseball cap to daycare this morning.  C followed suit, and strutted around the house in his baseball cap too, as we finished getting ready to leave.  However, as we were walking out the door, I realized C was no longer sporting his hat, and had replaced it instead with a headband!  We rushed him out the door anyway, since this isn't the first time, and there was no use trying to swap it out.

    Later, at dinnertime, he was throwing a huge fit.  As it turned out, he wanted a headband again!

    I tried to snap this quick shot before the camera died, but M was grabbing him and he got cranky.  Also, please note, M's messy face got wiped off just moments later.  Still funny though:


    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Potty Mouth

    Tonight, while using the bathroom, M announced:

    "I ate a lot of ham for dinner, so I had to poop"

    I could not stop laughing.  It is true, she did it a lot of ham!  In one end - out the other, right?

    "All living things eat, so... Everyone Poops!"

    Scrapbooking 2!

    The Blog Book arrived today!  Super exciting, and very pleased with the results!

    When I imported it into the Blurb.com program, I realized how few photos I had in my beginning posts.  I added as many more as I could.  I'm looking forward to the next book (January-March, or maybe even January-June, depending on how long the book becomes.)


    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Senses Awry

    Similar to how M said that something smelled green, today was another interesting conversation.

    I had just finished taking an afternoon run, and M asked "Can I touch your knees?"

    I made a crooked smile and said "sure, I guess." and when she had finished I asked "well, how do they feel?"

    I expected her to say rough or something, but no - not my M:

    "They feel tired!"

    Oh, honey, if you only knew how tired they feel...


    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Goat Farm!

    We went to the "baby shower" at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery on Sunday afternoon.  I was great! So many cute baby goats to pet and feed.  And the mama's and papa's were great too.  And lots of free range chickens running around.  The farm serves brunches in the spring before the farmers markets start up, and they are phenomenal.  if you're in the area, you must check it out!

    baby goats!

    M with Elaine the goat.

    C enjoyed pointing and watching the animals, but was not all that interested in getting close or touching.

    What fun!



    I enjoy scrapbooking and crafty stuff, but I just never seem to find the time, and it is often a hassel for me to find a space to spread out (and then have to clean up later...).  I have briefly toyed with digiscrapping, but thus far have only done three layouts, shown below.

    As my Christmas present to myself, I purchased My Digital Studio from Meg Loven, Stampin' Up demonstrator and friend.  She does a monthly tutorial to acquaint folks with the software, so I'm hoping to make it to one soon, so I can continue to hone my scrapbooking skills.

    Luckily, this blog has been an outlet to express myself, and thanks to a suggestion from The Charming Tyrants, I turned some of my blog into a *real life* physical book and ordered a Blog Book through Blurb.com!  It will arrive on Wednesday - I'm so excited.

    Here's to creativity!



    M came sneaking into our room last night, restless from us trying to tuck her in "early" (because of the time change).  She was pouty and drowsy and having trouble falling asleep.  In great efforts to gain our favor (and perhaps make it back into our bed for a snuggle?), she sweetly and softly said:

    "Mommy, Daddy, I just want to be friends forever."

    We both said "awww..."  We want to be your friends forever too, sweetness. 
    We'll see if this is still the case come teenage years...


    Sunday, March 14, 2010


    As I stated in the previous post, we traveled to Chicago for two reasons this weekend.  The second reason was for our newest nephew F's baptism!  F is such a sweet, charming little guy, and it was great to meet him in person.

    M was fascinated this time around with the baptism.  She is finally starting to be old enough want to understand more.  She asked lots of questions about what would happen at the baptism, why we baptize, etc.

    She watched intently during the entire sacrament.  Immediately afterwards she turned around, gave me a hug and kiss and said:

    "I loved the baptism!"



    We traveled to Chicago this weekend for two reasons.  The first reason was the pancake breakfast, hosted by my husband's Boy Scout Troop 609.  He likes to help out flipping pancakes every year as a fundraiser for the troop.

    We had a blast - and filled up on lots of pancakes too!

    C does the "eat-and-run" with Dad.

    M enjoys a brief sit on Dad's lap before he heads back to the griddle.

    M (left), cousin D (middle), and cousin A (right).  M had a such a great time playing with all ten of her cousins this weekend!  We love you all!


    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Sisterly Love

    Was trying to take the pictures of C's new haircut, and M wanted her picture taken too.  I was able to snap the sweetest pics of the siblings.  M was being overly affectionate, which was aggravating C - I just had to remind M not to choke C.  Hehe.

    (thats a noodle in his mouth and in his left hand)



    C's vocab is expanding yet again.  He added "ba-bo" (bottle) and "ears" this week!

    But the cutest thing is that he responds "Yeah!" when you ask him a question (i.e. "Do you want a cookie?"  "Yeah!")



    M didn't have her first haircut until she was two years old.  And even then, it was the slightest trim.  She has only had her hair trimmed two more times since then, just to get the split ends cleaned up.  It is finally gaining some length.

    C has always had a full head of hair.  He needed his first haircut at 4 months old.  He was born with dark brown/black hair.  After his hair grew out over his eyes, I took him into the bathroom and shaved his head - he came out blonde!  My husband thought I dyed it, so that I could have *my* baby (M has always had his looks).  ;)

    Anyway, C has his forth (or fifth??) haircut yesterday.  I stopped shaving his head, becuase I just don't do as good as a real hairdresser.






    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    The Bird

    As we are all now well aware, M has a bad nose picking habit.  This has led to some horrible hangnails on her index fingers (the primary culprits). She often asks for band aids, but it seems to be more related to the Dora character on the bandage than to her need for one. We are trying to enforce a "no blood, no band aid" rule, but I know how those hang nails can be irritating.

    However, I truly wish I had my camera to catch a snapshot, as she flicked us off and asked:

    "Can I please have a bandaid?"


    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    As my husband continues the downspout drainpipe project, the kids are still very interested.  Not sure if it was the mud, the shovel, or just Daddy in his element, but the kids couldn't stop watching!

    If they had it their way, they would have both been out there diggin' in the mud too. 


    Chips Off the Old Block

    M's baseball cap, Daddy's baseball cap, C's baseball cap

    Favorite Activities

    As M continues to grow, I wonder if she is beginning to develop a sense of identity - what it means to be M.  So, I asked her:

    "Hey M, what are you favorite things to do?"

    She didn't have to think long at all, and she replied:

    "I like drawing, playing at school, reading, and playing on the computer.  Also, I like feeding Roscoe treats"

    There you have it!  I was pleased to see that four of the five activities did not involve "screen time" because that is often my concern.  With all of the digital media out there, it is a challenge to ensure she is getting enough "real" time too.  TV, Leapster, Computer...We have so many better things we could be doing, and luckily, she sees that too.


    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Tea Party, Anyone?

    Ever since M recieved a tea set from Aunt K for her birthday, followed by another from her Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins from Omaha, she has been very into supplying others with drinks.

    This is in some ways cute.  She fills one cup for each person, and makes sure each person knows which one is the one for them.

    In other ways, it has become a bit of a bother.  She fills the cups in the bathroom, because that is the only faucet she can easily reach.  Then carries them to the kitchen counter or the living room, spilling a wet path all along the way.  She kindly access a towel  or washcloth from the linen closet and wipes up after herself.  If the cups wind up in reach of C, we always have a wet mess on our hands.  Luckily it's just water!

    My little tea time hostess.


    Collecting Raccoons

    "Mama, can you help me find some raccoons?"

    "Did you mean acorns, honey?"

    M likes to collect acorns and rocks, and add them to the pouch attached to her bike.

    Raccoons...so cute.


    Spring Has Sprung Part 3

    We went to the park!

    M on her bike, C in the stroller, Roscoe on the leash!  M was so much speedier on the bike than she was last fall!

    M swings.

    C slides!

    Yay for spring, we are so glad warmer weather is on its way!