Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Conversations with a Toddler

I was getting Eliza Claire dressed this morning. She was very talkative - not that that is unusual for her. Here is what she had to say:

I was getting the stuff out to fix her hair.

"Hi ponies! Hi spray! Hi comb! I so happy to see you comb! So happy to see you! Hi!"

It must be nice that seeing your friend Comb can make you so happy first thing in the morning! I just can't imagine. But this is the child that regularly announces "I so happy!" as soon as you walk in her room in the morning.

I wonder what she will say when she sees Papa and Cici, who she hasn't seen in five months, if seeing her comb makes her this happy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Little Helpers

Rehm and Charlotte came downstairs to tell me Ruby and Eliza Claire had done something they weren't supposed to do. This is what I found. I thought that the littles were playing with the bigs. Obviously I was wrong.

Ruby and Eliza Claire obviously didn't think I had done a throuough enough job cleaning the litter box this morning and decided to help me out!
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Sleepy Girl

Apparently Eliza Claire isn't getting enough sleep. I got her down from her high chair at lunch time and she stumbled around the kitchen until she saw the stool and immediately laid down. If I would have let her she would have taken a nap right there.

Now if we can just convince this silly girl to go to sleep at bedtime instead of playing for an hour or more first she might not feel the need to nap in the kitchen.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Independence Day 2008

OK so I'm a little late with this! What can I say? A week of sickness (five out of the six of us - lucky Michael) kind of put a damper on my blogging.

We started the morning getting bikes decorated for the parade. We attend the parade in my in-laws neighborhood. They really do a great job and all four of the kids had a blast. This year I did not want to tackle the level of decorations I did last year so I told Michael that if there was to be decorating some one besides me would need to do it. He took care of it. He went to the party store bought a roll of red, white and blue streamer and 4 Mylar balloons. And you know what? The kids were just as satisfied with the end results as last year. Though at one point they did ask if they could have hats like last year...I laughed.

Rehm and Charlotte were riding their bikes in the parade. The plan was for Ruby and Eliza Claire to ride in Grandma's wagon. About 30 seconds into the parade both girls were done with the wagon and only wanted to be carried by Mommy - no one else would do. I decided to bail on the parade and take them back to the playground until the big kids were finished.

After the parade everyone enjoyed face painting (though most of our family had arms painted), balloon animals, snow cones, prize walks, and the moon walk.

After lunch Charlotte mentioned she didn't feel good. I felt her forehead and knew immediately she had a fever. That meant that she would not get to go to the fun party at the Manuel's. She was very sad because she knew that they were going to have a water slide and lots of other fun things for the kids to do. I had Michael pick up a special movie for Charlotte and I to watch and we curled up on the couch for Mommy time. Charlotte also had to miss the fireworks. Sometimes like isn't very nice to a four year old on a holiday. But overall she handled all of this remarkably well.

Michael, Rehm, Ruby and Eliza Claire had a lot of fun at the Manuel's. And after getting the twins in bed, Grandma, Michael and Rehm went to the local fireworks display about 5 minutes from our house. Grandpa and I chatted and watched a few minutes of the DC fireworks on TV.

Here is a slide show of the day.

If you can't see the slide show click here to view the pictures.

All in all it was a great Independence Day. And as always I feel very fortunate to live in the USA!

Overheard from the Backseat

We were in the van this morning and Rehm and Charlotte were having a conversation about swim lessons. It went something like this:

Rehm: Charlotte, why did you get moved back from level 7 to level 5

Charlotte: (emphatically) I don't know!

Rehm: Well Charlotte you just have to go with it. That is all you can do!

Charlotte: I know.

I was cracking up! First of all Charlotte was never on level 7, only level 6. I'm not sure why she got sent back a level but it is fine because she is still learning a lot. Second, Rehm has been very upset the last week or so that he has not moved up to level 6 - he thinks it is the teacher's fault, even though there is very specific criteria for moving that he hasn't met yet :) Third, when has one of my children ever "gone with it" when something happened they didn't like? And further, can you imagine the reaction I would get if I told one of them "you just have to go with it?"

Sidenote: We swim at Nitro and their lessons are station based. When yo master a station you move on to the next. So you are not being pushed or held back by the others in your class. There are 10 stations in all but level 5 is the freestyle and I think level 6 is the backstroke. It has been killing Rehm for a couple of weeks that Charlotte was at a higher station than him. He is at level 5.

More July updates to come when I have time,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why is it ?

Why is the hour of Quiet Time one of the loudest hours in my house? What part of QUIET do my children not understand? When I finished putting Ruby and Eliza Claire down for a nap they were screaming because I took away a ball they were arguing over. I walk past Rehm's room and he and Charlotte are yelling at each other about something. Where is the quiet? Were is the peace?

Rehm and Charlotte haven't gotten any more quiet as the hour passes. But I hesitate to go up and separate them as they are mostly enjoying each other's company. Ruby and Eliza appear to have gotten quite - I guess I should turn the monitor back on to see. The were screaming so loudly earlier that the monitor was unnecessary.

I guess I need to rename it Loud Time. Ugh!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ruby's New Trick

If you are easily grossed out or talk of bodily functions offends you, stop reading now. For the rest of you who want a good laugh, keep reading.

Ruby has a new habit. It is not a good habit. Unfortunately I have not found a self help program for her as of yet. I have tried several things to discourage this habit but so far I'm not having any luck. None of my other children have done this on this scale. Charlotte did do this - surprise, surprise, but not on this scale and with this persistence.

Are you wondering what I'm talking about yet?

For some reason if Ruby poops in her diaper she immediately sticks her hand in her diaper and messes in her poop. If I'm lucky I catch her the first time she pulls her hand out of her diaper and get her cleaned up. Even though this is gross it is manageable and not too messy. Unfortunately if she poops at nap time I don't know about it right away and well she proceeds to smear poop anywhere and everywhere. Here again if it happens at the end of a nap time where they have actually slept it is still not that bad.

OK sidebar: Can you tell she has broken me in if I am saying "it is still not bad" to poop not in a diaper and smeared at a minimum on my daughters hand? I never, ever thought I could refer to such an occurrence as "not that bad!"

However, if she doesn't take a nap during nap time and poops. Well it is another story completely and well poop gets EVERYWHERE! Today was one of those days. Not the first one but definitely the worst!

I was coming home from work when Michael called to ask if we had any Clorox Anywhere. I misunderstood him and thought he was just asking if we had bleach. I told him where the bleach was and asked why he needed it. It is not like Michael to be calling with such requests and I was a little concerned with what he might ruin with bleach. Once we got the miscommunication taken care of and I understood that he didn't mean "clorox, anywhere" but "Clorox Anywhere" - the spray that you can use anywhere, thus the name, he told me why he needed it.

Yep, the dreaded Ruby Pooped at Naptime AGAIN saga. This time though she had smeared poop on the carpet, the chairs, the beds, several toys, the walls, the door, the blinds, her sisters legs, EVERYWHERE! Oh my! And Michael had the pleasure of being the one to discover Ruby and her mess!

It took us about 3 hours to clean up the mess and part of that time we were both working on it.
Both girls had to be bathed. Every book and toy had to be disinfected. Both beds had to be stripped and washed. Blinds had to be cleaned. Carpets had to be cleaned. You get the idea.

The only good thing about Ruby and her poop fascination is that I am really appreciating my new washer and dryer, and almost new dishwasher, as well as the carpet cleaner we've had for a few years now. Luckily the washer and dishwasher have the ability to sanitize. The washer can even sanitize things in cold water which comes in handy when you need to wash chair covers, Elmo, and Ruby's new baby she got for her birthday. Yes I put the doll in the washer! It was acutally somewhat satisfying to see her spinning around at completely dizzying speeds. And part of me hoped she would get ruined and we would have to throw her away so Ruby would understand that things that get poop on them get messed up. So that maybe she would stop this!!!!!

For those of you that are thinking I need to dress her so that she can't get to her diaper, I have tried. My daughter is aspiring to grow up to be a cross between Hudini and Evil Kineviel! She can get poop out of her diaper regardless of what she has on. She is persistent!

For those of you that are thinking we should potty train, we are working on it but slowly. Only thing is she refuses to poop in the potty! If it is a day when we wear big girl pants, she will wait until she is in a diaper for nap or bed time to poop and then, well you can start reading back at the beginning. If I notice that she is getting ready to poop - you know, see the "face" and ask her if she needs to poop, she tells me "no!" So we continue to work on it.

You know, I just wonder what Eliza Claire is thinking when Ruby does this. She is quiet a talker and I never hear her on the monitor saying "No, no Ruby!" or "Uh, oh Ruby pooped!" She apparently doesn't mind her sister seamring everything in their room. I don't get it.

Jenn - hoping not to clean up poop again for at least a couple of days.

Friday, July 11, 2008

They're Here!

Ah, finally! My newest toys have arrived and I love them! There is definitely a learning curve to determine which cycle works best for what but so far I'm in love. The only drawback is my husband took one look at the owners manual and said he was afraid he'd never be able to do laundry again - there were just too many options. This from a man who is very tech savvy and he is scared of a little ole washing machine. Me thinks I smell a rat! What he doesn't know is it has a "My Cycle" option that I can set to have all the options I normally use. So if he has to do laundry he can simply push a single button and have everything ready to go. Hee Hee!

Ain't technology grand?
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quiet Time for the Big Kids

This summer I have instituted an hour of quite time for Rehm and Charlotte. It coincides with the first hour of Ruby and Eliza Claire's nap time. Yes, this is more for me than for them but having a somewhat sane Mommy is probably better for them than the completely crazy one they get otherwise.

In the last few weeks they have started asking to have quiet time together. My first thought on this was "absolutely not!" I knew they wouldn't be quite together and that I would probably spend the bulk of the hour being a referee. And that would completely defeat the purpose of quiet time.

I am publicly admitting I was wrong! Well at least partially wrong. They are not very quiet. And quiet time is not very restful. And no one is reading or writing during quiet time as I had hoped. But I'm not having to referee. They actually play nicely together during this hour! It is the only hour of the day the play nicely together but I guess one is better than none. They beg to be together for this hour when normally they will do anything to not be together. I decided that this was much more important than them being quiet or restful and even more important than reading. Now if I can just figure out how to get them to be a little more quiet....

I am so glad the two of them can at least appreciate each other for one hour a day! It's a start, right?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Go Fish!

I have fallen in love with a band. It just so happens that they are a children's christian music group. I first saw/heard them when I went to a conference in San Diego in the spring. After seeing them perform I immediately bought two of their CDs and their DVD for the kids. The kids all love them too. I was looking at their website one day and noticed that they were playing in a concert in Spring, TX. Spring is only 30-45 minutes from our family that lives in Houston. We decided to get tickets to the concert and go visit our Houston family. Scott, Laura, Will, and Brooke, thanks so much for letting us stay with you. It really was great to see everyone. And we have really enjoyed the salsa! But I left without the recipe.

I love Go Fish's music and message. They play classic kid songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and orignial songs as well. But even the classic they have spruced up and made much more fun. They brand their music as "great music for kids that won't drive their parents bonkers." It is right on the money. We have been listening to them almost non-stop since March and I still don't mind. I do get their songs stuck in my head at times but it isn't too annoying as their lyrics are very catchy, creative and downright funny at times. I really urge you to check out their music. You can buy their music on Itunes or their website. Or if you want to try before you buy I'll let you borrow one of my CDs. And no, I'm not on commission.

At the concert we proceeded to buy the other 3 CDs Go Fish has. We now have a complete set. Their CDs and this years VBS CD are all that are in my van right now. We even have the Christmas CD in there. Rehm wanted to know why he couldn't have a Go Fish T-shirt. I explained to him that he had enough T-shirts and that T-shirts could be out grown but that would could listen to the CDs over and over and over! That seemed to do the trick.

The concert was well planned and perfect for families. It started at 4 pm and was done a little after 6 pm. As we walked in the building I told Michael how nice it was to get to go to a Children's/Family event at a church and not be responsible for planning/working it! It was an entirely novel experience for me. The concert was held in the church's gymnasium that had portable stadium seating. According to the event planner they could seat a little over 800. I don't think it was completely full but I'm not sure as we were only 10 to 12 rows from the stage and I really didn't pay attention to what was going on behind me.

All six of us had a great time. Ruby and Eliza sang and clapped along with the music. When they got the big beach balls out for everyone to hit around Ruby was determined to have a turn. She loved watching the balls. Rehm and Charlotte along with lots of other kids kept going down to dance right in front of the stage. Michael and I sang along with almost every song.

If you can't see the slide show click here to view the pictures.

If Trinity Lutheran has Go Fish back next year, we will definitely go again and this time invite all of our friends to go with us. It really was a blast! And if there is a concert near you I urge you to go check them out.

Oh here is a funny story about one of the Go Fish songs. It is called the Ten Commandment Boogie and it is one of Rehm's favorites. One day while the whole family is in the car, Charlotte pipes up with, "Mommy, why you had to be married to love Jesus?" Remember all six of us are in the car. She of course was referring to the line in the song "Number 7 feels like heaven but only with your husband or wife." I explained that you don't have to be married to love Jesus but that commandment 7 is "do not commit adultery." Of course none of the kids knew what that was so I said told them it was another word for sex. (We've talked about this some as I have very inquisitive kids.) At this point Michael is choking and about to wreck the car. Neither of the older two knew what I meant when I said "sex" so that got expanded into "that is how a Mommy and Daddy make a baby." That they understood! I did add that commandment 7 means you should only do this with your husband or wife. Michael recovered and Charlotte was satisfied in knowing she really could love Jesus right now as a four year old and didn't have to wait until she was married to love Him!

So not only does Go Fish provide great music, sometimes they even provide the opportunity to have a in depth moral discussion with your children too! And give the parents a good laugh in the process.

Several of their songs are available on YouTube. And here is the link to Jamie's blog.

Happy listening.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Ruby and Eliza Claire

Wow! My little girls are two! Where did the last year go? What happened to those little girls with no or two teeth that couldn't walk and only had a few words each? Where did these big girls in these big beds who want to wear big girl panties and who talk in complete sentences come from? How did so much change in a short twelve months?

I think the girls had a fun day. Though I did call Michael mid morning and confess that I must be a terrible mother because it was their birthday and they were both cranky and whiney and fussy and generally unhappy. Then I remembered the lack of sleep due to the new beds and knew it wasn't my fault they were unhappy it was theirs! A mid-morning snack and bath seemed to do the trick and order was restored.

As soon as Ruby and Eliza Claire were awake we went downstairs and opened presents.

They thought that was a lot of fun.
Once daddy left for the day they both practiced taking turns riding their new roller coaster. It about killed Rehm and Charlotte that they could not ride the roller coaster - they are both officially over the weight limit.

After their mid-morning bath they got dressed up in adorable dresses Cici made out of pillow cases my Maw-Maw made several years ago. I took each girl out for her very own photo shoot and then took them both out for some pictures together.

Click here to see the pictures if you can't view the slide show.

Then it was time for a quick change of clothes, lunch and a nap.

After naptime we got ready to go to dinner at Mr. Gattis. Some of our friends met us there for a little impromtu party. Everyone had a great time!

When it was time to sing happy birthday we got two very different reactions. We sang to Ruby first. She was smiling and clapping and laughing and loved the attention.

When it was Eliza Claire's turn she got a confused look on her face and proceeded to give us the look until we were completely done singing.

Then one of the guests told his mother she couldn't take the wrapper off of his cupcake until we lit the candles, sang to him and he blew out the candles. His mom explained that it wasn't his birthday and he would have to eat without singing. If we had known he wanted us to sing to him I have a feeling we would have done so because who can resist two year old logic like that?

For their two year check up they both did great! Eliza Claire kept saying "Go see Dr. Bayer!" over and over and over in the way only Eliza Claire can repeat things. Ruby added her "Dr. Bayer" to the mix as well but doesn't quite get as many words strung together as her sister. They both got a clean bill of health and didn't have to get any shots. We were all thrilled with that news! Ruby was 28 lbs., 12 oz. and 36 1/2 inches tall and she has 11 teeth. Eliza Claire was 30 lbs., 2 oz. and 36 3/4 inches tall and has 13 teeth. They weighed less than either of their siblings at the same age (Rehm was 31 lbs. and Charlotte was 33.5 lbs) and were taller (Rehm 35 3/4 inches, Charlotte 35 1/2 inches) and had fewer teeth (Rehm and Charlotte both had 16 by this time).

For more pictures from their birthday click here.

Oh I almost forgot. Here are videos of each one on their roller coaster.


Eliza Claire

Monday, July 07, 2008

Little Artist

Ooh isn't Mommy going to love this artwork!

Don't I look pretty?

Look at all the colors I tried.
This is what happens when you leave toddlers alone with markers. I knew it was too quiet. Apparently it is not as much fun to draw on paper as yourself. I thank God daily for washable markers as I am always finding it on the counters, clothing, skin, carpet, you name a spot and I've probably found marker there.

Funny thing I don't remember the older two doing this. Oh, that's right I actually used to supervise art time.
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