Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Killing Time

We have been busy, but we have also been stuck at home.  I have no evidence of the fun outside of the house we have been having, but I do have some pics of the indoor fun! 

The girls were married with me officiating.  Not very official, but Madison wore her veil nonetheless.

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When there is nothing else to do, why not clean?  That’s what they think.  I really hope they will still think this when they are teenagers and can actually perform the jobs around the house like mopping, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, etc.  (A girl can hope, can’t she?)

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There was time to drag out the instruments, much to Jeremy’s chagrin – especially when the whistle came out!  With instruments come outfits and sisterly love.

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And I got a bug with our mostly empty fridge (thank, cold weather, for preventing outings to the store) to clean it.  The girls love cleaning (as previously witnessed) and were pretty excited to help.  They managed to get all the hard to reach places. 

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In the meantime, Jeremy has been hunting snow rollers in the pasture behind his house.  These are apparently the equivalent of tumbleweeds.

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In other outside the house news…

  • We went to Ashland on Friday to visit with Adam, Laura, Teagan, and Everett.  The girls had fun for the afternoon and dinnertime.  Then, we headed to Nate and Jen’s house for a sleepover.  Madison is startign to really enjoy playing with Megan, and they have less battles than they used to. 
  • Saturday, we braved the awful roads to go watch Chloe play in the Upwards basketball program.  Her team lost by a buzzer beater.  She had some good shots, and I thought the team looked pretty good. 
  • The rest of my family trickled in throughout the day.  Sophie was having her birthday party that night, and it was fun to all be together again.  Jeremy drove us home slowly, but safely.
  • Church was cancelled on Sunday.  Preschool was cancelled today.  So was story time…. I am getting a little stir crazy.  Hopefully, story time for Madison will be on for tomorrow. 

Stay safe and stay warm.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fingerpainting

I have resisted this form of artistic expression for a long time.  I bought fingerpaints a long time ago, but refused to let the girls do it.  Why?  The mess intimidates me and stresses me out.  But today, when Ellie brought the bottles of fingerpaint out, I thought, why not?  So, I stripped them down, got out big pieces of paper courtesy of the moving company, and squirted dabs of paint on their papers.  And then I watched, cringed, laughed, and enjoyed the scene.  They had so much fun. 

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Ellie rubbed the paint around like it was soap.  Her hands were coated on all sides, her legs had dabs on them, and her stomach did not escape the mess.  Neither did the floor near her. 

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Madison started out much more dainty, but grew braver with mixing, touching, and getting messy the longer they painted. 

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Their paintings were masterpieces decorating our utility room as they dried.  (What I’ll actually do with them, I have no idea.) 

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(I’ll need to get some “artist’s shirts” for them next time, since I didn’t plan ahead this time.)  I marched their painted bums straight up to the bathtub when we finished.  They enjoyed the bath almost as much as the paint.  The novelty of a bath mid-morning, I think.  I thought that with all that activity my morning would surely almost be done, but lo and behold, the clock said only 9:50am as I dressed them for the day.  Sometimes when you have nowhere to go, it is nice; other times, it can seem to take forever to get to the next thing.  We had a little snack, watched a little “Hello, Ktity!” and hung out til lunch time. 

This evening, Madison decided she wanted to learn how to wrestle.  Although I grew up wrestling with my brothers, it is hard to wrestle a person 1/10th the size of you.  It was a lot of fun rolling around and tossing her around, but not exactly wrestling…. unless you consider WWE style actual wrestling.  That happens to be Madison’s speciality because she literally launches herself off the ground and onto your waiting body.  You really have to be ready!  Maybe I’ll sign her up for some time with my brothers to actually learn the art of wrestling.

Quicken Loans Arena

We have spent a little time at the Q recently.  Some of which I forgot to even mention.  So, here are the two events we went to.  In December, a co-worker at Smithville gave me a code to get some free promotional tickets to go watch the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team play.  We were able to get tickets so that the Yohs could do this as a family – Maynard and Gloria, Jason and Niki, Jennifer and Arturo, Jeremy, Me, and Madison.  The only one left out of the mix was Ellie.  The game didn’t start til 7pm and we thought she would have just as much – if not more! – fun at Grandma and Grandpa DeeDee’s house for a special sleepover.  (She did have more fun!)  We headed up there and met at the Winking Lizard for supper.  Madison really enjoyed the iguana they had in a small closet with large glass windows.  We had a nice time eating together before walking over for the game.  We had really good sits fairly close to one of the goals.  I don’t really understand all the rules of hockey, and I despise the fact the players fight and get away with it.  But it is fun to go to a live sporting event and people watch, hang out, and be somewhere different.  Madison had a lot of fun as well. 

She started the night off by getting her face painted.

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Then, she just hung out with everyone, colored, watched the big screen, and was very proud of being old enough to hang out with the big people.

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The second event at the Q was a birthday surprise for BOTH girls.  On Ellie’s birthday, we let them know we would be going to see Disney on Ice!  We showed them some little clips of what it looked like on youtube or some other online site.  They were really excited!  We bought the cheap seats, which, honestly, are just fine if you ever go.  The girls ate jelly beans and popcorn to tide them over til lunch. 

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They loved it.  Ellie was really excited about Minnie Mouse, who is the first one she’ll tell you about if you ask. 

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Madison, predictably, liked the princesses.  They were all there (except Sleeping Beauty for some reason… maybe she was sick?).  They danced with their princes, sang, and twirled.

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It was spectacular!  On the way home we ate at Red Robin; I just couldn’t take Wendy’s…again.  It did take longer to get through the meal, but they were wound up anyway.  The car ride home was chatty until we finally said, “Stop talking, close your eyes, and go to sleep!”  And they did for the 25 minutes that were left in the ride home.  It was a good day.

Check-ups

The girls had check-ups for turning 2 and 4 years old.  Madison was the lucky one to get a shot; Ellie got out of it this year.  They both continue to grow and develop normally, and I am so thankful.  So, here they are…

Madison’s 4 Year Old Stats...

  • Weight: 31lbs 4oz at 3 years… 35.4lbs at 4 years old (50%)
  • Height: 37in at 3 years… 39-3/4in at 4 years old (50%)

On my soapbox for a minute:  When they gave me her weight, they also gave me her BMI.  I asked the nurse why that is even necessary to know at the age of 4.  Are we a culture obsessed with perfection when it comes to weight?  I feel that if a child seems “chunky” at that age (and for many years to come), it is fine as long as you know they are playing and moving and eating decently.  I realize that some kids are sedentary and they eat junk, but a BMI is not a necessary tool to use to say, “Hey, you need to get out and play!  You are a kid.  Have some fun!”  I just think it is ridiculous they they would even hear these initials when they go to the doctor.  Okay, I am off my soapbox…

Ellie’s 2 Year Old Stats…

  • Weight:   27lb 8 oz at 18 months… 31.2lbs  (3lbs 10oz weight gain) … 90% percentile
  • Length:  33in at 18 months… 35in  (2in growth) …75%
  • Head:   20-1/4in at 18 months… 20-3/4in  (1/2 in smarter)…99%

Eventually, maybe this year, I’ll stop recording these stats.  They are not so fun, or important, like they were when the girls were little babies.  So, this may be the last statistical update.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ellie is 2!!!

It is amazing how fast they grow up and yet how long it sometimes feels like it takes to get there.  When they were babies, I wondered if they would ever grow up.  I DSC_3109don’t know if I was wishing away the time/years as much as I was hoping for sleep and a little bit of freedom.  Babies are babies and fully dependent on you for their every whim.  And you are basically a slave to them when they cry to be fed or changed or held or anything else.  You lose sleep and you lose a bit of sanity.  At the same time, you look forward to monthly appointments to see how they are developing.  You relish first words, smiles, steps, and movements.  You watch as they change from day to day.  And they, somehow - in the process of ripping apart your life – capture your heart and make all the moments worth it.  Am I a bit nostalgic?  Perhaps.  Am I am longing for another right now?  Not really.  (I still vividly recall the crying, the sleep deprivation, and the time restrictions.) 

But, Ellie, she is our littlest right now.  And she is growing up so quickly.  The influence of an older sister does that, I think.  I feel like she has discovered how to play and color and imagine without any problem.  She talks like it is a competition she wants to win.  She has facial expressions that any actor would be jealous of.  And she definitely has an opinion (usually “no” accompanied by a little screaming and maybe a reason).  Sometimes we just watch her because we are stunned by the way she mimics Madison.  It has been an experience watching sisters; we’ll see how they continue their journey. 

Enough philosophizing and reflecting…. if Ellie were telling this, she would definitely have skipped all that mushy stuff and got right to the important stuff – her party!  Our lives are pretty much one party/gathering after another starting with Christmas and ending with Ellie’s birthday.  It is quite a rush.  Ellie finally got her special day, and she knew exactly what that meant by the time it came. 

She put on some party clothes.  She donned the Happy Birthday crown.  (I figured she would tire of it, but she wore it the entire night!)  And she waited for the guests to arrive.  And arrive they did!  We had 22 people and our house.  It felt good to have people fill it to the brim.  For the conversation that happened.  And for the way people hung around because they were enjoying their time. 

DSC_3126Ellie had meatball sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, veggies, chips, and drinks on her birthday menu.  She particularly liked the baked beans! 

For dessert, I tried my hand at cupcake decorating.  The idea was not hard – and Elmo cupcake I had seen on pinterest.  However, I had no cake decorating supplies and rarely frost things if I can get away with it.  Nevertheless, I braved Pat Catan’s cake decorating aisle, bounced ideas off an very nice sales associate, and took one for the team!  Making the right red for Elmo was not so easy (thanks, Wilton Red gel … almost an entire jar!).  Then, the buttercream frosting I made from scratch started separating a little bit, so I had to try to fix that since Elmo’s fur was turning into a puddle of red.  I cut Oreo's in half for the mouth - which, by the way, tend to break wihen you cut them.  Then, I affixed an orange M&M, carefully sorted out by Madison, for the nose.  Finally, I added googly eyes from the craft department.  (I just couldn’t bring myself to conquer the recommended fondant eyes this time around!)  And the result was, actually, pretty cute.

Ellie enjoyed them.  She keeps talking about the nose.  I assume she enjoys peanut M&Ms like me.

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She even blew out candles affixed to a supremely gooey rice krispie treat. 

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She tried so hard to always be looking at the right camera!  It was pretty impressive the way she played it up in the spotlight.  (Check out Landen’s photobomb in the back!)

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Then, it was time for presents.  She waited while everyone settled back into their seats. 

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Then, she unwrapped with a focus that was pretty impressive.  She would open one, look at it briefly, and move on.  She spent little time dwelling on any one gift.  I don’t know if that is the excitement of the pile of gifts awaiting her or her desire to keep the party moving.  Afterwards, she thanked as many as she could get to with a little hug. 

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She spent the time afterwards with one eye on the guests and cleaning up.  (A cleaning set was one of her gifts.)  There is just something about a princess with an apron on … especially with the sparkle shoes as a part of the outfit! 

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Happy Birthday, Ellie!  We love you with all our hearts.  Blessings in your next year.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Life

My, oh, my.  I must admit being home is driving me nuts.  This adjustment period is hard.  Why, you ask?  Let me count the ways:

  1. When I woke up in the morning for work, I just piled my little ones in the car and handed them off to the sitter.  Now, I have wake up before them, so my attitude for the day has a chance.  (Trust me.. it is much better to CHOOSE to wake up than to be woken up by a little four-year-old’s face in the morning, no matter how cute that face is.)
  2. It also means that I have to play squinkies.  Which I did to myself.  When I gave them to her for her birthday.  (Oh, you don’t know what squinkies are?  Neither did I until I found them at a used kids store.  They are very tiny rubber characters.  I gifted her with Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Ariel.  Seriously, what was I thinking!?!)  My imagination is seriously lacking.  My ability to stay alert when playing with them is also lacking.  It is a daily (hourly?) battle to say “yes” when she asks.
  3. It is just plain tough.  I would venture to say harder than teaching because I lack control of exactly what we will do each day when I am home.  I am not saying that I lack control (although sometimes I think that is true, too.)  I am saying I am not in charge of each thing we will do because, honestly, they are better at finding fun things to do than I am.
  4. It means that I have less of an excuse for the way our house looks.  I am pretty sure that it had been well over a month before I had managed to clean anything.  I mean, I am not sure I had even swept.  So, my first weekend off work, I put the kids down and I started to pick things up.  It took almost 2 hours! to pick up all the random things that were everywhere – and that was just the main floor!  The next morning, I woke up early and mopped, vacuumed, and dusted.  And it was AWESOME…. for about a day.  And I feel like we are slowly slipping back into the abyss.  Perhaps, I will schedule a day to clean this week…
  5. It means I have to learn to juggle my playing time with my working time.  Yep, for those who don’t realize it, stay-at-home-moms do have work to do.  It is called cleaning, getting groceries, cooking, bill paying, laundry, etc.  Yep, I know, all you working moms do this to; I’ve been one of those as well.  The difference is that if you work, you cram it in on the weekends and maybe the evenings, and hopefully, you get help from your hubby.  (I did.)  However, when you stay at home, you feel like it is part of the job, and I am pretty sure that your husband assumes it is part of your job and he is off the hook.  So, now, you have to figure out how to play with the kids and do all that work that has become your sole responsibility.  Either way, it is a hard thing being a mom.

On a positive note…

  1. It means that you have time to play with your kids.  I don’t just have the “maybe” hour that comes after we get home and before I start dinner to play – it is “maybe” because we may have to do an errand or fit in some housework or start supper earlier than normal.  I have the whole day (*see #5 above) to play and not feel as stressed that they are neglected.
  2. It means that we can do fun things – go to the library for story time, get together with friends, pop in to see grandma and grandpa, etc.  I am also excited about some of the new games they got for Christmas.  I enjoy playing games, and I think this will be good for us.  
  3. It means I can breathe.  I have a bit of peace during the day called nap time that I never had while I was teaching.  I can use this to read, watch TV, do housework, blog, prep supper, nap, etc.  It is an hour (sometimes a bit longer) of peace and quiet in the middle of an otherwise loud day.  I don’t know what your kids are like, but mine – they talk and sing and ask questions without ceasing.  If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who has been over to our house for any amount of time; they will confirm it.  Truth be told, they get it honestly –from me; just ask Jeremy, he’ll tell you.  (Or, note the length of this blog, which technically IS talking, just in a different way.)  Still, peace and quiet at nap time is good for the soul.
  4. It means that I have more moments to sit and watch and laugh.  Moments that you can just take in, enjoy, and relax because you don’t have to move so quickly to get it all done.  Just a few glimpses…

This was Ellie the other day while we were sitting in the office.  I think she likes Madison’s play glasses as much as Madison does!

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Or dress up sister moments (these are with Jeremy’s phone and are a little blurry, but they still speak volumes.)

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Or being fine with a Sunday afternoon drive to hunt down a snowy owl that was at one point in the morning sitting on a fence post near an Amish schoolhouse.  We didn’t find the snowy owl, but we did have fun as the girls looked out the windows with the binoculars.  Jeremy brought Ellie and I home for a nap (for both of us) and took Madison back out hunting.  They saw this…

DSC_3072        and this…     DSC_3077   They even went to the Wilderness Center to sit and watch the birds…  DSC_3078    But no snowy owl.  It is out there, and maybe we have time for another wild owl chase!

Well, this was a longer post (at least wordier) than normal.  If you made it to the end, thanks for reading.  Perhaps, I will be able to spend a little more time blogging now.  Although, I will be starting a grad class tomorrow, and I do have a house to clean, oh, and a Christmas (?) letter to write and send out, and … well, you get the point.  I am sure you all feel this way at times.  I hope you find those moments where you can sit and soak it all in.  Take care.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Madison!

I cannot believe how quickly time has passed.  It seems like Madison is not ready to be four, and going to preschool, and doing all the many things a four-year-old does.  She is a ball of fun – singing, dancing, imagining, cooking, reading, painting, and more!  I have decided she turns pretty much anything into a story.  At mealtimes, it is her food or her silverware that become characters in her story.  When putting together a puzzle, the picture that emerges suddenly has a very intricate story.  If it is Barbies, dolls, or squinkies, she is sure to spend hours creating a story line with me (if I stay awake long enough!).  Jeremy and I have been treated to concerts performed by two budding performers almost nightly.  It is a joy.  I look forward to what the next year brings.

Madison was so excited for her birthday.  All day she asked when it was.  When she found out it was after her nap, she started asking to go take a nap, as though that would make the party happen faster!  We decorated, cleaned up a bit, and played, but the time just couldn’t go fast enough.  After her nap, she put on her birthday princess dress, her birthday princess shoes, and her birthday princess crown.  This was the end result:

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And she asked for one from the back… I think because she wanted to see her new haircut!

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One with me!

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The guests began to trickle in – Sandy promptly at 4pm, then Yohs, Brickers, Luke and Steph and kids, and Edigers.  It was a small group, but a full house.  Madison was so excited!

After the meal, it was time for the cake!  It was, for the second year, a princess cake:

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Gift opening was fast and furious.  That girl knows how to unwrap a gift and move on!  I hope I kept track of who gave what!  Lil Sis had a hard time staying out of the action; her day is quickly approaching as well!

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I am pretty sure what she enjoys most are the people that come.  She opened the door for each guest with a big smile on her face.  She could not be more proud to be FOUR!!!