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Monday, December 31, 2007

Our Giant Mailbox

Ella's lovely new rice table

We need more rice...

Ella in her brand spankin' new, princess sleeping bag and rockin' tutu

Our smily little girl

This morning, Ella decided that we should go down to the basement and build a "rice table." Down we went to check out what spectacular materials we might have that we could assemble such a thing. I love my toys, I mean tools, and enjoy creating whatever my imagination should grasp hold of at 2:00 a.m. So, those of you who know me best know well that I am a shameless wood scrap collector. I will keep just about anything. Don't laugh, I've conjured many a useful item out of wood scraps. Look at our corner shelves in the living room that hold our surround sound speakers, or Ella's book shelf and closet rod in her bedroom, or the kid table and chairs in the living room. The list goes on. And you never know when your 3 year old might decide that she needs a rice table, "just like the one at preschool."


Anyhow, Ella and I set out the find just the right scraps for a rice table when she asked, "What's that giant mailbox for?" I looked around, hunting for the giant mailbox. "Do you mean that blue tote?" "No," she responded, and pointing to the corner, exclaimed "that giant mailbox over there!" I followed her gesture, and wouldn't you know it, we hold our oil in a giant mailbox.




Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Resolution

Maya & Auntie Krick on Christmas Eve

Dancing with Santa


Reading The Night Before Christmas with Gram


Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve

I think that we are finally ready to assert a wholehearted effort to keep our blog updated more frequently. The holiday season has certainly added an element to our already crazy schedule of daily events. It's a tight ship we run. Family and friends have commented, "You guys are always on the go," and "You are all getting very efficient at this," referring to our ever-improving time to get both kids ready, packed and in the van when it's time to go. Suz and I often look at the clock when we buckle our seat belts and boast, "Well, we're getting closer and closer to the scheduled time of departure." I think we've actually been in the van and moving on schedule a couple of times. This is quite a feat. We set extremely high expectations of ourselves, considering our assertive 3 year old who likes to move on her time frame and our no-kind-of-a-schedule infant. We always tended to pack a lot into our days and we haven't really tempered that down, despite the 2 additional family members.


After watching how much our friend, Emilie, can get done (including daily blog entries, complete with pictures) and still remain "calm as a cucumber," I have decided that we also can accomplish this feat (at least more frequent than 2 a month). For a really funny account of a gingerbread/snowman cupcake making party with our kids (we promise you will laugh) visit Emilie's site: www.manhartfamily.blogspot.com.


So, our Christmas resolution shall be to keep our friends and family better informed of our mishaps, accomplishments and general well-being. Entertainment can be found everywhere in our lives right now. Why not share it?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santas or Scrooges?





Check out the emerging dimples....







Sandi and I are working away toward Winter Wonderland (but sometimes in what feels a bit like Winter-can-I-please-get-a-Valium Land). Yesterday we went Christmas shopping with the kids (attempt number 3) and we stupidly took Ella to Toys-R-Us (also know as store of Kiddie Crack) and thought she would be okay if we let her play with just a couple of things to tide her toy hunger through the store. Then Sandi checked out (with the secretly purchased gift for Ella) and I took the crying Maya in her carrier and attempted to take Ella. In a last ditch effort to stay in what she calls "Elmo's House", she started to cry for Sandi. Now, if any of you were at the Bangor Toys-R-Us Wednesday around 11 am and heard the screams, I can now set the story straight. Taking Ella out of the store screaming "MOMMY! MOMMY!" for Sandi wasn't an attempted kidnapping on my part, it was just a mom trying to prevent her daughter from seeing her future Christmas present. So there I was, Maya's carrier in the crook of my arm, and Ella being fireman-carried out of Toys-Be-Damned and all the while I am thinking, "forget the princess computer- how about a labotomy." (Of course, in true three-year-old fashion, as soon as Sandi came out and we headed for the car she began screaming "MOMMA! I WANT MOMMA!" and proceeded to have a tantrum complete with shudder sobs, full snot and screaming in the car, "Just talk to me Momma! Talk to me!" as we ignored her antics.)







Maya is 7 weeks old now and has changed her look dramatically. She is sweet and adorable and has just started to really smile (a substantial reward for late nights and long crying jags when her tummy won't settle. Who ever thought one dimply, open mouthed grin would be enough for all the grunt work of motherhood?) If Maya had a Native name it would be Baby-Who-Needs-No-Sleep. This chick can stay awake longer than Ella- no joke. Yesterday, Maya made it a whopping 10 hours with no sleep -from 1 pm until 11 pm. It is as though she gets so overtired she cannot physically fall asleep. Ella continues to dote on her like a mother hen sometimes and other times she wants to see what Maya is really made of -there was one instance of Ella testing her bicep/forearm strength by squeezing Maya's hand until she screamed. Picture Ella with a timer, squeezing for all she's worth, and thinking, "Wow, this baby can really take it!" or "Ten more seconds 'till I break her!"

So as you might imagine, we are vacillating somewhere between bliss and misery here in this Christmas season. Luckily, it is mostly the former now that our Christmas baking and delivering is finished, presents are bought (although not wrapped) and we actually start our various Christmas celebrations this weekend. Perhaps what tipped the scales more toward the bliss end of the spectrum is that yesterday we got the best possible news we could have gotten. Now, I know you may be thinking that one of my top two current dreams had been realized- 1.) the installation of a dishwasher since I have come to despise doing the piles of dishes that mounts every second of everyday or 2.) that Mary Poppins taught me that nifty trick with the snapping of fingers and magical cleaning (I am not ashamed to admit I fantasize about having this skill often- a minimum of 10 times per day). No it wasn't one of these but we did find out that Sandi's claim for short-term disability, which she was denied, had been reconsidered and approved! This means that the unpaid portion of her leave (which we are in now) will actually be paid. What a relief for us! It just took some faith and hardcore letter writing for them to see the error of their ways (bribing and threatening would have been next.)

I will close with some of Ella's latest:

"Mommy I'm flooded." - in response to choking on her drink.

"Where am I?" - a question posed when her turtleneck was stuck over her head.

"I can't hear myself!" - this is a common one and a favorite of ours that she says when Maya cries in the car.

"Dashing through the snows..." -her rendition of jingle bells.

"I need my height shoes." - what she calls her plastic dress-up high heels.

"Watch out that the stinkin' dog doesn't get outside!" - a warning to Sandi about Mochy's constant attempt at a last minute escape as we leave the house.

"If Santa could bring me a Belle dress and a Cinderella dress, my princess clothes would be complete." - her Christmas wish list.

"I don't want to ask one more time." - a comment directed toward me as a punishment, I believe, for saying this to her.

And my personal favorite:

Me: "Ella did you poop?" (I won't get into it but potty training is non-existent)
Ella: "No."
Me: "Well I smell poop."
Ella: "Nope. That's just Mochy's breath."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Comedy Show

The other day Ella woke up at what seemed like an excessively early hour. I told her as much and she said, "It isn't even thirty o'clock yet."

Sometimes we lovingly refer to Maya as a little skunk. Last night we were driving in the car and Ella said to us, "There's a crying skunk back here."

On this same outing, on the return trip, Maya was again crying in the car (honestly, why do we even bother to go out?) and Ella said, "I can't hear myself! I can't hear myself!" I hear you Ella- that is how I feel most days!

Ella screamed about 90% of the time we were in the grocery store a few days ago. It was lovely. She lost many of her privileges and kept up with the carrying on anyway. When we were almost finished, and were rounding the dairy section, she said, "I'm sorry Momma." I said, "Thank you Ella." She said, "Can I have my treats now?" You've gotta give it to her for trying...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ella's latest

Ella has been enjoying her new found freedom as of late. Whereas most toddlers find themselves in some dicey situations with their want to touch and reach and explore everything, we have always marveled (and celebrated) Ella's relatively mild level of curiosity that begs kids to climb onto, taste, open and generally experience basic objects and household items. We are paying for it now.

Ella is into everything. Nothing is safe- even if it is nailed down. She is the busiest busybody. Today, she got into her gummy vitamins. You must understand her level of adoration for these gelatinous bears. She can have two a day, morning and night, but that doesn't stop her for asking either Sandi or myself for one, whichever mom didn't give it to her, when she has barely swallowed the gooey mass. Well, today, she took the bottle off the counter and opened it (I thought I had secured the child safe top but apparently, with all things these days, I had not completed the task and given it the needed extra half turn of the top.) She took it in the living room (think: into her private lair) and proceeded to eat the rest of the bottle. She told Tia, "I think I ate too many vitamins." You think? The pediatricians office and Poison Control concur that she will live.

The other day I told Ella that Sandi would be getting her up from her nap instead of me (which is our routine and any deviation sets her orbit adrift). I was testing her to see if she remembered - before I left her room I asked, "Who is going to be getting you up from your nap?" She answered with a snappy, "The lady feeding the baby."


When Ella finished her bath the other night, she told me she needed to use the potty (you might think my jubilation about this event that normally occurs in her pants might be the point of this story but, rest assured, there is more.) She sat down (and actually went!) and then told me she was done. I wiped her and took her off the potty and said, "Go out and see Mommy." She said, "I can't." I said, "Ella, please go out and see Mommy. I'll be right out." She said, "I can't! There's something in my butt!" I spun her around and sure enough there was the wad of toilet paper I had neglected to push all the way through. Poor bugger. These are the moms she's got right now.

We have been working toward decorating for Christmas including going on our annual trek to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree Farm with Mindy and Charissa and Emerson (maybe some pictures will be posted someday) to cut down a tree. I've got boxes of Christmas stuff everywhere- the tree is up since yesterday and has politely requested to be decorated instead of standing naked in our living room (I feel like retorting with "You need to wait your turn. We're learning how to take turns!" and then I remember that would be completely psychotic.) I'm not really working THAT much and Sandi (a.k.a. the lady feeding the baby) is home for 12 weeks but the days FLY by with little being finished and the to-do list growing. I'm trying to enjoy each day instead of focusing on the unaccomplished. This is made easier when Ella finds such delight in unwrapping our beloved snowman collection and says to me "I love Christmastime. I love the presents, lights and music." This was echoed when I showed her her very first snowglobe the other day at the store. I flipped it over and suddenly Santa and his friends were suddenly in Winter Wonderland. Her eyes doubled and her mouth stretched into a giant smile - her whole face was aglow with sheer awe and wonder- and she said, "Oh!" What a great reminder of the magic of life and especially of this season. I have to say, with all it's challenges, it is wonderful to relive the world through the eyes of a child. Needless to say, I bought the snowglobe.