Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valentines Day, chubby baby, etc.

What's really been on my mind lately is philosophical stuff about my post-baby adjustment.  Also chiropractic adjustments, gluttony, craving simplicity, and tender mercies that keep my life rolling smoothly.  But instead of touching on those meaningful topics, I think I'll just caption these photos below.  I'll be sure to snap a photo of my messed up spine and a heaping dinner plate so those topics can be worked into my online ramblings next time.

-Charlie K. Larsen actually placed every puzzle piece on his own, with only a bit of redirection from me.  Thirty-five pieces vs Charlie's attention span?  Who could have predicted this accomplishment?  I tried to frame it, but his entropy-loving nature was too quick for me.

-Kyle's made good and sure that Minguh's getting trained in the ways of Clean House (one of our fave reality shows).  No mayhem and foolishness for this diva! 

-I believe Ellie already covered this momentous occasion, but I'll elaborate.  The butterflies all hatched within 24 hours and while they got the hang of their wings, we were able to play with them extensively, even inadvertently injuring a few.  (Guess who.)  The next day they learned that flying far away from us far surpassed in safety being traded around like hot potatoes, but for that first day, we shared the thrill and magic of transformation and new life on our very own palms and faces.  

I was going for something more like this, but I forgot that my photography skills can only produce the photo that you see here, a little too Silence-of-the-Lambsy for my taste. (Never seen that movie, but I'm pretty sure it's a creepy, disturbing one not worth seeing.)

-He's at it again!!!  Honestly, I miss the days when Charlie ceased to acknowledge his baby sis' existence.  She was much safer then.  But just as honestly, I kinda love that he loves her.

-We're getting lots of gums these days and her smiles are the absolute best medicine for ornery-Mom moods.  I really find it impossible to have a bad day with a baby around because how can I be less than vehemently enamored with a chubby face that loves me right back?

-This was my inaugural experience crafting full-blown sets of Valentines, what with two littles in school now.  I wasn't about to tape a lollipop to store-bought character cards, of course.  Instead, I found some solid-looking off-brand animal crackers to be attached to a punny sentiment: "I'm WILD about you."  I went ahead and opened all five bags of them before I realized that they are indeed farm animal crackers, not wild animal crackers.  About half of the crackers are shaped like barns.  Good thing preschoolers don't read!  Erik addressed and signed all of his and Ellie did all the writing for hers, so they still turned out pretty cute, and were definitely the healthiest item in their classmates' mail boxes.

-Many have commented that Amelia is a striking image of her big sister.  A more cellulite-ridden, furrier version, but yes.  I see it.  Kyle's genes win again.

-If you haven't heard from Charlie in 3.7 minutes, he is up to no good and you better locate him and coerce him into cleaning up whatever havoc he's just wreaked.  But then one time I searched and searched and called and dreaded what I knew would be a notable disaster, judging by his silence.  And I found this.  Sure, the kid is almost three and it's probably time to start weaning his unhealthy attachment to Nuky, but still.  I'll take orthodontic bills and social ridicule any day to trade entropy for scenes like this. 

-Valentine's Day was so cute this year.  I really stepped up my act, raiding the dollar store for treats and trinkets I knew my kids would love, and also educational activities that would quickly become lost or forgotten.  Anyway, we'd been leaving love notes in each others' mailboxes again this year, which was really cute this year since both Ellie and Erik can write comprehensibly.  On Valentine's Day morn they found notes in their mail boxes that were clues leading them to their own goody bags hidden around the house. 

(Erik calls this the "Tee Animal" balloon.  He is utterly unconvinced by our attempts to teach him Spanish.  Nope, that says Tee Animal.)  

I stuffed them with things like caramel popcorn, peach apple sauce, alphabet writing activities, flash cards, colored pencils, heart-shaped chalk, bubbles, and a whole lotta love.  Why is spoiling my kids so very enjoyable?

Our Valentine's breakfast was also a hit.  The kids were so impressed and appreciative.  Probably just that I was out of bed at seven making a hot breakfast instead of sending them to the fridge for cold cereal.  They loved their egg in heart-stamped toast and strawberry milk shakes so much that we had the same breakfast for the next two days.

Minguh was also cute for Valentine's Day.

-The day was a busy one with Erik having a Student of the Week report due, parent-teacher conference, and volunteering in both kids' classroom parties. Erik has two teachers so they don't open the room up to parent volunteers very often, so I love having the chance to see him in action with his friends.

We are seriously proud of how much he has matured this year in preschool.  His teacher raved over his improvement in social skills and confidence and said he has no behavioral issues and is universally well-liked.  I asked what we can do to help prepare him for kindergarten and she expressed confidence that he is already prepared to succeed next year!  He really has grown up so much this year.

One day a few months ago I had the spontaneous realization that I hadn't put Erik in "time out" for weeks!  There were daily infractions there for a long many months.  Just today Kyle caught him cleaning up his toys before our friends came over, completely unprompted.  We beamed with pride and smothered him with appreciation!  It's a long, long road of reinforcing good behaviors in little kids so it feels so amazing when the trite reminders and corrections finally translate into good, self-motivating habits!  And I'm only seven years into parenting-- I'm sure I've got a long road of this process ahead of me.  
-Erik's party was themed "Glow in the Heart" so basically my job was to tape glow sticks to every surface in the classroom while the kids were at recess then hit the lights as they entered.  Glow activities included bowling, croquet, tunnels, glow pens, glow sand, glowing water toys, and more.  The kids also donned t-shirts they'd splattered with glow-in-the-dark paint the previous day.  (Erik slept with his glow stick necklace for days, and remember these things burn out in a few mere hours).  Yeah, I struggled to capture the magic of the party both with flash on (above) and off (below), but it was pretty spectacular, particularly through the eyes of a four-year-old.

-I always enjoy visiting Ellie's classroom.  Her teacher manages the students so well, keeping them on task and behaving well but with humor and genuine concern.  She actually reminds me a little of myself, hehe.  No wonder I think she's so awesome!  The class parties are always brimming with crafts, games, and edible wonders.  Thanks to the homeroom mom's frantic fluttering around the room while Ellie's teacher and I chatted and enjoyed the show, the Valentine's party was no exception.

-A week or so after they emerged as attractive insects (and let me tell you, those were some nasty looking caterpillars!), Ellie discovered one of her butterflies had escaped and passed away by the window.  Having heard that their life spans are actually quite short, we thought it best to release them into the wild and give them a chance to multiply before they all met an unfortunate end in captivity.  Ellie was a bit disheartened at this prospect, but soon had her pets' best interest at heart and agreed to free them immediately.  She optimistically clung to hope that one would choose to procreate in our back yard, which would be great because those larvae were rather pricey!

A newly-liberated butterfly finds solitude in the natural landscape of our crumpled up inflatable swimming pool.

-One day this week I must have thought that I have my act together as a mother of four or something because I found myself bound and determined to make whole wheat spinach and feta-stuffed pretzels for dinner.  Pre-dinner time is usually the hardest time of the day because the kids are tired, hungry, and otherwise cranky and hey!  So am I.  So, these were yummy, but for the record, I will not be making them again for another decade.  Or at least until I have my act together as a mother of four.  Whichever comes first.

-She's got wrist rolls!  And she's trying to suck her thumb!  That counts as self-soothing, right?  That's our goal as of yesterday, to promote self-soothing, aka get her to go to sleep without me.  I'd like to try those sleep training methods, but I think I'm too sensitive about my child's psyche to let her cry it out for more than three minutes.  She has to fend for herself enough as it is while I make meals, keep Charlie in his time-out corner, run errands, etc.  The kid should not have to cry if I am actually available.  But an uninterrupted night of sleep is sounding mighty enticing... what's a softie of a sleep-deprived mama to do?

Cuz look at that p.y.t.  (That would be Pretty Young Thing, for those not well-versed in Michael Jackson's repertoire, and yes P.Y.T. serves as an alternate nickname to Minguh.  Why did I think I'd actually get to call her Amelia or Mia?)

Friday, February 24, 2012


I do intend to blog again someday.  Patience, my friends.  I sure could use some more of it these days. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

ellies pikchrs

thay hacht tootaye

haw did it git on miy foot

dont thay look nise

thay trnd in to batrflise

wate a byootul day

wat a nise day

look at chalie smile

look i made that wansy

amilea frst time in the bath