Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

We took a break from our "beach on Memorial Day" tradition to plan a trip to Grammy and Grandpa's. Boy, I'm glad we did, because the weather was wet and chilly at home, and we would have had some bored kids on our hands.  The weather was equally chilly in the Buckeye State, but boredom was not on the menu.

Celebrating Cousin E's 1st birthday!  What a smile :)

 The Nugget practices his baseball skills with plastic bowling bin in lieu of bat, and of course Spork follows suit.

We met friends at the local zoo, where Tater enjoyed her first memorable carousel ride (she picked the "dog" wolf of course) and the boys clambered behind the nearest curtain (photobooth) with their gal pals and much giggling and shrieking commenced.  Should I be worried?  I'm a little worried.

 Last but not least, we had a playdate with my friend L and her family.  L was my best friend in high school, and she recently moved back within spitting distance of said school, which is pretty crazy!  Her kids shared their Power Wheels and bounce house with our kids, so they all thought they'd died and gone to heaven.


We're always thankful for our military and their families, so I sometimes worry that the fun of a long spring/summer weekend isn't really a token of thanks to them...but perhaps this way of life is what many died fighting for, so I'll toast to that.  Hope they enjoyed the very best chili dogs, lemonade, and sunshine in heaven and got to peek down at their kids/grandkids/great-grandkids enjoying their freedom this weekend.
Desperate road-trip mom hack:  I used a squeegee with a telescoping handle to retrieve dropped/thrown toys and sippy cups during the 5 hour drive.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tater 17 months

Dear Tater,

I should make this an 18 month post, but I have to seize inspiration and computer time when I can.  You are a force, a wild woman, a sneaky ninja, a mischievous elf, a giggling ray of sunshine.  You are the cherry on top of our family sundae, thanks for making us complete!

Love, Mommy

Top 10 Challenges at 17 months
10.  You are still teething, poor baby.  You have only 3 teeth to speak of at the moment, 1 on top and 2 on the bottom.
9.  You are Mommy's girl for sure.  Love it, but of course it's tough when I need Daddy to take you for a bit.
8.  Your food intake makes us a wee bit nervous.  After 2 big guys who eat with gusto, your birdie appetite is a little startling.
7.  Your favorite activity is talking to strangers.  If you spot a person you don't know, you are certain to chase them down and give them a big smile and your precious little, "Hi!"
6.  You are determined to keep up with those boys.  Spork learned to use the big kid swing, and by gum, you had to do it too.  You can scamper up to the top of the slide by yourself.  This is wonderful...yet terrifying.
5.  Like Spork, you are starting to insist on standing diaper changes, but you are so fast and slippery, you often end up streaking bottom-less through the house while I beg of you not to pee while chasing you down with a diaper in hand.
4.  You laugh at everything.  Which is wonderful most of the time, but also means that you laugh when I'm trying to teach you not to grab for things on the hot stove or you laugh after you've just dumped a bucket of sand on your brother's head.
3.  It's funny to think back that I was worried about your lack of the grasping reflex as a newborn, because now you have a powerful vise grip and no matter how often I file them, sharp little talons.  You have a grab, pinch, and twist that leaves the Nugget in tears and us begging for mercy.  Spork doesn't notice half the time, must be his "twin" immunity.
2.  You are crazy sneaky, and you like your mischief.  You are keen to the sound of a door, any door, opening.  If the bathroom door isn't latched, I'll find you throwing things in the toilet.  If the office door isn't shut tight, I'll find you with your teeny hand on the mouse, surfing the web.  You unpack the diaper bags when I'm not looking.  You can already unzip zippers, even the broken one without a pull tab on the changing pad.
1.  I love doing your hair, but you hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.  Have you ever seen an alligator do a death roll?  That's what you do when I try to comb or part your hair.  Daddy once commented that your pigtails were crooked, and I dared him to take on the TaterGator.

Top 10 Things I Love at 17 months
10.  This is a bit shallow, but could you BE any cuter?  I mean, seriously, you should have a license for that.  Everywhere we go, people stop and gawk at your cuteness and not for like a second and then they move on, I mean they keep coming back to tell us how cute you are.  You have a magnetic field or something.  You like to take walks holding my hand, and you wave and grin with a, "Hi!" to everyone you meet.  If they don't respond right away, you continue with a barrage of, "Hi!  Hi!  Hi!  Hi!" until they can't resist any longer.  And you are starting to respond to the standard, "Aren't you adorable?!" with, "Yeah!"  Uh-oh!
9.  You like to go-go-go.  You're not going to just sit there and look pretty, you've got mountains to move.  As we like to sing to you, you have a "Tater-y plan, boom boom."
8.  You have plenty of ideas of your own, and while you occasionally get clingy, you do entertain yourself very well.  You flip through books, you cuddle lovies and dolls, you are an expert tower-demolisher, and you pack a mean plastic picnic basket.
7.  You love playing peek-a-boo and hiding under a blanket.  You love to do pattycake or head-shoulders-knees-and-toes.
6.  Although you don't eat much, you are a really healthy eater.  I can't believe you prefer veggies over fruit.  When we give you a special treat of a cookie or ice cream, you're happy to try a couple nibbles but then you're so over that and asking for more whole wheat pita bread.  I can't take credit for this, but it sure is cool to watch you gobble green beans.
5.  You are so fun to watch.  The way you move is reminiscent of a wind-up-toy:  quick, small, precise movements.  You sometimes clutch your hands behind your back while you walk (I remember cousin Cabbage did this too at your age).  You often pat both cheeks with your hands when you're thinking or surprised.  You have a bit of grace about you that is mesmerizing to me.
4.  Your laugh is just awesome.  The secret to world peace is contained in your laughter, I'm sure of it.
3. Although of course you are throwing tantrums like any self-respecting toddler, you are just soooo chill.  You remind me of Pete the Cat.  You bring the balance back to our family of hot-heads, because Mama and the boys are, er...passionate.  Somehow in the midst of meltdowns, you often keep your cool and play on, happily bouncing on Rody and giggling to yourself.  Thanks for being in Daddy's corner of calm optimism, Lord knows he needs you.
2.  Knock on wood, the sleeping has improved!  That's all I will say about that, don't want to jinx it!
1.  You are so affectionate.  You love to give hugs, snuggles, and cuddles.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Babes in ZooLand

We are finally having our house and garage painted, which means that if the babies are to enjoy any sunshine, I have to plan an outing.  It works well, because Spork is always happier when he's out adventuring anyway.

....To the zoo!
Spork is psyched, and his sunglasses are hilarious.  I think I need to get him a more stylin' pair though, it's not like the velcro strap actually keeps them on his head.

 Spork's favorite this trip was the river otter exhibit.

 Spork is fairly certain that he's about 7 years old.

 Tater does not understand the photo op board.

 Dressed to impress her flamingo friends.  Tater said, "Bye," to each animal as we moved through the zoo.  While Spork willingly took turns walking and riding in the stroller, Tater was pretty adamant that she wanted to walk the whole zoo.  She didn't get her wish this time, but soon I'm sure it will happen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Ugly and the Beautiful

It's been an ugly-beautiful week.

The Ugly:
-Spork has been boycotting naps.  We still give him the allotted "quiet time" but it is not anywhere near the same as when he is truly sleeping.  Hence, not only naptime but the entire afternoon/evening is filled with a lot of whining-crying-screaming-tantruming-hitting-throwing.
-Tater is cutting another tooth, so while Spork has been trying during the day, she's been trying during the night.
-I've been throwing myself a really dumb pity party all week.  I realize it doesn't help anything, but I can't seem to help myself.  I feel really disappointed in my parenting skills, patience level, and the fact that we've been eating too much fast food since t-ball (and dinnertime games) have started.  But all parties must come to an end, and I am hereby willing myself to snap out of it in 3, 2, 1....

The Beautiful: you'd never know the ugly side of the week from the pictures we took.  While I was loading them, I realized how very much I have to be thankful for.  And the beauty of parenting is that each day is a fresh opportunity to try something new, to reach for something better, to be more present, and to set a better example.  Wish me luck and grace to start this week fresh.  (Also, some beer and ice cream won't hurt.)

 Beautiful: boys enjoying mechanized joy at the Farmer's Market Spring Festival.

Beautiful: A girl's first pony ride.  I so wish I could show you the smile that accompanied this first!

 Beautiful:  A peaceful Spork moment.

Beautiful: The gorgeous May weather and 3 healthy happy kiddos exploring the local parks.  It's a marvel how much they change from year to year and how much more they can do as the seasons pass.

Here's to beauty.  And here's to the ugly side, because without it, would we even notice the beauty?