Sunday, December 14, 2014


Spork's favorite cereal is Honey Nut Cheerios. He will deign to switch up his yogurt flavor on the daily but heaven help us if we are out of "Bee," as he calls it. He also tries to convince the Nugget and Daddy to partake, "Daddy, want some bee? It wihwee wicious (really delicious)!"

Contraction by Spork.
Nelse - something else.

"Things I did not expect to say to my kids, cont'd"
Spork, we do not lick the leotards. (Hope Miss B doesn't add a, "You lick it, you buy it" sign to the rack or we just bought like $100 worth of sparkly spandex.)

Spork's new skills include whistling and putting on his own shoes and socks!
Spork is also sporting a fresh splint and sling these days, soon to be replaced with a real cast.  Spork took a tumble at Tater's gymnastics party, but he's not letting it get him down.  In fact, he immediately perked up for popcorn and cupcakes, so we didn't think it was broken at first.  And even in the ER, waiting for x-rays and splinting, his main concern was not his arm but the fact that his snack was delayed (ER rules).

When the Nugget spied Tater lying on her belly facing the stairs, he had a major panic attack and started sobbing and screaming that she might fall down the steps head first and die. After I reminded her to go down feet first, she happily bumped down on her bottom and I went into calm the Nugget, who was still sobbing on his bed. He blubbered,"I was so scared she was going to get hurt, and I just really care about safety. Like Chet."

I was elated/horrified when the Nugget had a scuffle with an older boy on the playground who refused to yield the monkey bars. Technically both boys were in the wrong, because they started on opposite ends of the bars at the same time without verbally deciding on who had the right of way.  Anyhoo, long story short, the bigger/older boy refused to move, the Nugget dropped down, unhurt except for his pride, and thanks to nightly readings of On the Banks of Plum Creek, he hurled out the insult, "Snipe!"  (As in, "Snipes, snipes, long-legged snipes!") Of course, the bigger boy had no clue what the Nugget was talking about, so instead of the insult having the intended effect, the Nugget had to describe what a snipe was, and that's kind of a momentum-killer.  But I'm kind of proud of my literate boy's verbal banter.  That's probably wrong on several levels. Don't worry, by the time he's in junior high, we'll move onto books that will give him tougher insults.

Lest you think the Nugget is not having a good time at school, he indeed has a plethora of good friends already.  One has dubbed him, "The King of Friendship and Love," awww.

Tater is verbal enough to hold entire conversations. It is a trip to converse with a 3 year old in full sentences and even funnier when I get to overhear her conversations with friends and siblings. Here's a gem I heard yesterday.
T: I'm afraid of band aids.
N: Why are you afraid of band aids?
T: Um, not afraid of band aids, afraid of band aids not coming off. Band aids get stuck on me, not come off.
N: Oh, I know what you mean. Sometimes they hurt when you pull them off.
T: I can no pull them off, ow! Mommy can take band aid off in tub, I no can do that. I too scared.
N: Yeah, that's hard.

Tater was happily naming the ornaments on our tree, "Manatee, penguin, Santa, snowman, bell," until she came to an unadorned limb, but she pressed onward, "Branchy-branch..."

Tater's received a boxed dvd set of Yo Gabba Gabba! from Cabbage, Bean, and co.  She literally leapt from her chair screaming, "Yo Gabbas!" and took a victory lap around the room.  Tater has been very excited about her birthday this year, and refers to her birthday as, "My happy birthday."  She has been making a lot of cakes in her kitchen lately and holding birthday parties for her lovies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tater Tot, 3 years old

Dear Tater,
Several times a day, I throw my hands in the air and wonder aloud what am I going to do with you. And at the same time, I remember there was a chance you would not be a part of our present and future, and I wonder how we could have ever lived without you.  In the wise words of Jerry Maguire, you complete us, little one.
Love, Mama

Top 10 Challenges
10. Taking you to a restaurant is torturous at the moment. With your tiny appetite, you are done eating before he rest of us have had our first bite. Then it is a decision whether to entertain you away from the table or risk you flicking plates, utensils,and beverages on the floor out of boredom and spite. We love takeout right now!
9. Mealtimes at home are similar, but as you may be safely excused from the table, you then clamber up next to someone and try to poke their food or get in position for a piggyback ride.
8. You just gave up your binky, and boy do we all miss it!
7. You often get bored during big brothers' screen time. If there is no singing and dancing, it doesn't capture your attention, and you don't understand why you should be deprived of your playmates while it is on. In a desperate bid for attention, you snuggle up, sit on their laps, sing your heart out, and when they respond unfavorably, you get louder.
6. You have about a zillion things you take to bed. White noise, Bonky, Hippo, Llama, Monkey, other one Bonky, other one Bonky, and yes, other one Bonky. The entourage is getting ridiculous.
5. You love toiletries. You try to brush your teeth when we're not looking, lather yourself (and the couch and baby dolls) with lotion, are always sneaking into purses and backpacks checking for Chapstick and hand sanitizer. Lately, you take crayons, chalk, and markers to your face, insisting that you are putting on makeup.
4. While we have worked out a truce about your hair (20 min of combing and styling in exchange for a video of your choice), you don't always agree to leave it in place, and we've gone through a dozen hair bands a day because you have snapped them all out repeatedly.
3. You treat art supplies like a tapas bar.
2. You have 1/3 of your two year old molars, and we all pray for a swift end to your teething days.
1. When tired, you morph into a crazy gremlin.  I mean, you don't actually look frightening, but you go from this sweet funny child into a feral wild cat. Sometimes, we'll warn each other, "Watch out, she's in beast mode."

Top 10 Things I Love
10. You still love to snuggle, which is very welcome after your active brothers who became too busy to snuggle past 12 months.
9. You love to sing and dance. Your favorite song on the radio is "A Sky Full of Stars," in which you just belt out, "Starry sky, starry sky!"
8. Your voice is crystal clear, tiny, yet kind of deep. You can pronounce words like rhinoceros and blurt out sentences like, "Spork has a big appetite."
7. You are starting to enjoy story time more and have your favorite books. Karen Katz books and the Olivia series are current favorites.
6. You love to play picnic and "Baby Joy is sad," which is based on a SuperWhy episode. You make one of your babies cry, and we have to figure out what she needs. When it is just you and me, your play is very smooth and calm, and it is fun to hear your thoughts and questions.
5. You are fearless. Several times, parents have come up to me on the playground or other public play space and marveled to me that you encouraged their reticent children to try something new, when begging or demonstrating by their own parents or siblings was to no avail. But the cheerful eager way you attack a play structure or new challenge must be addictive. Let's hope this doesn't extend to hopping on motorcycles as a teenager!
4. You love to take a pad of paper and briskly ask, "What would you like?" Your restaurant's specials are always chicken nuggets, fries, and Diet Coke.
3. When given a choice, you smile so broadly your cheeks might split open, sway back and forth, and murmur, "Ummm...ummm," before settling on a decision.
2.  When we get home from a car ride, you often pretend to be asleep so I will carry you inside.  I'm all too happy to oblige.
1. You love, love, love your brothers.  You are more generous with your toys than I've ever seen a child of your age (provided the person asks you politely for a turn).  You beg the Nugget for cuddles, and when Spork is sad, you sometimes rush to give him something to calm him (which never works but A for effort). You refer to them proudly in the possessive and run squealing to them after any separation, "That's MY Spork, that's MY Nugget."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That would be too crazy

Tater is a funny little parrot, who can chirp back nearly any word she hears on the first try. (In other words, you must not swear in our house.) She came giggling down the stairs with big brother one evening with a wild twinkle in her eye, and I mentioned, "You look slightly crazy, Tater." She was pleased with the assessment and squawked back, "Slightly crazy! I slightly crazy! Nugget, you slightly crazy?" The Nugget didn't skip a beat and replied, "No, I'm crazy-crazy," before laughing maniacally and somersaulting on the couch. Lord help me.

The Nugget helped Grammy complete a truly awesome tarantula costume this week, and he is taking great delight in spinning yarn webs around the house and chasing his squealing little siblings around the house in the full get-up. 

This past week at tap class, the children were invited to wear their costumes.  The Nugget solemnly passed on the message to us, "We can wear our costumes to tap this week, but no robots, because that would be too crazy."  He also worried that his tarantula suit would frighten the younger kids, so he was a tapping race car driver instead.

Everyone drops what they are doing when Daddy comes home from work. It must be a bit overwhelming to have 3 beings vying for your attention, one of whom is usually covered with food goop (Spork), another might have soap suds on her hands and be missing her pants (Tater), and the third is talking a mile a minute about machinery or the complexity of the social hierarchy in Lower El.  Anyway, when Daddy turned from the chaos to change out of his work clothes last night, Tater chased him and yelled, "Wait, Daddy!  I have a wink for you!" And he turned to see her little face contorted into what she thinks is a wink.  Ask your favorite 2yo to wink, I guarantee you won't be able to stop laughing.

While the Nugget was showing off his sizeable pumpkin, Spork tried to lift it.  The Nugget warned, "Careful, Spork.  It's a toe-crusher."

Last but not least, a photo dump from the pumpkin patch.  All hail fall.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Mouse, a Wedding, and a Lollipop

If you live in an older home like we do, you enjoy the nice thick plaster walls that keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, the charm of built-in cabinets, the character of a unique floor plan, and the perk of rodent visitors when the weather turns colder. We are prepared for rodentia this season with our most tempting food in plastic bins and an assortment of traps, but of course they always find something to nibble. Last week, they got into The Nugget's party favor box and gnawed up a couple mini chocolate bars he had been saving. He wailed in dismay, "Couldn't they see it had my name on it?" When I reminded him that mice probably can't read, he brightened and added hopefully, "Or maybe the mouse's name is Nugget too!"

We had a family wedding this month, and the Nugget kept checking to make sure that he was not in the wedding party. He was the most adorable ring bearer at my brother's wedding last year, a role that be elated and terrified him. I reassured him multiple times that we were just going to the reception. He squealed, "Do you mean that wonderful dance party?! Oooo, I can't wait!" He wanted to wear his tap shoes on the dance floor, but Grammy dissuaded him.  Still, the DJ played his tap routine song, "Rockin' Robin," and he performed the whole thing sans taps with a shy smile on his face.  Here's the Nugget hamming it up with Cousin Cabbage.  Oh, and did I mention the time that the Nugget got himself locked in handcuffs (photo booth props) that were missing the key?!  Thank goodness that Uncle T's skills with a butter knife liberated the child for more dancing. 

The todders behaved about as well as you could expect when kept in a car for 4 hours, then kept up past their bedtime.  Spork crashed into people in a flurry of excitement and tantrumed over not getting to poke people with the photo booth props, but he sure looked cute (bowtie by Grammy).

 Tater was extra snuggly and clingy and a little upset about the volume of the music, so she spent a lot of time caught up in cuddles.

Earlier this month, Cabbage, Bean, and family came to visit us for the first time in our current locale! We had a blast and were so happy to share the delights of Fall Fest with them.  K remarked how much fun they had but how absolutely exhausted she was.  Clearly, she's younger and in better shape than I am, because I feel that way all the time!

Tater surprised me when I took her for her flu shot. She abhors the sight of anyone in scrubs and has harbored a deep mistrust of medial offices since her infancy. Shots have always ended in frantic screaming, sometimes lasting all the way home.  I hopefully sang her the Doc McStuffins theme song and tucked lollipops in my purse, promising up front that she could have one after her shot. When she saw the needle, she screwed up her face to cry but remembered the lollipop and confirmed with me, "Ouch then lollipop?" and steeled herself. Not a tear, not a whimper, and even better than the sugar was the bandaid! Tater even said thank you to the nurse, who couldn't even believe it.

Tater has two big brothers who like to take on her, which is a good thing because a busy mama needs an alert that a box of baking soda has been dumped on the kitchen floor and is about to be topped with a bottle of honey in the 10 minutes it took to rock Spork and read Goodnight, Moon. I digress. Anyhoo, she now parrots back their exclamations while playing and it is kind of funny. "Hippo! That is NOT assepti-bowl. It is not! You put that down. I'm telling."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Belated first day pictures!

The More We Get Together

Nuggets of Wisdom:

"Ugh!  I have had enough of these motorcycle guys riding without any helmets.  There's another one!"

(at the splash pad, which automatically shuts off to save water, at which point little sibs beg big bro to turn it back on)
"This is getting out of hand!"

While apple picking, he was being his typical bossy self displaying leadership skills but had a moment of syrupy sweetness on the tractor. "Oh, I just love tractor rides, especially with my little brother and sister. Let's all sing, 'The More We Get Together'." As you can see, little bro takes full advantage of sweet big bro moments while little sister remains pretty skeptical.

The Nugget's elementary school has a dress code meant to keep the students' clothing from becoming a distraction, but the Nugget's sense of fashion is going to push the envelope. So far, he has worn knee high orange argyle socks (originally worn for Uncle T's wedding under slacks) with orange shorts, and yesterday, he combined a green polo with his purple pants, exclaiming, "Look, I am an eggplant!"

Tater likes to try on the "bracelets" (spare hair ties) on my wrist. She pulls them on her teeny wrists and grins. Then she replaces them on my own and remarks,"Bootful!"

While wearing a toy stethoscope, Tater got it stuck around her hairdo and called out, "Tangled!" A moment later, she said, "Never mind, I got it. Untangled!" During the same role play, she gave Daddy a checkup by insisting that he close his eyes, then listened intently to his knee with the stethoscope before declaring, "All done!" When I suggested that Daddy was so brave, could he have a lollipop, she stated, "Um, no. They all gone, I ate them all. But I get you a sammich!"

Her favorite thing to do is host pretend picnics for stuffed animals and dolls. If you attend her picnic, you may be served a crocheted donut, a wooden piece of toast (which she will insist on buttering for you), or a hammer.  It's kind of a crapshoot.

Spork recently had his first face paint, a frog. I didn't think to wipe it off before his nap, and it transferred to the crib sheet. Spork wasn't sad, but enthusiastically claimed, "Fwoggie jumped!"

Speech therapy and soccer have been added to Spork's weekly schedule, and he is really jazzed about both activities.  I'm pretty jazzed that I have a few more adults in my personal arsenal to help wear out this busy boy.  It takes a village to make a 3yo tired enough to nap nowadays.

Spork really loves to color, and one of his favorite morning activities is creating works of art.  When given a coloring sheet, he likes to add a little dot inside each compartment.

As for myself, transitioning back to work this fall has been interesting.  The Nugget moaned over running out of his preferred type milk (mind you this darling family of mine demands 3 different types of milk) this morning, and I had to just shrug and say, "Sorry dude, I'm doing my best." I have to wake Tater to take her to the aftercare job, which always pains me to wake a dozing tot!  The crockpot is getting a workout, and Hubby is really chipping in to prep fruit and plate up dinners on my workdays, when he and Spork are the first to arrive home.  We have a sitter who can shuttle Spork home on my workdays when Hubby is out of town, though I have yet to face that hurdle since I've started working.  Overall, I have much more appreciation for my "stay at home" days now, and very grateful that I've had the option to be home for so long.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School 2014

The children fought tooth and claw over a used Brita filter last week. This mama is counting down the days until school starts.

I am going back to work PT this fall. I have been looking forward to and dreading the change, so I have a little more compassion for the children's feelings this year as they too, embark on new challenges. In a way, it will only be an extension of parenting; I will be working at the Nugget's school's aftercare and at Tater's home-based preschool. I have 2/3 of my brood with me each time I go to work, like my own little (demanding) security blanket.  It will be an adjustment for sure, but I am very happy and proud that the work will help contribute to the children's tuition, and I feel confident that I can make a positive contribution to both schools.  No clue what it means for this blog, but I intend to at least still log the funny/cute things the kids say here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Celebrating with Cabbage

So dear cousin Cabbage (the Nugget's birthday buddy) turned 4, and since they moved back to the Midwest, we were able to road trip it out to celebrate with her! Bonus that she had a Frozen themed party, which is the trend du jour in our house too. We also took the kids to the zoo and got to spend time with Uncle T, Aunt A, Grammy, and Grandpa, so it was a a very fun trip.

 Cabbage did not want to have the birthday song sung to her, but she faced down her fears.

These two together always melt my heart.

Spork to Cabbage's Uncle K: I'm going to play inside....with you! (Tapping a befuddled K on the chest for emphasis.)
K: Me?!
Spork: Yeah! C'mon.
 The Nugget feels he is outgrowing these things, but Cabbage talked him into it.  Anything for Cabbage!

 Spork and Uncle T.

Shortly after this picture was taken, I had to tell my darling daughter, "We don't lick the tram."  She still chirps occasionally, "We don't lick tram!  No lick the tram!"

Grammy and Grandpa with all the grandkids!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


The Nugget continues to speak like he's a storybook character, and it makes me positively gleeful.

Out of the blue, several months after the experience,
"We sure had a fun-filled day when Daddy gave us a tour of the library!"

While perusing a grocery store circular,
"Mommy, this Kroger ad says something impertinent.  'Gimme some sugar!' Hahaha!" I wonder if I left an SAT prep book on his bookshelf by accident sometimes.

Upon harvesting our first cucumber from the garden, he squealed and asked, "Can you take a picture and send it to Farmer C?" Farmer c ran the farm camp he attended back in June, and I did indeed email her the picture. She was tickled pink and wrote back telling Brady he grew himself one respectable cuke! (Please note the realistic kitchen mess in the background. Mamas, you too can grow respectable cucumbers if your countertops are far from respectable, ha!)

Spork loved swim lessons. He learned how to do a solo "blast off" (launching himself from the side of the pool to an adult) and perfected his jump into the pool from the side, going all the way underwater, landing on the pool floor, and pushing himself back up to the surface. He also did the last two lessons sans parent, so the instructor is moving him on up. Golden Guppy 2, here he comes!

While getting his hair cut, Spork's hairdresser was chatting with her co-worker.  When she asked him, "Where did Abby go?", Spork (who did not meet Abby) chimed in, "I dunno!  I saw her..." 

Spork also got to participate in dance camp for the first time this summer.  He was beyond pleased about being a big kid going to camp and would whine each morning because the Nugget's camp started an hour prior to his own.  At pickup, I would always ask him what he did/liked at camp that day, and he would beam and say proudly, "I danced!"  So much cuter if you know him personally and can picture him saying it in his sweet voice.  His teacher reported that he was "very enthusiastic".

In other Spork news, we were excited to get an opportunity to visit with his Poppy (birthdad).  We hadn't seen him since planning the adoption, so we were a bit nervous!  The visit went better than we could have expected; Spork warmed up without skipping a beat, and we had a fun afternoon at the Chicago Kids' Museum.  We are hoping that it is just the first visit of many more to come.

Squee!  Beavs made a beeline for some lumber!

Spork and Tater both say, "Whee-hoo!" when they are excited about something.

Instead of saying, "the other crayon/dog/sandwich", she says, "other one crayon/dog/sandwich." One adorable example of this is that she refers to all blankets except the one blanket to rule them all as, "other one bonky". On a similar note, Spork often asks, "What dat is?" Maybe they are just speaking Yoda.

Tater's favorite game is called, "Eggie, baby Eggie." It involves her snuggling into a beanbag chair with her trinity, then popping up to yell, "Eggie hatching!"

These days, Tater tells us that Hippo is often feeling sad or angry. When we inquire with concern, she simply states, "Eyes hurting."

This picture perfectly encapsulates the essence of Tater.  Love that bold girl!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Birthday Madness

 Both boys have July birthdays, so it's been a month of celebratory madness.  We are high on frosting and love around here.

Party 1:  Spork's birthfamily visited, and we partied at a local park.

Party 2:  Spork had his first ever friends' party at the kiddy waterpark in town. It was a bit chilly, but the kids toughed it out and had a blast.

Party 3:  The Nugget celebrated when the G family (his birthmom, her husband, and the Nugget's sister Cupcake) came to town with blueberry picking, a restaurant dinner of his choice, and roller skating!

Party 4:  The Nugget enjoyed a spectacular time with his friends at the gymnastics center. One of his birthday cards included a marriage proposal, but the girl's dad swapped it out for a different one, haha!  This was our easiest party to date, I could focus on just the cute fun details that I love, but the center took care of everything else, even helping to serve food and tear down.  That gorgeous cake was by my friend K. Tiny paper suitcases from Beaucoup (filled with Hershey mini bars, a tiny airplane toy, and a laminated homemade luggage tag printed from One Charming Party.  Yes, any excuse for lamination, my friend.  Baggage claim by the Nugget (duct tape and paint on an Amazon shipping box, his own design).