Saturday, December 29, 2007

Annie's House

After months of begging to go to Annie's house, the day finally dawns.




Literally moments before Elspeth christened her brand new car seat by getting car sick all over herself (poor kid).
Sofia and Adwen renew their acquaintance.
Sof demonstrates what a fussy baby she is, by smiling the whole time we are there.
Ella's dress has been washed and returned and the cousins pose in their matching "Mini Mouse Dresses."
Although most shots come out more like this. Squirrely as these two are together.



Henn Family Christmas

The "Pink Monster" is born.

Ella checks the tree out during a rare moment not begging for presents.


All the grandkids (to date) with Mamgu and Dactu.
Ella and Esther-Faith are fixated on 64 purple crayons.
Isaiah and Isaac are still good natured despite the roughly 7,842 hugs their aunt Tracy has forced on them in under 24 hours.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Bragging Rights

ChickBits

Elspeth's Christmas list (as dictated to Mommy this morning in the bath):
1 - Boxes
2 - Books
3 - Boats
4 - Boots
5 - Wash clothes (note she was in the bath at this time)
6 - Soap
7 - Snapping Clams (what concerns me is that she said "more snapping clams" and I want to know where she is keeping the first batch)

Life Lessons Learned from Mickey Mouse:

You can always use a pogo stick.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Heroes




So many things you don't consider when your first child comes into your life. You try to imagine what it will feel like the first time she calls you Mommy, or how you will feel when she starts school, or finishes it, but you really can't imagine all the experiences your child will take you through in her life.
It was one of these pleasant surprises when we realized that Elspeth had her first hero. She began to be a perfect parrot of Ms. Chrissie the head teacher in Elspeth's toddler room. We would laugh each evening about the ways Elspeth would mimic her beloved teacher (includind a day where Chrissie gave up, let Elspeth sit at the head of the class and "read" a book to the group). While Chrissie's words were often taken out of context, we laughed constantly when we would hear them come out of our daughter's mouth ("Very sad choices Daddy, very sad."). There was absolutely NO hiding from us what happened through any given day as Elspeth would work so hard to recreate every statement out of her hero's mouth.
While Elspeth has moved on to rooms designed for bigger kids, she still loves Chrissie (and so do we!) begging us to have her over constantly. While we never thought about the people that would one day be Elspeth's hero when we brought her into the world, Jeremy and I would not re-write this chapter in our daughter's life.
We only hope Addie does half so well as her sister.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dance Dance Revolution

After celebrating Hanukkah at a friend's house, the WII was powered up and the DDR matt came out.

Robin and Ethan are having a great time, note the WII control in Robin's hand.
Elspeth thought the trick was to be holding something in your hand so she grabbed a book (she had no clue what to do but was very competitive about it).Ethan and Elspeth burned off large amounts of energy hopping up and down in front of the screen. They had more fun than anyone who actually played the game.

We finally put them on the matt. I was amazed that their hopping about got a few perfects until we all noticed Jeff's foot on the left arrow "helping" them out. They managed to finish all their songs, showing up Rob who got booed off the stage every time he was up!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Addie's First Christmas Present to Us

She slept through the night with no major screaming. Not once did she wake the entire household with her screams of (roughly translated) "The Baby is ON HER TUMMY! Do YOU HEAR ME? The BABY IS ON HER TUMMY, and does NOT wish to BE THERE ANYMORE!!!"

The small things in life give us such joy as parents, and a quiet night is priceless. I am hopeful that my amazing flipping over baby will soon master flipping back to her back when she is done on her tummy.






Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Confessions of a Bone Weary Mom

I never really got the concept of blood curdling scream until I met Adwen.

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Annual Mommy-Daughter Baking Day

Making Daddy's favorite cookies!

Sharing with Mommy.
Trying one of Daddy's cookies, just to make sure they are OK.

Love my Daddy Cookie

video

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Tree

Mommy and Adwens' big contribution.
Daddy is "fluffing" the branches
Adwen is so excited she thinks she will drool.
Elspeth very studiously examins each ornament before hanging it 20 different times.

Trick or Merry Christmas?!?

Don't Go Grandma!






Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa


Addie got Grandpa, but he doesnt' seem to mind.
Does anyone else want a bite of this?
Adwen's feet prove too tempting, and we all learn that she can suddenly sit up by herself is she wants to bad enough.
Ella helps Grandma with her exercises.
Aren't we all cute?

Self Portrait


Monday, November 26, 2007

Life at Subaru House

Elspeth has dubbed our home "Subaru House" which is cute, especially when you consider how small our "estate" is. After a long weekend at Subaru House, Elspeth was all hyped up last night (excitement from Grandma and Grandpa visiting, lots of sugar, a visit to Ethan's house, more sugar, and did we mention sugar?). Jeremy and I planned some sleep training with Addie last night, and we needed to get Elspeth to sleep elsewhere so we could let Addie make noise in their room.

Our first mistake was the timing, both kids hopped up on a weekend away from the normal schedule. My second mistake was to tell Elspeth we were going to have a slumber party in Mommy and Daddy's room. Yes, you automatically know what I mean, but my 2 year old is not aware of this concept and she thought there would be a party. Jeremy realized the error I had made, when he read her bedtime books and announced it was time to go to bed in her sleeping bag. That was when she got even more excited and asked if it was time for the party.

When I returned home from the gym at 9:30, our daughter was still wide awake. After a brief conference, we decided sleep training could wait and tried to move Ella back to her own room. 20 minutes later, I was back in her room to find her sitting on a pile of stacked stuff, and having a party of her own.

I have not seen my daughter this hopped up since I had to put her on Albuteral, and was beginning to get concerned about her ever sleeping. I read more stories, I sang my most boring songs (apparently more boring to me than her), I held her in my lap. Around 10:30, I began to feel her relax, her head conceded its weight to my shoulder at last. While her legs still twitched, she was beginning to sag. I stopped counting minutes, and started counting kicks, enjoying the weight of her in my arms.

As we sat in the darkened room, relaxing together, Elspeth quietly whispered "what is this?" I held out my hand so she could drop something in, and it felt hard and light. I automatically realized it was trash of some kind, and said "I don't know." clutching it to later find a trash can. In that peaceful moment, of near sleep, my daughter drowsily said "It came out of my nose."

Ah motherhood . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chick Bits

"Hello left foot, what are you doing down there?"

- Elspeth Paige this morning as she put on her socks

Sisters



Adwen Kate 3 1/2 Months














Elspeth Paige 3 1/2 months

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things Parenthood Makes You Say . . .

"Elspeth Paige, we do NOT hug the trash can!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Study in Happy Faces




Original pencil on paper artwork by Elspeth Paige. Watch out Uncle Kevin, here she comes!

Crystal Ball




Sometimes I wish there was a parenting crystal ball that told us the exact right decision to make in any given moment. Ok, I ALWAYS wish there was such a device. I think this when I am trying to decide whether to force the issue of veggies at dinner, whether she will break her neck playing gymnastics on the couch, or where to send them during the day when we can not be with them.


Jeremy and I, after much searching, had finally found a more cost effective daycare that we felt met our standards of care. We paid our fees and started transitioning Elspeth.


Yesterday I had a level 3 meltdown when Elspeth, after a nice visit to the Kangaroo room, said quietly, and with much need in her voice, "I need Bo." Yes, Ella still has her beloved Bodacious, and, while she does not often take him out anymore, he is usually locked in her arms at night. This was the first crack, that she was not handling this transition as well as we thought she was.


I know the odds are she would be fine, but my parental alarm system went off. "What if she is NOT FINE?" Once we make a choice in her life, she is the one left with the consequences. I started to think through things. The new room has much less structure than her current room, while that is OK for a lot of kids, Elspeth will most likely become a problem child in short order. The next, obviously logical, conclusion I made was that a problem child will not be loved as much as the creative genius that her current room enjoys. I started running through all the possibilities in my head, one path bright and wonderful, one slightly darker.


Jeremy and I had an emergency caucaus and realized that we can not go through with the switch. I called Next Gen, they were happy to keep the girls as though nothing had ever happened. They had been sorry to see them go, and would find a way to make it work.


So, my big Dolphin stays a big dolphin. My Cuddly Cub will continue to get her head kissed by miss Sherry each morning (averaging half a dozen kisses before I get out the door) and we will continue to have miss Lori's encyclopedic knowledge of babies at my disposal in raising our girls.


Now when I can't sleep at night, it won't be because I wonder if I am doing the best I can for my girls.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Special Project

As a special project for Aunt 'Chele, Elspeth wanted to collect fall leaves to send.




"Uh, Mom?"

















Elspeth carefully sorts her leaves











Fall leaves and Buckeye football, the perfect combo!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Adwen Kate


Name: Adwen Kate
Hobbies: Watching my older sister, drooling
Skills: Expert kicker-offer of socks, world-class maker of smiles

Letting Go

Elspeth visited the Kangaroo room in her new school for the first time today.

I have known this transition was going to happen for some time now, so I rarely cry about it anymore. And we like the new school more and more as we get to know the people there, but I do not transition easily.

Anyway, Jeremy, Elspeth and I arrived during group time, and Ella quickly joined the group in brushing her dolls hair and teeth. After putting away her doll, she looked at me and said "I need to go to the Dolphin room." I almost cried, because I knew she was longing for the place where she was as comfortable as home. The place where she knows the routine, the other kids names, and that the teachers love her. She doesn't remember meeting most of the kids in her class, because they have been with her since she started there at 12 weeks of age.

The teachers announced that it was time for the playground, and Ella conceeded that she could stay for playground time. As we made our way out to the playground, she held my hand, partly out of habit, partly for comfort. Then she was gone.

She hit the slide like the experienced playing pro that she is. She climbed up and slid down over and over. Some of the kids started to run just for fun, and Elspeth followed their example. Then the moment came when she stood alone and seemed to stare into the distance. We didn't know if she was uncertain of herself, of what to do, of these new kids, or if she just watched something only she could see. I wanted to run to her, to help her meet the other kids, to hold her tight and let her know she is loved.

Jeremy said quietly "Let her find her way."

I admit, I started to cry and tried not to make eye contact with her so she would not sense my mood. Then suddenly, our daughter fell. The kind of physical comedy fall only a small child can pull off. Where suddenly she finds herself upside down and thinks, "this is cool, I will stay here awhile."

Then we started to see the ring leader that her Dolphin teachers always describe. One young man named Hayden (who I will always adore for this very moment) seemed to notice that she was having fun and he laid on the ground too, laughing with her in the moment. Suddenly the game changed to jumping, and more kids followed them into their private world that adults don't "get."

After Elspeth led the jumping brigade for awhile, she ran back to the slide, climbed to the top and yelled "I'm a big Kangaroo!"

Once again my daughter is proving that she can transition better than I can, that she is more resilient, and that she will find the best in life. But the real message I got this morning is that I will have to let her find her own way. This won't get easier in her life, I suspect with each new situation, the stakes will get higher, and I will have to fight that urge to step in each time.

But, today, I let her find her own way.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chick Bits

3 - The number of nights in a row Addie has slept straight through

"I don't have squishy feet"
- statement by Elspeth as she was getting ready for bed

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Halloween!



Elspeth's class dressed up as candy corn (Ella's idea) and had a great party (note the chocolate around my child's mouth).

Addie wasn't sure she liked being a lobster.












Ella's new school has a great Halloween program, and she had a blast (she is picking out a ghost lollipop here).

She wouldn't move any further away to "bowl"


"But I'm not tired" when we pried our bigger "lobster" away from the party.
She is happy to go back to the fun Halloween school some day.