Sunday, December 30, 2012

Golden Birthday

I officially finally celebrated my golden birthday... 29 on the 29th! I have been excited about this birthday for as long as I can remember.... for some reason, it's always been special to me.

I got the best present a working mother of 2 children under the age of 27 months could ever ask for, a night out with just my husband at a hotel in downtown Charleston, with the opportunity to sleep in the next day!! Eric and I were just talking about how much we would just love the chance to sleep in once in awhile. It's not even the needing a babysitter at night for us to go out and enjoy time together, the worst part is the 5am wake up call from our littlest alarm clock. If we could only talk someone into babysitting at 5am, then we could truly enjoy an evening out. So, this came at a perfect time. My wonderful mother booked us a hotel room for downtown, and was willing to babysit all night and all morning too!

We got to our hotel on my actual birthday around 1:30pm, went to get some lunch, then were able to check in early to our room. So what do you think we did? Napped! It was a glorious 2 hour nap. We woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a big ol' night out on the town.

However, we are in such a pattern of eating early and going to bed early from our daily routine at home, we ended up eating dinner by 6pm. Yes, on our date night. It was quite humorous. Eric had originally got reservations at a surprise resturaunt for 7pm. I told him that was way too late, I'd rather eat earlier, so he changed it to 6pm. We got to Rue de Jean (we'd never eaten there before, and let me tell you, it's another wonderful downtown resturaunt!) at 5:45ish, and they had our table available. So, we sat down, ordered a few drinks and ordered our food too. Little did we know how quick their service would be... we had our meals before 6pm! It was funny, and we got a good laugh about how much times have changed.

We then went to get a few drinks at a bar before heading back to the hotel, and we were asleep by 10. Yes, party animals. We got to sleep in until about 8:30am, which was amazing. We had a nice breakfast out, and were home to our babies by around noon.

Thanks again mom for giving Eric and I a break... a much-needed one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aiden's Eight Months Old

So, another month has gone by and Aiden is just getting happier and happier. He wakes up smiling, goes to bed smiling, and will smile for just about anything and anyone in between. He still loves being outside more than anything, and thankfully, we've had quite a warm "winter" this year so he's been able to be out more than normal. This month, he had his first trip to Ohio and got lots of love and cuddling from family, which was great to see.

What he's up to...
- He's smiling and laughing all the time. Especially with daddy.
- He claps a lot lately, and it's so adorable. He seems so proud of himself when he's doing it.
- He still isn't crawling, but he's seeming more and more interested... and a little less ticked off when he's on his stomach these days...
- He loves to feed himself, his favorite food are Gerber Crunchies, any flavor, but it's about all he can have because he still has no teeth!
- Ever since sitting up has become his favorite thing, playing with toys has become a favorite, too. He loves blocks (putting them in his mouth of course), and the toy remote is his all-time favorite. Although, if he could have the real remote, he'd be in heaven.

This month went by so quickly with traveling and preparing for Christmas, but we can't help but realize how much our little man is growing up! I look back to posts about Alli as she was growing month by month, and realize how much we wanted her to grow and do and learn and explore, and as much as I want that for Aiden too, I can't help but want to hold on to these baby snuggles as long as I can.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook Shootings and Holding Your Kids a Little Tighter

On December 14, 2012, 20 year old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother. After killing students and staff members, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself as first responders arrived. The masscare was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre.

No mass shooting has every effected me quite like this one did. These were children. I know that in some sense, all shooting victims may be someones children, but, these were innocent 6-7 year old's that were just spending their day at school. After watching the news religiously that day and evening of the shooting, I couldn't help but hold Aiden and Allison extra tight that night. It's truly events like this that can make you realize how precious life truly is. How quickly it can be taken away. So, as they both went to bed that night, we held them both a little longer, gave them both extra hugs and kisses, and held each other a little tighter as well.

The morning came around a little too early, around 5:30am... Alli was crying out for us. Instead of being frustrated, tired, annoyed, etc... I ran to her. She gave me the biggest hug, and I proceeded to try and tell her it wasn't quite time to wake up yet. She wasn't having it, and wouldn't let go. I then did something we haven't yet done, but we hope to have a tradition every Sunday morning. I brought her down to our bed, and she cuddled up with us, and fell asleep. For another hour and a half! I never thought that would happen... but I couldn't have been more comfortable, happy, or at peace. (I had also gotten up around 6am to breastfeed Aiden and then put him straight back to sleep, so I had my share of both my babies, and truly couldn't have been happier to get up and do it.)

I feel like I always need to keep this is mind whenever we wake up with them in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn, whether they are having a bad dream, hungry, etc... just being so appreciative of life and how fast they grow up. I will never get enough of the cuddling... I hope they don't grow out of that anytime soon.

Aiden's 1st Trip to Ohio... our first long trip with two babies...

This is an extremely late blog entry, and I appologize. We have been super busy the last few months, and are now trying to catch up with all that has gone on in our lives.

For Thanksgiving this year, we took the first long trip back to Ohio with two babies in tow. We debated over and over about when to leave and how we should go about making this trip. We finally decided that we'd take a quick nap, throw the babes in the car around 1am, and hit the road. Our thought was that Alli would fall right back to sleep and Aiden... eh, we weren't too sure about what he'd do, but we were hoping for the best. So, the night came around and we got the car packed up and threw the kiddos in... and off we went. To our surprise, Alli stayed awake. The entire drive. She maybe slept 30 minutes. Aiden fell right back asleep and was great for most of the trip. He had his moments here and there... but overall, he was great. Alli on the other hand, was a train wreck. Meltdown after meltdown. We were just exhausted.

We got home, and thankfully had plenty of hands to help take care of them while we got some rest. We had a great time visiting all of the Findlay family, and Aiden got to meet his great-grandparents and his grandpa Ron for the first time. It was incredible to see them all with him, he was wonderful for everyone. He sure loves to be held and cuddled... a lot more than Alli ever did. After a few days, spending the holiday with the Woggy Fam, and having a belated 2nd b-day for Alli-Ru.. we got an amazing visit from my best friend Jamie and her sweet boys. I got to meet her baby Brennan, and see how big Owen has gotten. I had such a great time seeing them... and only wish we were closer all the time. After that, we headed down to Cinci to see some of Eric's fam. Alli & Aiden both got to meet their Great Uncle Hank, and then we went to Tatsy & Pops' house, where they got to see their cousins Max & Charlie... and the Cinci family as well. We had a great trip home... with minimal sleepless nights (every once in awhile there would be a rude awakening through the night, but, for the most part, they did great!), and we made it out of Ohio without any sicknesses.

On our drive home, that was a different story. We managed the drive home with very few stops, and by the time we got to SC, we thought we were in for smooth sailing. However, Alli was just kind of out of sorts. She wanted to cuddle in the car, so, illegally, I did it. She then proceeded to vomit all over me. I'm talking all over her, all over me, all over everything. Of course, Aiden was fast asleep. So we proceeded to pull over on the side of I-26, where I stripped, stripped Alli, and of course, Aiden woke right up and was screaming bloody murder. What a nightmare, the whole 30 minutes left to go home was just a wreck. But, we eventually made it... and we were so thankful.

All About Aiden

Aiden is almost 8 months old, and he's getting so big! He loves to sit up and reach and play with toys, eats 3 full baby food meals a day, still can down bottles like a champ, and has been consistently sleeping the same hours as his big sister (7pm-6am). Still no teeth, which is just shocking to us as Alli had so many by this time. But, as we soon realized after having Aiden, all babies are different and I know he will do things on his own time. It is obvious that he is the baby of the family, and he knows it.

A few weeks ago, I took Aiden to have pictures taken all by himself. I have never known what it's like to have a true sibling growing up, living with me all the time (no disrespect to my step & half bro's, love you guys!), but I really had the spotlight all on me most times. So, to say I feel bad for Aiden that most of his pictures have been with big sis stealing the spotlight would be an understatement. So, off we went to get pictures of just him. And oh goodness, I think especially when he's all by himself, I realize how handsome he truly is and how many hearts he's going to break. Especially mine when he leaves me someday...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I should have known…

So I might have been just a tad quick to compare my daughter’s recent behavioral transgressions to those of a bipolar schizophrenic.  She’s still smack dab in the middle of the “Terrible Twos” (given that she started this phase when she was about 18 months old), but Mommy B and I made a discovery last night that has put everything in perspective.

Three words: TWO YEAR MOLARS

Not just one, or even two… no, in true Alli fashion, all four molars are making their presence felt in her tiny mouth as you read this. This explains so much of what’s been going on recently – and I literally gasped when I made the discovery last night. But first, time for a flashback…

When Alli got her first tooth (at 5½ months old), we were a little surprised at how early it came in. But a week or so later, her next one came in also. Then a couple weeks passed and she was up to four. The next eight came in like gang busters, one right after another. She literally went from four teeth to eight in the matter of about 3 weeks. We could always tell she was getting more teeth because she became irritable, would get a snotty nose, a little more drool and softer “deposits” in her diaper. These are all natural side-effects of teething, which I didn’t know until my RN of a wife told me so. Good thing too, because I was starting to worry something else was wrong with her. And just like clockwork, just as Mommy B and I were about to hit our breaking point, out popped a tooth (or two). We’d both look at each other and feel awful for losing patience with her when all along she was just in pain from a tooth (or four) burrowing their way to the surface of her tender gums. My sweet little girl would turn into an absolute basket case for a day or two, then the pain would pass and she’d be back to normal.

Alli basically had the majority of her baby teeth completely in before her first birthday (if I recall properly). This has turned out to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, she’s been able to eat solid foods for as long as I can remember – which has been a good thing for the bottomless pit that she is. On the other hand, it’s caused Mommy B and I to forget what teething was like. After all, it’s been over a year or so since she’s gotten any new ones in. We knew the two year molars would be arriving any day, but when they didn’t come early like the rest of her teeth, we kind of forgot about them. And since Aiden hasn’t gotten any yet, it was the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage. Mr. No Teeth, meet Ms. Lots of Teeth.

So there we were, standing in the bathroom last night brushing her teeth – which Alli usually does on her own these days. She handed me her toothbrush and I decided to give them a once-over just in case she missed a spot. She opened her mouth and as I was leaning over her to give her teeth a swish, I saw the points of her bottom-right molar poking through her gums. I literally gasped, put my hand over my mouth and looked directly at Mommy B. In an instant, she knew what I had discovered. I grabbed Aiden from her and she took Alli into the bedroom for a closer look. She began feeling around in her mouth only to discover that both her top molars had already broken through and were about a quarter of the way in already. Both bottom molars are just under the surface and will be breaking the rest of the way through any day now.

Holy cow, girl! No wonder she was such a brat a couple days ago… it coincided precisely with when her top teeth were probably bursting through her gums – and we had no idea. Not to mention that she’s had a really snotty nose and a pretty productive cough lately. We just thought this was a sign of the changing weather patterns this time of year. Everyone gets a runny nose and a little cough when the weather changes, right? Yeah well not everyone has 4 molars coming in at the same time.

She’s been acting better the last couple of days, and go figure… the worst part is over now! I’m rather surprised she never mentioned anything about her mouth hurting, since she tells us about every little scrape or scratch she gets over the course of her day. She’s such a sweet girl normally, and to think that we were going to have to deal with her attitude for the next year or better (everyone says the Terrible Threes are worse!) was too much for Mommy B and I to bear. But alas, there is clarity in the wake of chaos. I should have known…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I live with a bipolar, schizophrenic little person…

Or so it feels when you have a 2-year-old in your house. No Followers, I wasn’t referring to Mommy B in the title of this post… I was referring to the walking contradiction that is my lovely daughter Alli.

As Mommy B has mentioned in previous posts, Alli is rather prone to the “Terrible Twos” meltdowns these days. But it goes beyond just your basic temper-tantrum. The whole series of events is a real mind-teaser, and it truly tests the limits of your sanity. Let me indulge you in a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Last Saturday was the first “regular”, non-event filled weekend we’ve had at home in a few weeks. With traveling for Thanksgiving and the Reindeer Run and other various things going on, Mommy B and I were looking forward to last weekend to get the kids back into the groove. Most notably, taking Alli to gymnastics class on Saturday morning – which I’m sure she’d been missing the last couple of weeks. So Mommy B and I agreed that she would take Alli while I put Aiden down for a nap and got some stuff done around the house.

About an hour later, Mommy B pulled into the driveway with an utter look of defeat on her face. I asked, “Are you OK?” She replied by telling me how horrible Alli behaved at gymnastics class. It’s only a 30-minute class, and she spent at least 10 minutes of it face-down on the ground throwing temper tantrums. She wouldn’t listen to the teacher’s instructions, didn’t want to participate in the activity the teacher had planned and just wanted to run off and do her own thing. While I appreciate that she’s using her imagination and wanting to exercise her independence, a structured teacher-led environment isn’t the best place to do so. The other kids sat quietly and performed the stretches the teacher instructed, while Alli was having nothing to do with it. She yelled and screamed and cried for much of the time – all of which get amplified by the echoes of an empty gym. Mommy B felt totally embarrassed that it was her kid misbehaving in such an awful manner – especially since it seemed that all the other kids weren’t having any issues listening and following directions.

I tried to remind Mommy B that every kid goes through this type of thing, and every parent gets embarrassed in public with a temper-tantrum-having, bad-head-throwing, flailing-arms-and-legs-around-on-the-floor child at one point or another. Mommy B was so horrified at Alli’s behavior in those 30 minutes that she considered never taking her out in public again until she reaches age 10. I told her that sounded a bit extreme, until Alli continued this behavior for the majority of the morning and afternoon.

Everything was “No, Mommy! No!”, “Go away, Daddy!”, and the like. Any time we asked her a question, we got the negative response. “Alli, do you need to potty?” “No Daddy!” “Alli, do you want to eat some lunch?” “No Mommy!” “Alli, it’s time to go upstairs and take a nap.” “Noooooo!” While these types of back-and-forths may not sound like much – most parents know what else comes along with them: the forcing her into the bathroom so she’ll use the potty, the dragging her over to her table so she’ll eat lunch, and the kicking and screaming carrying her up the stairs to her room for nap time. All the while we’re trying to entertain and care for Aiden, even though he can sit up and somewhat entertain himself.

To make matters worse, she’s been starting to take a swing at the nearest adult when she really doesn’t want to do something. I don’t know if she picked up this bad habit from the other kids at school or if it’s just a natural response at this age – but hitting is something Mommy B and I simply will not tolerate. So each time she responded with “No, <insert parent’s name here>, no!” and a right hook to one of our thighs, it was straight to the time out chair (thanks Aunt Bacon, we’re getting quite a lot of use out of it these days). Needless to say, Alli spent quite a bit of time there that day.

But the difficult part about the whole scene is afterwards… when she comes out of time out. We tell her to say that she’s sorry (and what she’s sorry for) and to give the respective parent that she verbally abused and slightly maimed a hug. She slowly walks over to us and in the most pathetic, remorse-filled voice says “Sowwy <insert parent’s name here>,” and gives us a great big hug. It literally melts my heart every single time, and it’s damn near impossible to stay mad at her. Until 2 minutes later when the entire meltdown process starts over again…

As Followers can tell, it was quite an exhausting morning and afternoon. Then evening came around and Alli seemed to be turning the corner. The meltdowns had subsided and were becoming fewer and further in between. She actually sat and ate her dinner while I fed Aiden his baby food (which he devoured, duh!), which was rather surprising given that she hadn’t sat still all day.

Then she did something that I’ll never forget. With her bowl of applesauce in hand, she climbed up into the chair I’d been sitting in to feed Aiden and began spoon-feeding him her applesauce – completely unprovoked! Mommy B and I turned around to find her spooning little bites of applesauce into his mouth as if she’d been doing it for years. Followers should know that we’ve never taught her how to do this – never sat her on our laps and helped her feed her little brother. So not only did she figure out how to climb up into my chair on her own (without spilling her bowl or losing her spoon), but she mastered the art of feeding an infant just by casually watching us do it.

I was so impressed by the whole scene that I had to get out my phone and start recording it. Mommy B grabbed the video camera out of the closet and began filming as well – because we both quickly agreed that we may never see this act ever again, so we better have some visual proof that it happened at least once. Alli would take a bite of applesauce for herself, then give another to Aiden – putting the spoon perfectly in his mouth (not too far in that he gagged or choked, but far enough that he could get it all) and holding it there just long enough for him to get it all. Rinse, repeat. Once the applesauce was gone, we handed her a bowl of sliced carrots – which she took out one by one and placed in front of Aiden so he could grab them and put them in his mouth as well. Given that he had just downed a whole container of baby food, we had to put a stop to things so he wouldn’t explode. Afterwards Mommy B and I were able to get them both in the bath and off to bed without incident – which was a relief.

After they were both in bed and Mommy B and I came back downstairs to unwind, we both just looked at each other – completely dumbfounded at what had occurred in the last 13 hours. Alli had gone from complete psychopath to serene angel and back again so many times that we lost count. Wikipedia defines Bipolar disorder as “a mood disorder in which people experience disruptive mood swings; these encompass a frenzied state known as mania usually alternated with symptoms of depression.” Hmmm, that sounds rather familiar…

Hopefully by now Followers are picking up on my sarcasm here – I’m not saying that my daughter really is bipolar nor am I trying to diminish the harsh reality that people who truly have Bipolar disorder must face on a day-to-day basis. But any parent of a two year-old can relate to this story. The mood swings of a toddler pull you in so many directions that it’s often difficult to keep up. We try not to take it personally or let it bother us, but it can be hard. I try to remind Mommy B to have a short memory with this kind of stuff… because Alli does. You just have to roll with the punches (no pun intended) and try to keep in mind that one day they’ll grow out of it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is definitely my favorite time of the year. It's somewhat hard to get in the spirit when it's 70-80 degrees outside, and Eric is putting the lights on the house in shorts and no shirt, but, I'm not complaining. I can tell my blood has thinned quite a bit already, and I'm less and less tolerant of the cold.

Anyway, this past weekend we went and got our Christmas tree, and yet again, just like last year, Scarlett is on patrol 24/7. I think she thinks that there is going to be a squirrel coming out of it at any moment. And Alli is obsessed with the lights we have hung up on the tree and across the mantel. Eric and I did our annual Target trip to fill up the stockings, where we spend $20 and have to get neat/unique/funny/etc. gifts to fill each other's stockings. And this year, I got to do Aiden's, and he got to do Alli's. I'm so excited to look in them on Christmas morning and see what's inside.

We also are going to have a lot of family down here for Christmas this year, and I couldn't be more thrilled for Alli and Aiden. (And of course, I'm happy to get to see them all, too!) I'm so glad they will get to see both Pops and Tatsy, Aunt Bacon, and Grandma Nancy for the holiday. And hopefully, this means we'll get some time away, just the two of us, too.

Oh, and I forgot to mention... my golden birthday is coming up in a few weeks too... 29 on the 29th! It truly is... the most wonderful timeeeee of the yearrrrr!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reindeer Run

Eric's new place of employment, The MIL Corp, was one of the corporate sponsors for the Reindeer Run downtown. This 5K benefits the MUSC Children's Hospital... so it was a no brainer for us to get involved and take the kiddos to participate in their first "run" and fundraiser. We dressed them in their matching elf outfits, Eric was dressed as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation (my all-time favorite movie!), and we had a great time. Alli only had a few mini-meltdowns, but otherwise was great for the whole walk. Aiden was of course a gem, being that he was outside. The kid could live outside, I swear.

We had a great time for a great cause.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful November Part Three

21. Airborne. I don't know if it's all in my head or not, but as soon as I feel a sickness coming on, I take some Airborne and I almost always feel like it helps!!

22. Cuddles. Whether it's with my baby boy, who is the biggest cuddler I know, my baby girl when she's sick (best cuddler too, but only when she's not feeling well), or my wonderful husband who lets me be the little spoon all the time... it's so nice to have someone to wrap your arms around.

23. Great-grandparents. There is something so amazing about seeing my babies with my grandma and grandpa. I cherish each and every time they have gotten to spend with them, it's just incredible.

24. Pictures. Lord knows I have enough of them, but I am so thankful I took as many as I have throughout their newborn, infancy, and toddler years.

25. This blog. Once again, it's been great to look back on the memories we've blogged about, and the little things we may have forgotten had we not written it down. Someday, we'll have to make a book out of it.

26. The Christmas season. I love how giving everyone is, seeing the lights hung all around, the smell of our Christmas tree, I just love it all. I have a feeling it's only going to get better once Alli & Aiden get older, and seeing the joy and amazement about Santa and Christmas and oh boy! I'm getting excited just thinking about it all!

27. The feeling you get after you know you've made a difference in someones lives.

28. A sense of humor. Some days, I know Eric and I wouldn't get through the day without it.

29. Peeing and pooping on the potty. You really have no idea how thankful you'll be of that until you've gone through potty training. And I'm not talking about yourself, I'm talking about potty training a kiddo. :)

30. All of you! Everyone that reads our blog, comments on it, etc., we are thankful for all of your love and support in our lives.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful November Part Two

Here's a few more things I am definitely thankful for...

11. Modern technology. A few days ago, in a span of a couple hours, I got to FaceTime with my mom, where she got to see both Alli and Aiden, and then Skype on the computer with Eric's parents, where they were able to see Alli, Aiden and Katie as she was down here visiting on her birthday. How great is it that even hundreds of miles apart, we're able to see them on the phone or computer with just the push of a button.

12. Chesterbrook Academy. I know we've talked about our wonderful daycare so many times, but I can't thank them enough for all they've taught Alli so far, and how much they care about Aiden and really work with him each day to make sure he's reaching his full potential too.

13. Friends. I've learned a lot about friendships over the past few years, and I know now what I need and deserve in friends. With these learning experiences came a lot of hard times, but I'm very thankful for the relationships I have.

14. Facebook. I know it's silly, but I'm so glad there are ways to stay in touch with family being hundreds of miles apart, still see my friends from high school and college all over the country as they become husbands and wives, parents, etc., and be able to share with others all of Alli and Aiden's pictures and funny stories, too.

15. A good, healthy appetite. Both of my babies have one... we've heard so many comments from their daycare teachers about "Whew! That girl/boy can eat!" They both have never turned down any type of food. I'm very thankful for that... it could be a lot worse.

16. An abundant milk supply. We still have about a 3 month supply of milk in the freezer, and we have not had to give Aiden any formula. This is months longer than I made it with Alli, and I'm hoping now I can make it an entire year of giving him exclusively BM.

17. The Ringling Brothers. If not for them, I wouldn't have my wonderful husband. :o)

18. On that same note, Ryan Druffel. If not for him as well, I wouldn't have my wonderful husband. :o)

19. Football season. I can't wait to go to football games with Alli and Aiden when they're old enough... either high school games, college, or NFL... I hope they love it as much as Eric and I do.

20. A good night's sleep. It's been awhile since I've fully had one, but I am thankful that I remember how great they are, and am hopeful that someday, I'll get to experience it again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I admire SAHM's

On Monday, I was given the pleasure of hanging out with my two beautiful babies all day. All by myself. Eric was at a golf outing for work (on Kiawah Island no less, jealous!), and Chesterbrook was closed for a "Professional Development Day", so I was home alone. This goes to show that the days I'm off work, I always take them in to school. I usually take them in late and pick them up early so they aren't there as long, but I have so many errands to run, cleaning to do, etc. on my days off that I'd rather just keep them in a routine than boring them with running around with me. However, this day was my first attempt at both of them all by myself, all day.

I was totally exhausted. I still am, just thinking back to it. Aiden has really gotten attached to us, and is usually only happy when being held. What a mess that is when trying to tend to a 2 year old who still needs help once in awhile with the potty, still is pretty demanding, and knows what she wants. Alli ate her lunch and when she was done, she asked me to wash her hands. I, of course, had Aiden almost asleep while walking around the living room doing laps, so instead of putting him down, I just called Scarlett over and told Scarlett to lick her hands clean. Yes, mom of the year.

We took a car trip to Daniel Island to play at the park, and both ways to and from Aiden screamed bloody murder. I'm not sure if he hates his new car seat or what, but it was miserable. I'm not sure why I even tried. I wanted to cry, too.

The afternoon went much better, we went for a stroll around the neighborhood and they both were as content as can be. Alli even helped me make dinner while Aiden was taking a nap, and the oven literally beeped right when Eric walked through the door. I felt just like Suzie Homemaker then, minus the apron, cute outfit, pretty hair, etc. I had spit up all over my shirt and shorts, hair slicked back, no make up on. I'm pretty sure I did get to brush my teeth.

I'm sure it will get easier as he gets older, and I will cherish getting to spend days at home with them when they are both 'easier' babies... but to say I'm in awe and honored to have two best friends as stay at home mom's is an understatement. I love you both Gena and Jamie, and I couldn't be more proud of all you do!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Alli - 2, Mommy - 0

As many Followers recall from various posts, Alli is quite the blabbermouth… especially these days now that her vocabulary has exploded. She understands almost everything we say to her, and can basically repeat just about any word or phrase she hears. Great, we’re at that stage already?

As Mommy B has mentioned before, they’re already learning numbers 1-10 and colors in Spanish at school. She has gotten pretty good at reciting her numbers and does a decent job at telling us what certain numbers are in Spanish when we ask her in English. She also does the same thing with colors – when we ask her what a certain color is in Spanish, she’ll say it clear as day.

Last night while devouring her spaghetti dinner that Mommy B prepared for her, she started telling us the color of certain things (in English) as she pointed to them. Many parents are familiar with this practice. “Yellow,” she said pointing to her cup. “Yes Alli, the top of your cup is yellow,” I said. With her favorite bed time Pooh Bear nearby on the table, she said “Pooh yellow.” I chuckled and said, “That’s right, Pooh is yellow. Good job Alli!”

Mommy B decided to turn things up a notch and asked, “Alli, what color is Pooh’s shirt?”

Without even hesitating to think about it, Alli replied “Rojo.”

In your face, mom. Let’s examine this rather short chain of events: first, she correctly identified what article of clothing we were referring to (granted, Pooh only has on a shirt and nothing else); next, she correctly identified the color of said article of clothing; and finally, she responded with said color in Spanish – just for the hell of it. And without us even asking her for the answer in Spanish. Just a reminder to all Followers, she just turned two last weekend!

Holy cow. With Mommy B and I’s brains on the decline (thanks to having kids), and hers on the obvious incline, I can tell the balance of power will be shifting in the favor of the kids very soon. I give them both until the age of 12 or so before they’re smarter than us. That’ll make for some fun teenage years, won’t it? I’m secretly hoping that this is just a sign of the intelligence potential to come for both of them… college is expensive these days, and last time I checked they don’t give scholarships based on looks. Which is a damn shame.

Holding His Own

These kids are growing up so fast, I swear. For the past couple of weeks, Aiden has slowly started to hold his own bottle more and more during feedings. Well, he’s basically holding it on his own all the time now. In fact, there are some times that he prefers to take it out of my grasp and hold it himself. Sounds kind of familiar…

Also, he decided that a couple nights ago that he no longer needs assistance sitting up. That’s right Followers, the big guy is sitting up all on his own now! People with kids know how big of a milestone this is – it’s the first completed step on the road to independence. I remember how big it was when Alli starting sitting up on her own… it was all downhill after that. He can now sit on his own and entertain himself, which is a huge relief for parents.

He already loves reaching for toys (what child doesn’t?), grabbing them, examining them, feeling them, and usually ends up tasting them. It means that we don’t have to constantly hold him during every single activity he wants to do. He now has the freedom to sit and play with whatever toy he wants instead of whatever Mommy B or I put in front of him. This increased independence and mobility just heightens their curiosity even more which leads to crawling and eventually walking. You can see the curiosity in their eyes as they reach for different toys and check them out. The more they play with them, the more they want to go after others, which is what typically leads to crawling. Dog toys usually did the trick with Alli, but we have way too many kid toys at this point to have Aiden chasing after dog toys.

I couldn’t be more proud of my little man – he’s growing up so fast. I know within the next few weeks or so he’s going to be basically feeding himself and crawling all over the place. I can’t wait for him to meet his great-grandparents for the first time during Thanksgiving this year. They’ve seen pictures and videos of him thanks to the Internet, but nothing beats seeing him in person. Hopefully it’s just the first meeting of many more to come.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful November Part One

All across Facebook, people have been posting what they are thankful for each day thus far in November. I thought I'd spare everyone on Facebook and post 30 things I'm thankful for for each day of the month in one efficient blog post. So, here we go:

1. My family. I think it goes without saying that I'm thankful for my amazing husband, adorable children, mom, dad, grandparents, etc.... I can't even begin to thank them all for all they've done for me, all they've supported me through, and for making me the person I am today.

2. My and my family's health and well-being. Sure, we have a few health issues here and there with some family members, but seeing what I see at the hospital each day, I'd say we are extremely fortunate to be as healthy as we are. Having such healthy children is a blessing as well. I'll take my puker reflux baby Aiden any day over some of the larger health problems out there.

3. Our home. I am grateful every day to have a house I love that we've truly turned into a home. Now, if the home improvement projects could ever start (bathroom updates, screened in porch updates, backyard makeover to accomodate a swingset, etc...) I'd be really thrilled :o)

4. Our dog, Scarlett. As much as I can't stand her some days, as much as Alli has turned her into an awful begger dog, as much as she drools on the couch, and as much dog hair as she leaves all over the house, I still love her companionship and her faithfulness.

OK so those are the major things in my life, and obviously, I am thankful for things like food, water, a job, etc... but the rest of these are just tidbits that I'm thankful for, and they may be silly, but, it's all in fun. =)

5. My tempur-pedic cloud king-sized bed. Even though I don't get to spend as much time as I'd like in this bed, I am thankful that the little amount of rest I do get is in true relaxation and comfort.

6. A credit score of 816... with never yet having a credit card at age 28 (almost 29!). I think that's a pretty amazing feat in itself.

7. The DVD player in my Honda Pilot. Alli loves it and it's been our lifesaver time and time again.

8. ESPN talk radio. I am a huge talk radio fan... and especially about sports. I would listen to it any day over music on the radio, especially when I'm driving to work at 4:30 AM. It keeps me awake and keeps my attention better than music. Weird, I know.

9. Elmo. Some days, I hate the furry little monster but I am grateful that he's who Alli is obsessed with, not Barney or Spongebob or some other more annoying character. He has taught her a lot about sharing, potty time, etc. He's not so bad... although I really can't wait until she's more of a fan of princesses and Disney movies... hopefully someday...

10. Sitting up. No, not spitting up. Sitting up. I never knew what a huge milestone this was until Aiden met it a few days ago. He's so happy and content sitting up by himself playing, and it's so much easier than having him sit in a bumbo or a supportive seat of some kind. I just think this a bigger milestone than most people realize.

So, this turned out to be longer than I expected. So I'll just do 10 for now. Ten more will come next week, then ten more the following week.

Cheers to everyone, have a great hump day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Alli's 2 Year Stats

Well here we are, two years old.

This little girl amazes us more and more every day. There are so many things she's doing these days, it's hard to even think about it and blog about it anymore. But, I'll try. When she knows she's doing something she shouldn't, she watches us and almost dares us to tell her no. When we do, she says, "time out!", and runs and sits in time out. A lot of times, she doesn't have to sit in time out, and puts herself there. It's almost funny but sad too, because when she gets up from time out, she comes up to us and says "sowwwie" in the saddest voice and gives us a hug. It's just too much for me to take sometimes. She loves reading books and has her favorites, of course, all her Elmo books, and In the Zoo is her favorite potty book. And speaking of potty, she's been doing just fabulous. No #2 accidents since literally the potty training weekend I believe, and a few pee accidents here and there, but truly, she's doing awesome. She loves her doggy and tries to play with her all the time, telling her to "sit down doggy!" (oh and she tells me to sit down too, I tell her that I'm not a doggy to boss around! ha!)

Her favorite thing to do with Aiden is sing to him. When they are taking a bath together, in the car together, or just hanging out beside one another, she looks over at him and says "la la la!!!!!!!" and he just laughs and laughs. I don't know why this is the only song she sings to him, but maybe it's their lil "thing" together. :)

Speaking of singing, she has a lot of favorites. Old Mac Donald, Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday Song, ABC's, and one she started singing recently that Eric & I didn't even know. She was using her finger and going "Here I am! Here I am!", we remembered the tune but couldn't remember what the song was. I'm still not sure what version they are singing at day care, but regardless, it's cute. 

I know there is a ton I'm leaving out, so, maybe I'll leave it to Dad-E to add his two cents and remember things I can't. That's the only way we survive these days is by both of us using our half brains together to function as a working team. I swear having kids must burn brain cells or something. I am losing it more and more every day.

The Stats:
Weight: 27.6 lbs (60th percentile)
Length: 34.25 inches (71st percentile)
Diaper Size: No more diapers! All big girl underwear now! Still wear pull-ups at night "just in case" but wake up dry almost every morning
Clothing Size: mostly 24 months/2T depending on the brand
Shoe Size: 6.5-7
Food: Everything. She raids the pantry like a teenager, Dad-E's already starting to really worry what it's going to be like around here when her and Aiden are teenagers...
Naps: One 2 hour nap during the day (12:30-2:30ish), bed by 7:15ish, up around 6:30ish
Teeth: Just waiting on those two year molars to come in any time... probably will happen when we make the trip home to Ohio...
Words: She basically says anything and everything. We're amazed at her vocabulary, her understanding, identification, etc. She loves to sing and read... and she makes up songs and words to the books she flips through all the time. It's adorable.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween to my lil Bugs!

We had quite a few Halloween celebrations this year. This past Sunday, we went Trick or Treating at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, where they had balloons out at the stores that were participating... so we got to go from store to store getting candy. Anneliese was still here for the weekend celebrating Alli's birthday, so she came along, and we had a blast. We even got to ride a *free* horse and carriage ride around the Towne Centre.
Old Navy was even giving out free balloons! Oh boy, our favorite

Horse & carriage ride

Best buddies, Ru & Fi
For Halloween, Chesterbrook had a parade and Alli had a ball. The teachers told me she was buzzing around the rooms and she seemed like she already knew what to do (because she did already have some practice on Sunday!), and she was great at saying "trick or treat" and "thank you!" afterward.

Halloween night, we packed up our bugs and went trick or treating through our neighborhood. We had a blast. Alli really got into it, she'd say hi!, try to walk into their houses, say "just one!" when picking out a piece of candy (although toward the end, she started taking handfuls, haha), and saying "trick or treat!" "Hap Halloween", "thank you", and "bye bye!" to each house. She was quite a hit. In the beginning, every time she'd get a piece of candy put in her bag, she'd take it out and hand it to me and say "plllllease!!" I told her we'd have to wait until we got home, and she looked so sad. But eventually, she got the point and saw all the other kids going around collecting their candy and not eating it right that second. Aiden was a trooper for the first half, and especially because he was in the stroller outside, he was as content as could be. He started getting fussy and as soon as Eric picked him up and put him on his shoulder, he passed out. Our lil cuddle bug. Happy Halloween!

Mommy's lil bugs


Sleepy lil cuddle bug

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Well, it happened and I couldn't stop it...

Alli turned two on Saturday.

What an amazing, fun two years it has been. A little crazy, a few more sleepless nights than I'd like, a few more tears and tantrums than I'd prefer, but I wouldn't have it any other way. She was really a sweetheart this weekend, with very few meltdowns, and a whole lot of fun.

On Friday evening, our great friends Gena, Rob, Anneliese and doggy Wallace came down for the weekend to celebrate with us. What wonderful friends they are... they came last year to celebrate Alli's first birthday, too. By the time they got here Friday, Alli was already asleep. Aiden had stayed up past his bedtime to welcome them for the weekend, so he partied with Anneliese for a little while and then finally, all the kiddos went to bed and the adults were able to relax, enjoy some adult beverages, and catch up.

Saturday morning, our birthday girl woke up a little late for her, 7ish!, and we made her cinnamon rolls and sang her Happy Birthday. She loved it, she sang along, and tried to touch the candle as soon as we brought it to her. She tried and tried to blow it out, and with a little help from mommy, she made her wish. (Look how dark it is outside, Rob, Gena & Anneliese were still sleeping, not our crazy kids!)

After breakfast, Alli & I went to her gymnastics class... where she was the star for the day. Everyone let her go first on all the routines because it was her birthday. She had a blast, as always.

Then, it was time to rush home and get changed for her birthday party. Now mind you, we have had this party in the works for quite a while. Her and a good friend from daycare, Scarlett (ironic, same name as her dog, but, this little girl is way cuter!) have birthdays a day apart. So Scarlett's mom, Holly and I decided to throw a party together, seeing as all the same kids from daycare would be attending. We had planned on having it outside at Holly's, with a rented jump castle, hay bales being delivered for the kids to sit and eat on, pumpkin decorating, a very fall-ish, Minnie Mouse themed party. Well, Hurricane Sandy had other plans for us. So, we quickly found a backup plan on Thursday, and luckily there was availability at Monkey Joe's... an indoor jump castle place. The kids loved it! They had so much fun and everything went smoothly (despite Holly and I having to raise h*ll a few times about certain issues here and there, we are still trying to speak with the owner about certain things! but anyway!) All that matters is Alli had a blast.

After the party, we headed back home. The birthday girl passed out on the drive back... it was adorable. However, it meant that when we got home, she was not in the mood for a nap... we had basically missed our window of opportunity. So, she laid up in her bed for awhile for some "quiet time", and we got to sit down for the first time all day. That evening, we went out to dinner as a family with Gena, Rob & Anneliese for Alli's final birthday celebration of the day. It was a great time with great friends, and I think Alli had a wonderful day.

Birthday girls, Alli & Scarlett

Dig in!!

Best family photo we could get... Aiden's not interested and Alli looks thrilled

The 4 of us before dinner

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Six Month Stats

So, as I mentioned, our adorable baby boy is now six months old... and as his sister approaches her second birthday party this weekend, he's already halfway to his first! I can hardly believe it. In the past few weeks, he has become such a little person, and his personality is starting to really come through. There have been a lot of concerns and struggles along the way, but I've really had to come to the realization that every baby is different and he will get there on his own time. At the doctor's visit today, I discussed my concerns with his development being behind other kids his age, and especially behind where Alli was at this age. He is rolling from his belly to back, but not often. I think and the doctor thinks the reflux issues have a lot to do with that. He doesn't push up when he's on his belly, but he can. I've caught him doing it in his crib when no one's watching, but if we try to get him to do it during tummy time, he just won't. Ms. Sharon, one of his teachers at daycare, thinks he's just stubborn. Really? Just what we need! Where's our laid back baby? We got two crazy, wild stubborn ones instead. Oh well. You only get what you can handle, right?

Anyway, he is doing a lot of babbling and dadada's... and in that respect, he's ahead of where Alli was developmentally. He does a lot of talking, a lot of giggling, and he seriously smiles all the time. Even when he's spitting up for the millionth time that day, he smiles all the way through it. Hopefully, the reflux will get better as his development continues too. We are just kind of in a watch, wait and see pattern, and the doctor thinks he's just fine. It's just a worried, pediatric nurse of a mama that wants to make sure if there is anything we can be doing to help him along, that we are doing it as soon as possible.

The Stats:
Weight: 16 lbs 1 oz (20th percentile)
Length: 27 3/4 inches (88th percentile)
Head: 17 1/4 inches (62nd percentile)

Before the shots of course... happy boy

Diaper Size: 2 until we finish up the last of 'em, then it's on to 3's!
Clothing Size: 6 months and some 9 months for the length, but poor guy is so skinny too that we're having a hard time with pants that fit around but are long enough too!
Shoe Size: He has a few pairs, size 2's
Food: All mommy milk, 4-6 6-oz bottles a day, and three "meals" a day (usually rice cereal and a fruit for breakfast, and a veggie & fruit for lunch & a veggie for dinner)
Naps: Starting to finally get a little pattern, usually a nap in the AM 9ish-11ish, and one in the afternoon but that one always varies. On the weekends, we try really hard to get it to be at about the same time as Alli's so we can have a few minutes of peace and quiet :)
Sleep: Asleep for the night by 7pm and up around 5:30 or 6 (finally!)
Teeth: None!
Sounds: Lots of jabbering, and a whole lot of dadada's
Play: Jumperoo (he absolutely LOVES this, he could spend forever in there jumping away!), watching his big sister do anything, he truly lights up when she pays attention to him, walks in the stroller or anything at all involved with being outside, and he grabs and plays with toys a lot more lately.
New buddies: Has a couple new friends at daycare, Murphy, Henry, and he's really starting to enjoy Scarlett these days... he loves when she licks his hands!

The Sweet Side

Yes, believe it or not, our crazy lil Alli Ru definitely has a sweet, nurturing side. Two examples have taken place this past weekend that just melted my heart. First, my clumsy self fell and skinned my elbow while attempting to ride down a slide with Alli. She immediately noticed I was hurt and holding my elbow, and she kept saying, "Mama elbow? Mama elbow?" I said, "Yes honey, mommy has an ouchie on her elbow." She looked up at me with the most caring, worried look and said, "I kiss it!!", while leaning in to kiss my ouchie. It was the most precious moment, and I gave her a big hug and thanked her for making me feel better. She was so happy with herself, giggling and talking away, it was just too sweet. Even yesterday when I got home from work, she caught a glance of my still skinned elbow and once again exclaimed, "I kiss it!" It's almost too cute for me to handle.

Another amazing thing we've noticed a lot lately, and especially last weekend, was how caring she is toward Aiden. She was playing "with" him (or, just beside him at least...), and she would take his football and his rattle toys and hand them to him and say, "Here bro! Here bro!", one after another after another. Poor bro couldn't keep up with trying to grab on to each toy she was giving him, but it was so kind. Then, we were riding in the car, and poor Aiden still just isn't a fan of his car seat. He was just wailing and crying, and she kept trying to give him her things to calm him down. She handed him her sunglasses, "Here bro!", handed him her other pair of sunglasses, "Here bro!" and then when nothing else worked, we caught her just holding his hand. So precious.

Playing with and giving Aiden toys

The slide that caused mommy's ouchie

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alli - 1, Mommy - 0

We got Aiden a little toolbox type Fisher Price toy that has shapes and a hammer and all that boy type fun... and of course, Alli had to test it out first today while bro was napping.

She would grab a shape, show it to me, and I would name it. I know that she knows a lot of the shapes, she knows and identifies squares, circles, triangles, stars, hearts, etc. She picked up another shape and handed it to me. I definitely was not expecting her to know what it was, so I just told her, "Oh, this a stop sign shape!" She matter-of-factly said back to me, "No mama. Octagon." Wow.

Mommy may need to brush up on her Spanish, her trigonometry, and who knows what else... this kid is just too smart sometimes.

We Were THAT Family!

We had quite a fun-filled weekend. Of course, Saturday morning was the usual 'nastics!!! class for Alli, and then lots of playing outside in the beautiful weather. In the afternoon, we decided to take a trip to run a few errands, and we just so happened to be up by one of Dad-E and I's favorite restaurants, Chipotle. We contemplated with each other back and forth about attempting to go eat there with both babies. Now mind you, in the 6 months since Aiden's been around, we've only done this twice. Once was with the assistance of my mom, and the other time went fairly flawlessly, but, we are still petrified. We're scared to be the family with a screaming baby, a toddler who's uncontrollable, and be those parents who are just totally embarrassed about it all. Well, we decided to go for it... on one condition. We would have to eat outside. You all truly don't understand how content and relaxed Aiden is when he's outside. And Alli, well, she's just hit or miss. She's almost two. She's got a mind of her own, and a little thing like the wind blowing her hair the wrong way can totally set her off. But anyway, we went for it.

We got our food without incident, she got a cheese quesadilla, beans, rice, chips, chocolate milk (all for like $3.50! Go Chipotle kids meals!), and we made our way outside to a table with a good sun shade. (Yes, it was still almost 80 outside!) Alli sat in a regular chair right beside us, while Aiden hung out in his car seat, which yes, he still hates, by the way. Dad-E and I cautiously dug into our meals while everyone was still quiet. We were surrounded by a few other couples eating outside, and as more people came outside to sit around us, I got more and more anxious... wondering when the chaos would begin. To my amazement, Alli was just as happy as could be, really enjoying her food and the sights around her. She'd hear cars honking as they drove by and she'd yell "beep beep!" Her napkin went flying, and she jumped out of her seat to get it. I was about to lose it, until I saw heard her say, "I get it!", and head straight for the trash can. She threw it away and ran back to her seat. What?! Who is this girl? Aiden was smiley, giggly, grabbing his feet and just coo-ing away. I wasn't so worried about this, knowing how happy he is outside, but I figured he'd be hungry soon and was definitely unprepared with no bottle and not about to breastfeed right out in the parking lot/outside patio of Chipotle. But anyway, we got through the meal without incident. We actually had people look at us and smile in admiration instead of in disgust. I could tell they were thinking, "Wow! Those kids are behaving so well!" We were finally THAT family that I always envy... but, that still doesn't mean we will be doing it more often. Lets just savor that trip for awhile.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Half Birthday Bubby!

Are you serious? Our baby boy is already half a year old...??

He is the happiest, smiley-ist baby we have ever been around (and yes, that's comparing him to his big sis too, she was kind of a crier... like... all the time...), and he truly completes our family. I'm just in love with him more and more every day... and seeing him watch Alli in such admiration is just indescribable.

Aiden goes for his 6 month check up (and shots, boo!) this Wednesday... so, I'll update more on his progress after his appointment.

Happy half birthday bubby, we love you so much!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Progression...

I know I posted something similar to this last year as well, but another year has gone by and it's crazy to see the progression of our lives...

Pregnant with Alli, October 2010

Alli, Halloween 2010

Alli Halloween 2011

Alli Halloween 2012

And now we've got Aiden! Halloween 2012

Alli & Aiden, Halloween 2012

Little Tidbits...

Since Dad-E took the time and energy to write some great blog posts the past few days about both of our adorable babies, I thought I'd just take a minute to add my two cents and add some funny little stories about things that have been going on recently.

As Dad-E mentioned, Alli is just a riot and becoming so independent these days. She speaks in full sentences a lot of the time, her all-time favorite sentence these days being, "No doggy, it's mine!" Every time she gets anything to eat and Scrounge-lett follows along for some extras, she always puts the dog in her place. It's quite amuzing.

Aiden is becoming more and more fun and independent, even just the past few days. He babbled his dada's, lala's and yaya's all the way into school today, and while I'm sad there are no mama's yet, I'm happy to hear him jabbering away. He is holding his bottle really well, and trying to sit up on his own quite a bit these days, too. I can hardly believe tomorrow he'll be six months old...

Dad-E has the fun job of getting the A Team ready for school 3 days a week, which can be quite a challenge. So, to try and help the process, I get all of Aiden's bottles ready the night before, and lay out both of their outfits for the day. Well, yesterday morning, I had laid out a pink dress for Alli with gray leggings to go underneath. Aiden had a blue shirt-onesie type outfit laid out. I guess in the rush of everything, Dad-E didn't realize that the gray leggings were for Alli, not Aiden. He slipped them on him, thought, hmm, these are a little big, but didn't think much of it. Luckily, he just happened to notice the lace trim around the bottom of each of the leggings, and quickly took them off of Aiden and slipped them on Alli. I have a feeling this could happen quite a bit since Aiden's quickly catching up to big sister in size... poor buddy. Hopefully he'll never leave the house in a dress or anything... :)

I'm having a really hard time with the fact that 10 days from now... I'll have a 6 month old and a 2 year old... my goodness... where does the time go?

Now on to Alli...

Simply put, she amazes us more and more each day. Every day she comes home singing a new song or using a new word she has been learning about at school. She can now “sing” the entire alphabet all the way through (correctly pronouncing each letter, by the way). The letter G is no longer “joo” to her. And she can’t leave out the ending where she proudly proclaims that she now knows her ABC’s and that you better sing with her next time. Good thing “next time” is usually about 10-20 seconds later… so you won’t have to wait long.

This weekend she started singing a new song but we couldn’t quite make out all the words, so Mommy B asked her teachers about it on Monday morning. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” was the answer. But of course… why couldn’t we figure that out? “Happy Birthday” is still a current favorite, and now she incorporates her classmate Scarlett’s name (not our dog) who we’re having a joint birthday party with in a couple weeks. Scarlett was born one day after Alli, and instead of trying to make the other kids from school decide who’s party to attend that weekend, we just decided to have one big party with everyone all together. Plus, Scarlett’s parents are hosting – so I’m all for it. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is up on the list these days, especially now that it’s still dark outside when we leave the house. She finally gets to see the stars in the sky rather than in a book, given that she goes to bed at night before the sun goes down.

We’re also working on “Trick or Treat” with her so she’ll be a big hit when she rings the doorbell countless times on October 31st. I won’t reveal her costume yet, but it’s going to be hard to beat her Roo costume from last year. Last year, she had just started walking so it was a little tough for her to get to all the houses on her own. I have a feeling this year could be pretty exciting for her. Plus, she’s had another year to understand what candy tastes like and how wonderful it is. Dad-E and Mommy B could be “inspecting” much of it this year to make sure it’s all on the up and up. That’s what my parents used to do… yeah, don’t think I forgot!

She absolutely loves ‘nastics. Each Saturday morning, one of us takes Alli to a 30-minute gymnastics class just down the road from our house. There are usually 4-5 other girls there each weekend, all of which are maybe a couple months older than Alli. She was a little shy/hesitant at first – rightfully so given that she had never done anything like that before and didn’t know any of the other kids in the class. But with each week, she gets a little more confident and a little more daring with each of the lessons. She’s already mastered the balance beam (with a little help, of course), can hang from the parallel bars on her own, goes nuts on the trampoline (which results in a tumble into the foam block pit), takes herself down the slide, and kills the stretches on the floor. While the other moms are chasing their kid around the gym, Alli is (usually) sitting attentively in the circle listening to the teacher give them instructions. Must be from all the times she does that at school. It is truly gratifying to see how much fun she has each time we go. And to know the whole time that she’s improving her physical awareness, balance and concentration is just icing on the cake.

What else? She doesn’t really use a sippy cup with a straw anymore (unless we’re on the go); she drinks straight out of an adult cup holding it with both hands. They’ve been doing this at school for a while, so we recently stopped sending a cup with her each week. This results in a couple spills every once in a while, but you’ll have that given that she’s not even two years old yet.

Speaking of, she’s basically 98% potty trained. She has gotten so good at telling us when she needs to go to the potty, or will just go herself if we ask her if she needs to go. It has helped that we have a pretty good routine in the mornings and evenings that involves the potty, so the opportunity is always there for her. She typically goes once in the morning when she wakes up (sometimes even waiting all the way until she gets to school), and a couple times in the evening when we get home. She almost always wakes up dry and will go directly to the potty if she has to go right away. An interesting situation has occurred since we started her on this daily routine – she’s gotten into the habit of going #2 every night right before bed. This has turned into quite a nightly ritual – complete with Pooh and a couple books she likes to read while on the pot. And just when she’s all finished, cleaned up, and has assisted us with flushing everything down the toilet, it’s right back on the potty for round two. One night last week she made four (yes, 4) trips to the potty before she finally went to sleep… each trip being as, um, “productive” as the last. Mommy B was on Alli duty (or more appropriately, dootie) that night, so she caught the brunt of it. But my goodness, I don’t know where she keeps it all.

Moving on… she wants to do everything on her own. If it’s something she’s seen us do (or has done herself in the past), she doesn’t want anyone to help her do it. If we try to help her out, it’s “No mama!” or “No dada!” followed by her pushing our hand away from whatever it is. She’s becoming more and more independent by the day, and it’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I know that all too soon there’ll come a day when she doesn’t need my help for anything she’s doing that day. She’ll be able to go to the bathroom, get dressed and feed herself without our help. Soon after that, she’ll be driving herself to school and coming and going as she pleases (well, almost).

Okay Dad-E, tap the brakes a little bit… let’s try to enjoy her 2nd birthday before calling around for car insurance quotes for her.