Thursday, September 29, 2011

Early Reader

Lily loves books.


She brings her books to anyone who is around and holds them up until they are read to her and when the book is over, she grabs it and hands it back to be read again. And again. And again. oh yes...and again. (The pictures above are all in one evening...she just moves from person to person to read to her.)

She loves all the Sandra Boynton books."Pajama Time" is her favorite.  The newer Pookie series are big hits too. 

We read "Moo, Baa, La La La" a lot.  She has started joining in on parts of that book.

I read: "A cow says..."
Lily: "moooo"
Mama: "A sheep says..."
Lily: "ba"
Mama: "Three singing pigs say..." 
Lily: "hi!"   (the line is actually: "la la la")

It made me laugh! 
Sometimes she says, "la la la".

She has always just sat back and listened when books were being read to her. I have noticed and loved the calmness and that she just sits back and listens, looking at the pictures.  And yes, I appreciate that she's young enough that sometimes we just turn the pages and talk about what's on the pictures--the colors, the characters, the scenes. She's equally as happy with that.

I have to say it makes my heart swell with happiness and pride that she loves reading books! She has a lot of models for reading in her life too. We are a family of readers and I wholeheartedly believe those habits can be instilled very early.
She's so smart, she can read upside down. ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She Ate Dirt

Yesterday afternoon, we spent some time in the backyard enjoying the last bits of nice weather without being all bundled up in winter coats and boots.

This isn't our first rodeo, so Lily isn't chased around with hand sanitizer or one of us underneath her at all times. She would rather be mobile than be held, so despite having no shoes or pants on, she wanted DOWN yesterday afternoon when we were all out back. 

The ground was slightly damp from some previous days rain, but not wet enough that there wasn't dirt.

I was more worried she was going to stain her "1" onesie if she scooted her butt across the grass. But, rest assured since she won't walk yet and doesn't love for weird textures on her knees, she crab crawls instead.

While she was on her crabwalk, she decided that some dirt looked eat. Quickly 3 handfuls made their way all the way into her mouth before I got near enough to get her.  She didn't make much issue about it at first and then started the spitting and drooling and sticking her tongue out to get it out of her mouth.

She literally looked like she had eaten Oreos as the inside of her mouth was that black.

She loved playing and the dirt eating didn't stop her from crabwalking to get where she wanted. She's been taking a few steps here and there still, so when she stands up like she's ready to go, I try to be ready to capture it on camera!  We were hoping that maybe the grass would bug her crawling and she'd try to walk more.  Nope, just squats.

She's just so much a "do things her own way" on her own time kind of person, so if she wants to eat dirt instead of walk, that's what she's going to do. 

And she'll stand proudly behind her decisions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chompy Chomp

The last few days we have had a little bit of biting going on. I'm still trying to decide if it's purposeful or not.

So far I don't really think so, but we're trying to nip it before it gets any worse.

See, Lily uses her mouth to help carry things with her. Since she's still CRAWLING and not walking, she'll put whatever she can't carry crawling in her mouth to get wherever she's going.  When she's climbing up onto someone or the couch, chair or bed, she puts her face down to use her mouth to help her get up.

That's where the biting has come in. 

She knows no personal space. ;)  So she tries to climb through on or over you to get where she's trying to go which leads to her putting her face down and using her mouth to help with leverage. And then bites as she's doing it. Hard.

And yeah, it hurts.

She's really strong and has always been. Like lifting up her head in the hospital on day 2, strong. I think she's just using all her strength (mouth included) to climb and now that she has teeth the people she's climbing on become a casualty. 

The only thing that made me question her knowing that she's doing it, was yesterday she was trying to climb down off of me, headed face first and starting to bite. I quickly said, "No, no" before she clenched down and she immediately leaned over to give me a kiss.

Yeah, she just pinched me while trying to stand up next to me on the couch.

It's not on purpose.


We're learning this little angel has a mischevious side to her as she's getting older. I have to say, she's gonna give me a run for my money.

Last night she was starting to go up the stairs and when I said, "Lily, no, no." She smiled at me and waved before heading up.  After all, her big brother was upstairs and she wanted to play in his room. sheesh, mama, you should know that

Andrew wasn't a biter. Except once.

When he was 4. Yes, four.  In preschool.  He got in trouble for biting a kid who was mean. When I asked him why he did it, he said, "I didn't bite him. I pinched him with my teeth."

Yeah, that one still makes me laugh.

So, hopefully we can help Lily stop pinching us with her teeth. Soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Say My Name, Say My Name

I lovelovelove the sweetness of Lily's voice saying her own name. ♥

My next video capture will be the "Lily Lily Lily" she normally does. ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Chores.  Who likes them? I hated them as a kid, feel pretty much the same as an adult.  But, such is life. They need done. So we do them.  Pretty simple. 

My kids don't love them either. But they do them. Sometimes they moan and groan. Other times they just do them without complaint.  They just know they have to do them either way.

Reagan told me that BM said she shouldn't be doing any of the chores that she does when she's at our house.

Oh really?

For those of you who have non-blended families, just imagine what it's like to have everything you try to do and instill in your children, undermined at every turn.

My kids don't do chores because "I'm lazy."  My kids don't do chores because "I'm mean".  My kids don't do chores because "I don't want to do them myself."

My kids do chores because they are contributing members to our family.
My kids do chores because they are learning to take care of themselves.
My kids do chores because they are learning to be responsible human beings.

And all of those things are just fine by me.

So, all of this got me to thinking about the types of chores I did as a kid and the types of chores my kids do now.  I mean, come on, there's nothing wrong with giving Lily a mop since she's down on the floor anyway, right? I kid, I kid.

Nothing out of the ordinary to be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Cleaning up dog poop, washing dishes, putting dishes away, carrying their laundry to the washing machine, pulling weeds in the yard, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, holding the dustpan, putting the garbage cans out for trash pick up, walking the dog. Things like that. The horror!

Regardless of whether anyone agrees with it, it is what my husband and I have decided upon as parents in our home for our children.

However, the above lessons I wrote about have to be accompanied by lessons to Reagan of counterbalancing that just because BM doesn't agree/BM does things differently/BM specifically says to Reag that she shouldn't be doing any of the chores, doesn't mean we are doing something wrong or harmful.

So, we make them cook dinner, bathe the baby, change the oil in the car, trudge forward.

I was referred to an article that is pretty funny and oh so true about why kids should do chores.

#4 is titled, "Learn How to do Stuff Around the House, You'll Need It" 

It's pretty much on point even with expletives and all (it's written by a man) and worth the read. ;)
My favorite line, "And if I could go back in time, I'd grab my teenage self by the shoulders and say, 'Go learn how to do all of that shit Mom is doing. And I mean all of it.'"

What do your kids do?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birthday and Half Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. 

He would have been 65.

He was 48 when he died and clearly, I cannot picture him aged more than that.  I feel pretty sure he'd look the same though.  Maybe just a little less hair. :)

It's my half birthday today too.  And my birthday is his half birthday. 
Something I've always loved.

I miss my dad. A LOT.

I had a few moments of sadness throughout the day, but when I spend my day with an almost 14 month old bright-eyed happy baby girl who giggles, jabbers all day long, I can't help but laugh, smile and embrace all the happiness in my life.

Then tonight my aunt sent me a couple pictures of the birthday flowers she took to his grave today.  And since I'm so far away and can't visit on my own, I appreciate this so, so very much.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

I love you. ♥

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


~I haven't wanted to update much because my new blog design is going to be unveiled soon (like later TODAY!) and I'm super excited about it! It looks beautiful and is totally me. Once it's up, I'll write more about it and the designer because I think she's a pretty amazing person and she has no idea I think so. I'll tell you more why later. :)

~We're having some growing pains with our new custody schedule. We expected it.  But, we're just learning to live with it and if changes need to be made, then we'll figure that out too.  More on all that later.

~School has been going great for both Andrew and Reagan! We had curriculum night last week and met the teachers, listened to what they're going to be doing this coming year. I know this all seems strange for the Arizona folks since school started a month and a half ago! We're just 2 weeks in here. Dawdling still occurs in the morning with Reag and Andrew wants to just sleep until the last possible moment...have to practically drag him out of bed.

~I finally ordered my eyeglasses and can't wait for them to get here! Will be nice to be able to see far away and not squint. ;)  And solidify my nerdness. I embrace it.

~I believe wholeheartedly there are angels among us. And that's all I would like to say on some personal struggles.

~Lily has been taking a few more steps here and there, but still not walking. Someday.... I hope! Still smiling always, jibber jabbering up a storm with new words and understanding. Although when you ask here where her nose is, she puts her finger up her nose.  She has started saying "tay tay" (thank you) on her own...appropriate context which just made me smile.

~George has been sick with some throat, chest, wheezing, congestion, stuffy thing going on. Men being sick is not my favorite thing. ;)

~It's the new tv season and I'm working on my dvr settings, trying out new shows and all. I watched Two & A Half Men just to see and it was actually ok. Other than I didn't expect them to kill off Charlie. The cameos were funny especially Dharma and Greg!  I'm currently watching The Playboy Club and am in about 10 minutes and already was surprised!  Parenthood and The Good Wife are my favs, so I'm happy about them being back! Yeah, I like tv.  I am a big fan of the dvr and watching without commercials.

Lily's up--naptime over and on to reading Pajama Time for the 839228217th time today. ;) Wouldn't trade it FOR. THE. WORLD. 

...counting blessings.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Out in Public

Lily and I were out running a few errands the other day which is usually entertaining.  People lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve to stop and talk to her! Now that she says, "hi" 9385712304 times a day, she is actually the one engaging people.  It makes me laugh.

We were looking at some clearance baby stuff in Target and an older woman stopped to look at the same endcap and Lily immediately started, "hi" "hi". The woman smiled and said "hi" back while she continued  browsing the items. Lily kept on..."hi" "hi" "hi" "hi".  The woman replied about 3 times and I laughed while I said, "She'll say it about 900 times, so please don't feel you have to say it each time."  She laughed and said to Lily, "How old are you?"  I repeated to Lily and said, "How old is Lily?"  Lily obliged and held up her finger to show she's one.  The woman smiled, said, "Wow! She's smart."

That's a pretty typical interaction.  Pleasant, makes me smile.  Always lots of "She's so cute, she's adorable, wow is she smiley, I love her headband..."

We've been cracking up at Lily's fake laugh all the time! It gave me another type of laugh at Target the other day as we turned a corner and walked in front of a woman (my age) and Lily chose that moment to fake a way as if we'd been making fun of the woman!  I just shook my head, smiled and said, "She fake laughs."  Her husband was standing there with the buggy and a newborn and started cracking up.  It was funny, but I can see Lily is going to be just like Andrew when we were out in public.  You know, the once in a blue moon time we'd go to hell Walmart, be in line and a man was standing behind us in line with NO shoes on (gross) and my then 2 year old son nearly shouted, "Mama, he's not being safe. He needs shoes!"

Yeah, Lily's gonna do that too. I just know it. ;)

We finished up and headed back to the car.  I put her in the carseat, loaded the trunk and lo and behold I had a buggy still.  I had pulled through the parking spot, so I was going to be able to just pull out instead of backing out.  While I was putting Lily in the seat, a woman pulled in next to me, so our driver's doors were right next to each other. She waited until I was finished with Lily because my door was in her way, so she kind of huffed when she got out of the car. 

As I put the buggy almost touching my car in between spots, but ensuring that the wheels were turned so the buggy would NOT roll into any car, she looked at me and disgustingly said, "Are you just going to leave that there?"  I replied, "Yes."  She scoffed. To which I replied, "Well, I'm certainly not going to leave my baby in the car alone to walk back to the store with it."  She huffed again as she was walking away toward the storeand yelled, "Then you SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HER WITH YOU AND NOT PUT HER IN THE CAR!"

I simply said, "Thanks for the advice....stranger."

When I got to Target, I actually got the buggy  from the same place I was leaving it.

 And for the record, huffing lady--the ONLY time I leave the buggy near my car is when I just have LilyAndrew is my buggy returner and if I'm alone I ALWAYS, without fail, return it.  When it is just Lily and myself, I try to park right next to the cart corral, but that day it just didn't happen. Often I take people's buggies for them if they're done with their shopping and I'm just going in to the store. I've had people offer to take my buggy back for me as they're going in and I've finished up.  I don't typically have buggy issues. Huffing lady apparently just felt entitled to tell me what I should be doing.

I much prefer the pleasant shopping exchanges. :)

This whole exchange prompted me to think, "What do other people do with their buggies?" in various scenarios. Clearly I am not the only person to leave one in a parking lot.  I'm not the buggy police, nor does it make me a lesser person because I occasionally leave my buggy in the parking lot.

What do you do?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Part 3. The End.

In continuing with how the first complete week of school and custody change has gone, I have some more to write as Reagan came home today after school. 

In the matter of two days, everything was back to the way it has consistently been for the last 4+ years.

It's literally amazing to me how a person can be so destructive to a child in the two days they're with them.

I mentioned in my previous post about the picture of our family and BM's family that Reagan had wanted for school for her "about me" project.  BM did not participate. Well, here's one additional casualty of BM picking up at school on Friday other than not knowing if Reag gets picked up... the "about me" project went to BM's. 

And guess who asked Reagan to see the picture of our family, then proceeded to laugh about it in front of her daughter?  Yeah, her.  These are people her daughter loves and after lying to her daughter by saying she was going to work at trying to be nicer and talk to George more than argue, she immediately goes back into the same crappy way of existence it has always been. 

Now, I truly don't care what these people think of me. But, be enough of a parent to not do it in front of your daughter.  Oh, and the picture came back to my house today all crumpled up. 

I'm not really surprised by this behavior because honestly, if you're willing to give up your kid 5 days a week because you don't want to drive her to school, not show up for her first day of kindergarten even, then clearly your interests are above all else. Or bitch the first time you pick up because of traffic or make the kid feel badly because one of you has to get your ass up to drive her to school Monday morning. She already feels she's in the way in your life.  Way to make her feel it that much more and laugh at the people she loves who don't make her feel that way. 

My expectations have completely gone back to how the should have just remained.

Disneyland mom.

Oh, and here's the picture:

Some Adjusting

What is different this year is having Reagan full-time during the school week.

So, there are some logistical things to work out, like clothes going back and forth between our house and BM's (which has NEVER previously happened), ensuring everyone gets papers sent home for parents and you know, just communicating.  While that seems pretty simple and especially in Reag's third year of school, we might have it down pat, but not. even. close. 

For the previous two years, we've had to get every bit of information from the school directly which sounds like no big deal, but sometimes we'd not even know there was information we needed to get. It was super frustrating, but we managed. We tried to ensure that we were an equal part of Reagan's education and school experiences. We were successful, as we had a good working relationship with her teacher, the principal, her guidance counselor, speech therapist, the get the idea. ;)

As a result of that stress and frustration, we were determined to not reciprocate that for BM as we became the primary school parents.
In all the back-to-school events, prior to the beginning of the school year--touring the brand new school, open house etc., we made certain BM had the information so she could take part. When Reagan had an assignment last week to share about her life, we did everything we could to make certain her mom's side of the family was included. BM chose not to participate in any of it. Again, her choice.

I've come to accept years ago that we don't handle things the same with regard to children, so my expectations are different than they were when we initially met.  However, my sadness for Reagan continues.

I don't know what it's like to not have my mom show up for my 1st days of school...because she was always there. I never had to say, "This is my family at my dad's and this is my family at my mom's."  And with Andrew, we've always made certain his dad was included.  Andrew has never had to experience his parents (and their significant others) and an inability to be in the same place. His dad flew across the country for Andrew's first day of kindergarten. Reagan's mother lived 5 minutes away and didn't show up. 

I just truly don't understand not being a part of your child's life regardless of how you feel about the "other" parents.

On Friday afternoon, George and I were talking about how the week went and discussing the changes in custody, one thing that bothered us was that if Reagan doesn't get picked up at school, we won't know until some random time.

See, even phone calls are court ordered. Yeah, it's been that bad where we had to go to court specifically to get BM to let G talk to his daughter on the phone longgggg before we had shared custody. For the most part, that issue has been dealt with, but there is supposed to be daily phone contact with the parent who doesn't have her with them.

We've all gotten into the habit that if Reag left each of our homes that morning, then she actually already had her daily contact. i.e. there will be no phone call on Friday nights because Reag left our house that morning and the same vice versa on Mondays between BM's and here.  However, we do ask her if she wants to call her mom on those transition days, so she knows she can.

Anyway, all that to say, if Reagan doesn't get picked up at school, it is possible that we wouldn't even know until Saturday nights when she's SUPPOSED to call George.  However, with the phone calls being an issue consistently, we were not surprised that he didn't get a call this past Saturday night.  You might ask why we don't just call...well, the reason we had to go to court for phone calls in the first place. They don't answer. And quite honestly, we don't even know what BM's phone number is. We have her husband's cell phone and one other number, but when Reag called it Thursday night, it said it was disconnected.

After some hopeful communication at court a few weeks ago between all four of us and a few emails throughout the week, honestly I was surprised that Reagan didn't call Saturday. I guess I shouldn't have been.  It simply told me I had changed my expectations... to expect better.

I don't understand some things like having a kid lug a backpack to school filled with school stuff and adding a shirt, shoes, jeans, jacket to it because it "can't" be at my house. Her backpack isn't that big. I don't give a crap about the clothes. I just hate the burden is on the kid.

I recognize a lot has changed very quickly and there are a lot of adjustments to be made for all of us, so maybe some things will get worked out to benefit Reagan.

End of First Week

end of 1st week
We survived our first week of school and a new schedule!

I have to admit, after having a summer of Lily sleeping in until 8:30am or 9:00am, it was a difficult adjustment for mama to get up at 7am too. How strange THAT even sounds since I used to get up at 5am in Arizona! Can I say that 4 years later, I'm still on AZ time, so 9am would be the equivalent of 6am?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  I love having a sleeper-inner! If she's not disturbed, that is.

It will still take some adjusting to get into the swing of things for Reagan, I think.  Andrew is able to sleep until the last minute, get up and get ready, eat and go. It's old hat. Reagan is a dawdler. It's just who she is and so she has to get up earlier to account for the dawdling. (which means, so does mama... yawn)

See, the issue is I tend to stay up a little bit later at night because... you know, the quiet. I have to just go to bed earlier. Duh.

Getting into the routine of homework, where the papers for parents go, the habit of having assignment books signed, and putting things back in backpacks (so they're not forgotten in the morning) is always an adjustment at the beginning of the year. So far so good.

This week marks the beginning of a complete week of new schedule (since last week the school week started on Tuesday)... BM dropping Reag off at school Monday morning and both kids coming home on the bus.

Hopefully all goes smoothly!

They were wiped out near the end of the week. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Remember recently when I did a little update about the fam...and the Lily part about language development and a silly laugh I was trying to catch on video?

Well, Daddy caught it!

He actually managed to catch the laugh, her saying "hi daddy" and "lilylilylily" all one little video!

Seriously?! Thursday

I'm linking up with Becky for Seriously?! Thursday!

~Seriously?! When you go out to a restaurant, is it necessary to bathe in perfume so that everyone around you can't breathe? We literally had to move to a new table it was so bad. I've NEVER experienced that that bad before. And it's not like it smelled good even. Sheesh.

~Seriously?! The puppy (I still have to introduce her) decided to eat the Sunday paper that was on the porch. I mean shred the newspaper.  While I was out cleaning it up, Lily decided to find some mysteriously hidden ink pen and create a drawing using our couch as her canvas.  I have no idea where she found it! I think they conspire to tag team me.

~Seriously?! Teen Mom. I know, I know, my husband can't believe I don't watch Sons of Anarchy with him, but will go in the other room to watch this garbage.  But, Farrah's mom...SERIOUSLY?! While I have been glad to watch Farrah and her mom work on their relationship, asking your daughter to leave her baby with you while she moves thousands of miles away to go to college? Whatever.

~Seriously?! I do not understand having two separate personal (read: not a personal and professional) twitter accounts.  You're not that important and if you don't want everyone to read it, make it private.

~Seriously?! My 13 1/2 month old baby girl REFUSES to walk. She will literally walk holding onto ONE finger, but the moment we let go, she drops and crawls super fast. 

~Seriously?! Back in the beginning of June, my stepdaughter lost her iPod. It's caused a lot of grief in this house. Lessons in responsibility, accountability, tears, frustration, value. On September 7, I found it. I pulled out a pair of jeans for her to wear to school from her drawer. Out of the pocket, falls the iPod. Why was she wearing jeans in June? 

~Seriously?! I don't know why I was so distraught about Lily turning one. I had forgotten how much fun this age is! The learning, the talking, the personality coming out. I LOVE IT!

And finally...
~Seriously?! Laundry is the WORST! never ending. laundry is my nemesis.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Annual Kennywood Visit

Every year on Labor Day, we head to Kennywood for George's annual work picnic.  The thing about Pittsburgh is, there are NO guarantees with the weather.  For instance, this year, all weekend leading up to Labor Day it was hot and humid--mid 90s.  Labor Day rolls around and it was mid 60s and rainy.

We decided to let Andrew and Reagan just figure out what they wanted to ride (of what was open and running) and that would be our day since the park was closing about 5 hours earlier than normal.  It's been funny to watch them as they, especially Reagan, get braver each year to ride different rides.  This year was no different.

The big feat this year was this ride:

Reag was literally sitting on the ride, taking deep breaths, crying and talking herself into being able to do it all while Andrew was telling her to suck it up. Brothers and sisters. ha

The kids start out on the left side of the ride...Andrew wearing red shorts and Reag wearing all pink.

George, Lily and I spent the day watching them ride and just enjoyed that part of it.  The good thing with the crappy weather was there were no lines for the rides! So, they'd get off a ride and go right back on.  It was great! Andrew had to ride a couple by himself because Reag wasn't tall enough, but he didn't mind at all! 

As always with the work picnic, we spend some time in a pavillion eating yummy food and taking a rest from walking and the rain. I'm not talking it sprinkled off and on.... it literally rained ALL.DAY.LONG. So, we're a little water logged and making the best of it!

Kennywood 2011