Monday, January 30, 2012

Making a Difference

Well, it's Monday again and although there is always frustration that accompanies them in the Reagan transition, I'm choosing to write about something different today.

If you remember last week, Reagan had a lot of emotional dumping to do in order to start her week off.  She is growing so much in her communication and expression and we are so proud of her. We've seen her offer opinions that are different than ours without that pleasing notion and fear of disappointing us. We've given her examples of when to speak up without fear of getting in trouble, AS they're happening.  She asks a lot of questions and we watch her soak it all in.  She knows she is a part of our family on good days and bad days. She's not someone who visits and we have to find a place for her to sleep.  This is her home.  It is evidenced by her behavior as a typical 7 year old who leaves her toys out, drops a sock on the way back from the bathroom and doesn't pick it up without being told, her clothes not making into the hamper, but instead right in front of it.  She's comfortable. She's safe. She knows she's accepted. She knows she's loved.

I've expressed my feelings about lying on numerous occasions, most recently pertaining to Reagan.

Last week, Reagan came home from school with an announcement:

"Attention Family. I wrote you a letter during recess today and I'd like to share it. Do you want to read it yourself or do you want me to read it to you?"

We left it up to her.

She decided to read it aloud.

I'm very happy with what we are doing in our home, not matter what is thrown our way.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doin' It Herself

At Lily's 18 month well visit, one of the questions we were asked was if Lily was using utensils when she eats. 

We had introduced them awhile ago, but as expected most of what she does is just play with them. She imitates using them and attempts to stab food with her fork. The spooned food typically gets flung like a catapult.
She's seriously so stubborn and does not like to be helped.  If she could speak the words, "I do it myself", she would. But, since she can't, she literally fights to hang onto the spoon or fork while I try to help her by showing her with her own hand. Then the other day, she made the connection with the spoon, her food and her mouth. :)

Man, I love this kid!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Checking Out 18 Months

18 months.

One and a half years.

More than half way to two.

Wednesday, we headed to the doctor for Lily's 18 month well visit.

I always love well visits to see how much she weighs, how tall she is, and to hear her pediatrician gush all over and about her. 
She weighs in at 24 pounds, she's 32.5 inches tall, and she has a head circumference of 48cm. That translates to 50% for weight, 75% for height and 90% for head. :)  She got two shots, which, of course she doesn't love.

She showed off lots of her skills to Dr. Kelly to prove she's developmentally appropriate. Everything else looks great too as far as her health. She's perfect. ;)   We discussed potty training and how we're going to approach that. To be introduced soon based on Lily's actions.

Lily is a milk drinker. I mean a MILK drinker. She wants more milk ALL.DAY.LONG. I wanted to be sure we're not giving her too much.  Turns out  she drinks slightly more than what's recommended, but we're doing the right thing to counter the potential constipation that could result, so it balances out and she's doing great! Her growth curve is right on track for her.

Our visit was short and sweet.

Lily is growing and doing very well. Barring no sick visits, we're not back to the doctor until she is two for a well child check up. Two?  slow down baby girl!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Tiny" Valentine's Cards

It's no surprise how much I love Tiny Prints since I've raved about them time and time again!

Well, another time is upon us that cards are appropriate.... Valentine's Day! Yeah, yeah, everyone just calls it a made up holiday, but come on who didn't love making and decorating boxes at school to collect cards in???  I LOVED Valentine's Day in elementary school and even when I was teaching kindergarten. Everyone gives something to everyone, yummy heart shaped cookies and red, white and pink cupcakes, candy and more sugar than kids could possibly need. What's not to love?!

Well, now the boxes are made at home since the shift in how kids are taught in classrooms and there's less time for letting kids be kids, but that's an entirely different post. ;)  Even though the boxes are made at home, there are still cards given out. This is Andrew's last year in elementary school, thus his last classroom Valentine gathering. All too quickly, he will be wanting to get something for a real Valentine. *sigh*

Here's his box from last year:
He said he didn't want anything "girly" and "cute", so he made a lego brick.  Perfect for him! We made Lego Valentine cards at home for him to pass out.  This year, we've been looking at different ideas and Tiny Prints Valentine's cards for kids has a BUNCH of great choices! 

But, even if you don't have to get a classroom full of cards, you can get individual Valentine Cards too!

Tiny Prints has Valentines Day Greeting Cards for everyone! Funny, sweet, mushy, sassy, even a little racy for your love! 
George and I don't really "do" Valentine's, but we do cards and I am one of those who most of the time gives two cards---a funny and a sappy card.  I liked this one since I'm of course a self-proclaimed nerd, but my husband certainly doesn't disagree. :)
Follow  Tiny Prints on Twitter and Facebook! They often have coupon codes, give away a free card, discounts and new items they post about!  I recently started following them on Pinterest too because I love their products!

For us, Valentine's is a family holiday and I'm excited for Lily to get to experience it as she's getting older too! We always have a special breakfast with things like pink, heartshaped pancakes and pink milk and celebrate with a family supper too. Last year, we even had heartshaped burgers.  We also helped Lily celebrate her 1st Valentine's Day by getting her ears pierced.  ♥

If you're looking for classroom cards or any other Valentine Cards, look no further than Tiny Prints! My fav and go-to place for cards! 

*I was provided free classroom cards from Tiny Prints for my honest review.  These opinions are 100% my own. I am a huge fan of Tny Prints quality and customer service!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Monday Dump

So par for Mondays, the drama comes home with Reagan as she empties her emotional tank to be able to leave her weekend behind and focus on life, school and being happy. 

Funny enough, this morning I received a text from a friend that said, "Happy Monday!" and my reply jokingly was, "It is?"  Literally the moment after it sent, my phone rang. I saw it was a school number. It was 8:56am. School starts at 9.

"Hi, it's me Reagan."
"Hi honey. What's going on?"
"My mom told me when I got into school to call you to bring tennis shoes for me because she sent me in my boots and I have gym today."
"Sure thing, Reag. I'll be there in a few minutes."

Easy peasy. Kid taken care of.
We literally live 5 minutes from school. That was no big deal to bring her shoes.

George had JUST addressed this issue about gym days and tennis shoes with BM last week. If the kids don't have appropriate shoes, they have to sit out and she has had to sit out on BM's watch.  Like Reag needs any more singling out. Just send your kid to school on the ONE day you take her actually prepared for school. And tell her to go into school and call ME to take care of it.  Ummm, why don't YOU call me and say you've sent her unprepared and can I come fix it?

I expect my Monday afternoons to be filled with crap. But, dealing with BM b.s. at the very beginning of my day pissed me off. 

Thanks for the ear, friend.

Recent crazycakes:
~"You and Lily shouldn't share a room because half sisters and brothers aren't really related."
~"Why would you want Stephanie to go with you since she's not even really related to you?"
~*as quoted by a 7 year old child who heard this regardless of what was said.

I can't even really write any more of what is said because I'm so appalled by the absurdity and the stupidity of it all.  Those two were my "favorites" though.

Apparently genetics wasn't taught in your private school.  Apparently, it makes you feel better to degrade our relationship, but she and I share the same last name and for nearly 5 of her 8 years, I have been there. 

And if she's "not really even related" to me, I'm sure glad she's comfortable enough to call me when she needs taken care of.  You keep doin' what you're doin' and I'll keep doin' what I'm doin'.

Happy Monday!

A Winter Weekend

One of my favorite things about Lily right now is watching her learn and explore. She fascinates me.

So between Thursday and Friday when we got about 6 inches of snow, I couldn't wait to get her out to play a little bit now that this winter she's a toddler. Friday was FAH-REEZING cold all day, so no go on going outside. Plus, we knew more snow was coming, so we wanted to wait until the temp went up a little bit. I'm not exactly sure just when I became the girl who says excitedly, "It's going to be in the 40's on Sunday!" and that's warm. But, as marked by my going outside in only a sweatshirt (otherwise known in Pittsburgh as a "hoodie") and yoga pants, I think I have become somewhat acclimated to enduring living here in the winter.

Saturday, Andrew went over to his friend's house to play outside in the snow and play video and computer games while Daddy, Lily, and I had a lazy day at home together. I even took a nap! That never happens.

Before he headed off, he made sure to help out with the shoveling the walk.

The diaper bag got left in the car the other night and when I brought it in, the sippy that had water in it, had a popsicle instead.  Although I have experienced things like melted crayons in the backseat of my car and melted cassette tapes due to the Arizona heat, this was a first for me. I could barely get the lid off the sippy. THANKFULLY it was water and not milk.

Sunday, when it warmed up, we bundled Lily up and headed out into the snow!

We played in the backyard, just letting her walk, go on the sled a little bit, she went on her slide, threw a couple snowballs at Andrew and just walk some more. 

She had a little bit of trouble walking at first...
But she quickly got the hang of walking in the snow. :)

The weather was pleasant and we had a great time! Andrew is so good with Lily and just loves playing with her. I will take it as long as it lasts. :)  They were making faces at each other.

Andrew was trying to teach Lily to make snow angels and well, they didn't get very far:

I think it's safe to say, Lily enjoyed herself in the snow!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Friday, Friday....

You're welcome for getting that stuck in your head. ;)

~I'm super tired this morning.  Not sure why, really. I slept pretty soundly, but at 3:38am, I woke up because Lily was crying and the light was on upstairs. George has apparently forgotten the middle of the night rules of keeping the lights low and staying quiet to get the babe back to sleep.  She's still cutting her 4 canines all at once, so that's pretty much yuck.

I looked at the clock confused because I felt like I'd slept forever, but it was still the middle of the night. When I went upstairs, the hall light was on and the bathroom door was closed. Lily was still crying in her room, so I assumed George was in the bathroom. As I got to the top of the steps, Reagan came out of the bathroom heading back to bed. Then Andrew emerged from his room to use the bathroom. I looked in Lily's room and Daddy was changing her diaper. I simply turned around and headed downstairs back to bed because after all, SOMEONE needed to be sleeping.

Sometimes you just need to let the daddy handle it.

~Yesterday afternoon, instead of looking at my planner, I just thought about my afternoon schedule that I apparently thought I'd remembered.  About 1:30 p.m. I thought, "I'll put supper in the crockpot around 2 p.m. or so and then when G gets home, I can leave for my hair appointment."  At 1:53 p.m., I looked at my phone and a reminder on the screen: "Andrew dentist. 2:00 p.m."  WHOOPS!  I was supposed to pick Andrew up at school at 1:50 p.m. Clearly I was late.  Not only was I late, but Lily and I were still in our pajammies.  I changed out of my pajama pants, threw a sweatshirt on and we were out the door. Yep, she was still in her pjs.

Fortunately we live close to school and the dentist, so we were only 10 minutes late.

~Dealing with b.s. with Reagan's mother has become increasingly more frequent as of late. Yesterday was just one of those days. Sometimes it gets to me more than others. She clearly knows the button to push with me is calling me a liar or attacking my children.  I've bitten my tongue for a long time and yesterday the top blew. If you follow me on twitter you did get the brunt of the rant and I am sorry.  You don't always get the sunshine and positivity from me online because that's not my real life. I write authentically. My kids and my husband get the best of me. THAT'S my job--to give THEM 100%. So, if I rant on my blog or on twitter, that's because I need to get it out.  Thankfully my friends understand and know that about me. 

I have tried to call a couple times recently and talk to her when the issue becomes she and I.  She doesn't answer.  George deals with her about Reagan, not me.  When the issue becomes me, then I am certainly going to attempt to address her. Futile though. Truthfully, I have come to feel very sorry for her. She exhibits disturbing behavior that in a teenager would be considered a cry for help, but at 30 it's just sad.  
While the details of this specific tweet are not relevant, because it's too much to try to explain the stupidity behind it, it exemplifies what I deal with on a very minuscule scale:

On a sarcastic note... according to her, she and I have never actually met, so funny how she calls me by name after I wrote on twitter (that she claims to never read) that "Steph" is actually a familiar name and psychos don't get to use it.  Tested and once again I was right. As always.

Like I said, some days I lose my cool with her.  Yesterday happened to be one of them, unfortunately.

~It snowed last night. Not a ton. But enough. It was 9 degrees this morning. Our school district didn't have a delay, so off to school they went on time to catch the bus. They were both excited about the snow! Andrew has a field trip today to see the symphony, so he headed off in dress clothes and getting him to wear a coat these days is proving to be super difficult. Today, since he had an undershirt and a dress shirt on he thought that was enough. Did I mention it was NINE degrees?  Sheesh! Tweens are tough. Boundaries tested very differently than ever before. BUT, being able to reason is there now. Ebb and flow.

Andrew and Reag on their way to the bus stop.

We're looking forward to being able to get the Lilinator out in the snow this weekend to see what she thinks. :) 

Here's last year:  ohhhhhhh my baby!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life with Lily

Life with Lily is pretty much always on the go. 

I laughed the other day when one of my mama friends, Cari, tweeted about how taking pictures with her now mobile adorable baby girl is more difficult. It just gets more and more difficult. ;)

Lily is never still unless she's sleeping.  Even when she climbs up to snuggle and watch Mickey Mouse, she still is up and down to pick up something to hold, run around.  On. The. Go. Always.

I adore that little person!

George and Andrew have had some "man time," as they call it while Lily and I have been doing some girl stuff. :)  I have been fascinated just watching her play lately.  Her processing, how she tries something over and over until she does it and doesn't get frustrated. She just keeps trying. I love listening to her chatter as she's playing, carrying things, running, bringing me things. 

Her level of comprehension is so much fun and I am so very much enjoying her in every way.

This was a couple nights ago hanging out in her room:

She kept putting things in her rocking chair (that was her Daddy's when he was little) and had an Elmo movie on it too. She decided she needed Elmo from her bed to join the movie.
The stuffed Elmo was actually Andrew's when he was a baby that she swiped off of a shelf. It was the first thing their Oma bought for Andrew when I found out I was pregnant with him.

She's been carrying around these felt flowers that she took off the wall under her window. She left the stems on the wall though. :)  The funniest part of it is one of her "sounds" she says/does is, "What do you do with a flower, Lily?" and she sniffs in and out really quickly.  It's adorable!

I've really been soaking in the moments not trying to hurry up to make her grow up. Just teaching, encouraging, modeling and watching.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daddy & Daughter Date

One of the activities Reag was excited to participate in when she came to live with us full-time was Brownies. She missed out in first grade and we assured her that we'd make it happen this year. She LOVES it!  Cookies for sale...if you're interested. :) 

Some of the amazing events they have upcoming include an overnight at the Pittsburgh Zoo/PPG Aquarium and a camping trip!  Seriously, how AWESOME to be able to spend the night at the zoo! She's such an animal lover too! We're excited for her about it! It's around her birthday, so she's even said that's what she wants for her be able to go. 

When Andrew was in first grade, his class--which was a multi-age class (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade)--had a Phoenix Zoo sleepover. I chaperoned. IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE!  Once in a lifetime experience. I'm so glad he was able to do that and I'm so hopeful Reag will too.

Most of her activities with scouts are on the weekends and she's with BM and isn't allowed to attend, so Reag's hopeful that BM will let her participate in some of these events.
Last night Reagan was an activity for Brownies that she for certain could attend because it was on "our time".  I laugh at that because for real, it's not "ours", it's Reagan's time.

The girls were going on a parent/daughter date to see Charlotte's Web with the Children's Theater. 
Reagan and George had a date. ♥
This was Reag's first event like this and she wasn't quite sure what to expect.  It's interesting to watch her process and proceed into something she's unsure of, cautiously. Sometimes she's chatters incessently and other times she's really quiet about it.  Last night she chattered.  Even after they left, she kept heytell messaging me on Daddy's phone to chat. I was cracking up.  George said she talked the whole way there too. :)

They sat with friends from her class and her troop and the girls discussed upcoming birthdays and parties hoping Reag will be able to attend some of those on weekends too until the play began.

She walked in the door beaming...and showed me her program. "I got it signed by everyone!" She knows Charlotte's Web is my favorite children's book and it was wonderful to see how excited she was to share it.

"It was REALLY funny!"

Happy girl on her first real date with her daddy. ♥

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Organize Schmorganize

I'm finally feeling like New Year is kicking in here.  After the week of pukes and trying to recover from that, finally taking down our Christmas tree and beginning to feel put back together.  Although my Christmas cards are still sitting on my desk because the post office just wasn't in the cards amidst last week's illness, they will go. Will.  Who doesn't love "fun" mail instead of bills?  Best of intentions.

That being said, I'm working on improving organizational skills this year.  I'm devising a plan to enlist the help of the family members who contribute to the mess before they become hoarders.  Seriously, every single piece of paper that Reagan wants to keep and every toy package that Andrew thinks he needs. I've had it. They're so good about their after school routine and accomplishing their chores and homework without even being told, but the aftermath of having to pick up after them, I am over. I just simply cannot keep up. And I shouldn't have to.  With the holidays and sickness and traveling, we've gotten lax about it.  No more. When next week begins, things will be back in order and back in place.  Beds will be made, clothes will not be thrown all over the floor when the hamper is right next to where they get dropped.

I'm working on trying new recipes.  I'm seriously sick and tired of eating the same things over and over again and having a super picky husband makes for annoying cooking sometimes.  I love him, but sheesh. Last week I was super frustrated about it amidst the sick and told him that if he didn't like it he could fix himself something or go eat at 3pm with his parents.  ha!  Such is the life of the wife.  Finding stuff HE likes is hard. Some nights I make him something different than the kids and I eat.  So much for the "this isn't a restaurant" idea.  Stubborn as a stone.  My in real life friend Julie at White Lights on Wednesday is QUEEN of delving into recipes and she's so great about posting them! So, I've been bookmarking some of her posts to try too! Check her out.  I love her!  She'll be glad to know she's helping expand the tastes of a picky eater. ;)

I lovelovelove my Erin Condren life planner and it's tremendous in keeping all of the appointments and scheduling for my family of 5 straight. I'm working on going through old magazines and pulling out the articles, recipes and activities I want and dumping the rest of the magazine. 

Things are finally moving right along in the organizational avenue. 

Now, if I could just get my thoughts from being so scattered to a little more organized, then maybe I could catch up on my journaling.  Yeah, that'd be nice for once. :)

Finally getting rid of the last of the pine needles helps with focus. Next up, coupon organization.  For those of you who did not get last week's paper, there were a TON of coupon inserts with good coupons. I ended up getting six papers, so I need to get them all filed in my binder.

Tonight's supper is beef stroganoff.  Yumaroosky!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

17 Months

Seventeen months.


Lily is such a funny little person and I'm in such awe of her daily.

Some days that awe is pure blissful amazement and others that awe is disbelief.  You know, of course, the good with the bad.
~She climbs DOWN steps. (thankfully)
~When you say, "See ya soon!" She waves and says, "buh byeeeeee". 

~She had the worst teething and stomach bug poopy dipes at the same time...FOR A WEEK!

~She loves to wear her slippers. When you ask, "Where's your slipper?", off she goes to find it. Seriously I die from the cute of her crossing her feet while she's hanging out on the couch.

~She has this hysterical laugh that she's been doing forever...her fake laugh. Well, now it's gotten even longer and louder! We crack up every single time.  I can't even duplicate it, but when someone is really laughing she just joins in with that fake laugh and stretches it out until every last possible breath of air she's got.

~She says a cow says, "booooo", she sniffs when you ask her what a flower does, she pants for a puppy, says, "eeee. eeee. eeee." for a mouse, knows where her nose is and will show you by shoving her finger up into it. She points to her belly, her eyes, her head, her mouth, her teeth, her ears (finger goes IN on that one too). She says, "quack" and makes a quacking sound (more like Donald Duck's laugh) when you ask her what a duck says. She makes a fish face, well her version, when you ask her what a fish does. Says, "puckee" for monkey.

~Her new favorite words: "thank you" and "nooooooooo". She says, "bankie" (blankie), "uh oh" "hi guys" "go go" "howditgo", "cup", "down". She signs "more" and "milk" rather than saying them.  Calls a character named Pookie in her books, "Pookoh", says, "jump" and then jumps.

~If you say, "Lily, are you hungry?" She walks over and climbs in her high chair.

~If you say, "Are you ready for night-night?" or "Are you ready for a bath?", she heads to the steps to go upstairs.

~She dances by just swaying her hips back and forth really quickly. Sometimes there is no music. She just stops and dances. It's the cutiest ever! She

~She has started pouting with her bottom lip sticking out and crying real tears if you take something away from her that she wants. i.e. temper tantrum using her cuteness to try to get away with it. Mama doesn't give in.

~She's definitely mischevious and likes to grab things like phones or remotes and hide them if you don't catch her with them.  She has started climbing up the steps, running into Andrew's room, climbing up on his bed to get his cell phone off his desk, climbing back down, running into her room and climbing up into Reagan's bed to play with it.  It's hysterical. 

~She likes to knock on doors and try to open door knobs.

~She loves to watch Yo Gabba Gabba still and Bubble Guppies, Sesame Street and Blue's Clues. She likes to say, "Wow Wow" for Wow Wow Wubzy, when she sees it, but never watches the show.

~She is all about Mama these days. She follows me anywhere, wants me over anyone else, cries when I go to the bathroom. She loves to crawl up and sit behind my legs when I have them curled up on the couch or in the comfy chair.  Andrew used to do that too and I love it so much!
~She still loves books as much as ever! Her favorite still seems to be "Moo Baa La La La". She's changed which part she loves to "read" though from the "la la la" to the "no no" part of "no no you say, that isn't right."  It's adorable.

I'm just so amazed at the development of Lily and all babies and how she uses words correctly in context, comprehends, and responds.

We go for her 18 month --how is she almost one and a HALF? -- check up so soon.

~Food is so picky at this age. Some days she loves something and the next she wants nothing to do with it. She LOVES milk and that hasn't changed at all.  I just don't make food a battle and know she won't starve herself.  She's offered a variety of foods and some days she eats like she can't get enough and others she barely touches a thing.  Welcome to toddler feeding, the most annoying ever!  She does love to feed the dog though. ;)
~She loves to clap! When she hears clapping, she claps. When someone says, "yay," she claps. Always with the same sweet smile and joy on her face! I love it!

~She loves to get into the cabinet that has baking need items and snacks along with the tupperware cabinet. She goes into the kitchen, swings the cabinet doors open and then we'll find random items like powdered sugar, condensed milk, crisco and the like strewn all over.

~She has started smelling and then kissing EVERYTHING. Food, toys, anything she picks up. Takes a sniff, gives it a kiss.

~Our Lily is a climber. She's pretty much always tried. At 17 months, she successfully climbed out of her crib.  Well, she pretty much flipped out. She used her bumper pad as leverage to get her belly on the side of her crib and climb out.  SUPER scary. She seems to land on her head a lot. :(  We removed her bumper and there have been no more escape attempts. 

Seventeen months is such an amazing time. We are so in love with this incredible little person and so very glad we are blessed to be her parents.