Friday, May 28, 2010

Caroline Rose at Two

My baby is two.  TWO!  Time certainly does fly.  

 Here is a glimpse into the life of our Sweet Caroline.

*Even though she sleeps in a big girl bed now (or the floor, depending on her mood), she doesn't come out of her room in the morning or after her nap.  When she wakes up, she just calls out, "Mama!" or "Dada!" until one of us opens up her door.

*She is a huge milk-drinker.  I have to limit her to four cups a day.  I think she'd drink half a gallon if we let her.  It's the first thing she asks for in the morning and loves her last cup right before bed at night. 

*Her hair is growing and is still curly, curly, curly.  She is patient with me in the mornings when I comb it, but then pulls out her pigtails when she is napping.  So most evenings she looks like this:

a little ragamuffin.

*LOVES her friends.  We have had a very fun, social year.  We see at least one friend pretty much every day.  She gets very excited when I tell her each morning who we're going to see that day.  Is especially enamored with Mia, Maylee, and Baby Lexi right now.  In fact, she calls all of her dolls and stuffed animals "Baby Lexi."
*Doesn't like to eat lunch.  About half of the time, she goes down for her nap without eating much of anything.  She's still growing just fine, so I'm not worried about it...yet.

*Naps for two hours or more every afternoon.  Bless her.  Let's hope it lasts until kindergarten, like Brandon's did.
*Likes to watch Elmo's World and Little Einsteins.

*Her favorite phrases of the month:  "Lookie."  "Follow me."  and "What?"  Also loves to ask her daddy to give her "Blast-offs" right when he gets home from work.

*Planned her birthday party all by herself.  She told me she wanted red cupcakes, strawberries, lemonade, and pizza.  Also insisted that daddy lights the candles.  She is quite the party planner for a two-year-old.

*Whenever we leave the house, she looks for the neighbor's dogs across the street.  If they are not out in the front yard, we take guesses about where they might be.  For the past week, she tells me that they're inside watching Wall-E and eating popcorn.  Hilarious.

*Wants to emulate her big sis, who is taking gymnastics.  Can do great somersaults and calls them her "cartwheels."

Caroline is a ray of sunshine in our family.  She brings smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts.  We love you, little girl!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A few thoughts on LOST

After having a day to digest the LOST finale, here are some thoughts.

*I liked the ending.  It was satisfying and spiritual.  My head is still spinning a bit over Christian saying, “There is no NOW here.”  Hard to wrap my mind around the whole “one eternal round” thing.

*I didn’t realize what a love story LOST was… you know, mixed in with all the head bashing, mythology, and time travel.

*I can’t stand television labor and birth.  Are you kidding me?  Claire went from her first contraction to holding Aaron in like 8 minutes.  Give. Me. A. break.

*Felt bad for Locke being all alone at the church.  Why didn’t he wait and move on with Helen?

*I was disappointed that Walt didn’t make another appearance.  His dog got more screen time than he did.

*SO happy Sawyer and Juliet ended up together.  I think most of us had correctly predicted that Juliet was Jack’s ex-wife.  Wish we could have savored their happiness a little longer.  Was Juliet even in the church?

*Will there ever be another TV show as good as this one?

On a side note, I redeemed my Mom's Day gift for a massage this weekend.   My favorite little spa has a new massage therapist:


Or his brother?  Cousin?  Seriously, though, his name is Hugo.  The LOST references were all around me.  Very fitting for the day before the finale.  It was kind of cool and a little unnerving to have him working the knots out of my shoulders.  I kept wondering if he was going to break out some of his tools from his time in the Republican Guard.  Yikes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Male bonding

Brandon has been in Cub Scouts for almost a year now.  He has wonderful leaders and has enjoyed trying new things while earning belt loops and patches.  Recently he and Andrew participated in a Scout Hunt n' Fish Day.  I think it was the epitome of male bonding.  And he LOVED it. 

Check out some of the cool stuff he did:

Looks like a natural.
(I couldn't help but think of Katniss.)

Look at that aim!
He even got one bull's eye.

Practiced casting

And then got to try fishing.

I think his very favorite part was this:
BB Guns
(You'll shoot your eye out!)

Or he'll just shoot the middle of the target to pieces.
If we ever have to rely on hunting for our sustenance,
Brandon will definitely be our go-to guy.

So glad the boys in the family could enjoy a day like this together.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Awesome, educational toy

I hope I don't break my arm patting myself on the back here, but I had to share this great toy that we got Whit for her birthday: A Mini Butterfly Bungalow.

Her kindergarten class had an insect unit recently and all of the kids LOVED it, so I thought this would be perfect.  It came with a certificate to order caterpillars.  I had to pay $3 for shipping, but the cost of the bugs was included with the little bungalow.

Whit was so excited when her little bugs arrived.

Three painted lady caterpillars.  They came in this cup.  We were not to open it or leave it in direct sunlight.  Their food was included inside.  It was so fun to check on them each day and see them getting noticeably bigger.  After a week or so, all three of them climbed up to the top of the cup.

They got very still
and before we knew it...

They had formed cocoons!
I means chrysalides.
That's the plural of chrysalis, which is apparently the proper term 
for the transitory state from caterpillar to butterfly.
See, it was an educational experience for the whole family.

The cup had a paper inside the rim and after all of the chrysalides had formed, we took the paper out of the cup and pinned it to the inside of the little bungalow. 
And waited.
And waited.
About a week or so.
And then we came home from church last Sunday to find:

The first painted lady had hatched!
You should have heard the screams emanating from our living room.
(I'm sure the neighbors were wondering.)

And later that afternoon:
Butterfly #2 made her appearance.
So exciting!

Butterfly #3 was a late bloomer.
She popped out sometime Monday morning.
We didn't get to see any of them actually emerging.
Whit was a little sad about that.

The directions said that they would drink sugar water
or sip juice from sliced oranges.
We tried both.
Maybe they were a little on the finicky side,
but I don't think they touched either one.
I didn't want them to die in our care,
so on Tuesday afternoon, we said our goodbyes
and released them into the wild.
(Is a suburban neighborhood considered wild?)

In true Whitney fashion, she wrote up a story for the occasion.
Wen the last butterfly hatchis I haf to let you go.
I wil mis you a lot!
Thoe I love you so much you aer my butterfly
and I haf to let you go.
Boo hoo.

We took the bungalow into the backyard.

and one of them even let Whit hold her before she flew off.

Farewell, butterfly friends!
Thanks for being our temporary pets.
You might be the closest we ever get to the animal kingdom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A match made in heaven

It's strawberry season here in NC.  We kept up our annual tradition of heading to Bernie's Berries to pick our own.  (Unfortunately, Andrew had my camera, so I don't have pics.)  You'll have to take my word for it that Caroline, Whitney, and I picked two big buckets full of juicy red goodness.  We ate most of them completely plain and savored the sweetness.  But a select few got paired with another one of my favorite treats:  CHOCOLATE.

Oh.  my.  goodness.
A little taste of heaven, I tell ya.
Why have I never made these before?
We have all vowed to make this a new part of the
berry tradition from now on.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The blessing of motherhood

I have been blessed with two amazing mothers.
The one who raised me.

And the one who raised Andrew.

I love them both to pieces.  I'm grateful for their examples of faith and service, their unfailing love, their confidence in me, their willingness to travel to the far corners of the country to visit me and my family, the laughs we share, and our long phone conversations.

Now that I'm a mom, I have a huge appreciation for some of the sacrifices they made for us, their kids.  How did my mom finish her degree when she had four kids?  How did Andrew's mom handle the stress of having her husband work as a police office?  Where did my mom find the strength to take care of five of us, ranging in age from 3-17, when my dad was called up for active duty during Operation Desert Storm?  I don't think I am strong enough to handle any of those trials.  Thank you, Moms, for pushing through the hard times, putting on brave faces, and reassuring us that everything would be alright.

I am grateful for Mother's Day, that I have a chance to reflect on everything that I owe to these two incredible women.  And as I try to follow their examples while stumbling through mothering my own kids, my husband and kids use this day to make me feel like I'm doing a great job. 

 I feel so blessed to be your wife and mom.

Brandon and Whitney both gave me sweet, thoughtful handmade gifts.
Last week, Whit asked Andrew for a shoe box
and put together this gift on her own.

It contained toys that she "didn't need anymore."
How cute is that?

She also wrote another poem for me.
"Mom's Pome
A swett grle like you is the best.
You aer cute but shi.
evin if you aer shi I like you forevre.
And you aer mine!"

Awwwww...I could just eat her up.
(And I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've been described as shy.)

Brandon made this chore wheel and a fill-in-the-blank tribute.
I can count on him whenever I need someone to:
Let you take a nap
Do the dishes
Play with Carebear
Fold the clothes or
Clean the Island.


Here's what his tribute included:  I love my mom.  She is always there for me just like my favorite blanket.  My mom is smart as Einstein.  My mom is about as tall as the car.  Her hair is the color of chocolate.  I think my mom is 33 years old, but she looks like she is 20.  She wears clothes that look like a model's.  My mom has many talents.  She can sing like a bird and work like a robot.  I am really lucky because my mom is so much better than anyone!  I want my mom to know that she is more special to me than anything.  I know sometimes I can act like a monkey, but deep down I am really a teddy bear!  I hope you know I will always love you.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Being the silly kid that he is, he added a last-minute addition to his gift:  a diaper.  He even wrote "Happy Mother's Day" on the bum.  

And Andrew gave me a gift certificate to my favorite little spa.  Relaxation, here I come!

I love being a mom to these three munchkins.
Thanks to Andrew, Brandon, Whitney, and Caroline for a fabulous day.  
You guys are the best!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

For your viewing pleasure

We had a talent show at church last week.  It was surprising to see how many hidden talents were in the ward.  There was an amazing family band, a classical pianist, a jammin' guitar duo, and several instrumentalists.  It was such a fun night.  You know my family couldn't pass up the opportunity to participate.  We contributed to three entries.  First, three of my mommy friends put together a dance routine.  You have to watch it to appreciate it.

It was so much fun to dance with these girls.  Even though I was definitely the oddball.  Not only am I six inches taller than everyone else, but I am the only one who has never taken a dance class in her life.  Luckily I didn't totally blow it.  :)

Oh, and I'm also the only one who doesn't know 
how to make a good spy face.

Thanks to Shelley for being our choreographer and helping us tone our legs before swimsuit season.

Next, Brandon helped with a cub scout skit.  And I didn't even tape it.  Sorry, B-train.  He did a great job, though, and it was funny.

Finally, Andrew and Whitney have been working on a Daddy/Daughter dance for the last several months.  They would add a move every few weeks and Whit loved practicing with him every chance she got.

Whit did the choreography herself.  I was impressed.  Especially loved the robot and her cartwheels.

Caroline didn't have a formal entry.  But she did demonstrate to everyone her talent for mess-making.
She REALLY enjoyed the refreshments.

And when the show was over, she marched her little
messy face right up on the stage and danced with Mia.
Maybe we can come up with a routine for the two of them for next year.