Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tonight was the "Winter Wonderland" show at the daycare. Edward has been singing his class's song for more than a month because this was originally scheduled for December, but had to be rescheduled due to an actual winter wonderland--six inches of snow that day. When it was his class's turn, guess who would not get out of his chair? Oh well.

Daniel actually did get up with his class, but only wore this costume for about 4.2 seconds. However, he managed to steal the show anyway by grooving to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He was swaying and bouncing as the teachers sang and attempted to get the kids (mostly older...closer to 2) to do some simple hand gestures. As they approached the final "How I wonder what you are?" Daniel started clapping wildly, anticipating the audience reaction.It was definitely an ambitious project given the "talent" available. They hadn't done anything like this before, and the teachers put a lot of effort into making it fun and festive.

In other news, I've neglected to share some recent favorites from the Edward lexicon. A favorite snack of late has been "yo-grit," which we keep in the "fridgalater." Also, he's been very interested in spelling out words wherever he sees them--books, cereal boxes, the morning paper, the poster in his room, etc. After some confusion over punctuation, John seems to have succeeded in explaining that an 'i' has the dot on top and an exclamation point has the dot on the bottom. Still, pronunciation is a challenge: "ex-ta-ma-tion pont." (Not sure I'm getting that quite right...John may have to adjust later.)

We're actually quite amazed at all the spelling. He's known letters for quite a while, but is now seeming to understand that they combine into all sorts of words, not just his own name. It's so interesting to watch their little minds expand and develop.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Edward was annoying me in the post-school, pre-nap phase of the day (which was longer than it should have been, hence the annoyance.) So I need to post two funny stories as a reminder of what a great kid he really is. I will balance that with Daniel photos that have nothing to do with these stories.

Earlier this month Edward learned about John's contacts while watching him in the morning. John has let him wear his glasses (closely supervised) but I don't think Ed ever realized that when John isn't wearing glasses (most of the time) he still has vision correction. So they discussed it in detail and Edward moved on with his morning. Later at snack time, Edward was having Cheerios (his request.) I was washing dishes with my back to him when he called out, "Mom, look." I turned around to see him with his eyes closed pressing a Cheerio against each eyelid: "These are my contacts!" I was laughing so hard I had to call John at work to tell him what was happening at home. This has been repeated a few times but not always announced. The way we know what he's been up to is the milk drops on his cheeks.

The second tidbit isn't so much a story as an observation. Whenever we're in the car we have a running commentary on all manner of vehicles and snowplows are definitely part of the mix. Late last week Edward informed me, "I like the big, big snowplows, not the pick-up kind." That is, the only satisfactory snowplows are the actual city trucks. Any schmo who can attach a plow blade to his pick-up is a mere poseur and not worth a three-year-old's observational energy. Now, whenever we see a pick-up snowplow, Edward announces, "I don't like that kind."

Monday, January 19, 2009

These winter photos and video are from a week ago Sunday, before the deep freeze of last week. We finally made it back out today for a bit of snow play. Daniel likes riding in the sled, but he's not so much about the walking in snow. Hard to blame him since he's pretty much as wide as he is tall in all this gear. It can't be easy to move. During the outing pictured here he did in fact face-plant into a snow drift at least once. This was not his favorite, but he was willing to be brushed with my relatively dry glove and keep going. Edward also enjoys the snow flop, but he's coordinated enough to execute it face up (usually) and then follow it up with a snow angel.

Today we spent some time on our screen porch, which had enough snow for filling buckets and dumping them/spreading the snow all over. Daniel preferred this sedentary occupation. Ed took his shovel out to a snow drift and dug around a bit. I eventually retrieved the sled (no easy task as both of our gates are "snowed shut" and the sled was on the front porch) and gave Daniel some rides down our "swail." He was good for a bit, but finally could not be persuaded to stay out any longer. Ed wasn't ready to come in, but a promise of hot chocolate did the trick. He decided he prefers "warm chocolate," though John noted that this would be a much tougher marketing pitch.

Since our August move, a number of friends have asked for house pictures. I never really feel the house itself is picture worthy as most of the time our decor can only be described as "scattered toys." But here is a shot that captures one of my favorite features--the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. I think I have said it before, but it bears repeating, this closet is bigger than my childhood bedroom. Edward and Daniel like to play in it--you can't believe how many different things an empty hanger or a cedar shoetree can be. Also, the whole closet is occasionally a train, frequently Chicago-bound to see Gram and PopPop.

Daniel had his 12-month check-up last Thursday (the day the high was 7 below zero!) and received a glowing report. He's up to 25 1/4 pounds and 30 3/4 inches. His height and weight seem to be evening out a bit at around the 80th percentile. (he's been a bit higher in weight than height in terms of percentiles.) His doctor gave his thighs a good squeeze on exam since we'll all be sad to see them melt away as he continues the marathon that is his daily life. I am not exaggerating when I say that he is never still. And let's note that both the shirt and pants in these two pictures have now been retired to the "outgrown" bin. Those stripes just couldn't stretch any further.

These and the series below show one of my least favorite features of this house: the two steps up from the front hall to the living room. There are another two from the dining room down to the library, but at least there is a pocket door to close those off. Here we have an extra-wide doorway and a door frame that is even with the lower step, which has made it virtually impossible to find a gate to block it off. Instead, we have to run after him every time he beelines for this area because he simply will not stop on his own. He thinks he can walk down like Edward does and will not be deterred until you catch him and flip him over to crawl down on his belly. The low point of the deep freeze week was the afternoon I finally got tired of chasing him and pushed the couch across the room to block the doorway. It kind of freaked Edward out, but it totally worked. Daniel didn't even head in that direction the rest of the afternoon.

Speaking of "like Edward," Daniel also had his first "I want the same thing as my brother" tantrum today at snack time. He was happily eating some wheat crackers before Edward woke up. Ed came down mid-snack and asked for Goldfish crackers. Once he had the bowl in front of him, Daniel started shrieking, pointing, flailing and arching his back, refusing another bite of the crackers he was eating. He was silenced when I placed three Goldfish on his tray. They were in his mouth within seconds.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I took the boys for a quick trip to the grocery store this afternoon. We needed milk and a few other things, and it was a good excuse to get out of the house after being confined by record sub-zero temperatures all week. (The local schools were actually closed Wednesday for snow and Thursday and Friday because of the danger of having kids out walking to school and because the diesel bus fuel turns to gel at these temperatures. Luckily our daycare follows the university's weather closing routine so it was open.)

The store didn't have two-seat carts and Edward didn't want to walk. He actually suggested he could ride in a separate cart from Daniel. I'm not sure how he thought I'd push two at once. To avoid a meltdown I let him ride for the first time ever in one of those carts that has a fire truck on the front. I have always avoided those because they're so unwieldy. I am still scarred from an experience five years ago when I misjudged the awkward steering and ended up smashing my niece's fingers against a freezer case. (Oh, Colleen, how your tears broke my heart!) But today, Edward was in heaven, calling out "Honk honk! Everybody out of the way!" all through the store. And to top it all off, on the way home we arrived at a train crossing just as the lights were flashing and the gates lowering and for the first time in my life I was actually excited to sit and wait for the coming freight train. Edward counted five engines, two oil cars (which actually were labeled corn syrup) and lost count of the box cars. Who knew such thrills awaited in a simple grocery run?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Daniel! Look how far we've come in a year!

I just downloaded 92 pictures and videos from the camera including about 20 of Daniel eating his cake with supreme gusto. I'll post a few now and dole the rest out over a few days. It was a fun day, but I'm exhausted and ready to put my feet up on the couch, perhaps with a beverage in hand.

We had about four inches of new snow overnight so of course John started the day with shovel in hand. Because of that, he didn't have time for the big car seat turn-around before we had to leave for our appointment at the Sears portrait studio. Many, many prints are forthcoming at the end of the month, but here's a preview.

(The car seat has since been switched and I am very much looking forward to a forward-facing Daniel.)

The snow must have kept people home because the indoor play area at the mall was not insane. That was the reward for cooperation with the photos. Both boys ran around like mad in there--climbing, crawling, jumping. Well...just Ed on the jumping!

After naps, Grandma and Grandpa came for some birthday fun. Presents, dinner and...CAKE! Daniel wasn't too interested in the lasagna, focusing mostly on the grapes and crackers on his dinner tray. But when the cake came, look out! We were laughing so hard, and he was loving every gooey minute. Here are a few showing the progression:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

One of my mom's secrets to surviving six children was to invent games that allowed a period of rest without losing any luster for the youngster involved. In her case it was "camping." She was able to convince a child who thought s/he was beyond napping age that it would be fun to "camp" in the den with a sleeping bag on the floor. She would lay on the couch in the other "tent." And in this way she secured precious moments of rest on weary afternoons.

I employed a similar tactic this week when I was struck with a nasty stomach bug and had little energy for the afternoon romp. Edward woke up from his nap an hour earlier than expected and had no interest in "snuggle" time, which sometimes leads to additional nap time. So we came downstairs and I laid on the couch trying to conserve strength for when Daniel would awake. Edward decided that his blocks were packages and he was the delivery man. He stood between the couch and chair calling out "Ding dong," which prompted me to "startle" awake so he could deliver the package, leaving it on top of my prone body. Later, after John came home, Edward asked him to "play package." John thought he knew what to do until Edward said, "No, sleep!" There was no way to instruct in the nuances of this game, so a demonstration was in order. John laughed his way to the camera to preserve this moment for posterity.

The bug had departed by New Year's Day, but we still held to our tradition of staying in pajamas all day. The Hawkeyes helped with our entertainment needs, crushing South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. But mostly, we just lolled about playing various games, reading books, doing puzzles, and, in Daniel's case, wandering mostly aimlessly from room to room. Not a bad way to kick off the new year.

Very little other news to report. It was a weird week with a sick day and a holiday. We'll be glad to get back to routine this week, though five days of work in a row seems like a long stretch!

Here are two videos: first the "bowling" game John invented with Edward's Christmas blocks from Gram and PopPop, and second, random babbling from Daniel, who amuses himself.