Sunday, April 29, 2012

Goodly Children

Today was our stake conference: 2 hours of sitting in the pew at church without Chopper -- he's at Woodbadge training until tonight.  It wasn't horrible, but I only heard enough of the talks to know that I wanted to hear the rest!

One phrase that particularly stood out in my mind was by a speaker who started out, "it's easy to be a goodly parent when you have goodly children."  I have no idea what the rest of the talk was about but it did get me thinking about my children and how hard things have been lately.  And I do have a lot of guilt about needing to be a better parent.  I'm sure that there are ways in which I need to drastically improve or even improve a little bit, but there are ways in which I'm doing well.  I also suppose that I need to focus more on the positive side of my children and take note of the wonderful things that they do and are.

So on that note, here's 2 videos showing that they are sweet and wonderful girls.  The first is a conversation that I had with Megan that she actually let me record!  She's playing with some fabric squares and calling them super capes (they are the perfect size to be super capes for some of her smaller stuffed animals).  About halfway through I realized how fun and cute these conversations are (at least to me) and that I wanted to get some of it on camera to remind myself what a joy it can be to talk to her when we're both calm and happy!

The second video is Megan "painting" Abby's face.  I've mentioned this before but she's on a kick right now of face painting to make us look like different animals but it's also one example of what wonderful sisters they can be to each other.  Despite the fact that Abby is often tortured by Megan, they have enough of these sweet interactions to be building sisterly bonds already.  We've gone a few places in the past few weeks just Abby and I and she constantly says to me "where's my Megan?  I want Megan!" so I know she loves her.

We finally got out the pool -- it certainly has been hot enough lately -- mid-80s!  I'm hoping that this doesn't mean another horribly hot summer because I'm about at my limit.  But the girls are definitely enjoying it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not Possible

Ok so I checked my email and then I hopped on to Pinterest to look around while I wait for the sand all over my floor to dry (great afternoon for the girls though -- I'll post later, you have to see Abby's diaper), and the first thing on there is top 100 workout songs but it's accompanied by this picture:
Top 100 workout songs, as chosen by top trainers across the country.
Now maybe if I ACTUALLY worked out I could possibly come close to that except for one small detail.  No ones looks like that when they exercise.  That look of pure joy is reserved mainly for things that do not involve sweating or aching muscles.  Period.

Is it me?

Well day 2 of Megan's psychological evaluation and testing has come and gone and I have very mixed feelings. Now, granted, Chopper and I have not yet met with the doctor to go over test results, observations, etc.  But I distinctly drove away this morning wondering if it's just me and if we're wasting all of this money.  Why?  Because the doctor is absolutely enamored of Megan and how sweet and funny she is.  And she is!  But she's not showing any of this anger and defiant behavior that I have been so at my wit's end about.  Have I been jumping the gun trying to see specialists?  Perhaps there's a far easier -- and cheaper -- solution out there.  Maybe it's me being tired and lazy and overworked and underpaid.  Haha.  Underpaid.  I suppose I'm not really underpaid.  After all, Chopper gives in to my every fabric whim and I (sometimes) let him have his Dr. Pepper.

Abby and I went to HalfPrice Books today while we were waiting for Megan and I browsed through the parenting section looking for a specific book that I want (and they didn't have).  There are so many books out there on a variety of parenting subjects and I thought yet again about how people raised children before this age of available "help".  Either things were not as complex then or we make them too complex now.  Maybe that's what I'm doing.  Or it's something in between because I'm leaning that in this role as parent seems to have no definite answers.  Kinda wish there were though.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do I Dare Say It?

We may have found the secret to getting Megan back on track with pooping on the potty.  But I don't want to jinx it! 

On Friday, a friend of mine watched the girls while I went to the doctor.  She has an 8-year old daughter who has quite the collection of Littlest Pet Shop toys.  They're little animals with oversized bobble heads and about a million different tiny accessories.  Right up Megan's alley of course.  And she didn't want to leave.  And she's been asking me nonstop to go back to their house and play.

Which got my brain rolling.
So on Saturday we told her that if she pooped in the potty she could have Littlest Pet Shop.  Twice on Saturday she pooped in her underwear and then put it in the potty and tried to make it count (she's a smart girl that one).  So we had a little talk and then went to Target and bought a set with TEN animals in it.

As of today, she has legitimately earned 5 of those!  I do think she's forcing it out just to get an animal but hey, I'll take it.  And if we end up investing our life savings into Littlest Pet Shop, it will be worth it to finally getting her pooping on the potty again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Offspring Update

Ok really quick before we go to the park this afternoon -- so much for making bread and soup!!  Oh well!  My "nap time" has turned out to be a little busier than I anticipated.  Anyway.

Megan is fascinated lately with painting everyone's faces.  She's just using crayons and dry paint brushes so there's really no color involved but I enjoy sitting there and having her paint my face and make sweet, funny comments like "ok now just sit down and relax" or "don't worry, it won't hurt" or "lookin' good!".  Right now she's throwing a fit because she doesn't want me to help her clean up her poop.  Sigh.  There's a few things I have a really hard time letting go of as a mom and cleaning up after the potty is one of them -- it's just gross when they really can't do it well by themselves.

Sorry.  Abby is her usual self and I had something really fun to say about her too but it's flown with the potty drama.  Oh maybe it's the singing.  She just picks up songs at the drop of a hat and I kid you not that she was singing "like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down" the other day.  I asked Chopper and he said he has sung it to her.  As well as the Chuck Norris song.  Which is actually the wise man and the foolish man but with Chuck Norris thrown in.  Thank goodness there's a boy on the way!

Speaking of which, He Who Has Not Yet Been Named is doing fine.  28 weeks today and a doctor's appointment that included my glucose screening and Rogam shot.  Ugh.  But it's over now and I may have to treat myself later for enduring that.  But maybe not with sugar since I ingested so much of it already.  Popcorn sounds good . . . 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Projects galore!

I've been working on a number of smaller boy projects which I'll probably have to post all at once but I'm very excited to report that Abby's quilt came back from the quilter absolutely stunning!  Karen King of did an amazing job for a really good price -- and that included shipping it to Washington State!  It came back last Saturday (and we went and got ice cream to celebrate) and then I did the binding on my sewing machine and Voila!!  It is done!
 Her quilting is exquisite and I love the pop of the pink thread on the white border.

 Abby's bed, made up beautifully.

 And Abby's bed with everything on it!  Quite a difference right?

I am sad that it's not in the room that (eventually) Megan and Abby will share together because I've been working on adding pink to the tree and pink butterflies and found the CUTEST lamp shade at a thrift store for $3 so when they finally are able to share a room (i.e. when Megan stops torturing or Abby can actually defend herself) it will be the cutest little girls room EVER!

In the meantime, I've got 3 months to figure out where this baby boy is going to go!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandpa!!

Last Saturday, Abby and I went to a birthday party for a friend in her nursery class and she sang the Happy Birthday song really well.  Then the other day, she surprised Grandma and I when she wandered in and sang the whole thing through -- "and many more on channel 2" included!!  SO I grabbed the camera in hopes that she would maybe sing happy birthday to Grandpa since today's the big day!  This is what I got:

It's pretty good!  The only problem is that of course she won't hold still!

Then, because we couldn't think of anything to send back with Grandma for his birthday (sorry dad -- I'll make it up to you someday I promise), we tried to get all of us to sing Happy Birthday.

Maybe they'll do better on the phone!  Happy Birthday Grandpa!  We love you and Megan says it's your turn to come visit now!
Oh and the stickers?  Well, apparently Megan made Abby look like a clown today and it was a while before we got them off.  And yes, I do look very pregnant!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dallas Heritage Village

After living on the east coast where buildings can be as old as the 1700s, it's sometimes funny to visit a place where the oldest building dates back to the Civil War.  But today, as our final trip while Grandma is here, that's what we did.  We went to the Dallas Heritage Village downtown  and toured their collection of buildings that range from the Civil War to about the 1920s (ish).

My pictures are terrible because it was a very bright day and a point and shoot can't really adjust for that but then there wasn't a lot that was notable anyway.  The girls were ok, although that's probably to be expected given that we were touring old homes where everything is display only.  Mom and I enjoy that sort of thing and I suppose the only thing that saved us from disaster was that we were outside in between houses.  Still, it was pretty tiring.

 Abby, Megan, and Grandma peeking out of the cutouts of the gazebo.

 Yes I had to take a picture of the building mural advertising Dr. Pepper.  What kind of wife would I be if I didn't??????

I do love Victorian homes.  

There were a ton of school kids running around too.  But it wasn't so crowded that it was unbearable -- and they looked like they were doing scavenger hunt type things so the village itself is probably just more appropriate for older children.  But we had a nice time.

What was really nice was the quick trip to IKEA on the way home where Megan played in their (supervised) play area and Abby slept in the stroller the entire time and so mom and I did some shopping in complete wandering peace and quiet.  And then a trip for frozen custard at Double Dip.  So it was a nice but very full day.  And now mom goes back to Michigan.  I know how I feel about that but dad already told me she wasn't allowed to stay longer so I guess I won't whine too much!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

She's a Stinker

Stir-fry for dinner tonight.  Usually I can get the girls to eat a little bit, or at least the rice, but tonight there was no way.  Maybe because of I did brown rice instead of white.  Or maybe because it's typical for the girls to turn up their noses at dinner.

So after NOT eating dinner, Abby goes into the pantry and shuts the door.  And I'm not worried at first.  After all, how much trouble can she get into with the light off.  

And then I hear a crinkling.  

And when I go to investigate, what do I find?
Yes, that is one hand in the bag of DRIED brown rice and the other stuffing it into her mouth.  
Because apparently it's better dried than cooked? 
This is why I don't worry about making "kid-friendly" meals anymore.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend = Family Time

Every weekend in April is just swamped so we took advantage of Easter weekend and spent some fun quality time together. 

On Saturday we finally made it to the Dallas World Aquarium downtown.  It was a little bit of a surprise.  It's not the best aquarium ever but it has animals too!  Each part of the museum (?) is a different theme -- jungle, with exotic birds, monkeys, a sloth, aquarium, Mayan world, bugs (ewwwwww), penguins, etc.  It was fun -- small enough though and not busy at all so the girls walked (or ran) everywhere and had a lot of fun.

 Chopper took a lot of pictures of animals which I didn't feel the need to post but I had to post these -- can you imagine the dinner you would get out of this?????

This is actually really cool.  They had a blacklight area with the jelly fish and then these weird little fish.  The glowing part?  That's their eyes!  I'd never seen these before!  And they're kind've alien looking . . .

When we got home the Easter bunny had come to visit and left baskets of goodies and fun things.  Like really weird butterfly glasses . . . 

and chocolate bunnies.  Abby can say the word chocolate really well.  In fact, she found Chopper's stash in his backpack this morning and was very excited to tell me all about the "chocolate in my mouth!!"

 I can't remember why Megan was making this face but her mouth is full of sugary goodness.

After nap (and yes, Abby actually took one) and a lot of yard work (oh the battle of the crab grass) we dyed Easter eggs.
 Waiting for the dye to set -- the girls were not that patient so we ended up giving Abby the blue dye because they were in and out so quick.  Big mistake.  Abby ended up pretty blue herself.

 The fruits of our labors!!

Grandma Whittacre sent us an awesome box with lots of adorable boy clothes (ok Danny and Denise, I admit, they're not all boring!) and matching dresses that the girls wore to church on Sunday.  Chopper neglected to take a picture before church (probably not his fault because he did get them ready and to church on time by himself -- he's wonderful!) but after church the girls were NOT complying.  Megan was just being contrary.

And Abby was out cold.  Even though we've switched her back to her own room, she's still in her own bed and has been fighting bedtime hard every night.  Add that to no nap because church is 1 pm to 4 pm and she's out in 10 seconds in the car and we have to wake her up for dinner and keep her awake so she'll go to bed at night.
 But they were adorable and very poofy and we got lots of compliments on their outfits (not that that's what church is about of course . . . ).

Today Megan wanted me to take pictures of her dancing.  I misunderstood, she actually wanted me to take video but was content with the few I took because I was in the middle of making dinner.  She's a funny girl.  So here she is dancing.  I'm so confused about why she fights me about going to actual dance class.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

So Much For That

It's been a week since we moved Megan and Abby into the same room and I was so excited.  Partly I was excited to "finish" Megan's room with Abby's bed, quilt, butterflies, etc.   And I have done most of that (I'm still waiting for the quilt to come back and I need to finish the wall art).  I was also excited to transform the other room into a little boy room and I've been working on several projects for the little man on his way.

But alas.

It's been a rough week.  The playing, the constant getting out of bed, the early rising were all things that I expected and got.  Abby has loved the freedom of being able to get out of bed and the only thing that kept her in the room was a baby gate across the door.  Megan has been back and forth on it.  I think that she liked having Abby to play with at night but she did tell me once early on, "mommy, I'm tired of this."  And when I asked her what she was tired of she said "I'm tired of Abby in here".  When she's ready to go to sleep, she wants things the way they should be for her.

Unfortunately, we've had some violence.  I don't know how intentional it is -- I think a good part of it starts off as playing.  The problem is that Megan doesn't stop when Abby cries or even when Chopper and I tell her no.  We have to remove her entirely from the situation.  That's true during the day at least.  So I've caught her twice at night with Abby crying pretty bad -- once because she was pushing her into the bed -- potentially smothering her, and the second because she was pulling repeatedly on a necklace around her neck.  I'm fairly sure there's been a fair amount of hitting and kicking too.  And Megan will NOT stay out of Abby's bed.

So last night, after the necklace incident, I put Abby back in her crib.  They were both out within about 10 minutes.  And today, I dismantled her crib and we moved her twin bed back into the other bedroom.  She'll still have a bed but no roommate.  The baby can share with us for a while and when we're ready for him to move out of our room we'll rethink things then.  Maybe Abby and the baby will share for a while.  I don't know.  We'll see what happens!  But that's the scoop.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Texas Bluebonnets

The bluebonnet is the state flower and it's a big deal around here in the spring.  People search out the fields (they're wild but I don't know if they're "planted" or if they just happen) and take pictures galore.  The kids get all dressed up in complimentary or coordinating colors and I have seen some really beautiful pictures in these fields of bluebonnets.

A friend of mine told me about a field up the road and then at dance class today several women were commenting on how overrun the bluebonnet fields are on the weekends so after Abby's nap I packed the girls up and we went off to see if we could find it.  And we did!
 We got out of the car and the girls took off -- they love being able to run and explore and not only were there bluebonnets, there were also some little yellow flower and quite a few butterflies.  And it smelled so good!  I have to wonder if they're related to the hyacinth because they smelled like that, but not quite as strong.  But with a field full, you could smell them on the air!

 See this picture?  Know why Abby is looking at the ground?  Me neither until I take the picture and she turns to me and says "mom, ants.  They hurt."  Remember we've had a run-in with them before and lucky her, she got them again.  Fortunately it was mostly her feet and they didn't get very far but after frantically brushing and searching and slapping (because they DO NOT come off), I think we got them all but then she wanted to be carried the whole time.  Not that I blame her.

 Megan was fine though so we continued up the hill and down and enjoyed the scenery and the butterflies for a little while longer.

 I tried to put Abby down at one point and get her picture and this is what I got -- an upset little girl desperate to get back to her mommy and be safe off the ground!  My poor sweetie!

Up close they do look a little like a hyacinth too.  They were pretty but honestly I don't know if they're worth taking the girls back in cute dresses and trying to get nice pictures.  The thought of them ending up covered in ants is too icky.

When we got home I put some calamine lotion on Abby's feet where the bites have swelled and Megan insisted that she had been bitten as well and needed medicine.  Now that would've been really bad if she had -- I would've had to haul BOTH girls down that hill back to the car!  Plus this 20 pound baby.  Yeah, probably won't be going back anytime soon.  Maybe with Grandma.  Maybe.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

General Conference Bags

This year Chopper and I got to watch a little bit more of General Conference thanks to to General Conference bags.  I found the idea on Pinterest and it turned out generally well for Megan and Abby to stay occupied and somewhat interested.

All I did was take 15 paper bags and glue the pictures of the prophet and apostles on the front.  Each one had an activity or a treat inside.  When that person spoke, we matched up the pictures and then opened the bag and did the activity.  Some activities were quieter than others and more successful of course but this is what we had in our bags (so I remember for October):

Treats or snacks in 4 bags
Coloring pages in 2 bags
church puzzles (pictures from the friend glued onto cardstock and cut up)
beads and elastic (the girls love playing with beads)
Easter shapes with foam stickers (also a big hit)
Ice cream cone cutouts
growing sponge bugs (the capsules you put in warm water -- the girls loved them but we also didn't hear any of that talk because they kept yelling "look, they're growing!!!")
We glued popcorn onto trees (popcorn popping)
A matching game (2 conference bingo boards cut up)

Is that it?  I'm missing some but I already can't remember!!  Anyway, it was a great idea and I will be using it for a few years yet I'm pretty sure.  I'll probably mix up the ideas too -- I tried to get activities that I know they enjoy but are things they don't do often so it would keep their attention.  And since it worked well, I'll probably spend the next 6 months collecting cheap, fun things to use in the bags as well.  And it also got Megan learning the apostles.  She asked about every speaker and then wanted to know their names, etc.  And since they stayed in the living room with us for the activities, they did listen some.  Megan repeated a few things that were said.  Abby was fascinated by the round light thing at the top of the organ -- she thinks it's the moon.  No I take that back -- she thinks it's "Abby's moon."  But it was good.

 I made these nests as one of the treats.  The girls thought they were great but the chow mien marshmallow treats were a little hard to eat, more than regular Rice Krispie treats.

The girls building their popcorn trees and yes, we managed to keep Abby from eating any popcorn coated in white glue!!