Friday, July 29, 2011

Quick 5 - Vacation Edition

We're having a great time here in Kansas City.  The weather has been hot and humid, and I've never seen Alaina sweat so much.  Here are some highlights for you:

1.  Grandma has been bringing out little surprises for Alaina each day.  On Monday she got to play with this little magnetic fishing set.  It worked great in the little pool on the patio, but of course Alaina soon decided she should be in the pool with the fish.  One thing led to another, and soon Grandpa got out the hose to hose her down.  She had a ball.

2.  When you do something for one kid, you have to be fair and do it for both, so we took pictures of Joya getting bathed in the kitchen sink, just like Alaina was when she was 5 months old.  I don't have the Alaina pictures here with me to compare, but trust me.  I have them.

3.  Another one of Grandma's surprises was this fairy princess costume.  Alaina has had at least one component of it on since she opened it.

4.  The girls have alternated between waking up early and sleeping in late.  The time change has been messing with their heads.

 5.  I don't have any pictures of this, but since we've been here I've been feeding Joya store-bought baby food.  She is most unimpressed.  The jarred dinners (like chicken and veggies, or broccoli and cheese) are the worst.  I have to coax her to eat some before moving on to the fruit/veggie combos.  She'll be excited when we're home to our homemade baby food again.

Sunday will bring us a return trip across Kansas.  Twice this week we've seen news stories about I-70 being closed in both directions west of Topeka, once because of an anti-government pick-up truck with possible hazardous materials, and once because of a dude who barricaded himself in his RV, threatening to kill himself.  I hope everyone gets their act together to let us drive home in peace.

Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Corder Picnic

A big part of my childhood lies in a tiny town in Missouri called Corder.  My grandparents had a farm outside of Corder during my formative years, and every summer we'd pilgrimage out there to get our farm fix.  A part of that fix included the annual picnic held by the 497 person town.  It included a parade, a burger stand and a pie stand, as well as a little carnival with rides and games.  I haven't gone to the picnic since before we were married, and now that my grandparents live in Kansas City, it's just not a part of the summer routine any more.  And like most of life, traditions change and the picnic is probably something that will be cut from ours.  But we were able to go this year, and I was so happy to watch Alaina and Joya experience it.  Even if it was still 100 degrees at 7:00 at night.  It was a hot, sweaty, fun time.

Alaina waiting for her hamburger.  Take note of her hair to compare with later pictures.


Lee has very little respect for these burgers, but ate one like a good sport.

Most pictures of Joya are of her chillin' in the stroller.
The excited crowd ready for the parade.

Alaina was in her element waving at the tractors and floats made by the local churches.

Uncle Jason and Apple Ben instructed Alaina in the fine art of picking up candy

Grandad and Joya

A sweaty girl after the parade at the pie stand

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick 5

Thanks to my organizational skills and general awesomeness, you actually have a Quick 5 to read today (DAD.) Thanks to the miracle of technology, this is posting as we are cruising through 100-degree Kansas.

1. I'd like to give a shout-out to my dear friend Tawnya in celebration of the birth of little Lucy.  Tawnya is a dear friend from college who just gave birth to her third child.  Tawnya inspires me as a wife, mother, homemaker and Christ-follower.  If I could hand-pick the people who would live in my neighborhood, Tawnya and Sam would be pert near the top of the list, and would occupy the house next to mine.  She is a kindred spirit, and I hope I was as kind to her in college as she was to me.  I miss her with all my heart.

2.  Joya is communicating!  Not so faithfully I've been trying to teach her baby signs.  I don't do it every single time, which is why it has probably taken until now for her to catch on, but this week she started giving the sign for "more" when we're eating.  It is true and legit...not just her randomly bringing her hands together.  She is also waving bye-bye.  Daddy and I have been working with her for a few weeks on this one, and it is so thrilling to see her actually do it.  Slowly but surely she is becoming a real person.

And the rest of the Quick 5 will be a blast from the past, dedicated to my very-picky-about-the-Quick-5 brother-in-law Nick.

Circa 2007: Nick and Baby Cheeto

I have no idea what Nick is doing here.  I think we were at White Fence Farm for Carolyn and Jason's rehearsal dinner.

Uncle Nick and Alaina, July 4, 2008

Stay cool, kids!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick 5

Diving in...

1.  Alaina is finally starting to draw actual things when she colors.  Until now it's just been circular scribbles, mostly in one color.  She proudly brings them to me, saying "I have a surprise for you!"  Then she'll run and put them on the fridge.  Then, while she's napping, I throw most of them away.  But suddenly she's drawing people.  Beautiful, misshapen stick-figure families, including Daddy, Mommy, Alaina, Joya and her brother.

"You don't have a brother, Alaina," I say.
"Yes I do.  I drew him right there," she replies.

End of discussion.

2.  Perhaps the greatest joy of the week is the discovery of two tiny, sharp teeth poking out of Joya's lower jaw.  I feel like Joya is having a much harder time with teething than Alaina ever did, and that it's lasted way longer than I've ever heard it lasting.  They are not fully erupted, but hopefully the fact that they've broken through will provide the poor girl with some relief. 

3.  On a related note, I discovered the useful tool of a frozen washcloth.  Practically every article on teething mentions this, but I didn't try it until this week.  Joya snatches that thing out of my hands and shoves it in her mouth like she's been jonesing for it all day.  I now always keep one on hand in the freezer.

4.  The weather this summer has been pure bliss.  June was so comfortable and beautiful, July has been warm and filled with the afternoon storms that I remember from my childhood.  I love that the temperature peaks around 2:00 and then immediately drops 15 to 20 degrees as the crazy thunderstorms roll through.  I love opening our windows and filling our house with the scent of rain.  And I love the chill in the night air after an evening of downpour.  Alaina is not so thrilled, since she has lately been declaring thunderstorms "scary."  I'm trying to share my love.

5.  We leave next Friday for a week in Missouri with the family.  Both my family and Lee's, since the first part of our trip involves a pilgrimage back to the scene of my childhood vacations (the Corder picnic) and my grandma's 80th birthday celebration.  Then a full week with Lee's family, including a visit from his grandparents who are making the trip down from Michigan.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Yes, even the drive out there.  I have a ton planned for Alaina, and tricks that I hope will appease Joya.  You'll get a full report.

Since we're driving out next Friday, you may not get a Quick 5.  I might be able to get it pulled together, or I might not.  I just wanted to prepare you, since there are a few of you (::cough:: Nick ::cough::) who seem to have very specific standards for it.  Prepare to deal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Winnie La Pooh

Yep, that lovable, French Disney bear has been making his presence known in our house.  Listen for yourself.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day 2011

This might be one of my favorite traditions for our little family.  Dressing up head to hoof like a cow for a free meal from Chick-fil-a is totally worth it.  It was much much less humiliating this year.  I don't know if it is because we knew what we were doing, or if we saw how many people did it last year, so we knew we weren't alone or what.  For any of you skeptics out there, just go next year on Cow Appreciation day.  Once you see how many people dress up, and what their costumes look like, you'll realize it's no big deal.

Of course Alaina was hilarious.  All week she talked about me being the "mudder cow," Daddy being the "daddy cow," Joya being the "baby cow," and herself being the "sister cow."  Just as we sat down to eat, the big Chick-fil-a cow came up to our table.  Alaina waved hello and then asked, "Are you a real cow?"  The cow gestured to himself, saying to look and see that he was.  Then she asked, "Do you have a tail?"  He turned around...and did not have a tail!  We told her that he had a bell and that was just as good.

Then after I managed to get a few bites into her, we went and got her face painted.  And then after dinner we went outside to pet the baby cows they had brought in for the event. 

It was so fun.  And yummy.  I love Chick-fil-a.

Sister Cow

A very rare Daddy Cow sighting

Baby Cow and Mommy Cow

Joya dressed up too, but decided to pass up chicken in favor of baby snacks

Trying a sample of the delicious peach milkshake

Alaina's first face painting ever

It took Alaina  few minutes to warm up to the idea of petting the cows

A one-week old baby goat

The girl cows

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quick 5

This edition of Quick 5 is entitled: "My Girls Are Growing Up."

1.  Alaina is starting to lose a bit of her baby speech.  The other day she pointed to a picture and said "octopus."  She used to say "oppopis."  It is a little sad to me.  It just goes to show that you don't really need to correct a lot of their words; they'll grow out of it on their own.

2.  Alaina has discovered how to get herself a drink of water.  She always asks for one between dinner and bed.  I'm a little torn about it; on one hand you're not supposed to give them anything to drink at that time so they don't wet the bed.  However, she is still in pull-ups at night and since we just left the Dark Valley of Potty Training I'm not quite ready to nighttime train.  So if she has a wet pull-up in the morning, I'm not too worried about it.  So I sometimes just put her off.  Only the other night, after I tried to put it off, she came into the living with a sippy cup of water.  It had the lid, the proper plug and everything.  I asked her where she got the water, and she said "the bathroom."  I asked where in the bathroom, fully prepared in case she said the toilet, but she said the sink.  I guess I need to put her cups up higher if I don't want her getting her own drink.

3.  Joya got in trouble for the first time this week.  Our entertainment center has a door that keeps Alaina's puzzles in it.  I don't really want Joya digging through there, but I've been reluctant to lock it, since I want Alaina to get in there whenever she wants.  But Joya is a bit of a destructo-machine, and kept going for the cabinet.  I firmly told her "No" several times.  She now will stick out her bottom lip and work very hard to produce tears upon hearing the word.  Houston, we have understanding.

4.  Joya has also discovered the art of the pity party.  She lays on her stomach, buries her head in her arms and cries.  It is terribly pathetic, and makes it easy for me to discern if she actually needs assistance or if she is just upset that she didn't get her way.

5.  Today is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a.  Yes, our family is participating.  I've been collecting things for our cow costumes all week.  I'll post pics when it is all over.

Hope you're enjoying this summer stormy weather!  I sure am.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

The Fourth of July was hotter than blazes.  I'm not kidding.  When we finally made our way home at 10:50 (more on that later) the temperature still said 79 degrees.  Most unusual for this glorious part of the country.

We enjoyed our annual pilgrimage to the fine town of Golden for their festivities.  My mom picked out a lovely spot, and the local country bands were in fine form.  Picnicking is always fun.  There were quite a few bouncy things for kids to bounce on, but Alaina was a little overwhelmed by it and didn't want to try anything.  She didn't even want to play on the playground, even though she kept asking to go over there.  There were just too many kids.  She enjoyed finding sticks the most.  She even had her first experience with Portapotties.  I was thankful I had my trusty Potette to aide us in that endeavor.  (Don't have one?  Buy one.  It is worth it's weight in gold.)  Joya did pretty well, thanks to Grandad, who finally got her to fall asleep in his arms at about 9:15.  She slept through the fireworks, and that's okay.  Alaina loved the fireworks, just as I knew she would.

The thing that ruined the whole day for me was the drive home.  We knew it was always a little tricky to get out of the park.  Tiny town, too many people.  We pulled out of our parking space at 9:53, thanks to some dear soul who let us in.  We drove three feet (not an exaggeration) and then sat for 40 minutes (not an exaggeration.)  It was so frustrating.  I had already taken a gigantic step out of my comfort zone by determining to stay out three hours after my babies are usually in bed.  Wasting even more of precious bedtime in a non-moving traffic line about pushed me over the edge.  Our plans for next year have already changed dramatically.  No word on what they are yet, but just know that it is dramatic.

But here are some pictures of the festivities.  And by festivities, I mean the girls and their too-cute cousin Naomi.
She blows out the side of her mouth for some reason, but it gets the job done.
Naomi wanted to play too.
Joya's idea of a good time: chewing on something.

Wagon rides brought to you by Uncle Nick

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quick 5

Hello July!

1.  Joya is officially mobile.  The rolling baby is gone, the army-crawling baby is moving ahead at full steam.  That girl wriggles everywhere.  Much to Daddy's delight, she scooted over to him the other night.  Much to Mommy's chagrin she won't crawl to her.  She just does this beached whale/seal thing and stays in one place crying until Mommy comes to pick her up.  I wonder how soon it will be that she'll discover how much faster it is to crawl on all fours.

2.  With Joya's range of motion I'm starting to see Alaina and Joya's sister relationship begin to flesh out.  Mostly involving Alaina removing toys from Joya's reach, much to Joya's dismay.  I now have to learn how to teach sharing without teaching socialism.  And without laughing.  It cracks me up to see Alaina scooting across the floor with a toy, and Joya doggedly following, not realizing that Alaina is trying to get away from her.

3.  Only recently has Joya been sitting up.  I take full blame; it was so much easier just to lay her on the floor and let her roll around rather than working with her to sit up.  Even now she's still not very reliable when you sit her up.  She'd much rather be crawling or something.  Anyway, sitting up meant busting out the bath seat.  And busting out the bath seat meant bathing the girls together.  I've really enjoyed this new plan.

4.  Monday's weather was glorious.  The perfect day before the heat of the week set it.  I knew it was time to take the girls to the park.  Don't judge me, but I don't do that very often.  We always seem to have other errands to run.  And you all should know me well enough by now to know that I'm not really an outdoors person.  Yes, even local, suburb parks count as outdoors.  I'd like to change that about myself, if you must know.  But Monday was beautiful, and Joya has never been to a park, so we went.  She loved it, of course.  My little thrill-seeker giggled and giggled as she was swinging.  And bear with me, but I had a hard time picking just a few pictures, so you get to see a lot of them.

5.  For the first time ever, we are going to introduce Alaina to Independence Day fireworks.  Until now she's been little enough that we could just take her home and put her in bed without her really missing anything.  But she's old enough and I finally feel seasoned enough as a mother to handle a really late evening like that with the girls.  I'm looking forward to it even.  And we love going to the park in Golden for the festivities.  It's going to be a great day.

Happy Independence Day everyone!  Enjoy celebrating the freedom of our country with your families!