Quailday: The Toddler Diaries…

See that huge smile? Well this week’s theme is a collection of reports of the recent naughties at school. Or as I like to call it- ” A-cute case of the Naughties”. I have to say though between that huge grin of pride and the wrench my heart takes when her little lower lip quiver pulls it out of my chest; she tends to not get nearly the discipline she should for her antics…sigh…life’s just unfair I guess!

10/13: She was exceptionally mischievous today. When I first got there, the toddlers were out on the playground. I scooped her up and took her down the big slide twice and then she stole my keys out of my pocket, dropped them, and laughed.

Then we played with blocks and cups stacking them up and knocking them over. She kept grabbing one and crawling away with it. When I would ask her to give it to me she did that cute thing where she holds them really close to her and turns away with a little grin.

 10/18: I got out her toys and put them on one of the round tables. She crawled over to me slowly with lots of pretend sleep breaks.

10/27: Sorry we made such a mess. She was a little toddler tornado today.

10/28: She got distracted from the story by one of the toddler’s awesome new baby mohawk and kept petting the top of his head. He got annoyed and held her hand to make her stop and they sat there holding hands for a couple minutes. Then she decided to crawl around to the other toddlers and give them pats on the back.

11/2: Ms. Ashleigh told me that she’s noticed she will be sitting at the round tables and when she turns away and looks back over there, she will have pulled herself up to stand against them. She still wouldn’t do it without any help for me though… little stinker. 

11/16/10:  Then she went on a bit of a hair pulling spree. She saw one girl’s hair and grabbed it. I told her “no pulling” and “be gentle” and she pouted at me. Then she crawled over to a table and stood up to get to her toys I put on it. We played with her toys for a while, reaching for them and dropping them in the bucket. Then she saw another boy nearby at the table and shuffled a few steps over to him (She moves her feet so much more to get to other toddlers at the table than when I’m trying to get her to reach). She patted him on the head and then pulled his hair before I could stop her.

Good thing it’s a-cute and not chronic!

corner view: anything goes

 This week’s theme was anything goes. Perfect for this little collection of odd shots I’ve had the pleasure of taking this fall. I’m pretty routine in the things I look forward to shooting- my kids and flowers. I don’t venture out from those happy little shots very often at all. And when I do, usually I’m not too very fond of what I get. But these shots really made me smile. Mostly because I can hardly believe they came from my camera! We’ve started having little playdates in a park in our town that has a sweet boardwalk through a wooded area that empties out into one of the local lakes. The water level below the boardwalk really varies week to week. About a month ago there were a few feet  though that attracted some happy little fish and voila- these images blessed me!

See what’s going on around the world:

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Zuzuday: An apple a year…

 This weekend I was looking back through all of the fall photos I’ve yet to post from our fun and festivities of the last few months. When I got to the pictures from our apple picking in September at our favorite orchard, I realized what a little growth chart I had from comparing previous falls. Both the growth of our family and the kiddos individually. The first fall after Zuzu was born we didn’t make it to our favorite orchard but went to a little more local place and gathered just a few with Zuzu snuggled tidily against me with her little newborn feet tucked in my fleecy pockets.

The next fall we didn’t quite manage a trip to any orchard. Zuzu was had a series of ear infections from May till October that kept her out of school and us homebound way more than I care to document. This picture was one taken of her Thanksgiving weekend though.

The next year we headed up to our favorite orchard though; and had so much fun with their playground, apple slushies, apple donuts and the discovery of a local bakery and BBQ shack that this trip became cemented into an annual foray.

Now I look forward to getting the girls to pose before their height chart. Who would have thought to put one there. It strikes me as quirky but yet so very right!

In 2009 when we realized this was going to become a photographic occasion as well as a pantry filling one we started thinking about dressing Zuzu in anticipation of the happy shots. It was this year that I noticed I wasn’t the first party to come up with this annual idea. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a collection of DSLR cameras out on display!

Maybe it’s something in the apples that has her growing like a weed?

This past September we were all set for photographic and picking merriment but the whole thing turned into more of an “I Love Lucy” episode and no actual apples made it home with us. Managing two children a stroller and a cart to hold our apples didn’t go so well. Things close by were pretty picked over and we had to venture further into the orchard to get any apples. As the name of the orchard is fitting- Skytop- you can guess what happened. An almost 4 year old pulling a cart on the side of a hill didn’t work so well. The cart went flying into a tree when she realized she couldn’t steer and the apples went flying.

By the time we went for our annual height picture, feelings were a little cloudy and it was time to head out.

I think maybe next year will be a banner year for our pantry though….

Mommaday: I am who I am, or am I?

Something little made me smile the other day. It was an off-hand comment, but it came at just the right time for an unknowingly-teachable moment.

Every now and then I hear commentary about myself that I’m just so positive, so laid-back, so happy…and it makes me chuckle.

See I want to be like that. I think you make your own happiness, I think you can in theory choose how to react to something big or little. But sometimes you just react. And I’m a nervous person by nature. I get pretty anxious in certain settings and then I tend to ruminate about them ahead of time and afterwards. But, I’m also a pretty good coper, generally I note what situations make me feel like that- and I avoid them! I know some people naturally try to work through their issues and conquer them. I’m generally not a conqueror. It’s not my style. I’m ok with my weaknesses and I’d rather just try to work around them.  I try to think about what matters, and rationalize whether something is worth fretting over or not. Of course if I find that the process to figure that out in and of itself is eating up my psyche- well, then I need to work on it.

At any rate, I was sitting ruminating about something that was bugging me. It’s something that’s come up before, and probably would come up again. And probably would bug me when it does again. Right at that moment that I was stewing about it, I got a phone call and when I told her what I was just thinking about she said, “Well you are the right person to deal with that, you’re so laid-back! I’m sure it doesn’t really bug you at all!”

It was just the push I needed at that moment to get over it, get over myself and move along. Sometimes we just need that little reminder, that others already see us as the person we want to be.

Gratitude Journal

1. Angry Angels

2. strawberry strudels from The Sister’s

3. pesto croissant’s from them as well

4. egg, cheese and bacon croissant’s from our local bagel shop

5. Lovey cooking

6. working on a project together

7.feeling better

8. choosing to be calm

9. being reminded I can choose to be calm

10. rascally sisters

11. artwork from babies

12. holiday cards

13. photo books

14. working on a project together

15. a day off

16. a new book in at the library!

17. being told you are one of their favorite people

18. hearing others note how laid-back you are after you were just feeling not so laid-back

19. giggling with the 4 year old

20. finding a Jodi Piccoult book on cd on the library shelf (they’re usually all checked out already)

21. starting up the Christmas music stations on Pandora

Quailday: The Toddler Diaries

 Before I get into more of the daily journals, I have to announce that she’s willingly vertical these days! It’s coming slowly, but it’s definitely coming. As I mentioned in Asheville she seemed to suddenly get that she could choose to stand her own self up and started. Since then there have been more instances. Being true to her nature though, you still can’t “make” her do it. She’s got to want to. But the good news is, she wants too! She was home with the stomach flu last week and luckily it passed faster then her contagious period so we got some quality one-on-one time before I succombed to her little gift. She was so stinking cute and cheerful! After a night of barfing interludes occuring every 30-45 minutes I woke up to her sitting up in bed and chattering to me about everything around us. She’s very into saying, “What’s that?” and “Right there”, while she points, index finger out, thank you very much. I’m so happy that I no longer have to allow her to stick it up my nose in order to encourage her perfection of this skill! Through out the day she repeatedly named her high chair, signed Momma, tried to put her bib on, brushed her hair with her hairbrush, signed drink, said cracker and attentively watched me try to explain how we barf into the bowl rather then bucking back to spray paint the room.

And can I tell you my secret dream? I’ve debated saying it out loud. I’m about 53% sure I’m wrong. But- I hope with every fiber of my being that I’m right and I do think it’s possible. I think I’ve mentioned that in October we noticed the Quail having ALOT more energy. It seemed to coincide with her moving into the toddler room. It also coincided with her starting back on singulair and pulmicort. Those steroids are really the most likely culprit for the ants in her pants. I know that. But here’s the thing, last year when she started taking them. No one noticed her being more active. I’m sure it could affect her differently at different times. But here’s my secret dream- that the reason for her increased energy is that the hole in her heart has closed. I think about this, dream about this and pray about this routinely now. I know some people think that if you put good thoughts out there in the world and visualize them it actually works to make them come true. I don’t know what I think about that. But it can’t hurt. A girl can dream. We won’t have another echo until next July. The reason this even occured to me was when I suddenly remembered her cardiologist telling us that we may think she isn’t tired now, but wait until her heart is repaired- she will be like another person. She’s be a madman tearing around. Well she sort of is these days- at least for her. So if you are reading this and you are of the praying or thinking good thoughts makes them come true sort of persuasion- would you mind adding the thought that her VSD could close on it’s own on your list?

Anyway, time will tell. Now back to October in the Toddler world:

10/5/10: The toddlers were out on the playground when I got there today so I tried doing most of our stuff out there with her. She picked out her puzzle to play with first so we played in the grass. She pushed the circle in by herself and then a few other toddlers came over to play with us. At first it was a little overwhelming for her, but she watched a couple of the kids putting puzzle pieces into their spots and copied what they did. She got the oval and the square in after that.

She did a great job using her kneeling positions to get to the ball and pick it up when I asked. (I’ll add in here- this has been coming along too- and is exciting. I don’t think she is trying to properly crawl- it looks more like it would take more effort to flop back down on her belly sometimes if she just has a couple paces to go and is focused on getting to something in front of her. When that’s the scenario she will now take a couple of regular crawl strides before sitting back up or flopping down to her belly. It’s so cool to watch!

Then Zuzu’s class came outside and Zuzu ran over to say hi. The Quail was so excited to see her she waved and blew kisses and they held hands through the fence. (This friendship is so stinking sweet. I’ve been trying to “use” it to my advantage. A couple of nights ago Zuzu was zooming around the house in her birthday suit while got the Quail ready for a tubby. She started her favorite game of running up to the Quail, stopping short and hollering something then running off to start over. The Quail wanted to add a hug into routine and was giggling so hard in anticipation of her sister coming back that she was willing to stay standing while she waited! Now that’s what I call working your PT into your daily routine!)

10/7: We were on the swings for about 10 minutes. She thought it was really funny when I stood in front of her and pushed her by her feet. I would say “Pick up your feet” and she held them up for me to push and laughed. Then she wanted to play in one of the playgrounds. She tried to pull herself up in it and I gave her a little boost. She stood up with her arms on the side, no belly touching for about 5 minutes dropping a toy car and watching where it went while I picked it up for her to drop again. Then she sat down and we played peek-a-boo through the holes of the playground. Then she saw one of the toddlers scooting by her on a plastic horse and pointed to him so I sat her on another horse and pushed her around following him. Some of the other toddlers started crowding her though which was distracting. She’s handling that much better now. She didn’t get upset she just nudged one of them out of her way and crawled somewhere else.

10/11: I got out her cups and worked on two-step commands of “put the cup down” and “stack the cup” she did really well with this and went really quickly so she could get to the knocking cups over part of the game. Then I put the cups on top of the big foam arch and put the smaller foam arch in front of that to help her get up the big one easier. She got over the little one with no trouble. Then she spent the next few minutes trying to crawl up the bigger one, taking rests with her head rested on her arms, and sitting up and signing “please” to me before trying again. Eventually she was able to grab one of them and I grabbed the rest for her. Then the rest of the toddlers came back inside. Ms. Ashleigh got out some books for storytime and the little bookworm crawled right up close to her and signed “please” for story time. After storytime was over I crawled away from her and she followed me over to a wall. I tried to do some standing with her back on the wall since we haven’t done that for a while. She wouldn’t put her feet down at first and then put her feet down but tried to weasle her way into hugs instead of standing. I’m a sucker for Quail hugs so I let her get away with it but I distracted her with toys and she leaned back against the wall.