Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do you Belize it?

Here are some snaps of Dad and Pak on their trip to Belize over Thanksgiving. Don't they look so cool? I definitely have the best Dad and brother EVAH! And, YES, that is an actual real live SHARK in that picture. Apparently there were bunches of them.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gobble-dy Good

Hello all! I hope everyone had a terrific Turkey Day. We spent a nice, relaxing weekend with family in Michigan. It was SO great to see and spend time with Erin, Nick, Jack, Mia and my Mom. My Dad and Pak were on an amazing scuba trip to Belize and they had a blast. They swam with sharks!

Some of you have inquired about the land of snot that we were living in as I previously blogged about. Well, it turned into an ear infection for Liam which made for an interesting 500+ mile drive - but I will spare the details and just glaze over it all by saying I became a contortionist (feeding a bottle to baby who is in the back seat while I am belted in the front), a clean-up crew (car-sick babies, anyone?), and a puppet master (impromptu puppet shows, lip-sync-style to the music of Coldplay, from over the seat of the car with baby toys and Kate's "My Little Pony" dolls make for great entertainment for a sad baby).

BUT, in all seriousness, every whimper on the road was worth the visit. Kate and Jack get along like twins and played until exhausted every day. Erin and Nick's place is awesome and seeing them and my Mom was great. Nick Morris and my Nick got to have a night out at the sports bar watching football, and Erin and I went for coffee and windowshopping one night. So great!

Following this blurb are some pics of the kids that I took at home today. Liam is pulling himself up to standing now and I snapped some shots of him standing in his playpen looking out the window at the xmas lights on the trees outside. He is growing up so fast! The other night he fell asleep on my lap and I looked down and I swear he had grown a foot in my arms - he looked like a little boy! Not a baby. And Kate is such a big girl! She is so tall and grown up looking!

I will leave you with a story about Kate's ongoing negotiations to obtain a puppy. So incredibly advanced in her negotiations is she! In addition to dramatically saying "God Bless Dutch" (Aunt Erin and Uncle Nick's dog) every night at bedtime prayers, she has even brought her preschool teacher into her pleadings for a dog! :) Last week was my turn to read a story to her class....I showed up early just as Kate's teacher was going around the circle asking each child what they were thankful for. It was fun to hear their responses - one was thankful for her mom and dad (awww), one for 'sparkle shirts' (cute), one for corn (um, ok!). When she got to Kate and asked "Kate, what are YOU thankful for?", Kate paused dramatically and looked out of the corner of her eye to make sure I was watching. She then said "I am thankful if I had a puppy". The teacher said "Kate is thankful for puppies". Not to be misunderstood, Kate loudly spoke up, "No, no, Mrs. Rodgers, I'm thankful IF I HAD a puppy!". Duly noted, dear Kate......but come Christmas morning there will be no barking, frolicking pup under the tree. The reasons are many, but on top of all of them, I do NOT want to be potty training a puppy in Minnesota in the frigid winter. :)

Anyway - after a long ramble of a post, here are some pics. Liam needs another haircut by the way - he is still insanely cute, but his hair is starting to do that creepy George McFly thing again. The front just grows like crazy! Maybe I should just let it grow and then he can have cool long 80's bangs like all the members of the Kobra Kai in the "Karate Kid".

Liam grinning and standing!

Liam smiling after gazing at the cool lights outside.

Liam intrigued.

In case you did not know, this is Kate and she wants a puppy!

YAY for Puppies! Let's jump for joy for puppies!!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Woe to Those Dastardly Parent Pixies

Here is a pic of Liam crashed out. I took his shirt off after a giant spit-up incident and, by the time I came back with a clean one, he was fast asleep in his play pen. He zonked mid-play with his buddy "Spike" still on his tummy.

Here is what happened.......I should have known! As soon as I typed the words "Life is Good" in the last blog entry, I should have realized that that declaration immediately alerted the "Parent Pixies". For those of you who don't know, the Parent Pixies reside in a land bordering "Murphy's Law-apolis" and "Tempting Fate-ville". They are on the ready to flit your way at any moment to turn your life into a giant parenting comedy-sketch cliché. They must have paid us a visit the other night, fluttering into the kid's rooms in the dead of night, mischievously giggling as they swung their magic snot wands over the sleeping children - devilish gleams in their eyes as they flung copious amounts of enchanted fever glitter and cranky dust over our tired angels - and then leaving without us ever knowing that they were there.

Cut to two days later and I look like a crazy person - unkempt hair, wearing a 10+-year-old college sweatshirt now stained with baby spit up and, I'll just say it, snot. I look like hell. Poor Nick came home last night after a day that ran long to an insanely screaming Liam and a whining Kate and a wife that looked like she was going to snap any moment. I was going to go to an Interior Design lecture and a club meeting last night, but it is just as well that I was not able to with the craziness of the kiddos. At one point Nick and I just sat and laughed amidst the screaming because what else can you do when things get so out of control?

Poor things - they just feel so darn crummy. It DOES feel great, though, to be able to do all I can to make them comfortable. Even though it is exhausting and pretty gross! Trying to hold and comfort a writhing and furious huge baby, not to mention trying to use the nose-sucker-thing on him is darn hard.....but at least I know I am as effective as I can be....and then the snuggles when he has cried himself out and is warm and toasty and flushed and squishy in his footed jammies with his head on my shoulder, while Kate has the equal state of mind with her head on my lap and we are all just conked on the couch....well that is pretty great.

The kids are on the mend - especially Kate. Though she is ticked she had to miss school because she had a fever and they have a strict fever rule. Liam is getting to be more active today and actually pulled himself up to standing!!!! And he banged blocks together during the singing of "Old McDonald" and sang "eeeeeeeeee" during the e-i-e-i-o part. Off the charts on the cuteness factor. He then countered with a raging booger tantrum.

Kate remains eager in spite of her fever. She has a "Good Habits" chart where there are pictures of chores like "clean up", "brush teeth", "read a book" and she just asked me if she could turn the wheel to "Teriffic!" for the "read a book" one because she just read "Small baby" a story. Sweet.

BUT - just in case the parent pixies are listening - snot rivers do still abound and I am buying stock in whoever makes Kleenex. The cool-mist humidifiers are humming away and Liam's button-nose is as red as Rudolph's. But they remain cute - and maybe, just maybe, I can get a shower in while they nap today? Did I just jinx myself big time?!!!!

P.S. Kate just informed me that her new name is Karina. Um. Ok.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Life is Good

Kate twirling at the wedding reception! She is such a dancer!

Liam in the hotel crib waiting to go to the wedding in his little man outfit!

Liam making a grab for the camera!

Kate and Aunt Madelyn.

Kate and Joe - members of the mutual admiration society!

Quick update and some pics of the kids! I cannot believe it is already mid-November! Time has been flying by and I, of course, have not even thought about all the holiday deeds to be done such as xmas gift buying, xmas cards, etc. etc. I have noticed that the television advertising for kid's toys has REALLY picked up. Kate never used to notice commercials, but now is being wooed by the corporations into wanting their wares. TV stations like Nick Jr. and Disney have ads for all things girly like "Little Mermaid" and the "Dancing Princesses" which are all the rage with Kate. I am sticking to channels like "Noggin" from now on which have NO commercials at all for their preschool programming. Just educational vignettes. I really don't need to be hearing from my three-year old "Mommy can I have THAT for Christmas?". Her number one gift request remains - A PUPPY!

This Puppy obesession was rekindled a couple of weekends ago. We all had the wonderful fortune to travel to a family wedding in Mississippi. It was truly one of the most wonderful weddings I have EVER had the pleasure of attending. Aunt Dora hosted it at her incredibly beautiful home right on the water. It was the exact image of Southern Elegance - a white columned manse, a sprawling immaculate lawn with glittering lights and flower arrangements fit for royalty, the sound of laughter and lovely lilting drawls along with the most perfect weather ever topped off by a spectacular sunset over the bay. True perfection. The ONLY downside was that I did not anticipate the Mississippi bug factor so late in the year, and my legs still show evidence of their feasting, but every nibble was worth the experience! :) Kate, as I mentioned, was in heaven because not only did she get to boogie to the live band, but Aunt Dora has two wonderful labs that Kate followed around and snuggled with. Cocoa and Sandy were too too sweet to Kate and as a result she has not only renamed her stuffed puppy (formerly cleverly named "Puppy") Cocoa AND she has reignited her campaign to get a real live puppy of her own. She wants one for Christmas. Do you know how HARD it is to deny her life's wish? We just cannot do it right now. Dogs are a BIG expense and a LOT of time. But someday..........

In other news of the happy sort, Nick is great. He just got a promotion at 3M and is now (it's a mouthful):
Strategic Business Development; Alliances & Acquisitions
3M Industrial/Transportation Business

I just copied that from his work email sign-off. :) I am so proud of him and he is REALLY excited to be working in this area. His new boss is great and, to the delight of my father, is a Naval Acadamy grad! :) Academy grads across the defense disciplines are really amazing people and it is nice that they get to collaborate here - sure to be extremely effective! Nick also just got to have a weekend with his Yale buddies in NYC. Much like I meet with my college girlfriends once a year somewhere in the US, Nick and his Yale lads make an effort to do the same - only on a more global scale. Last year it was in London and this year they took a long weekend in NYC. The guys are all so great and it sounds like they had a great time. It was a much deserved break for Nick who, aside from family jaunts, has been working insane hours leading up to his promotion.

I have been having fun with the kids. Liam is SO SO SO happy! He is 8 1/2 moths old and is adorably sweet. He is such a good little guy, with such a sweet disposition. He is crawling and has 4 teeth all the way through with two making their breakthrough. His new favorite activity is eating Cheerios. He gets into everything, though, being so mobile and I must confess I have resorted to using a playpen at times - something I never did with Kate because I felt bad enclosing her. But Liam is just thrilled to sit in it and play with his toys and look around. I put it by the window so he has lots of sunshine and he just babbles away and plays. It is all I can do to continue vaccuming or cooking or working on Ever After and not just snuggle him.

Kate is wonderfully saucy and spunky. She is so funny. Her latest discovery is the art of distraction. If she is getting a time out for being fresh or being scolded for not eating her dinner she will tilt her head to the side and get a dreamy look in her eye and say "Daddy, you are soooo handsome" or "Mommy, you're so beautiful". Sometimes this is accompanied by her patting her hand on our cheek in a gesture of total endearment! It is SO hard to keep a straight face and continue with the discipline when she does this - and she knows it darn well! Another thing she will do to evade a scolding is - just as we are about to commence with some lecture - she will cock her head to the side and say "Shh! I think I hear Small Baby crying! You will wake her up!" (Small Baby is one of her baby dolls, the other one being the aptly named Big Baby - who never seems to cry or be as upset as Small Baby seems to get!). She never succeeds in avoiding disciplinary action through these tactics, but you have to give her credit for trying!

Anyway - this has turned out to be quite a rambler, but it has been a while since I posted. Lots of fun tales to come, I am sure, with all kinds of things on the horizon....parent-teacher conferences for Kate (!), Thanksgiving and the road trips that go with it (Michigan), and more milestones for Liam. In the meantime, I continue to be amazed by the daily deeds of the darlings. Who knew that hearing a baby discover the "ba ba ba" sound or a preschooler develop her imagination by naming her ponies things like "Windy" and "Flower Catcher" would bring such indescribable joy?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Liam is Eight Months Old!!!!

I cannot believe that today Liam is 8 months old! WOW! He is such a sweet boy. Today I took him for his first real haircut! I have done a few trims here and there on my own at home, but his hair was getting crazy creepy. Honestly, it had a habit of naturally falling into the exact hairdo that Hitler sported. You know, combed forward and split down the middle. Creeeepppyyy. So I took him for his first "big boy haircut". He still has spots where he has to grow hair, but he has spots where he has TONS of it! It was starting to look like a long combover. ha ha! So now he is all cleaned up!

He was such a good boy and sat perfectly still and cooperated perfectly. Here are some pics!