Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Multi-sport athlete

As our favorite boys of summer unsuccessfully battled for the American League Central championship tonight, my favorite little boy showed his loyalty to multiple Minnesota teams all at once.

I took the kids outside this evening, in hopes of giving Jeff some quiet time to watch the game. AJ decided he wanted to play baseball... while wearing a Minnesota Vikings jacket over a Minnesota Wild sweatshirt.

He actually did pretty well, hitting more than one line drive that forced me to duck or leap out of the way. When it was time to go inside, AJ victoriously announced to Jeff, "I'm going to be a Twins baseball player and I'm going to be on TV!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tag team trouble

Sydney slept through the night last night. This should be cause for great celebration, not to mention more rested looks for Mommy and Daddy. But alas, that's not the case. Why? Because on the one night Sydney managed to sleep for nine consecutive hours, her brother could not. And so sometime in the wee hours of the morning, a 45-pound child made his way into our bed.

Just one night of uninterupted sleep. Is that really too much to ask?

These pictures, by the way, are from a recent trip to the Aquarium - my first venture there with both kids, since Sydney learned to walk.
Despite the look on her face in this photo, Sydney really enjoyed the water table. She liked it so much, in fact, that she decided to STEP IN IT. Having been through this stage with AJ, I know to pack extra shirts, so they can change into dry clothing when they're done. However, I didn't think I'd need to bring extra shoes.

AJ, meanwhile, was finally brave enough to reach into the touch tank and pet a sting ray. What fun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The winning purse

Dear Diary,

I have been hinting and hinting that I would like my own purse, but Mommy and Daddy just didn't get it. And so for weeks, I've been forced to make do with anything else I can find with a handle: a sandbox pail, a mini-grocery basket and even an empty ice cream bucket.

But guess what? Grandma and Grandpa came through for me in a big way. They flew all the way to Sweden to get me a purse of my very own. I'm so excited! I carry it with me everywhere. I don't think I will ever let go of it.

Ahhh... I've been dreaming of this moment. Until next time diary!
Love, Sydney

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You "doh" it your way, I'll play it mine

As I've mentioned before, AJ loves Playdoh. Sydney, however, still thinks it's something you eat. So what do we do to keep child #2 occupied when child #1 wants to spend 45 minutes making snakes and worms?

We put the large container of Playdoh canisters and molds on the floor. Sydney happily dug in. Her favorite game right now is simply carrying things around the house.
So AJ and I continued making our Playdoh creations, while Sydney made repeated trips between the living room (where Jeff was) and the dining room (where we and the Playdoh were).
I wasn't paying attention to how many things had "disappeared" from the big yellow Playdoh station, until I happened to walk through the living room. That's when I discovered the stash that Little Miss Busy had transported. What fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Preschooler of steel

Make no mistake. This cape has super powers.

It has the power to make a three-year-old WANT to put on his pajamas each night. (Of course, there is the down-side that he doesn't want to take them off in the morning.)

This kid is getting so big. He now knows how to toast his own frozen waffles. Though he does still need Mommy's help buttering them and cutting them up. Thankfully, Super AJ is a cautious superhero.

Please grow. Please just live.

Admittedly, I have not had the best success growing trees. The year Jeff and I got married, I planted two pine saplings in the yard at our old house. I thought it'd be cool to watch them grow as a symbol of how long we'd been married. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way. The first tree died within the year. The second one hung in there for a little while, but finally died while Jeff was deployed to Bosnia. Thank goodness that wasn't an omen of some sort!

This year at the State Fair, we picked up another small sapling. We've planted it, but based on how it's looking after a couple weeks, I don't think its odds are too good.
I refuse to be discouraged, however, and so last week we purchased and planted two new trees in our yard. (The ones you see in the photos.) These are a bit bigger to begin with than the saplings, so hopefully we - and the trees - will see a better outcome. And hopefully in years to come, I'll be able to revisit this project by showing how much the trees - and the kids - have grown.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Take a waka waka back in time

Ah... the funny things we used to say. They sound even funnier coming from a preschooler. For instance: "Gobble up those ghosts, Daddy!" or "Daddy got the cherry."

No, this wasn't an attempt to re-live the glory days of our youth. (Or maybe it was, just a little.) While celebrating our friend Jess' birthday last week, we discovered an old Mrs. Pacman game in the corner of the restaurant. AJ, who is fascinated by video games, wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, the machine didn't work, and I didn't figure that out until after I'd stuck two quarters in it.
So when we got home, I pulled out our old PlayStation game (you know, the one a certain unnamed member of our family thought we should include on our wedding gift registry) and hooked it up.
AJ sure thought that was cool. I don't think he ever really played the game. But he got to hold one of the controllers and push some buttons and knobs. And that was enough.

Let's hear it for Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde! This sure was a trip down memory lane.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Multi-tasking at 14 months

Sydney is such a girl.
No, she's not particularly dainty or feminine. But she's already showing a remarkable ability to juggle seemingly impossible tasks. Take note of what's in her hands: an empty bubbles bottle, two small stackable cups, a Fischer Price toy, and a cup of milk. It was amazing to watch her focus, determination and perseverance as she repeatedly tried to pick up all of those items at once. It took her more than 15 minutes to figure out a way to carry those five pieces, but at last she had it.
Victory - literally - was in her grasp! And she makes it look easy.
Of course, that stubborn determination isn't all good. Over the weekend, she learned a new word. "No." Except, when she says it, which is quite often, it comes out as two syllables. "Nnnnn-no."
There's a whole lot of attitude packed in that petite frame. Am I looking forward to battling that attitude in the future? Nnnnn-no.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The worm rescuer

Pity this poor worm. First it's flooded from its underground home by two days of rain. Seeking relief and a dry spot on the driveway, it suddenly finds itself scooped up by a well-meaning, but not-so-gentle preschooler.
Initially, AJ wanted to keep "Wormie" as his pet. He was sure the worm liked him. That's why it was tickling him.
I was fine with him carrying Wormie around, until he started looking for a home for his pet - specifically the basket under Sydney's stroller.
I convinced him that worms need to live in dirt. That started a search for the perfect spot. Apparently, none of the planters in our front yard were good enough for Wormie. AJ finally decided to let him go amidst the coneflowers in the garden.
With the catch-and-release at last completed, AJ ran back to the driveway in search of another worm that was "still wiggling". He soon found a second survivor, which amazingly was none other than Wormie's daddy. AJ grabbed him and ran back to the garden to facilitate a reunion.
I never did see what happened to Wormie. As for Wormie's dad, alas, I fear he didn't make it. He was still hanging out on the rocks when the rain started again, forcing us to head back into the house.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Casting for what?

Today is primary election day. As we were getting ready to head out the door this morning, Jeff asked when I was planning to go to vote. AJ overheard – sort of – and enthusiastically announced, "I want to go with on the boat!"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who's the child here?

A mighty battle was waged in our backyard this evening. Not quite a battle to save the earth, or a battle of good versus evil. But an intense battle nonetheless.

And the weapon of choice? Silly String.

AJ's fingers weren't quite strong enough for him to consistently fire on his own, so Daddy stepped in to help - resulting in some hits at point-blank range.

Did I mention this was all Daddy's idea? And that they were playing in the rain? Boys!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where does he get this stuff?

AJ is a sponge. This kid picks up phrases from who knows where, and remembers them. And repeats them. Thankfully, so far it's all been innocent - and humorous.
While running errands a few days ago, I had to brake suddenly to avoid hitting the car in front of me, which also had braked suddenly. From his car seat in back, AJ exclaimed, "What in the name is going on?" I admit to uttering derogatory comments on occasion about the IQ of certain drivers, but I've never said anything like that, and neither has Jeff. Hmmm....
Today, while finally sorting through our bag of State Fair treasures, I found two unsharpened pencils and handed them to AJ. He immediately started banging them on the wall, announcing, "Drum roll, please."
I just can't wait to hear what he comes up with next.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why is it....

... that in a house with about 2,000 square feet on the main floor, if either Jeff or I are in the bathroom, then everyone wants to be in the bathroom. AJ, Sydney and, of course, Maggie all feel the need to follow us into the same space.

Our bathroom is pretty big. It had to be to fit in all the features we wanted. Having built the house before we had kids, we had no idea how nice it would be to have enough space for a play area in the most important room in the house.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The baby girls' club

Sydney loves Maggie. It doesn't matter if Maggie is inside or out, awake or asleep. If Sydney sees her, she wants to be near her.
"Uh-GEE! Uh-GEE!" Sydney squeals as she follows Maggie around the house.

It's actually kind of funny to watch Maggie - who can be an incredible pest - get a taste of her own medicine. Thankfully, our first "baby girl" is showing incredible patience and tolerance of our real baby girl's affections.

Maggie, meanwhile, is doing her best to train Sydney to share treats. I recently caught Sydney handing Maggie a handful of goldfish crackers. Maggie still has a little ways to go to coach Sydney on which foods to drop over the edge of her high chair. But I think she's figured out that Sydney is a very willing pupil.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Here fishy, fishy...

While in the Cities this weekend, the General, accompanied by the Red Knight, decided to accept PNC Larson's offer to borrow some fishing gear. (Warning: unless you're familiar with a certain e-mail exchange between Jeff and my Dad, don't bother trying to decipher that first sentence.)

Unfortunately, the fish were asleep. At least, that's what AJ told me. I'm not sure if he came up with that on his own, or if Jeff provided the excuse. The slumbering fish, I must note, sure tossed and turned a lot. I saw a couple of them jump out of the water.

It must have been the bait's fault. "It's wiggling!" AJ exclaimed as he displayed the lucky worm that hadn't yet been used to try and coax the fish awake.

There's a certain symmetry in this story. On Memorial Weekend, the unofficial start of summer, my two brave anglers tried unsuccessfully to hook a keeper, or any size fish for that matter, on our river. Fast forward three months to Labor Day Weekend, summer's unofficial end, and the intrepid fishermen landed similar results (or lack thereof) on my parents' lake. Better luck next year, boys.

Fun at the Fair

Alas, the Great Minnesota Get-together is again just a memory until next year. But what fun we had! Proving that the joy is in the journey, not just the destination, AJ was quite excited to ride the bus to the Fair.
This year he managed to stay awake on the return trip. He thanked the driver as he got off and asked if he would drive him again some time.

Once at the Fair, we met up with the Bianchi's and the Radecki's.

Luckily the Bianchi's had already been to the fair four times this year, and the Radecki's are very patient, so we were able to focus on the things AJ wanted to see and do: visit the animal barns and climb on tractors. I have to say that Machinery Hill was a bit of a disappointment. We found more boats than tractors to climb on this year.

Of course, no visit to the Fair would be complete without a ride down the giant slide.

At the end of the day, AJ said his favorite part was seeing the baby ducks; and ice cream was his favorite thing to eat.

He then asked if we could go back to the Fair the next day. I told him no, he'd have to wait until next year. Little did I know how much AJ had been thinking ahead. Remember his conversation with the bus driver? AJ told me, "But the bus driver said he could take me back."