Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Meanwhile, she's also developed a urinary track infection, which we're treating with an antibiotic. And if that's not enough, the vet found glucose in her urine, which means she likely has feline diabetes.
If it's possible to have a bright note to this story, it's this: If Maddie is, in fact, on her ninth life, she is making the most of it! All the treats and table scraps we've been denying her for years because of her weight – she is enjoying them now in abundance. She still tends to hide in the basement when the kids are awake. But in the morning before they're awake, she is constantly under my feet, especially when I'm in the kitchen.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Enjoying the beach while Daddy played with his metal detector.
Marching with the band during a free outdoor concert. The kids had so much fun, and the setting (sunset, with Lake Huron in the background) was awesome!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
This "Playhut" is temporarily filling a huge portion of our living room. It will hopefully move to its permanent home in the basement later today, once we pick up some more foam flooring tiles to put underneath it. When Grandma Elouise described the dimensions, I knew it was going to be long, but somehow didn't grasp how wide it was.
Sydney pretty much lived in it for about a half hour yesterday. AJ, meanwhile, likes the accompanying golf club best of all. Why? Because it's like a sword, of course.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
We celebrated Christmas a night early, rather than haul all the presents to other houses to be opened. (Does that make it Christmas Eve Eve?)
The unwrapping was amazingly orderly, with AJ wanting to stop each time to play with the newest toy. Sydney, meanwhile, seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all. It took a couple of presents before she finally figured out how - with help - to rip the paper. With a flourish, she'd tear a strip and then hold it high in the air, exclaiming, "Ta dah!"
You wouldn't know it from the above photo, but we cleaned the living room right before we pulled out the presents. I love the fact that all the "kids" in the picture, including Maggie, are engrossed in their favorite new toys. AJ is playing with little knights and pirates. Sydney has cups and a doll's bottle. And Maggie is destroying her new squeaky toy. By morning, there was fiberfill everywhere!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I love this picture. Sydney pulled her favorite little chair up to the coffee table, then set up her "computer". Someday, if she decides to pursue a career that puts her behind a desk, we'll have to share this photo of her first "office".
A note about her headwear. Sydney has decided she likes cashmere. In particular, she likes Mommy's pink cashmere hat. During a recent venture outdoors, I couldn't find her hat, and so let her wear one of mine. Now she doesn't want to take it off. Even after we found her hat, she still wants this one.
This little girl better hope her desk job is a high-paying one, because she's already developing expensive tastes.
Monday, December 22, 2008
As we walked into the sanctuary Sunday, AJ looked around for the pastor and asked, "Where's the boss?"
Several people around us snickered, prompting AJ to protest, "The boss isn't funny. Only clowns are funny."
With a few minutes to go until church started, I decided to check out the nursery. I didn't think either of the kids would stay there without me, but amazingly, both quickly started playing with toys, so out the door I went.
Jeff and I actually got to pay attention to about 30 seconds of the service. And then we heard Sydney's wail. We turned to look and there was the lady from the nursery trying to juggle a squirmy Sydney under one arm, and her own baby in the other.
And so the service progressed, with Sydney now glued to me. As the children's sermon began, I felt a small twinge of guilt that AJ wasn't able to go up for it. Then, a little later, just as communion began, AJ suddenly appeared, carrying some of the toy dishes from the nursery. "I brought you some tea, Mom," he announced. He never really made it into the pew, before turning and dashing, "I have to go back." And then, a minute later, he was back again with more toy cups.
We kept AJ with us after that, and soon headed up front for communion. AJ kneeled quietly as the pastor blessed him, which was a relief because he's starting to question why he doesn't get "juice" like Mommy and Daddy do. And then it was our turn to go back to our seats. But wait! AJ, who had missed his chance to talk to "the boss" during the children's sermon, wasn't going to pass up this moment with him.
"I have to tell him something!" He insisted.
The pastor leaned over the railing. "What's that?"
AJ began telling him about the presents under his Christmas tree, and that Santa was bringing him knights and dinosaurs. AJ may have said more, but I didn't hear. Grateful that I was in charge of carrying Sydney, I abandoned Jeff to try and drag AJ away from the pastor, who was clearly amused by the unexpected conversation.
Mercifully, the service at last ended. It would have been nice to simply shake hands with each pastor and leave the church in an uneventful manner. But no. Pastor Tom kneeled down to AJ's level, "So you had more to tell me..."
Dear God, will it never end?
AJ this time decided to launch into the gory details of the "sharks and sea creatures" book he's been eyeing at Barnes and Noble, telling about his new favorite underwater monsters, the sea snake and sawfish, which is shown in the book slicing through a young man's leg. By this point, both pastors were laughing and assuring us how delightful this is.
Sure. Easy for them to say.
One positive note : AJ pointed to the stained glass window that depicts a nativity scene, announcing, "Look, there's baby Jesus." So we're making progress on that point.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Finally, on Friday, conditions created "The Perfect Storm". Temperatures climbed into the mid-teens and the winds died down on Mommy's day off. So outside we went to play!
Sydney, we quickly learned, does not like boots. She doesn't want to walk in them, and if she trips, she can't get back up. She's fine with the snowsuit, and is more than happy to be pulled around in the sled. Just don't expect her to do anything else.
AJ, meanwhile, had a blast sledding down the hill at the end of the driveway. It's not a very steep hill, but the snowbank created by plowing, makes it a little better. This is the first year he's been big enough to zip down the hill on his own. Of course, that also means he now has to trek back up on his own.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So I decided to try using props to make the story more real. I bought a small nativity set. As AJ pulled the pieces from the box, he noted the sheep and a cow. He then asked, "Is there a bear?"
"No, I don't think there were any bears in Bethlehem," I answered.
He next grabbed the three wise men and used them to start a wrestling match.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"These are the bad guys." He exclaimed.
I'm not going to give up. Meanwhile, I've found someone who's absolutely fascinated by the little people.
Ask her where's the baby, the sheep, the angel, the mommy, etc. She's knows them all!
'Tis the season of miracles. We'll get AJ to come around.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm not sure if his fascination is due to the sound the machine makes, the knowledge that he's destroying something, or maybe just the name "Shredder", which also happens to be the name of a bad guy in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whatever the reason, AJ loves to send paper through the teeth of death.
It gets a little annoying at times when I'm busy with something and he comes asking for more paper to shred. (Note to judges: I do stay with him when he's using the shredder and watch to make sure he's being careful, to prevent any fingers/clothes from getting caught) But when you've got a messy stack of old, unneeded statements piling up on and falling off of the counter, and a husband who's very paranoid about identity theft, AJ's love of shredding really creates a win-win situation.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
There is one thing I'm curious about, however. These are the same picky felines who yowl and even push the water dish around the kitchen if it's not filled to an acceptable level, or if perhaps the water temperature has dropped to room temperature. And yet, despite these high standards, they LOVE to push aside the tree skirt and drink the scummy water at the base of the tree.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Another blessing came late this evening - in the form of a pickup truck with a plow on the front. Thank goodness for wonderful neighbors. Cory was able to clear our driveway in about two minutes, something that I bet would have taken us an hour with the snowblower. Meanwhile, our neighbor on the other side called earlier in the day to make sure Jeff had made it home safely from Ripley. Otherwise, she was all set to send her husband over to help plow. There's nothing like 9-inches of snow (as of 6 p.m.) to remind me of what awesome neighbors we have.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I think I'm mostly over whatever bug made me miserable yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems to have moved on to Sydney. She threw up a little after 4 this morning. She then slept until 8:30, and woke up wanting to eat. The fact that she has any kind of apetite is hopefully a good sign that the worst is past for her now, too.
The only problem for AJ, meanwhile, is he's getting too smart for his own good. Sitting on the couch watching cartoons this morning, he asked me for a hug, which of course I was happy to give. After a few seconds, he pulled away, announcing, "That's enough. I don't want your germs."
A little while later, as I was reading the paper, I could see Maggie on the back step. I asked AJ to let her inside.
AJ responded by wrapping his arms around his mid-section and saying, "I can't. My tummy's starting to hurt."
I was concerned until a few minutes later - after I'd already gotten up to get Maggie - when he started bouncing around with a character on a cartoon. I said, "I thought you didn't feel good."
He responded, "I'm better now."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
She wasn't too excited by the pancakes or the sausage, but she was thrilled with the toppings. We'd poured syrup on the side of her plate to use as "dip" - something that usually works to get her to eat pancakes. But on this day, all she wanted to do was dip her fingers in the syrup and then lick them off. That is, until she discovered the butter packet. Yum!
Butter and syrup... the breakfast of champions.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
AJ made me very proud on Saturday. While at the mall to get his glasses fixed, we let the kids climb on one of the coin-operated rides. As the kids were playing, I could hear in the distance the ringing of a Salvation Army bell. I've always tried to give a little at each bucket I pass, and so I thought it would be a good idea to teach AJ to do the same.
As his ride came to a stop, I handed him two quarters and suggested he "go give them to the lady ringing the bell."
You should have seen the look on his face. He was standing in a coin-operated ride, with coins that could make the ride go again. And I was asking him give the quarters to someone else! (I hadn't thought about how tempting the timing would be for him, but in retrospect, it was a fabulous lesson.)
"Why, Mommy?" he asked me.
"Because when you put money in the red bucket, it goes to someone who doesn't have as many nice things as we have. There are kids out there whose mommies and daddies don't have enough money to give them good food or buy them nice presents. This money will help those kids so they can have presents, too."
That explanation clearly satisfied him. Nodding, AJ announced, "Okay!" and hopped down from the ride, then walked over to drop the money in the kettle.
A little later, shopping at a different store, we encountered another bell ringer. AJ noticed him first, grabbed my hand and said, "Mommy, we didn't give him money!"
Reaching into my pocket, I found a dollar, which he happily slipped into the slot.
I have a feeling this could get expensive. But if it encourages a lifetime of compassion and generosity to the less fortunate, then I'd say it's money very well spent.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I suppose I should be grateful that she's coming home with green hair at age 17 months rather than at 17 years.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Alas, it was not to be. We apparently packed in a few too many activities on Saturday. By the time we stopped for the tree, our two little elves were off to the place where visions of sugarplums could dance in their heads.
One funny note about buying the tree. For the last couple years, we've gotten our tree from a place just a few blocks from our church. This year, the guy who normally helps us was busy with another customer, so his wife came out to help. She wasn't able to help lift the tree onto the Explorer, so Jeff did it himself. As he was tying it down, the husband finally was freed up to help us. He looked at what Jeff had done, which apparently was not too aerodynamic, and said, "How far do you have to go? I normally try to tie the tree in the opposite direction."
We told him we lived less than two miles away, to which he replied, "Well then, you should be okay. At least you'll be able to get rid of all the dead needles that way."
That's looking on the bright side! I'm happy to report that we, and the tree, made it home safely.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The local school hosted a pancake breakfast with Santa. While waiting in line for pancakes, I realized that one of the lenses was missing from AJ's glasses. We searched the cafeteria and retraced our steps in the hallway. We left our name and number in case the lens turned up. On the way out, we looked in the parking lot and in the car. Nothing.
Luckily, we did find the lens at last - at home on the headboard of AJ's bed. That means Mommy and Daddy hadn't noticed the missing lens for over two hours, including when I put his patch on his glasses and took it off, which means I was holding the glasses in my hands.
So the good news is - the glasses have been fixed. We also finally bought a "back up" pair, something we've been talking about doing for two months, since the last time he broke a pair.
Back to the photo opp with Santa. AJ was quite excited to see jolly old St. Nick. Sydney, however, shook her head when she got close. As long as Daddy was holding her, she agreed to get this close:
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
A million thoughts flashed through my mind in roughly a split second. But none of them involved a fear that this was poisonous.
AJ's toy snake has been missing for months. How exciting that I was able to find it for him! Between lifting cushions and actually moving the entire couch, I didn't find the missing book, but I did discover all sorts of other treasures: 14 cents, four combs, two "hair pretties", a spoon, a fork, two toy mice (one of which Maddie proudly brought to us - howling - at 5 a.m. How nice!), a plastic spider, three other books, a small knight, about a half dozen legos, the camera's lens cap and enough animal fur to form a small pet. I am pretty excited about finding the lens cap. It's been missing for weeks.
And the missing library book? I finally found it about two hours later. It was in a bag of toys inside AJ's closet. Of course! I can't imagine why I didn't think to look there first.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
AJ, who was either trying to help, or perhaps has already figured out how to mess with his little sister, pulled out a small tote bag from the toy box and offered it to her. There was no way she could carry five things at once, so instead she started walking laps of sort. She'd carry a couple items from the fireplace to the couch, where she'd find some of the other items with handless. She'd switch up her loot a little, then walk back to the fireplace, to switch up again.
This kid's ready to go places. Just so long as her luggage has handles.
Of course I couldn't stop there. I do, after all, have way too many stamping/scrapbooking supplies that have been gathering dust in the last year. So I added decorations for "special" days. For instance, I know AJ will have two opportunities to see Santa before Christmas. So I stamped a Santa hat and stuck it on those days' links on the chain. Just for fun, I stamped candy canes and treats on a couple of days, so he can have an extra treat on those days, like the reindeer cookie he's happy to show off in this photo.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
While shopping over the weekend, she picked out the pink sweatsuit she's wearing (under the pink coat) in this photo. She gave me a decisive "noooooo" when I showed her an outfit I wanted to buy for her, then lunged at the pink one on the next rack, excitedly clapping her hands when I pulled it down for her to hold. At another store, when I picked up the pink hat that you see her wearing, she squealed with delight. She'd wear the hat all day if we let her.
Yet, she's not all frills and fluff. That glass in her hands is covered with superheroes. It's a reject from AJ (the holes in the top are too small, so milk comes out too slowly) so she quickly claimed it for herself.
Monday, December 1, 2008
'Cause we need a little Christmas, right this very minute...