Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I don't think it was a coincidence. Sunday just happened to be the morning our church dedicated its new stained glass windows. (I wrote a news release about it, and am happy to say two of the three TV stations covered the service.)
Both kids were excited to at last be able to play outside. Our original plan was for AJ and Jeff to go out and play while Sydney napped. This would give me some quiet time to work on a freelance article.
But when Sydney heard the word "outside," she went running, only to reappear moments later with her snowsuit in hand. How do you say no to that? Remembering that she'd fallen asleep in her stroller just two weeks ago, we decided this was a perfect plan B. We ended up making two trips around the block before she finally fell asleep, but I figure the extra fresh air and exercise was good for all of us.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Maybe I should send this photo to Better Homes and Gardens. They could run it along with an article entitled, "Kitchens: the new living room."
Ironically, I suspect if I just wait a few years, my kitchen will seem good as new.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Earlier this week, our normally small river swelled quite a bit and was moving at a pretty good pace, but I think the worst has passed. From our house, the water level looks much higher than usual, but when I walked down closer, it's really not as extreme as it seems. Though it was. Everywhere that you see snow in this picture was flooded with water that's now frozen. That's why the snow hasn't melted. This is the area we cleared last summer. In other words, it's normally dry ground.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I've figured out that giving two kids a bath at the same time in our big tub, in the end, saves both time and water (not to mention energy because I don't have to fight to get them to do it.) So last night, I asked the kids if they wanted to go "swimming".
"Yeah!" was AJ's enthusiastic reply. "In your bathtub!"
Sydney, meanwhile, gave non-verbal confirmation by running into her room and grabbing a swim diaper. She then ran into the bathroom to grab her and AJ's swimsuits. She knows the routine!
Once AJ had changed into his suit, he ran through the house shouting, "We're going to the beach!"
A few minutes later, with Sydney happily in the water, I noticed AJ still sitting on the tub's outer ledge.
"Why aren't you in the water?" I asked.
"I'm the life guard."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"Energy and persistence alter all things" - Benjamin Franklin
At what point does perseverance given way to stubbornness? Or, since we're talking about a toddler, perhaps we should question if perseverance was ever part of the equation. It could be all stubbornness.
AJ and Daddy had climbed the big steps from the Children's Museum to the main floor of the Depot, so of course Sydney wanted to do it, too. Never mind that she's too short to reach the railing. Crawling one step at a time (with Mommy close behind), she reached the top. Eventually. And boy was she proud of herself. She then ran through the Great Hall, shouting and savoring the sound of her echoing voice.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
To encourage sharing, when I give Sydney a treat, I give her an extra and tell her to give one to AJ. I discovered recently just how important this routine is to Sydney.
AJ was happily drawing on his easel in another room when Sydney followed me into the kitchen. I needed to run downstairs for a minute, and so to distract her, I offered her a cookie. She happily accepted, but then stood there pointing at the cookie jar, repeatedly saying, "AJ. AJ." Thank goodness there was one more cookie left. I handed it to her and off she ran, calling for her big brother, happy to share the wealth.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Yes, I will someday look back at "ye olden days" and miss this stage very much.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I realize that in this part of the country, spring - by necessity - is more a state of mind than a description of current weather conditions. But a week of sun and above average temps allowed me to pretend.
And then this.
I should not have to play the towel game with a snow-covered dog on the first day of spring. At least Maggie liked it.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Meanwhile, here's a look from the base of the stairs:
As far as I can tell, here's what's left to do: trim, doors and flooring in the family room and guest room. Meanwhile, the bathroom still needs work. We've got a shower (minus the door) and a lightbulb. Not quite functional, but impressive nonetheless when you consider it was just five weeks ago that we embarked on this adventure.
There's been no sign of the builders this morning. I don't really mind. It's kind of nice to be home on a Friday without worrying about air quality. Two weeks ago it was dust. Last week it was paint fumes. Yes, clean air is nice.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
She has some very strict ideas about who sits where and what they should be served. Sometimes she'll even talk with them as she feeds them, explaining what they're eating. To make sure they've understood, she then nods at them and asks, "Okay?"
Once all is finally in order, the little mother hen allows herself to relax with a nice cup of "Dora" (yogurt).
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
"AJ, why are you making a mess with the Scrabble game?" I asked.
He responded, "I'm playing."
He then caught himself and gave a second answer that was sure to allow him to get away with what he was doing, "I'm learning."
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Yesterday, while working on the computer, I turned to my right and saw Sydney emerge from behind the easel. And she was chewing on something.
My first concern was that she was sampling some chalk. I needn't have worried.
While not consuming anything toxic, my little sweetheart does seem on her way to a pretty good sugar rush.
Note the container of wipes in the bottom of the photo, along with the many wipes she'd already pulled out. Those are her other favorite collectibles. I have discovered that by re-wetting them under the faucet, I can fool her into re-using those. Thank goodness!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Such was the case when AJ found a silly "Hello, Kitty" Happy Meal toy watch that belonged to Sydney. Sydney has never shown any interest in it. Until she saw her brother playing with it.
Sydney tried to grab it. AJ yanked it away with such force that Sydney fell down. Of course the drama queen started to cry. I reminded AJ that he needed to be more gentle, and that the watch belonged to Sydney. I also told him to say "Sorry" to his sister.
"But I had it first!" he whined.
"Yes, but did you ask her if you could play with it?"
At that point, he started sassing, so I told him it was "time out" time. (This is the discipline they do at daycare, and AJ considers it a fate worse than death.)
"I don't want a time out!" he shouted at me.
"That's it," I told him. "Then you are going to your room." Suddenly the issue wasn't his treatment of his sister, but his response to me.
AJ threw down the watch and ran to his room.
And then a funny thing happened. Sydney, who'd stopped crying to watch this all unfold, picked up the watch and followed AJ into his room. Sydney said, "Sow-wy" and handed AJ the watch. AJ then gave her a hug and invited her to climb on his bed. He then said sorry to me and gave me a hug.
A little later I could hear AJ happily "reading" to Sydney, telling her all about the sharks and sea creatures in his book. Peace was restored.
And neither of them have shown any interest since in that blessed "Hello, Kitty" watch.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sydney is "dancing" in this photo. It's her signature elbow move. We downloaded an album of 30 toddler songs, and she loves it! She'd carry the iPod all over the house if I let her.
And I've learned a new verse to "Wheels on the bus." Did you know the gas on the bus goes glug, glug, glug? Hadn't heard that one before. Bonus!
AJ, meanwhile, now associates computers with songs and games. He's happy listening to the :30 second snippets in the iStore. He points to the various graphics and says, "Play that one. Play that one."
Incidentally, he has no clue what he's doing in the photo above, despite how authoritative he looks. He climbed up and announced, "Let's listen to music."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I was so sure I'd be stuck at home and would have plenty of time to come up with something. Afterall, a blizzard was bearing down on us, destined to dump 14-16 inches. Schools (and thus daycare) would surely close. I spent my last 10 minutes at work yesterday grabbing job folders, figuring out which projects I could work on from home.
And then a funny thing happened.
It didn't snow that much.
I haven't heard an official snow total for our area, but Duluth got a mere five inches. I have to admit, I'm feeling a bit like a child who'd been counting on school being closed. Now I have to get back into a "work" frame of mind.
Coincidentally, I can hear a plow outside right now. I guess that's the best sign of all that I better get going.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The tub was pretty much clean by that point, so I did what any resourceful mother would do. I found an extra sponge and suggested we start on the shower.
“Why, ain’t that work?”
Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know it suits Tom Sawyer.”
“Oh, come now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”
The brush continued to move.“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
Monday, March 9, 2009
He's close on the lyrics, but not quite there. AJ's rendition of the timeless classic:
"Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the strike.
Mommy will be the crackerjack.
I don't care if I EVER come back.
So let's root, root, root for the Twi-ins.
If they don't win it's a shame.
'cause it's five, four, three strikes you're out at the old ball game!"
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Nevertheless, I've been quite proud of myself for figuring out how to download music and use the iPod Jeff gave me for my birthday.
And then, in an instant, Sydney demonstrated that while my iPod may be a cool toy, it's not as cool as an iPhone. Grabbing it off the table, she held it to her ear and said, "Hi. Hi."
Sorry, honey. I haven't graduated to the all-in-one gadget yet.
Friday, March 6, 2009
And then I stepped out of the shower.
And any benefits of those relaxing, brief minutes were instantly gone.
When you see a pile of stuff that had been in the closet, now piled up in the doorway... with a curious dog overseeing it all... you can bet there's an interesting story involved.
A quick survey of the scene revealed Sydney still in the bathroom, but now looking like she'd just gone a round with a boxer. Funny, I hadn't heard any screams or cries. Thankfully, the "bruises" came from Mommy's eye shadow, and were easily wiped off. Sydney had managed to get into my make-up bag.
And where was AJ?
THAT'S why the closet's contents were now on the floor.
"Mom, can you shut the door tight. I'm taking a nap."
"Really? Why don't you go sleep in your bed?"
"I'm not tired. I was just kidding."
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sydney fell in the dog's water dish, which I already knew. What I did not know is that AJ apparently has figured out how to turn on the camera. That's something I just discovered while transfering pictures to the computer. Hmmmm... I don't remember taking these shots...
At least Sydney doens't seem bothered by the wet pants. Say "cheese" for your brother, my little ham!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Sydney seems to love Mommy's favorite flavor - mixing together mint and chocolate shakes. But AJ always has to be different. This is, after all, the same kid who likes olives. AJ wanted a strawberry shake instead.
And they certainly are making progress. After two weeks of work, we now have lights, walls and a ceiling. (Plus a new window frame and metal studs on two walls to compensate for problems created by our original builder.) Those six gallon pails on the right lead me to believe that taping/mudding is next.
To take this photo, I'm standing in the middle of what will be the family room, looking at where we'll set up our work-out equipment. The hallway on the left leads back to a bathroom, bedroom and storage area.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
AJ hasn't lost his interest in coloring. He's just changed his preferred medium. Below is his impersonation of a monster, using bathtub paints.
And this? Well, that's just AJ being his typically messy self, enjoying ice cream cake. Why? Because "sometimes that's what 4-year-old preschoolers like to do, Mom."