Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Little Tweaking

Adelie has learned how to blow her nose.  She does it well.  It's a very useful skill.  But she doesn't seem to understand that a Kleenex is generally part of the equation.  If she's throwing a face-down-on-the-floor fit, she'll blow her nose on the carpet.  If I'm holding her, she'll use my shirt.  And if nothing is available, she'll just use her hand.  It's a good skill, but it could use a little tweaking.

Old Age

I don't worry about getting older.  The fact that my 37th birthday is quickly approaching doesn't phase me.  I may argue with my husband when he says that 37 is late 30's and not mid-30's.  (I still think it's mid.)  Would I prefer to have less gray hair?  Sure.  (Although I don't really blame that on age.  I blame that on my dad.  :))  Would I be okay with my 20 year old skin?  Body?  Abs?  You bet!  I realize how the years have passed when kids I used to baby-sit for have their own kids.  When some of the first children I saw in therapy are graduating from high school.  When kids who were born in 1998 are driving.  But all things considered, I don't feel old.

Well, until I went to the doctor this morning and got diagnosed with SHINGLES.  You know, that disease that you associate with those individuals over 65.  The one that you are likely to get if you live to be over 85.  Yup.  That's the one I've got.

Last week, I started having some low back pain and some tingling/numbness/itching to go along with it.  I attributed it to running while pushing the girls in the double stroller.  But it didn't go away, it didn't really feel like musculo-skeletal pain, and then I noticed what I thought was a bug bite in the midst of the problem region.  I started wondering if I got some weird spider bite or Lyme disease or some other random bug toxin coursing through my body causing my pain, so I went to my doctor to ease my mind.  But shingles???  Was not expecting that.

I still feel energetic.  Youthful.  Fun.  I don't think 37 is old.  In my mind, I still feel like I'm in my 20's.  But apparently my body thinks I'm 65.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Life with Adelie

This morning after church, I was upstairs changing the sheets for laundry day while Zach was starting lunch in the kitchen with the girls.  Adelie was playing with letter magnets on the refrigerator while Staley was standing on her big (2-step, ladder-type) step-stool at the kitchen counter helping Zach mix the pancake batter.  Staley needed to use the bathroom, so she climbed down and headed into the bathroom.  She called for Zach to help her get onto the potty.  By the time Zach returned to the kitchen (30-40 seconds later), Adelie had abandoned her magnets, climbed up Staley's step-stool, and was standing on the top step of the stepstool, a measuring cup in each hand, playing in the pancake batter.

And that, my friends, is life with Adelie.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Who Is She?

At 13 months, my Adelie is...

A climber
(The first time she did this, she was halfway up the ladder before I realized what she was doing.  There is nothing that she won't try to climb.  She has no fear.)

A walker
(She is a steady, sturdy, all-the-time walker now.)

A pretender
(She loves to sweep, feed her baby dolls, put on necklaces, and 'talk' on the phone.)

A wild one
(She loves to climb, empty shelves, eat things she finds on the ground, wrap things around her neck, walk quickly away from me when we are outside, play on the steps, and generally engage in activities that make me nervous...and then scream about being removed from these activities.)

Happy
(Unless she is being removed from one of the above-mentioned activities, she is one happy little girl.)

Sweet
(Adelie loves to give hugs, share her toys, and blow kisses.  And she always has a smile for everyone.)

Funny
(Adelie loves to make us laugh.  She will fall over, put random things on her head, growl, spit, and tackle her sister.  If anything she does makes us laugh, she'll do it over and over and over again.  I sense a class clown in our future.)

Easy
(Yes, she's active and into everything.  That's not always easy.  But she is a great eater, a good sleeper, and easily entertained.  She likes to go on outings, and is generally happy to hang out in her stroller or a shopping cart.  She likes being around people, happily staying in the church nursery or with her baby-sitter.  Active, yes.  But also easy.)

She is Adelie.  My adventurous, wild, happy, funny, sweet, active, adorable little toddler.  She fills my life with joy...and a few extra gray hairs.






Friday, April 25, 2014

Question of the Day

Which would you rather have me post?

A cute, sweet picture like this of my delightful little girl?


Or a blog about this sweet face all splotchy and red from melting down when I inadvertently put her hair into a high ponytail braid instead of a low ponytail braid?

Because, unfortunately, both were a part of our day.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cinderella

One of the things that I find most fun about the girls getting older is there are more and more activities that they can do.  A few weeks ago, I took Staley to see the Cinderella ballet.  (The last time Zach came with me to a ballet, he commented that it was 2 hours of his life that he'll never get back.  Needless to say, he stayed home with Adelie.)  My mom was a ballerina when she was younger (and has taught Staley a few ballet moves), so she joined us for a fun girl's outing.

Since it was a special Staley day, she got to choose where we ate.  However, since her choice was (of course) McDonald's, we instead went through the drive-through, got her a Happy Meal, and then were THOSE people who take a McDonald's Happy Meal into another restaurant.

At lunch with Grammie

Staley enjoyed the ballet.  For a performance with no talking and no singing, Staley followed the story pretty well.  When Cinderella would leave the stage, Staley would always ask where she had gone or when she'd be back.  She asked lots of questions about what different characters were doing or why they were acting a certain way or where they had gone.  And for a performance with no talking and no singing and some unnecessarily L-O-N-G dance sequences (even I was getting a little antsy with a few of the scenes), Staley attended to the performance really well.

Waiting for the show to begin

However, the highlight for Staley was getting to meet the dancers after the play.  She met the fairy godmother, the stepsisters, and the stepmother.  But the kicker?  She got to meet Cinderella AND sit in the pumpkin carriage.  Winner, winner!!

Holding the fairy godmother's wand

Posing with the stepmother
Beautiful and graceful?  Yes.  Evil?  Not so much.

Chilling with Cinderella in the pumpkin carriage

I love enjoying my little girls being little.  But as they grow, I look forward to more of these special days and the memories of the fun activities that we can share.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Mind's Picture

Sometimes I don't have my camera with me.  (Not often.  But sometimes.)  And so I have to take a visual snapshot of moments that make me smile.

During my run this morning, Staley wanted to get out of the double stroller and run with me.  So as I'm running and pushing Adelie in the stroller, Staley is running slightly in front of me along the paved path through the woods.  She's wearing a big, floofy tutu with a sparkly flower bow in her hair.  She's holding 3 wilty dandelions in each hand.  She has good running form, pumping her arms back and forth as she is moving along quickly with long strides that make her look so grown up to me.  And she's looking down as she runs, weaving back and forth across the path.  As she's running, she tells me, "I have to look at my feet when I'm running to see how fast I'm going."

Watching my little girl, all gussied up as if she's going to a party, pumping her arms back and forth while keeping a tight grip on her dandelions as she races along the path was one of those moments where I wish I had a camera.  But since I didn't, I took a mental picture...and I'm recording it here.

The Meaning of Easter

I know the true reason we celebrate Easter.  I realize that the dresses and get-togethers and egg hunts and baskets are the clutter around the simple truth--that our Savior is alive!  And I think, in the midst of our busy Easter celebration yesterday, God was trying to remind me of that truth.

You see, yesterday was not a stellar day for our family.  And it was not a stellar day for me as a mother.  It was a good day, yes.  It had some great moments.  But adding together the good and the bad, our average for yesterday did not equal stellar.  We had a busy day planned.  And from the get-go, Staley was just having an off-day.  There were tears about her Easter dress...and her socks and her shoes and her hairstyle.  There were tears about not having enough time to color her Easter picture.  There were tears about trying to use the bathroom.  There were tears about her sister playing with her toys.  And that was all just before church.  And in the midst of the tears and the resistance, my lack of patience shone through.  My frustration with her behavior was no secret to anyone in our house.  And the mother that I wish I was in those moments was nowhere to be seen.

We had good moments yesterday.  The weather was beautiful.  Our church service was good.  We enjoyed time with both sides of the family.  The girls found Easter eggs and Easter basket treats.  But then there were my frustrations.  Like when my corn casserole didn't cook fast enough, making us late for our first family gathering.  Or when I accidentally hit a dial on my camera, making all the pictures from our second family gathering (including those of my whole family together, which we never get a chance to take) turn out so dark that you couldn't even see anyone's face.  Or the continued tears that ended our day with a daughter crying in her bed over lost bedtime privileges and one worn out mother.  And as I collapsed on the couch after the girls were in bed, I reflected on the day.  And I realized that THIS is what my Easter story is about.  It's about being an imperfect person.  A person who loses their patience and raises their voice.  A person who lets mild frustrations take over, causing them to be short with the people they love most.  It's about looking into the mirror of the day and seeing some ugliness that you want to hide.  And it's about a God who loves this very imperfect person SO much that He gave his one and only Son to die.   For me.  To take away my ugliness.  My impatience.  My frustrations.  My selfishness.  And to give me a fresh start to try again....every.single.day.

It may not have been a stellar day...but it was another perfect Easter.

Some cousin pictures...

...turned out better than others.

But Easter egg hunts,

candy to squish,

and time with family made for fun Easter memories.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Question of the Day

If you haven't played with it in months and probably forgot you even had it, can you really justify acting like it's your favorite toy ever...just because your baby sister is playing with it?

If you ask Staley, apparently the answer is yes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reading and Talking

Okay, so reading might imply a bit more than she is doing, but Staley is learning how to sound out words.  She knows her letters and the sounds they make, and in the past 2 weeks has made the connection that putting all those sounds together will make a word.  And now she LOVES to try to read things around her.  So far, her successes have been mostly 2, 3, and 4 letter words with the typical letter sounds.  She can read words like 'cat', 'snap', 'up', hug'.  Words with letter blends (like 'boy' or 'that') or multiple vowels (like 'meat' or 'four') are tricky.  Staley needs help knowing which sound (long 'e' or short 'e', /s/ or /k/ for 'c') to use for which word.  She still gets mixed up sometimes with the letters 'P', 'B', and 'D' and the sounds for 'G', 'Q', 'X', and 'Y'.  And lower case letters can throw her for a loop.  We're still a long way from sitting down to read a book (or even a 6 letter word).  But watching Staley sound out H-A-T and, with a huge smile of epiphany, say "hat"  makes me proud.

While her big sister is learning to decipher written communication, Adelie is trying to figure out this verbal communication thing.  She has mastered screaming as an effective way to get noticed, but we're working on other modes of communication to make her needs known.  She now has 6 signs-'more', 'eat', 'drink', 'milk', 'book', and 'all done'.  I'm not convinced that she's totally grasped all their meanings, as she will often sign more-eat-drink all together at mealtime when wanting something.  Just covering all her bases, I guess.  Or I'll ask if she's done, and she'll sign 'all done' followed immediately by 'more'.  So we've got a little more work to do, but it's a start.  As far as verbal communication, Adelie's still consistent with 'dada'.  She'll say 'dog' and 'duck', 'sissy' and 'sock'.  She will occasionally say 'mama'.  I've heard 'up', 'down', and 'yes' on one or two occasions.  She'll tell you what sound a dog makes and a truck makes.  And the other day, she clearly called out 'Elliott' several times as she was walking after her big cousin.  But her go-to sound is 'da'.  She'll often point at things and say 'da' or hold out something and say 'da' or, when asked to repeat a word, say 'da'.  So when we ask her to use her words, at least Adelie has a few choices now.

I love watching my girls grow and learn.  Reading and talking.  Talking and reading.  Both are great skills to have, but I'm kinda pushing for the talking right now.  I still love reading to Staley.  On the other hand, the screaming for communication?  I could do without that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Stain

It's amazing the little things that our kids do that reflect what they see in us.  That phrase you don't realize you use so often.  Facial expressions, hand gestures, body movements, personality quirks.  Our children absorb all these little parts of us, and then we see them coming back to us from these tiny little packages.

Staley is no exception.  There are so many things she says and does that mirror what she sees and hears from us every day.  Some of these things are really cute, like the other night when Zach gave her a drink of water and she responded, "Thanks, man!"  Or when she tells Adelie, "You are something else!"  But lately I've been seeing some of my tendencies come out of Staley in a way that makes me rethink things a little bit.

I am not a neurotic neat freak.  But I am organized.  I make the girls clean up before we move on to another play area.  I often vacuum after dinner, do the dishes after meals, and make sure all the toys are put away before bedtime.  And I like to keep our clothes stain-free.  To that end, I will sometimes have Staley wear a bib or change out of a nice white dress/shirt if we're sitting down to a messy meal.  If the girls spill blackberry jam or tomato sauce on an outfit, I will often have them change so I can spray it/wash it before the stain sets.  We still paint.  We dig in the dirt and jump in puddles.  I just want to preserve clothing as best as we can.

Lately, however, Staley has become very concerned about staining.  As we sit down to a meal, Staley will often ask "Does this stain?"  She has occasionally passed on favorite foods (like skipping jam on her roll or ketchup with her nuggets) if she's wearing a white shirt or a favorite outfit.  If she spills a little something on her shirt, she will often ask for a Shout wipe right away to get it clean.  I want to keep her clothes looking nice, but not at the expense of my daughter not enjoying her meals or her activities for fear that something won't come out in the wash.

In the same way, cleaning has always been something that Staley likes to do with me.  I used to think she just liked doing 'big girl' activities, but now I realize that she might be a little bothered by messes (kind of like her mama).  At her second birthday party, we did an activity where the kids had to find objects hidden in buckets of rice.  When finished with the game, Staley noticed all the rice on the floor and rushed off to get her little broom so she could sweep it up.  After meals, she often gets her little broom to sweep up the crumbs under her chair.  Helping me cook usually results in Staley doing the dishes and sweeping/mopping the floor when we're done.  If something rips, Staley is quick to bring it to me so it can be taped back together.  Cleanliness and orderliness seem to be finding their way into Staley.

Learning some of these skills early isn't all bad.  Picking up, helping with chores, eating neatly.  These are all things that I want my girls to learn how to do.  However, I don't want learning these skills to be accompanied by anxiety.  I want them to enjoy the mess and chaos that comes with being a kid.  I didn't think I'd made a big deal about stains and messes and cleaning, but obviously enough to have made an impression on Staley.  So I need to rethink my approach, change my response, and shift my focus.  I want my children to enjoy a happy, messy, carefree childhood...and not end up in therapy because of an irrational fear of 'the stain.'

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Here?

Spring MIGHT finally be here.  We've had more than a few nice days recently.  We've done outside activities, gone on several walks, and noticed that the college baseball season is underway.  I packed away the winter coats, and we are all even wearing short sleeved shirts today.  I'm not busting out the shorts and flip-flops yet, but I think we're on our way.  I sure hope so!

Planting flowers

Finding outside things to climb on

Playground fun with Aunt Carrie

So excited that the carousel is open again at the zoo

Come on, spring.  We're ready for you!!




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why Proper Enunciation Helps

Staley:  "I want to do fours."
Me:  "Fours?"
Staley:  "No.  Fours.  Like at our vacation house."
Me:  "Floors?"
Staley: "No.  Fours."
Me:  "I'm not understanding what you are talking about.  Can you describe it for me?"
Staley:  "Well,...it's fours."
Me:  "Is it a food?  Is it something you play?"
Staley:  "It's a food.  Like at our vacation house."
Me:  "Oh!  S'mores!!"

Friday, April 4, 2014

What I Really Want to Do...

...is spend 3 hours at a doctor's appointment with my 1 year old and my 3 year old, said no one ever.

Adelie has had a blocked tear duct in her right eye since birth.  We have been waiting for her to turn 1, hoping it would go away and knowing that if it didn't, she'd have to have surgery.  It hasn't gone away, so today we went to the eye doctor for what I thought was going to be a quick, simple "yes, that's what it is" appointment and to schedule her surgery.  Well, 3 hours, 4 examiners, and 1 doctor later we now know that Adelie has a blocked tear duct in her right eye and will need surgery.

I am not the world's most patient person.  I know this about myself.  I refuse to wait more than 30 minutes at a restaurant to be seated.  If there is a long line at the check-out, I often decide that whatever I am buying can wait.  Traffic jams are excruciating.  And spending my whole morning in one waiting room after another after another...let's just say that I was as fussy and irritable as my tired, hungry, bored baby.

All things considered, my girls did great.  I can't imagine having a very active toddler or a high maintenance infant and making it through a morning like this.  Because my girls are generally easy, and by the end, we were all getting pretty antsy.  We initially saw one examiner who did an exam and dilated Adelie's eyes.  Then we waited for almost an hour (luckily they were playing 'Frozen' in this waiting room and there was a little chair that Adelie enjoyed climbing on and off) before being taken to another room where we saw 3 more individuals BEFORE the doctor ever came in.  This little room did not have 'Frozen' or a little chair.  It just had the minimal toys/snacks that we had packed, my phone, and lots of doctor equipment that I was trying to keep Adelie from playing with.  Each time the door opened and someone other than the doctor came in, I had a hard time keeping the annoyance in my voice to a minimum.  3 times.  3 different people came in to do different things or ask different questions before the doctor FINALLY came in...and verified what we already knew  (I know.  I know.  Proper procedures.  Following protocols.  Being thorough.  All good things.  But 3 hours for a 1 year old's appointment.  Really??)  And just when I thought it was over, we had to go to yet another waiting room to wait and meet with the surgery counselor and finally, the scheduler.  When it was all said and done, we were 3 hours in, an hour past lunch, and ready for nap-time.  The fact that we only had a few Adelie tears and a little Staley sassiness was pretty remarkable.  I was proud of my girls...and myself.  Because of the 3 of us, I might have been the closest to a melt-down.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In the Moment

I blog because I don't want to forget.  I don't want to forget what my girls are like at any given time.  I know I will remember vacations and the big firsts, but I don't want to forget the little things that make this moment in time so unique.  I want to remember these little moments that fill my heart and make me smile.

Right now, I want to remember...
...how Staley puts one of her stuffed animals in Adelie's crib each night before bed, and always asks in the morning if she liked sleeping with it.
...how Adelie is understanding more and more, and smiles so huge when she correctly identifies her tummy and toes.
...how, after everyone was misunderstanding that her doll's name is Melody, Staley has been over-enunciating her 'L's and practicing with all the 'L' words she can think of.
...how Adelie loves to wash her hands, and starts to rub her hands together at the mention of hand washing.
...how Staley, who has always been more of a stuffed animal girl, has grown especially fond of her doll from Aunt Jan and Uncle Jack.  She named her 'Melody' (after Ariel's daughter in Little Mermaid II), and Melody goes everywhere with us.  Today Staley actually forgot Yellow Bear at home when she took Melody to her baby-sitters, and that made me a little sad.
...how Adelie is a little clown and loves to make us laugh.  Staley finds Adelie so amusing, and Staley's laughter will keep Adelie spitting or putting DVDs on her head over and over and over again.
...how Staley is Ariel and I am Prince Eric and Zach is King Triton and Adelie is 'little Ariel' every. single. day.
...how Adelie's favorite thing to do is walk around holding something, and how she always finds the biggest book to carry around with her, throwing off her balance and making me worry that she's going to drop it on her toes.
...how Staley will name off a long list of random letters in a row (often all consonants) and then ask me what it spells.
...how Adelie always says 'awwww' when she gives me a hug, and how she will hug her dolls and stuffed animals in such a sweet way.
...how Staley is suddenly afraid of being in the tub when the water is draining, but always makes sure to get the bath toys and washcloths out too.
...how my girls can reach one another from their car seats now, and will hand toys back and forth or hold hands while we drive somewhere.
...how Adelie lights up when she sees her sister, and how Staley is so sweet to her baby sister.
...how these two girls fill my heart each and every day.

My days are full of these little moments-these little moments that make me smile.  And I don't want to forget.