Zach's grandma said it best when she told us, "You have a beautiful family. Kinda loud, but a beautiful family." How right she was! And we sure love our loud, crazy, fun, active, silly, loving, chaotic, beautiful family.
Why is it that you can't wait for your children to start saying "Mama", but then they start saying it ALL THE TIME and then there are days that all you want is for them to stop saying it, just for a few minutes?
I am so thankful for my girls. I am so thankful that they have the ability to speak. I am so thankful to be their Mama. But I am also thankful for those rare moments of peace and quiet in my day.
Staley has been cracking me up lately with the things that she says.
The other night at bedtime, Staley asked if she could read two long books before bed including one that had chapters. When I told her "sure", she asked if we could read all the chapters in her chapter book. I said, "Why not?" Ecstatically, Staley exclaimed, "Mommy is out of control!"
When putting on her shoes the other morning, Staley said, "I can't wear my Dora shoes. They are crazy tight."
The other day, I bought a new purse. This morning we had this conversation:
Staley: "I really like your new purse, Mommy."
Staley: "Was it on sale?"
Me: "Yes. It was on a good sale AND I had a coupon."
Staley: "So it was on double sale. Good thinking, Mommy."
Staley and Zach had this conversation the other day:
Staley: "Daddy, what are you going to be for the costume ball?" (Yes, she's still talking about the costume ball.)
Zach: "Maybe I'll be a pirate."
Staley: "Ummm, no. I'll give you some choices. You could be a Bear's fan, a bear, a pirate, a dragon, or a wizard."
Zach: "Okay, then I'll be a dragon."
Staley: "Hmmmm....I think a wizard would be better."
And yesterday we went swimming as a family at the State Farm pool. Staley was going down the little water slide all by herself, not even needing me to catch her at the bottom. I said, "Staley, when did you get so grown up?" And she responded, "Oh, about 5 minutes ago."
Sometimes it really does feel like that.
My little girl who's growing up way too fast
And not to leave her out, Adelie has been saying more things lately too. Not exceptionally funny or clever things, but words like 'Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, Anna, Elsa (noticing a theme??), Uma, Grammie, Grandpa, Lila, elephant, fruit. And when all else fails, she still has "Da!"
And don't mind the scraped up face. A little tumble down the front porch steps isn't going to slow my little girl down.
Growing up, I always wanted a sister. Not that I didn't/don't love my brothers, but I always imagined sharing clothes, doing hair, telling secrets, and having this special friendship that no else could understand with my sister. (To be truly honest, I always wanted a twin sister that I could switch places with and fool our teachers and friends--probably reading a little too much 'Sweet Valley Twins' back then.) But I always imagined this special bond that sisters have.
And it may be too early. I know things can change. But I just love how much my daughters dote on each other right now. They play together. They dance together. They share toys and snacks and water. They hold hands. They wash each other in the bath. They make each other laugh. It just warms my heart to see how much love they have for each other. And I hope that, as they get older, they will enjoy sharing clothes, doing hair, telling secrets, and keeping this special friendship that they've started.
This morning, I had already asked Staley to come to the table for breakfast several times. When I walked out of the kitchen with the last of the breakfast food, she was still not at the table.
Me: "STALEY JEANNE!! Come to the table right now!!!"
Staley: (from the playroom) "Coming, Mama!" (as she happily ran into the dining room)
Me: "I do not appreciate having to tell you something lots of times. If you don't listen when I tell you something, you will lose a privilege."
Staley: "I was listening."
Me: "Well, then you weren't obeying."
Staley: "No. But I was listening."
I may have to be clearer about my expectations. I guess reminding Staley to be a good listener isn't going to cut it anymore.
Staley got a coupon for a free individual-sized pizza as one of her reading prizes for the library summer reading program. She was so excited to use it, so we went to Monical's today so she could redeem her coupon. As the waitress walked up to our table, Staley proudly held up her coupon for the waitress to see. The waitress asked, "What kind of pizza do you want?" And Staley said, "Free."
Both my girls can be very typical for their age. Staley is a typical 3 year old who wants her independence, has definite opinions, is enthusiastic about life in general, and cracks me up with the things she says. Adelie is the typical almost 16-month old who is happy, busy, loud, and is always trying to keep up with her big sister. But then there are things about my daughters right now that are definitely unique to them.
1. Adelie always removes her right shoe and sock in the car or the stroller. Just the right one.
2. Staley still has her imaginary friend named 'Gage.' (He's been around for about a year now.) He is consistently part of her conversation. She will often tell me about things that Gage says or does. And she likes to tell me about things that she and Gage do together including going to carnivals, riding horses, seeing movies, and going swimming. Apparently Gage is teaching Staley to swim without her puddle jumper. Not sure how well an imaginary friend is at life saving techniques, but Staley has the utmost confidence in him.
3. Adelie often reads books upside down, especially in the car. In the car, I'd estimate that the books that she is reading are upside down about 75% of the time.
4. Staley always sleeps with 2 stuffed animals. She holds Yellow Bear while she sleeps, but she insists that her unicorn, Goldie, is under the covers at her feet.
5. Adelie has recently started walking around on her tiptoes intermittently throughout the day. Not sure why.
6. Staley insists on wearing socks to bed for rest time and at night. Even if it's hot out. Even if she's going to be under the covers anyway. Always, always socks.
7. Adelie is always thirsty. If she sees a drink (a water bottle, a sippy cup, my drink, her drink, anyone's drink), she just HAS to have something to drink. We change plenty of sheets after naps or in the morning, and have to consistently remind her not to drink water out of the water table or the bathtub.
8. Staley has been spending the past month talking about making her butterfly queen costume for the costume ball. Not for Halloween. For the costume ball. And she doesn't want to order it from the computer or buy it from the store. She wants to get 'supplies' to make this costume. When I explain that I don't know how to sew, she reassures me that she can teach me. It has been a constant topic of conversation for at least a month. I just haven't yet figured out what 'supplies' she needs, what her vision for this costume is, and how we are going to make this happen.
9. Zach has a massage stick that he uses on his legs after he runs. It is Adelie's very favorite thing to walk around carrying...this stick that's almost as tall as she is.
10. We recently were given a CD from China with nursery rhymes sung in Chinese. Obviously my girls don't understand a word of it...and it's currently Staley's favorite CD. (Thanks, Uncle Eric!)
There are many things that are typical about my girls. Likes, dislikes, interests, behaviors, milestones. So many things that are representative of all children their ages. But then there are those things that make them so unique. And I want to remember all the little things that make my girls who they are right now...the typical and the unique.
Adelie and 'the stick'
Staley with paper towels stuffed into her shirt, hair, and bracelets in one attempt to make a butterfly queen costume
My singing, dancing, entertaining daughter is on her way to becoming an official ballerina. She is 3 weeks into a 6 week class at the Peoria Ballet where she takes ballet and tap dancing lessons. The parents don't get to go into the classroom, but we watch the class on a TV screen. Even on the small screen, I can see Staley doing everything the teacher asks her to do, holding hands with her new friends, and dancing her little heart out. She may not yet be exhibiting grace and poise, but she's definitely got the enthusiasm.
The other night I was reading a book to Adelie. It had various objects on each page and I was asking Adelie to identify the objects. I said, "Adelie, where's the strawberry?" She pointed to the strawberry. I asked, "Adelie, where's the ladybug?" She pointed to the ladybug. I asked, "Adelie, where's the button?" And she patted her belly button.
He sure does love his family. He loves them so much that he takes days off work to have extra family time. He loves them so much that he is always coming home with special treats. He loves them so much that he doesn't even take a moment to unwind after work before jumping into 'Daddy-mode.' He loves them so much that he makes sure his free time is kept especially for them.
I have always known that his little girls are his world. I have always known he would do anything for us. I have no doubt that his family is his top priority. But when Zach told me with tears in his eyes that he has decided to sell his motorcycle because he just couldn't take the risk that his daughters might have to grow up without a father, his love for his family had never been more evident to me.
Just as being a Chicago Bear's fan has defined Zach for most of his life, so has his love for motorcycles. His dad likes to tell me (probably just to see the shock and disapproval on my face) about how he would drive Zach around on the front of his motorcycle as an infant. Zach may not remember his first motorcycle rides, but can tell you with enthusiasm about the bikes he's had, the trips he's taken, the blissful feeling that riding gives him. And the fact that the joy that riding gives Zach no longer outweighs the risks of that distracted driver, that texting teen, that startled deer...well, that speaks volumes to how Zach feels about his family.
This decision was Zach's and Zach's alone. And all I can say is...he sure does love his family. And his family sure loves him too!!
We had another wonderful 4th of July. Apart from the "incident" mentioned in yesterday's post, it was an otherwise perfect day. Beautiful weather, fun activities, cute outfits, family, food, fireworks. All the things I love about the 4th of July wrapped up into the perfect little package of yesterday.
Happy about 4th of July festivities
We started our day with the annual 4th of July parade at Uma and Papa's house. Both girls LOVED the parade. Adelie waved at each and every float that drove past. And although Staley covered her ears for the fire trucks, at least she didn't cover her ears for the whole parade in anticipation of the fire trucks like she did last year. Progress!!
Here comes the parade!!
Adelie is pretty serious about her parade watching...and parade candy.
After the parade, we stayed at Zach's parents house to enjoy a 4th of July feast with Zach's extended family. Although the Bradford cousins were in St. Louis this year, the girls were excited that Liam and baby Caroline could enjoy the parade and lunch with us this year.
I guess it takes more than a parade and a wonderful fried chicken lunch to get Caroline excited.
After lunch and some fun play time at Uma and Papa's, we headed home for naps. I was holding out hope that both girls would take good naps in anticipation of staying up a few hours past bedtime. And miracle of miracles, they did. Even Staley fell asleep and took a nice little nap. After naps, we played outside, took some more 4th of July pictures, ate dinner, took a walk, and then went back to Uma and Papa's for another little visit before the fireworks.
All decked out in red, white, and blue.
So glad that we had time to wash and dry her special dress before the parade.
And then, the fireworks. Last year, Staley only lasted 2 minutes into the fireworks before wanting to leave. (I think it was a combination of the late hour and the loud noise.) She was adamant that she wanted to go again this year, but told us she was nervous about the noise. Staley's idea to help with the noise was to have Adelie scream so that the fireworks wouldn't sound so loud. She didn't quite understand her flawed logic (or the fact that we are really trying to encourage Adelie in the other direction). But Zach had this great idea...
Staley borrowed Zach's ear protection...and she LOVED the fireworks. After each firework went off, she would exclaim, "I really liked that one!" "I liked that one too!" "I liked both of those!" "Oooh. I REALLY liked that one!" After every.single.one. And although she wore her ear protection until we were safely back in the car (just in case there were more fireworks), the fireworks were a roaring success.
Adelie, being Adelie, was not bothered in the least by the loud fireworks. She sat perfectly still for the first 10-15 minutes, just watching. (Oh, if we could only have fireworks every day!!) After the initial awe wore off, she continued to watch the fireworks while climbing on and off Zach, wandering around the blanket, and playing with her glow bracelets.
After the fireworks, we went straight home and both girls went to bed without a peep...and slept until 9:00 this morning.
Being a mother of two can be a bumpy ride. Some days I feel like I'm in the driver's seat just cruising along with my family, totally in control and enjoying a beautiful ride. And then there are times that I feel just like the passenger who is starting to fall out of the car and is just hanging on for dear life.
This morning, Zach went to run in a 4th of July road race. The girls were up and dressed and playing nicely in Staley's room, so I decided to take a shower. I was about halfway through my shower, shampoo in my hair, when I heard Staley come running into the bathroom saying, "I have to go potty. I have to go potty." Staley takes herself to the bathroom without problem, so I just told her to go ahead and go while I finished my shower. A few seconds later, I heard a panicked voice saying, "I'm going. I'm going." I looked out of the shower to see Staley, pants half down, climbing onto the potty while leaving a puddle on the floor at the base of the toilet... AND to see Adelie (who of course followed her big sister into the bathroom) bending down and playing in the puddle that her sister had just made. So, with shampoo still in my hair, I jumped out of the shower, picked up Adelie, cleaned off her hands, and put her out in the hall, shutting the bathroom door so that I could attend to Staley and clean up the bathroom floor. By this time, Staley is crying about having an accident AND about getting pee pee on her 4th of July dress, Adelie is screaming in the hallway about being locked out, and I'm dripping water and shampoo all over the bathroom floor, just adding to the mess that I'm trying to clean up. In that moment, I did not feel like I was rocking this mother-of-two business.
There are some moments that make you feel like you've got it all together, that you're doing something right. And then you have those moments when you daughter is playing in a puddle of pee.
On Monday, Staley stayed with our friend Libby (and got to help her take care of her 3 real horses) while I took Adelie to the doctor. When I came back to pick her up, Staley said, "Next time I want to stay at Libby's house for a longer time. I know! Maybe you could go shopping." (Honestly, that sounded like a pretty good idea to me too.)
Staley lately has plenty of requests for me during rest time. The other day, she called through the monitor, "Mommy. I'm lonely." I replied, "You have Yellow Bear and Goldie in your bed. They can keep you company." She responded, "I'm lonely for people, not stuffed animals."
The other night at dinner, Zach asked Staley if she liked her dinner. She responded, "What's not to like?"
Today before rest time, Staley was sitting on her bed and I was standing by her bookshelf. I asked her what book she wanted to read. Getting off her bed, she walked over and said, "I want to pick out my book with my hands, not my voice."
During rest time today, Staley called to me through the monitor, "Mommy. Can you come get my pen that I dropped?" I asked if she could just get it herself. Her response? "I can't. I'm too busy."