Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mom Guilt

Whenever Staley plays with her princess figurines with Grammie, she always wants to play the same scenario.  Staley is the Ariel figurine and Grammie is the Prince Eric figurine.  In this little scenario, Ariel is Prince Eric's mom.  Staley always wants Prince Eric to fall down and get hurt so he can't talk.

Grammie (as one of the other figurines):  "Ariel!  Ariel!  Prince Eric is hurt and he can't talk.  Come quick.  You need to help him."

Staley (as Ariel, the mom):  "I can't right now.  I'm too busy."

So Ariel's child gets hurt so badly that he can't talk, and Staley thinks that the appropriate mom response is to calmly explain that she can't help him right now because she's too busy.  Ouch!!

Happy Halloween!

From Cinderella...

...and the butterfly queen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Do I Even Try?

This past week-end, the weather was gorgeous.  The fall colors couldn't have been prettier.  We didn't have any after-church plans.  And so I thought it would be a fun idea to go to a park with my brother and his family to take some pictures.  I take plenty of pictures of the girls throughout the year, but we take very few family pictures.  The sun was shining.  We had coordinating outfits on.  It was just a relaxed afternoon with family.  The perfect formula for great family pictures, right???

This is how we started...with a 3 year old who wanted to play with her cousin and NOT get her picture taken.

Then there were tears...

...and expressions like this from our 3 year old while also wrangling a toddler who does NOT sit still.

So while Evan and Melissa were getting picture after picture after perfect picture like this...

(Yes, I was starting to hate this perfectly photogenic family.)

...we were getting picture after picture after picture like this...

When it was all said and done, we got one or two family pictures that were usable (for something other than a blog post about how horrible our family pictures can be.)

 But for the time being, maybe I'll just stick to taking pictures of the girls.

Because family pictures, at least with our little family right now, couldn't possibly be worth the headache.

The Secret Is Out

My father-in-law keeps teasing me that I'm not hiding it very well and we'll have to start telling people soon, but I'll let you be the judge...

We had our 20 week ultrasound this morning (although we're actually 21 weeks along), and everything looked great.  Praise God!  Baby is growing and developing just like he/she should.  (Mommy, however, is growing and developing at a faster rate than she probably should.)  We are going to be surprised by the gender, but the beginning of March will be here before we know it.

The secret is out...and we couldn't be more excited about adding another blessing to our family.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sleepless and Helpless

I want to preface this blog post with this comment:  I am not complaining and I am not claiming that we have sleep issues at our house.  I know many parents who deal with true sleep issues.  Children who refuse to go to bed or stay in bed.  Children who can't stay asleep.  Children who wake early or wake often.  Children who just don't sleep period.  My heart goes out to these families because there is no feeling more helpless than when all you want is for your child to sleep...and they can't.

My girls are both generally good sleepers.  They both go to bed without a fuss and generally fall asleep quickly and easily.  Adelie sleeps soundly, and we usually don't hear a peep from her until she wakes up in the morning.  (Her sound sleeping habits may be due in part to the fact that she never stops moving when she's awake.)  Staley, on the other hand, isn't quite so sound a sleeper.  It's not uncommon for her to wake in the night and ask for a drink or to be covered back up or for help finding Yellow Bear hidden in the covers.  But when her request is met, she can usually fall back asleep quickly and easily.  But she has two rare night time sleep difficulties that have recently reared their ugly heads.  And since I blog to remember the little things that seem so big in the moment, I want to record them here.

Firstly, Staley has occasional night terrors.  Not nightmares.  Night terrors.  And as a parent, they are simply that.  Terrifying.  She'll wake up, usually an hour or two after she goes to sleep, screaming and crying.  She writhes around in her bed, and there is nothing we can do to console her.  Her eyes are sometimes open, and she'll occasionally say something or answer a question, but she is not truly awake.  She'll roll around and kick and cry and scream and mumble while we helplessly sit by, reassuring her and making sure she doesn't hurt herself.  They generally last 5-10 minutes and then she'll just suddenly fall back asleep.  The first time this happened, we were SO worried, trying to figure out what was wrong with our daughter and why we couldn't make it better.  Thank heavens for a quick Google search to help us self-diagnose and realize that Staley wasn't even awake and wouldn't remember this in the morning.  Staley has had about 4 of these over the past year or so.  They usually come when she is sick or over-tired.  However, a few weeks ago, she was under the weather and had them for 3 consecutive nights, including 2 in one night.  It was the most she'd ever had that close together.

As helpless and sad as the night terrors make me, Staley's other occasional night time issue has a bigger impact on us all.  Staley has occasional bouts where she will wake in the night and be unable to go back to sleep...for hours.  She doesn't cry.  She doesn't get out of bed.  She doesn't make a big deal out of it.  But she will make a request every 10-15 minutes for a drink of water, a hug, a lullabye, or an extra blanket.  She'll then lie quietly for another 10-15 minutes and then make another request.  It's such a helpless feeling, knowing that we both need the sleep and not knowing how to make that happen.  Again, she's done this about 4 times in the past year and a half or so, but has done it one night each of the past 2 weeks.  Last night was one of those nights.  I think she functioned better today that I did.  :)

There are some things we can make our kids do.  We can make them brush their teeth or clean up their toys or get dressed.  But we can't make them sleep.  And sometimes we can't even help them sleep, even when it's what we both want.  There is no worse feeling as a parent than helplessness, the inability to give our child what they need.  But feeling helpless and sleepless...well, that's even worse.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ellen Day

I thought today was going to be an ordinary, stay-at-home-with-the-girls day.  No plans.  No agenda.  Sticking around the house because, per my husband, the water meter guy was coming and I had to be home.  Just one of those play with the girls, get a few things done, wear my yoga pants and t-shirt kinda days.

Sleeping in until 8, I woke up when the girls did.  We were in our pj's, reading books when my husband (who should have been at work) came upstairs to tell us breakfast was on the table.  Huh?!  Over a home-cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, my husband informed me that he couldn't go to work today because today was Ellen Day.  After presenting me with gift cards to several of my favorite stores and letting me know that my massage was scheduled for 1:00, he sent me upstairs for a long, uninterrupted shower and to get ready for my day.

A morning of shopping started off Ellen Day.  I enjoyed a rare treat--shopping for myself (not for the girls or groceries or household needs) with my mother-in-law (who is a fabulous shopping partner).  Then I relaxed with an hour massage, hit a few more stores, and got home just as the girls were getting up from naps/rest time.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather with a family walk on my favorite nature trails, and then my husband made dinner and did the dishes.

Ellen Day was a very special treat.  I enjoyed the shopping.  I loved the massage.  I can't get enough of this beautiful weather.  But none of those were the best part of today.  My biggest blessing was (and always is) my family and the amazingly thoughtful man I married.  

But I won't argue with the pampering.  :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Laughs with Adelie

Adelie had her 18 month shots this past week.  While discussing them at dinner that night, Adelie came up with a new, funny game.  She was talking about her nurse Amy giving her shot.  She said, "Amy.  Shot."  We asked Adelie if she cried, to which Adelie replied "No."  (Partly true.  She only cried for about 10 seconds before she was distracted by the fun sticker that nurse Amy gave her.)  Then Adelie asked, "Amy.  Cry?"  And we asked, "Did nurse Amy cry?"  With a big smile, Adelie responded, "No."  You can imagine where it went from there...

Adelie:  "Sissy.  Cry?"
Us:  "Did sissy cry?"
Adelie:  "No."

Adelie:  "Mommy.  Cry?"
Us:  "Did Mommy cry?"
Adelie:  "No."

Then she went through Daddy, Grammie, Grandpa, Uma, Papa, and then back to nurse Amy.  We were all laughing, partly at how pleased Adelie was with her funny new game and partly at how hard  Staley was giggling about it.  Even while we were cleaning up after dinner, Staley and Adelie continued to play their new game.  It makes me smile to see Adelie expressing herself more and more, and to see Staley clearly enjoying it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Story Swing

My parents continue to live with us as their house gets closer and closer to being done.  As I've mentioned before, there are many reasons we love having them here.  (I have mentioned how I'm not folding my own laundry, right??)  But the girls have their own reasons.  And one of Staley's top reasons:  story swing.

Story swing is an activity that Staley and Grandpa have invented.  They sit on the porch swing and make up stories.  They will take turns telling part of the story, going back and forth until they've made up a full story.  Their stories generally involve princes and princesses, dragons and snow monsters (named Marshmallow and Wilbur), Poka-Poka-Pocahontas, and, of course, Staley.  It's become a daily before-dinner tradition, and one that Staley looks forward to.  On cold days, they sometimes resort to story sofa or story house.  But wherever it is, there is creativity and laughter and a strong bond being formed between granddaughter and grandfather.

And I love it!
Even more than home cooked meals and folded laundry.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Adelie is at such a fun age right now.  She is talking up a storm, imitating everything her sister (and older cousins) are doing, fake sneezing, counting, singing, telling little (3 word) stories, asking 'why?', trying to jump...  It seems like she is doing something new every day.  But one of her newer words?  Sorry.  (Or sa-sa, as Adelie says it.)  We have been hearing 'sa-sa' quite a bit around here lately.

Adelie has mastered the art of using sorry.  The other day when Grammie was watching the girls, Staley and Grammie came into the living room to find Adelie with about 10-15 DVDs off the shelf on the floor around her.  As they walked in, before they'd even said anything, Adelie quickly said, "Sa-sa.  Sa-sa."  When Adelie throws food on the floor or rips yet another flap out of one of her flap books, she is quick to set things right with an apology.  Whenever Staley tattles on Adelie, often for something unintentional that Adelie has done, Adelie is quickly saying "sa-sa" before Staley has even finished tattling on her.

I've heard it said, and possibly even said it myself, that it's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.  I think Adelie is learning that lesson a little too early in life.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Commentary at 3

There are many things I love about kids at 3.  I love their unbridled enthusiasm, their lack of self-consciousness, their honesty, their willingness to say what they are thinking.  However, those are also those traits that can make kids at 3 a little embarrassing as well.

Today while we were out and about, Staley had to go to the bathroom.  The public bathroom.  The public bathroom that was, unfortunately, not unoccupied.  And here was Staley's running commentary:

"Mama, I'm going to go in by myself and shut the door.  I need privacy because I'm going to go poo poo."

(Grunting loudly) "My poo poo is really hard.  It doesn't want to come out.  I think I'll need to have some prunes at lunch."

(Excitedly and, once again, loudly) "I'm going!  I'm going!  My poo poo is coming out."

"Wow.  My poo poo is HUGE!  Mama, come in here.  Look at my poo poo.  It's HUGE!"

I'm not sure everyone else was all that excited to hear the running commentary about Staley's bathroom experience, but I guess it could have been worse.  At least she wasn't commenting on mine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THIS is Adelie...

This morning she cried when she had to take off her Elsa pajamas to get dressed.

Adelie is working on her manners.  With prompting, she says 'please' and 'thank you.'  But she always says 'excuse me' when someone burps or toots...even if it's not her.  I guess it's best of err on the side of politeness.

Adelie learned how to log roll in her gymnastics class last Friday.  She was practicing rolling over and over and over and saying "roll, roll, roll"... while Staley was trying to say bedtime prayers.

Adelie is always quick to smile, wave, and loudly say "hi" to anyone and everyone we see when we're out and about.

When I picked her up from the baby-sitter today, Miss Meagan said that she had offered to read Adelie books while the two boys (both 3) were running around and "acting crazy."  She said Adelie smiled at her and then ran off after the boys.  For Adelie, acting crazy trumps reading books.

THIS is polite, active, Elsa-loving, social, happy little toddler.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honesty is the Best Policy, Right??

Tonight after bath time, we had this conversation:

Me:  "Staley.  Your new Frozen pajamas are clean, so you can wear them tonight."
Staley:  (with a bit of sass in her voice) "I already know that."
Me:  "If you're going to be sassy, I'll put your Frozen pajamas back in the drawer and you can wear some other ones."
Zach:  "You weren't being sassy, were you Staley?"
Staley:  "Well....maybe."

Sassy?  Maybe.  But at least we're honest about it.

Kid at Heart

One of the fun things about being a parent is getting to re-experience the play activities that you always enjoyed as a child.  I'll be the first to admit.  There are some kid's books, toys, movies, tv shows, and activities that I get really excited about.  There are play activities that I can get absorbed in and really have a great time with.  And as Staley gets older, there are more and more of these activities that I find myself experiencing child-like enthusiasm for.

I'm a game player, so I love that Staley can play more complex games, see a game to completion, and follow the rules.  A few of my favorites:  Memory, Ariel's Under Sea Treasures, and Candy Land.

I love to color.  Like spend 15 minutes happily choosing colors and coloring a picture.  I can sometimes do without the mess of glue, glitter, Play-Doh, and paint.  But coloring.  I find it very relaxing.

I really enjoy getting Barbie's ready for the ball/festival/party.  I like changing their outfits, putting on their shoes, and doing their hair.  I don't always enjoy playing out the same scenario over and over where I'm told that I'm saying/doing the wrong thing, but getting them ready.  I actually do enjoy that.

I love reading children's books.  I get excited about picking out new books for the girls at the library.  I could do without some of the books the girls enjoy (like the books based on characters, TV shows, or movies that are really poorly written), but for the most part, I'm happy to read to my girls as long as they'll sit and listen.

I can really get caught up in playing with Mega Blocks.  I like building different structures, finding ways to keep them steady, adding bridges and windows, and seeing what I can create.  Sometimes I'll keep going even after Staley and Adelie have lost interest.

Staley sometimes watches a TV show called 'Sofia the First' after rest time.  This is a favorite of mine.  I like that Sofia is really nice, always does the right thing, and teaches nice social lessons.  But I actually just enjoy the show.  Sometimes I dawdle getting up from the couch to get Staley her snack because I don't want to miss what's happening.  I don't really get into most of the other shows or videos that Staley watches, but I am a fan of Sofia.

Before rest time and nap time, we do music together where we watch various song clips on You-Tube.  There are definitely some I enjoy more than others, but Adelie is recently into Elmo.  And there are a lot of catchy, clever 'Sesame Street' songs with the characters singing with popular artists and musicians.  Sometimes I let the girls watch a couple extra Elmo songs, just because I'm enjoying them and want to see more.

I think puzzles are really fun.  As Staley is starting to complete bigger (48 piece) puzzles, I enjoy helping her.  The challenge of finding the right piece and making it fit.  The rush of getting down to those final few pieces.  Even if it's the same 2 'Frozen' puzzles over and over, I still enjoy it.

There are activities of mine that Staley enjoys doing with me.  She likes to help me cook and clean.  She enjoys when we paint our nails together or do our hair together.  But it's a 2-way street.  Because just like she enjoys doing 'grown-up' activities, I'm apparently still a kid at heart.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bedtime Prayers

Staley's bedtime prayers have been becoming more sophisticated and elaborate.  This was her prayer tonight:

"Dear Jesus.  Thank you for the flower seeds so that we can have a beautiful garden.  Thank you for the dirt for the pigs.  Thank you for the trees and the flowers.  Thank you for everything in the world.  Thank you for everything that has been.  Thank you.  Amen."

And thank you for this precious little girl.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile

There are so many little things about my girls right now that I enjoy.  Things that make me smile.  And I never want to forget these little things that make my girls who they are right now.

1.  Staley's current favorite activity is playing with her Barbie princesses.  She loves pretending with them, changing their clothes, putting on their shoes and crowns.  She's been resting for an hour and half in bed with her Barbies.  When I told her she could be done with rest time, she told me, "Oh, no thanks.  I'm still having fun."

2.  How Adelie's vocabulary has exploded.  She adds more and more words everyday, and I can understand MOST of what she is trying to tell me.  (Probably 80%.)  She has also started putting 2 or 3 words together to express a thought.  A few weeks ago, Staley and Adelie played with another little girl named Laynie.  Laynie and Staley kept falling on the couch and saying "ow."  So Adelie loves to still tell us about that.  "Ow.  Laynie.  Sissy."  Or we stopped at the shop the other day and Papa had dirty hands.  For the rest of the day, Adelie kept saying, "Papa.  Dirty."  She'll often tell me "Shoes.  Floor." when I go to get her out of her carseat.  It's so fun to hear Adelie expressing herself.

3.  Staley takes her lunch to school every day.  I usually pack a sandwich, fruit, chips, and a small dessert.  Staley generally doesn't have time to finish her whole lunch during the time allotted and brings part of it home everyday.  She almost always brings her dessert home, which makes me smile because even when I'm not there, she's obviously saving it until the end of her meal.

4.  How Adelie is starting to sing.  She will sing parts of songs like "ABCs", "Row, row, row your boat", and "Let it go".  She usually hits about every third or fourth word, but always throws her arms up in the air for the climatic notes in "Let it Go."

5.  How Staley loves her growing independence.  She likes to help Adelie put on her shoes/socks and likes to wipe Adelie's face and hands after meals.  She is also so proud that she can rinse her cup and put it in the dishwasher after meals.

6.  How Adelie calls both our cats 'Elwood'.  Even though Jake is the one that lets her pet him and hug him.  Truthfully, the most she's probably seen of Elwood is a blur of fur as he runs out of whatever room she enters.

7.  How Staley is always making up songs, and now some of the words she makes up actually rhyme.
8.  How Adelie loves to count (usually 4, 9, 10!), is starting to learn a few colors, and is also trying to sound out words like Staley.  Adelie will point to letters on the refrigerator and make sounds like she's trying to read.  Always trying to be just like her big sister.

9.  How Staley still has a huge imagination.  Her imaginary friend, Gage, hasn't been around much these days.  He has been replaced by her imaginary flying horse named Aster.  Now Aster is a big part of Staley's everyday conversations.

10.  But what I love most is how much my girls enjoy each other.  Giving hugs, making each other laugh, holding hands, giggling together, playing together.  It makes my heart so happy.

Adelie 'catching' Staley at the bottom of the slide

My girls make me so happy!!

Things I Love: Autumn Edition

1.  The beautiful weather--perfect for spending as much time outside as possible.

Playground fun

2.  Pumpkins--picking them, carving them, taking pictures with them, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ice cream.  I'm a fan of pretty much all things pumpkin.

Adelie loves to carry around her little pumpkin.

3.  Band competitions.  Both girls sat mesmerized while watching the various bands and flag twirlers perform.  Staley decided that, when she gets older, she wants to twirl the flags because "the flag girls are beautiful and look like Elsa."

Waiting for the competition to begin.

4.  Football season.  What can I say?  We love football season.

One of Adelie's newest words?  Football.

Staley posing in her pink Bear's jersey.

5.  The changing colors.

Enjoying a little nature walk in the woods.

6.  Sweatshirts, jeans, sweaters, boots.  It's always fun to bring out the girls' next season clothes.  And I love little pumpkin outfits.

My little pumpkin

7.  Fun outings to pumpkin farms.  Rader Family Farms is still our absolute favorite!!

Staley jumping on the big, bouncy pillow at Rader Farms.

The barrel train is always a hit.

Adelie riding the horsie swing.

8.  The start of new activities.  The beginning of school.  New Sunday School classes.  New story hours.  And starting on Friday, both girls will be starting a new gymnastics class.  Fun times!!

9.  Fun times with friends and family.  With the beautiful weather, we take as many opportunities as we can to get together with friends/cousins and do fun things.  We've gone to the zoos, the park, pumpkin farms, and parades with friends.

Staley spending some quality time with baby Caroline.

Yup.  This is still what happens when we attempt to get a picture of the cousins together.

At the zoo with Liam and Staley's friend, Kyli

Pumpkin farm fun with Makinley and Payton (and the Frozen characters)

10.  Every season with my girls is fun, fun, fun...but I am especially partial to fall.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

St. Louis

Last fall we attempted a family trip to St. Louis that ended disastrously.  (To refresh your memory, we loaded up the car and headed home at 4:30 a.m. when Staley still hadn't fallen asleep.)  It took us a full year to make the brave decision to try again.  Thankfully we did because we had a fabulous family get-away this past week-end.  And even though my camera started blinking low battery after the first picture I took and my phone takes horrible pictures, I did manage to document most of our week-end fun.

We headed down when Zach got home on Friday afternoon, stopping for a little dinner and playtime at everyone's favorite golden arches before getting to our hotel right at bedtime.  The girls both went to bed without issue and slept wonderfully in our little hotel home.

Loving the big bed and the matching PJs

We had planned to spend all day Saturday at the zoo, but when we left our hotel at 9:00 and walked out into the windy 40 degree weather, we changed our plan and spent the morning at the Magic House Children's Museum instead.  Both girls LOVED it!  Although Staley said her favorites were the climber and the big slide, she spent TONS of time in the veterinary clinic and the hospital areas of the museum.  And Adelie really liked the toddler slides and climbing areas and the giant light-up pegboard, but was also just as happy following Staley wherever she went.

I think Staley washed, groomed, and checked out every animal in the clinic.

Staley took great care of all the babies in the hospital nursery.

Adelie undressed her baby, dropped her, stepped on her, and hoarded all the bottles, but seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.

You can never go wrong with slides and climbers.

After a fun morning, we grabbed some lunch and let Adelie catch a cat-nap in the car on the way to the zoo for a few hours of afternoon fun.  Just enough time to ride the train, take a few turns on the carousel, and see a couple animals.  Adelie was most excited about seeing the baby elephant.  She kept saying, "More.  Elephant.  Baby."  Apart from the train and carousel (of course), Staley's favorite was the cheetah.

Riding the train

Carousel fun

Daddy and Adelie pointing out some exotic animals

A great dinner, another successful night of sleep, and we were ready to round out our trip with a little more zoo fun.  My college friend and her husband brought their 3 year old twins to meet us for the morning.  More animals.  The Children's Zoo.  And, of course, another train ride and a few more carousel rides rounded out our morning.  When asked what her favorite thing about our St. Louis trip was, Staley said, "Riding the train all by myself with Mason and Maddy."  (For the record, they just sat in a seat by themselves.  We didn't send our 3 year olds off on the train alone.  :))

Staley riding the train with Mason and Maddy

A little more carousel fun

All in all, it was a fun little family get-away...and we didn't have to pack it in at 4:30 in the morning.  Winner, winner!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Childhood Experiences

Adelie was the central focus during dinner time.  She had the bathtub all to herself.  She got to pick all the bedtime songs and all the bedtime books.  But she continually asked, "Sissy?"  And I explained to her, "Sissy is sleeping at Lila's house."  Adelie would knowingly repeat, "Sissy.  Lila."

That's right.  Staley is having her first official sleepover away from home.  She's stayed various places with us.  She's spent the night with Uma and Papa on several occasions.  Liam and Elliott have both spent the night at our house.  But this is the first time that Staley has slept away from home at a friend's house.  Yes, this friend also happens to be her cousin, but she couldn't have been more excited.  She was excited about being picked up from school by Aunt Jill.  She was excited about playing at Lila's house, playing dress up with Lila's dress up clothes, eating dinner at Lila's house, taking a bath with Lila, and sleeping in Lila's room.  She wasn't sure where she'd sleep, but told me that if she slept in Lila's bed with Lila that she wouldn't roll around.  Of course, she's also told me that she sleeps with her eyes open, so I don't put a lot of stock in Staley's personal assessment of her sleeping habits.

Based on the pictures and up-dates that Aunt Jill has texted this evening, it sounds like the girls had a fabulous time.  Playing, dressing up, taking a bath, and going to sleep without a peep.  I love that Staley and Lila have become such good friends.  I love that Staley had a great evening.  I love that Staley is comfortable enough to sleep away from home without difficulty.  And, although a little bittersweet, I love that my daughter is growing up and getting to experience these new and exciting experiences of childhood.

My little girl is growing up so fast.