Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Friday, August 28, 2015

Good-bye, August!

What a great end to August this has been.  Kids have gone back to school, and that means that many of our favorite places and parks have suddenly become way less crowded and busy.  Top that with the gorgeous fall-like weather we've been having, and we couldn't be happier about getting out and enjoying our days. 

We started off our August cheering Zach on at the St. Jude Run.

Daddy's little cheerleaders
We swam in our pools in the yard.

We enjoyed play dates with friends.

Adelie and her friend, Joey
We ran in the Kids Run for Fun with cousins.

All the cousins are ready to run

All the kids ran their entire races.  Adelie ran 200 meters with the rest of the 2 year olds, Liam and Staley (above) ran an entire 1/4 mile with the 4 year olds, and Elliott used his boundless energy to join the 6 year olds in a 1/4 mile run.
We've enjoyed some fun time with cousins at the zoo and the Farm Park.

Staley and Adelie posing with Lila at the zoo
Farm Park fun with Lila and Liam
And yes, Briggs and Caroline were there too.
But a huge August highlight?  The Community Bash at Aunt Jill's church.  It was amazing.  There were bouncy houses and food and music and games and face painting and pony rides.  A helicopter flew in and landed.  There were fire trucks and huge propane fires that the firemen would put out.  There were hayrack rides and laser tag and fireworks.  We are totally going back next year!!
Olivia with Liam, Staley, and Lila
(Since Liam was staying with my parents for the week-end, he got to join us in our fun.)

Staley was in heaven.  The Community Bash had all her favorite things.  Pony rides.  Face paint.  Bouncy houses.  And...

Anna and Elsa.
Winner, winner, winner!!
And yes, Briggs has joined us for all these fun adventures.  He just hangs out in his carrier and takes it all in.

Briggs just chillin' in his K'tan
Hooray for August!!!




What Was So Hard About That?

I was dreading it.  I was putting it off.  I was building it up to be an awful experience.  I was preparing myself for the worst.  And then Adelie just rocked it.

We are not even two weeks into potty training, and Adelie is a potty-using machine.  She had 3 or 4 peeing accidents her first day, 1 her second day, and 1/2 an accident her fourth day.  She has otherwise stayed dry, tells us when she needs to use the restroom, holds it until she gets there, and can go quickly when she needs to go.  She has still been doing some pooping in her nap time diaper and has had 2 or 3 pooping accidents, but has also been successful on a number of occasions by telling us when she needs to poop and then going on the potty.  We are already done with the little potty seat, letting Adelie just sit on the big potty when she needs to go.  (Hooray for that, as I hate cleaning out that little potty seat.)  We have ventured to the zoo, the Farm Park, church, the library, the park, and the grocery store all without incident.  Adelie loves picking out her big girl underpants every day, and also loves to tell people about what underpants she is wearing (and, unfortunately, also likes to try to show them to people).  Yes, the nice lady taking our money at the Farm Park was very gracious when Adelie told her about her Tinkerbell big girl underpants and then tried to pull down her shorts to show them to her.  (Potty training?  Yes.  Modesty?  Not so much.)

I am so glad that Adelie's potty training journey was quick and painless.  Sure, we still have some tears and resistance when I ask her to try to use the potty before leaving the house or taking a nap...but then again, she's two, so we have tears and resistance about a lot of things.  And yes, her new "game" of telling us she needs to go potty multiple times after we've put her in bed at night is less than fun.  I don't doubt that there are a few more accidents in our future.  But all things considered, I think Adelie is potty trained.  It really wasn't so bad.  Now if only it were that easy to get Briggs to sleep through the night again...

My potty time super-star!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Spelling Tests

At school this week, Staley's class is going to be learning about the letter 'A'.  So today Staley and I were talking about the letter 'A', the sounds it makes, and different words that start with 'A'.  We talked about Adelie and Ariel and apple and airplane and alligator.  Then Staley said, "And iguana."  I replied, "Iguana actually starts with an I" (and then proceeded to make the short 'i' sound to illustrate my point.)  Staley responded, "No.  Sometimes I just call them guanas, so I meant it's A guana, and that starts with A."

Have I mentioned that this girl doesn't like to be wrong, is always thinking, and always has an angle? 

Lord help us when she's a teenager.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Potty Training

I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  I just really hate potty training.  I hate the interruption to our days when we have to stay close to the potty and stop fun activities for potty breaks.  I hate the watching the clock, monitoring the fluid intake, and trying to time potty breaks correctly.  I hate cleaning up messes, worrying about going on outings, and having to pack the potty training survival kit each and every time we leave the house.  I just find it all very exhausting.  But because I don't want my kids heading to Kindergarten in diapers, it's a necessary step in this parenting process.

I really wasn't feeling ready or all that motivated to potty train Adelie.  But we are planning a trip to Disney in January (SHHHH... it's a surprise for the kids) and I wanted her to be trained well before the trip.  She has been showing a recent excitement about the prospect of big girl underpants.  And last week, she successfully used the potty once.  So even though I was kind of dreading it and looking for reasons to put it off, it seemed like the time was now.  So now it is.

We are currently 5 days into potty training, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how well Adelie has been doing.  Sure, we've had some accidents (but not nearly as many as I anticipated), and many more successes than accidents.  She's actually successfully taken herself to the bathroom on 2 or 3 occasions when I was otherwise occupied, so she obviously knows when she needs to go.  She can often go when I have her sit and we've even had a successful #2 on the potty.  (The other days, she's just saved it for her nap time diaper, much like Staley used to do.)  And today Adelie had her first attempt at a diaper free outing when we went to the zoo with Aunt Jill and Lila...and it was a success!!!  Driving to and from Peoria, successfully using the potty 3 times at the zoo, and keeping her big girl underpants dry and clean the whole time was more than I had hoped for.

I still hate potty training, but the end result will be so nice.  I'm not saying we are there yet, but we're heading in the right direction.  And if that direction is adding another independent toilet-user to our household, I'm all for it.

Staley "reading" potty-time books to Adelie

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Some Days

There are many days that I love being home with my kids.  Days when my children are delightful and sweet and funny.  Days when we have lots of fun together, my girls play nicely together, and my infant's schedule meshes perfectly with our day.

Today was not one of those days.

Today was one those days when I am 3 days into potty training my active 2 year old, my 4 year old cried for 40 minutes straight about a lost privilege, my infant woke up from his naps at the most inopportune times, my older two antagonized and argued and tattled and screamed, and there were at least several moments when 2 kids were crying and the third was yelling above the crying about something they needed me to do.  Yup.  It was one of those days.

I'll be honest.  I'm looking forward to going to work tomorrow.

First Day of School

Yesterday was Staley's first day of 4 year old pre-school, and she couldn't have been more excited.  Attending a new school with a new teacher and new kids didn't seem to phase her one bit.  She couldn't wait to get to school, and ran right into her classroom without even saying good-bye.  I was a bit underwhelmed by her school's lack of organization for the first day, like when her teacher told me items that Staley needed for her first day of school as I was dropping her off for her first day of school or how they had it incorrectly noted that I'd be picking Staley up at 3:30 (after talking in person, on the phone, and in e-mail to the director about Staley's schedule), yet didn't seem at all phased that I wasn't there until 4:45.  Regardless, Staley had a great day!!
So what was so great about Staley's day?  Well, in the running commentary she gave me on the drive home, her new school is so great because...
1.  They sing TWO days of the week songs during circle time.
2.  There is a stage in her classroom AND a horse center in her classroom, which she shared were both her favorites.
3.  There was a gym where they did two recesses (because it was too wet to go on the playground) and the gym had tricycles (small, medium, and large ones, apparently) and also a see-saw that she did with Lila (her cousin and pre-school buddy) and her new friend Chloe.
4.  They got to have waffles for lunch. 
5.  They had 2 snacks with apple juice at BOTH snacks.  We don't have juice at home, so this was a big treat.
6.  Staley got to borrow a Rapunzel blanket and a squirrel stuffed animal for rest time (since I wasn't aware that I needed to bring rest time items for her), and she seemed very pleased with her borrowed items. 
7. She made a new friend, Magnolia, who is almost 5 AND there is an Owen in her class just like at her old school, although it is a different Owen AND there is a girl named Charlie.  All of these were very exciting facts that Staley couldn't wait to share with me.
8.  They got to do 2 crafts.  One where they painted with water (although from the description, I think it was watercolors) and one where they put paint on their hands.
9.  Her new teacher, Mrs. Lytle, was nice and her other teacher (that she couldn't remember her name) was also nice.
10.  She still gets to go to pre-school with Lila, and spending two days a week with Lila is one of her most favorite aspects of pre-school.
Lila and Staley at their back-to-school night.
And yes, this was the best picture I got of them.
Staley had a great day and is already excited about going to school again on Thursday.  So although they may not be organized or be able to figure out a student schedule or send a supply list prior to school starting, at least my daughter is happy.  And, in the grand scheme of 4 year old pre-school, that's really all that matters.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lofty Goals

The other day at lunch, the girls were talking with Zach and Uma about firemen and policemen.   Zach pointed out that girls can be fire fighters and police officers too.  They then had this conversation:

Staley:  "When I grow up, I am going to be a police girl.  Actually, no.  I am going to be an author and an illustrator."
Zach (to Adelie):  "Adelie, what are you going to do when you grow up?"
Adelie:  "Wear big girl underpants!!"

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Shining Star

Staley loves to perform.  She has a flair for the dramatic, and much of each day is spent singing, dancing, dressing up, imagining, and creating.  So when I heard about an acting/creativity class that gives kids an opportunity to work on skills like imagination, creativity, communication, and self-confidence while preparing to perform a play, it sounded like something Staley would LOVE.  And she did.

Staley during dress rehearsal at her class

Staley looked forward to Shining Stars class every Thursday night, actively engaging in all the fun activities that her teacher had planned.  She was so excited about doing a real play on a real stage with costumes and face paint and props.  Truly, I think the prospect of face paint was even more exciting than the play itself.  Regardless, Staley practiced her lines, planned her costume, and was so excited to perform for family and friends.

Staley in her face paint.
She also insisted that her hair should be in pigtails like branches and her shoes should be her flower sandals like flowers at the base of the tree.

The production of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" was a roaring success.  All 5 minutes of the play were thoroughly enjoyable, from the sheep who could never remember their lines to the quiet littlest billy goat to the theatrical troll.
Staley performing with her class

Of course, my favorite were by far the apple trees who proudly said their lines, but never in unison.  I was so proud of my little girl, bravely standing on stage, remembering every line, and confidently proclaiming...

 "Here.  Have an apple."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Five Months

Time just keeps flying by!!  Briggs is already 5 months old.  He keeps growing and learning and changing, but remains my happy, smiley, social, easy baby.  Briggs now weighs about 14 pounds.  He still wears his 3-6 month clothes and his size 2 diapers.  He nurses every 3-4 hours during the day and still gets his baby food prunes once every 2-3 days.  He usually takes 2 longer naps (about 1.5-2 hours) each day with an occasional third cat nap depending on how long and when his other naps are.  His night time sleep habits have become a little more consistent, although it's become consistently less than ideal.  He usually sleeps from about 8:00 at night to around 7:00-8:00 in the morning, waking to eat twice during the night (around 11-12 and again around 3-4).  He has only slept through the night once in the past month, and has had a couple other 7-8 hour stretches.  Otherwise, he's still waking up every 3-5 hours throughout the night.  He continues to spit up quite a bit, poop about once a week (even with the prunes), and drool lots.  But it's hard to complain about short night time interruptions to my sleep and spit up on my clothes when in all other ways, he's the happiest, easiest baby.

And yes, he is generally this happy.

Likes:  Briggs is such a happy little guy.  He loves attention, and his big sisters can always make him smile and laugh.  Bath time and going outside are two of his favorite activities.  He loves his play mat, his spinning sea animal toy, and his rattles.  He's not a big fan of books yet, losing interest quickly, but current favorites include 'Baby Talk', 'Silly Tails', and any book that makes sounds.  Briggs still enjoys music, funny noises, and zerberts.  He hasn't met a person he doesn't like, freely giving out smiles to anyone who talks to him.  And his right thumb remains his best friend.

Getting some love from his big sister
A thumb is so nice because it's always there.

Dislikes:  Briggs gets fussy when he's tired or hungry or lonely or bored.

Skills:  Briggs is a mover.  He can roll from his back to his stomach and stomach to back consistently.  He will also scoot around and pivot around on his stomach or back.  He'll work his way off his play mat or blanket, all over in his crib, and even ended up halfway under Staley's bed this morning while playing on the floor in her room. 

He's happy to just play on his blanket in the yard.

Briggs is great at reaching for and grabbing toys...and then bringing them to his mouth.  He also likes to grab noses, hair, his burp rag, my cup when I'm drinking, and anything else within arms reach.  Briggs makes lots of cute coos, squeals, and noises, and laughs often.  He is starting to enjoy games like peek-a-boo and likes when we make funny faces or sing songs to him.  Briggs continues to fill our lives with joy!!

My big 5 month old

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Not So Appetizing

Tonight we had BLTs for dinner and had this conversation:

Staley:  "What is BLT?"
Me:  "It's my sandwich.  What letter does bacon start with?"
Staley:  "B"
Me:  "And lettuce starts with?"
Staley:  "L"
Me:  "And what about tomato?"
Staley:  "T"
Me:  "So that's why it's called a BLT sandwich.  Although you are just having a B sandwich since you only have bacon."
Staley:  "No.  I have bacon and mayonnaise.  So I am having a BM sandwich.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Laughs with Adelie

Adelie amuses me daily with the things she does and the things she says.  Sometimes I try to blog it, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't always translate well.  I can't blog the cute little way she talks.  I can't blog her earnest expression.  I can't blog her mischievous grin or the way her face lights up when she realizes that she made us laugh.  It's hard to blog the words and phrases she uses, the connections she makes, the learning she's doing that seem so grown-up in her little 2 year old voice.  It's hard to blog, but I want to remember this cute little time in her life, so I'm going to try...

Yesterday morning while I was upstairs getting ready for church, Staley and Adelie were downstairs having breakfast with Zach and talking about how they both wanted to be Anna (from Frozen) and wear their hair in pigtail braids like Anna does.  When I came downstairs, Adelie came running up to me and said, "I want to be Anna, but my hair isn't strong enough."  Zach laughingly corrected, "I think you mean your hair isn't LONG enough."

On our drive to church yesterday morning, we had this conversation:
Staley:  "Sometime I want to go see the real Winter [the dolphin from the movie 'Dolphin Tale']."
Adelie:  (who always wants to be just like Staley) "Me too."
Me:  "Maybe someday if we go to Florida, we can stop and see Winter."
[About one minute later]
Adelie:  "Can I get my gloves?"
Me:  "What gloves?  Why do you need your gloves?"
Adelie:  "For winter."

The other night at dinner, Adelie had a princess plate.  I scooped some rice onto her plate with part of it landing on the picture of Tiana.  Adelie said, "Tiana might say 'get that off my dress!'

Adelie loves fruit.  She asks for multiple helpings of fruit at every meal, making sure we give her "yots and yots."  The other night, Adelie had already had several helpings of fruit.  When she asked for more, I gave her a small final helping.  She said, "That's not yots and yots."  I replied, "You've already had lots of fruit.  This is all you're going to get."  Looking down at the small pile of fruit, Adelie responded, "I want bigger blueberries."  I guess if you can't have more, bigger is the next logical option.

With the great summer fruit we've been having, both girls are very interested in fruit with pits and always ask if fruits have pits in them or if they can see the pit.  The other day at lunch, I gave each girl a plum.  Instead of asking if the plum had a pit, Adelie asked, "Does this fruit have a stump?"

This morning while driving Staley to VBS, Adelie was looking at an Alice in Wonderland book in the car.  As she was asking about various pictures in the book, I told her that Alice fell down in the rabbit hole into a strange new land.  On the way home, Adelie was again looking at the book and I heard her say, "Alice fell in the mouse hole.  That's a really strange idea."  Close. Very close.

Adelie has many cute word mix-ups, pronunciations, and Adelie-isms that she uses.  Like how she says "binokiners" instead of binoculars.  Or "bocamole" instead of guacamole.  Or how, when singing 'All the Pretty Little Horses', she sings about "apples and grays" instead of "dapples and grays."  Or how she changes the line in 'Let It Go' from "I don't care what they may say" to "I don't care what they're never gonna say".  I love how she calls Briggs her "baby brudder."  Or how, when asking what time of day it is, she will ask, "Is it morning-night?"

Each day is filled with cute little Adelie sayings that make me laugh.  Even reading back over this blog post, I realize that typing these out doesn't really do justice to how cute and funny they seem in the moment.  But at least they'll be stored here and maybe my mind can fill in the missing pieces--the voice, the facial expressions, the pronunciation--that just brings a smile to my face.

Each day with Adelie brings so much laughter and joy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Getting Rich

If I had a quarter for every time Staley told me, "That's a good idea, but I've got an even better idea", I'd be one rich Mama.  Really, really rich.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

St. Jude Run

It's not just a run.  It's not just a fundraising event.  For my husband, the St. Jude Run is a very personal passion.  Zach lost his childhood best friend, his cousin Luke, to cancer at just 15 years old.  Since that time, supporting St. Jude and the work that they do to support families and pioneer research in childhood cancer has been a priority for my husband. 

For the past 3 years, Zach ran the Washington to Peoria Run.  This year, however, he and Luke's cousin from the other side of the family (who also now lives in Eureka) decided to start a Eureka to Peoria run.  They put in many hours of planning and work to put together this inaugural run, and it paid off with over 40 runners and a team total of $63,000 raised for St. Jude. 


I am so proud of my husband.  I am proud of his leadership, work ethic, and vision that culminated in an amazing event.  I am proud of the time and effort he put into training and fundraising with an individual total of 24 miles run today (one mile for each year that Luke has been gone) and an individual fundraising total of $6,000 (which was twice his previous total).  And I am so amazed by my husbands heart, selflessness, and passion that can take a loss in his life and turn it into something great.
Their dad is a St. Jude Runner, and we couldn't be more proud!

Bible Lessons

Tonight I was walking upstairs with Briggs to put the kids to bed.  Adelie, who was just a few steps behind me, started crying, "Wait for me!  Wait for me!"  Staley responded, "Don't cry, Adelie.  You don't need to be scared.  I will always be with you."  Then she corrected herself and said, "No.  Jesus will always be with you.  You should just pray and Jesus will protect you from wild animals."

I'm not sure a fear of wild animals was what brought on Adelie's tears, but Staley's reassurance warmed my heart...even if it was mildly misguided.