Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Weekend, what weekend?

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Well, now that we've made it to Wednesday, we've almost recovered from last weekend. Of course, we've also been out doing things every night so far this week, so we haven't completely recovered.

This weekend we celebrated Andrew's birthday. We also attended the annual Cub Scout Blue & Gold dinner and Mommy participated in the Chili Cook-off at church (obviously, neither group consulted our family calendar before scheduling their events). And we had to finish up Andrew's Science Fair project. Gosh, am I forgetting anything? Mommy felt like a whirling dervish in the kitchen Saturday and Sunday - we made a corn casserole for the Blue & Gold (Grandma Jamie did most of that, thank goodness!), chili AND vegetable soup for the Cook-Off, and meatballs and roasted red pepper dip for the party at our house. Whew! And I haven't cooked since then! But really, Mommy loves to cook, so I had fun doing all of that, I just got a little stressed about trying to do it all at the same time!

Your Grandma Jamie (Poppy Ted had to work, so he couldn't come) and Grandma Dottie and Papa all came to visit for the birthday, and they got to go to the Blue & Gold dinner and to the Chili Cook-Off with us and that was fun. I'm not sure if they had a good time doing all of that or not, but it was nice that they got to go to Andrew's Cub Scout event. It's hard because we live about three hours away from both sets of grandparents, so they miss out on a lot of the stuff that other grandmas and grandpas get to go to. The Blue & Gold includes a Father-Son Cake Bake, which you and Daddy didn't enter this year, but there were lots of fantastic cakes to see. At the end of the evening, the winning cakes in each of several categories get auctioned off first, and all the other cakes are given away in a raffle. There was one cake in particular that Andrew had his eye on - a volcano cake made by a boy in his den. He put a LOT of raffle tickets in for that cake. It occurred to me that if we took home a cake from the dinner, I wouldn't have to make one (as I was planning to do that night after we got home - because Mommy had lost her mind somewhere when we were cleaning up the house). I got more raffle tickets for Andrew and we put them in for the volcano cake, but I still worried we would not end up with the volcano cake and Andrew's dreams - and Mommy's - would be crushed. Then the auction started and there was a beautiful tropical island cake up for bid. In another moment of insanity - and desperation to not have to bake a cake - Mommy bid on it, and won. Woo hoo! No baking! So when the raffle started, I was actually hoping we would not win the volcano cake - we no longer needed it. Except Andrew really did want it, so luckily, we won it. And then one of the last cakes went up for raffle, and they called Grandma Dottie's name. So we went home with three cakes. That is a lot of cake - and a lesson in Be Careful What You Wish For.

The Chili Cook-Off was fun for Mommy - I got to make my Chili Con Cheri and my yummy favorite Old World Vegetable Soup, but I don't think it was as much fun for either of you. Andrew was a big help at my table and helped hand out soup samples and Abby mostly sat with Grandma Jamie, so I don't think you hated it, but it was probably not the highlight of your weekend. Sadly, Mommy did not win Best in either category, but I did win Most Original Soup Recipe and Best Table Presentation. The funny part is that your daddy decorated that table in less than five minutes using leftover decorations from our Fiesta! VBS last year. He's so clever!

After the Chili Cook-Off was over, we went back to our house and got ready for your party. Originally, we were not going to have two pirate parties, but that's what we ended up with. Saturday night and Sunday morning, I finished up the new treasure hunt clues - I made TEN this time, since five didn't seem to be enough the last time. They turned out great, and I have to say, I do think our tricks to making them look authentic work really well. We had SO many more people at this party than we did your first party. Which is great and I think you had a wonderful time. The kids seemed to enjoy the treasure hunt and you got some very nice gifts.

And we all survived the entire weekend! Whew!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy 8th Birthday, Andrew!

Dear Andrew Michael,

Today, you are eight years old. You have been counting down the days to this birthday all month long. And before that, you were counting months. The calendar of our lives revolves around holidays and birthdays. It's nice that Abby was born in January, because it was our only gap between Halloween in October and Easter in April (yes, or sometimes in March, but that's where Mommy's birthday is), although you are still a little unhappy that her birthday is "before" yours.

This year, you have just gotten bigger and bigger and you are learning so much in school. You are in second grade and your favorite subject (other than recess) is math. Like your dad, you just "get" it somewhat instinctively. I am amazed at how quickly you work through the problems. Usually, your mistakes come from going too fast, and I have to wonder sometimes if you're bored - if it's just too easy for you. English, on the other hand, not so much. We have struggled with punctuation to end sentences, particularly the question marks. But it is getting better, and you are much less frustrated than you used to be.

Tonight, you will spend your birthday participating in your very first Science Fair. Because your parents procrastinated (and because Daddy didn't believe me when I told him he was in charge and I was leaving it up to him), your project was put together pretty quickly. But it's a good project and I hope you gain something from the experience. Your dad and I want you to enjoy all kinds of learning and not be nervous about participating in activities beyond classwork. This year and next year the science fair is voluntary, but in fourth grade, it's required, so we want you to get excited about the experience now while the final outcome isn't as important and it can just be about fun.

You are getting tall and there are times when I think you might be all arms and legs. I look at you sleeping at night sometimes and wonder how you get into those strange positions. You are a heavy sleeper, and have been known to talk in your sleep. Occasionally, you still come into Mommy and Daddy's bed early in the morning. We're pretty sure you aren't really even awake when you do it, but you've gotten so good at it that we don't usually know you're there until we wake up. Of course, it helps that you always go to Daddy's side and he sleeps just as heavily as you do.

In many ways, you are a very typical 8-year-old. You like to watch SpongeBob and Power Rangers (when I give in and allow it) and you like those blasted Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Although I'm starting to suspect that the Yu-Gi-Oh fascination is really more related to what your friends are doing than what you really like - you have been grounded from those cards for over two months now with still a couple of weeks to go and have only asked about them a couple of times - when you wanted to play at a friends' house. Where you are different is that, unlike most kids we know your age, you don't have a gaming system of any kind and you don't have a t.v. in your room. I know, you think we're evil, ogre parents. But the truth is, you're just not that in to video games. You like to play the games on your WebKinz and some that we have downloaded from the Internet for you. Sometimes you'll hit the Disney or NickJr. sites, but for the most part, you would much rather get someone to play a game of Sorry! or Yahtzee! or Monopoly Jr. or Sleeping Queens, or your new favorite - Chomp. If all that fails, there's always the good old standby - poker. Oh, yes, you're quite the poker card shark. You have beaten Poppy Ted out of some money and have come close to beating Papa. I worry about your future with such a habit forming so early. Unless, of course, you get really good, win the World Poker Tour Championship, and support your parents in the lifestyle to which we only dream of becoming accustom...

I have loved watching your relationship with your sister blossom over the last year. Now that she is bigger, you two play together. You have even starting teaming up against your dad and me, which is frightening. You have recently started learning how to use Abby as the pawn, thinking she'll get less harsh retribution than you might. Unfortunately for you, Daddy and I caught on to that game pretty quickly, because you are not yet very sly with your sister manipulation. Our day is coming, I'm sure. But for now, it is obvious that Abby absolutely adores her big brother, and you kinda like her being around, too. Someday soon you two probably won't want anything to do with the other. We've seen brief glimpses of that already when you need a break from a little shadow and tell Abby to stay out of your room. I will be sad when that time comes, but until then, I am going to enjoy watching and documenting you both love each other and I will count on the fact that the closeness you have now will survive the years of puberty that I already dread.

Some of your favorite things right now:

board games - especially Sorry!
card games - especially Chomp and poker
dice games - Yahtzee
Pirates of the Caribbean
cinnamon toast
cooked broccoli with cheese
watching movies on your portable DVD player
your snow boots and snow pants (you want to wear snow boots EVERY day!)

Sweet boy, little Buddy, I know we are quickly reaching a point where you will become too old for me. My heart aches a little on the mornings when I drop you off at day care and you won't hug and kiss me. It's not every day, yet, but I know we're getting close. I hope that you will at least let me snuggle you when we're at home for a while longer. You will always be my first Sweet Pea.

I love you,

Monday, February 26, 2007

What's with all the questions?!

Dear Andrew and Abby,

Last night when I tucked Abby into bed and told her "I love you," she said, "I love you, too. Why girls don't have wee wees?"

This morning on our way to day care (where we passed Andrew's bus to school as it pulled out of the parking lot - Blast!), Andrew asked me why they don't check to see if you have guns when you go to Wal-Mart like they do at the Pacers basketball games. two are going to have to stop being so observant and inquisitive until Mommy gets some kind of a "Why is the sky blue" answer book. I'll be Googling and Good Searching for that later this evening.

More later when I have time to talk about our exciting and over-scheduled weekend!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Signing Time with Andrew and Abby

Dear Andrew and Abby,

The other day, we got our very first comment on your little diary. And it was from someone who is a celebrity in our house - Rachel Coleman from Signing Time! Wow, are we excited or what?! (Rachel, if you're reading, thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello!)

Rachel's kind note got me to thinking that it would be a good idea to add an entry to your diary about your signing. I think it was about two years ago when Mommy bought all nine of the Signing Time videos (there were only nine then, but there are four more now - they are on Mommy's wish list!). A dear friend of mine introduced us to Signing Time and it was an instant hit in our house. Both of you started learning the signs very quickly. For a while in our house, every time I turned around, Abby was signing "more" or "eat" or both!

At first, we were watching at least one video at least once a day. There was a span of two or three weeks when the "Down on Leah's Farm" song would NOT get out of my head, because I heard and saw it multiple times a day. We also listened to the music in the van, and Mommy tried to make signs while driving to day care (BAD idea!). Once we got to day care, we would have to sit outside and play the "Silly Pizza" song with Mommy trying to keep up with all the pizza toppings before we could go inside. My favorite time to turn on the videos was in the morning while you two ate breakfast. I know, watching t.v. during meals is a bad, bad thing. But I felt like Signing Time was an okay exception (and it's not like we haven't broken that rule before anyway). You were more attentive to the signs when you were eating, and it kept you entertained while Mommy finished getting ready. The only bad thing about that arrangement was the Mommy couldn't see the signs, so I was behind and had to catch up! After a while, we started watching the videos less often. I'm not sure what happened, other than we just got busier and you two started figuring out how to play with each other once Abby got a little bigger, so you were off doing things together, which is also a good thing.

But a couple of weeks ago, the videos came back. I'm not sure what did it, but Abby has rediscovered the Signing Time videos and Mommy is so happy! We have been watching the Favorite Things video a lot - and singing/signing the Rainbow Song. It's now a standard bedtime song request (except I have to change the names from Alex and Leah to Andrew and Abby, of course). We have also been watching the Family, Feelings, and Fun video a lot - Mommy's favorite song is "In a House, In a Home."

I would love for you both to learn second and even third languages (if I could find videos that teach Spanish as well as Signing Time teaches sign language, we'd have those, too!) and I know now is the time to start. Being able to sign is such a valuable skill - I wish I was much better at it. So I'm going to work hard to help you both keep learning. One way I want to try to do that is to take pictures of you both making signs. And then we can post them here! I think it will make it fun for you and it will also give us a good record of what you're learning.

So for our first Signing Time with Andrew and Abby, here are pictures of you signing "A" - for Andrew and Abby!

Update! I found out that there is a live performance of Signing Time this Saturday in Indianapolis (that's just south of where we live) - and it's FREE! Unfortunately, Andrew is supposed to go to the Blue & Gold dinner for Cub Scouts from 4 - 7pm and the Signing Time performance is at 6pm. I asked Andrew about it and he actually said he'd rather go to see Signing Time! Me, too! I'm not sure if I'll let him skip the Cub Scout thing or's hard for me to be objective because I think you would both have such a good time and I would SO much rather go see Signing Time. I may have to let Daddy make the final decision.

I'll let you know what we decide - and I'm sure I'll have pictures!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Missing pirates

Dear Andrew & Abby,

This weekend, we had Andrew's birthday party - the first of two. Why two? Well, we've talked about this before, but your Mommy is a touch crazy in the head...and that's pretty much the reason for lots of strange things that go on in our house. You see, Mommy's thinking went like this:

Andrew's birthday is February 27th, so his birthday party would normally be the weekend of the 24th/25th. Except we already have things going on both Saturday (Cub Scout Blue & Gold Dinner) and Sunday (Chili Cook-off at church, which I am entering). The party will have to be moved up a week to the 17th (at the point when these thoughts were happening, that was about a week and a half away - your Mommy is a bit of a procrastinator). There are 24 students in Andrew's second grade class. Invitations taken to school have to be given to everyone in the class, so no one gets hurt feelings. We also have family who will come from Illinois and church family, which could potentially add 40 more people (only slightly more adults than kids). That's too much to deal with in one weekend, plus we only bought enough pirate-themed party favors for 12 kids - I hope we don't have more than that come from school! - and they were kind of expensive. We should split it up and only deal with the kids from school (who I don't know and whose parents won't be there to help wrangle their kids) on the 17th. Then we'll have family come and church family over on the 25th after the chili cook-off. It's just family and we'll keep it low-key, no problem.

That's what I thought. Funny, huh?!? I think Daddy tried to talk me out of this whole mess, but I didn't really listen. This is the point in the story where your Daddy, if he was reading this, would laugh and say "Hah! See! I was right!" And then he would dance around and point and laugh at me some more. Maybe not really, but he does that in my head for sure.

So we sent Pirates of the Carribbean invitations to school for the 17th, this past Saturday (except we ran out of Pirates invitations and when Mommy went to Wal-Mart they didn't have any more, so some of the invitations were Disney Cars). Friday night we cleaned the house and Mommy made some wicked cool treasure hunt clues (photos here). Saturday morning we hung up our pirate decorations and put together the treasure chest goodies. We only had two RSVP's, but I've found that is not unusual for kids' birthday parties. It's nice to know there are other parents out there who are just as scatterbrained about responding as I usually am (but I'm trying to be better, and you should both live above and beyond my example!). So we didn't really know how many kids to expect. Ashley's mom called and talked to Daddy on Friday to see if we were still having the party, what with ALL THE SNOW coming. Yep, that's right, MORE SNOW! I don't want to turn this diary into the weather channel or anything, so I won't go on and on about it, but we did get about four more inches of snow. On Saturday. Party day. After the dumping we took last week, I think the sight of more snow must have freaked people out and made them scared to leave home because only two kids showed up: Jonah and Ashley. Yes, two. One, two. Daddy and I felt pretty bad for Andrew, but Andrew didn't seem to notice or care. Jonah was actually way more concerned about it than Andrew. Still, the three of you had a good time playing swords and looking for the treasure. I made five clues and that apparently was about a third of what I should have made - the hunt was such a HUGE hit that you took turns re-hiding and re-finding the clues several times. We had Pirate cake and you played Pin the Flag on the Pirate Ship. You had fun and got a couple of presents. Daddy bought you a bow with suction cup arrows (grrr!) which you loved (double grrr!), but it broke on Sunday (yay!).

So after your friends left, we started talking about the party for next weekend. You said you wanted another Pirate cake (thank you, Kroger for saving me from making a cake!) and wanted to do the treasure hunt again and the pin the flag game. Basically, you wanted to do the same thing all over again. I told your dad that and he said, "Yeah, that's what I figured we were doing." Oh. I guess Mommy was the only one who thought next weekend's party would be just a nice get-together where the kids ran and played and the adults sat and talked, kind of like most of our gatherings, except then we'd have cake and ice cream. So now I needed to think party thoughts. Oh, and we didn't have invitations! Which we needed to deliver the next day, on Sunday, at church!

Since the treasure clues turned out so cool, I thought we'd do that for the invitations. Saturday night, I made the invitations. Sunday, we passed them out...Now I have to order another cake and make a trip to the party store to buy more of the expensive treasure hunt goodies that I was trying to avoid buying and we have way too much going on this weekend, which I was also trying to avoid. But it's going to be fun. Mommy might have to make some Pirate Sangria to help her actually relax and enjoy it, but it will be great!

Oh, I also forgot to mention that on Friday night, Mommy's best friend, Jody, called. Jody is Fairy Godmother to both of you, part of our church family, and Zack and Alyssa's mom. Zack is best friends with and lives next door to Jonah, who is in your class at school and one of the two kids who showed up. We didn't invite Zack to the first party, because he is coming to the second party (you see what a bad idea this was? Why didn't someone stop me?!). But Jonah's mom called Jody, who didn't know about either party yet because we hadn't decided all the details, to see what Zack was getting for Andrew for his birthday. Jody called me because she was concerned that there was some issue between our family and hers that she didn't know about and wanted to know what was wrong that caused us not to invite Zack to the party. Ohhh....noooo....Luckily, Jody likes me, and once I explained it all - and apologized as many times as I could in the span of three minutes for making her worry - I think she forgave me for my stupidness. Erg. Mommy can be so dumb sometimes!

So let's make our goal for next year's birthday to just have one party that gets mostly planned at least two weeks ahead of time. You might have to help.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white...Valentine's Day

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today was our second day of being snowed in together. We got about 15 inches of snow altogether, and some of the drifts were several feet high. Here is a picture of the front of our house. The drift by the front door is almost four feet tall!

We were outside for a while playing a little and shoveling. Here's Abby helping Daddy with the driveway (she's using a broom to sweep it up):

And here is Andrew on the biggest "King Tower":

He said all the really tall ones were his King Towers, and the smaller ones were for Abby. You two had fun tromping through all the snow, but it was pretty hard to walk. We tried to make more snow angels, but it was so deep that it was really hard to get back up after we made the angels, so they didn't turn out very well. I thought you would want to build a snowman or dig tunnels in all the snow, but I think you both were just too cold. It was only about 20 degrees at the warmest today.

Since it's Valentine's Day, Mommy even helped Daddy shovel. I thought it was only fair to help since he shoveled so much yesterday. Here is what Mommy shoveled:

Isn't it pretty! Can you see the big wall of snow next to the sidewalk? Wow, that is a LOT of snow! Here's what Daddy did:

The whole driveway!! I helped a little on the side, and I did some of the front sidewalk, but Daddy really did most of the work. He's very strong. He used the big shovel. I didn't like the big shovel because it got pretty heavy with all of that snow and Mommy is not nearly as strong as Daddy. I used your shovel. Unfortunately, your shovel didn't quite make it:

Notice the handle is gone, and the corner of the shovel is broken off. It's all for the best, though, because you two fought a lot over who got to use the shovel. This way, neither one of you really wants to use the broken shovel. We'll get you two new snow shovels, though, just as soon as they are back in stock in any store any where. Since I think this snow is going to be around for a while, and we're supposed to get a little more on Friday, you may have to wait a while.

I hope you both had a nice Valentine's Day being snowed in with Mommy & Daddy. We didn't do too much that was exciting, but it was a nice family day. I was a little sad that you didn't want to make mini-pizzas in Andrew's Real Meal Oven or build cushion forts with me (Mommy & Abby's nap didn't help with our planning much, though). But I'm sure there will be other times for fun. It was pretty nice to have some down time, too. Abby even sat on my lap to watch a Signing Time video.

When you two are happy and playing together or cuddling with me, those are about the best times on Earth. I try hard to remember that when you're fighting with each other or fighting me at bedtime. But even then, I love you oodles and bunches. You are my little Sparky Joe and Sweetness, and I am the Mommy who loves you.

Happy Valentine's Day



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snowed in!

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today, we all stayed home, even Daddy. Snowed in. School cancelled, roads declared unsafe to drive. We woke up this morning to at least six inches of snow, more snow and ice coming down, and wind gusts up to 30 mph, which made for lots of blowing and drifting. It has snowed all day. As of 10:30pm, the snow is STILL coming down. In a few spots, we can see grass because the wind blows the snow away. In others, where the wind has blown the snow to, we have drifts of three feet or more. Daddy has shoveled the driveway and sidewalk twice:

He had to take a break after that:

Looking at it now, you can't tell he shoveled twice. There are at least six inches in the driveway, and more than that in the road - the plows have stopped running for the night.

Here's the view from the front door earlier today after Daddy shoveled for the second time:

And here it is now:

Poor Daddy!

Here is a view from our back door at about 6pm:

I would show you a picture of it now, but all you can see in every picture I take are the falling snowflakes. Lots and lots of falling blowing snow...

Though you both love to help Daddy shovel, you weren't out long today. That wind was pretty fierce. Here's what you two did today while Daddy shoveled:

Don't be fooled by this picture. This moment lasted about 4 minutes. There has been a lot of yelling and wrestling. And some playing. Moments of brilliant sibling love, intermingled with ferocious screaming matches. It's been a pretty cooped up day.

Our county has declared a Snow Emergency, schools are closed, and the day care will be closed tomorrow. So it looks like we'll be home tomorrow, too. Daddy's work has said they will open at 11am, so I think he's going to try to make it in then, and it will be just the three of us. Mommy is going to have to put on her creative thinking cap to come up with some ideas to keep you two busy and to wear you out. Bedtime tonight was rough because you were all wound up - too much energy! We'll have to work on fixing that for tomorrow...



Saturday, February 10, 2007

Should I start looking for a 12-step program now?

Dear Andrew and Abby,

I have created a monster. I don't know how I did it. I'm not sure exactly what I did, but I'm sure it is my fault. Andrew and Daddy went to a Pacers game the other night, so Abby and I had a night for just the girls. I asked her what she wanted to do on our night together. And she said...are you ready?


Oh, no! How did this happen?! I don't think Mommy is really a shopping fiend or anything. I don't go out buying new clothes every weekend. But we have been looking for clothes for Abby a lot lately. First there was Christmas. And then her birthday. And there's this sudden growing thing she's been doing. So very often when we go to a store, I check out the good sales, and very often lately, I've ended up buying clothes for Abby. Somehow, she STILL doesn't seem to have enough pants, though! At any rate, since Abby wanted to go shopping, that's what we did. How could I say no? First we went to dinner at "the apple place" (that's Applebee's). Then we headed to Kohl's - such good and affordable kids' clothes, plus a big big sale every weekend! And yes, Abby did end up with a bunch of new clothes, and a new pair of tennis shoes. But seriously - those sweatshirts were $3.60!!! And as for the shoes - well, she was wearing size 7's, but I bought size 9's. I think those were a necessity. And one more nail in the coffin of my hopes for Mother-of-the-Year.

Today, we went to lunch with the Girls - that's Mommy's friends. We met at the downtown mall for lunch. I had plans to stop at the Gymboree and exchange something for a bigger size - again with the growing. And when I mentioned it to Abby, she was all about it. She wanted to go shopping. So we did. First to the Colts store to get Valentine's gifts for Daddy. Then we attempted to go to Gymboree. That would have been great except the Circle Center Mall CLOSED Gymboree. So we walked and went in a couple more stores. When it was time to leave - without any clothing purchases for Abby - she was not ready. She wanted more shopping. More stores. If she hadn't fallen asleep ten minutes after we were in the van, I think we might have been in for a fight.

Daddy left a little while ago to pick up a few things from Wal-Mart. Abby's last command to him was that she needs pants. I am thinking about picking up a second job now to start planning for Abby's teenage years...


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A shiner and an angel

Dear Andrew and Abby,

If I told you that one of you came home from school yesterday with a black eye and the other was obsessed with making snow angels in our first really big snow of the year, who would you guess was who? Well, my little pumpkins, surely your mommy has taught you better than to stereotypically fit a boy into the violent bruiser role and a girl into a sensitive nature-lover?!

Abby is the lucky winner of the shiner. Fortunately, there was no fighting involved in obtaining the black eye. Just a loss of balance on a step stool and some building blocks. Still, it's a beauty. And right before I tried to take your Valentine's pictures! Mommy pays the price of procrastination once again! Here's Abby and her eye, 24 hours after the incident:

So that leaves Andrew and his snow angel. We have had a pretty mild winter here in central Indiana. Until last week, we hadn't seen too many days below freezing, and only one brief and small dump of snow. But nonetheless, Andrew has been telling me for a month or two that he needs snow pants so he can make snow angels when it snows. I really didn't intend to buy any this winter since we're so far in to the season, it's been so mild, and it's highly unlikely that a pair of snow pants that fit Andrew this year will still fit him next year. It seemed like a good way to waste some money. However, last weekend when Grandma Dottie was here, we did a little shopping at the Children's Place and found a pair of snow pants for cheap, so I bought them, if only to make Andrew happy. And he was. And then it SNOWED!!! We got six inches of snow today. I knew that Andrew would immediately be heading to those pants so he could finally make his snow angel. In fact, he made several. I managed to get a picture of one (notice the awesome snow pants keeping his legs dry and warm!):

Both of you had a fabulous time playing in all the beautiful snow. And to you, playing is helping Daddy shovel our driveway, a neighbor's driveway, and the sidewalks in front of our house. You two are good, good kids. Here's Abby with her turn at the shovel receiving pointers from Daddy:

I love that you are such unique people with such defined personalities, but you get along so well. I hope that never changes. But we could live without the black eyes.



Saturday, February 3, 2007

With support from a frog in a cheerleader costume, how could they lose?

Andrew, Abby, Buddy, and Hoppy (along with Mommy & Daddy and everyone else around here) will be rooting for their favorite team to win the Super Bowl this weekend.

Go Colts!

Friday, February 2, 2007

And the award goes to...

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Abby is a drama queen. There's no simple way around it. I've known this was coming for a while. The last few weeks have seen an increase in the dramatic tears and tantrums. But this morning Abby might just have won the award for Most Dramatic Loss of a Spoon.

It all started with your morning oatmeal and the Blue's Clues spoon. It has a Blue's Clues blue rubbery handle. Granted, it's a cute spoon and all, but it's a SPOON. I wasn't in the kitchen when the spoons were selected, so I honestly can't say how the problem began. All I know is that Abby came into the bathroom while I was still in the shower crying and wailing about the blue spoon. I misunderstood the issue and told Andrew to get the other blue spoon (it has a darker, not rubbery, but still blue handle), thinking that it would solve the problem. You were both back minutes later. This time, I figured out what was really going on. Andrew had the Blue's Clues spoon. And Abby wanted it.

I have to stop here to apologize to Andrew. Over the last couple of months, Abby has developed a very strong - and loud - will. She throws fits like Andrew never did. Because Andrew doesn't do that, Daddy and I have a tendency to find the fastest way to make the noise stop, and that often includes giving Abby what she wants, even if it means taking that something away from Andrew or making Andrew compromise enough to convince Abby she is getting her way. That's not fair to Andrew. I have been trying to stop myself from doing this. Both because it is unfair to Andrew and because it's not doing Abby any favors in the long run, either. Obviously.

So this morning, a large part of me wanted to just tell Andrew to give Abby the spoon already. It's just a spoon, for crying out loud! But for once, the smarter mom inside of me stood up and said, yes, it's only a spoon, but it's not about that - it's about making Andrew give in, and it's not fair. I offered some options to Abby, none of which she was interested in. Finally, I told her that she could wait until Andrew was done eating his oatmeal and that I would wash the spoon for her. So she waited - right next to Andrew, screaming and crying the entire time. Here is Andrew eating his oatmeal with the Blue's Clues spoon:

I tried to get Abby in the picture to show the drama, but she ran away. Here she is checking the spoon drawer to see if another Blue's Clues spoon has appeared and running away when she discovered that a) there was still no second BC spoon, and b) Mommy was trying to take her picture:

And here she is after waiting for Andrew to finish and Mommy to wash the spoon so she could eat her cold oatmeal:

Notice the drama has passed as quickly as it began. All is right with the world, and it's even okay to take her picture now. Abby, start practicing this now: "I'd like to thank the Academy..."


Thursday, February 1, 2007

SnuggleFest '07

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today, we were running late leaving the house. Again. As usual. Normally, this would cause great frustration and most likely some yelling from Mommy. But today, I didn't really mind.

I started out pretty tired, so I didn't get up early enough to walk on the treadmill - I will have to be good and do that when I get home tonight. When I went to check on Abby, she was awake but not ready to get up. I laid down next to her for a minute and when I said I was getting up to do the rest of my exercises (it's just a few push-ups, sit-ups, and stretches), she threw her arm around my neck and told me to "Lay back down!" She said she wanted to snuggle. Well, how can I say no to that?! So we snuggled for a few more minutes. And I tried to get up again - I really did plan to do my push-ups and sit-ups. Really, I did. But Abby pushed me down again. Okay, so maybe I didn't resist too much...

I called for help from Daddy and his answer was to bring Andrew in and put him in bed with us. He was totally (see, I did it again! No wonder Abby says it all the time!!) on board with the snuggling today, too. Pretty soon, I tried to get serious about getting up - it was getting late, after all. But that's when you two kicked into high gear. You SAT ON ME to keep me from getting up and then told me to do my push-ups like that. I tried, but laying on a bed with a 30+ pound weight on your back (Abby) and a 50+ pound weight on your butt (Andrew - who has a bony little tushy!) is not the best position for doing effective push-ups.

Eventually, I managed to slide out from under you and run away to take my shower. The rest of the morning went pretty much like all of our other weekdays. This is what I sound like:

"Abby, get your shoes. Andrew, do you have your shoes on yet? Did you get your backpack? Is your homework in your folder? Is your folder inside your backpack? Abby, come here so I can brush your hair. No, come here. You have to have your hair brushed! Do you have a baby and a blanket to nap with? C'mon, let's go!"

Sometimes I yell, but today, I stayed pretty calm MOST of the time. It's hard to be too grumpy with a morning snuggle still keeping my heart warm.