Monday, March 30, 2009

Elle's Half-Birthday

When I was a kid, my mom always celebrated our half-birthdays with us, and it was such a fun tradition, I knew I wanted to do it with my kids. So, yesterday, we had a little party for Elle's half-birthday--my big girl is now 2 1/2!. We had her favorite meal, pizza, along with a half-pink-cake (she picked this out). She chose some Handy Manny plates, so we did a few things along that theme, and we also played two of her favorite games--Elefun and parachute. She has a few dollar store presents and some things sent from Nana. Her friend, Coral (and Coral's parents), joined us for the fun, and Elle absolutely loved it! She was a lot more excited about this than her actual 2nd birthday, since she understands a lot more now. Here are some pics from the evening:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Funny/Cute things Elle says...

I've been trying to keep a mental note of some cute/funny things Elle has said recently, and I finally took the time to write some of them down. I know this is a lot of writing, but since this blog is essentially Elle's baby book (and Lauren's), I wanted to make sure I saved them. So, feel free to read any of them and get a glimpse into our favorite 2 and a half year old's mind!

The other day, Elle walked toward Lauren and grabbed her hand and started moving it toward her face. My first reaction was to tell Elle to stop and be more gentle (since she usually has a hard time playing gently with Lauren) until I heard what she was saying, “Baby Lauren, it’s Father, Son, Holy Sprit!” And this is a follow-up to when were in Augusta for Christmas, and my mom and I took the kids to the local science museum. There was one of those large marble balls that spin and are covered in water. Elle walked right over to the water at the bottom, dunked her hand in and made the sign of the cross. Too cute! So, even though she still walks around going, “I’m not Jesus, mommy! I’m not Jesus!”, she’s kind of starting to get it!

Elle’s also on an ownership kick—she lets everyone know what’s hers and what belongs to someone else. She walks around saying, “You’re my mommy, not Sam’s mommy, but my mommy.” Or, “Lauren’s my baby sister, not Coral’s baby sister, my baby sister!” Or, most recently after she had pooped in her diaper, “It’s my poopie, mommy, it’s not Coral’s poopie, it’s my poopie!” Yes, Elle, it’s all yours!

Elle’s really been loving her daddy lately, so she talks about him all the time when he’s gone. Yesterday, around lunchtime, she came up to me and said, “Mommy, I miss daddy.” It’s the first time she’s ever said she missed anyone, so it was really sweet!

For a while now, Elle’s been using some new adjectives. When she doesn’t want to walk anymore while we’re out running errands, she’ll lay down on the ground and say, “Mommy, I can’t walk; I’m too big (or I’m scared)!” Not sure where she got that from…I definitely think it’s the age, but Elle has also been getting “scared” of things a lot more frequently. Every morning when we start to walk downstairs, she says, “Hold you, mama, I’m scared—there’s monsters!” And then she’ll randomly run over to me throughout the day and do the same thing. She also still has a major fear of bugs and will often wake up in the middle of the night grabbing her feet and screaming “No bugs! No bugs!”

Elle has been obsessed with labeling people by gender recently. She goes through the whole family plus Sam and Noah on a daily basis (i.e. “I’m a girl, mommy’s a girl, baby Lauren’s a girl, daddy’s a boy, Sam’s a boy, and Noah’s a boy”). And, if you ask her any questions about herself or say, “Elle is….(insert pretty much anything here),” she will quickly correct you and say, “No, I’m a girl!” Well, she had also recently learned that girls have vaginas and boys have penises, so the other day, we were walking through Target (me, Kyle, Elle, and Lauren), and she loudly proclaimed, “Daddy has a penis!”

We always try to encourage good manners, so if Elle doesn’t do it on her own, we remind her to say “please” and “thank you”. Well, she’s now taken it upon herself to remind us and Lauren! Every time she hands me something, she looks at me very seriously and does that mom-tone-voice and says, “Mommy, say ‘bank (thank) you,’ Elle,” and she does the same thing to Lauren. It’s too funny! But, I guess I should expect this because Elle still tries to copy most everything we say or do and she’s really bossy. She tells Sam (the little boy I watch who’s also 2) what to do all day long; luckily, he usually listens to her. If she gets in timeout at all during the day, she will put all her babies in timeout and say, “Timeout—you stay right there—I’ll be right back!”

Elle has also really been loving her Papa (my dad) recently. It was Papa’s birthday a little over a month ago, so she loved singing “Happy Birthday” to him and for weeks went around saying, “Happy Birthday to Papa!” And she often asks if we can go see him when we get in the car to go somewhere, so I’ve had to explain to her that Papa lives far away, so we can’t go see him any time we want. So, she continually reminds me, “Papa’s far away, Mommy.” A few days after I first told her this, she saw an airplane and as it flew away she said, “Mommy, the airplane’s far away! Papa’s far away too!” I thought that was a pretty good understanding for a 2-year-old. So, even though we can’t see Papa, she pretends to talk to him on her play phone all the time and asks to call him most every day and loves to “show” him all her toys through the phone. We can’t wait to see Papa again soon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring is here!

Well, at least for now....we've had freezing temps into May before, but we're hoping Spring is here to stay!  In honor of the weather, I set up a little sensory activity for Elle, using mini-terra cotta pots, fake flowers, a small shovel, and some inexpensive ground coffee (we found most of these items at the dollar store!).  She did a great job of shoveling the "dirt" into the pots and sticking in her flowers a few times, but then she just loved dumping the "dirt" back into the bowl and using her hands, so some great hand-eye coordination practice and a great sensory experience.  As you can see, she was too focused to look at the camera--I can't wait to plant some real flowers with her soon!

There is no better friend than a sister...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Perfect Sunday

Warning...lots of pictures in this post...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day a little late

My mom was always big on traditions when I was growing up, and they're the things I remember most about holidays, so I definitely try to make each holiday, and each day for that matter, special in some way. Leading up to St. Patrick's Day, we did a lot of crafts with shamrocks, the Trinity, leprechauns, and rainbows. And then for St. Patrick's Day, since there's not a parade or anything here, we had a little playgroup with some friends that included lots of green fun. The kids painted green toast (with milk and green food coloring), and we ate a green lunch topped off with a rainbow fruit salad that Elle helped me make (it was great color practice for her!).

It was soo nice outside, the warmest day we've had yet, so the kids did some green shaving cream painting on cookie sheets, which really became body painting. So, we ended by letting them play in the hose to wash off and they loved running around with no clothes on. be a kid again!

Here are some shots of Lauren and Elle playing before Daddy got home from work (one of Elle's new favorite activities is to get on the floor next to Lauren and say, "Mommy, I'm a baby too!", so I talk baby talk to her and say, "Hi baby Elle, hi baby Lauren!" which she loves):

For dinner, we had Sausage and Potato soup (since Kyle's not a fan of corned beef and cabbage), beer bread made with Irish beer, and a green cake (Elle helped with everything but the soup). Here's Elle enjoying her green dessert:

A few random things...

Like Elle, Lauren was stable enough to put in her exersaucer before she was tall enough to reach the bottom, even on the shortest setting, so she's been standing on pillows and blanket and towels and loving being upright. But, she's finally graduated to standing in it on her own! She's such a smiley baby and will smile at pretty much anyone who talks to her. So cute!

And here's Elle testing out her easel outside--yes, we've finally had some warm weather, and we're loving the chance to play in it! We worked on lots of St. Patrick's Day/Green project the past two weeks, so here she is mixing blue and yellow paint to make green (she was actually sick this day, but you know how kids always get that "motrin high", as I call it, right in the middle of the dose that makes you think they must not be sick anymore--about 10 minutes later, she was begging to "hold you, mama!"--poor thing!):

6 months old Already!

Lauren turned 6 months old last week (I still can't believe it--I keep telling her to stop growing up!), and we've tried giving rice cereal a few times recently, the important word being tried. Apparently, she's not a big fan of rice cereal or the sweet potatoes I tried last night, but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since Elle didn't like food all that much either. Anyway, here are some pictures from Lauren's first experience with "real" food!

And, of course, Elle had to get in on the action too!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Music/Art Playgroup

Last week, we had our 2nd music/art playgroup, and Elle had so much fun with her friends. I moved most of the toys and furniture out to give the kids plenty of space, and Elle couldn't help running in circles around the room before everyone arrived. We danced and sang and played with our parachute for awhile and then moved onto our art project: glueless collages. Basically, we taped contact paper to the easel/wall, sticky side out, and let the kids decorate their collages with lots of different things (paper, pictures, crepe paper, ribbon, big star confetti, etc.) before adding a second piece of paper to preserve it. Elle took a long time on her collage and didn't want me to take it down. She would sit back and look at it and then add one thing at a time. It was interesting to watch her mind at work. After it was over, Elle kept asking, "Playgroup again, mama?" I'll be hosting these twice a month, so I'm sure there will be more pictures to come!