Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tiny Talk Tuesday {2 Year Old & Baldness}

 Bundled up like a snowman
one very chilly afternoon.

 A bit of history on this edition of Tiny Talk Tuesday:  Occasionally Susannah will ask to wear a hair clip, barrette, etc. that requires much more hair than she has, or she'll want to put something in Sylvia's hair that needs more hair than Sylvia has.  My answer to those kind of requests (along with earrings, makeup, deodorant, etc.) is "when you have few (or several) more birthdays", she will have more hair, be old enough, etc.

Today we were picking up the floor so I could sweep.  One of the items was a comb of Daniel's and I asked her to take it to the bathroom drawer.

Her observation was as follows:
"This is Papa's (Daniel's dad) comb." (She often thinks that the short "man" combs are Papa's... I guess she has seen Papa's combs at their house?)
"This is Daddy's comb."
"Daddy need-a have a foo more bir-days, den he have more hair to use da comb."

If you know my husband, you'll know that he's just about slick bald on top.  I don't think a "foo more bir-days" is gonna give him more need for a comb!!

Susannah's first painting
with her Christmas gifts.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas at the Beach

Daniel's parents gave us (their children) the gift of time together at a beach house.  We were all there for several days and it was really nice.  We had a great time together, and the one evening after the kids were in bed we played a gut-bustin' game of Apples to Apples.  Somehow a card with the word "underwear" was played and after that EVERYTHING was hilarious.  It was great to laugh so much.

Doing a new puzzle with Papa

The downside to this part of Christmas Vacation was the lack of sleep for me and the girls.  The first night there, I discovered that I'd left their pajamas at home.  I'd pulled them out and they were in the pile of clothes to pack, but they never got into the bag.  Since we were extremely limited with car space, we packed VERY lightly and that was the ONLY pair of pj's they were going to have.  The house was very comfortably warm, so I thought that they would be ok sleeping in shirts.

The first bedtime went well.  Sylvia fussed a little (the girls were sharing a room), but then they were quiet.  About midnight I peeked in on them and pulled their blankets up before going to bed myself.  I noticed that their room felt cooler than the rest of the house (a big cold-front was coming in that night).  When I left the room, Sylvia woke up and cried and cried and cried.  Susannah then woke up from the noise.  It is rare that Sylvia does anything like this, but the few times she does she almost always goes back to sleep after crying a few minutes.

That was not the case on this night.  I ended up holding her for a while and she would *almost* fall asleep on me so I would ease her back into her bed.  She would wake up and cry and cry.  Finally I had Daniel bring her pak'n'play into our room so she wouldn't be crying in Susannah's ear.  I ended up lying in bed with her on my chest for 45 minutes until she had calmed down and fallen asleep.  I very carefully put her in her bed and she woke up and cried.  I was flat out at the end of my awake rope, so I talked to her a bit and she soon went to sleep.  This was night 2 of way less sleep than I am used to at this stage.

When she was awake, Sylvia was a happy girl.
She made great forward strides with her mobility while at the beach house.

The next night was only slightly better in that Sylvia only cried for a few minutes before going to sleep... and staying asleep.  On the other hand, though, Susannah was awake throughout the night because she would kick her covers off and get cold.  About 6:15 the next morning she came into our rooms and she was simply cold.  I snuggled her in our bed (of course not getting any more sleep) until it was a decent time to get up "early".  That afternoon I googled the nearest Target and went and bought both girls footed pajamas - for $2.63/pr. on clearance. :)  That night we ALL slept pretty good.  {For some reason their room was considerably cooler than ours.  Their balcony door was drafty, too, which I'm sure did not help.}

Sylvia moderating a game of chess.

Friday morning Daniel took Susannah out on the beach while I packed everything back up again.  After lunch he packed up the car and we hit the road for my parents house...

Bedtime story with Grandma

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas Day

I had been working at getting gifts wrapped here and there, but still ended up with quite a bit to do when Christmas Eve rolled around (somehow rehearsals for 2 Christmas concerts ate up a TON of time and energy!).  I considered throwing each girls' stuff into a big box and only wrapping 1 box for each of them, but um, hello, that is SO not nearly as fun as opening multiple gifts!!

I caught Susannah just sitting and 
looking at the tree and gifts for a few
minutes one afternoon.

Our gifts were pretty simple this year (as they have been), but it was a lot of little items.  I think I went to bed around 3:30 Christmas morning.  I could've finished sooner, but I wanted the gifts to look nice.  I will confess to spending probably 30 minutes arranging and re-arranging the gifts under the tree in the middle of the night, because I wanted it to look pretty in the morning. :)

Middle of the night before Christmas.

This year I got to put out a wooden train that I snagged for just a few dollars a couple years ago.  A few of the wheels are broken off, but I think it looks fabulous under the tree. :)

I, of course, did not burst out of bed at the crack of dawn.  Susannah woke up first (around 8, I think?) and we got up and ate Cheerios for breakfast if I remember right.  Then we knew that if the day was going to go like it needed to, we had to get on with the gifts... what a shame. ;)

Sylvia got some new tights, 2 puzzles (that I took out of a puzzle rack that was a gift to both girls), and some rattle-y balls and turtles.

Back in the fall, a friend was cleaning out her attic and offered us a child's easel.  It is nothing super-fancy, but it allowed us to give Susannah a really "great" Christmas gift for nothing.  I had actually been considering finding one used, but I hadn't fully decided.  To go along with it, we gave her "art" supplies: paint, brushes, (short, fat) colored pencils (because she likes to break her crayons in half), a huge pad of paper, a huge binder clip to hold the paper to the easel, some window crayons, a small pad of stickers and some (needed) barrettes.  It was a lot of little gifts but did not cost very much.

After we opened our gifts, Sylvia went down for her morning nap and I started tearing around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  See... as soon as we could get left after lunch, we were leaving for a week.  First we were heading to the beach for a few days with Daniel's family, then heading to my parents' farm for a few days.  Susannah and Sylvia had a simple lunch, and Daniel and I snacked on the traditional Christmas Day shrimp ring and other munchies while we packed.  I was running on coffee, adrenaline and will-power.  About 2:30 both girls were getting fussy for their naps.  We loaded them into the car (it was not cold outside) and they both fell asleep while we finished packing.  We pulled out about 3:30, I think, and they slept most of the way.

More on this un-vacationy-vacation later. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Getting Ready For Christmas

Yes, it is January 9th (and now 12th as I finish this post!) of the new year and I am still blogging about Christmas. :)  It was such a busy December that I did not get much blogging done at all, and there are memories that I want to write about so they are not forgotten!

This year (well, "last" year, to be exact) for the first time in many years, we actually had room for a real, "big" tree instead of the little tiny fake one we've been using.  On December 8th after lunch, we loaded up the girls and went to a nearby Christmas Tree farm to find a real tree.  I was very excited! I had been wanting a real, big tree for a long time and it was happening!  Sylvia rode in the stroller and Susannah traipsed along with either Daniel or myself, or somewhere in between.  We had looked over the map of the farm and decided which kind of tree would fit our budget, and perused the seemingly few uncut trees of that type.  We walked and looked for probably 45 minutes, meandering down one side of the lot and then heading back up to the front.  I was starting to feel discouraged and my head was beginning to ache from the sun glare.  Then we found the tree.  We looked at it, talked about it, and walked on a bit.  Then we turned around and looked at it again and decided it really was our favorite.

By then it was well into the girls' naptimes, and thankfully the tree farm isn't too far from home.  We came home and I deposited the girls into bed for naps while Daniel got things ready to put the tree up.
We have never used a real tree stand.  I didn't grow up using one, and Daniel's family had a fake tree.  The few times we've had a real tree in our married life, we've used a bucket with gravel just like we did on the farm.  We continued with that tradition this year. :)

We got the tree up before naptime was over, but nothing else happened that day.  I was hoping to have a Norman Rockwell, picture-perfect "family evening decorating the tree"... but that was all wishful thinking.  Once I realized how far-fetched that idea really was, I spent a few afternoons climbing up and down a step-stool and squeezing around the tree (hoping it wouldn't tip over!) and managed to get lights on it.  I thought it looked beautiful with just lights!

I really wanted to make some Christmas cookies with Susannah, so one afternoon we mixed up homemade Oreo cookies, and she helped cut out the first cookie-sheet full before she took her nap and I finished baking them.

The next day I used some leftover frosting I'd had in the freezer, and she watched/helped me make Rudolph cookies. :)  {Don't be too impressed... I think I made 8 or 10 of these, total; the rest were eaten as plain sandwich cookies!}  She thought they were pretty exciting.  Mission accomplished. :)

Back to the tree that was being beautiful with just lights in the living room.  I loved it.  I thought it would look even more beautiful with pretty decorations on it, but I was feeling pretty un-excited about decorating it by myself.  One day I decided it was time to bite the bullet, and got down the big tub of decorations.  I hung a few before I decided that it, too, would be a naptime project.  It took me all of one long afternoon naptime, but I did it!  Just like I thought, it was even more lovely decorated.

A few of my favorite ornaments:
A hand-painted picture by Daniel's mom.

This ornament, from one of my sisters,
happens to not only be one of my favorite
kinds of chocolate, but also bears my middle name (for real). :)

These ornaments with different parts of the 
nativity scene on them, reminding me of 
the True Reason of Christmas.

This star, which I don't remember where it came from,
but it ended up hanging right at my eye level.
Each time I look at the tree I see this star and 
love it's simple elegance.

Another aspect of our Christmas Season was doing an Advent Calendar of sorts with Susannah.  I wanted some way to count down (or up?) the days till Jesus' Birthday, but didn't want the traditional Advent Calendar, open-the-door, read the verse, get a piece of candy -type thing. Instead I made this tree, cut into 24 pieces, to go on the background that I had for it.  Each evening I wrote a "message" (a little short paragraph) and stuck it on the fridge with the piece of tree for the day.  In the message I included which story from The Jesus Storybook Bible we would read that evening.  We followed this plan for reading The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Susannah loved this, and several times a day would run to the refrigerator looking for "another message!"

One Saturday afternoon Daniel helped me try to get pictures of the girls.  The "official" picture is in this post; these are some of the out-takes (it was quite a circus with 2 little people!).

(This one is cute, but "blown up" at all Sylvia is blurry,
plus she's cute without her fingers in her mouth, too. :) )

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas At The Ranch, Part 3

Now on to the most fun - and crazy - part of the day: PRESENTS!! I love giving and I love getting.:)

Sam (Gail's youngest) pretty pleased with his
pile of gifts.  Actually, he was carefully and
sneakily tearing the paper off one of them. :P

Poor Susannah was in the deep end of a head cold on this day, and in the middle of lunch Sally discovered she was running a fever.  I took her temperature and sure enough, she was 100.6 - IF she kept the thermometer under her tongue.  I loaded her up with Tylenol to get her through lunch and the gift opening, then I gave her some Benadryl for her extreme drainage and tucked her in for a much-needed nap (more to come, later, on our week of sick, sleepless "vacation").

Daniel excited about his presents. :)
(My grandmother in the background.)

Daniel helped Sylvia open her gifts and I helped
Susannah open hers.  I didn't get many pictures of the afternoon
because I was a bit busy.

At Thanksgiving I got a good picture of Susannah and my 91 y.o. Grandma,
I made sure to get a picture of Sylvia with her this time.

The youngest of the crowd this year,
Rachel's VERY smiley baby girl, Morgan.

The second youngest cousin, Sally's daughter, Rachel.
(Or, "Rachel Anne" as she gets called when we're 
all together to avoid confusion of which Rachel we're talking about!)

Sylvia, the oldest of the 2012-born cousins, enjoying Grandma's toys. :)
In 2012, 3 new cousins were born: Sylvia, Rachel and Morgan.

We didn't serve turkey, but it seems the Tryptophan was still at work.  After the gifts people lined up in the recliners to relax.  These are the times that Mom & Dad's huge house DOESN'T seem "too big"!!

Gail & Rachel
(Rachel was the head of the planning committee this year
and did a fabulous job.)

A very long game of Monopoly in action.
Glen, Sally & Linden (who is THE Monopoly player)

Linden, Jason & Luke
I heard there were some under-the-table deals going on,
contracts being written, and that it was quite the game!

About this time we had to load up and head home.  Daniel was on call New Years Day, so we couldn't stay the night and enjoy the after-party partying like we'd hoped.

If you missed them, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Happy New Year, y'all!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Noisiest 5 Minutes

...begin the moment I walk into the bathroom and close the door.  Yes, I have started requiring privacy for my bathroom trips.  Most of the time.  I have even started locking the door because Susannah would stand on the other side, and no matter HOW many times I would repeat "leave the door closed" she would inch it open.  I would reach over and close it.  She would inch it open.  I would reach over and push it shut.  I mean, you can't DO anything in peace while all that's going on.

This morning was no exception.  I walk in, shut and lock the door, and sit down to a few moments of all-by-myself-time, which is treasured even if it is while going to the bathroom.  No sooner had I sat down when this loud clang, bang, wang, clatter, clang!! starts up RIGHT outside the door.  Susannah had come to serenade me with a metal baking sheet, banging it on the floor. Niiiiiice.

Then I hear Sylvia cruise up, and stuff being dug out of the hall closet (which does not have a door). 

I am still occupied and unable to do more than attempt verbal direction, which is obviously falling on deaf ears.  THEN I hear light-bulbs clunking on the floor!  Great.  Somebody has dug out the box of spare lightbulbs. How soon will it be till Sylvia decides to chew on one, or bang one on the floor and it shatters into shards?

I hear plastic bags rattling as if Sylvia is probably climbing up into the closet, or dragging stuff out as fast as her rotor-tiller hands can dig.

More verbal instruction falls on deaf ears.

A line from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (with Kevin Costner) comes to mind:
"I can't DO this with all that RACKET!!" 

But, being a mom requires the ability to do amazing things, including taking care of business in the midst of a full-blown circus.

I finished what I needed to do, opened the door and restored order.  They moved away from the bathroom doorway and closet and resumed playing elsewhere, because, of course, I was not in the bathroom hoping to snag a brief moment of sanity anymore.

I tell myself they'll only be this little once. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas At The Ranch, Part 2

 In Part 1, I mention the bit about Sally's kids thinking that the CANDY at Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas is the best part.  Here's proof that there was plenty there to suit a wide variety of sweet tooths!

There were 5 kinds of M&Ms : regular, peanut, peanut butter, pretzel and mint flavored.

Rachel had given the variety of sweets a lot of thought, and each kind of candy represented family Christmases from our generation's growing up years. Candy was a very special treat in our house, so to have free range of it at Christmas get-togethers was really exciting! The excitement is obviously being carried on with the next generation. :)

Julia made these wonderful signs so everyone would know the history behind each candy.

The M&Ms were from Christmases at Aunt Jo & Uncle Joe's house...

Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's Miniatures were from Christmases at Grandpa & Grandma's...

Great-Aunt Marion always provided Rice Krispie Treats for Grandpa & Grandma's Christmases...
(I realized later that I did not get a picture OF the Rice Krispie Treats!)

And the signature treat of Granddaddy & Grandma's was candied orange slices and marshmallows.

The dessert/snack bar minus the M&M buffet.  Aside from the aforementioned candy, there was pistachios, oyster crackers, party-mix packaged into snack baggies, O'Henry Bars, and a variety of cookies and cupcakes.  There were also a few pies, Apple, Pumpkin & Pecan, but they didn't get in any of my pictures.

 As soon as everyone was there that was going to be there, we gathered 'round and sang the Doxology, then a family friend asked the blessing on the food and we dug in!  I did not get a picture of the main buffet table, but it was delicious, simple fare:  Lasagna & Garlic Bread (all homemade), Fruit Salad, Vegetables and Dip.  This was the first year we did not do the full-blown, 10 course, days-of-preparation, turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, and so on meal and it was SO much easier to prepare, prepare for, and manage throughout the day.

Last summer Mom bought this little picnic table for the little cousins to eat at for these kind of parties.  They think it is the bees knees to eat at their own little table. :)

Here are Gail and her son, Sam, Sally and her daughter, Marie, and my Susannah.  These three cousins were born in the same year. :)

Here at the "big kid" table are Hannah (Sally's) and Bobby (Gail's).  Paul (Sally's oldest) also sat at this table.

Auntie Juls (Julia) is feeding Sylvia ground up lasagna,
which she ended up not liking.

Andrew (Sally's husband) is feeding their youngest,
Rachel Anne, her lunch.
 Luke, the oldest brother,
and his girlfriend, Katelyn

The men going through the food-line:
Ted (Rachel's husband), Andrew (Sally's husband),
Glen (youngest brother), Daniel (my husband),
James (Gail's husband) and Sherman (Katie's husband)
4 of the guys are not pictured here!

Coming next will be Part 3.