Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bath circus

It took me a while to figure out a system with two kids, but usually I have my bathtime routine down to a science and everything runs like clockwork. Last night I felt like I was in a 3-ring circus. While I was bathing Caroline, Rylan snuck upstairs in his Batman costume and stealthily climbed into Caroline's crib, something he is not allowed to do. He never made a sound and I was shocked to find him in her crib when I heard one of her musical toys playing. I had taken a few steps away from the tub to check on Rylan, so when I turned back around, I nearly ran into Caroline, completely naked and dripping wet! Since Rylan was being so calm, I decided just to leave him in the crib and focus on my bathtub escapee. Once she was lotioned, diapered, dressed, and her hair was brushed, I started to undress Rylan. As I passed the bathroom to put his dirty clothes in his room, I was totally shocked to see Caroline happily splashing in the bathtub, still clutching her beloved tube of diaper cream. So at this point I had one naked pre-schooler in his sister's crib, and one fully dressed toddler in the tub. All I could do was laugh. Amazing how two kids can keep their mom spinning in circles sometimes.

Playing in the snow

Waving at mom. What a change from last year. Rylan now loves playing in the snow.

Caroline checks out a rock. She had a hard time walking in the 8" of heavy wet snow and after falling multiple times, finally gave up and crawled instead through the white stuff.

"Can you believe my mom was too cheap to buy me snow boots and makes me wear these ghetto plastic bags over my shoes?" And she is wearing Rylan's hand me down nylon pants. Poor girl! I wasn't sure she would even be walking this winter or interested in playing outside in the cold and snow even if she was walking, so I didn't splurge on all the snow gear for her this year. Next year we will do better.

Looking up at his creation. Charlton helped the kids build this great-looking snowman.

A big smile from Rylan and a snowman smirk.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break Storm 2010

On Tuesday night a strong storm dumped about 8" of snow overnight. It came down so fast and the winds were blowing so fiercely, we got about 3-4" in just an hour. Charlton was at work that night and it took him almost twice as long as normal to drive home with all the snow-covered roads. I was especially glad to have him arrive home safely that night.

My favorite picture. The snow on the pine tree started melting and formed icicles.
The view from our front porch.

Drifts against the fence in our back yard.

More drifts.
Our front yard.

A taste of spring

Last Thursday was so beautiful and we played outside most of the morning. Here are a few shots of my girl enjoying the backyard.

I just had to throw in this random cute picture of Caroline making a scarf out of Rylan's bib.

Talking lessons

My computer broke right after I took this video about a month ago and it took me awhile to figure out how to get videos uploaded again. I love how Caroline is so eager to impress her big brother!

Work and Play (-doh)

What great little helpers I have! Not a speck of dust to be seen.

Rylan and the face he makes whenever I ask him to smile. I pulled out the play-doh when we were stuck inside on a cold day.
Experimenting. This was Caroline's first time to play with play-doh.

Why do you give me utensils if you don't want me to eat the Play-doh? Silly mom!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caroline update: 16 months

Caroline will be 16 months on the 24th. I spend the past Saturday cleaning and organizing her room, putting away lots of baby things like burp cloths, boppy covers, and swaddling blankets that we hadn't used in months. That was bittersweet. Where did the time go? I look at her baby picture on the wall, and can hardly remember when she was that small with so much dark hair that stuck straight up. One of her newest words, is "baby", and we like to look at those pictures together and point to "baby" Caroline.

At her 15-month well- child visit, Caroline weighed 24 lbs. and was 30 1/4 in. long. She only gained 1/2 lb in three months and was the exact same height. (I am not 100% convinced there wasn't some measuring error in there because her clothes are fitting differently in length.) I am not surprised at the weight, though, because three ear infections, 40 days of antibiotics, croup, and multiple colds didn't leave her with much of an appetite.

I am so thankful to say Caroline has been healthy for the past month and there is certainly nothing wrong with her appetite now. She must be playing catch-up. I think she would snack every hour if I would let her and will try almost anything I put on her plate. This is probably a terrible thing to be happy about, but I even love that Caroline will eat fast food! (Rylan wouldn't at her age and not until the past year.) We don't eat out that much, but it is a nice treat to get chicken nuggets for lunch at Chick-Fil-A every now and then and know she will actually fill her tummy. She is still not crazy about cooked, chopped veggies, but will still eat the pureed peas and carrots, so I get them into her one way or the other. She has the bad habit of throwing her "leftovers" onto the floor, especially if I am watching and apt to say "no." Sometimes she teases me, holds the food over the side of her tray and corrects herself, "no!" I think we could feed a couple starving orphans with her throw aways. She is interested in grabbing the spoon when I am feeding her, so I may need to let her try learning to self-feed soon.

Caroline is walking and running very steadily now. I have been given notice by her nursery teachers that she will have to move up from the crawling room in April. Then she will be in the first toddler room, where Rylan was when we first moved to Colorado. Hard to believe! She is quite the climber and I caught her climbing on top of our small kids' table several times last month. I had to stack the chairs on top to keep her grounded. She also likes to test out any larger push toy for its climbability. I have predicted she will be the one to give us our first ER visit. (Just wait until after April 1st please, darling.) Caroline is way more daring than Rylan ever was. He was adventurous, but cautious and not as much of a climber of toys or furniture. This weekend I tried leaving the baby gate down and letting Caroline have free reign of the house. As long as I can remember to keep the bathroom doors shut, I think we will be okay. She is really bad about splashing in the toilets, another thing amazingly, that Rylan never did. I think she is excited about having all this new freedom and she is incredibly fast about flipping onto her tummy and scooting/sliding down the stairs. Caroline makes a bee-line every time I crack the back door and would play outside for hours, poking things with her stick, digging in the sandbox, and tasting all the rocks. When we try to go for walks, she wanders everywhere, so I end up buckling her in the stroller or wagon if we actually have a destination in mind. Her newest cute trick is spinning in circles to music or just whenever she wants to be noticed.

Verbally, Caroline is still in the stage where I can count all her words, but she is adding new ones every week. Here is the most up-to-date list: mama, dada, bubba (brother), nana, bubble, ball, bear-bear (he really is the 5th member of our family), no, snow, ju (juice), baby, night-night, bye-bye, hi, up, and dog. She can understand many more words and phrases and knows where her nose and eyes are, but isn't always consistent about pointing to them. Caroline can say "honk" and "neigh" when we read our farm animal books and I point to the goose and horse. One of her favorite games is saying "ongh, ongh," and reaching out to "honk" mine or Charlton's noses. She squeezes really tight with those sharp little nails, so that game usually doesn't last long. Maybe this is a girl thing or just a sweet part of her personality, but Caroline has started to "sing" to herself the past month whenever she is content or happy playing.

One of Caroline's newest words was "dog", and she is crazy about them. She squeals with delight as soon as she sees one, even if they are far away. A few months ago, we played at the park with a 4-month old golden retriever puppy. She enjoyed petting and interacting with him until he knocked her down for the 3rd time and then she was done!
She will hold her baby and cuddle for a few moments, which is progress, and I was really happy when she started saying "baby." We played with play-doh for the first time on Friday and once Caroline realized it wasn't for eating, she seemed to like squishing it and mashing it with a fork and spoon. She will scribble with a crayon, but is more interested in tearing up the paper. She doesn't like to sit with us and read library books during the day, but loves the few books we cycle through at bedtime each night. "Brown Bear" is a favorite right now.

Caroline has already shown me her strong will; screaming, hitting, and even flopping on the floor when life doesn't go the way she wants. She seems more responsive to correction about hitting than Rylan was, so hopefully this won't be the long drawn-out battle that we had with him. I am watching her very closely, because I am also afraid she might start biting. She tried to clamp down on my arm the other day when I was cutting her nails and I have seen her get really frustrated with Rylan and think she might try out this new "trick" on him. Now that will be fun...

Since she has been feeling better, Caroline has been much happier and content to play independently. She still has bursts of crying that make my head pound and send me running for the motrin, but they are fewer and farther in between. I am trying to teach her to say "please" because right now when she wants something out of reach, she just stands near it and screams. My biggest and most exhausting struggle right now is refereeing between her and Rylan. He loves to chase, push, wrestle, pull her clothes, tease, and do anything that gets a reaction from her and me. It usually starts out with lots of giggling for both, but always ends up with Caroline crying.
It is hard to match Caroline's enthusiasm for greeting either of us when we have been away. That always warms my heart. She will sometimes give kisses, which is also precious. Now that she is feeling better I am lucky to get my few minutes of cuddling before bedtime. She is a busy girl and brings so much delight to our home.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sweet Caroline

Caroline makes a hat out of Rylan's bib

Rylan took this picture of Caroline

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hiking near Blodgett Peak

We had more beautiful early spring weather on Saturday and had a wonderful time with our whole family hiking on the northwest side of Colorado Springs in the foothills. We didn't make it to the top of Blodgett Peak, but far enough to enjoy the peace and quiet and great views.

Blodgett Peak, 9-10,000 ft. in elevation. We made it to about 7,300 ft., not bad with two kids.

My mountain climbing boy.

Mountain men.

The view looking east over Colorado Springs.

Carrying this girl up the mountain was a work-out. At one point on the trail I had to walk in a squatting position through the snow to safely clear some low hanging branches. I lost my balance once, but we both made it safely.

Caroline loved exploring and checking out the sticks.

Isn't this precious? They can be sweet to each other sometimes!

Hiking must be hard work, even if you are riding on Daddy's shoulders or in a backpack. They catnapped in the car and then both took almost three hour naps that afternoon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In his genes...

Rylan loves to take pictures with my camera. Both his grandfathers are excellent photographers, so maybe the interest runs in his blood. A few days ago, he went on a "shooting" spree and Charlton and I got a good laugh out of these shots of some of his favorite people and things.

Dad gave a funny pose for Rylan.

One of my favorites, an up-close shot of Buzz Lightyear.

Bear-bear, being bashful.

Caroline being blinded.
Me, a little blurry, enjoying one of our fresh homemade banana muffins. Yumm!
Charlton doing a normal pose.

Caroline's shirt

When I started sewing again a few months ago, I found some Alexander Henry fabric I fell in love with. It has apples and pears in lime, pink, red, and yellow on a blue background. I love the spring colors and the whimsical pattern. I made a few pillowcase dresses and nursing covers out of the fabric and then tried some appliques on a t-shirt for Caroline.

Front of the t-shirt.

Caroline graces us with a smile.

A fun extra touch to dress up the back of the shirt.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Too smart and sweet, too

Charlton and I were talking at dinner last night about a gift Grammy might be getting for Rylan, a P-I-A-N-O (keyboard). We thought we were being smart by spelling. Rylan immediately perked up.
"Are you talking about a piano?" he asked.
Charlton and I just stared at each other. We thought P-I-A-N-O spelled out does sound a lot like the word.
"Okay, Rylan." I decided on a test. "What is this word, C-O-O-K-I-E?"
"Cookie," he replied.
Charlton and I stared at each other again. How long has this kid been able to do this?
"What is this word, C-A-T?" Rylan is giggling now, because he likes all this attention from mom and dad. He says a few nonsense words and then ends with Cat.
We tried D-O-G, but the magic was over and Rylan was done showing off his skills. So maybe he isn't a 3-year old prodigy after all, but he is learning his letters and their sounds.
We were driving yesterday and he shouted, "BW." I was looking for a volkswagon unsuccessfully then realized he was pointing to some letters spray-painted on the curb on the side of the road.

We had a busy morning, running to BabiesRUs to get some new bibs, then to help clean our friend's house while she is in the hospital with a new baby. Won't that be nice for her to come home to a sparkling clean house? One of us moms watched the kids in the basement while the rest of us cleaned like crazy. It was amazing how much we accomplished in an hour of uninterrupted work.
Then we rewarded ourselves with lunch at Chick-Fil-A. It was super crowded and after several hectic moments of ordering our food, finding a table and high chair and getting two kids and all our stuff settled we could finally relax and eat. A few minutes later Rylan leaned over to me and patted my back, "Mommy, I love you. You are the best mommy of world!" So precious. I wish they would always be this easy to please!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Easter dress

My sewing machine has been humming lately. I bought this fabric early in the year and made several pillowcase dresses for Easter. After lots of trial and error, I thought this dress turned out very cute, especially with the extra touches of ricrac and the butterfly applique on the hem. I have sizes in 9-12 months and 18-24 months left. If you are interested, check out my Etsy store by clicking on the button on the right side of the page.

Easter pillowcase dress with butterfly applique.

Detail of the butterfly applique near the dress hem.

The ribbon ties.

The matching hair bow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Everyday life: bath and bed

I was reading a photographer/mom's blog the other day and she made a suggestion to take pictures of your kids doing normal everyday things. The things you think you will always remember because you see them all the time, but of course, you eventually forget. The things that seem very ordinary and boring at the time; how they looked in their car seats or high chairs or sleeping in their beds....that will end up being treasured memories one day. I wish I was a better photographer, but I think I will still enjoy having these pictures of those unforgettable, ordinary moments. Bath and bed time are one of my favorite times at home and not just because it means I will soon get some quiet time to relax. I love kissing my sweet-smelling, freshly-bathed kids and cuddling them for bedtime stories, songs and prayers.

Rylan fresh from his bath.

Caroline with crazy hair.

The brush has won this battle with Caroline's hair.

Cuddling with her bunny.

Sleepy girl sucking her thumb and playing with her hair.

Rylan snuggling with Pooh and bear-bear.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Garden of the Gods

We usually visit Garden of the Gods when we have company and I have thought the past few times we visited that it is so close and easy,(and free), that I ought to go more often with just me and the kids. We don't need a special occasion beyond a rare warm day in late winter. It was nice to be able to take our time and just meander and spend 10 minutes examining rocks or 20 minutes playing hide and seek in the trees. I let Caroline out of the stroller and she was thrilled to be free to run, play in the dirt, and squeal at all the passing dogs. She has finally started to feel better after being on antibiotics for her 3rd ear infection since Friday. I can't even describe how nice it is to have my happy girl back. I think it has been three days since I have wiped a runny nose, which is a record for the past month at least.
There are lots of deer and rabbits that roam Garden of the Gods and leave plenty of droppings behind. At one point, Rylan discovered a pea-sized, dark brown pellet on the ground. "Look mom, a buried treasure!" he exclaimed. He held it up and showed his prize to me with great delight. "Actually, Rylan," I explained gently, "I think that is poop, deer poop."
"Oh," he looked so disappointed. "Mom, I accidentally touched it."
Oh, well, there could be worse things, I suppose.
On another note, you may have deduced my laptop is fixed. Yay! The hard drive and keyboard were replaced, so it is practically brand-new. It makes catching up on blogging and other things so much easier, although I have to admit, I was more efficient at getting other things done when the computer was gone. :-)

Caroline wouldn't look at the camera for anything today. Notice the mud on her knees. She had a matching print on her bottom by the end of our morning. I had to take her pants off before I put her in the car seat to go home. Thankfully it was really warm in the car by then.
Caroline busy exploring and too busy to bother with looking at mom.
I have never been to Garden of the Gods in winter before and seen this much snow there. It made for negotiating a lot more mud and icy spots, but was still fun. The snow looked really pretty against the red rocks and brilliant blue sky.
Rylan was cooperative for pictures today and hung out on the top of the fence rail for a few moments.