Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bucket Heads!

The kids decided to put their sand buckets on as helmets. Oh well, at least none of this was going on in the house!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Caroline is 18 months!

What a fun past few months we have had with Caroline! I think this has been my favorite age with her so far. Sometimes Charlton and I would look at each other and comment on what pure joy and sunshine this little girl brings to our lives. Caroline's laughter, singing, and dancing are infectious. You can't help but feel happy along with her. I am starting to see hints of the dreaded "terrible twos" and an emerging strong as steel will, so I am especially treasuring this time because I know a lot of battles are in our near future. It is comforting to know what to expect, to feel more equipped to handle those tantrums, and to know from experience they will eventually end.

We went to the pediatrician for Caroline's 18 month check-up Tuesday. I asked her if she could say doctor and she amazed me by babbling "doktu, doktu, doktu" all morning. It was so stinkin' cute and we had to show off this great new skill a little. I will try to get it on video soon. (We actually went to see our wonderful nurse practitioner, Rhonda, but I didn't think I would ask her to say "nurse practioner." ) So, by the numbers, Caroline weighs 26 lbs, 5 oz and is 32 inches long, both well above the 50th percentile. She is an ounce heavier and 1/2 inch shorter than Rylan at the same age. That was kind of interesting to me. She still has a toddler pot-belly and a few good rolls on her thighs, but is gradually slimming down. We had to do a finger prick to check her hemoglobin first and in the process of getting her shots, the bandaid came off and she started bleeding from her finger. Poor baby did not appreciate the shots and the tech commented on how strong she was. No kidding, I was the one having to hold her down. After the shots, we celebrated, "all done", but then realized her oozing finger could really use another band-aid. Of course, Caroline wouldn't trust us again with her finger and kept crying hysterically, "all done, all done!" It was so pitiful. In the car on the way home, she fell asleep, exhausted from her ordeal. As I carried her inside the house, she murmured sleepily, "doktu, doktu, doktu." I hope she forgets what "doktu" involves by the time we go back in November.

One of the fun parts of having two children is being able to their similarities and differences in personalities as they grow. Caroline is much more adventurous and independent. Already, she is attempting to dress and undress herself, especially with shoes. She really likes Rylan's shoes because they slip off and on so easily. She is friendly on her own terms and will wave and say "hi" especially to other children, but usually gets quiet and shy when a stranger talks to her. She loves to climb, on her play kitchen, the kid's table, Rylan's bunk bed, anything and everything even if it was never meant to be climbed. At the park, she tries and usually succeeds to climb obstacles meant for much older kids. She keeps me busy being her "spotter."

All that activity means Caroline is usually very ready for her nap and bedtimes. She sleeps about 2 hours every afternoon and from 7 pm to 6-7 am. Both kids have been getting up way too early with the sun. She is getting more attached to her bunny, "by" as she calls it. I don't know if she is just influenced by Rylan and his bear-bear but she does love to carry her bunny around especially when Rylan has bear-bear or she is tired.

One of my pet peeves is children with unruly hair, especially when it hangs down in their faces. I was blessed with a little girl with lots of hair and I love to fix it. I know how to make cute hairbows and Caroline has over two dozen to match every color outfit in every season. I know it's kind of overboard, but I am enjoying having a little girl to the fullest, and she does look especially darling with her hair fixed. Lately, though, she looks more like a neglected street urchin. Each morning I brush her hair, fasten it with a rubber band and....add the bow. That's her cue. Her chubby little hand dashes straight up to her forehead, yanks out the bow, grabs a lock of hair and pulls. Then she assumes her position: one thumb in her mouth, the other hand clasping a snarled mass of hair. When she is really tired, that hand starts twirling and twisting the strand until she has formed a frizzy knot. Yesterday I re-fixed her hair 4 times before 10 am, and again after naptime. This is not a big deal, really. I need to put away the hair brush and let go. Ahh, God must be chuckling at me fussing over such insignificance. Even though my girl looks like a ragamuffin most of the time now, I love her anyway. :-)

Caroline loves to eat, anything with syrup on it, most fruits, and cookies especially! She is quickly figuring out how to use a fork, but I haven't tried self-feeding with a spoon yet. She is definitely a breakfast eater and wakes up starving. I got sick and tired of my high chair at the end of April, donated it to the garage sale at MOPS, and moved Caroline to a booster seat at the big table. She still has horrendous table manners and one of my least favorite jobs is cleaning up after meal times. I can't believe the amount of food that ends up on the floor, under booster seats, on the walls, etc.. I am trying to teach her not to throw food on the floor, but it seems any kind of attention, even "no's" just encourages her. So now when the food starts flying, I calmly tell her "dinner's over" and remove her from the table. She also has been refusing to eat vegetables lately, so that means no dessert. I'm hoping if we are consistent, she will eventually get the connection.

A couple days ago when I was sleeping after work, Charlton had a great idea to try to hide vegetables in food that Caroline likes. Sooo, he put peas inside her grilled cheese sandwich. He told me she grabbed a bite of sandwich, almost put it in her mouth, then suddenly set it back down. Then she peeled apart the bread, extracted the pea, and then proceeded to eat her sandwich, without the offensive vegetable. A twist on the story of the princess and the pea?

Two months ago, I could still easily count the words in Caroline's vocabulary. Now she probably says about 50 words regularly and a few phrases like "all gone." Nearly every day we are delighted by a new word. She can understand more than she can say and can follow simple commands. She has been paying more attention to books and will sometimes sit for a whole story. We have been to toddler time at the library for the past three weeks consistently and last week I was impressed by Caroline's attention at some of the songs. Her favorite is the "milkshake song" which combines a song about making a milkshake with waving a scarf. She walked to the front of the room all by herself, took a scarf and came back to sing and shake. It was fun to see the recognition in her eyes and her excitement at being able to participate. She is getting so grown-up!

Caroline loves bubbles, playing outside, and brushing her teeth/chewing on her toothbrush. She would carry it around all day if I would let her. She is more interested in her baby and stroller and will sometimes hold her sweetly. She likes to carry around a washcloth and help me clean. She is crazy about animals, especially dogs and our new goldfish we just inherited from a friend. She has figured out how to aggravate Rylan and takes great delight in pushing his buttons. I am now having to tell her to leave her brother alone instead of vice versa.

She loves being the baby and hates to share her mama. On Tuesday, I helped watch some children at church for a MOPS event. I was holding another little girl and Caroline fell apart with jealousy, crying, hitting and clawing at the poor child. If I sit down for some cuddle time with Rylan, she makes every effort to worm her way into my arms too. She will lean her head on my chest and say, "mama" with great affection, but still won't give kisses. When I ask for a kiss, she thinks it is so funny to shake her head and say "no-no", very sweetly. So ornery! Sometimes she will plant her hand on our face or mouth in her own version of a kiss.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I was making dinner last night, when Rylan roared and stomped indoors pretending to be his favorite dinosaur, a T-rex. Like a good mom, I played along and acted scared. That must have encouraged Rylan and he stepped it up a notch, literally biting me on the butt! It hurt, but I was so surprised I started laughing and Rylan joined in. So much for trying to explain that behavior is not acceptable if you can't do it with a straight face.


For the past two years, my tulips bloomed on Mother's Day and we took lovely pictures of me with the kids. This year I was so disappointed when they bloomed late, but now I am finally getting to enjoy them. Spring arrives late in Colorado (we had snow just last Thursday), but winter seems to finally have released its hold on us. The grass is brilliant green, trees are budding, and colorful flowers are blooming everywhere. It is such a beautiful time of the year, made all the more special by its slow coming.

Rylan chatting with our neighbor Ms. Yvonne through the hole in the fence board. Every time he goes outside now, he runs to their meeting spot and calls for her. I hope he doesn't wear her out, but I think they both enjoy the friendship. I also don't remember our apple tree ever having so many blossoms in previous years. It is truly loaded with blooms this year. Maybe we will have some apples this fall?

Karate tournament

Charlton has been taking karate for about a year now and on Saturday entered his first tournament. We visited him in the morning, but unfortunately the kids weren't able to stay long enough to actually watch him compete. Charlton's event didn't happen until their lunch/nap time. He returned home victorious with two medals, a gold in sparring and a silver in forms. Way to go, honey. We are so proud of you! I still need to get a picture with the medals, but here's one before the glory.

Charlton really wants Rylan to start taking karate in the fall when he is old enough. It was neat to see the littlest boys wearing their black uniforms and sparring with each other. They wore so much padding, I don't think they could possibly get hurt and I was amazed they could still manage to kick and punch.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Play kitchen

I have been looking casually on Craigslist for a play kitchen for the kids, but hadn't found exactly what I wanted at the right time. Last Saturday I went garage sale shopping with the kids and hit the jackpot. This kitchen was in beautiful shape and had all the food and dishes included. It retails brand new for about $150 and I got it for less than a third of that price. Yay! (It also kind of matches my real kitchen, so I love that!)

Caroline strikes her "model" pose while cooking.

Sometimes, they can play nicely together, but the first day was rough. Rylan claimed the kitchen as his, and didn't want to share with his sister. It only took a few hours of them squabbling and me tripping over a million pieces of plastic food and dishes in my kitchen for me to second guess my decision.

The front view. I would have thought I was in heaven with a kitchen like this as a child. All the appliances make noise and even the burner on the stove lights up and makes bubbling sounds when you put a pot on it.

The hug/choke-hold from older brother. Caroline looks worried for good reason.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms-to-be! Thanks to my mom for loving me so well and being such an encouragement and inspiration to me. I also was thinking today of those those who have lost their moms too early or whose arms are aching and empty for a baby on Mother's Day. I hope God will comfort their hearts and give them hope for the future.
Since I was a very little girl, I have always wanted to be a mom. I mothered my siblings (much to their dismay) practiced with babysitting, and even loved on babies some more as a nurse in the Neonatal ICU. Charlton and I waited six years to start our family after we got married, and that wait seemed very difficult at the end when it seemed most of my friends were already getting to experience the joys of motherhood.
Now my dream has come true and while there are certainly moments that feel more like nightmares than bliss, I am so thankful for this gift and calling. I was reading a great devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries about the "dailyness" of motherhood. The author was saying how the hard parts of motherhood can wear you down because they happen every day, day after day. My daily life is defined by naps, snacks, play dates and story times. But one day this phase will pass. I will be able to cook dinner without breaking up fights or tripping over toys in my kitchen. I will be able to actually eat my dinner without getting up from the table five times. I can run a quick errand and it will actually be quick because I don't have to spend the same amount of time getting kids in and out of car seats as I spend in the store. I can take a shower without unexpected peeking visitors. One day I will be able to sleep in again on a Saturday morning.
One day I will look back and there will be no more car seats in the car. The dandelions in my yard will remain unpicked. There will be no more toys, band-aids, snacks, and other emergency supplies overloading my purse. No more laughter and silly questions. No more evidence of the richness and fullness of life with small children. These days that seem to last forever now will be over in the blink of an eye. I hope to remember and cherish each special fleeting moment, even in the midst of the madness.

My two best gifts and the reasons I am blessed to be able to celebrate Mother's Day. We went to church and Charlton took me out for a delicious lunch at an Italian restaurant. We also had a day of beautiful warm spring weather, which was also a great gift.
Rylan looking so cool and grown-up with his spiky hair. He was really excited about Mother's Day and especially about giving me my gift, Francine Rivers' newest book. He gave me a great big hug and kiss and told me I was the "best mom of world." What more could I ask? He also stayed with us during the entire church service for the first time and did fairly well. I am pretty sure I don't want to make a habit of that, but it was neat to realize how Rylan is maturing.

Mom and Rylan, squinting in the bright sun.

Me and my girl, making a funny face!

Caroline looking like she has important things on her mind. Don't you love her outfit? Would you guess the dress and shoes cost less than $4? I love garage sales.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Climbing Caroline

Caroline is so fearless and independent, it amazes me. She can climb the ladder to Rylan's top bunk in the blink of an eye. I have to remember to put the ladder away each morning and after naps to keep her safe. When I do allow her to climb and play on the top bunk, she is over the moon with excitement.

See how brave I am?

Look how well I can balance up here on the top bunk. And how cute is my new hair cut?

What! You have a problem with this? I know exactly what I am doing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Caroline's first hair cut

Today was a big day for my little girl, her first "real" haircut. We went to a kid's barber shop, which was waaayy over-priced, but worth it for the special occasion. I asked for a 1 1/2" trim and think it turned out perfectly, nothing too drastic, but her hair looks neater.

Rylan thought Caroline might like to sit in the yellow taxi for her haircut. She started wailing as soon as the stylist fastened the cape around her neck, then was distracted for a moment by Baby Einsteins.

A picture worth a thousand words..... Caroline was actually better than Rylan was for his first haircut and although she cried the whole time, she sat pretty still. Rylan was screaming, his nose was running, and he was trying to dive out of the kiddie chair. Although, in his defense, I do think electric clippers are much more scary than plain scissors.

What a hard day!

Crocodile tears.

All finished and feeling better.

Rylan with his reward for being so good for the hair cut, err.. being a good big brother while his sister got the hair cut. I asked him if his blue dum-dum was blue raspberry flavored. "But mom," he said, "raspberries aren't blue, they're red." So true. Just who invented the blue raspberry flavor anyway?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring day at the farm park and blue park

Yesterday, it snowed. Today I put sunscreen on the kids and we enjoyed some warmth and sunshine at the park. It was one of those rare spring Colorado days with no wind, so it was especially nice to be outdoors. I had my camera with me, so was able to take some cute shots of those kids. There is a newer neighborhood north of us that has both a Charlotte's Web themed park and an Alice in Wonderland park. Rylan just calls them the "farm park" and the "blue park" and they are some of our favorites.

Rylan was riding fast down the stretch, but politely pulled-up for a winner's circle photo for me. All that horse racing lingo is related to the fact that Rylan picked the Kentucky Derby winning horse this Saturday. Way to go, Super Saver and jockey Calvin Borel.

Rylan plans his next move on the web of ropes. One of my "good mom" goals is making him wear a hat outside this summer, which is going to be difficult, because Rylan hates wearing hats. Caroline doesn't like them either, so I have my work cut out for me to protect their fair heads this summer.

Wouldn't you love to take a seat next to this sweet girl? I love the contrast of the red bench against the blue sky with the mountains in the background.

Here comes Caroline trying to do what the big kids do. She is so fearless. I had to stop her at this point, but I got my picture first!

We have an old family picture of my sister Bethany singing to our horse High Hopes when she was probably about 2 years old. Her lips were pursed almost the same way and I was amazed at the resemblance! Caroline kept saying "moo-moo" to Wilbur. I think she was a little confused, but she really liked him.
Here Caroline checks out the little odd-shaped door at the Alice in Wonderland park.


Nana gave Rylan this big firetruck puzzle for Christmas and he has finally had enough patience and interest in working on them together. I had to get a picture of him next to our finished project just to show how big it really is! We had fun building it together.