Almost 2!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today I told John Paul it was his birthday soon.  To get this across, I told him we'd say "Happy Birthday" to him.  Of course, this meant I had to sing it over and over again.  To various different things - Mario, Luigi (Noygi), Mario-kart, garlic, Dinosaur, the letter J, Buzz, Alien, Baby Cee-yah, Mom, Dad, John Paw, John Paw Kart, Baby Cee-yah cwash, and all his trains.  I get annoyed at how often he wants me to sing the same song over and over again, but I really need to remind myself of a few things:

1.  As annoying behaviors go, that's *really* not bad - it could be SO much worse.

2.  It's actually flattering that he wants to hear me sing so much.

3.  I get to experience his learning process while he watches me sing new songs - the rapt attention with which he stares at me the first few times, the slow head bobbing and feet stomping the next few times, the mouthing along with the words the next few times (still staring at me), and the soft singing to himself and with me when he "gets" it (also the very LOUD and stunted singing to himself when he should be napping).

Plus I learned another lesson about this the hard way - he wanted me to sing "This Old Man" for the 147 millionth time, so I found it on YouTube and had him watch it there.  1.5 minutes of The Wiggles.  He had never seen them before. 

Why.  Did.  I.  Introduce.  The Wiggles.

Oh dear.  If you have never seen The Wiggles before, PLEASE take a minute to watch a quick video on YouTube.  Then you will understand why this band of 40something men are the bane of a stay at home mom's existence.

He has been begging for it almost nonstop every time he sees the computer.  I'm using it as a reward right now, which is working pretty well, as long as I have an IMMEDIATE distraction so that we don't have to watch it 20 times in a row.  This morning he picked up all his legos and put them away, completely unprompted.  He kept looking at me with a big smile, as if waiting for me commend his behavior (which I did - I was SO happy and proud of what an independent boy he is!).  When he was all done he put his hand on my knee and said, "This ole man he pwayed one?" 

Now THAT is fine with me.  A song as a reward, unprompted cooperative behavior, taking pleasure in simple praise.  And he was so glad to hear me say that I was happy and proud of him that he continued this super-cooperative behavior at the bookstore, seeking out and cleaning up messes that other kids had made (it will be nice when he can do it in steps - pick up ONE stuffed dragon at a time, rather then EVERY stuffed dragon.  an armful of stuffed dragons is pretty funny when he's staggering around, though). 

I just can't believe how BIG he seems!  We got to the bookstore and he ran to his favorite counter yelling, "Ampersand!"  Then we went to the children's section and he found another that we'd never noticed.  "Nuther ampersand!"  Two weeks ago those were "Twebbow cwefs" and now this ridiculous kid can do what most adults can't, tell the difference between a treble clef and an ampersand. 

He does this puzzle every time we go to the bookstore and he's SO patient with it, even though it's a little advanced for him to be able to do completely independently.

And he finds books and reads them to HIMSELF in their entirety.  Granted, they're always simple books that only have numbers or single words associated with pictures, but it's just amazing to see.

I got out of the habit of calling him a baby a while ago, but he still seemed like one to me for quite a while.  Now he's such a big boy!  Good thing we have a little baby to replace this one...

Who, by the way, is in the midst of a passionate love affair with mirrors.  There's a baby in the mirror and she is GREAT.

She absolutely LOVES to be held in front of the mirror so she can whack this other baby repeatedly.  And, of course, try to suck the baby's face.  Thank goodness that's not a reaction that all those overly-touchy strangers have when they see babies in public...

She spent quite a while just rolling in front of the mirror while I put away laundry.  There's not a whole lot of room from the dresser to the hamper, and the dresser is *just* the right height for her to roll under and get stuck...  These mirror doors are gonna be awesome when she starts pulling up (and will get super-grubby, too!).

A toddler's interpretation

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This morning John Paul woke up and, as usual, told me about all the things he wanted to do today.  "Music cwass!"  Nope, that was yesterday and we won't go again until next week.

"Cat-wick shop!"  Don't need anything, don't want to drive all the way to Chantilly just to browse, even though he absolutely LOVES playing in the little toy area there.  Every time we go to the Catholic Shop he immediately runs over the a Mother Teresa statue and strokes her foot.

"Pwaygwound!"  Yes!  I was planning on checking out a new playground today.  Our Wednesday storytime is done for the summer so I think Wednesdays will now be devoted to checking out a new playground every week.  So I told him that after he ate breakfast and got dressed, we would go to the playground. 

Bad call on my part.  I'm normally good about this - I don't tell him where we're going until we're just about ready to go, because otherwise he wants to go RIGHT NOW!  Well, I told him we would go when he was eating breakfast naked (I like to give him a little time to air out in the mornings, and it's easier to clean up after breakfast if he's not wearing clothes to get food on).  So of course, what does he do?

He sits down on the floor and starts putting his shoes on.  His loafers, to be specific.  I helped him get his shoes on, thinking that this was a funny whim and that he'd continue eating breakfast.

Shoes on.  John Paul runs to the door yelling, "PWAYGWOUND!"  Why exactly does he think that this is appropriate playground attire?

Slides.  Woodchips.  Swings.  Not something I would want to experience wearing nothing but loafers...

Then, of course, he decided to be very helpful by buckling Cecilia's car seat.  I finally managed to get him dressed and get out the door.  Breakfast did not get finished, so I just packed food to take with us (seriously, if this kid stops loving apples we are screwed.  Best portable snack ever!).

I was pretty excited for this playground because it's got awning and canopies which give almost total shade.  So not only did we not need sunblock, I didn't have to feel bad that I wasn't bothering with the sunblock because it really didn't matter!

John Paul LOVED the playground, of course.  He loves pretty much any playground, but this one had all his favorite things - swings, woodchips, and NUMBERS AND LETTERS!  He was seriously SO excited to see his "ABCDEFGs"

There were also shapes and numbers.  Those were awesome, too!  People are always very surprised to learn that he's not even 2, particularly when he runs up to things like this and rattles off exactly what they are...  The huge head throws them off, too.

I'm becoming more and more of a fan of playgrounds without swings.  I used to seek out swings exclusively, but now that he's old enough to climb and slide, it's getting to be more of a pain to have to lift him in and out of the swing while holding Cecilia.  Luckily she's decided that she likes the stroller (at least, the straps are pretty tasty).

And once the huge crowd of kids left, there was enough room to put both of them in the swings, which is always fun.  She LOVES watching John Paul swing, and he's always really excited that she's in the swing next to him.

There are kids playing basketball in the background.  John Paul was also very excited by this.  He counted 11 basketballs.  I'm not so sure there were that many.  It's much like when he counts the sacraments in one of his board books and wants to keep counting up to 8 sacraments.  Sorry kid, I don't think that's ever gonna happen.

We decided it was time to go when he fell off one of the big kid swings.  He's usually really good about holding on, but he refused to drop his woodchips (I don't understand the obsession.  He LOVES woodchips.) and would only hold on with one hand.  Not a painful spill, but I felt like a terrible parent so I grabbed the kids and left!

I think this is definitely a playground we'll be frequenting in the future (South Run Rec Center, if you're wondering).  The constant shade and breeze made temperatures in the 80s totally bearable!  And there were a good amount of kids there, which made for nice mom talks (and a very lengthy, one-sided conversation with a 6-year-old about Star Wars, despite how many times I told him I've never seen the movies).

5 months old!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cecilia is 5 months old today!  I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by...

She has decided this past week that instead of just rolling over and staying stationary, she's going to try to roll as far as possible.  The nice thing is, the living room floor has plenty of space for her to do that.  The not nice thing is that it means I really have to keep John Paul's toys picked up better.  She especially likes going for library books and stickers. 

She is trying VERY hard to outgrow her 6-month clothes.  Most of them she has outgrown, along with a few 6-9 months items (cloth diaper butts do that, she's not really that big).  That's her in a 9-month outfit, which seems to fit perfectly right now.  She was almost 15 lbs at her 4-month appointment, so she's probably around 16 by now.  LONG girl, lovely chunky thighs and wrist rolls, nary a tooth in sight (thank goodness!).

I've also discovered that she can sit up on her own, propping herself up with her hands.  She's not willing to stay in this position for long - it doesn't look particularly comfortable to me, and there's always a toy that she HAS to get that is just too far away...

Right now she's right on track with where John Paul was at her age - she *just* started being able to get her belly a tiny bit off the floor when she's on her tummy, she can scoot forward a teeeeeeny bit, but mostly rolls to get anywhere.  She is giggly around her brother, and not much else really makes her laugh. 

She loves story time at the bookstore and is tolerating her car seat better and better.  Her current nap schedule is *usually* 2 short naps in the morning, normally both concluded before John Paul goes down.  Then she and I play for a bit before her long afternoon nap, which gives me a nice chunk of time to make dinner.  I have no idea what her nighttime sleep is like - most of the time I don't even remember bringing her into bed with us...  It's not great, it's not terrible, and hopefully it will get better!

She loves her family more than anything.  She LOVES watching John Paul do anything, she gets super-happy to see her dad when he comes home, and she's started getting upset when other people hold her.  She calms down immediately when Andrew and I rescue her.  Hopefully this stage will pass soon - I'm always happy to hand the baby off to someone else :P
She and John Paul just started a music class together.  I'm reserving judgment on it until we're a few classes in...

And not only is it Cecilia's 5-month birthday today, it's also our 3-year anniversary!  If you had asked me in high school where I would be at this point, I would have said "Staying home with at least 2 kids."  Shocker, here we are!  I'm hoping to go back to work in the fall, but it's definitely a lot more fun staying home with the two of them than I expected.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband - can you believe this was already 3 years ago?

Child #3

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It seems we have gained a third child. 

Nope!  Not pregnant again :P

Last night we discovered ANOTHER John Paul.  There's John Paul.  And then there's John Paul IN THE MIRROR.  We played a game much like Simon Says for a while, only instead of Simon Says, we would tell "John Paul in the mirror" to do something.  It started out with silly things - touch your nose, kiss your dad, shake your booty.  But then I thought, why not extend this to USEFUL things?  If I tell him to lie in bed, will he go lie down?  Yup. 

Okay, "John Paul in the mirror, go lie down on your clean diaper!"  Instantly, bedtime diaper is on (and that's the hardest diaper of the day when he's been playing naked after his bath, let me tell you!). 

"John Paul in the mirror, lie down to get your pajamas on!"  Aaaaand done.

"John Paul, put your head on the pillow."  Nope.  "John Paul in the mirror, put your head on the pillow."  Like a flash, the head is on the pillow.

I honestly don't understand the appeal of this "game" but it's AMAZING.  The possibilities are endless!  The difference between the two John Paul's is depressing...  Why is John Paul in the mirror so obedient where John Paul is so defiant?  I'm thinking maybe he enjoys the independence he exercises in his noncompliance, but wants an excuse to obey as well, hence the multiple John Pauls. 

Now, as soon we start getting into the habit of addressing both John Pauls, the game will lose its effectiveness.  But so much of what we do is just using one trick for the couple of weeks that it works and then moving on.  I find this to be quite an amusing tool at the moment!


Friday, June 24, 2011

John Paul has gotten really into narrating his actions and his observations, which is pretty fun to listen to.  A few conversations (some one-sided) with John Paul:

In the car:

"Whuggy dose?  Buggy-sickles! (What are those?  Bicycles!)  Huh MENny (how many) buggy-sickles?  One buggy-sickle.  Two buggy-sickles.  Fwee buggy-sickles!"

Reading a book:

"A-C-O-W-S-A-Y-S bells cow!  M-O-O bells moo!  A-S-H-E-E-P-S-A-Y-S bells sheep!  B-A-A bells baa! L-A-L-A-L-A bells na na na!"

Undressing in the morning:

"Dino shuht OFF.  Dino pants OFF.  Diapah OFF.  Aw naked!  Cwoves in-na hampuh!" (Dino shirt off, pants, diaper off, all naked, clothes in the hamper)


Me:  "No, we don't pat Baby Cecilia while she's nursing.  You may stroke.  See, I'm stroking your head and your back.  Where else can we stroke?"

John Paul (shirtless, poking his nipples):  "Stwoke-a nippows!"

Later that day:

Me:  Touch your nose, eyes, ears, etc.

John Paul:  "Touch-a whiggers!  Gwatchy whiggers!  Mom-a whiggers!  Baby Cee-ya whiggers!  John Paw whiggers!"  (Touch your whiskers!  Scratchy whiskers!  Mom has whiskers, etc.)

Currently (while he SHOULD be napping):

"Whoooo ta pee-pow in-na neigh-ba-hood...  in-na neigh-ba-hood...  in-na neigh-ba-hood!"  (Who are the people in your neighborhood, etc.)

I think naptime for him isn't going to happen today.  I just turned on the monitor and he's singing "Three Little Kittens" instead of sleeping.  Normally he falls asleep around 2, and I didn't check on him because Cecilia decided to take a 10-minute nap instead of a 2-hour nap...  She finally fell asleep and I turned on his monitor to hear him singing cheerfully.  It's a conspiracy - naptime has been TERRIBLE this week, I have no idea why.  Now he's singing "Old MacDonald."  I'll get him in a minute...

A spelling lesson from John Paul

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

John Paul recently became VERY interested in spelling.  I showed him a Lego that had the word "Dinoco" on it (from a Toy Story set), spelled each letter separately, and told him it spelled "Dinoco."  For a while he would carry that Lego out, often pointing out each letter separately, "Bells...  Dinoco!"

Then it occurred to him that if THIS sequence of letters spelled something, maybe OTHER letters also spelled something!  This went very well for many things, such as the body parts on his toy puppy ("T-U-M-M-Y bells...  Tummy!"), but has been rather confused for things with the brand names plastered across them.  For instance, "G-R-A-C-O" spells both high chair AND carseat.  And "C-O-M-B-I" spells stroller. 

One of my favorites happened a couple of days ago.  We were driving past a construction site and John Paul very excitedly exclaimed, "DIGGER!!!  C-A-T bells DIGGER!"  It was a Caterpillar brand digger, and he was very proud of himself for being able to "spell" the word.  Then we came home and he found his toy front-end loader, which is also Caterpillar brand.  "C-A-T bells fwunt END noder!"  Nope. 

I've tried to correct him, but now he's just hopping around yelling, "C-A-T BELLS DIGGER!  C-A-T BELLS FWUNT END NODER!  C-A-T BELLS BABY CEE-YAH!"

He has a little fridge phonics toy that helps spell 3-letter words.  Mostly he spells things like "CZP" or "MNF" but it plays an encouraging song each time so he keeps trying.  He got VERY excited the other day, holding two letters and a puzzle piece.  He hopped around the living room shouting, "Less build a word!  Less build it, less build it now!"  The word?  b [bulldozer puzzle piece] d.  Yup, he's a genius.
One of these days he'll get it, but I'm totally getting a kick out of the mistakes inherent to the learning process.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last night Cecilia was hanging out on John Paul's floor and he ran into his room and gasped, yelling, "Baby Cee-yah CWAW-WIN'!!!"

False alarm, our child is not a prodigy who can crawl at less than 5 months of age.  Scooting and rolling, yes, but no crawling.  Thank goodness!  But it's nice to know that John Paul will be RIDICULOUSLY excited when the moment comes.  Hopefully it will be several months before she figures it out.  Right now she's right on track, maybe a little ahead of where John Paul was at this point, which means we have a little over a month before the crawling commences...

The songs in his head - Part 1

Monday, June 20, 2011

I sometimes wonder what John Paul would be like without music.  We spend a good portion of the day singing together, or me singing while he dances, or him singing along to one of his many music toys.

I mean, I doubt there's a kid out there who *doesn't* like music.  John Paul just seems to like it more than most.  We used to have this awesome music table that cycled through various songs when you pulled the banjo.  John Paul, at around 8 months old,  used to pull it until it got to "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" and would bounce up and down on his knees, fists pumping for the "toot toot" every time.  That was when the "dancing" started.

He also became obsessed with recorders at an early age.  During a fuss-fest, I pulled out my recorders from college, hoping maybe that would distract him.  He was in love!  Not only are recorders delicious to chew on, he figured out how to blow properly around 9 months. 

This was particularly amusing when he started walking - he would often walk around with a recorder in his mouth, taking a step, blowing, taking a step, blowing.  And even now, if I don't manage to hide it in time, he loves finding a recorder and playing "Hot Cross Buns."  He can only get the rhythm, there's obviously no fingering yet, but it's pretty funny.

And if you think the recorder is fun, you've never seen this kid at the piano!  We went to a wedding when he was almost a year old and he spent the entire cocktail hour trying to play the piano.  We used to play "High note, low note" when he was littler (around 10 months?) - I would tell him which one to play and he would RUN to the piano and find the highest note or the lowest note and play it.  Then he would play random notes on the piano and look at me expectantly, waiting for me to name them as high, low, or middle.

Since we moved, he's had easy access to the digital piano I bought in college.  The first day we were in our new place, he figured out the setting for pre-recorded songs.  He spent the ENTIRE day dancing to the loop, amidst boxes and piles of things that were being moved in.   Right now his favorite is a loop of 6 nursery rhymes - he gets up on the piano bench and says, "nit-o nit-o nit-o namb!" which means (of course) "Mary Had A Little Lamb."  It's amazing watching him bounce to the music (he mastered steady beat months ago) and "sing" (mostly the last word of each phrase). 

Next up:  His recent musical accomplishments, particularly the singing (or "singing")

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to my awesome husband, who:

Roughhouses with John Paul so I don't have to

Puts this sleepy boy to bed almost every night

Provides the obligatory shoulder rides

Snuggles the little one to sleep

Makes up ridiculous games that the kids love

And generally lets this toddler lead him wherever he wants to go

 Of course he also does the boring stuff, like washing the diapers, doing most of the laundry and dishes, doing ALL the vacuuming, taking out the trash and recycling, and cleaning the bathrooms.

I don't think either of us entirely understood what we were getting into when we started dating over 9 years ago, and I'm so happy to be married to the man that Andrew has become.  What other father teaches his toddler Latin chant?

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

When we were living in Williamsburg, storytime at the library was our main weekly activity.  There were only two libraries in the county, and on any given day ONE of them would have at least one storytime.  I think we got spoiled - the children's sections were stocked with big wooden blocks, puzzles, a train table, and lots of comfy children's seating.  The storytimes were always well-organized and geared towards the age level attending.

I don't know why our libraries aren't as good!  We've been to almost every library within a decent distance, and while the book selection is fine, there's NOTHING in the children's sections but child-sized chairs.  It makes me sad that we can't just hang out at the library - there's not enough to keep both kids occupied.  And storytimes are *maybe* once a week, sometimes only once a month.  You have to sign up online, and usually any special activity is filled almost immediately.  The two storytimes we've been to were okay, but not really anything to get excited about.

When I found out our local Barnes & Noble has Thursday storytimes, I was pretty excited.  We have a neighborhood mommy book club every other Thursday, but we were off this week so we headed over to Barnes & Noble for their 10 AM storytime. 

It was pretty full already when we got there, but we managed to find a seat.  The kids were coloring while they were read stories, which I was thankful for.  It actually kept John Paul in one place!  His coloring skills are a little lacking - he can scribble and is getting decent at drawing circles.  It seems that he thought the theme of coloring today was "get all the crayons you can possible get in your hands at once and then tell your mom to draw numbers over and over!"  So Cecilia paid VERY close attention to the woman reading stories and John Paul kept his back to the stories directing my actions.  "One!  Two!  Fwee!  Fo!" and so on until he lost interest and had to go get another handful of crayons.

There was even a craft after the stories - a simple one, they threaded dinosaur cutouts onto a plastic straw, but John Paul enjoyed it.  And one of the best parts of the children's section at Barnes & Noble?  A train table!  I think we're going to have to start making that a weekly excursion, even if we can't hit storytime every week.  It's just tough because there are so many awesome books that are tempting to buy, but we generally don't buy books new (we get them at our favorite used bookstore or at library booksales for a fraction of the price). 

After storytime we ran to the grocery store for a quick trip - John Paul is always VERY excited to go to "Gi-yant" but this time he freaked out when I started to put him in the basket.  Oh shoot.  He saw one of the car carts in the cart return.  He had been SO awesome at the bookstore (took a bunch of toys off a shelf and then very patiently put every single one back on when I asked him to, shared trains with other kids, was generally awesome and cheerful) that I was going to get him a treat, so I decided this would be it.

I almost never let him ride in one of the car carts.  Those things are IMPOSSIBLE to steer and generally pretty beat-up.  But for just a quick trip, I figured I could handle it.  Plus he was just giddy when I put him in. 

Cecilia seems to have decided that she needs to be more of a help, so she helped push the cart:

Seriously, where is the handlebar cover?  I don't know HOW old these carts are...

We managed to get out of there pretty quickly, but I still had to sing the wheels on the bus (changed to "the wheels in the car") about 14 times while we were checking out.  It's pretty annoying having to be John Paul's personal singer all day every day, but at least I have tools to cope with boredom, fussing, tantrums, pretty much everything!

No Mass for us today...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Well my plan was to try taking the kids to mass by myself this morning.  Things did not so much go as planned...

Andrew woke up around 5:30 to go to the US Open and I couldn't get back to sleep after that, particularly since Cecilia wanted to nurse pretty much nonstop.  The kids slept in until around 7:30 and I tried to sneak in a quick shower.  I thought I was being successful - minimal fussing from John Paul, no sound at all from Cecilia, who was hanging out naked on John Paul's floor. 

Now, to be fair, we do this every morning.  Cecilia hangs out naked after she wakes up to give her booty some time to air out.  We stick her on the floor on a pile of prefolds and she pees a couple of times and those catch it.  She has NEVER pooped in all these months of the same routine.

So what does she decide to do this morning?  You guessed it.  I walked out of the shower and checked on her in John Paul's room to see her rolled over in a puddle of poop on the carpet.  Awesome.  Luckily it only covered her from her feet to her chest, none on her face.

And while I cleaned that up, John Paul decided to pull a bunch of toilet paper off the roll and rip it into tiny pieces.  Luckily that's pretty easy to clean up.  Then, while bathing Cecilia, I heard John Paul saying, "Duck, cold water!"  A few days ago I was getting ready in the bathroom and I heard, "Duck, potty!"  John Paul had lifted up the toilet seat and let his rubber duck go for a swim.  I immediately threw it in the sink to be washed, and I'm *hoping* that Andrew washed it, because it was left next to the sink.  John Paul grabbed it this morning and I found him in bed with its head in his mouth, squirting water in.  REALLY hope that wasn't toilet water...

So our plans for this morning didn't so much pan out - a surprise bath for the baby takes more than a few minutes, and John Paul is boycotting bananas, so breakfast takes much longer than it used to.  Thank goodness I can laugh at how disgusting my children are!

The National Building Museum - not nearly as boring as it sounds!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Tuesday outing was to The National Building Museum in DC.  I thought Andrew was crazy when he bought us a family membership on Groupon, but I'm so glad that we got that awesome deal!  It's normally free for everything, but they have a special Lego exhibit that costs $5/person.  With our membership, we get up to 6 free tickets a day.  AND it turns out they're going to start charging admission at the end of the month, so we won't have to worry about paying for that, either.

We met friends there in the morning and played in the kids area first.  They call it the Building Zone and it's recommended for ages 2-6, but I think it's pretty awesome for all ages.  It's honestly like a mini children's museum - they have EVERY type of building block you could possibly imagine, tons of trucks, dress-up clothes, puzzles, books, a play house, trains, you name it!  It's still free to get in right now, but they're going to start charging $3/person at the end of the month, so go NOW while you still can (or just come with us and I'll get you free tickets).  We played there for a while - we were in and out changing diapers, feeding meters, etc.  The kids absolutely loved it, and John Paul (after he stopped freaking out when I got back from feeding the meter) played entirely by himself, only stopping to have me read him a couple of books. 

Afterwards we headed to the Lego exhibit upstairs.  I don't think I would ever actually pay $5 for the exhibit - I don't really care that much about the large Lego reconstructions of landmarks, but the real draw is the play area inside the exhibit.  Bins and bins FULL of every color, shape, and size Lego you can imagine.  John Paul had an absolute blast!

He's not entirely ready for actual Legos yet - he has a set of Duplos at home that he plays with every day.  But they have a bunch of Lego creations that they just leave out, and he has had a lot of fun with those every time, taking them apart and trying to put them back together.

This is only part of what they have, and it's definitely fun for adults AND kids (although I imagine it might be a little awkward for adults without kids with them...). 

They were setting up for an event in the main atrium, so we didn't get to play near the fountain or anything.  But normally it's a HUGE empty space that's lots of fun for running.  As soon as we got in the doors John Paul RAN from one side to the other, counting very slowly to 10 and stopping as soon as he reached 10 (I have no idea why). 

We played HARD and had a nice drive home (thankfully no traffic, unlike the miserable drive there).  Cecilia obliged me by falling asleep in the car, which seems to be her default these days.

And John Paul taught me that apples and carrots are GOOD car snacks...

But popcorn is NOT!  He loves it, but the car seat does not...

I'm hoping we can get back to the museum sometime soon.  I think it might be my favorite morning activity right now, although the bookstore is a close second.

Cecilia has gotten into a pretty awesome schedule - if we have a morning activity, she falls asleep in the car on the way there, is cheerful for a couple of hours, and then falls asleep on the way home.  John Paul has lunch and goes down for his nap, Cecilia and I play for a little longer and then she takes a nice long nap.  For my own sake, I'm going to need to vary our morning activities a little more.  I think we might even try a solo morning Mass soon, but NOT at our church.  If it goes poorly, we can just retreat to the cry room.  Maybe that'll be Friday's plan.

Our weekend adventures

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One of the really unfortunate things about living somewhere as developed as the DC area is that it is HARD to find pick-your-owns anywhere within a reasonable driving distance.  When we were living in Centreville it wasn't too much of a drive down 66 to a few farms that had great produce.  Now that we're closer to the Beltway, I don't think there's anywhere less than an hour away.  So when I read about Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Maryland, I was pretty excited!  My aunt and uncle live in Germantown, so we went on Saturday morning to visit them and pick some strawberries.

I hadn't been strawberry picking since I was VERY young, so I was pretty excited to see how John Paul reacted.  He LOVED peach picking in the fall - he just wandered around the orchard with a peach he found early on.  This was a typical scene:

I assumed that he'd get pretty into strawberry picking, but he really didn't understand that he was allowed to pick the fruit off of the plant.  For a while he was really into the straw in the patch...

Then he just followed me around and took strawberries out of the box that I had just picked.  We're going to have to go back earlier next year - there were still plenty of strawberries to be picked, but I imagine it would go even more quickly earlier in the season.

Cecilia tried VERY hard to eat a strawberry - she's at that terrible 4-6 month age when she wants to eat EVERYTHING that we have but can't because we're not starting solids yet (contrary to our pediatrician's advice, we go with the AAP's 6 months exclusive breastfeeding MINIMUM).  This is also the "want to crawl and sit up but can't and that is REALLY FRUSTRATING" stage...  She managed to get part of a strawberry IN her mouth, but didn't know what to do with it.  Thank goodness! 

We picked at the field for maybe 30 minutes, ending up with about 4 lbs of berries (not including those consumed by a toddler and a husband).  I'm actually pretty impressed with this, considering much of this time was spent running after John Paul, trying to get him not to eat straw, rocks, bugs, or nursing Cecilia while standing in the middle of the patch.  Afterwards, we headed down to the market to pay for our fruit and check out what else they had.  There was a decent selection of local produce at typical farmer's market prices.  They also had delicious frozen strawberry lemonade ("So cold!  No fank you!") and a whole lot of homemade goods.  We got some kettle corn and marmalade and then checked out.

After a lovely lunch with the relatives (during which John Paul discovered the cat, much to the cat's chagrin.  John Paul:  "CA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAT!" while jumping up and down and laughing uproariously.  Cat:  "I might murder you.") and lots of playing, we headed back home.  Amazingly, BOTH kids fell asleep in the car, so we decided to take the scenic route and hopped on the GW Parkway, which is definitely one of the most beautiful roads in America.  One nap was continued at home, one was concluded by the time we hit the speed bump in the parking lot (guess which kid woke up?).

I was hoping to go to the pool when we got home but it started POURING and thundering so I thought that was out of the question.  An hour later?  Sunny and beautiful again!  Gotta love Virginia weather.  So we headed to the pool after dinner.

John Paul was rather terrified at first - he hadn't been to the pool since last summer, and he was a little confused.  Once he figured out that the wading pool is AWESOME, he did NOT want to leave.  We found a few toys there, so he spent 30 minutes just throwing balls into the pool and jumping in to retrieve them.  The water was 1-2 feet deep, just deep enough that if he fell down his face ended up in the water.  We ended up with a lot of choking and sputtering but he NEVER freaked out and I was very proud of him.  Eventually he figured out that stepping straight into the pool (there are no steps and there's no incline in the wading pool) wasn't the best idea, and the water inhalation decreased.

Cecilia LOVED the pool.  I need to get a picture of her in her swimsuit - it's so adorable!  She didn't care that much about the wading pool, but Andrew took her in the big pool and she was just all smiles and giggles the whole time.  I think we're going to be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer, particularly since John Paul started crying when it was time to leave (next time we're changing him in the changing room, not by the pool.  He REALLY wanted to go back in after he was dressed, but I think he'll forget about it if he can't see the pool). 

Sunday morning was pretty typical - Mass (one of our favorite priests is getting transferred and there's no replacement - sad :(), home for naps while Andrew was off singing.  But the rest of Sunday wasn't typical! 

I woke John Paul up early from his nap (he was FAST asleep - I even went in to take a picture to see if that would wake him up, and he didn't even stir) and we headed over to our church picnic.  Pentecost = Happy Birthday, Church!  It was pretty awesome and full of lots of firsts.  First moonbounce (kind of scary), first snowcone (so delicious, because John Paul's obsessed with ice), first cotton candy (also rather scary), first hulu hooping (mostly he just wanted to hold as many as he could find), etc.

There was an awesome train - he LOVED the first ride, and I made the mistake of trying to buckle him in on the second ride.  Kid is OBSESSED with buckles, so we spent most of the second ride buckling and unbuckling the seatbelt.  Fun.

He absolutely refused to try the cotton candy for a while.  I finally got him to touch it, which was interesting...

But still not delicious.  He let me feed him a few bites and then very politely pushed it away with a "No fank you..."

Then he cried very hard at the end of our last train ride because he didn't want to leave.  Next year we'll have to make sure to go for more than just the last hour.  It was definitely better than I expected - I figured there would be a little food and a little moonbounce, but there were THREE moonbounces, TONS of food, and all sorts of fun activities.  One of John Paul's favorite parts?  A man dressed as Uncle Sam on stilts - he chased him around the parish school calling, "Tall man...  Tall man..."

Coming up next: Our trip to the Building Museum (way more fun than it seems!)

Friendship, as defined by a toddler

Monday, June 13, 2011

I introduced John Paul to the concept of "friends" back in January or so, right after Cecilia was born.  He had a few new stuffed toys from Christmas, and when I put them all on the couch together ONCE and said, "Look, they're friends!" that was it.  The ONLY friends were these three toys, Elmo, Bear, and Cookie.  In that order.  Only.

It was one of our new best games - John Paul would open up his toybox, take out those three animals, and put them together on various surfaces.  "Ah-mo.  Beah.  Cookie.  Fegs!" 

Then along came a new set of toys - a gifted Duplo set with Buzz and the three-eyed alien from Toy Story.  While he wasn't quite ready for the Duplos (many a tear was shed trying and failing to put them together), the characters were SO fun.  Now we had a new relationship!  "Buzh.  Aween.  Fwegs!"  A new relationship, and a new pronunciation of the word. 

Then one day it occurred to him - if these toys can be friends, maybe PEOPLE can be friends!  And if people can be friends, ANYTHING can be friends!  I see him with a few stacking cups on the floor, putting different combinations together.  "Wed.  Bwoo.  Fwens.  Gween.  Yeh-yo.  Fwens."  And so on and so forth - yet another evolution of the word, both in pronunciation and concept. 

Perhaps the most beautiful moment was when my mom came upstairs while he was eating breakfast one day.  John Paul looked at her, beaming, and took a deep breath, "Gwamma!  Joh Paw!  FWENS!"

He is constantly looking around to observe relationships in the world around him.  "Mom.  Dad.  Fwens.  Mom.  Baby Cee-yah.  Fwens.  Baby Cee-yah.  Dad.  Fwens.  Ham.  Pasta.  Fwens."  (Yes, those were all in the same conversation)  And while the *actual* concept of friendship may not have been mastered yet, I am really enjoying seeing the way he makes sense of the world around him, especially now that he is verbal enough to identify his observations with words. 

Children are so much quicker to label friendships than adults - that kid you just met on the playground whose name you don't know?  Absolutely that is a friend!  But for adults, labeling a person as a friend seems to be a MUCH more serious step.  I'm looking forward to the childlike definitions of friendship continuing for as long as possible.

Toddler Prayers

Saturday, June 11, 2011

John Paul has been VERY into prayers ever since he started talking.  He used to request the Hail Mary over and over, shrieking, "Mee!  Mee!" starting at around 13 months.  When we moved in December, we started teaching him a new prayer every few weeks - he would request them over and over at bedtime, then get bored and want to learn a new prayer. 

His current list of prayers that he can recite with us/on his own:

Hail Mary
Glory Be
Our Father
Prayer to St. Michael
Guardian Angel Prayer
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Fatima Prayer
Hail Holy Queen

He goes through phases where he's OBSESSED with certain prayers.  For a while we couldn't get through dinner without reciting the Hail Holy Queen at least 20 times.  And he tends to latch on to the last word of every phrase, which can be awkward when we're all praying the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of mass and a little voice pipes up cheerfully, "Devil! ... Host! ... Satan! ... Souls! ... Amen!"

Recently he started "praying the rosary" on his own.  Cecilia's godparents gave her a rosary (and many other gifts, most of which John Paul commandeered) for her baptism.  John Paul frequently finds the rosary and says, "Little rosary...  Pray Hail Mary..." and the prays in his little toddler voice, "Hayw May-ay FUWuv gwace load-ee WIH you bwess-a women bwess-a womb JEE-suh hoe May muh God pwesh-uh sin-uh now at ow uh def AMEN!"

I almost cried the first time he did this - what kind of toddler just decides to try to pray the rosary by himself?  Is he meditating on the sacred mysteries?  Probably not.  But when was the last time I actually sat down to pray the rosary?  Far too long ago, I'm sure.  I should probably try praying one with him - if I can find a good children's book about the mysteries, I think he might be willing to try.

In other praying news:  Our first naptime stall tactic appeared yesterday - I was about to get up and leave him when he started praying the Hail Holy Queen.  I immediately lay down and helped him finish.  Then he started the Our Father, so we prayed that together.  And again.  And when he started again it occurred to me that he was stalling, so I left.  But what an awesome way to stall!

He has also been VERY into crossing himself lately.  We get to Mass and he immediately goes for the holy water.   "Little bit," he says, dipping one of his hands.  Then he immediately goes for it - "Fah-duh, shun, ho-wee, bee-wit, Amen," clasping his hands together at the end.  We're still working on coordination of the motions...  Mostly he ends up touching his right shoulder 3 or 4 times...  But now whenever I say, "Let's pray" he immediately crosses himself, talking through it every time.

The problem with this obsession is that now he wants to cross himself with ANY liquid.  Ketchup?  Yes, please.  Bathwater?  Only from a red bucket, and only before drinking it.  The other day he kept dipping his hand in a cup of water at his snack table, practicing while ignoring all his other toys.  Today?  The juice from the tomato on his high chair tray.

When the thing you most need to correct your toddler for is crossing himself with inappropriate liquids, something's going right :)

My first post!

Friday, June 10, 2011

This is my mom (in fall 2009):

She's a little bit obsessed with my kids.  Rightfully so - they're the first grandbabies and they're pretty darn cute.  Problem is, she has a tendency to want to hijack basically every facebook status I post about them.  And if it were up to her, she would hijack every picture I ever post of them.  Seriously, when I first let her friend me on facebook she shared SEVENTY-FIVE of my photos on her wall within the first day.  And I didn't even have kids yet!  In order to help her with this need to live vicariously through me, I am starting a blog to chronicle our daily events. 

This is John Paul:

He'll be two in July.  He is ridiculously silly, as most toddlers are.  He spends much of his day reading books, playing with Legos, and talking about his sister.  I try to limit myself to one facebook update per day regarding his hilarious antics, but sometimes it's hard.  Yes,  I've turned into one of THOSE moms whose lives revolve around their kids.

This is Cecilia:

She is 4 months old.  People often mistake her for a boy and we're not sure why.  She spends much of the day nursing, sleeping, and getting kissed by her brother.  She is not really funny, but she loves to laugh at her brother.

These are the parents:

I (Rosie) am staying at home with the kiddos right now and hoping to go back to work as a music teacher in the fall.  The husband (Andrew) is a lawyer, but not the kind that works 24/7, so we actually see him a decent amount!

We are a Catholic, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, organic-eating (as much as possible) family with plans for a whole bunch more kids.  How many?  We'll take them as they come.

If all goes as planned, I'll be able to update this thing at least a couple of times a week, which might inspire me to get us out of the house more often and take more pictures.  Enjoy!
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