Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Confession

Here's another holiday repeat from last year.  Hope you enjoy it!

I would think it's safe to say that everyone who celebrates Christmas has Christmas memories.  Some are good, some are bad, but all are memories.  Thanks to This Daddy's Blog post for getting me thinking about the past and remembering what I am about to confess.
The jury is out on this one.
When I was young, I was sneaky.  If you've read any of my vacation posts, you've probably realized this is not the confession.  I need to build a little anticipation here, so I'll drag it out as long as I can. 

Back in the day I was one of those kids that went hunting through the house to find my presents.  I thought I knew all the hiding places my parents used.  Actually, I did know most of them at one point. 

I'm not sure if they got wise to my hunting skills, just started mixing it up on their own, or if they forgot where their hiding spots were, but at some point I stopped finding all of my presents early.  This is probably because they started wrapping the gifts as soon as they got them, which leads me to believe they were onto me. 

The only exception to this was the big gifts.  Those I almost always found, until they started hiding them at other people's houses.  Even at a young age I wasn't willing to risk a breaking and entering charge to find my presents, so they were off limits to me.

What is a mischievous kid supposed to do in that instance when all the fun of hunting is taken out of the holiday season? 

Here's what I did - I found ways to be alone with the presents. 

Sometimes I:

1 - faked an illness so I could stay home from school. 

2 - played upstairs by the tree while the rest of the family was downstairs. 

3 - came home early from a friend's house when I thought our house would be empty.

4 - grabbed a present and took it to the bathroom.

5 - grabbed a present, hid it in my room, and got up in the middle of the night to check it out.

Sounds like someone had to try to figure out what he was getting before Christmas morning, doesn't it?

I never tried to figure them out. 

I simply unwrapped them, saw what I was getting, rewrapped them ever so carefully (being sure the paper that pulled off with the tape went back exactly where it came from), and put them back under the tree.
My work was much better than this.  Amateur.
There's the confession.  I'm sure my mom and dad are going to love finding this little nugget out like this!

Why would I open presents early?  I have no idea. 

Maybe I wanted to string out Christmas over the course of a few weeks instead of just one morning.  Maybe I just had to know what I was getting so I could plan out my morning in advance.  Maybe, just maybe, I did it because I wasn't supposed to.

I'd put all my money on that last choice if I were you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Success or failure?

Mama left this morning before getting the girls ready.  At the last minute, I had her lay out some outfits for them to wear. 

Unfortunately, the girls got to them before I did and I couldn't tell if the outfits they presented me were mismatched or not.

I had two options:

1 - Leave them in their pajamas with their hair flying everywhere and head out in public.

2 - Attempt to match the outfits properly, do something with their hair, and head out in public.

I chose option 2, and I'll let you be the judge as to whether or not I was successful or failed in each category.

Hair
I think I'll call this do "Waterfall"
 Clothes
I'm still not sure if this matches or not.  Maybe Mama set out two shirts and two pants that all go together. 
 Papa's pedicure
The girls didn't know Mama was going to get her toes done, but they asked for blue and purple toes...so I obliged to the best of my ability.  Not bad, for the first toe painting effort in my life.
So what do you think? 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New talents

I was speaking with my mother the other day and she asked if the girls were trying to climb out of bed yet.  I told her no, but they have been trying to climb into bed.  They have yet to be successful because of the way their cribs are built.

With Julia out of town last week, I prepared the new baby's room.  The crib we have for the new baby is not built the same.  I really didn't give it too much thought as I assumed the girls wouldn't mess with it.

I was in the room with them while they were picking up.  The buzzer on the oven went off, so I went to get my lunch out.  When I walked back in 30 seconds later, I was greeted by this.
They are quicker than I thought.
Actually, this was about five seconds later as I had to grab the camera.  What I saw when I entered the room was Brynne straddling the crossbar.  She said
"Please pull me up sister."
Hadley moved to help her just as she fell into the crib.

Looks like I'll have to turn the crib around or find some way to toddler proof it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Funny girl

Brynne is starting to display her sense of humor and quick thinking.  Just wanted to share one example of each. 

Humor:

I keep a glass of water on the nightstand at night.  As I sat in the living room the other day, Brynne casually strolled up to me and asked
"Papa, where's your glass of water?"
I told her I didn't know, but I would go look for it.  She instantly started grinning from ear to ear.  As I walked into the bedroom, she trailed me, watching my every move.  The glass was not where it should have been.  Seeing as how it was at least half full about ten minutes earlier, I checked the floor for a trail of water drops.

There were none.

I went into the bathroom to see if she'd emptied it into the sink and left it on the counter as she often does.
This is somewhere between a giggle and full on laughter.  Makes me smile every time.

It was not there.  She giggled behind me.

I asked her where it was and she didn't reply.  She just giggled. 

Upon returning to the bedroom, I noticed the drawer of my nightstand was open slightly and immediately I had flashbacks.

As I walked to the drawer, her giggles became louder.  I sat on the bed and as I reached for the drawer, her giggles became full on laughter.

The drawer pulled open easily, and there was the cup.  It was empty, but the drawer was dry.  As I pulled the cup out and set it on the nightstand she stopped laughing long enough to say
"Papa found it.  Hooray!"
Then she starter to applaud me.  The sink had been dry, the drawer was as well, and the flower next to the nightstand was not newly moist.  Where, pray tell, had the water gone?

She peed about nine times over the next hour and a half.  Mystery solved.

Quick Thinking:

Normally, when we sit down to eat a meal, whatever we serve is their only option.  They don't get to ask for anything they want.

The other morning, I mixed things up a bit and asked them what they wanted for breakfast.  Last time I did this it worked out kinda marvelously, so I thought I'd try again.

Brynne took a few seconds and then said
"Yogurt!"
with quite a bit of enthusiasm.

Yogurt was not an option as we were running a bit short on that.  By "running a bit short" I mean we were out entirely.

I didn't want to tell her we were out of it as that would only make her want it more.  Thinking quickly myself, I told her
"We'll have yogurt for dinner.  What would you like for breakfast?"
It took her another few seconds to reply
"I want dinner."
We do love breakfast for dinner, but dinner for breakfast is a new concept we may need to explore.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Tips

This is a repeat from a post done last year.  I thought I'd put it out there in advance of the holidays to give people time to prepare themselves.

Ahhh! The holiday season is upon us once again.  In case you've forgotten from last year (and the year before, and the year before, etc.), it's the time of year we all go crazy.  Everything we do is done to excess.  Here are a few things you might want to pay a little more attention to this year - some of them may even save or make you money.

Food - meals

If you need a helmet to eat it's probably too much food.
In my experience, most every family has some sort of large meal on or around Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Festivus).  For most people, these two meals are the largest meals they will consume all year. 

As everyone knows, the best way to get your body to metabolize this gluttonous meal is to sit on the couch and nap.  Having the TV on will only make the process work that much better.  Carbs and starches magically disappear while sleeping, so if at all possible, do not attempt any form of physical exertion.

Since everyone else that comes to eat will be bringing food, don't bother making or buying anything.  Just show up and eat.  Nobody will know you didn't contribute as long as you don't mention it.  If someone asks, tell them you brought cookies and just dumped them on someone else's tray.

Before you leave, don't forget to take leftovers home with you.  Nobody gets tired of eating the same thing day after day after day.  You'll get to it at some point so don't worry about discovering it in the back of the fridge growing mold in a month.  By all means, load up and save on groceries for January.

Food - snacking

Not only do we gorge ourselves at mealtime, but we are constantly eating between meals.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

1 - Chocolate aids in the digestive process of all other foods, especially those high in fat and cholesterol.  Be health conscious and load up on these. 

2 - Make sure you grab a handful (or two) of whatever salty snack is sitting out all month long every time you walk by the bowl.  Salt is good for you!  It can raise your blood pressure, which makes your heart have to work that much harder, which means your heart is getting stronger.  This additional labor can only continue as long as you feed calories into your body, so keep on cramming food into your gullet.  The only time you should stop is when you lose consciousness fall asleep.

If you find a bowl of something sitting out with no salt, don't immediately blame your host.  Nobody in their right mind buys unsalted foods at this time of year.  The simple explanation is this:  some child got hold of the snack and sucked off all the salt.  They are learning good nutritional habits at a young age, so don't chastise them.  Just grab a salt shaker and reapply.  If you've discovered the problem in time, the treat may still be moist enough to allow the new salt to stick.  Bonus!

3 - Doctors recommend drinking a lot of water, but water has no nutritional value.  Soda (aka pop, coke, soft drinks, colas, soda pops) is made from water - and has other added nutrients.  Don't waste precious cargo space on just water alone, make sure you have some additional artificially-occurring substance blended in with it.  And don't do the diet drinks; everyone knows the sweeteners used to make them cause cancer.
It still counts as one glass in my book
4 - In the spirit of combining things, make sure your soda has plenty of booze in it.  If you're not a booze person, do what you like.  Red wine is actually good for you.  If one glass is good, two has to be better.  The theory holds true - as long as you can hold your wine down.

Americans make or buy more treats during December than the other 11 months combined!  (I made that up, but it sounds good). 

Financials

Feel free to run up your credit card debt to buy as much stuff as possible.  Since housing prices always go up and mortgage rates always go down, you can always roll your credit card debt into a new mortgage and get a lower rate.  A win-win scenario! 

Once you discover all the crap you bought is no longer being used, typically within two weeks, you can start preparing for a garage sale.  No self-respecting garage sale shopper will try to haggle you down on pricing and most will pay more than face value for a semi-used toy with missing parts.  In effect, you have turned a profit on the holiday and can use those funds to buy more decorations as they should now be on sale! 

Win-win-win for team Griswold!
To quote my wife, "Looks like Christmas threw up on their house".

While we're on shopping, don't buy on-line.  Make sure you go stand in lines for hours on end to save the extra $1.47 you would have spent at an e-tailer.  Everything related to the Internet is a scam.  All those sites are doing is getting your credit card information and planning on stealing your money.  While you're at it, better cancel all credit cards, just to be safe.  Take your money out of the bank and only use cash.

Better safe than sorry.

If you're not much of a shopper, just get gift cards.  Everyone appreciates a $20 card to somewhere they'd never eat or to a regional store that doesn't exist where they live.  Nothing says "I cherish our relationship so much that I spent 12 seconds thinking about what to get you this year" quite like a prepaid Visa card.  And don't bother with wrapping it.  Any old envelope will do.  The best are reply envelopes which are typically enclosed in credit card offers.  Even though you won't be getting a credit card, you can still use the envelope and save some more cash.
 
Scheduling

You can make anything work if you try.  Visiting three different locations in one day is easy.  Not only do you get to buy gifts for three sets of people (and therefore get three sets in return to resell), you get to eat three times the amount of food and take home three times the amount of leftovers! 

Aside from family gatherings you can also plan on attending office parties, fundraisers, children's performances, get togethers with friends, and any other number of events you can either get invited to or invite yourself to.  Make sure you go to everything!  You simply cannot miss anything. 

You have the rest of the year to just hang out with your own family and enjoy them, so go ahead and sacrifice now.  You'll be thanking me for it later.

I hope this helps!  I look forward to hearing your success stories in the weeks and months to come!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I can't hear you, or anything else

Hadley usually does a good job of keeping her voice to a reasonable level.  In the middle of the night she'll whisper.  During the day she's at the normal level, unless she's trying to be heard over her sister.

Brynne, on the other hand, only seems to have one level.
Like Spinal Tap, Brynne turns it to 11, but she keeps it there.
She can walk up to me and request the most mundane thing.  If she happens to be right in front of me when she speaks I feel as though my hair is being blown back.
We very nearly lost a 50 year old oak tree when Brynne spoke at it.
I wasn't surprised the other day when she informed me about something she had just done.

"Me went poop on the potty!"

It just might have been more appropriate to use her quiet voice at this particular point - seeing as wee had about a dozen people over at the time and I was standing in the middle of them.

Oh well.  At least she wasn't cursing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Same old same old

When trying to come up with dinner plans for your family, or even just for yourself, do you ever feel like you're in a rut?  Like you have the same thing to eat every week? 

I've been wondering recently if the girls were getting tired of eating virtually the same foods over and over again.  Mama does a great job of planning their meals, and ours, to provide lots of variety, but when it's my turn to do it, I just can't get too creative.

My entree staples for them are:

peanut butter and honey
hot dogs
bratwursts
chicken
salami (their all time favorite)
meatballs
pasta
breakfast foods (eggs, waffles, french toast, etc)

I was trying to rack my brain for something new the other day and I just happened to ask Hadley, who was helping me be creative, what she wanted to eat.
"Bratwurst"
Mmmmm, bratwurst.
I wasn't really sure if  she meant that, or was just talking, but I went ahead and got some out and started to prepare dinner.

I asked her about a side dish, and she replied with her all time favorite
"Chips"

Easy enough. 

With dinner prepared we sat down to eat.  My two little ones barely touched their food.  Only eating a total of:

3 bratwursts
1 apple
1 orange
4 handfuls (mine, not theirs) of chips
2 yogurt cups
3 glasses of milk
1 glass of water

Yes, I was being sarcastic when I said they barely touched their food.

After all this disappeared, Brynne informed me
"Me want something else to eat."
They got a few M&Ms, usually reserved for potty training treats, and that seemed to top them off. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What did we do?

Here is a list of items we gathered together for an activity we did when I took a vacation day last week:

Large knife
Tablecloth
2 painting smocks/Mama's t-shirts
Empty bowl
Roll of paper towels
Wet wipes
Pumpkin we picked a few days earlier

Can you guess what we did?

Made the girls' first Jack-o'-lantern!

I had to lay out a few rules:

1 - No touching the knife.
2 - No eating the pumpkin guts.
3 - No touching anything other than the pumpkin until we were done.
4 - Go potty before we start so you don't violate rule number 3.
5 - Don't rip the bottom tooth off the pumpkin (actually, this is a new rule for next year based on this year's actions).

Brynne was apprehensive about cleaning the inside of the pumpkin, and let us know it was "slimy".  Hadley, on the other hand, literally dove right in.  She was a bit disappointed when we were done with this step, but she quickly got over it.

I carved the first eye and pushed it inward.  Then Hadley went elbow deep to dig it out.

I carved the second eye and pushed it inward.  Brynne semi-reluctantly dove in after it, but was pleased to show off her haul.


I carved the mouth, after them telling me the pumpkin should have two teeth.  I made three, but as you can see from rule #5, they only wanted two, and so two is what they got.

Hadley was eager to pull the pumpkin's tooth.  We'll see how long that lasts after she loses her first tooth.

I thought three teeth would look better, so as they were cleaning up I widened the pumpkin's grin and added the bottom tooth back.

Notice something different?  Wider smile (on the pumpkin), and the third tooth has been restored.
 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Haunted House?

Early this morning, at about 4:30 AM, I was roused from a wonderful dream by Hadley's voice coming through the toddler monitor.  Calling it a baby monitor just isn't appropriate as they are now "big girls".  She let me know she had to go potty.  I stumbled into her room, half awake, scooped her up, and headed to her "big girl potty" in her bathroom. 

When I scoop her up in the middle of the night she is almost always overly clingy.  Maybe she's cold, or maybe she just wants to be close in the dark.  Either way, she's like a little backpack hanging on the front of me with her arms wrapped tightly around my neck.

As I carried her in front of me I was suddenly stopped.  Actually, I was bounced back a bit and almost fell.  I wasn't initially sure what was going on.  In my semi-conscious state I assumed my progress was being halted by a supernatural force.  Some evil spirit or sinister demon was preventing me from taking her to the potty.  I imagined this mean spirited poltergeist was trying to get me soaked with urine.
Vomit is worse than urine.  I can attest to that.
I reached my free hand out to see if I could push through the resistance that way.  I could not.

The apparition was unlike anything I'd ever heard or read about.  It was solid.  It was everywhere in front of me, blocking my progress.  It was also smooth.  Almost too smooth.  I couldn't feel any difference no matter where I moved my hand.  No lumps.  No cracks.  Not even a wrinkle.  The resistance was the same no matter where I touched.

Then, my hand brushed against something that was different.

It was small and round.  It fit into my hand very easily.  It felt familiar.
Had I grabbed a hold of this handle I think I would have soiled myself.
And why shouldn't it?  It was a doorknob.  I shut the door to their bathroom earlier in the night, something I don't ever do - obviously for good reason.

There was no unexpected visitor, but I had managed to soften the blow of walking into a door in the middle of the night by using a Hadley bumper.  Poor girl got squished between me and the door.
"Sorry for running you into the door, Hadley.  I didn't realize it was shut."
Her reply:
"That's OK, Papa.  You didn't mean to.  I'm fine."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Such a grown up conversation

Here is the conversation between the girls while playing in the basement tonight. 
If I had any tech skills I'd put pictures of them in here, but I don't, so you have to use your imagination.

Hadley:  Sister, come get me out of the tent.  (For the record, the first few times she asked, she would wait until sister was right up on her, then she'd sit down, laughing, and say no, no, no.)

Brynne:  I'm busy, be there in a minute.

H:  Sister, I need you to help me now.

B:  One second, almost done.  Okay, I'm coming.

H:  Pull me out the window.

B:  How do you ask?

H:  Brynne-e-boo Elise, please pull me out of the window, yes you may.

B:  Okay.  (grabs sister in a bear hug through the "window" of the tent, leans back with her, and they both fall to the ground, roaring with laughter).

H:  Thank you, Brynne.

B:  (while crawling through the tunnel to get into the tent) You're welcome.  (Now standing in the window) Hadley-roo Adah, please pull me out the window.

H:  I'm busy, just a minute or two.

B:  Hadley, I need your help now.

H:  I'm busy, Love.  Be there soon.

B:  Papa, please pull me out the window.

H:  (as she runs across the room) NO!  I'M COMING!!  HADLEY WILL DO IT!  (Proceeds to grab Brynne via the same bear hug and lean back.  Unfortunately, Brynne is a bit bigger, her head catches on the top of the "window", and as they fall back, the tent comes with them).

B:  Ooopsadaisies!

H:  The tent went crash boom with Brynne and Hadley.

Giggles ensue.

Both:  Papa, please fix the tent now, yes you may.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I wasn't expectng that

Potty training has been going surprisingly well.  We've had very few accidents the past few days.  Actually, almost every time the girls need to go they tell us and head in to do their business.

There are some exceptions. 
This is the portable potty, which we discovered we need to take with us wherever we go as one of our darlings refuses to sit on the big girl potty.

Our innocent little ones seem to now have a strong grasp of what it means to stall.  At night, as they go to bed, they suddenly have the urge to potty. 

I lay them in their beds and as soon as I leave the room, I hear them calling
Papa!  I want to potty!
If I don't go in and let them try, they'll wet the bed, just to spite me.  If I do let them try, they'll sit on the potty for as long as I let them, smirking at me the whole time.  As soon as they say they are done, even though they haven't done anything, I'll put them back in bed, only to hear them once again say
Papa!  I want to potty!
Even if they just went potty, they'll exclaim their desire to go.

Last night was no exception. 

Twenty minutes into the process of trying to get them to go to sleep I had already taken them to the potty four times.  Neither of them had done anything, but why would they, they'd just peed minutes before bed.

Hadley was on the big girl potty while Brynne was on the portable one.  Neither of them doing anything other than sitting there, staying awake.

Then it happened.
We'd been having thunder and lightning for a few hours, and they don't get scared by it.  The brightest flash of lightning I have seen since I saw lightning hit a tree hundreds of yards in front of me a few years ago, lit up the entire world, or so it seemed.  Seconds later, thunder shook my insides. 

Almost immediately, two little girls were off their potties, scooting toward me as fast as they could with their underwear around their ankles.  I was equidistant from them as they started and they crashed into me at the exact same time. 

I was expecting shaking and crying, perhaps a desire to be held while the storm passed, but I was greeted instead by them both saying the exact same thing as I pulled up their drawers and scooped them up:
Papa, I need to go to bed now.


I took them into bed, laid them down, kissed them goodnight, walked out of the room, and they slept the rest of the night.

I'm seriously considering making a DVD of thunder and cranking the surround sound every night they fight going to bed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Changing the lyrics to fit my needs



OPP, how can I explain it
I'll take you frame by frame it
To have y'all jumpin' shall we be signin' it
O is for Only, P is for Pee/Poop scratchin' temple
The last P...well...that's not so simple
It's sorta like another way to call an outhouse a toilet
It's five little letters that are missin', see it
You sit on it on occasion when you're doing all your trainin'
It seems I need to start the explainin'
Bust it

You know the feelin' when you really just gotta go
And so you sit right down but nothin' at all will flow
You run to potty and sit there but nothin' comes on out
Then you stand up and spray around just like a water spout
It could come from the F to the R to the O to the N to the T
And when that happens it's what we like to call pee pee
But then at times it comes out from the other side
And when that happens all you do is try to run and hide
You leave a "big ole mess" right there in your underwear
And at this point your screaming cause you just don't care

You down with OPP
Only Pee/Poop on the Potty
You down with OPP
No, not really
You down with OPP
Not necessarily
Who's down with OPP
Workin' on Brynne and Hadley

We pump you full of liquids and all the fiber we can
Starting this week we had ourselves a great idea and plan
This three day potty training thing is supposed to work
We follow you around, you might even say we lurk
We need to catch you before you go in you drawers
Because we know it will end up on our nice wood floors
Please little ladies I really wish you would get it down
So Mama's not stuck in the house and can go to town
We hope very soon you will be able to give us hints
Until then we only pray for strength, wisdom, and patience.

You down with OPP
Only Pee/Poop on the Potty
You down with OPP
No, not really
You down with OPP
Not necessarily
Who's down with OPP
Workin' on Brynne and Hadley

So far, potty training sucks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

From the mouths of babes

Not much time to blog, but I have been able to jot some notes down recently about events as they are taking place around the house.  Here are a few of them:

Example 1:

We had to move the car seats from one car to the other for a few days.  Upon trying to do this, I discovered there was barely enough legroom for the driver when their car seats were rear facing, so I switched them around to forward facing temporarily.

The first time I put Brynne in the car she promptly informed me I was putting her in the car
Upside down!! 
She screamed and cried until we got moving.  Once she realized she could actually see out the front, along with seeing Mama and Papa, she was thrilled.

Example 2:

Hadley informed me her tummy hurt.  I asked her why.  She replied
Why not?
Example 3:

Mama is doing such a great job of teaching them manners.  Hadley told me, when I gave her the option of either eating more fish sticks or more strawberries,
No thank you.
Even when I informed her I wasn't asking if she wanted to eat more, it was a choice of which one she wanted to eat, she stuck to her guns.
No thank you...Papa.
Example 4:

Mama has, actually, been able to teach them some real manners.  If they want more milk or water to drink, or really anything they want, they can't just point, grunt, or say gimme.  They use the following phrase:
Mama (or Papa), may I please have some more milk please?
 
They don't stop there.  Since they're used to one of us saying "yes you may" for a legitimate request, they make it and answer it all at once.
Mama (or Papa), may I please have some more milk please yes you may. 
Example 5:

We were sitting on the bed, reading the bible as we do every night before they head off to sleep.  I had Hadley on my left and Brynne on my right.  They would take turns turning the pages as I read, so I was free to put an arm around each of them and snuggle them tightly.  Hadley took one look at my hand, grabbed it to move it, and told me (while shaking a finger at me) to
Keep your hands to yourself.
 Example 6:

The girls were eating their dinner, but were pretty much done.  They were asking for some more milk, so I told them they had to clean their plates (stealing an old phrase from my parents) before they got more.  I turned around to get the milk and when I turned back, Brynne had taken all the food off her plate and stacked it on her tray.  She threw her hands in the air and proudly proclaimed
All clean!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting old

As you get older, you start to recognize certain changes taking place.  You sleep less.  You take longer to recover from a workout.  Certain things that didn't used to bother you are now really obnoxious.  The music is too loud and lyrics don't make sense.  You get up more frequently in the middle of the night to use the little boy's room.

These are all signs your body is aging.  For me, the most noticeable has been my lack of potency.  Before you get all weirded out, hop on over to my wife's blog and read her post.  The following sentence will make more sense after you do that.

I've gone from hitting doubles to hitting singles.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phil Collins

Yes, that is an interesting title.  To quote him "I can't dance", but my girls are sure having fun trying!

video
I love how Hadley bobs her head to the beat of the music and throws one hand in the air as she works the turntable.  I also love how Brynne dances as she sees fit and not necessarily to the beat. 

I'll try to stop them from liking the techno beats so much, but they sure do love dancing.  In case you can't understand Hadley at the end, she is saying "We're dancing".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New words and phrases

So the past few weeks have been incredibly busy.  Not just for me, but for the girls as well.  Here is a short sample of the new stuff they've been heard uttering around the house.

When they want a drink, they can no longer just say "milk" or "water".  Now, it's "Papa, may I have more milk/water/whatever please?".  After they ask, I inform them "yes you may", which Hadley repeats.  After saying this the other night, she gave me a bit of encouragement by saying "good talk".
It was a good talk, even though I really didn't add to the conversation.
Brynne informed me the "air conditioner is making funny noises", and then asked me to "please fix now".

I won't mention any names, but one of the little ladies was going to the bathroom.  I asked if she needed to be changed.  She then replied, "still working on it".  When she was done, she let me know it was a "big load". 

They've both started talking to me on the phone when I'm not there.  Every conversation is similar.  They say "hello", tell me "Papa go work", and then to "come back soon!".

On the weekends, I typically fix breakfast for everyone.  The night before, it is not uncommon for one of them to put in a request.  On Friday, Hadley wanted "pancakes" and Saturday, Brynne asked for "donuts".  Hadley was not disappointed to get regular and chocolate chip waffles.  Brynne was very pleased that I went and got donuts for us.  She kept asking to eat them in the "backseat", as we did the week prior while on a little father/daughters picnic, but I already had them dressed for church, so I didn't want to risk getting them dirty.

If you've been following me or Mama for any period of time, you know the girls don't watch TV at all.  When Mama left for the night last week, Brynne was overly distraught.  She told me "no" when I asked if playing with trains, trucks, letters, bouncy balls, puzzles, games, books, going to the basement, going outside, or playing with the dogs would make her feel better.  After 10 minutes I gave up and just asked her what would make her feel better.  She stopped crying, appeared to be deep in thought, and then replied "watch Winnie Pooh".

Winnie the Pooh truly makes all things better.
So we did.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Go figure

Four weeks ago, Hadley starting throwing a HUGE temper tantrum every time we announced it was time to take a bath.  She would wail, cry, gnash her teeth, and even tear her sack cloth.  There was nothing new about bath.  She hadn't almost drowned or anything epic like that, and we hadn't made any changes to the routine.

The funny thing was, she was over enthusiastic to go to the pool, but bath was now out of the question.  She still didn't want to sit in the pool, even though the water was only a foot deep, all she wanted to do was play in the water and dump it out of the pool.

Two weeks ago, we went for the first time to our friend's "big girl" pool, which is about four feet deep.  To get in the pool the girls had to use floaties on their arms.  She hated them.  Obviously, she was not trusting them to keep her head above water as she clung to me like she was an extra limb. 
She does, however, like to do things bigger kids do.  She'll be almost as fearless as Brynne when it comes to doing those things.  She saw the other older children using the floaties, swimming, floating, and sitting in the floating chairs.  She immediately was fine with the floaties, but had to be in the chair. 

Once she was in the chair, she wanted to lean forward and blow bubbles in the water.  Sometimes, she dunked under just a bit, but came up smiling.

Flash forward two weeks.  Now, she can't wait to get in the tub.

She holds herself up by her hands, moving back and forth, informing us she is swimming or floating.  She slipped a bit, dunked her head under water, and came up coughing/gasping for breath.  We thought the love of bathing was now over, but we were wrong.  Once she knew she was OK, she was again all smiles and went back to swimming.

Brynne, on the other hand, continues to be fearless.  She went into the big pool and wanted to be passed back and forth, free to kick her legs to move, either unaware or just not concerned with not being able to touch the bottom of the pool. 

Nearly every day she asks about Abby's pool.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Holiday Fun

While it was weird celebrating the fourth of July without having the next day off, I kind of like it.  My reason is purely self serving:  I like having Wednesdays off from work.  It splits up the week nicely.

So what did we do to celebrate?

Thanks for asking.  We gave Mama a lot of time to herself.

I got up and got the girls out of bed as I almost always do.  I then proceeded with cooking seven eggs, half a pound of potatoes, half a pound of sausage, and eight pieces of toast.  There was a little bit of sausage left, and that's it.

Mama got her breakfast in bed, but the girls and I stayed out so she could either eat in piece or stay asleep.  She ate, then went back to sleep in case you were wondering.

The girls and I then ran errands (ewands).  Since they have a ton of new words, I'll put them in italics after the actual word just to share.  The errands took up most of the morning, until it was time for lunch, and cosisted of visiting the following locations:

local produce stand (famews maket)

bank (bant)

milk store (mik sto)

veterinarian's office (vefguthsdy ahej)

grocery store (gocery sto)

park (pak)

gas station (gees staton)

When we got home, they entertained one another while I prepared lunch, which wasn't as exciting (or as much) as breakfast (befast), just some leftovers.

They then went to take a nap (nap), but they forgot they were supposed to be sleeping (seeping), so they just chatted for a few hours.

After nap, we picked tomatoes (matoes), played for a bit by rolling dumptrucks (dumptucks) back and forth, read a few of their favorite books (being sure to include this one), and then I grilled apple flavored chicken sausages for them.  In case you're wondering, they ate a combined two and a half sausages to go along with grapes (poople gapes, and not geen gapes) and sweet potato chips.

This was chased with milk (mik), water (wawter), vitamins (pills), and a chocolate chip cookie (kookie) bar Mama made.

We then took our bath (baff), read their Bible (Bible), prayed, said goodnight (nite) to the world, and went to bed.

Mama did join us for some of these activities, so she didn't have a full day off.  She did, however, get some good down time I think.

As for me, I went right to bed and fell asleep immediately for the first time in a very long time.

Julia's always been able to fall asleep quickly, but I can understand how a busy day like this (which is typical for her) can wear you out.

PS - Spell check went nuts when I ran it on this post.  I guess it doesn't translate toddler to English.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You know you're tired when...

1 - you wonder why your mouse isn't working, until you realize you've grabbed your cell phone and are trying to use that to manipulate your computer.

but my mouse is wireless
2 - the phone rings, you pick it up, nobody is on the other end, and it keeps ringing. Meaning, you picked up your cell phone when the office phone was ringing.
another way to fail using the phone
3 - you find yourself in a 30 minute conversation with the most annoying person in your office and you are okay with it because it keeps you from falling asleep at your desk.
Yes, Milton, I'm still listening
4 - you have to touch your eyeball to see if you did, in fact, remember to put in your contacts that morning.
bet he doesn't have this problem
5 - you try not to blink because reopening your eyes seems like too much work.
a much better solution
6 - you hang up a call rather than be put on hold because the elevator music they're playing might put you to sleep.

7 - you take two hours to realize you never turned on the light in your office.
I suppose that's enough light to work by
8 - you start eating lunch and then realize it's only 9 AM.
whatever
9 - the funniest thing you've heard all day is the guy in the office next to you repeating "hello" 35 times before deciding something is wrong with the caller's phone. Actually, it was 35 times over four different calls...I counted.
apparently not
10 - you count the number of times the guy in the office next to you says hello before hanging up.

11 - you catch yourself doing the sleeping head bob, while in the restroom.
at least he's not on the toilet
12 - you find yourself mentally measuring the space under your desk and wondering if you could nap there without anyone finding out.
sadly, the answer is no
13 - you've managed to finish a Mountain Dew before anyone else is even in the office.
I can't wait for the sugar high to wear off, maybe then I'll sleep
All of this happened to me the other morning so I thought I'd share it - and because I haven't had a good list post in quite some time. 

Go ahead, laugh at me.  I'm not sure I'll even know what's going on if this keeps up.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jealous much?

It's 3 AM. I haven't been able to fall asleep yet. Tossing and turning in bed, I listen to the noises around me. The air conditioner cycles on and off for the millionth time. When it goes off, I imagine it is actually going to sleep. The dogs, comfortably asleep in their houses - at our home we call their cages houses to sound more animal friendly - turn over. There are some crickets outside my window, but everything else is asleep. Julia rolls over, still sound asleep. I can tell Brynne just rolled over by the squeak in her crib. Since she made no other sound, I know she is sacked out.  
Can I get an AMEN!

Then I hear it.

All done sleeping. 
All done sleeping. 
All done sleeping. 
All done sleeping. 
All done sleeping. 
ALL DONE SLEEPING!

It's not the voices in my head, this time.  Apparently, Hadley is all done sleeping. 

I go into her room and she is standing in her crib.  When she sees me in the low light, she throws her hands in the air and then whispers (so as not to wake her sister)
All done sleeping.

I pick her up and take her back to our room, explaining to her it is too early to be done sleeping.  When I ask why she is all done, she informs me
I'm cold.

I lay her in our bed and go to switch their air conditioner to a warmer setting.  When I return, she is laying with her head on my pillow, under the covers, fast asleep.  It took all of 13 seconds.

I crawl into bed next to her and just watch her (and Julia) sleep.  So peaceful.  So sweet.  So out of it. 

Why can't I sleep like this?  Why can't I be asleep before my head hits the pillow?

I try to wake her up to take her back to her room, but she won't stir.  Finally, she opens her eyes and smiles at me and says 
Hadley sleepy.

I scoop her up, give her a little kiss on the forehead, and carry her back to bed.  When I go to lay her down she once again tells me
All done sleeping.
Since she's yawning as she says this I don't believe her.  Once again, she's out immediately.

I, meanwhile, go back to lay in my bed, still wide awake.  When the clock hits 4:30 AM I get up and go work out.
Perhaps I should move to Brooklyn.
Just another day with no sleep for Papa.  YAY!  At least everyone else got to rest.  I'll just have to catch up on my sleep at the office.  I know I'll get tired right as my day starts.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wardrobe malfunction

It was a bit hot this weekend, so we took the opportunity to fill up the "funny ginaffe" (as the girls call it) pool.  When we were done, we went inside to eat, and then on to the bath.
"Funny Ginaffe" gets a lot of laughs at our house from the girls.

I was still a bit warm, so I left my shirt off.

As the girls were playing in the tub, Brynne stopped, pointed at my chest, and asked
What's that?
Yes, Robert DeNiro has nipples too.  But Brynne didn't ask about milking any of them.
I was getting ready to say my chest, when Mama piped in with
Papa's nipple. 
 And then we were off.
Papa's nipple.  Brynne's nipple.  Hadley's nipple.  Mama's nipple?
Every time she said it, she pointed to or touched the person's nipple.  Mama had her shirt on, so Brynne just pointed in the general direction.
Grandma nipple?  Grandpa nipple?  Winnie nipple?  Fiona nipple? Massi nipple?  Massa nipple?  Noodle nipple?  Chloe nipple?
 
Each of these questions Mama replied to with,
Yes, _____ has nipples. 
I just throw this out there in case she comes up to you, points toward (and hopefully doesn't touch) your nipples, and lets you know what they are.  She's not hungry. She's not a perv.  She's not trying to be rude.  She's just showing you she knows what they are.

I asked Mama when we get to the other parts of the anatomy.  Fortunately, she said those can wait.
My potential reaction when they inform me "boys have a penis and girls have a vagina".

Friday, June 29, 2012

Let's get this done ASAP

It's official, after eight counter offers we've got our (hopefully) forever house under contract.  Yes, you read that right.  It took eight counter offers (over the course of 10 weeks) to come to a price both sides could agree on. 

During this time, we've been cleaning our house, putting things in storage, and generally just getting it ready to go on the market.  I've been wondering if all those late nights and storage rental costs were going to be well spent, and it turns out they were.
The less time I see this sign in the yard, the happier I will be.
Our house went on the market Wednesday morning.  We spent about an hour Tuesday night doing some last minute rearranging of the furniture (more on that to come later) and figured we'd have time over the weekend to do another thourough cleaning. 

Thursday, we received notice about noon we had a showing that night at 6:30.  We also found out someone else drove by and called in about it and a third person wants to see it Friday.

So much for cleaning this weekend!

Back to Thursday,  We busted our humps getting the last remaining details ready, which included me doing some yard work when it was 108.  At least it was a dry heat.  HA!  Once it gets over 100, I don't care if it's dry or not, it's still hot.

Our listing agreement says no visits during naptime and people must be out of the house by 7.  Our first showing was going to throw our schedule off.

Julia made a call and our friends graciously allowed us to bring our girls, and my parents who were in for the day, over to their house to swim, take a bath (just the girls - I assume my parents showered at their hotel), eat, and hang out.

I'm sure we could've gone swimming at the neighbor's, but we decided against asking them.

As we were headed home to put the girls down at about 7:10, I got a phone call from our relator.  The people were running behind schedule and wanted to see if they could come around 7:30 instead.  We hesitantly agreed, but said they had to be sure they would be there at that time. 

They couldn't, so they said they'd reschedule.

I know if we want to sell the house quickly, we need to be as flexible as possible.  We don't mind that to a certain extent.  It is difficult, however, not to be upset when you do everything you can and nobody walks through the house.

I was a bit frustrated we had to do everything we did to accomodate a showing that never happened. On the other hand, I was very pleased the girls took the change of schedule in stride and that we got to hang out with friends during the week - a rarity.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One of God's greatest gifts

I realize some of you are finishing the title statement as Garth Brooks would have, by saying:

"is unanswered prayers".


That may be true, but I have another way to finish that statement for you to ponder:

"is death".


Let me explain.

I have never dealt well with death.  Every single time I go to a visitation, whether it was for my grandma, great-grandma, or even just to support a friend who lost a loved one, I bawl my eyes out.  Even when I just hear about someone losing a loved one it chokes me up.

I put myself through the emotional wringer by reminding myself: I'll never see her again; she'll never get to see my kids grow up; he has no more time with his father; we didn't have the chance to talk about _____; I'll never get to hear the wealth of knowledge and history she has; and so on.

My last living grandparent passed away early this morning after a battle with cancer.  Last year it claimed her leg.  Last week, we were planning a date a few weeks out to take the girls to see her one last time as we were told she only had months to live. 

Yesterday morning, plans were changed, and I was trying to find a day in the next few weeks to go as her prognosis changed to having a few weeks left.  Yesterday afternoon, when that time frame dropped to days, I was looking to find a time this weekend to drive up.  Last night, we were informed she had only hours left, if that. 

As I lay in bed around 12:15 I was praying for God to end her suffering and bring her to Him.  Fifteen minutes later, she passed peacefully with my own mother at her side.

As much as it hurts me to know she is gone, I will gladly take that answered prayer.  Her pain is gone and I should celebrate that.  Her suffering is gone and I should celebrate that.  She is reunited with the Lord and I should celebrate that.  For the rest of time, she will never know pain or sorrow, only joy and celebration, and I should celebrate that.

So back to the whole thing about death being a gift.  God gave us the gift of death so we can be reunited with Him.  If it weren't for death, we'd suffer an eternity away from Him.  The pain of death is only for those who live.  The joy of death is for those who pass.

One more time:  God gave us the gift of death so we can be reunited with Him.

We should be celebrating her life and the life of Christ.  He died so that we may live.  He defeated death, so that we may be with the Lord forever.

It is difficult to praise the Lord when things don't go your way, but it's at these times we need to do exactly that.  We need to pray that the Lord will use the bad times in our lives to bring us, and others, closer to Him. 

We need death.

We need it not only to reunite us with our Lord, but to remind us to reach out to those we care the most about and ensure they are trusting in Jesus for their salvation.  We need death to spread the gospel.  We need it to remind us there is nothing on this earth that will fill the void in our hearts except for God.

We need death.

I'm still sad.  I'm still crying and thinking about her.  This time, however, instead of tears of sorrow I have tears of joy (mostly).  I know I might still be a mess at the visitation and burial, but I also know the Lord will be with me and help me get through it. 

Rest in peace grandma.  We miss you.  We love you.  We celebrate your life.  We praise God.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Throw your hands in the air...

and wave them like you just don't care!

To my beautiful little girls,

Someday, I hope you see this and remember something I'm trying to teach you.  Be yourself.  Have fun.  Only be concerned with what God thinks, not what people think.  Do that, and you'll be fine.

video

All my love,

Papa

Monday, June 11, 2012

What would Jesus do and what would I do?

So I came across an article about a father who caught another male (I can't bring myself to call the attacker of a four year old a man, so I'll go with male) sexually assaulting his four year old daughter.  The father struck him in the head until he stopped.  The attacker died.  You can read the full story here.

The main question surrounding this now is whether or not the father will be charged with a crime.

I pray I'm never in this situation, but I also wonder what I would do if I were. 

I'm not a violent person, but I am protective.  Whether it's myself, my property, my family, or anything else I'm strongly attached to, I will defend it.  I also don't have a short fuse.  It takes a lot to get me fired up, but even then, I'm more likely to talk through something than take to physical altercations.

Speaking as a man trying (and failing every day) to follow the path of Christ, I'd like to think I'd have the self control to put an end to the situation without putting an end to the male's life.

Speaking as the sinful man I am, I imagine I would act as judge and executioner in a very short period of time.

Obviously, in the heat of the moment you don't have time to think about all the negative consequences of your actions.   

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about the possibility of his daughter growing up without him as he spent time in jail. 

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about the regret he would be carrying around with him for the rest of his life, knowing he took another life.

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about what impact his actions would have on those people in the attacker's life.

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about any of that as he saw his daughter being attacked.

In fact, I'm almost certain he stopped thinking about anything as the urge to protect his daughter became the only thing on his mind.

Even now, I don't know if it does any good to think about it and what I may or may not do.  You can think about every possible scenario and outcome that may happen to you in life, but when it comes down to it, there are some things you can't practice or prepare for.

For the guys out there, what do you think you'd do?

For everyone, should the father be charged with a crime?

Friday, June 8, 2012

A week away from home

I've been gone for a week, which is why I haven't posted much.  Here are a few observations from the week on the road:

Most shower heads hit me right about chest high - that's where they come out of the wall.  One hotel shower this week was actually about seven feet high.  It was wonderful, but I'm guessing not many people could take advantage of the adjustable flows as the control for it was another six inches higher. 
This is the typical shower head placement from above, and the shower curtain height from below.
I'm sure housekeeping didn't like all the water on the floor of the bathroom, but if you're going to install the shower head that high, you probably ought to go ahead and raise the level of the shower curtain to greater than five feet six inches.  If I can look out over the curtain, it's probably not a good thing.

If you are driving a shuttle, and looking for tips, I have one for you.  You didn't help the 65 year old woman load her large suitcase onto the shuttle, so I did.  Don't stand there with your hand out when I get off.  I should've taken money out of your jar and slapped you when you looked annoyed (with your hand outstretched and palm up) as I walked past you.

Ever wonder why some companies are not as profitable as they could be?  Here's a perfect example.  My co-worker and I had a few drinks and an appetizer at the restaurant in the hotel.  I had them charge the bill to my room on two different nights.  When I went to checkout, only the second night appeared on the bill.  Also, the soda and water I had charged directly to the room from the lobby didn't make it onto the bill.  I informed the front desk they were missing those two charges and they said "looks like you got free drinks".  I feel good that I tried to pay for the services I used, but I wonder how often this happens and how many times a $50 bill just gets written off.

Hotel beds are almost always too short.

Even sleeping diagonally I didn't have room to stretch out.
Toddlers change so much more when you're gone for a few days than they would have had you been there.

Even when I try to schedule a time to talk with Julia, something comes up on one end so we end up talking in the wee hours of the morning.  We're then both exhausted the next day with no chance to nap.

Coming home takes twice as long as it does to get there. 

The time away lasts twice as long as the time at home does.

It's impossible to eat healthy on the road and the "gyms" hotels advertise rarely live up to their billing.  I wouldn't necessarily consider an 8X8 room with a treadmill, one five pound dumbbell and a set of 10 pound ones a "workout facility".  Oh, and it is tough to swim laps in a 10X10 pool.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sharing makes sister happy

Both girls still have a bink with them when they sleep, though Brynne has one with her about 60% of the time she's awake.  She will chew on that thing fiercely, putting holes in it in less than a week.

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, I noticed the tip of it was almost chewed off.  We've run through our supply so had no reservists to call into active duty.  I had three options: let it go, and hope she didn't chew it off in the middle of the night which could lead to a choking hazard; take it away, and be subjected to long bouts of screaming; or tear off the end and see what happened.

I chose to tear off the end.

Bad decision.

She immediately started sobbing and wailing.  "PINK BINK BOO BOO!"  I carried her into bed, fighting her the whole way as she thrashed about.  I set her down, and she stood right up, continuing to let me know what was wrong.  Julia called for me to bring the bink back.

As I entered the changing room, she was smiling.  Hadley was sitting there holding her own green bink, saying "Geen bink, Bynne."

I exchanged binks with her, took the green one to Brynne, and the world was once again right. 

Hadley took the pink bink to bed and just held it in her hand as she usually does with the green one.

Both girls dropped off to sleep with no fussing and the slept soundly.

Everything was wonderful - until this morning.

When I got them out of bed and turned on the lights, Brynne erupted.  In the dark room she had not realized the switcharoo, or had forgotten about it.  As soon as she saw herself holding the green bink, she wanted her pink one. 

Hadley swapped with her gladly.  But then she noticed the damaged pink bink in her hand and went ape shit.

I assured her the situation would be rectified before bed tonight, and that seemed to appease her a bit, but not completely.

Looks like I'm off to Target today to get another replacement, and a back up or twelve.  Someday soon she'll be done with them, but until that day comes, we'll keep replacing the destroyed binks as necessary.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thanks for the...uh...help?

As I mentioned the other day, the girls are repeating every thing we say.  They are also mimicking our actions.  They so desperately want to be helpful, and they are most times.  A few times, however, they've missed the mark.

Some of the shorter examples of this include putting shoes on the wrong feet, closing doors and drawers that are still needing to be open (fridge, pantry, etc.), and buckling themselves into their high chairs about an hour before a meal is ready.

One other instance will take a bit more explanation - so here it is.

Julia and I each have a glass of water on the nightstand when we go to bed.  In the mornings, we typically dump any remaining water into a plant or the sink, and start with a fresh glass each night.  Brynne has seen this procedure countless times.
Do you drink enough water?
She also sees me putting all my beauty products back into my drawer in the bathroom each morning when I'm done with them.  As they finish each meal, they observe me washing, drying, and putting away dishes.  They've really done an excellent job of learning to pick up after themselves and put everything where it belongs.  Almost. 

I came into the bathroom Monday and slipped in a little puddle of water.  I noticed my water glass sitting on the sink.  Brynne followed me in and had a grin on her face - she was so pleased with herself for helping out.

I grabbed a towel and cleaned up the spillage, praising her for helping and knowing what to do without having first been told.  I then went to get the deodorant out of my drawer.  It was sitting a little higher than everything else.  Actually, it was floating. 

I looked back to Brynne, but she had vacated the premises.  I'm now not sure if that smile was from being pleased or from the satisfaction of a cleverly devised prank.

She apparently thought EVERYTHING went into the drawer.  The good news is the drawers appear to be watertight.  The bad news is that not every container in there is.

I found her in the living room and told her water goes in the sink, NOT in Papa's drawer.  She nodded, said yes sir (which Mama has been working on with them), and went to get a book to read.

Last night, as I was putting them down to bed, I carried them into the bathroom and slipped again.  This time, the puddle was much larger.  This time, there were two water glasses on the sink.  There was no praise now, and there was no smile either.  I opened the drawer to find exactly what I expected - everything again floating on two glasses worth of water.

We had a very one-sided conversation about where water goes.  I then had a one-sided discussion with myself to make sure I remembered to dump out my excess water every morning.