Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bryson's 30th Birthday

In case you didn't know, my husband's 30th birthday was last Friday.  We actually spent the evening out at our friends' wedding (congratulations again, Ben and Stephanie!) so we didn't celebrate his birthday much until the next day.

For Father's Day we started a new tradition for Bryson.  I got the idea out of Real Simple magazine and thought it was too good to pass up.  I bought an inexpensive sketch pad and had the kids draw in it as his birthday gift.  Any time they want to/need to give him a gift, they can draw - and eventually write letters - in this sketch pad.  I'm sure we'll have to get a new one down the road, but I was excited to finally find something that the kids themselves could give to their dad.

Bryson taught Baylor about the color wheel recently, and when I suggested to Baylor that he could draw one for his dad he set to work.  He got a bowl and drew the circle, asked for a ruler and drew the pie pieces, and then filled in all the colors.  He only got mixed up when he put blue in, but other than that he was a total champ!

We went to my parents' house on the 25th to celebrate Bryson's birthday.  He got to open his gifts right away, and Baylor was more than willing to help him out.

Baylor quickly lost interest, though, and moved on to enjoying some stickers while Bryson opened his gifts from my parents and sister.

Mollie got to color a bit during the gift opening.  She actually prefers coloring with pen to coloring with crayons, though I have no idea why.

Pretty soon, it was time for Baylor to check out the little clock and watch it chime.  He's a little grabby with it sometimes, so Aunt Christine provided a little supervision.

This look says it all:  "Yay!  I don't have to do any clothes shopping for myself!  Ah woo hoo!"

Mollie and Oma got to spend some time together ...

... before we headed outside.  It was a gorgeous evening, so we were planning on eating dinner on the poolside patio.  Baylor got to do some important watering before dinner.

He even had the forethought to put his finger in the spout to keep it from spilling while we made the trek to the tomato plants on the other side of the pool.

Of course, he's only two-and-a-half, so spreading out the water over three plants required a little too much reserve from him.

For whatever reason, Mollie thought it would be fun to get the little toy torpedo out of the pool toys and carry it around.

Soon, though, she tired of carrying the surprisingly heavy toy around and went back to the bin for something a little more portable. 

Unfortunately, on her way out the door, just moments after the above picture was taken, she did a face plant into the concrete and banged her head and nose up pretty good.  Lots of crying ensued, a bruise formed on her forehead, a scratch appeared on her nose, and a binky was required. 

Once all the commotion had passed, the birthday boy got to spend a little time just sitting and relaxing.

With his watering finished, Baylor got to play with his water wheel.  Unfortunately, in spite of our pleas, he sat on the ground, soaking his shorts and diaper.  Later, he was granted a wardrobe change on the patio.

Mollie, seizing the opportunity to play with the watering can, decided that Grandpa E's car needed a little washing-up.

Soon enough, it was time for dinner.  I got to sit between two pretty special little people.

Yes, it makes dinner a little more hectic when you're flanked by two under the age of three, but loving them to the ends of the earth helps.

After dinner, we played a little more inside then got to enjoy some mixed berry, crumble top pie my mom and sister made for my husband. 

The pie was delicious, the company was wonderful, and we all really enjoyed the evening.  Thanks again to my family for making Bryson's birthday so special!  (And for giving us the other half of the pie!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life in a Day Preview

This movie looks completely fascinating.  A compilation of thousands of tapes sent in, this is the story of one day as told by people from around the world.  Non-filmmakers who took the opportunity to film one day in their lives.  I first found out about the whole project HERE, and though it slipped from my mind for a while, I am so glad to see it coming to fruition.  Here's hoping the movie makes it to Grand Rapids so I can see it.  Speaking of which, apparently they are going to bring it to cities where there is added interest so you can vote for your zip code at the bottom of the movie as viewed here.  If you don't care about it coming to your city, or you are certain it will (I'm talking to you, Chicago, New York, and L.A.) then type in 49525 for me, will ya?

Anyhow, enjoy the preview!  And have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pockets and Purses

I love this skirt we bought for Mollie recently.  It is a little Carter's number and it has bloomers attached to it so I don't have to fiddle with them (or keep track of them).  The other day, though, Mollie discovered the cutest aspect of this skirt: it has pockets!  She walked around like this for probably a half an hour, just showing off her mad skills.

Later in the day, my mom and sister came over for a little visit.  Somehow Mollie got a hold of Aunt Christine's purse and decided to carry it around for a bit.

In spite of the fact that it weighed just about as much as she does and she, therefore, could not move, she was quite proud of herself.

Oma tried to show her the proper way to carry a purse.

But Mollie isn't about proper right now.  As much as it worries her mother, she much prefers to carry purses and other bags around her neck.  *sigh*  Oh well, she'll get the hang of it someday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Topless Time ... *sigh*

The other day, Mollie had decided she'd had enough with her shirt.  So she took it off.  I'll admit, she needed a little help when her right arm got stuck and I did help her, but most of it she did by herself.

I love this little girl!  She may be a stinker sometimes, but she's so incredibly sweet!

Then she decided to do a little cooking in the play kitchen.  Ah, what a sight!  (Oh, and I did not choose her shoes ... she did that.)

What a funny little lady!

Tom Thumb or Hunca Munca?

This adorable baby mouse - along with his/her brother or sister - made an appearance at my parents' house not too long ago.  My sister first found them asleep together in near some tall grasses in my parents' backyard landscaping, then we saw this little guy or gal again, chilling by him/herself in the wood chips.  Baylor has been very into Beatrix Potter books lately and has really fallen in love with The Tale of Peter RabbitThe Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice, in particular.  The last of those features two mice, Tom Thumb and his wife Hunca Munca, so these baby mice have been named as such.  Since we don't know the mice's actual gender, we just guess at who we've seen.  Whomever they are, though, they are certainly cute!

First Foray into Finger Painting

A while back, Baylor asked me if he could paint something.  I asked him whether he wanted to paint with watercolors or finger paint, and he resoundingly told me, "Finger paint!"  So here we are, two-and-a-half and our first foray into finger paint. 

He was more than ready to dip his fingers into the paint and spread it on the paper ...

However, he was not ready for how sticky and messy his hands would get.

He tried wiping them off on his chest.  (Thanks, buddy!)

But then he just sat there and stared at them.

His painting was beautiful, if only to his mother, and of course will be saved for posterity.  When he becomes a famous artist/baker (he told me the other day he wants to be a baker when he grows up - how cute is that?!) I will have his first painting as a souvenier.

Since the painting session, he has shown an interest in colors and now can pretty much draw the color wheel on his own (using a bowl for the circle and a ruler for the straight lines).  I have a feeling he'll be much more into his next finger painting session than he was his first.

Though it's a lot of clean-up - I found paint splattered on the floor for a while after this first session - he really seems to enjoy painting.  We'll have to start doing this more often.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Foodie Friday: Toffee Squares

Here's a quick and easy dessert recipe.  Enjoy!

Toffee Squares
1 cup butter (leave out to soften a bit)
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
6 plain Hershey's milk chocolate bars

Cream butter with sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Stir in flour and salt until well mixed.  Spread out dough in a greased 9"x13" pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until lightly browned. 

Remove from oven and immediately place the separated squares of chocolate on top.  Spread chocolate evenly as it softens.  Cut into squares while warm but not hot.  (My mom had me leave them cooling on the counter for a half an hour, then in the fridge for ten minutes.  They probably could have stayed a little longer in the fridge to let the chocolate set up a little more.)

These are delicious and super easy, a great treat to bring to a party.  I hope you like them as much as we do!

Epic Parenting Fail?

Yesterday was, pretty much, downright awful.*  Mollie, who has been sick with croup since Monday, fell asleep for two minutes on the car ride home from my parents and decided that that would be enough napping for one day.  Given how cranky she was for the rest of the evening, I'm gonna say she was wrong.  Yes, the one-minute car nap was in full effect yesterday.

She also decided to put her climbing skills to the test and sit atop our hearth.  *sigh* 

I have never been a huge fan of kids having a cabinet of our kitchen stuff they can get into and play with, probably because our floors have never been all that clean and it just means more dish cleaning for me.  So you can imagine my dismay when one of our beloved childproofing locks broke about a month and a half ago.  Since then, the kids have found the lazy susan area of the kitchen infinitely fascinating, with no exception last night.

Yeah, I am still not sure where all the stuff that once resided in that corner cupboard now is.  So not cool, kiddos!

To top it all off, the little man decided that listening to Mommy was highly overrated, so he basically tuned me out for the rest of the night.  Seriously.  Even if I held his head with both hands and spoke directly at his face like he was some sort of drive thru speaker, he refused to listen or do anything I asked.  Which lead to the epic parenting fail of the night.

Did I mention I was alone with both kids for all of this?  Well, I was, and since Mollie didn't nap and I had actually contemplated taking one myself, I was pretty exhausted on top of the aloneness.  Mollie broke down during dinner and basically wouldn't eat without major effort, but I knew she'd be hungry the minute I let her down and - worse yet - in the middle of the night if I didn't get enough food into her.  So, as my own dinner sat in the toaster oven, I fed her and Baylor their dinners.  Why Baylor?  Because he decided it would be more fun to rock back IN A BARSTOOL than to eat his dinner like he should, resulting in me pulling him over a yard away from the bar and having to feed him every last bite.  I eventually got to eat, I got Mollie to eat most of her dinner, and Baylor ate all but one of his carrots. 

Feeling a small triumph, I let the kids down and sent them off to the living room to play while I did the dishes.  Of course, I didn't just do the dishes; I also had to keep running into the living room to mediate fights, bring Mollie down from high heights, and generally keep the peace.  About five minutes away from being done with the dishes and about twenty minutes before we needed to head up for baths, I asked the kids to start cleaning up the living room.  Mollie, bless her heart, had no clue what I was talking about so she just went about her business.  But Baylor decided to ignore me like he had the rest of the night.  I implored them about twenty times to pick up, even giving specific ideas of what they could do to help, and still no action was taken, no messes unmade.  At the end of my rope I made a snap decision; if he couldn't take care of his toys, then he shouldn't get to play with them ... at all.  I announced this very fact and started piling all the toys into a laundry basket.

I'll admit, I actually told Baylor that we might just have to give his toys to a little boy or girl who would actually appreciate them.  (To an older child who had an understanding of what I was talking about this might have stung, but Baylor didn't seem phased by it at all.) 

And now I am left with the burden of following through.  The basket of toys has been moved to the basement until I can figure out what in the world I am going to do next.  In the meantime, I am left to think of how I am going to parent more effectively.  I know that Baylor is only two-and-a-half, but I believe he has the ability to pick up after himself.  I know that it also means he occasionally won't listen to me, but it just feels like this is becoming more the norm than the exception.  How do I turn this around before my son stops listening to me altogether and starts breaking all the rules?

* I fully admit, yesterday was light years better than most people have it.  We have a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, our health, happiness, and two of the best children you could really ask for.  I know this, which makes me feel even more guilty for griping like I have here.  I do apologize.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Lovely Grand Haven Evening

According to the weather people in our area, Father's Day was supposed to feature a lot of rain.  Since my dad's main request was to spend some time in Grand Haven to celebrate, we decided to go on Saturday instead of Sunday.  It ended up not raining on Father's Day, but Saturday's weather was beyond compare, perfect for enjoying Grand Haven.

Mollie seemed pretty chill in her stroller.  She enjoyed just being pushed down the sidewalk and really only moved when she would see a dog.  For the record, my girl is apparently terrified of dogs; just one look at a real, in-the-flesh dog sends her into hysterics.  I have a feeling this is an issue we will have to address sometime soon. 

Baylor, big boy that he is, got to walk with the adults, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then we got ice cream.  We took the top off Baylor's kiddie cone so Mollie could have some.  She enjoyed that, though the crowds kept her a little distracted.

Bryson had to help Baylor keep his cone from dripping.  It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

As usual, Mollie hammed it up.

Baylor tried to make a break for it, so Bryson held onto him a little.

So cute!

The weather was so nice we could have stayed out all night.

Such a happy little man!

But, no matter how great the weather was, the kids were getting tired, so we started heading back to our car.  Along the way, I couldn't help but snap a picture of this gorgeous B&B.

And Baylor couldn't help but run his hand along the stone wall.

We had a great time, and I'm so hoping we can make it back to Grand Haven again this summer.