Sunday, July 31, 2011

Making Ice Cream with Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

My family thought it would be fun to make homemade ice cream with the kids sometime.  They were right.

Baylor totally inspected what was going on with the beaters and all that liquidy goodness.

Mollie showed him where Aunt Christine poured in the ice cream mixture.

Then Baylor left for the amusements of the iPad, while Mollie enjoyed a little ice cream viewing with Daddy.

Baylor adores it when my mom reads Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle to him.  It's probably because she gets very animated when she reads, and she does a special voice for the hedgehog herself.

It was a lovely afternoon of homemade vanilla bean ice cream and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

The Kids These Days: 16 Months and Almost 3

What can I say about the kids these days?  They are so full of character it astounds me.  At such young ages, all that essence of personality is distilled down into such a small package and without any inhibitions that you can't help but notice it.  So here they are!

Baylor ... ah, what can I say about my little man?  Lately my sister has taken to calling him The Riddler because he asks SO MANY QUESTIONS!  I swear, some days that's all he does.  He asks questions he knows the answer to, which end up being the most frustrating ones because he's just quizzing you and heaven help you if you get the answer wrong.  And he asks questions he doesn't know the answers to; those I don't mind answering nearly as much, even if they come in an endless string.  Seriously, at this point, I am pretty sure - when it comes time for him to start dating - he'll have no trouble perfecting this technique.

He seems to be finally coming out of his shell ... hallelujah!  At this point, he'll talk to just about anyone, man woman, or child, though he tends to confine his topics of conversation to clocks and elevators.  Unfortunately for him, not everyone is interested in those two topics so the conversation tends to be one-sided.  Also, if he has a chance to teach someone something, particularly if he encounters another kiddo he isn't familiar with, he will quiz them on shapes, spelling, colors, and the like.  It is a little embarrassing for me sometimes to see him do that, but I know he's only two still so I guess it just falls under the cute-factor.  Right?

In an unfamiliar place, particularly one with no toys, no television, and an abundance of adults, Baylor's favorite activity is going on adventures.  Below he can be seen with Great-Aunt Ellene on an adventure they took up at the Hook and Horn.  He just loves getting to use his little Melissa and Doug binoculars and discovering new things.  And, thank goodness, it often gives him something new to talk about.

He has a crazy-amazing memory for details, which is both awesome and overwhelming.  The overwhelming part comes in when he pairs his amazing memory with his love of questions and expects you to remember, scene-for-scene, line-for-line, everything that happened in a particular movie or television show he is fond of.  If I could, he would have me retell all of the Sound of Music ... all 2 hours and 56 minutes of it.

While Baylor is very good at speaking, he has trouble with a few words.  Ironically, one of his favorite things is tough for him to pronounce; ever since he really started talking "elevator" comes out sounding more like "eledator".  He also still pronounces his hard "c/k" sound like "t"; for example, a baby fox is called a "kit" ... Baylor ends up pronouncing it "tit".  He also, for whatever reason, won't really say the words "yesterday", "today", and "tomorrow".  Instead, he uses words he has made up; "yesterday" becomes "lastday", "today" becomes "thisday", and "tomorrow" becomes "nextday".  He can say the correct words, but when he speaks freely he always uses his words.  It took a while to get used to, but once you get the hang of it you generally know what he means.

Cute as he is, however, Baylor is in the not-so-fun stage of being two/three.  He has trouble listening to me; sometimes I can say his name twenty times and he won't even budge or acknowledge I've spoken, and I have had to raise my voice at him more often to get his attention when he is putting himself or someone else in danger.  He is too tall for his own good and can get into just about anything; I know this is all part of his yearning for exploration, but as his mother it makes life a little difficult - things have to be more picked up or you could have a mess or an accident on your hands.  Oh, and a fun and unexpected treat: he is refusing to potty train.  That's right ... at least three or four times a day I have to hoist that 40-pound child up onto a changing table and clean off his rear end.  It's great fun ... if you like that sort of thing.

But, even though he is in the trying two/three stage, he is an amazing child.  I thank my lucky stars every day for the little man.  He is not only brilliant, he is loving as well.  Lately he has taken to just saying, "I love you, ____."  Quite often he says it to a person who is having a rough day, and it almost feels like he understands that.  He also likes to say, "Thank you for coming!"  I don't quite know where he picked this one up, but it's adorable nonetheless.  And he loves his sister.  That's probably one of my favorite parts.  It's not always perfect - they do have their trying moments - but so often they are just playing near each other and one or the other will just go in for a quick hug.  For all the worries I had way back when, I feel like the payoff is finally starting to appear; they just might be friends after all!

Speaking of Mollie ...

Good golly, Miss Mollie sure is growing up!  She is a bundle of energy, on-the-go from the time she gets up to the time she gets in bed.  All this movement, however, means that she is nearly perpetually hungry.  I feel like I am always feeding her!  I have a feeling I'll be saying this again when Baylor is a teenager, but for now it's all Mollie.  In addition to eating a lot, her increased activity level also helps her sleep really well.  I hate to jinx myself by saying this, but my girl is an amazing sleeper.  She actually likes going down for her nap!  All I have to say is, "Do you want to see Dollie and Sleep Sheep?" and up we go. Then I just give her a binky, put her in her crib, cover her up with her blanky, and say, "I love you!"  Then she's out!  It's a very drastic but welcome change from Baylor's nap time routine of two books, bed rearranging, and then listening to him on the monitor for upwards of an hour.  With Mollie, when she's tired, she's out, plain and simple.

In addition to just running around and following Baylor's every move, she is industrious.  She likes to clean up, often picking stuff up just so she can mess it up again.  (She will, however, help us clean up at the end of the day, even when Baylor won't.)  Sometimes she'll pick up the play phone in the little play kitchen and walk around talking on it like there is someone chattering away on the other end.  She does all this and more with great purpose; you can tell just by the weight of her steps and her fluid movements that she has put much thought into all her efforts.

My girl is a little daredevil!  She isn't afraid to climb a couch, crawl onto a table from a chair, or tear after her brother; in no time I'm sure she'll be keeping pace with him.  More than once she has fallen over the arms of chairs or couches and just yesterday she fell off one of our dining room table chairs.  She can even climb into her rear-facing Britax Marathon car seat all by herself!  Seriously, the girl has no fear!  Well, except when it comes to dogs; big, small, friendly, ferocious ... they are all terrifying to her.  She's getting a little better about it (she used to scream bloody murder if a dog was anywhere in the vicinity), but she's still a long way off from being a "dog lover".

Mollie still doesn't say a lot, but she understands so much and follows directions well.  What she does say she says with conviction, even if it's not all that clear.  One of her current favorite "words" is "LLLLLL" which means "Olivia"; it is often accompanied by a lot of gesticulating towards the television, and it means she wants to watch Olivia or she has recently watched Olivia.  She also uses sign language to get her point across; "again" is a current favorite and joins "please", "thank you", and "milk" as an everyday occurrence.

Amalia still eats mainly baby food, a fact I am loathe to admit.  When the mood strikes she'll eat pizza or Baked Italian Delight, but for the most part her meals consist of baby food (cereal and a fruit, veggie, or meat, to be exact).  She will eat adult food for snacks, mainly crackers and cereal, and she enjoys fruit whole, but it all has to be on her terms and exactly what she wants.  Miss Mollie is a very particular gal.  Heck, she won't eat most kinds of cheese; she really enjoys Kraft 2% American Cheese slices and will reject almost anything else.

One of her favorite things to do is to get her shoes and request they be put on.  Unfortunately, she often wants to wear her tennis shoes with shorts or a skirt.  And no socks.  Yes, very Working Girl, I know.  But I guess that's just how she rolls.

If she could, Mollie would spend all her time outside.  Even so much as mentioning outside or moving close to our back door sends her running for her shoes; and if she already has her shoes on, she'll get Baylor's out for him.  Once we get outside, she loves to just explore, poking at trees and flowers, stooping down to see little bugs, and smiling as the breeze blows through her hair.  Just give her a pair of sunglasses and off you go!  Good luck trying to get her back inside, though; often times the only way I can get her is to offer food to her and hope that she has expended enough energy to be hungry again.

I'm sure there is so much more about them I'm forgetting to write about, but that is the gist of them.  So sweet, so wonderful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lava Lamp

The other day Baylor took our Tervis tumblers (which are AWESOME, by the way), stacked them on top of each other, smiled, and proclaimed, "It's a lava lamp!"

Yup, buddy, it does indeed look like a lava lamp.  You are one groovy dude for knowing that, little man!

I'm Rockin' One Arm ...

My mom and sister found this adorable, asymmetrical bathing suit for Miss Mollie, and though it was full-price they just had to get it.  My sister used to rock a one-armed bathing suit when she was little and it just seemed right that Mollie should carry on the tradition.

Plus, doesn't she look insanely cute in it?!

Baylor, bless his heart, is typically highly resistant to going in the pool initially, so Mollie got to enjoy a little alone-in-the-pool time with Grandpa E recently.  And, since she seems hell-bent on being as independent as possible, we decided to try Baylor's puddle jumper on her to see how it fit.  At first glance it fit her very well, but she wasn't really heavy enough to bob comfortably like Baylor does in it and soon grew rather anxious.

So, in no time, she was out of the puddle jumper and into Grandpa E's arms.

Somehow my mom got Baylor outside while all that was happening.  And since it was so blingin' hot she stripped him down to his diaper to keep him cool.

He took that as a sign that it was time to head into the pool.  Regular diapers just aren't meant for swimming.

After a quick wardrobe change, he got back into the pool with Grandpa E, who was recently unencumbered since Mollie got hungry and needed to get out.  Baylor kept asking what would happen if he stepped off the bottom step, and we informed him that he would go under water but that we'd be there to get him back up.  Turns out, we were wrong!

Turns out the little man is a big boy!  He can stand in the pool by himself, though not overly comfortably ... he had to be on his tippiest tip toes and more than once got a mouthful of water.  But it's a start!

Fun in the Sun: Un-Narrated

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baylor's First Trip to the Movies!

At just over a month shy of three, it was finally time for Baylor's first trip to the movies!  It really couldn't have worked out more perfectly as Winnie the Pooh opened just a weekend ago.  I thought it looked perfect for a first-timer, and reviews online agreed, so we left Mollie with my parents and sister and headed off to the theater.

Though he was a bit bummed to leave Oma's, he got pretty excited for the whole trip once we got there.

Seriously, he ran the whole way in!

After buying tickets, we got a few treats at the concession stand.  They had a kiddie combo that included popcorn, teddy grahams, and a drink - which, for a dollar extra, you could get in a commemorative Smurfs cup.  So we did.  He had a choice between a generic male Smurf, Papa Smurf, or Smurfette.  Guess which one he chose!

We gave our tickets to the ticket taker and then had Baylor pose in front of the movie poster.  He looked so tiny!

Then we let him choose the seats.  We climbed all the way to the top, then he plopped himself in the first seat he could find.  It was all the way to the left, but it was his trip so that's where we stayed.

On our way up, however, I realized we forgot to grab a booster seat, so Bryson hustled back down to get one.

Much better!  And, as you can tell, Baylor chose the Smurfette cup.  Funny kid!

He wasn't too sure about the popcorn.

But, man, he liked that new cup!  And all it had in it was water!

Bryson tried to get him to eat some popcorn ...

... and when Baylor refused (several times) Bryson ate a little himself.  (I did too, don't worry.)

Baylor was cool with the teddy grahams, however, and munched on those during the previews.  While he was engrossed in the grahams and the trailers, Bryson slipped a little piece of popcorn into Baylor's mouth, and from there on out the little guy was copacetic with popcorn.  All right, my little man!

He did really well during the movie; he talked a little bit, asking what was going on or what was going to happen next, but overall he stayed relatively quiet.  And it was a great movie for a first timer; it was only 69 minutes long, had very little in it that could be considered scary, had an easy-to-follow plot, and had cute characters.  Even though the duration was pretty short for movie standards, Baylor had a little trouble sitting still for the last ten or fifteen minutes, but other than that he did great.

On our way out, he remembered us saying he could have some M&Ms out of the gumball machine, so we stopped to grab some.

He even helped catch them in his little cup!

Ahhhh, the sweet deliciousness of peanut M&Ms!

Oh yeah!

It was a great first time experience and I so look forward to sharing many more movie-going trips with the little man in the future!

I love how he eats M&Ms like we're going to take them away from him at any moment.

Seriously, they were gone before we even started the car!

Great time, great fun, and really nice to be able to spend some time focusing on Baylor.  In a year or so, hopefully there will be a great movie we can take Mollie to and spend some time on just her.  Until then, we have a new little movie buddy!  Ah woo hoo!

In the Garden These Days