Thursday, January 30, 2014

That's What They Said: Changes

Baylor:  Daddy, do you have any more Transformers in the basement that work?
Bryson:  I don't know, buddy.  I don't think so.
Baylor:  We have some of yours up here that work!
Bryson:  Yup.
Baylor:  Wanna see if you have some in the basement?
Bryson:  (asking for clarification)  You want to see if I have some Transformers in the basement that work?
Baylor:  (gleefully)  Sure!

(After watching Star Wars: A New Hope yesterday, Mollie and Baylor pretended they were characters from the movie.  Mollie, hours later, still wanted to be called "Princess Leia" by whomever would do so, so at bed time, in helping her to stay in character, I told her to say to her dad, "May the force be with you."  And she did ... or so I thought.  Just after he left, though ...)
Amalia:  Mommy, what does "horse-bee" mean?
Me:  What?
Amalia:  What does "horse-bee" mean?  You know, "May the horse-bee with you."
Me:  (smiling and chuckling)  Oh, Mollie!  It's, "May the FORCE be with you."  Force, not horse.
Amalia:  (laughed uncontrollably)
Me:  (joined right in)

Amalia:  Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Me:  (smiling)  You know, Mollie, I don't know?  What do you want to be when you grow up?
Amalia:  (grinning) I want to be a mommy when I grow up.
Me:  Awww, I know sweetie.
Amalia:  But ... I don't want to take care of my baby's poopy diapers.  Sooooo ... I change it to a ballerina.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Christmas 2013: Christmas Day

Once we got dressed and had breakfast at our house, we made our way over to my parents' house to celebrate with my parents, sister, and grandparents.  To get the kids to leave our house without complaint, I let them bring one present with them.

Usually we do a big family gathering on Christmas day, but this year our schedules clashed a bit and we postponed the big gathering 'til the weekend.  It was nice, though, to have a quiet little Christmas with my grandparents and really get to spend time with them.

First, we opened our stockings.  Santa visits the kids at my parents' house as well, and he brought them all sorts of goodies, including Thinking Putty ...

... and scratch-off lottery tickets.  Mollie was the big winner of the day ... she got $40 from hers!

After stockings came presents, and we decided to start with the ones Baylor had bought for my parents and sister at his school's Secret Santa Workshop.  He got my mom an adorable canvas with the lyrics to "Jingle Bells" on it.

Baylor was actually pretty excited about the gift he bought for my dad, even telling my mom a little about it a couple days prior.

He bought him little screwdrivers so they could do projects together!

He got my sister a mini mp3 player so she could listen to music.

Then the general gift opening commenced.  Mollie got a new doll from Aunt Christine.

Yup, it's an identical doll to the one she already has, Sally.  Lest you think my sister was being lazy, I will say that Mollie asked for this; I think she wanted to have twins, even though I'm not sure she understands exactly what that is.  Either way, the new doll, later named Cindy after Cindy Lou Who, was quickly welcomed to the family.

Baylor and Bryson both got books for Christmas and were virtually unavailable for quite a while as they poured over them.  Like father, like son!

Once the spell of the book had been broken, Baylor opened a set of Lincoln Logs from his great-grandparents and immediately set to work building a general store.

The kids had eaten a pretty small breakfast that morning, partially because they were so very excited about it being Christmas, so we made sure to get them lunch at a reasonable hour.  My parents had whipped up a couple awesome soups, and we all chowed down, taking a break from gift-opening for a short while.

Baylor finished his lunch quickly and requested some time with the Lego set his sister got for him, so we pulled it out and he set to work.

Once lunch was cleaned up and the Lego set was all assembled, we went back to gift-opening.  Mollie got an adorable ballerina outfit, shoes and tiara included!

Just look at my tiny dancer!

Of course, when she opened a hat, scarf, glove set from GG and Great-grandpa, she just had to add that to her ensemble!

The final gifts of the day were a pair of bikes for the kids!  They were super excited and were itching to try out their first bikes.  Unfortunately, I failed to bring tennis shoes with us, so they didn't try them out for very long; those spiky pedals, meant to keep their shoes from slipping off, were not overly comfortable in only socks.

After the bikes were tested out for a little while, we retreated back upstairs for more visiting.  Mollie got a hold of my camera and decided to take a few pictures.  "Say, 'cheese'!" she told everyone.

Then, when Great-Grandpa wouldn't "cheese" big enough, she made him try again.  That girl has some persuasive powers already.

Baylor, ever one to eschew socializing for Lego time, hunkered down to assemble one of his new sets.  Mollie decided to do a fun little photo bomb with her time.

And, of course, practice her budding ballerina skills.

After hopping and dancing around for a while, she sat down with Oma for some snuggles.

Aunt Christine, meanwhile, decided to help Baylor with his new set.

It certainly wasn't our typical Christmas day festivities, but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed a lot of together time.  And isn't that what Christmas is all about anyway?  Spending time with those you love?

What could be better?

Friday, January 24, 2014

That's What They Said: Clarification

Baylor:  Mommy, I need to ask you a question.
Me:  Okay, what is it, buddy?
Baylor: How old are you?
Me:  I am thirty-two years young.  (smiling to myself)
Baylor:  Young?  Are you old or young?
Me:  What do you think I am, Baylor?
Baylor: (after thinking for a bit)  Young.
Me:  Aww thanks, buddy!
Baylor:  Yeah, young because you don't know a lot of stuff.
Me:  Ohhhh, okay.  (sufficiently taken down a notch)

Amalia:  And I wish our car had legs so it could walk!
Me:  That's funny!
Amalia:  Speaking of which ... (pauses) I have a witch.

(As we were doing laundry together ...)
Amalia:  (holding up one of my clean bras by the straps)  Mommy, is this where your arms go?
Me:  Yup.
Amalia:  (grabbing the back of the bra)  And what about this?
Me:  That goes around your back.
Amalia:  (wrinkling her nose a bit and squishing the cups)  Where do these go?
Me:  (smiling)  Right here.  (gesturing at my chest)
Amalia:  Ohh, they go on your bumps.  I got it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Poem Tree

Last night as I was saying goodnight to Baylor, he said he had a poem for me.  The poem he recited for me, that he had come up with entirely on his own, was amazing.  I sat there in absolute awe of the rhymes, the cadence, everything.  I wish I had had a video camera with me to capture it, but, alas, I didn't.  I only had the hope that he'd still remember it in the morning.

When he woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as he is most Sundays, he bounded downstairs and informed me that he wanted to make a poem tree in our house.  I asked him if he remembered the poem from last night, and he said that he did but that he didn't want to write it down until we had the tree finished.  So, we made a tree.  I knew all that construction paper from Costco would come in handy someday!

Initially, we were going to put it up in the dining room, but I worried that the masking tape and the sun would eventually change the paint color, so we moved our creation to the basement door.  It fit perfectly, and both kids were really excited about it and thought it looked great.

I had grand plans to make an adorable sign using the sun and a couple clouds, but as it often goes with kids, I had to let my expectations go and follow the little man's creative trail.

His first little sign to go with the tree read, "Made by me".  I asked him if others were allowed to contribute to the tree and he said they were, so I suggested he modify it.  So he added, "And evreone!  Becuse Im good" (And everyone!  Because I'm good).

For some reason, he felt it necessary to add number labels to the tree.  I really didn't want him to do that, and I had to fight all my urges to stop him and make it look "perfect"; it's hard for me to let go of control like that sometimes, and this whole thing really ended up being an exercise in patience for me.

Ordinarily I would have made him write out his poem himself, but the leaf he made (that he was very excited about) was much smaller than it should have been for him to write on it.  I have incredibly small handwriting, so I stepped in and wrote it for him.  It isn't exactly the same as it was last night; the original version was much smoother and a bit longer, but it often happens that the first jolt of inspiration is nearly impossible to recreate.  Regardless, the poem that is currently on the tree is all his and remarkably awesome for a five year-old.  And here it is ...

by Baylor

Instead of staying up and doing bedtime math
I'm going to go to bed without a bath.

I'm gonna brush and floss
Then I'll get in bed and I might turn and toss.

Then I'm gonna turn from dreams to snores.
Then when my mom opens the door

I'll get up and go down and play
And today's the new day!

The other leaf is actually a song he wrote called, "1,2,3 Rock!"  Basically you count as fast and lyrically as you can to ten, yell, "Rock!" and then yell, "1,2,3 Rock!  Rock!  Rock!"  It's not quite as developed as his poem, but I do love to hear him sing so I'll take it.

Now that this tree is up, I can't wait to see what else the little man comes up with!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

That's What They Said: Miss Mischief

(We were trying to get the kids packed up and ready to leave my parents' house a few nights ago and, as usual, it was slow going.  They weren't happy about leaving, so my dad said something in a whiny voice to demonstrate how they kind of sounded.)

Amalia:  (to my dad in a bit of a patronizing tone)  Grandpa E, it's really difficult for me to understand you when you whine like that.  (smirks and walks away looking very satisfied with herself for leaving all the adults speechless)

(Amalia, with a really bad cough and cold, comes into the kitchen and, with her head at counter-height, stands right by the pizza I'm trying to make for dinner.)

Me:  Mollie!  Please, back away from the pizza.
Amalia:  (turns and leaves)  Okay!
(A few seconds later she's back.)
Me:  Amalia, please move away from the pizza.
Amalia:  (scampers off)  Okay!
(A few seconds after that she's back.)
Me:  Amalia!  Please move away from the pizza!
Amalia:  (trots away)  Okay!
(This happens a few more times.  Then ...)
Me:  Amalia!  Please move away from the pizza!
Amalia:  (runs toward the living room)  Okay!  (then in the living room ...)  Baylor, go into the kitchen and stand by the pizza and see what Mommy says!

(The kids were in the living room playing some sort of Star Wars/Alien invasion hybrid event, and they were using these light up stick things as "light maces".  Then they started throwing them across the room.)

Me:  Hey!  You guys, please don't throw those!
(Someone throws theirs again.)
Me:  Hey!!  Do not throw those!  Do you want me to take them away?
Baylor and Amalia:  No.  Okay, Mommy!
Amalia:  Hey, Baylor ... (whispers in his ear)
Baylor:  What?
Amalia:  (smiles and whispers something in his ear again)
Baylor:  ("whispering" in her ear)  But Mommy said not to.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas 2013: Christmas Morning

Before we hurried upstairs on Christmas eve, we set out our usual plate of treats for Santa and his reindeer: a glass of milk, cookies (or in this case, a cookie and a buckeye), and an apple.  (Now, after Christmas, the kids have talked of switching it up for Christmas 2014 and putting out a carrot for the reindeer instead of the apple, just to give them a little variety, I guess.)  As we tucked them into bed, all their thoughts and wonderings were on the man in red.  Mollie even asked me, "What if he doesn't come?"  I reassured her that he would, and, seeming satisfied with that answer, she slipped into an uninterrupted sleep.

All through the Christmas season, I was forced to keep all the gifts, wrapped and unwrapped, in the basement.  Mollie was the first to finish her shopping - she only had to shop for Baylor, so it was pretty easy - and her wrapping, and after she was set she placed it gently under the tree.  Baylor, upon arriving home from school, saw the gift waiting for him and picked it up to shake it.  I told him that under no circumstances was he to open any of the gifts under the tree; if he did open a gift, it would promptly be returned to the store, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I then asked him if he would be able to keep his hands off the presents; when he replied in the negative, I asked him if he'd like me to keep them in the basement until Christmas day when he was allowed to open them and he said, "Yes."  So that's what I did; all presents, including the one Mollie had bought for Baylor, were stored in the basement.  After the kiddos went to bed on Christmas eve, though, I bounded down the stairs and started bringing up all the gifts, so lovingly purchased and wrapped.  I managed to keep it to two gifts per kid, though Mollie's were considerably larger than Baylor's.

Santa did his part and ate the cookies, drank the milk, and made sure the core of the apple his reindeer ate made it back on the plate.  He filled the stockings with all sorts of goodies and left one present for each kid, again Mollie's towering over Baylor's.

And, like he does every year, he left a note:

This year it read:

Dear Baylor and Amalia,

I am so proud of you for being so good this year!  Be kind, loving, and responsible and there will always be room for you both on the nice list!

I hope you enjoy the gifts I left for you!



I woke up early Christmas morning and got showered and dressed so I could be ready for whomever woke up next.  That person turned out to be Baylor, and he was more than happy to help me go wake up his dad and then his sister so we could get downstairs.  As soon as their little feet hit the first floor, they made a beeline for the fireplace to see what Santa had left them.

They then plopped down on the couch with their stockings and set to work emptying them and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the contents: whoopie cushions, multicolored multi-tipped crayons, lighted personal fans, and a mini Lego set for each kid, and a Cinderella tiara for Mollie and a pocket volcano for Baylor.

They were both excited to try out the light up personal fans Santa had left for them.

After watching us open our stockings as patiently as they could, the kids ran over to tear into their gifts.  Baylor shrieked in delight when he found the treehouse Lego set he had been wanting.

Mollie needed help getting hers open, but she was thrilled to see her colorful rolling luggage waiting for her inside the big bag.

I then had Baylor grab the gifts he got for each of us at Santa's Secret Shop at school, and we opened them one by one.  Bryson got two flashlights, and Baylor was not too subtle in his hints that he was hoping to share that gift with his dad.

Mollie went next.  Baylor bought her the game Perfection, and she was pretty excited about it.

I went last.  I had felt the gift before when I put it in the car and then again in the basement and was certain he had just bought me the first bottle of Bath and Body Works lotion he could find.  While I wasn't too far off on the actual gift, I don't think he just grabbed the first girly thing he came upon.

Just look what it's called.

Isn't that just the sweetest thing?!

Mollie then opened a double stroller for her dolls and a pretend hair styling set from Mommy and Daddy, ...

... and an outdoor patio set for her dollhouse and a Frozen book from her brother.

Baylor opened up two new Lego sets from Mommy and Daddy, including one I put together myself from instructions in a Lego book I found for him, and another new Lego set from Mollie.

As soon as all the gifts were unwrapped and I was able to free the pieces of the hair styling set, Mollie set to to work giving Colin a little trim.

As the kids played, I cleaned up the mess and we started getting ready for breakfast.  After a quick breakfast, we got dressed and cleaned up, packed up the car, and headed over to my parents' house for Christmas day festivities.  It's always tough for the kids to leave all their new toys, but we let them bring one with us to Oma's house this year and that made the transition a little easier.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas 2013: Christmas Eve

For Christmas eve 2013, as it has gone most years, we spent the evening celebrating with my in-laws.  Unlike most years, my brother- and sister-in-law and my niece and nephews weren't there; they had come down with the stomach flu and were holing up at home for the night.  This made for a very unique situation for Baylor and Mollie in that they had their grandparents', great-grandparents', and great-aunts' full attention for the whole of the evening.  At first, Mollie was a bit shy; some family friends had come over to celebrate with us and Mollie wasn't herself with them there.  As the night wore on, though, she warmed up and was much more herself.

Baylor was extra excited because he had had a new experience at school this year; he got to go shopping for family members of his choosing at Santa's Secret Shop, a little store set up in the hallway at school.  With eight people to shop for and forty dollars at his disposal, he and an adult helper shopped until there was no money left.  They helped him wrap the gifts, and he brought them home the same day, managing all the while to keep his secret under wraps.  I thought for sure he would have spilled the beans at some point, but he didn't and it made for a much more sweet surprise come Christmas.

My father-in-law was the first to get his gift, and Baylor decided he wanted to give him a hint to see if he could guess what it was before he opened it.  The hint was, "It is like a screwdriver", and the gift was a set of drill bits, something he could actually use.  Score one for the little man!

Next up was my mother-in-law.  Her hint was, "There is snow in it."  By this he meant that there was "snow" in the name of it, and it turned out to be a snow globe you can put someone's picture in!

Baylor demonstrated how to get the snow to really swirl around.

We exchanged gifts with everyone, and there was lots of happy conversation and catching-up going on.  My husband's grandparents got some new bottles of wine for their wine cellar for Christmas, and Mollie helped pass them around to show off the fun, quirky names printed on each bottle.

It was a fun night, to be sure, and while it was tough to leave we had to get back to our house so Santa could make his visit.  We knew he was in South America when we left my in-laws because we checked the NORAD Santa Tracker before we left, but we didn't want to cut it too close, you know?