Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Uninvited Playmate

Tonight, after dinner at Chick-fil-A (Tuesday night is KID'S NIGHT!), it had "cooled down" to 89 degrees, so Ivie, Macie, and I decided to hit our playground for some last-minute swinging and sliding before bathtime.

I was holding Macie, and Ivie was walking in front of me. As we got closer to the mulched area, I noticed something stick-like lying in the middle of the mulch, near the grass line. Ivie was ahead of me, and had stepped very close to said "stick" as she walked by to get to her "big-girl" swing (since Macie had staked claim on the "baby" swing).

Well, as you have probably guessed, the "stick" turned out to be a VERY LARGE snake! I froze when I saw it, thankful that Ivie hadn't noticed what it was when she walked by, as she probably would have freaked out and led the snake to do the same. Instead, she just stood there looking at me, wondering why the expression on my face had changed and I had stopped talking to her mid-sentence.

I calmly pointed out the snake to her and instructed her to walk around the BACK of the playground and join me. We then stood and marveled at its size, which, in my opinion, is not something you see in a backyard every day. Especially not a backyard that, though nicely wooded, is about 50 yards from the interstate.

Suffice it to say that we didn't hang around to play on the playground. But I did go back inside to get my camera so I could share a shot of our playmate with you. Ivie went to bed tonight talking about how she hopes the snake goes back home (into the woods) to see his babies and their mommy. I hope that, too, Ivie. Let us never see him on our playground again...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When All Else Fails...

Macie's been a grumpster today. Seems like nothing has made her happy. Until this. Why is it that all kids like to play in the Tupperware cabinet?!?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Waving

It pays to keep the Flip Video in the diaper bag...

This afternoon, I took the girls to Michael's to get some dowel rods that would hopefully replace the cheap plastic tubing that is supposed to keep Ivie's princess castle standing upright. They lasted about a week before one of them bent, rendering the entire thing useless. After grabbing the rods, we headed to the checkout counter and stopped briefly so Ivie could say hi to a tiny dog that was riding in her owner's cart.

As we said hello, I said to Macie, "Mac, can you say hi to the doggie?", and waved at her to demonstrate. And wouldn't you know it, she waved back at me! Wasn't expecting THAT! Too funny - her first wave, and we were in the middle of Michael's...

So I whipped out the Flip and tried to re-create it. Got her to do it a couple more times for the camera, and, of course, Ivie had to show that she could do it to.

So here you go! Macie's first waves...

video

Ivie's First T-Ball Practice

Ivie's first t-ball practice did not turn out as I would have scripted it (as a mom who grew up playing and loving sports). But so that I don't forget the experience, I'm going to describe it here as it DID happen. So that maybe I can use it to joke with her when she gets older...

We got off to a wonderful start, as Macie cooperated and fell asleep in Emerson's crib next door. Brooke graciously agreed to babysit her so I could concentrate on Ivie at practice (since Dale is still out of town at the golf tournament in Charlotte). Ivie and I got to the park/fields about 20 minutes early, so we wasted some time on the playground, which had great swings and slides. Ivie was having a blast, although it was already 80 degrees by 8:30a.

Practice started at 8:50a, so we headed over to the fields with our gloves. Ivie has a Dora glove and ball, which she adores. Practice started off with some "Alligator catch", where the plan was for the kids to throw ground balls to their partners, back and forth, while the others would snap them up in their gloves like alligators. Great idea, huh? Well, Ivie was not interested in playing this game with Caroline. Because that would involve sharing her Dora ball. So Caroline ended up playing with her daddy, Clint, and Ivie cooperated enough to take a few ground balls from me.

But that is where the minimal cooperation ended. And it was only approximately 9:10a (40 more minutes of practice to go).

After that, the only thing Ivie really wanted to do was take water breaks. They had the cool sno-cone cups at the coolers, so she went through a few of those. Otherwise, she stood next to me, holding my hand, with a grimace on her face the whole time. I think the only word she said was "NO!" (each time we asked her if she wanted to participate in the activity-at-hand).

As the kids were taking turns batting at the tee, Ivie was standing next to me in the infield waiting for the ball to come to her. Out of nowhere, she exclaimed, "I DON'T LIKE THIS GAME." Really? I would have never guessed!!!

When it was Ivie's turn at the tee, she refused to put on the batting helmet. It does look a bit intimidating, I guess, especially given that it fits pretty tight on your head and covers your ears. Since she wouldn't put on the helmet, she didn't get to hit. She was officially the only kid on the team that didn't want to take a chance at batting.

So we've got a little work to do, it seems. Maybe it will just take her a while to warm up to the idea. Or maybe it was just too hot (her face was bright red by the end of practice!) and she was grumpy and didn't want to try something new. Or maybe she just isn't destined to be a baseball player!

At least she has a cool new gray t-shirt to wear. And I'm pretty sure there will be yummy snacks each week after practice. So that should keep her going back for more...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Dale played in a golf tournament with a buddy of his in Charlotte today, so he didn't get to see the girls this morning. As typical when he's gone, he called around 8'ish, since he knew we'd be on our way to school.

Ivie and I both talked to him for a few minutes over the Bluetooth speaker phone in my car. After telling her daddy about what she had for breakfast, and assuring him that she'd been "a good listener for Mommy this morning", Ivie told Dale she loved him and said bye. Dale did the same, and we hung up.

After being off the phone for only a few seconds, Ivie said, reflectively, "He's my best daddy in the whole world." It was one of those simple statements by a kid that catches you totally off-guard and melts your heart. Don't you just LOVE those?!?

Ivie on her Tricycle

Ivie's been perfecting the art of pedaling her "bike" over the last several months, and I think she's finally got it. At least when she's headed back TOWARD our house, since it's downhill. We still have to give her a little push on the ride AWAY from the house, as she's not quite strong enough yet to do it alone.

Here's some video of her riding. Complete with her trying to hit me at the end, while I was holding Macie and trying to keep the camera somewhat still. The camera work ended up a bit shaky as a result, but Macie was safe and found the bouncing to be pretty funny!

video

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Breakfast

The general rule in our house is that, on school days, Ivie is required to eat a fruit of some sort (usually canned peaches, pears, pineapple, or a banana) for breakfast. We do this because we know that at 8:30a at school, the class heads to the lunch room for morning "snack", which is inevitably a carb-loaded kid-friendly item (think Sticky Buns, folks).

However, if she finishes her fruit at home in a reasonable amount of time (i.e., before it's time to hit the road for school) and she's still hungry, we do give her the option of having a second, much-less-healthy item, like a Pop-Tart, some cereal, or a breakfast bar.

We've gotten to the point where we are a little lax with this rule on the weekends, though, and sometimes we allow her to skip the fruit altogether. Ivie has discovered that this is mostly a Daddy-centered decision, as many times the two of them will head downstairs first, before me, and I don't have time to get her bowl of fruit fixed for her. So Daddy takes advantage and gives in to her request for above-mentioned breakfast fun foods instead.

Well, this morning, I had to leave the house at 6:30a to drive to Greensboro for the ACC Summer Compliance Workshop. So I left before the girls were awake. Used to seeing me when she wakes up (I think I can count on one hand the number of times in her life when she has woken up to only Dale at home), Ivie immediately asked of Dale, "Where's Mommy?!?" in her whining, sad voice. Dale responded matter-of-factly with, "Mommy's at work!" and tried to change the subject.

Ivie was not ready to let it go, though, and started whimpering/crying for me. But then, as if a light bulb went on, she immediately stopped crying, looked at Dale, and said...

"I WANT A POP-TART!!!"

Ah... Looks like we've got a smartie on our hands. Always thinking about how to manipulate the situation to her benefit. And thinks she has Daddy wrapped around her little finger. (Which she does.)

As an aside, Dale swears that he made her eat the peaches first. I guess I believe him...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tooth #5

Macie didn't eat much dinner last night, and she was more crabby than normal (which, for a baby, still wasn't that bad). We just assumed she'd had a long Monday at school. Mondays stink for all of us, right?!?

But this morning, I discovered what might have been the reason for the grumpiness. Macie's upper right lateral (in dentist-speak, to make my husband proud) is cutting through! She's officially 9 months and 13 days old.

I found a cute teething chart online that I'm hoping I can successfully paste into this blog to keep up with Macie's teeth. Why don't I just put it into the baby book, you ask? Well, that's a good question. I'm still working on a complete answer, but let's start with the fact that I'm not sure where the baby book IS right now. But I know EXACTLY where my laptop is!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Macie Walking with the Push Toy

Ivie used to walk up and down the upstairs hallway with this toy, over and over, as she learned how to walk. So I won't be at all surprised if we end up reenacting that over the next couple of months with Macie. Until she decides to let go and do it by herself!

video

Velcro Baseball

I have distinct memories of growing up playing with my Nana's set of small, felt baseball gloves that had accompanying small yellow balls, each with two bands of velcro wrapped around it, so that the balls would stick to the gloves. Great way for little kids to learn to play catch!

When Nana passed away, I brought this game home, eager to share the fun with Ivie. Though she still hasn't learned the art of actually moving the glove to catch the ball, if you are able to hit her glove with the ball, she does great and really enjoys playing. The set came to my house with 2 balls and 2 gloves. In the past year, though, we've managed to misplace one of the balls, although I was sure it was somewhere lying around the house...

Fast-forward to nap time today. Macie and Ivie were both quietly in their rooms, though I could still hear Ivie talking to her princesses (5 of which went to nap with her today) as I wandered around collecting laundry. Then, without warning, Ivie abruptly stopped talking to them and, instead, started calling incessantly for her daddy. Who was downstairs and presumably hadn't turned the monitor on yet. So I dropped the laundry and went into her room, wondering what the "emergency" would be this time (empty water cup, needed to "hold my hand" for "one minute", wanted her door open, etc.).

When I walked in, Ivie exclaimed, "My Cinderella has a ball in her hair!". Walking over and looking more closely, sure enough, hidden and horribly intertwined in Cinderella's light blonde hair, was the missing yellow ball! And, thanks to the velcro, it didn't plan on going anywhere any time soon...

So mystery of the missing velcro ball is solved. And afterward, while looking in the toy basket for the gloves to reunite the full set, I also found the missing Nightingale (the letter "N" on our animal sound mat). Now if I could only find the "H" from our alphabet puzzle, all would be right in my anal, don't-like-to-lose-stuff-but-it's-a-lost-cause-with-small-children world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Car Seats

We've recently taken the plunge and purchased 2 new car seats. They were both quite necessary, not frivolous, since Macie will have to move up to a convertible car seat in a few months. So the plan was (and still is) to purchase new seats for Ivie and let Mac move into Ivie's old ones...

As much as I wanted to, for ease, flexibility, and budget sake, get 2 high-back booster seats for Ivie and call it a day, I decided that I first better do some research. Several friends have told us to wait as long as possible to go with the booster-style seat, since along with the ease comes the fact that the pre-schooler is able to get in and out of the seat without an adult's help... Knowing Ivie's tendency to NOT WANT TO SIT STILL, I worried about this. Additionally, my research showed that it is safer to keep children in harness-style booster seats until they outgrow the weight limits on them.

So we (well, mostly me) ultimately decided to go with one of each. A Britax Marathon (which is harness-style, fits kids up to a whopping 65 pounds, and costs more than I think I should have to spend on a car seat) for my car, since it's the car we're in most often, especially on long trips...


And a Graco TurboBooster (which uses the car's seat belt, will turn into a backless booster when Ivie weighs over 40 pounds and grows a few inches, and is much more budget-friendly for families that own 7 total car seats/bases) for Dale's car, which is really only used for trips to and from school...


So, taking a quick look at these 2 different seats, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to know, almost immediately, which Ivie is going to prefer. In fact, she is soooo in love with her "lizard" car seat (look closely, it has cute little lizards on it!), that she has taken to pouting when I either take her to or pick her up from school in MY car, which has the much-less-preferred "TOO TIIIIIGHT" car seat.

I'm hoping that this attitude will go away soon, with the novelty of the lizards wearing off, so that we don't have to continue to have this struggle on a daily basis. Because if it doesn't cease, I'm going to be in the market for some little lizard stickers to put on the Britax. As if I really think for a second that that would help...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bad Dream

Ivie woke up sobbing at 4:30a this morning. It wasn't a typical cry-out that generally results in her falling right back to sleep on her own. It was more steady and on-going. So Dale went in to check on her.

When he asked her what was wrong, she told him she'd had a bad dream. After consoling her, Dale asked her what happened in her dream.

Ivie said, and I quote (because I couldn't make this up), "Danny put sunscreen in my eyes." Danny is our neighbor and a good friend of ours.

So if you've ever wondered what 3-year-olds have "bad dreams" about, now you know. Sunscreen in the eyes.

So if Ivie avoids you the next time you see her, Danny, you'll know why! You've got some explaining to do. I'd say an apology would be appropriate...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Macie's 9-Month Stats

We had Macie's check-up this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that at the 9-month visit, there are NO SHOTS. Macie doesn't understand yet that she got off easy. But she'll know in 3 months... Right now, though, she's happily oblivious to what "every-3-months check-ups" mean for her for the next 9 months. (After 18 months, they apparently don't have to get any more shots until Kindergarten! Woo-hoo!)

So really, aside from having to wake up after only a 15-minute power nap in the car/doctor's office waiting room (not long enough to get in a full morning nap!), she had a pretty good day, and even got to hang out with Mommy for longer than normal this morning.

So here are her stats. And, for comparison sake, I'm throwing in Ivie's 9-month stats, too...

Macie
Weight: 19 pounds, 6 ounces (50th - 75th percentile)
Length: 27 3/4 inches (50th percentile)
Head: 45 3/4 centimeters (90th-95th percentile)

Ivie
Weight: 18 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 28 1/8 inches
Head: 44 centimeters

Funny story about Macie's head circumference measurement today. I think I've mentioned before that Dale is very sensitive to this one; he has a fairly large head, and I think he's secretly terrified that the girls are going to end up with disproportionately large noggins. So each time Ivie or Macie has her head measured, he is quick to confirm with the doctor or nurse that it's a "normal" reading. Sadly, Dale couldn't be at the appointment today (he's in DC at a meeting), so he couldn't express his typical concern.

His absence was duly noted, though, when Dr. Dunk told me that Macie's head circumference was in the 90th-95th percentile. She snickered and jokingly said, without any prompting from me, "Macie, that's partly because of your big brain, and partly because of your DADDY!". We both got a hearty laugh out of that. Even Dale was amused when I recounted the story to him later.

Is anyone else finding it hard to believe that my baby is 9 months old already?!?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IBMP

Today I took a huge step in regaining possession of usable freezer space in our two refrigerators... But I'm doubting that many of you are familiar with the way in which I chose to do so - I didn't throw out large amounts of frozen meat that we're never going to eat, or rearrange the food on the shelves to create more room, or combine the multiple bags of tator tots that have somehow been opened before finishing off the other already-opened bags.

Nope, I used none of these typical methods.

Instead, I donated 216 ounces of breast milk (36 bags, 6 ounces each) to the International Breast Milk Project.

I never really investigated the option of donating breast milk until I was talking with the teachers in Macie's class this winter and telling them that I was running out of space in my freezer. One of them mentioned the possibility of donating, so I started doing some research. The process to become an approved donor took a few months, as the program officials had to get permission from both my and Macie's doctors, as well as do various blood and DNA testing to make sure I was a suitable donor. But finally, last month, I was approved, and they sent me my first cooler for donation.

It didn't come a minute too soon, as I'd, sadly, had to start throwing milk out because I had run out of room to store it. For those of you who have ventured down the road of breastfeeding, you understand that throwing out breast milk is one of the saddest things a woman ever has to do! We work too hard for it to dump it down the sink!!! So I'm so excited and pleased that I now have somewhere to send the excess to help babies in both Africa and the United States. Per IBMP policy, at least 25% of donated breast milk is sent to help babies in Africa. Isn't that exciting?!?

So here's a "before" picture of my freezer. This is why we don't eat at home - there's no room for food!!! After donating 216 ounces this morning, I still have approximately 540 ounces left in the freezer. Enough to feed Macie for 15 days! I've definitely been blessed with the ability to nurse my babies. And I'm so happy that I now get to help other babies across the world, too.

Dale's 37th Birthday

When the dust settled after Ivie's birthday party in April, she began asking when it would be her birthday again. In an attempt to explain to her how long it would be (in words a 3-year-old would understand), we told her that first it had to be Daddy's birthday, then Macie's, then Mommy's, then Christmas, and THEN it would be her birthday again...

So when that finally hit home, she started saying, "Daddy, your birthday is next!!". And each time she would have a snack (e.g., cookies, crackers, candy, etc.), she would give a piece to Dale, with explicit instructions: "Don't eat it now, Daddy. Save it for your birthday." What a stash he would have had if he had listened to her instead of discreetly eating the snack when she stopped paying attention!

So tonight after dinner, we celebrated Dale's birthday with a cookie cake. Incidentally, a cookie cake was Dale's 3rd choice. German chocolate was first (YUCK!), and I don't remember what his 2nd choice was, but it was something else I wouldn't eat. So we went with option #3 that I knew all of us would enjoy. Including Macie, who got (and loved) her first taste of chocolate chip cookie tonight.

Ivie spent her time at home this morning and tonight wishing her daddy a happy birthday, over and over. That kid LOVES birthdays! Here's a video of Ivie singing Happy Birthday to her Daddy, pre-cookie cake. Now she just has to wait 3 months for Macie's birthday to do it again...

video

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wilmington with the Campbells

This weekend, Dale played in the Cape Fear Member-Guest Golf Tournament in Wilmington with a friend of his, Bobby Campbell. So the girls and I decided to make the trip with him on Thursday and spend some quality fun time with Bobby's wife and daughter, Holly and Sydney. Sydney is 5, and a super sweet and fun little girl. She and Ivie got along pretty well, though they had their fair share of "sharing" spats that are pretty typical for girls of that age who spend 3 straight days together.

The Campbells put a pool in their backyard this winter, so Ivie was able to take a swim on Thursday. By the end of the afternoon, she was over her uneasiness and was jumping to Holly in the pool. On Friday afternoon, we trekked to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach. Having entirely skipped nap on Thursday (she was having way too much fun hanging out with Syd!), Ivie was exhausted by Friday afternoon and fell asleep in the car on the 20-minute ride home from the Aquarium. I proved I still have "the touch" from her baby/toddler days and was able to make a successful transfer from the car seat to the bed for a solid 2-hour nap, which dramatically improved her mood for the rest of the night.

Sadly, her good mood didn't carry over to Saturday. I think the 3 days of fun caught up with her, as Ivie turned into a "NO" monster, disagreeing with everything I asked her to do. So today marked the first time in the lives of either of my daughters that I have put them in the car and driven away, for the SOLE purpose of putting them to sleep. 20 minutes later, the car was quiet. Ahhhhhhh.............

Macie was her typical perfect self the entire weekend. I swear she sleeps BETTER in a Pack-N-Play than she does in her crib, as she's slept from 8p to 6:30a both nights we've been in Wilmington. As I write this, we're about to head to bed for night #3 - I'm hoping I don't jinx it... But Macie had a blast playing with Sydney, and I think the feeling was mutual.

This evening, the weather cooperated enough that we were able to go out for a boat ride! It was Ivie and Macie's first experience on a boat, and they both loved it! Ivie continually begged Bobby to "go fast!". We even anchored close to the beach so the girls could get out and play in the sand for a bit. What a wonderful conclusion to our trip! We're sad that we have to leave tomorrow - many thanks to the Campbells for being such wonderful hosts!

ON LAND...


AND ON WATER...