Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little Miss Independent

Grace is developing one heckuva independent streak. She refuses to let us help her use a spoon. She refuses to let us help her get dressed. And unlike Claire, she has no concerns about venturing away from me. Claire, on the other hand, will attempt to venture, but is always pulled back by that invisible cord that connects us.

Case in point.

Way back there, between the Cedar tree and the tree line is a teeny, tiny Grace.

In typical monkey-see-monkey-do fashion, Claire follows.

Claire stops.

Claire is yanked back by that invisible cord.

And look who it is, little miss independent.

A bit of dirt on the knee, but no worse for the wear.

Not even so much as a hello.

I think I just met my 18-month-old self.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Sleep Miracle

What I'm about to do is so very risky.

I've avoided doing it for about six months.

It's not that I didn't want you to know.

I did.


For months upon months, you endured, persisted, survived with me.

So, I'm going to take a deep breath, cross my fingers and just spit it out. Because I owe it to you.

Here goes nothing …

Claire no longer has sleep problems.

These new jobs have done so many great things for us, but maybe the most miraculous is Claire's napping.

As I'm sure you remember -- I don't think I'll ever forget -- right before Christmas, I was digging deep into my bag of tricks to get that girl to fall asleep, and she was digging into her bag of tricks to fight me.

I was so close to insanity, I could feel it brushing against my cheek.

Each day at nap time, I was a tense ball of fear and panic. Would she cry today? Would she scream? How long? Will I have to rock her? Will she scream and try to get out of my arms? Will she wake Grace? Will she be a cranky mess later?

It was awful. I cannot begin to describe to you in words how awful nap time was around here.

But then, a knight in shining K-State garb rode up and saved me.

A few days before it happened, I was texting my good friend Jennifer and she said "Hey, why don't you let Scott give it a try?"

That idea floated around in my head for a few days. I was nervous to relinquish control. Nervous she wouldn't take a nap at all.

But then one January day, I was at my wits' end. The child wasn't going to sleep. I was pulling my hair out. And I said -- "Please, please try with her."

And he did. And it worked. And it's worked every day since.

And now, even when he's not here, she goes to sleep for me, too.

For those parents who have good sleepers -- count your lucky stars.

And for those who have Claires -- I'll keep my fingers crossed that you find your sleep miracle.

P.S. Karma if you could spare me this one time, I'll owe ya one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weird things My Kids Do: June 28

They still play with their ring stacker things from time to time -- but these days they are way more interested in using them to accessorize.

Good times. Until the rings get stuck on chubby arms and thighs. Then they pretty much just freak out.

Monday, June 27, 2011


At our last checkup with our pediatrician, we asked him if he was concerned with the girls' verbalization. They fully comprehend what we are saying, but we expected them to be actually saying more.

He said they were still in the "normal range," but on the back end of it. So, he encouraged us to keep trying to get them to say the words — not just grunt "uh, uh, uh, uh," which they had mastered.

One of the first words we really emphasized was "up." We wouldn't pick them up until they at least attempted something other than a grunt.

And after a day or two, we were hearing a very defined "bup" when they wanted to be picked up. We cheered, clapped and praised their efforts.

But somewhere along the lines, we took a wrong turn.

Instead of learning that bup means you get to be picked up, they learned that bup means you get whatever you want.

Bup was the magical word that got them toys, snacks, drinks, and, of course, up.

In the last week or so though, Claire has finally got around to using different sounds and understanding that bup isn't the universal phrase for "give me that."

Grace, on the other hand … still a work in progress.

This is usually how our conversations go:

Me: Grace, do you want that drink?
Grace: Ya
Me: Can you say drink?
Grace: Bup!
Me: Drrrink (slow pronunciation)
Grace: Bup!
Me: Drriiiink
Grace: Bup! Bup! Bup!

Bup, it is.

For now.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fathers & Daughters

Scott & I heard a country song the other day about fathers and sons and the inevitable bond between the two.

The song made me tear up a little (as most country songs do these days), but I said to Scott, "Ya know, you can have that with the girls, too. Even though they're girls."

He gave me an answer that was something like "Duh, Katie."

But it got me thinking about the importance of the relationship between fathers and daughters. There are countless examples on this blog of my bond with my mother -- how I adore her and want to be just like her, but a lesser known fact is how much I adore my father.

Meet John. Or Dad, as I call him. Daddio, if I'm feeling spunky.

For a good chunk of my life, I was Daddy's little girl. I remember him telling me once that he thought he and I were a lot alike. I felt so proud of that.

My Dad is a strong, hilarious, hard-working, loving man.

He drinks Dr. Pepper like it's his job.

He watches Gunsmoke and any John Wayne movie.

He taught me how to play softball. How to throw, catch, bat. How to keep my glove to the ground. How to keep my back foot planted.

He is always willing to help. He jumps right in and tackles a job.

He loves his kids and my Mom to the moon and back.

He likes to go camping and fishing.

He is a fantastic grandfather.

And I'm proud to call him Dad.

Happy Belated Father's Day, Dad!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart …

I was very, very absent the last two weeks. For my regulars, the ones who count on their twinkie fix every morning, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.

But I promise, you'll understand.

This has been our life:

1. My Grandma passed away. She was one heckuva lady. A feisty, take-charge kind of gal who will be greatly missed by all seven of her children, all million of her grandchildren, all thousand of her great grandchildren and all hundred of her great, great grandchildren. As the matriarch of a very large family, she was the glue that held us together. And at 87 years old, I guess she decided it was time to move on. This week, we gathered, we cried, we laughed and we said goodbye to a very fine lady.

2. My niece, Bella, came to stay with us last week. She was fun, hilarious and surprisingly helpful for a seven-year-old. The girls followed her around, fascinated by all of the things she was doing. And unlike last summer, when things were still very stressful with the girls (especially Grace), this time things were pretty smooth. But the activity in our house nearly tripled. "Want to play outside? Want to go to the park? Can I have some toast? Want to play a game? Want to go swimming?" And on and on from sun up to sun down.

3. I had 26 intensly-itching, intensly-aggravating chigger bites. Nuff said.

4. We traded my car in for a mini-van (more on this later), took it to the shop to get it checked out and they found a leak that needs to be repaired before I can drive it again. A $1200 leak. I think I just choked on my cookie.

5. Claire had a fever, runny nose, general crankiness for three days, before we decided to see the doctor. Diagnosis: Strep Throat. Poor little baby girl.

6. We had several late nights (See #1) and considering I wake up at 4 a.m. that led to several days with very little sleep. And napping mid-day wasn't really an option. See #2.

But I'm back and hoping that next week is a bit more settled.

Hopefully you're still here and didn't trade me for another twin blog. (That's pretty crazy isn't it? When I stumbled upon her site, I messaged her right away. I mean, what are the odds!?!? I still read about her babes from time to time -- it gives me a glimpse of what my future might look like.)

Here are some recent pictures to help you catch up:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Where My Wild Things Are

They sailed in and out of rooms.

And up and down the hallway.

And almost over the whole house.

To where the wild things are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crabby Claire

Oh boy, have we had some cranky babies lately. Grace has been off and on, but Claire has been a complete mess.

She'll bring me a book and "ask" me to read it, then when I go to read it, she snatches it back, screams and then throws it at me.

Earlier today, she saw me coming down the hallway and slammed her bedroom door in my face.

Yesterday, she brought me her socks and "asked" me to put them on. I sat down next to her and said "Do you want your socks on?" "Ya," she replied. She handed me the socks, but as I went to put them on her feet, she started kicking violently and screaming at me.

How dare I try to put those socks on her feet!!

I'm guessing it's teeth, but I leave open the possibility that she's having an emotional growth spurt.

Or maybe she's hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Either way, I'm ready to have my sweet, giggly, kissy-faced little girl back.

Monday, June 6, 2011

R&R Part III: Fantastic Failures

Our fourth anniversary was approaching and we knew we could use a couple of days to rejuvenate. So we called up the rents and asked if they could stay the weekend. We headed to Kansas City for a three-day, two-night, baby-free adventure. It was full of ups and downs and many, many people dressed as pirates. But it was a weekend I won't forget any time soon.

When planning this trip, we called upon our friend Lacey (and her boyfriend), who are KC experts, to give us some pointers. They sent us a six-page, choose-your-own adventure guide to a weekend in KC. It. Was. Awesome.

If only we would have followed it better.

Mistake #1: We were fairly tired when we got to KC, so instead of choosing one of the super nice restaurants Lacey outlined for us, we opted for the food court at Crown Center. We're very sophisticated. But where we went wrong was eating bad chinese food. I mean really bad chinese food. So bad, I took two bites and couldn't eat anything else.

Mistake #2: We grabbed a cab, headed for Power & Light, hoping to find something to eat. After much searching, we opted for Jimmy Johns. Tasty, but not exactly anniversary-tasty. Oh, and apparently cab drivers don't like it when you pay with credit cards. The night wasn't a complete failure. We did enjoy some good times rocking out to a 90s cover band.

Mistake #3: On Saturday, we decided to see a movie at this fancy schmancy movie theatre in P&L. We got there a little over an hour before it started and it was sold out. The next showing wasn't for another 4.5 hours. But we were feeling carefree and "young," so our plan was to just walk around, get a drink and enjoy our alone time. Then it started raining. I was wearing flip flops. We slipped (literally) into the nearby bowling alley.

We paid about $25 for about 25 minutes of entertainment — that's a dollar a minute for those of you counting at home — and were left wondering how else to spend our afternoon. The upside, though, was when we got to the movie. It. Was. Awesome. Leather recliners. A waitress at the press of a button. Delicious movie theatre popcorn. Funny movie.

Mistake #4: Saturday continued to be kind of drizzly and coldish, so we went back to the hotel and decided to take a dip in the pool … the climate-controlled pool. After hopping in it for about 90 seconds, we both decided that when the website said "climate-controlled," it meant controlled by the climate of the Earth. As in, freeeeeeezing.

Those were just the biggies.

Here's the weird thing though. Even though we have had much more "perfect" getaways, this trip was one of my very favorites, failures and all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

R&R Part II: Arrrrrgh

Our fourth anniversary was approaching and we knew we could use a couple of days to rejuvenate. So we called up the rents and asked if they could stay the weekend. We headed to Kansas City for a three-day, two-night, baby-free adventure. It was full of ups and downs and many, many people dressed as pirates. But it was a weekend I won't forget any time soon.

It was Saturday morning and we were on our way to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Our first clue that something was going on was the girl with cat ears, a leopard print shirt and a tail. Then there was the pirate -- complete with sword. Then there was the pirate with green and white face paint. Then there was the woman in the jester's hat.

Apparently, the hotel was hosting a conference for the weekend. A gaming conference. As in video gaming.

I'm not hating on video gamers. I have lots of friends who I love that play video games like it's their job. But if you are going to dress up like a pirate and walk around in a public place, you do so, knowing that someone may blog about you.

Needless to say, we spent a lot of time people watching.

In all, we saw four pirates, one and a half cats, one court jester, two armored warriors, one dominatrix and a stone statue mime. Unsure whether the mime was attending the gaming conference.

This is the only picture that I managed to take. That's the statue mime.