Monthly Archives: January 2013

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

We’ve got one of those smart kids. The ones that don’t miss a beat. The ones that just sit and observe… in a creepy, I’m watching you, sort of way. You know they are just soaking it all up, waiting for the moment to bring it all back in your face. Every single thing they’ve seen and heard.

And while Leah isn’t quite doing everything I know she’s seen… she’s doing it a lot of it.

No one gets away from her either. Not Kyle, not me, and certainly not Duncan. She imitates each and every one of us… and if it means eating dog food… she’ll do it. If it means taking a wipe and cleaning every surface in the house, she’ll do it. And if it means reading Hulk comic books… she’ll do it. She is a mini Kyle, a mini me, and a mini Duncan all rolled into one.

Terrifying.

We have most certainly entered a new stage with her. I think a right of passage so to say. We now have to s-p-e-l-l most conversations around here. Even if she can’t say every word she wants to – she certainly knows them all. We can’t talk about anything if it includes something she knows, likes, or wants to do.

For instance, “should we go to the pool later?” is now, “should we g-0 to the p-o-o-l later?” And yes, we have to spell “go” because “go” means get in the car… always something she wants to do. It’s a fun, tricky, and exhausting little task. And it gets funnier, trickier, and more exhausting the longer the words are. Sometimes we just stare at each other blankly while trying to figure out what sentence was just spelled.

“Can I t-a-k-e her u-p-s-t-a-i-r-s for b-a-t-h-t-i-m-e?”

It’s necessary though, to avoid crying and whining. You see, the kid loves her bath. And if Kyle just came out with, “can we go upstairs for a bath?” and it wasn’t quite time… she would run to the stairs, go up them, get undressed, and sit in the empty tub and whine until one of us turned on the water.

She just knows too much.

And once she learns something, it is impossible for her to unlearn it. Which is good, I think. Some things I think I’d like her to unlearn… like how to stick her face in her plate and eat like Duncan. And how to get to anything she wants to on my phone. And that there are popsicles in the freezer.

I guess, like everything else has been… it’s a new stage.

It’s not just Leah, though, don’t you worry. Although we call him an idiot a lot of times, we have a very smart dog. I can’t say food, or bone, or car, or walk… or else there is jumping and wagging the tail of death, knocking things over, running in circles, panting, and drooling. If we’re not ready to do any one of those things with him at the exact moment we say it, it must be spelled. “Can you give Duncan some f-o-o-d before we go on a w-a-l-k?”

I don’t see this ending anytime soon, either. They are both only going to build on the words they know. They are both only going to learn more and more. They are both only going to get smarter.

Which means I really need to brush up on my spelling.

They’re too smart for their mom.

 

 

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Don’t Smile.

Every day I am thankful for a happy kid.

I think Leah was smiling in the womb, it certainly didn’t take her long to figure it out on the outside. And once she did… she was hooked. She’s just happy. It’s easy to get a smile out of her, which makes it so much fun to take pictures of her. She’s just a little ham-bone. Anyways – I had fun snapping and snapping and snapping yesterday as she was cracking herself up with water. Each smile just seemed better than the last. I could eat her right up.

Try not to smile.

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Are you doing good so far? Have you smiled? Well, here’s one more:

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Ok, now you can smile.

And laugh, because this guy:

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Told her how to do this:

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The end.

Happy Tuesday.

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Buffalo on the Brain.

Monday’s… blah.

Even though I don’t have to get up and go to work on Monday’s doesn’t mean they are any less painful.

Back to the same ole’, same ole’ around here.

This Monday is slightly less painful, however, with the 70 degree temperatures. It was so weird waking up to 60! We were outside almost immediately. It reminded me so much of this summer when we would wake up and I would immediately throw Leah outside. The day’s just start so much better with a little fresh air. And it’s so nice to not have to bundle. Man, is it Spring yet? I don’t even care about the mud or the rain – it’s nice just to be outside without freezing!

And to be able to walk Duncan – far. We’ve been on two walks today, and had one serious game of frisbee… he is in Heaven. Well, actually, he’s snoring right now. Which means my plan is working – to exhaust him today so that tomorrow when it storms he will still be tired. That will work, right? I plan on taking another walk and spending the rest of the afternoon outside. Ahhhhh.

Leah has refused all clothes today. And I’m really not helping matters any because I bought her new diapers… and they have Pooh on them… so now all she does is this…

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Man, she loves that darn bear. She has 5 of them, you know. And don’t tell her – but she’s having a Pooh bear 2nd birthday party. 2nd Birthday Party?! Ahh! But more on that later.

Do you know what has to come first? Buffalo! Man, I’m excited about this trip. Have I said that yet? This reminds me of this time last year – I was sick of winter -dreading February – waiting for our trip to the beach – starting to think about you know who’s birthday. Now I’m sick of winter, dreading February, waiting for our trip to Buffalo, and started thinking about you know who’s birthday. Deja vu.

I’ve been getting our Buffalo itinerary together – which has changed a gazillion times already. There’s just so much I want to do! I’m sure it will change some more, but I think we’ve got the main stuff narrowed down. I’ve figured out that I’m going to buy a car seat and check it… and pray they don’t lose or break it. If they do, it’ll be bad, but it won’t be like them losing or breaking our really nice one. I’m also gonna have to buy a pack and play and just have it shipped to my grandma’s… man, traveling with kids is a lot of work! Luckily, I’ve found a cheap pack and play and a cheap car seat, so it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

It’ll all be worth it.

I’ve also started thinking about what kinds of cute, spring, traveling outfits she’ll need – you know, because that’s important. Maybe not important, but it is fun. She’ll need walking shoes, that’s for sure. I’m gonna have to get a little savings account together for this wardrobe. This is our first family of three big trip together. Fun times.

Between now and when we leave we have to figure out the renting a car thing. And the best flying times. And food. And packing. And excursions. Oh my!

So much to do – but so fun to think about.

That’s what I’ll be doing the rest of the day. Don’t bug me.

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Play-Doh.

Would you believe that I forgot to write on Wednesday?? It just completely slipped my mind.

I look forward to one thing on Wednesday’s… watching Tuesday night’s parenthood. And this week was the season finale so I was even more excited. It was all I had on my mind. So I sat down to watch it when Leah went to bed – and then totally forgot to ever get out the computer. My apologies. Man, it was a good one though. Do you watch it? You most definitely should. But it won’t be on for a while…

Then yesterday… I just didn’t want to. Sorry. I had a gazillion things on my mind, and writing wasn’t one of them.

I have felt like a pretty good stay at home mom lately, though. Sometimes I feel like a crappy one, like nothing gets accomplished. Then I have days where I make crepes for breakfast, homemade play-doh, we do some painting, Leah watches no TV, Duncan gets a walk, bills get paid, and I make a casserole for dinner and I feel like I’ve done my job. The last few days have been more of that sort. Go me! Let’s see how long it lasts. I bought some berries to make a homemade pie, too. What has gotten into me?! Although I can think of nothing I’d like to do less than to make dinner tonight, so we’ll see what happens there…

Here is our homemade play-doh adventure. It turned out better than the real stuff in my opinion.

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She thought it was pretty fun to eat. And then spit out. And then feed to Duncan. He ate it willingly.

Anyways, that’s kind of it again.

My house is a pit. And unlike the Real Housewives, us fake ones actually have to clean. And cook.

See ya.

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We Got It Right.

Duncan.

Duncan monkan, monkan, monkan man, duncan dog, duncan skunkan, dut-dut, nun-nun, nunin, duck-a-nin, duh-nin, duck-dog, or duncan doo. Whatever you choose to call him…

Our boy is six months old today.

There was a time not too long ago when I wasn’t sure he’d live to see his six month birthday. Man, he was bad. Seriously, bad. In the first few months we had him I hated him more than I liked him. I yelled at him more than I petted him. I used the word no more than I used his name, and I pried things out of his mouth more than I played with him.

I thought we were in way over our heads. I thought we were idiots. I thought we were the dumbest parents in the world to decide to add a puppy to our already chaotic household. I didn’t know why we did it. I wondered if he’d be better suited somewhere else. I wondered if I’d care if we did take him somewhere else.

But somewhere in the last couple months I’ve learned…

We got it right.

We got it so very right.

We could not have picked out a better addition to this family than this:

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You see, we wanted a dog for ourselves, sure, but we really wanted a dog for Leah. Someone she could grow up with. Someone she could take care of and be responsible for. Someone she could learn from, talk to, play with, and love on.

We were specific in our desires, too. You can judge us for not rescuing or not adopting – but we wanted a pure bred chocolate lab. We wanted to name him Duncan. We wanted to pick him out of a litter. We wanted him to be dark brown, gigantic, and have pretty blue eyes. We had talked about “him” for the past seven years.

And we got him. And delivered him to Leah on September 1, 2012.

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And… she wasn’t interested in the slightest. This is actually her trying to get away from him. She was jealous of him, and she did not want him anywhere around her toys. He jumped on her and she was even more upset. I questioned the fact that she even liked animals the way she was acting. I thought we just wasted X amount of dollars and were going to live in misery for the next 12-14 years. He continued to follow her though, and she couldn’t ignore him for long.

I guess I just needed to give it time – because in the next few days I could see something really develop between the two of them.

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Leah started learning that if she threw her toys he would chase them. If she clapped her hands he would run to her. If she sat in his bed he would follow her. And if she dropped food off her high chair he would sit directly underneath her.

She started learning how to be a friend. How to take care of something. And how to play with a furry little thing that couldn’t talk but only wanted to be next to her at all times.

Then he started getting bad. Like eating the $120 baby monitor bad. Like peeing in the house bad. Like chewing our bed frame bad. Like shredding a box of kleenexes bad. And I started having my doubts all over again. Sure, she likes him – but she’d be fine without him? Maybe we’re not ready. I can’t handle both of them. All he does is cause problems.

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Bad.

But I couldn’t ignore the fact that she liked him. She more than liked him, she was becoming consumed by him. They started doing everything together, like playing in dirt:

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And watching the world go by:

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And learning how to play the xylophone together:

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And going to the park together:

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And resting together:

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The more I watched their relationship develop, the more I was determined to give him a chance. And even try to be nice to him. And really try to like him. What I was seeing with them was something I’d always wanted for my kids -to have a best friend in a dog, and to learn from a dog.

So with that I started giving him an honest effort on my part. I started forcing myself to realize that we chose him for his craziness, and we couldn’t blame him. And I started realizing that he was a dog… and that meant I had to work with him… a lot… to give him a place with his human family.

And it worked! Somewhere in the last couple of months I have fallen in love with this animal. Maybe he’s grown up a little, too, but I have stopped doubting the fact that we are dog people, and I am realizing that we got it right. I love cuddling him and playing with him and walking him. I love how he makes us get outside when we’d rather be lazy, and throw baseballs for him when we’d rather sit. I love that we laugh at him more than we yell at him now, and we try really hard to include him in everything we do.

Kyle, we got it right!

We have given Leah an irreplaceable friend. And if I have to give him acne medicine twice a day so he has a clear face… I’ll do it. Because, do you know what… after I paint her nails the first “person” she shows them to is her dog:

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And he always approves of the color.

They watch her show together every day, and he always pretends to know what’s going on so they can talk about it later:

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I catch them having tea parties together in her bedroom sometimes, and he never complains that she always spills it:

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She is learning to read by reading to her big brother, and he never rushes her or makes fun of her when she doesn’t know any of the words:

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When she isn’t paying attention to him for a second, he waits patiently beside her:

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Knowing that she’ll always come back to him when she’s finished:

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There is something special happening around here between these two. Leah asks for Duck-dog (her version of Duncan-dog) from the second she opens her eyes in the morning. She looks straight past me to make sure her favorite friend is right behind me. She starts saying his name when we leave stores, knowing we’ll be returning to him shortly. She waves bye to him when we leave, and hugs his neck when we return.

He showers her with slobbery licks. He is always happy to see her when she wakes up. He doesn’t mind sharing his bed with her. He loves fetching the toys she throws for him and chasing her around the house as she giggles and squeaks. He loves overseeing her bath time, and giving her bedtime kisses. He is calm while she pokes his eyes, inspects his feet, picks his nose, pulls his tail, and looks in his floppy ears. He doesn’t mind when she sits on him or tries to dress him. He is a perfect playmate:

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As if he knows that she is learning for the first time how to truly care for something… he is always patient.

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He is big and sweet and kind and crazy, but I have no doubt the second someone came too close to Leah that shouldn’t be… he would turn into something to fear. And I am grateful for that. I love watching him watch her in her room. He assumes the role of big brother as he commands post on her lamb. He watches her every move. A lot of times I feel like I could leave her home alone and he would actually take care of  her:

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They are like an old married couple, best friends, siblings, buddies, cousins, and litter mates all rolled into one.

And they’ve most certainly got the unconditional love thing figured out. My oh my.

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Happy half birthday to our Duncan monkan man – I can honestly say all three of us are happy to have him here with us. We love you, you crazy nut.

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A New Era.

With the Duncan saga of last week, I feel like I haven’t talked about my other kid in quite a while! And well, in just a week I already have a list of new and amazing things she’s doing. Seriously – they grow up so fast. She blows my mind.

Would you like to know what she did this morning?

She took off her pants. Like always, right? Except for this time after she did it she ran upstairs, got into her pants drawer, pulled out a new pair, sat down, and put them on!!

ALL BY HERSELF.

There was much excitement from her mom on the outside, but on the inside I was dying. How is she this big? How are we already to the “dressing herself” phase. How is she already picking out her clothes AND putting them on?! She is 100% not a baby. That is all history. She’s just a regular kid now. A kid who knows what pants she wants to wear, knows how to stick her feet through the holes, and knows how to pull them up to her chest to ensure the proper fit.

And all I can do is watch.

But look at how cute she is doing it:

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Oh, she was so proud of herself.

Then she tried to put pants on Duncan, but that’s another story.

Do you know what else she does now that is the most amazing thing in the world? She is learning her colors! So far, she just knows blue. But she really knows it. She will pick out “the blue one” from a row of colors and she almost always properly names a color if it is blue. If it’s not, she holds it up for me to tell her what it is. She will bring me blue things saying Blue while holding it out for me to see. Sometimes she thinks black and purple are also blue – but hey, those are tricky. Navy often looks like black and plum am I right or am I right? This also means “blue” is now added to the ever growing list of words falling out of her mouth these days.

Want some proof:

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Since I can’t figure out the video thing on here – you’ll just have to take my word for it that I asked her to get the blue one from this row.

Smart.

S.M.A.R.T.

Let’s see, she also blows bubbles now thanks to swimming lessons! SO fun! The swimming lessons themselves actually suck this time around thanks to a less than enthusiastic teacher – but hey, we have our own fun and she loves her new skill. She is also the laughing stock of the class (in a good way) because she literally throws herself under water over and over and over again. And if I rescue her from her certain death she arches her back trying to get back under. The funniest part is watching her being under water just smiling her silly little head off… all the while not breathing. And yes, I absolutely let her be underwater for a few seconds… obviously I always bring her back up, but she loves being under and I remember how much I loved being under so I get it. However, a kid that is not scared to be under water is most certainly more in danger of drowning than a kid who is scared to be under water which means taking her to a pool or any source of water is an exhausting activity. But man she loves it. Drowning and all.

She is also really picking up with waving at people. It’s so sweet. But I have to go on a rant for a second if you don’t mind:

Do you know how many people she waves at that do not wave back. That just stare at her. Some smile, but still won’t wave. So here’s what I have to say to those sour scumbags (ya, I said it) and you just in case you need a reminder. If you ever see a little toddler waving at you… WAVE BACK. You are teaching them to be friendly, and to communicate. I don’t know how lazy you have to be to not lift a hand and wave at a kid who is clearly excited to see you… but get over yourself and wave. It’s just not nice. Her mother, who is trying to make a social, acceptable, friendly member of society out of her would really appreciate it.

Now that that’s over – do you want to know her favorite food? Leah, the kid that hates meat has taken a serious liking to… Salami!

Ha! She is Italian after all! And just like her mama. It’s by far my favorite. Last week I was eating some in front of her, so of course that meant she needed some, too. She had never had it (to my knowledge) and I knew that with her hatred of meat, Salami was just not going to sit well.

Well, four pieces later… she had a new favorite food.

So funny.

Two weeks ago today she turned 18 months old. I feel like today she is ready for kindergarten. With a salami sandwich in her lunch box.

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Leavin’ on a Jet Plane.

Ok – so now that I am officially taking Leah on a plane by myself… I’m terrified. And excited. And have lots of questions – if you’ve flown with a baby/toddler… help!

Kyle will be in Toronto on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – then drive to Buffalo Tuesday when he’s finished.

Leah and I will fly to Buffalo on Monday. (No, I’m not giving exact dates… don’t try to rob us). Kyle will be flying home with us, but I have to get us there… alive. And happy. Well, as happily as possible.

So my biggest questions for today are:

  1. Do I need to bring her birth certificate or something to prove that she is indeed under two? Especially since she is as tall as a three year old. Or do they just take your word for it?
  2. I’m assuming that since she is free… she will be assumed to sit on my lap? Is that right?
  3. Can you rent just a car seat from a car rental place? Kyle will be renting a car in Toronto to drive to Buffalo, but I will need to get Leah and I from the airport to grandma’s house… can I just rent a car seat to put in the car of the person who picks us up? Or do I have to rent my own car? I’m pretty sure you can rent a car seat WITH a car… but I’m trying to just rent the car seat if I can??
  4. Is the ear popping really that bad? Should I expect screaming?

Ok – that’s all I have and need answered today. I’m sure there will be more as I get into the thick of planning…

 

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