Monday, March 31, 2008

Swing batter, batter

Baseball hats were on before butts hit the breakfast table, and were the very last thing Alena and Alivia took off before showers tonight.

Today we celebrated the Cincinnati Reds' Opening Day. Explaining the concept of a season starting was a bit abstract at first, but my little fans soon got the hang of team spirit.

We spent time this morning painting pieces for a baseball buddy cut-and-paste activity. Alena and Alivia love to paint, and enjoyed having a project to paint, as opposed to the freestyle pieces they usually create. We also colored pictures of the Reds' mascot, Gapper, as we talked about the mascot and going to baseball games.



Peanuts were a must for our opening day party. We opted to roast our own, which the girls love to do. And everyone enjoyed warm peanuts before lunch while we took in the start of the Findlay Market Opening Day parade.

Lunch consisted of ballpark food ... hot dogs, chips and dip. We also threw in some string cheese, an apple and grapes for good measure.

We wrapped up our Opening Day celebration by gluing together our little baseball guy projects and the girls were thrilled with their finished projects. And during a break in the rainy drizzle, Trace and Alysse topped the day off with a ride in, what else, our red wagon, of course.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This is theme week

Since it's STILL not 70 degrees and fabulously sunny, and since we've been desperately awaiting the aforementioned scenario for about three weeks now, I decided we have to change things up a bit.

Therefore, we've declared this week "Theme Week." Each day we'll celebrate a new theme, take on activities out of our normal routine and bid farewell to our cabin fever.

You'll remain in suspense to learn the theme of each day, and with any luck my stamina will see us through the next five days and our themed adventures. So, get ready to see what we have on deck ...

A little Jeep ride last week during one of two times we actually got to play outside. Note the hats and jackets still required by our sometimes rainy, sometimes cold, hardly-ever sunny and warm weather.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The week so far

We're two days into this work week and I'm already looking forward to Friday. I dare not ask if it can get any worse because I know it can. Maybe I'll just look on the positive side ... five o'clock is happy hour, right?

Monday

Leaving the doctor's office parking lot:

Dad: "It just cost us $100 to learn what you said before we went."

Mom: "Yeah. I'm thinking by the time we get them into junior high, I could have an honorary medical degree."

Dad: "If I could just get you set up with a prescription pad we'd be set."

This conversation took place after learning 62.5% of the small ears in our household are infected. Left ear infection for Alena; left ear infection for Alivia; left ear infection for Trace; left and right ear infections for Alysse. Be glad you're left ear doesn't live under our roof.

While I had all the sick ears pegged, to get the goods (a.k.a. amoxicillin prescriptions), we had to pay the pediatrician a visit. The practice has to love us. On the upside, however, I could lecture on ears filled with fluid and noses dripping with snot. Is that an upside?

Tuesday

Let me preface Tuesday's tale with the disclaimer that our children are closely watched and our house is relatively small, thereby making the closely watched part possible. Unless you're upstairs and I'm downstairs, I've got my eye on you (or very close to you). That said ...

Sitting on the living room floor with Alena while Alivia sat on the couch reading a book and Alysse continued to pull books off the shelf, I hear a loud, glass-breaking crash. I look up to find Trace in a sea of shattered glass. Yes, the only glass item sitting under six feet in our house and he manages to get to it.

Tossing Alena aside, I make a break for him scared to death he'll cut himself trying to get out of the mess he's made. He's screaming scared to death, I'm crying scared to death, the girls stand by watching, not sure what's going on.

Expecting blood to be squirting out from somewhere on him, I inspect him to see what damage had been done. The kid must be lucky because he left the whole mess with two small scratches on his right knee. How that's the extent of his injuries I don't know. I'll chalk this small miracle up as another favor God grants mothers of four small children.

Trace has become a little "Menacey" in the past few weeks. As in "Dennis." Ornery, curious and all boy, he manages to find trouble or create it far more than all the girls put together. Recently, there have been several toilet paper episodes, fingers caught in the door of our entertainment center and laundry baskets full of clean clothes emptied (as in dumped).

His escapades remind me of those my younger brother imposed on my mom. Countless windows broken one summer, a storm door jumped through and a golf ball flying through a basement window via a baseball bat. I see these things in our future.

I couldn't even cry over the broken vase (which had been a wedding gift and a favorite to me) while cleaning it up. I was too relieved that my little guy hadn't been seriously hurt in the event.

So, we're left to see what tomorrow holds. At least now we've got antibiotics, and all remaining glass is well out of reach.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eggs, play and cupcakes

Easter is for egg hunts and exploring the outdoors, especially if it's the first time you've been turned lose outside to walk on your own.




And cousins are for enjoying the day with ... playing and sharing cupcakes.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

My, how you've grown

The photo below was taken this afternoon, just because the girls looked so cute. I couldn't resist.

March 20, 2008

After taking it, I remembered a similar photo I took last spring of the two of them in the same spot. Actually, it was the first day we brought out the little white Keds for spring ... just like today. I also couldn't resist comparing the two.

March 14, 2007

Oh, what changes occur over the course of a year. Do you have to grow up so quickly? You both look so much more grown up in 12 months' time. Taller, older, more beautiful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pixie's "I owe you"

Alivia, your mother owes you.

Some day when you're a teenager and the whole world hinges on the most trivial parties, superficial fashions and transient friends, I'm going to come through for you and grant you a "pass" when your entire existence seemingly depends on it. You know, when you NEED to stay out an hour after your curfew or there are a pair of shoes you HAVE to have. I'll have your back, I'll be a "cool" mom ... one time. All of this for the ten minutes of peace and quiet you bought me this morning.

Preparing to run an errand, my four passengers were buckled in and politely asked to please ride quietly. We needed time to "relax" I said. "Let's just be quiet and listen to the radio, please."

I admit, my ears already needed a break from Alena's constant chatting and it was only 10 a.m. Quiet. Please. Just a few minutes.

A few minutes in Alena's world of talking, however, in reality, last about five seconds. We hadn't even backed out of the driveway before she couldn't help herself. Lips were flapping, arms were gesturing.

But, instead of my needing to listen and chime in with my "Oh, my goodness"es and "really"s and "uh huh"s at the appropriate times, for a brief period, Alivia was her captivated audience.

My little pixie was apparently taken with Alena's tales of her "eyes getting run over" and "dad banging his head on the pool." These were a couple of the conversational highlights that I did catch despite my zoning out, grateful for another pair of ears to lessen the listening burden, if only for a short time.

About ten minutes into the trip, Alivia started to lose interest and Alena then asked her to "listen to my other story." Alivia wanted to tell a story of her own and began to interrupt our little chatterbox and Alena quickly reminded her that "mom asked us to be quiet."

From that point on, I was back on listening duty. Gasping when necessary, asking questions with curiosity and answering questions when asked. But, there were those ten minutes or so when I could actually hear myself think and for that, I owe you pixie.

Here comes Peter Cottontail

A trip to the mall last weekend landed us strolling past the Easter bunny photo display. A short line led us up the trail to the Easter bunny's lap where some photo participants were more willing than others.

Alivia didn't want the bunny to talk to her or touch her. Can you tell by the distance she kept? Alysse wasn't quite sure what the whole rigmarole was about. Alena could have been the Easter bunny's number one stalker. She was, however, concerned as to why he didn't talk. And Trace, as you can see by the picture, did nothing but scream.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Striding right

Sometimes God grants small favors to mothers of four small children. Favors that no one but mothers of four small children would need or notice. Maybe it's just his little way of saying, "Thanks for hanging in there and listening to your three-year-old's incessant and constant talking now in its fifth hour without ripping your ears off the side of your head."

Alysse and Trace have had shoes on their feet one time in their 13 months. That single shoe wearing episode lasted about 20 or 25 minutes ... long enough to have Christmas photos taken.

What purpose do shoes really serve on a six month old anyway? Perhaps to keep the feet warm, but socks, proper clothing and blankets can serve the same role. And none of the three confine little toes. Let them wiggle, I say.

The only problem with this philosophy is that when said little one reaches the walking phase and decides walking needs to be done anywhere other than the floors in your home, shoes are a must. This is where the struggle begins.

Little feet that haven't been shoved into shoes for longer than 20 minutes of the 564,000 minutes they've been kicking don't always take kindly to the idea of pushing the curled little piggies into anything other than a sock (even that's not ideal some days). There's an "adjustment" period involved.

An adjustment period of a couple weeks when you slowly introduce shoe wearing and allow them time to learn to walk wearing something other than a sock. Usually it starts with them dragging one foot against the other trying to get the things off. After they realize those babies are staying on, they then try to take some steps sporting the new look.

Those first few steps appear as if there are cement blocks on each foot. Exaggerated in every aspect of the motion. The first foot slowly pulls up, the foot awkwardly goes down. The other foot goes up and clumsily gets placed down. It takes a bit to get used to this new feel, this new way.

Several weeks ago I attempted to put shoes on Alysse's feet. Expecting the above scenario to play out and to have a little walker ready for the world in a week or two. Not so.

Screaming. From the time the laces were tied until the time I pulled the shoes off she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Okay, it's nap time, we'll try again later when you're in better spirits," I reasoned with myself.

Skip ahead to that evening when dad's at home and decides to take a crack. Shoes go on, screaming starts. Shoes come off, screaming stops. We get it, you don't like the shoes. This kid's graduating and getting married barefoot.

Expecting the same result, we tried again the other night. We've only got two more years to get her sold on this idea if she's going to preschool, after all.

Put one shoe on, quiet. Put the other shoe on, quiet. Stand her up and she walks. Right across the living room, on out into the kitchen, she walked. A change of heart? Perhaps. Or maybe it's one of those small favors God grants to mothers of four small children.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Let's try this again

We needed a break. Me from you and you from me. Sometimes you just have those days. This is ours.

I love you, but each of you is driving me crazy. You love me, but I'm making each of you nuts. You are tired. I am frustrated. You are impatient. I am impatient. Let's take a break.

Ahhh, nap time. Quiet. At least for a little while.

We can all rest. You can gain some much needed sleep. I can recharge. We'll regroup and see if we can't make the rest of the day better than its start.

I promise, more patience and understanding. Can you throw in less demands and fewer squabbles amongst yourselves? Now, let's start anew.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Busy body hands

In this house we love busy hands. Busy hands that are being positively productive are the best. We've been keeping our little hands busy ... rolling, patting, cutting shapes in leftover dough; cutting, pasting, creating with paper; selecting, opening, flipping pages in books.



"Mom, did I get a letter?"

We send Aunt Mandy mail. Aunt Mandy sends us mail. Aunt Mandy sends way better mail than we do.

Alena and Alivia love getting mail ... L-O-V-E I-T! Every day when I bring the mail through the door, there's a chorus of "Mom, did I get a letter?"

Unfortunately there are more days I have to say "No, not today," than there are when I can say, "Look what came for you."

And I can no longer pass off junk mail as anything even remotely interesting. The only substitute for an envelope bearing their own names is a toy catalog, which too are in short supply unless Christmas is approaching.

Thursday, though, Aunt Mandy came through in a big way. Big envelopes containing big surprises that produced big smiles. There were little note cards, cutie headbands and temporary tattoos for Alivia and sparkly skin stickers for Alena. Everything glamour girls need.

As soon as lunch was finished faces had to be decorated, hair done and a guitar performance rendered by Taylor Swift in her "Teardrops on My Guitar" phase (the singer donned glitter around her eye in this song's video which was dangerously close to the glittery skin stickers Aunt Mandy sent Alena).

Thanks Aunt Mandy for the affirmative answer I was able to greet my mailbox watchers with upon my return. The girls love their mail and are always eager to return the favor. So, be checking your mailbox ... Alena visited the post office yesterday and there's something coming your way.

Note: Another bonus to Aunt Mandy mail is that she has an uncanny knack for finding things that I haven't seen since childhood. Sponge animals stuffed in little plastic capsules which pop out when dropped in hot water; slimy frogs that stick to the ceiling and walls when thrown; neon bracelets that glow in the dark. Yeah, you remember.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Little blizzard babies

"The snow is extra big today," Alena called from the hill in our backyard. Yep, a good 10 inches makes for extra big snow, alright.

Hitting Alivia at the knees, or higher in some spots, she was left stranded without a hand to hold onto.

"Move me, daddy, move me," she pleaded from her snow perch. Falling to her tush left her completely immobile, stiff from the layers she was bundled in.

After five or ten minutes of trying to maneuver herself in the white stuff, Alivia gave up and headed in (pulled in, actually). Apparently, too much snow is too much when you're pixie sized.

Alena, on the other hand, loved the extra big snow. She flopped around in it like a fish and enjoyed sliding downward once she and dad had created a path for the sled.

video

Okay, we've had our fun, now, out with the snow in the with new.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bye-bye baby, bye-bye

Open the coat closet door and she comes puttering along, almost in a baby run. If she has her way, she'll be headed out the door in no time. Alysse loves to go "bye bye."

Just mention the words and she heads in that direction. Give her a chance to reach the coat closet and she'll pull hats and gloves out of the basket that holds them until she finds the one that belongs to her, and then gives it her best shot to get the hat on herself. She loves an adventure.

Arms flap at the thought of a trip out and it really doesn't matter where the destination might be. The store, a preschool drop off, even just a short, no-getting-out stop at the bank drive thru.

She's always the first one buckled in the car, I dare not put anyone in before her, as she switches into instant panic and tears for fear she's being left behind. Can Target be that exciting? Well, okay, maybe some days.

Ready, aim, fire

Trace has become fairly well acquainted with our kitchen trash can. Ask him to put something that's actually trash in the receptacle and he looks at you and takes off with the dirty diaper like you've given him gold. Now, anything that's NOT trash ... well. Books, toys, you name it have been slam dunked through the can's swinging door. Until we make a little progress with the what's what distinction, we'll be left rummaging.

video

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wheeeeee

"Mom, I feel the wind blowing through my hair. It feels good."

We made the most of today's warm weather with sliding, swinging and running in the backyard. It came not a moment too soon.




Road trip

A two-hour Saturday road trip without any stops for crying, pottying or fighting landed us in Lima, Ohio, home to MawMaw and Buzz (Jason's mom and dad) and Tracy's Appliances (their business).

One could never have guessed how much fun four little kids can have in an appliance store. Rows of washing machines, ranges and dishwashers allow for imaginations to run wild. The girls did laundry (washing their underwears), folded the clean clothes and cooked peanuts, cookies and God only knows what else.

Trace and Alysse had lots of room to roam among aisles ... all uncharted twin territory. Little legs can make good time when there's a whole new space to discover. And Trace was in seventh heaven with a large selection of dishwashers to inspect.

While the Scott kids brought more squeals and, let's call it, "enthusiasm" to Tracy's Appliances than it's probably seen in a while, we did manage to leave the store standing when lunchtime called with cheeseburgers, root beer and pie.