Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh Mom, those are just love thumps

I've written often about the feline curmudgeon I live with. His name is Gryffin and he is not fond of small children. In particular a loud 3 year old who lives with me too.

Yes, Gryffin now tolerates T, he always has but he gives her a wide birth. Because of this, I always know when T gets up in the morning, even before she opens her door.

Gryffin likes to sit quietly on my lap as I enjoy those last few moments of solitude and sip my coffee, soaking up any attention he can get. Without warning, he stops purring, tenses and his ears perk. That's the first sign that T is moving around in her room. I can't hear any noise but those feline ears can, despite his age.

With R, Gryffin has been different. Gryffin seems to have taken a shining to the boy. He makes a beeline for R's room the minute I go to put him down for a nap. He even sits in there after I've put R down for a nap.

In fairness to my feline friend, he did this too with T, however it didn't happen until she was nearly 2 years old. R is only 4 or so months old. T was equally as quiet as R at the same age, so it can't be it.

Tonight, as I fed R his last bit of formula, I rocked R in our rocking chair. I wasn't seated more than a minute when the door was pushed open and a little grey furry body made its way into the dimly lit room. Gryffin proceeded to make room on my lap for both R and him.

At one point, he turned his head opposite R's (after I might add, Gryffin gave R some love nudges with his nose) and thumped him with his tail. You know, love thumps. I think Gryffin figures that R is supposed to pet him. R was too tired to care or to comment.

The tail love thumps are what Gryffin does to us adults when he wants attention. He stands quietly by our legs and whacks us with his tail kinda like "Hello, I'm here therefore you must pet me. Now." He can be rather passive aggressive when he wants to be, unlike Phenix who is right there up your face when she wants attention.

I shouldn't complain though, at least Gryffin likes one of the kids. I think the reason he comes in when its nap or bedtime is that the kids are usually quieter and he can snuggle right along with us.

No pain, no gain seems to be his motto with the junior set. He wants attention and he will tolerate the kids to get it. Or maybe he is just mellowing with age.

For whatever his reason is, I don't care, its just nice to have everyone together.

Tickling the Butterflies!

One thing you find in Kansas aside from loads of Wizard of Oz references, tornadoes and lots of wind, is grass.

Grass comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are thin, some are tall, some have tassel like ends, and some have bushy tails. Personally, I find it all fascinating. Yes, I know its just grass but it's just kinda interesting. You don't find a lot of interesting things on the prairie so you have to take what you can get.

The later, the ones with the bushy tails (it resembles a fox's tail) is the kind that has taken up root in my front garden. Let's just say I almost needed a machete to hack through the front garden this afternoon when for the first time since April, it got weeded. Apparently it was a good year for weeds.

Talia too has taken a liking to the bushy tail variety.

I have a huge blanket flower plant in the front garden that resides next to the fox tailed grass. I just I bought this year and it has taken over one side of my front garden.

Its a sea of yellow blossoms save for one splash of red from a petunia plant that grew there all on its own. The Kansas wind does its best to leave little surprises to my garden by depositing seedlings when I'm not looking.

The butterflies and moths seem to like the yellow blanket flowers too. T seems to like the bushy grass next to the yellow blanket flowers. She likes the grass not for any aesthetic reason but just because its great for 'tickling'.

Her father taught her this on a few walks we've taken around the neighbourhood. S grabs some stray grass and points it at T and goes 'tickle, tickle, tickle!' The game starts, T squeals and S runs away. Think a game of tag with a piece of grass. The game continues until they both get tired of it.

Oh what fun, right?! Not if you are a butterfly or moth.

T likes to use the fox tailed grass 'tickle' the butterflies and moths. Let's just say, the butterflies and moths are not so fond of being tickled.

As I start to pull the fox tailed grass, T squeals and says "Oh there my tickle grass!"...Oh dear look out bugs. As I pull weeds, I hear 'tickle, tickle, tickle' coming from my right.

She flops the head of the bushy grass on top of the butterflies and moths perched on the yellow blanket flowers. She squeals 'Tickle, tickle!' as she does.

As one can expect, the flying critters don't stay long after Ms Thing starts with the tickling. Its a good thing they don't have stingers or T would be in trouble.

The conversation that follows goes something like this:

T - "Awwwww! Where'd they all go Momma? I want to tickle them!"

Me - "I'm afraid my dear girl, they don't want to be tickled."

T - "But why?"

Fair question but how do you explain why butterflies don't want to be tickled to a curious 3 year old.

Anyone remember this Looney Tunes skit, it just seems appropriate...I will love him and squeeze him and call him George....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fool me twice, shame on you!

We all know that old adage: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice shame on you.

Well, I tried to fool T a second time and it didn't work.

Anyone who knows T, know she has a stuffed friend knows Bart. Bart has been through countless washes and dryer sessions, has been knawed on since T started teething and has had to have his ears replaced.

The poor thing has been dragged everywhere in the house, on every adventure T has ever embarked on and is the first thing she thinks about whenever she returns home, gets in trouble or goes to bed. He gets a loving little kiss goodbye before we leave the house and a Oh Bart I missed you when we get home. And is her baby that she feeds whenever R gets a bottle with Mommy.

We happened upon a duplicate Bart ages ago. We kept the new Bart in the event that something very bad happened to the current Bart.

We used the second Bart during our trip back home last January and T didn't bat an eye. Recently S has been after me to trade up the new Bart for the old Bart. So I tried switching them when T went to the gym with S.

No dice.

She noticed right away that it was a different Bart. The new Bart was bigger and well, nicer looking than Crackhead Bart. That's what I call her old one because he does look a might worse for wear. I tried telling her Bart had had a bath and that's why he looks better. Nope, no go.

She was elated to have two Barts. She just couldn't give up the old Bart so the new Bart went back on a a St. Moritz. He's going to send T a postcard.

He may yet come back for a visit but we will have to see. For now, he's sleeping in my dresser.
Eight months ago, she didn't notice, now she does. Fool her once, shame on T, fool her twice shame on Mommy!

Hi Mom, I've lost Dad!

So yes, normally this blog is about the kids and our adventures but this one is just too funny. I think even my dad would agree.

Whenever we have guests visit from out of town, they always have stores they like to visit. For my family, its Lowes, Best Buy and anything involving card making or scrapbooking supplies.

We often joke about the time I let Mom go to Hobby Lobby by herself, equipped with S's cell phone. I tried calling her 6 times from the parking lot as I didn't want to have to get T (who was a young toddler at the time) out of the car and trapse halfway across the store to find Mom. T and I had been runnind errands. The cell phone rang and rang in her purse but she didn't answer it.

On ring #7, she finally realized what the noise coming from her purse was and family aren't your typical cell phone users.

Now back to our story...

My dad is a man of simple needs. But take him to a large home improvement store and he's in heaven. And may I just say, my house looks all the better after he visits.

This past visit, my parents were down for a longer than usual visit. Dad needed a project and I have a to do list. That meant a trip to the . This time however, I had to go order flooring at a nearby store so I dropped Dad off at Lowes and ran my errands.

I told him to wait over there. By over 'there' I meant the BBQ display. He thought it meant by the swingset display, that was just to the left of the BBQ display.

You can see where this is headed.

Dad told me not to rush, he could stay busy poking around home improvement store. Heavens, who couldn't?

I ran my errands and returned to Lowes. I looked to see if he was waiting by the BBQ display. Nope, no Dad. I went inside to check and see if I could find him.

Countless minutes of searching later, I tried having him paged...three different times. One associate asked what he looked like. I gave her his description. She looked at me and I said, "Yes, I know, I've just descibed the average male customer! I've lost him in the male version of a scrapbook store!"

Meanwhile, Dad was outside, in 90+F heat with his purchases, in a shady spot by the playground display.

He was having his own adventure.

When I tell folks stories of my adventures in Bible Belt, no one believes me until they experience it first hand. Dad finally believes me.

While I was frantically looking for Dad inside the home improvement store, Dad was outside being helped by two ladies who offered to help him pray that I would find him.

Dad politely declined their offer but accepted when they offered to pray for him while they went about their day. About 15 minutes later, I found him.

Divine intervention? You be the judge.

This isn't the first time Dad and I have had a bad time at this particular store. During Dad's inaugural trip to this home improvement store, a guy side swiped my old Suzuki with us sitting inside it. I think from now on, we will go to the home improvement store near us.

Anybody got any Scooby snacks?

I firmly believe one of the greatest joys about being a parent is sharing something from your childhood with your child.

One such thing for me is Scooby Doo. Sounds odd, right?

Not for me. Growing up where I did, channel selection wasn't the best. We had like 6 stations of which, 3 were affiliates to each other so really three, Global, CTV and CBC. If we had great reception, we could get Fox out of Buffalo and maybe PBS however, they were still snowy.

Vintage cartoons and 60s era programs like Star Trek and the Munsters where summertime fares on one of the CBC affililate stations. Scooby Doo was one such 'vintage cartoon'. I could watch those for hours even if I'd seen the episode before.

T was first introduced to Scooby Doo at the doctor's office of all places. R needed to get his shots and the nurse always brings in kid themed bandaids. This time it was Scooby Doo.

Last weekend, T and I spent the better part of the weekend watching reruns of the original Scooby Doo series. It is only now I truly grasp how campy those shows are and how much each episode follows a set pattern of events. Each villian, upon being revealed, says "If it weren't for the meddling kids I would have gotten away with it..."

Even the new series uses the same line is used...somethings I guess do stand the test of time.

Tiring T out, one Nana at a time

If there is one thing I've learned about T, you have to keep her busy.

Having the grandparents visit after R's arrival was a very good idea. T thoroughly enjoyed having someone devouted to her since R was keeping Mommy busy.

I had attempted to find crafts and activities that T could do with her Nanas. Her Poppas kept busy either helping Nanas, fulfilling their golf supply needs and fixing household projects that needed to be done.

When Nana K arrived, T got to play outside at the play park, play in the water pool, and do crafts. I'm not sure which she enjoyed more.

T's day with Nana K usually started going to the play park up the street. Everybody got dressed, put on sunscreen and ran off to the park.

After lunch, T tried her hands at various activities which included making foam popsicle stick puppets. A friend had mentioned during one of our Moms Night Out, that she often occupied her daughter with foam crafts that were sent home to the grandparents.

What a stroke of luck! Each Nana went home with a foam picture frame for their fridges too! She and I had worked on those before R arrived...the weekend before I believe!

Now for the record, they did have googly eyes but as difficult as they were to put on, they fell off very easily...I'm going to have to go on eyeball duty to see about finding any castoffs before R starts crawling. I know I plucked many off of T's dirty clothes after they were washed. They liked to stick to everything but the foam puppets!

When Nana J arrived, we had to find other stuff to do. Nana J brought some 3D foam crafts with her. That took up 2 days...they now adjorned T's walls.

They also worked on T's crazy hat for Kids Day Out.


When we arrived at KDO for the crazy hat day, there was at least one other little girl who had the same pink hat...apparently I'm not the only one who spied the good deal at the local mega craft store's sale on foam supplies!

And they worked on R's letters for his room. Painting with a 3 yr old was interesting! T was very excited that R was going to have letters like she does in his room. Each kid has their name up on their wall. We used Fire Engine red, Apple green and School Bus yellow for R's letters.

T picked them out, even without knowing the names!


Keeping Thing #1 busy...

T attended a Kids Day Out program across town (about 20 minutes away) for most of last year.

When she started, there were a lot of tears on her part. As the year went on, she grew to love being at this program. She got to play with other kids, and Mommy got some time alone.

The one thing I've learned about T is you have to keep her mind and body busy. If she's not busy, she's not happy.

The church that ran the KDO program also had a summer program. I hadn't registered her for the summer session because I was due to have R the week it started its summer program. Since R arrived early, I felt it was important that she have a chance to had some summer fun too. She had kinda been forcefully shoved aside because of R's early and stressful arrival.

Luckily there was a spot open for her. She was thrilled. They had themed days. She got to bring her tricycle and dress up for Red, White and Blue day (which just happened to fall on July 1st so she wore red and white) among the activities. There was much discussion that day about where she should wear a white hat or a red one. We finally convinced her to wear a read one.


There was also a crazy hat day. Nana J and T worked very hard on her hat, a pink foam stetson with monkeys and gorilla puppet she made with Nana K.


Yeehaw cowboy!



After we finished this KDO program...we were left with waiting two weeks for her zoo camp to start. Of course, the zoo camp was during the height of the summer heat.

It was a Zoo Safari camp. T went every day for a week. She learned about bears, turtles, chickens, hippos and trees. Every day she came home with a craft and a slip of paper with questions I was to ask her about. These questions were about the topic they had learned about that day.

These are T's zoo crafts: a hippo puppet, a chick in an egg carton cup, a turtle shaker and a bear necklace

After that program ended, we had to find something else to do. That meant more trips to the zoo and the local green space to stretch ours legs with friends.

She's gone! She's gone!

As followers of our lives know, I'm a planner. I planned R's arrival to down to the last detail. We had everyone booked to arrive at precise times to help post delivery.

And as now we know, all my planning went out the window.

As we had gotten closer to R's planned arrival (starting in April as he was supposed to arrive in June, not May), we had been talking and reminding T that when R would arrive, so would Nana K. She knew that Nana K meant they could go to the park, play in the back yard etc. etc.

Ah yes, best laid plans...

When S's mom (Nana K) did arrive the week R was supposed to be born, he was already 4 weeks old. Mommy had been rather occupied with the little creature who ate/slept and pooped of recent so T felt a little neglected to say the least. There wasn't too many trips to the park for T before Nana K came.

So when Nana K arrived, the angels sang and T was beyond happy. Well, her world would soon crash again one evening, the night after Nana K's arrival.

T has grown tall enough to peek out her window. She has full view of comings and goings of the neighbourhood. And full view of Nana K going for her nightly walk.

Oh dear, in hindsight I should have known seen this coming.

Nana K had just put T down for the night and had decided to take her nightly stroll. Sounds innocent enough, right?

Shortly after she left, the house erupted in wailing coming from T's room. By wailing, I mean uncontrollable screams.

Right before the screaming started, S had retreated to the basement to pay bills. R was napping in the playpen. I had just settled into some TV time. It was downright peaceful.

Then the screaming started. I thought T had fallen out of bed again and hit her head. I ran to check on her.

I opened the door to see T screaming, tears streaming down her faces, wailing "Nana's gone! Nana's gone!".

My scrambled post partum brain struggled to understand what she was saying. I tried to clarify what she was saying. T pointed to the window and said "She's gone!"

I pieced things together and realized she had seen Nana K going for her walk. T thought that Nana was leaving and her playmate was gone.

It took a good few minutes to calm down T. Finally she came to understand that Nana K had only gone for a walk and that she would be back. I had to convince T to settle down. She only did after I promised Nana K would come in and give her a kiss goodnight when she got back.

Nana K had to use the patio door and go out through the backyard when she took her nightly walks after that.

What did you do Saturday morning?

Well, we went on an airplane ride.

Now, when I say 'airplane', I don't mean you garden variety airplane. This was a T designed airplane...made out of foam hopscotch squares...laid out on the floor in a not exactly airplane shaped pattern. But in her mind, it was a plane. She gets an A for creativity.

T pleaded and whined until S went and played airplane with her. "Please Daddy, please!" was a reverberating chant until he conceded. The airplane was placed strategically on 'Daddy's floor' (the new hardwood floor he recently completed), in direct view of the TV. Daddy just couldn't not watch Holmes on Homes.

It wasn't long that Mommy's presence was requested. I asked if R could join us too. T paused to think. At first said no but then she said an enthusiastic "YES!".

There the four of us sat, riding on the 'airplane', in our pyjamas.

Ms. Phenix decided against joining us but she watched, just a little bit intrigued, from a far. After she had had her fill of amusement for the day, she retreated to her basket in our bedroom.

Eventually, the pilot (S) took a leave of absence to the couch, taking R with him for a few minutes.

T and I played plane for a few minutes until Mommy needed coffee #2. I asked T to go get her 'friends' (her friends consist of every last stuffed creature who lives on her bed) as the pilot (me) had to go get another coffee.

T was all too willing to me my coffee from the microwave (nope not a good idea T) but then she found a new venue for her energy. She needed to get dressed because S mentioned he might be going over to a friend's house this afternoon and T could go with him.

Within seconds she was off to her room to get dressed. If only that worked as well to get her breakfast into her.

Some days, even going to the mailbox is an adventure for my kid!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I know what we did this summer!

Okay so yeah, its been a while without an update. We've been busy finishing projects (the flooring is done!), doing laundry, making formula, transporting the offspring to various outings, S has been working 50+ weeks at work and we all been trying to squeeze in some sleep.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention almost the entire month of August was in the 100Fs. For those fellow Canucks, think high 30s-40s C, yeah, freaking hot.

With all that we were up to, it didn't leave much time for blogging or uploading photos.

I think we are slowly inching ourselves to some semblance of a routine. R sleeps (we are still working on a nap schedule), eats and needs his diaper changed. That's his day. T has enlarged her 'friends' collection to include a pink gorilla, she now loves to watch Scooby Doo (who doesn't?) and still doesn't want to eat her meals when they come from the food pyramid.

After all our post natal visitors went home, we signed up T for a zoo camp. It was a 1.5 hrs a day for week...the first week we had 100F temperatures. The poor thing baked but loved every minute of it. We also got her signed up for a Kids Day Out program, which she starts next week.

Today, she started preschool. So far, so good. Her next school day is Thursday.

Me and the offspring have been making outings to the zoo and to local natural trails in an effort to fill our day and get some much needed fresh air. T gets to play with her little friends, R gets to sleep in his car seat and Mommy gets to chat with an adult other than herself.

At last count, R was about 10.8 lbs, which was a couple of weeks ago so he's likely upwards of 11lbs by now. We have been slowly trying to get him to nap. We've also been working on our tummy time to help improve his neck and head control. Its slow but steady. Did I also mention I'm starting to see the outline of two bottom teeth thru his gums? He's starting to be a drool machine too. I hope he cuts teeth better than T did.
I have some better shots on my other camera but they require a little more work before they can be simply uploaded. So for now, enjoy these!

Trips to the Zoo...




Talia's New Trick (it changes daily)


The Offspring


Mr. R (when you are this big, they don't always call you Mister!)




T's first day of school (she was too busy watching the other kids play in the playground to smile)