Thursday, January 28, 2010

Worn Out

Something Like That

Big Boy Boxer Briefs- Check
"Tough Guy" Shirt- Check
Mommy's High Heels- Check
Happy Two-Year-Old- Check

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Carolina: Fifteen months

Dear Carolina,

You are fifteen months old now. You are such a big girl! Your daddy and I are truly amazed by your little personality lately. You have said a few words here and there over the past couple of months but you really started talking in the last couple of weeks. You will copy what we ask you to copy and a lot of it is really clear. You say "Cay or Key" for Clay, "Baa" for bath, "nac" for snack, "buh" for book, "cuh-key" for cookie, "ca-keh" for cracker, "kittttuh" for kitty, "nah" for no, "nigh-nigh" for night night and many other words. We are so proud of your talking!

You have also really started using your sign language. We have been working on sign language for months and ironically, you really started doing it when you also started talking. It's just your style to do things when you want to do them. We know that for sure. You do "more" and "drink" the most but you point to whatever you want. When someone is holding you, you point where you want to go. You will also go to your chair when you are hungry or point to the cup cabinet when you want a drink. When we ask you if you want to do something you don't want to do, you will shake your head no. You're a smart one, Carolina.

We've learned that you know what you want and when you want it (now). We know this from many, many fits and tantrums. As an infant when you would throw a fit you would sit down and put your face between your feet- every time.

Now, when you throw a fit (or even get frustrated) you ALWAYS throw yourself backward. If someone is holding you, you will do this until they put you down. It is your goal for the back of your head to hit the floor. If you are standing up when the fit starts you just fall backward until you hit. We don't like to give your tantrums attention so we always walk away from you. You're very predictable and you calm down easily when you accomplished your goal of hitting your head on the floor (I don't get it either....).

You love to play and you are great playing by yourself. You are happiest when you have one of your lovies and a pacifier. I think you are absolutely precious when you come down the hall clutching your kitty and sucking on a pacifier. You always sleep with a lovie and a pacifier and we usually leave them in your bed when you get up (because you always want a drink and a snack when you wake up). Some time later, you will show up with a lovie and a pacifier walking around the house. We see you go into your room and reach through the bars of your bed to get them. You are so funny (and sneaky!).

You love books a lot. I took out a basket of toys the other day and I noticed that you had sorted through the whole thing and taken out all of the stuffed animals. It didn't surprise me at all. When we take you to the toy store the only thing you want to play with are the stuffed animals. You will clutch one in each hand and be happy not playing with any of the other toys. We've noticed, though, that you have favorites. When I showed you the doll from your stocking this year, you threw it at me. There are several dolls that we have tried to give to you and you just push them away. You know what you like, no doubt about it.

We see that you love to be praised. When we cheer for you, you get the biggest grin and do whatever it is all over again. I can already tell that this will be the key to getting you to do things as you get older. We are glad to know at this early age that this is one of the big ways you feel loved.

Although you starting walking shortly after you turned one, you really took off during the week of Christmas. It has been so special to watch you toddle around and then get better as you held your arms out and now walk with so much confidence.

You fuss at us when we don't put you down when we leave the house. You want to do all stairs, parking lots and any public place by yourself. You don't stop until we put you down. You have the sweetest squeaky shoes and everyone watches you as you walk around in them. Your sweet smile, big bow and squeaky shoes make you the star of the show.

You love attention from people. You are never shy when people talk to you. You will smile and listen to whatever they have to say.

I am so proud of how well you are doing in childcare lately! I haven't been paged out of any of my meetings or church times in a couple of weeks. Last week when I went to pick you up I talked with the childcare worker over the door while you played. You didn't even pay attention to me at the door. When I called your name you came toddling over to the door and just as you got there you threw yourself on the floor and threw a huge fit. I think you held yourself together as long as you could in the nursery but you had had enough and were ready to go home. Once again, you wanted your opinion to be heard.

You have a brother who is so proud of you. When you two are out playing he will tell the other kids, "That's Crina. That's my sister." At home, you two fight quite a bit. You have very different personalities and it's hard for you to communicate well with each other right now. When Clay does something you don't like, you will hit him in the face. No questions asked. You don't want him to touch you (at all) or take anything you are playing with (and he loves to).

The funniest thing I have seen with you and Clay lately is the love you have developed for Clay's blanket. Clay decided long ago that the one that Mama had made for his bed was not big or cuddly enough for him but he still brings it out sometimes to cover himself on the couch. Somehow, you have made it your new lovie and you don't want him to touch it. I'm thinking we might have to have a new lovie made just for you (we might trick you by making it look a little like Clay's).

You are such a special girl and we are so glad that God chose us to be your parents. We can't wait to watch you grow and grow!


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Late Date

Tonight we took the kids to Burger King to try and burn some energy. Clay played with the big kids (who were all much older) and seemed to have fun. We got home and Mike and I were sure that we had exhausted him when it was time for bed. Right...

Needless to say, a couple of minutes after we put him down he starts screaming that he needs to go on the potty. Mike and I talk about it quickly and Mike takes him. It was legit.

A couple of minutes later he needs to potty again. This time I took him and no dice. Sneaky boy. The night wore on with lots of calls for things like he needed a blanket (he has a huge one), he needed to ask Daddy a question, he needed this and that....

Clay has always done well with bedtime and we are not about to start now with the getting up every five minutes. The hard part, though, is the potty training. We're asking ourselves should we let him go every time he wants to or are we just suckers??

So the last time he starts calling out (doesn't he know Mommy is trying to bake and watch the Bachelor??), I just ignore it. He'd already exhausted his two bathroom passes.

As I get up to check on my fudge baking, I hear him again and go to his room. Let me tell you, the smell almost knocked me over when I opened the door. So much for ignoring that last bathroom call...I paid the price.

I got him all changed and clean and went back to what I was doing. Eventually after taking it out and putting it back in no less than six times, my fudge was done. My only problem now was that there was no one to share it with. Yes, it was 10:30 and Mike was out. We party hard around here.

I thought about it and checked on my other date. Yep, still awake and calling for orange juice. You should have seen his face when I put my arms out to pick him up and carry him out. Pure confusion. I sat him on the couch and went and got him some fudge and ice cream. Who better to share it with than my boy??

We ate our treat together and talked about our day. A little ways into the conversation he says, "That kid told me to go away." I asked him if it was the kid from the play place tonight and he told me yes. He didn't seem like he quite knew what to feel about it but I think it hurt his feelings a little bit. It sure hurt mine.

When he was finishing up I told him that if he went to bed and slept well that we could do something fun tomorrow. "That would be perfect!" he told me. So so sweet.

This is our second late date. It's rare to get quiet time with him anymore when he's not running all over or he's not sharing my lap with Carolina. And it just so happens I like to bake and I love to have someone to share it with.

I have to say, I'm looking forward to many late dates with my little guy. It's fun to have special time with him and makes him feel special, too. What a sweet treat to end the night.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Come See Santa....

Mike and I were going about our business this morning trying to get some housework done when we saw Clay pass us with the toilet paper from the cleaning closet. Odd.

A few minutes later we could hear him calling so sweetly from his new perch, "Come see Sanna! Come seee Sanna!" (Apparently Santa gets demoted from the cool Santa throne after Christmas)

He would pat his legs and call for anyone who would listen, "Come see Sanna!" And then he spied the perfect Santa subject: Carolina (AKA: little girl who hates Santa). He called her and called her with his sweet words ("Come see me, Crina. I'm Sanna!") but Carolina was not having it.

So...desperate measures had to be taken by "Santa".

Finally (with a little help from Daddy) everyone got situated. Clay told her, "What do you want, Crina?") It was absolutely adorable to hear him use his best Santa voice.

But just like with the real Santa, Carolina was not a Santa fan. And when Carolina is done, she is really done.

Apparently, Santa was done, too.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas: Part III (Christmas!)

We got back home from San Antonio the day before Christmas Eve and got everybody settled in and ready for Christmas. We had done most of our preparations before we left for our trip so there wasn't a whole lot to do once we got home except wrap a few things and lay out all of the kids' stuff from Santa.

Christmas Eve we were able to attend church as a family and we were excited about that. Just as we left to have lunch before church it started snowing outside. It took a long time to convince Clay that it was actually snow. He kept telling us it was just the wind. Little did we know that the whole ground would be white by the time we left church and there would be no doubt in anyone's mind what it was!

Because we had been traveling and wanted to keep everything low stress we planned on going out for Christmas Eve dinner and then taking the kids to see a live nativity in town. We did manage to make it to dinner but between Officer Daddy and the snow there would be no more driving around town after dinner (it was COLD, too!).

We got home, put Carolina to bed, made cookies for Santa and got our Santa list ready. Clay really did not get the whole concept of what Santa does this year prior to Christmas but I wrote his letter and he signed it.

We also did our last night with "the house". I have to admit that after 24 nights of doing the house, I was pretty sad to see it go, too. I had explained multiple times before that Santa was going to be taking the house with him but that he would leave a toy.

The chocolate that the house had for Christmas Eve was a big Santa and Clay was really into it. He would have eaten the whole thing (and taken an hour doing it) but we had to call it about 20 minutes in (and halfway through Santa). Finally, we left Santa cookies and milk and put Clay to bed.

I was SO excited to get all the kids' goodies out and get everything set up. Mike was thrilled when Clay's train table took about 20 minutes to assemble. Then there was the train itself....That took another hour +. I got all the stockings stuffed and we were in bed before midnight. Ironically, I think I'm the only one who couldn't sleep in our house from excitement!

Clay got up a good half hour before Carolina in the morning (totally normal) and so we had him come in our room and hang out with us until she got up. How many years could that actually happen?? He was totally clueless as to the all the fun in the living room.

Carolina got up and we all went to check out what Santa brought. Clay was SO sweet. He walked in and said, "Thank you, Santa!" so nicely. Both kids went straight for the train table and played for quite a while.

We spread out the opening of the gifts throughout the day to give the kids a chance to play with everything and relax. It was so nice to be able to do that without them asking for something else or expecting another present. They were totally content with what they had. Once again, how many years will that last? (I'm hoping many!)

Some of the fun things the kids got this year were*: blocks for Carolina, a train table for Clay, a tool set for Clay, a play cube for Carolina, a big Play-Doh bucket, a pop-up tunnel/tent set and lots of other fun goodies.

Because of all the snow that we had, Clay was able to do a little Christmas box sledding on the hill outside for a while. I think he could have done it all day!

Mid-afternoon, Mike went out to take out the trash and Clay was standing on one of Carolina's new blocks and fell forward on the corner of the train table. All I saw was blood. He had busted his lip at the top-right and bottom-left and left his teeth impression on the table. Luckily, we had saved a big present from Nana and Papa and it was the perfect time to bring it out!

That night, we made a birthday cake for Jesus. While the cake was baking, Carolina, Mike and I played in the living room. I noticed after a minute that Clay wasn't with us so I got up to check on him. I found him in the kitchen---with the chocolate cake bowl.

Well, Little Sister wasn't about to let him get by without sharing!

We had a nice birthday party and talked about Jesus and what Christmas was all about again (in two-year-old terms, of course). Since Thanksgiving, we had been doing different parts of the story of Jesus' birth each night and talking about it a little. On Christmas night, I was so happy to hear that Clay knew the story and could tell me about so many of the things that happened. It makes us happy that God's word is growing in his heart.

We were very blessed with a fun, super relaxed day. I loved getting to move at the kids' pace and enjoyed just getting to sit back and watch them have fun all day. We had ourselves a Very Merry Christmas!

Christmas: Part II (Family Time)

This year, we traveled to see our families the weekend before Christmas. We were excited to see some people whom we hadn't see in a while. The kids loved being at Grandma Susie's (Mike's grandmother) and getting to see all of the animals and getting to play with some of their cousins.

Clay got to open one of his gifts from Nana and Papa early and he was in love! His new Police Station/Fire Station is so neat and perfect for him. He played and played with it.

We got to do fireworks for the first time with the kids. Clay had a great time with the sparklers but when the big fireworks came out, both kids were done pretty quickly. Oh well, sparklers are fun, too.

Some of their other cousins came out for dinner one night and Clay had a blast. He loves to play with these girls and they are so good to him.

On the last night that we were there we got to see Mike's brother Garrett and his wife, Jamie. Carolina had never met her uncle so it was an exciting time! Here she is getting ready for the big meeting (looking totally adorable, I might add):

Uncle Garrett and Aunt Jamie played hard with the kids and a good time was had by all!

We got to visit with a lot of Mike's family while we were in San Antonio and also have lunch with my dad. Sadly, I didn't take enough pics of the kids with all of their grandparents but needless to say, everyone enjoyed themselves!

We were so glad to get to visit with family and celebrate the season with them. After lots of good food, good visiting and good fun it was time to head home for Christmas!

Christmas: Part I (The Events)

We had so many fun things to do this year and I was so excited about doing them all! We kicked off the season with a visit to Bass Pro Shops to see their Winter Wonderland right after Thanksgiving. They had such a neat set-up with a free picture with Santa, all kinds of holiday decor and a free reindeer carousel. It was a fun time!

The next thing we did was story time with Mrs. Claus at the library. This story time was really busy and it was hard for Clay to focus since there was so much going on (Carolina had her own entertainment with Nana). After the story we got to have a picture with Mrs. Claus (no love from Carolina and no chance with Clay) and "Rosty".

We went to look at lights that night and everyone but Carolina had a blast. The next morning, Clay and I did our Santa breakfast and checked out our local downtown area's Christmas decorations.

Back in November, we had the kids' pictures made for our Christmas card but there was nothing good of them together (Bah humbug!). So...we loaded up our own camera and our Aunt Rebecca (who is the most patient photographer's helper ever) and tried for some pics of our own at a local hotel. They had so many beautiful decorations and we had fun looking at all of their Christmas trees and lights. What we came up with picture-wise wasn't perfect (we didn't get one of the kids together either) but I'm SO glad we did take the pics because I found some new favorites in the bunch. Here's a sample:

We did some "fall" clothes and "Christmas" clothes to try to get some variety.

A couple of weekends later we went for our final Santa visit at the Arboretum. The Arboretum has some really festive stuff at this time of year and we loved getting to see a "real" gingerbread house, getting faces painted for the first time, seeing a live reindeer and playing in the big pirate ship (not so festive). (Patient) Aunt Rebecca came with us again and was a huge help with kid wrangling while I tried to get some cute pictures. I especially love the one of her and Carolina.

We loved the Pumpkin Patch so much that we were excited to go back after they turned it into a Christmas Tree Farm. We were the only people in the whole place so we were able to walk around and look at all of the fun Christmas cutouts and play on the bounce houses without any interruptions. So fun!

One of my favorite parts of the tree farm was the way that Clay started posing and saying "cheese" the second we walked outside. He was an eager picture taker that day (so rare!).

Another highlight was Carolina climbing the slide. The thing was HUGE and she was determined that because Clay had done it, she could too. There were ten rungs and she made it up six before Mike had to crawl up and help her. We definitely saw some of her determined side that day!

One of the last Christmas things we did before we left to visit family was making gingerbread houses. Clay and I were trying out a new playgroup (while Carolina napped at home with Daddy) and this was their activity for the week. We had such a great time making new friends and making a fun project.

I guess I didn't realize until now exactly how much fun we did have this season (and how long of a post this would be!). We were really blessed to get to do some neat things and to be able to do them together. I was so excited about getting to share this season with my little ones (and Mike, too). We started what I hope will be many fun traditions. I loved every little thing we did and I know two little people who had a pretty good time, too!

Oh, Santa

Clay and Carolina did not have any love for Santa this year (or last year, either). I tried my best to gear Clay up for him by telling him how nice Santa is and how he would bring him presents. He seemed okay with the idea of meeting him...until the time came.

We decided to do a practice run at Bass Pro Shops because it's free and there weren't any lines on a weekday. Santa came out and so did Clay's screams. I think Carolina might have been fine but we definitely have a monkey see, monkey do mentality around here.

We let some other kids go in front of us so that we could see how nice Santa was and what to do when it was our turn. Each time the other kids would finish and we would start our walk up the thrashing about like he was on fire crying would start again. Carolina also let it all out when it was her turn.

Santa was very sweet and I was impressed that we eventually we even got Clay to give him a high-five. It's the little things, you know?

One morning while Nana and Carolina stayed warm at home, Clay and I went to a local Santa pancake breakfast. First of all, can I say how mad Clay was when we passed IHOP right before we got there and he realized we weren't having the pancake breakfast he was imagining. Who knew?

Our table was very close to Santa so we got a chance to watch Santa while we ate our breakfast. I had been imagining this fun breakfast with me and my boy just getting to have a conversation and talk about all the fun stuff happening this season.

Well, the experience went a little differently than I expected. Instead of the sweet breakfast I imagined, I got: cold orange juice spilled all over Clay's lap and nothing to clean it up with, Clay screaming every couple of minutes ("I wanna go to da car! I don't wanna go see Sanna"), LOUD Christmas music, pancakes that you couldn't cut with a chainsaw much less the plastic fork they gave me, lots of people to watch (meaning Clay wouldn't acknowledge any of my attempts at conversation) and all of this took place in a tent (and yes, it was cold). Oh well. There's always next year. It wasn't exactly what I had planned but I was grateful for the chance to spend some time with Clay.

Our last Santa visit was at the Arboretum. By this point in the season, everyone was getting a little tired of the Santa visits. This was the one I had looked forward to, though, and was hoping that it would be THE Santa picture of the year. Ahem. Someone should have told my kids that.

Both kids screamed like banshees until finally the photographer said he wouldn't take the picture if I didn't get in it with them. I am NOT the mother who likes to be in the Santa pictures but after driving the 30 minutes to get to the Arboretum and standing in the Santa line, I was determined we were leaving with a Santa picture. Say cheese, Mommy. (Is it just me or does this Santa look like he's holding us hostage?? Creepy.)

We did have a storytime with a very sweet Mrs. Claus after our Santa visit and Clay warmed up to her a little better. Maybe there's still hope for next year...

And that is the story of the Skloss Santa visits for 2009. We love you, Santa!