Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Daughter...

Dear Mae,

It seems like just yesterday you made your arrival on a chilly January afternoon.   It's hard to believe that you're a mobile, squeally, communicative almost 9 month old now!   Where does the time go?   I love that you light up when you dada enters the room. I love that you ask for 'mama' and look for me in a room. 

You have started to try out waving 'bye-bye' although I think you're still trying to decide if it's for you or not.   You are walking along the couch and go after what you want.   You have a sixth sense (I swear!) to ferret out paper and try to eat it.  In fact it is a guarantee if you find paper it will be in your mouth. 

You love your brother and love to play with him and you giggle when he chases you. You watch your brother all the time because you know he's your key to success.    Just a moment ago I watched as you craned your neck past mommy to watch as your brother skirted past the gate blocking the stairs.  You watched intently to observe what he had done and after he had completed this mission you signed with urgency 'all done' (which is your cue for mommy to put you down) and you were off to mimic what you had just observed. Now that you are taller and standing, your brother is finding it more difficult to retreat from your persistence. At the moment he still has a safe haven of the couch, but he's running out of places to run from you. I hope you are kind to him once you recognize your powers more and more.

Now that you are standing you're so happy!  You love playing at the water table and splashed until you are soaked.   So happy that you could finally do it after observing your brother doing it for so many weeks.     Although you do have the same stubbornness that runs in the family and we are constantly telling you 'NO!' when you attempt to climb up and touch the tv.   We tell you 'no' and you get the biggest grin on your face.  Naughty!  (But adorable, I won't lie.)

You have lost your 'good sleeper' title - now you're more average and like your brother at this age.  That's ok, I know I'll miss waking up to feed you in the middle of the night whenever you do choose to sleep through the night, so I'll enjoy our time while we have it.  Although a few hours break between wakings is greatly appreciated.  

Mae you have an appetite for anything that we are eating - but you never want to eat much.  I usually can get about a 1/3rd of a jar of baby food in you - and you're otherwise happy to just sorta chew on the food we have whether it be gyro meat (which you love!) french fries, cucumber, or pasta - you just want to explore and that's ok.   

Your family loves you very much and we love that you're on the move, exploring your world, and smiley EVERY morning.   It's such a joy to wake up to that smile. 

All my love,
Your mommy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Southern Belle

Mae is pushing nine months old - three quarters of a year old is just around the corner.  It is crazy how much time has gone by.  We've now been in the south for five months.  When we arrived Mae was just a little over three months old.    Which means she has officially been a southern belle for over two months!   Yes our little girl has spend more of life in the south than in the NW.    She's adapted to her role of a southern belle nicely.  

Mae loves to crawl around outside - although often gets timid in the grass and prefers to stay in one place unless she is chasing her brother.   She does very well to leave a hat on if one is presented to shade her.   

Like her hat?  B from The Ravenna Girls made it for her!
Dresses (another southern belle staple) won't slow her down either.  No matter her attire - whether dress, skirt, and just a diaper - she can crawl with great speed and efficiency if she so desires.   It's impressive!   Occasionally a dress will thwart her because her feet get stuck in it - but she merely does a little foot maneuvering and continues along without much fuss. 


Sunlight also is great for Mae... doesn't she look pretty? ;)   She loves to play in the sunshine and when it peeks in the house through the windows, she likes to chase it and tries grab it.   It's really adorable to watch as she crawls after the sunlight and trying to track it down.  

Probably one of my favorite pictures of her to date!
Overall this little southern belle is doing wonderful and I know she will miss the warmth and sun after we leave (we all will!)   But I am sure she will enjoy exploring all the other neat things that the NW affords us that the south does not... like snow!  Brr!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cloud Viewing

Living in the south we are privileged to have a sky full of beautiful clouds.   All the various kinds of clouds are a part of our daily viewing pleasure and where better way to teach Ace about the different types of clouds.   


As part of his school we take time every now and then to review the types of clouds.    I printed out Cloud Type lesson kit for free from ETC Press.   It included the nomenclature cards and and a few other helpful tools to help show Ace about the various types of clouds.   He's still pretty young to really absorb a lot of the science - but the visuals are great.  

While on Pinterest I came across a great idea of a view window for the clouds, although when I clicked to obtain it - it was for a classroom and cost over $30 for the kit... so I decided to make my own (if you'd like a copy for personal use only please email me and I will send you the PDF.)  It took a naptime to get everything lined up and all the clouds properly identified.  It's not perfect, but it is accurate and for my toddler it is a fun way to 'hunt' for clouds.   :)


Ace had a lot of fun trying to find the different type of clouds.   I think that he'll really enjoy this activity when he's a bit older and can read for himself.   For now he likes to use the view window to poke his head through it and look for clouds that way.  It makes me smile.



So while I don't think he's learning a lot of the accurate names, he's having fun looking at the sky.   We also started to make up the shapes of clouds and that is probably the most fun of all! 


Linking up on:  Living Montessori Now, Sun Scholars, It's Playtime on The Imagination Tree, Preschool Corner on Homeschool Creations, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and Classified: Mom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Biloxi's Lighthouse


I think one of the things that I am going to miss the most about living in Mississippi is the lighthouse.  It really is the iconic 'centerpiece' of Biloxi and it is beautiful no matter the time of day or night that you drive by.    I love to photograph it and I've loved learning about its history.




This lighthouse is a cast iron light house built in 1848 and originally stood relatively close to water.  It now exists as the only lighthouse in the middle of a highway and also Mississippi's only remaining lighthouse.   Biloxi's waters receded a bit and eventually put in a man made beach in the 60s.   This lighthouse survived both Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005 (although all the brick on the inside washed out after Katrina and extensive remodeling was required to reopen it to the public.)  To read more about its fascinating history click here.


We were able to take a tour of it last weekend and go inside and the light in it is beautiful.  The view is pretty gorgeous too.   I was wearing Mae in the ergo and toted her up the spiral staircase and up the 8 rung ladder into the top.   It was a bit precarious but we managed.

If you notice the pale blue line - that is where the water reached with Katrina, Camille's water level is significantly lower.


It was a lot of fun to be able to go inside, learn a bit about the history, and to see how the lighthouse really works.  It was also neat to learn about the history of why it is now in the middle of a highway - probably its most unique quality. 

Circa 1901 - Photograph from Library of Congress and obtained from here.

Standing and Stairs

Mae has been pulling herself up into standing now for a few weeks and is starting to adventure into free standing.  Although mostly just to cautiously lower herself to the ground, but still she's working on feeling it out.     She's gathered a lot of independence (including signing 'all done' when she's done with mommy holding her. sniff sniff)  and is enjoying her different perspectives that come with all her standing.  


Upon achieving her newest skill we broke out the table for her to play with and she loves it - as does her big brother who remembered the fun that he had with it 'back in the day.'   Us parents remember it too, although not as fondly...   I've been really pleased with how well Ace and Mae are doing playing together.  Ace is a very patient big brother as his sister mauls him, climbs on him, and even slims him.   He's very gentle and giving when she snatches stuff from him.   I hope as they grow older they both continue to be loving toward one another.


Mae loves to play at the table.   Her twist on it though that we never really saw Ace do is to try and eat it.   She wants to sample everything - and will even get on her tippiest tiptoe to try and reach something to consume... although I have yet to capture that on film.


She pulls herself up on everything now - using the fridge, drawers, walls, couches,  or perhaps even the chair her brother is sitting in.   She doesn't mind and her patient brother continues to allow the silliness.


Other skills Mae has been mastering with or without the help of her family is climbing the stairs.  Yes, she often can be found ascending the stairs (or at best sitting at the base of them thwarted by the gate.)   Her big brother is trying to teach her how to descend the stairs safely.  She just smiles at him and continues upward.    She has a few times managed to break a barrier and climb the stairs on her own.  She's doing pretty well with it. Although I'll be happier when she learns how to go down the stairs and not just up.  :-$


Walking is up next!  Although its hard to say when walking will occur, she's still very cautious and takes her balance very seriously by lowering herself slowly to the ground... but one thing is for sure - she wants to go places.   She might skip walking and go straight for climbing... watch out world Mae's coming!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Superhero!

Ace's imagination is exploding! He plays with the idea of flying over the edge of the couch arm. He flies various superheros around by tying a string to them and swining around.  He talks about dreams of flying with a jet pack or a rocket ship and flying to the moon.  I love that his imagination is coming to life and currently regularly involves flying.

And what does a boy need more than anything when he wants to fly? A cape!  I saw on Jolly Mom today a free template for a superhero cape which was the inspiration to create one for Ace.  I eyeballed it, but she has a free pattern for download if the thought of just going for it isn't your style.  It was super easy and the boy was very excited about the idea of something to help him be a superhero and (pretend) to fly!


Ace also is currently obsessed with The Incredibles and while it is almost ironic to brand a cape with their logo (remember "No capes!" as it is the demise of many wanton superheros)  but aside from the objection of the logo should be on the 'front' Ace was super excited about it and had a blast running around the house in his Incredibles cape!


The project took about 15 minutes total to cut and sew.  Seriously not a lot of precision went into it.   No pinning either (which is why the logo is a bit off centered in the back) the stitching is wobbly and if you ever looked closely the felt is puckered in a few places... but the boy loves it.


And I love watching him fly away!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creative Lunching

Aside from when he was a baby with his insatiable appetite for milk - my son has always eaten like a bird.   There are days every so often that he does what we've coined "dump trucking" where he inexplicably eats more food than Loving Husband or myself could even manage in one sitting.   And the infamous phrase "where does he put it?"  gets pulled out.   Those times are rare though -and in fact in addition to eating like a bird he eats soooooo sloooooooow!  I mean seriously - LH and I both will have completed our dinners and 20 minutes beyond he's still needing to be reminded or timed with a cut off to finish his dinner.  

What about lunch?  Well I won't lie - there are days where I load the kids in the car and we drive thru - in a confined space where he can't be too distracted he often can pound through a 6 piece nugget meal on our 5-7 mile loop of a drive through the area.   He's not incapable of eating quickly if he wants to.     However, on most days when we're home and it becomes lunch time I want him to gain some independence with his food - and so he sits at his table and he is to eat his lunch.    It was proving to be a nightmare for success...  until after coming across a few blogs and the concept of 'bento boxes' did I decide to finally give that a try.

I have always been wary about using cookie cutters for sandwiches - because 1) my son DOES eat the crust, 2) there is a lot of nutrition in the crust,  and 3) it's wasteful.   However, the idea of the fun shapes and making the meal exciting in the end won out for a trial to see if this would speed up the lunch eating process.    After looking through a lot of fun websites on food - stuff found of Pinterest, This Lunch Rox and finding great ideas for bento boxes here.  The world of bento is overwhelmingly expansive and detailed and so while it's interesting I'm merely dabbling into a whole world of food art.

I did purchase some supplies for this venture:   I decided on some boxes that were inexpensive Ziplock divided boxes, I obtained some sandwich stampers, along with a dinosaur sandwich stamper that I got at Walmart for $2, and some silicone square muffin cups.   I found a place for all the 'lunch supplies' (which I will greatly miss upon our return to the NW! Although I look forward to the return to the many cookie cutter options I have waiting for me) and away we go with some fun creativity. 


I think my unique take on this "bento" thing is a way to deal with the extra bread.  Like I said I don't like to waste the crust and so I find ways to incorporate them into the meal.   Whether I make it into a palm tree or the 'train tracks' that the train sits on or chop it up into a medley with the cheese bits - it is all consumed.   It's not totally intricate or elaborate - but I am a mother of two under three, so time doesn't allow for such detail.



So how is Ace enjoying his new fun foods?  He loves them!  He also is honestly eating them faster and more concentrated.    Success! 


Plus I won't lie - it's kind of fun.  :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zommy

Yes, that's me.   Typo?  Nope.  I'm a zommy today.   It's like a zombie but without all the decay and icky stuff.   But certainly the feeling of being the undead, walking around in a staggered stupor all because your eight month old was holding your sleep hostage.   Yes our little owlie decided to go nocturnal for real last night.   She took FOREVER to fall asleep - crazy hyper (could have been the sweet tea I had for dinner... but I have sweet tea all the time at dinner so I don't think that was it.)   Whatever the cause it was merely preamble to what was in store for us last night.

While the world slept Mae fitfully tossed/turned/squawked and perhaps slept occasionally.  Mom and Dad attempted to sleep, but by 5am she was done.  She had a snotty nose that I think was a legitimate contributor which led to bubbles when she ate... then she filled her diaper and that was the end of sleep.   From 4:45 until Loving Husband gave up and got up to get ready for work an hour later - M was rolling around, mildly fussing at our attempts to contain her, and in general just being a mini-terrorist whose main mission was defeat sleep - for everyone.   

Don't let those closed eyes fool you - this is a little after 5:20am and she was crawling all over the bed.
 In the attempt to save Ace from waking up, I came downstairs and tossed her in the playpen and attempted to snooze myself on the couch.  She figured out that plot and decided to protest... I took her out and she sat up with me on the couch.   Loving Husband left for work shortly before 6:30 and within 5 minutes Maefinally fell asleep - sitting up.    I was able to recline her down and I was able to fall asleep for a blissful 25 minutes... only to be awoken by my son who was waking at his normal 7am on the dot time.   Siiigh.  I got him a banana and put on some tv and attempted to regain unconsciousness to no avail.   Mae however continued to snooze for almost another hour. 

6:30am until 7:45am Mae finally slept....
Upon her waking though it was clear that it was only the start to what would be a crabtastic day.   Hmm did someone not get enough sleep?  I know this zommy didn't.  Our neighbor offered to take Ace so that Zommy and Mae could get more sleep, but she was done.  At the moment she's pretty happy to be toddling around the house - but oh boy take away something she shouldn't have and it is drama-meltdown like no other today. And so begins a day with about 2.5hrs of sleep for Zommy.  Here's hoping Ace is at least pleasant and compliant.   God help us!

Well little girl, you're cranky because you didn't sleep!  Love, Zommy

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Praying in Purple

Today my friend Katie is having yet another round of chemo.  It began just a little while ago (if all went according to schedule) at 10:15am PST.   She is on my mind today, as she is every day, but today I am thinking and praying for her continuously as she hunkers down for another several hour session in the hospital of chemotherapy.    Living across the country there is nothing that I can do for her beyond that.   I can't watch her daughter for her, I can't bring her a meal, and I can't sit with her in the hospital passing the time.   Although she has an army of support that is with her and that are filling those roles.

So in honor of Katie on the days that she has chemo - to make it a reminder to us to say some extra prayers for her - we are wearing purple. Ace not as much, but I did make him a cool bracelet for him to wear for the photo op  to be included.  Mae and I are dressed in our purple to show support from afar for our friend Katie. Loving Husband can't wear purple on his uniform and I'm pretty sure he'd kill me if I dyed his underwear purple... plus that might be a bit weird... so he's just remembering on his own to say extra prayers today. We are sending her good thoughts of recovery and prayers of the same.  We are Praying in Purple.

Katie truly is an inspiration for her strength and courage through all of this.  For goodness sake the woman is still working as a teacher to young kids on the days of the week she isn't seeking treatment and/or recovering from it!  She has amazing family and friends (and coworkers)  that are rallying behind her to keep her strong.   So while I am afar I will continue to pray and share her story to help spread the prayers to anyone and all that can pray as she continues her fight against stage 4 colon cancer.    To follow her story, please click here.  

If you would like to be a part of Praying in Purple please do.   Dawn your purple attire and say a prayer today or any day for Katie. Also I'll be putting a list of blogs writing posts for Katie on my sidebar - that way she can come to my page and find a network of support through a list of blog posts for/about her and a list of people praying for her that she can read  all in 'one place' - I've created #tag for Katie specifically and that is the link that I will be including on my sidebar.  If you wish to do the same just shoot me an email with your blog title with the link to the blog posts you wish to have me put on the list.   If you'd like to include just your name (or blog name if you prefer more anonymity) indicating that you're praying for Katie I can add that to the list to with no hyperlink.   Prayer is a powerful thing and to rally together in a church, as friends, or in the cyber blogging world it all means one thing: support for Katie.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Warm Evenings


Another thing I will miss about the south is our warm evenings.
Being able to be outside and play as the sun is setting and enjoy a warm breeze.


The Paper Mama

Monday, September 12, 2011

A morning drive...


I feel so blessed that this is our view on our drive to church.
And I will miss it when we leave.




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember

Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Photo Credit
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.


And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,


Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten on Ten - September

It's been a nice Saturday around here... although it started quite early.  It's not even 5pm and I'm exhausted.   Be sure to stop by A Bit of Sunshine to see what has been happening on other people's Saturdays.  

The boy woke up very early with some potty training...issues (I'll spare the details.)
So while dad was taking care of that, I stared at my snuggly slumbering girl before she awoke.

The boy and his father fresh from the shower ventured downstairs and
started to play Battleship on the Xbox... Ace loves it. 


Around 9am it was Mae's turn to take a bath - she really enjoys splashing right now!

We headed to the Beau Rivage to enjoy their
Champagne Mimosa Brunch. Delicious!


After brunch we headed outside the hotel and to the fountain
which Ace absolutely loves to run around and around. 

We came home from playing outside and before naptime,
I had my second attempt at obtaining Mae's 8th month photos.

1:30pm... Ace's been asleep for about an hour. 
Mae should have been, but instead dad was and she was after his phone.

Everyone's awake by 2:30, let the Saturday afternoon chaos begin!


After lots of running, throwing, jumping, and playing
time to sit and watch some videos on the computer...
M has still not napped... 3:30.

4:15 - I check the mail and my 'doodads' have arrived for Ace's Alphabet Box. 4:18 The boys leave to run errands. 4:20 M goes in the swing. 4:22 she is out. 4:25 I snap this photo and sort through my doodads. 4:30 I sit down to my computer in a quiet house. Ahh Bliss!

Happy Saturday, everyone!