Three Things Thursday {Little Bit of Life}

I don’t know about you, but this time change has caused nothing but problems this week. Grumpy, emotional kids and a husband working late every day, has made for an exceptionally trying week. It hasn’t been all bad though. Here are three things that have made my week.

  1. Ella has been in ice skating lessons since the fall. She has loved it and is super excited to participate in the annual ice skating show next month. Monday we had the pre-show pictures. I still cannot get over this adorable kid.3395_10102678455635423_8306562227290657710_n
  2. Anderson has blossomed into a kid, basically overnight. I swear the minute he turned 2.5 years old, he decided he was ready to really talk. He is now talking and singing up a storm. In music class and in our early childhood class, he is answering questions and singing along loudly. When I laughed the other day and said, who are you? He just looked at me and said, “I’m AJ mommy.” Yes, yes you are.12694889_10102620219116873_3252754204973665080_o
  3. Ella is really into St. Patrick’s Day. I think it’s just because she loves holidays. I put her in charge of helping me decide on things she wants to do to celebrate. First she wanted to make leprechauns which was easy enough. Then she found rainbow cookies on Pinterest. 11313056_10102682218888833_2943611067533248874_oTwo hours later, here we are. I’m never making them again, but both kids were so excited and appreciative. It was worth it.

It’s really the little things that brighten my day and week. Training has also been awesome, so that update to come!

All About Anderson – 18 months

We are on the downhill slope to two years. I can hardly believe that my baby is getting so big! He’s now 32 inches tall and just over 25 lbs. He’s around average size except for his head. He must have a very big brain. Luckily it is fairly proportional to the rest of his body. He finally has teeth! His first two came in around 16 months, the second two about 17 months and the last two came just days before 18 months. Which was about the time I actually started working on this post. oops.

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Anderson has a big few months. In early December we went to Disney World and the beach which were probably the highlight of his life thus far. It’s a Small World was his favorite ride. He pointed and squealed with delight at all of the colorful little people. At the beach he ran right to the water, enjoying it splashing over his feet. Getting all the way in was hit or miss.

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Not long after we returned home it was Christmas. The candy, the presents, the ornaments – toddler’s favorite things. His favorite pastime was taking off all the ornaments he could reach and throwing them saying ball. It must be quite confusing why you can throw toy balls and not similar looking ones from the tree. He liked opening gifts more than he liked what was in the packages.

Anderson is developing quite the personality. He loves to laugh. In fact, I think it’s his favorite thing. He laughs all the time, mainly at Ella. It cracks me up hearing them giggle in the backseat of the car as we drive around between various activities. We’ve started an art class which he’s really enjoying. Last week we painted with his feet and he thought it was the best. No longer does he resist getting his hands and feet dirty, though when he is done, he holds them out for me to wash as he says ‘all done.’

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He is also really into music. He will request Raffi just as Ella did. He dances around and has even started trying to sing some. He asks for spider (itsy bitsy) as he does the motions, says ei-ei-oh for Old McDonald, and pulls my hands saying row, row for Row Row Row Your Boat. I’ve even gotten him to do the motions for Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I’m glad that he has a love for music.

He is starting to speak more and more every day. He’s not as verbal as Ella was, but that’s no surprise as she often speaks for him. I’m also not nearly as consistent with noting new words. I think we’re up to about 35 or so, but only 20ish are used regularly. In the past few weeks he’s also begun putting words together, night night, hi dad, bye bye, all done/gone, etc. I feel bad because we don’t read to him nearly as much as we did to Ella partially because he rarely sits still and partially because its hard to get him to focus with Ella around. He is finally interested in books so I try to find time for just the two of us, free from distraction, to read.

When he cannot say what he wants he just grabs our hands to take us to what he wants or shows us what he’s trying to do. He loves wearing hat, gloves and his coat, though once we’re home he wants everyone’s coat off immediately. He picks out the shoes he wants to wear and will bring me socks and shoes to put on every morning.

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What he lacks in speech, he makes up for in physicality. This kid never wants to sit still. Climbing is by far his favorite activity. Couches, tables, chairs, stairs. Anything and everything. We have to be very careful in watching where he is. he has a pretty good arm when he throws and even catches his ball now.

Just as much as he loves to show his pleasure, with lots of hugs and kisses, he is quick to throw a fit. He scrunches his face and wails a bit, sometimes throwing himself on the ground. Luckily we can redirect him and the tantrum rarely lasts long.

He just cracks us up. He is so different from Ella and very much his own person. Every day he seems to learn something new – a new word, expression, phrase, emotion. It’s so amazing to watch.

All About Anderson – 15 months

I completely missed Anderson’s one year update and here we are at 15 months.

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Anderson is just under 25 lbs and is 26.5 inches tall. His chunky legs are slimming down thanks to all of the running around he does. He is constantly on the go. Running, dancing and his favorite, climbing. I’ve never seen a toddler climb so much. I cannot turn my back for a second because he ends up in places like this.

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Other than climbing his favorite things are balls, crackers, anything he can push or ride and books (though he doesn’t like to read them as much as flip through and then throw them).

Halloween was fun because he was totally into trick-or-treating. He squealed as he walked down the street in his lion costume to get candy for his little pail. He dumped out and put the candy back in for a good half hour when we got home. He’s going to be all over it next year.

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He is so much fun and so sweet, though has seemingly inherited a quick temper. His tantrums are my favorite. I have to try hard to not laugh. He used to throw himself back on the floor hitting his head. He learned that hurts so now he will fall to his butt, slowly lower himself down to the floor, then cry and kick. I have got to get it on video.

All of a sudden he can communicate his wants, needs and displeasure when something doesn’t go his way. He signs milk, more, please, eat, and sometimes, all done. He has started talking too. The things I can hear clearly are: momma, dada, Ella, ba (ball), more, do (dog), hi, buh bye, ow, ot (hot), boo (book) and bubble. It seems like he’s getting more verbal every day.

He loves to play especially pretending to have tea with Ella, ‘wrestling’ with daddy, playing peek-a-boo and sweeping. I have to hide the brooms otherwise he’s walking around the house with one all the time. Just trying to earn his keep I suppose. He also really likes to try to do things himself such as putting on his socks or shoes, brushing his hair and putting his jacket on.

We moved Anderson to the HandySitt at the big table which he was really excited about. He now gets his own plate and silverware. He seems to be a natural with a spoon though it gets a bit messy still.

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When it’s meal time, I can tell him to go to his big boy chair and he will run to the chair and start to climb up as I bring his food over. He’s good at following simple directions like that, as well as throw this away (loves that), get your socks, etc.

Sometimes he eats a ton, but lately, thanks to teething (he still only has two teeth), he’s been wanting to nurse more than usual. His gums are white where his top two teeth are trying to break through. His favorite food is peanut butter. I waited until about a month ago to introduce it and he loves it. Like mother like son.

Anderson is a lover. He will walk up randomly to Ella and give her kisses and hugs. His favorite time to do that is during her dance class. She’s happy to indulge him. He also LOVES to kiss and hug Lucky. He’ll be stingy with Josh and me, but Lucky and Ella, never. He does love to cuddle. I think his favorite spot is with me, of course, since I give him nice warm milk. He’s definitely a momma’s boy. We’re in the throws of separation anxiety which means when I even say I’m going to leave, tears start.

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When Josh gets home though, he’ll yell Dada and run to him with open arms. Josh face lights up. It’s so cute.

This is getting a bit long, but I feel like I have so much to share about my sweet boy. My cuddling, giggling, loves his family boy. My loves to give kisses boy. He’s growing so fast and while I love watching him develop, I’m not ready for him to be a toddler.

All About Ella – Three Years

Ella turned three back on the 3rd.

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How it is possible that she is three already is a mystery. I just brought her home from the hospital yesterday right? This girl.

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She is a whopping 26 lbs and about 35 inches tall. She has a head full of untamed curls and finally all the teeth she should by now. Those two year molars were almost three year molars.

Over the past year Ella has turned into such a kid. She’s not a toddler, she is full on preschooler now, going on 16. Fiercely independent, the most common phrase at our house is “I’ll do it all by myself.” This includes everything from picking out her clothes and getting dressed to getting her own cereal and milk and putting herself to bed at nap time. The only time she wants help is when she gets frustrated (i.e. throws a tantrum) and finally asks for help once she calms down.

She offers to help all the time. She often helps me make meals in any way she can. She sets the table for dinner and is in charge of feeding Lucky (her request). I think it’s great that she is starting to want to take on chores and is enjoying them. I didn’t expect that for several more years.

Tantrums have hit and they’ve hit hard. 95% of them are due to frustration. We’ve been working hard on using words to express emotion rather than tantrums. When she’s overtired, there is no help for any of us. We have to just let her calm down on her own. These are my least favorite part of this age.

Outside of the tantrums, she is very sweet. She’s quick to say I love you, give hugs and asks for cuddles. When I recently fell and skinned my elbow on a run (side note, I’m sure I looked like a total idiot) she gave it a kiss and immediately went to the bathroom for a band-aid, which she applied and asked if I needed ice. She then gave it another kiss and said “I’m so sorry you fell down and got hurt mommy. It will feel better soon because you have a band-aid and kisses.”

She is all about being a mommy right now. She carries her doll everywhere. She tells me often that when she’s a big kid (i.e. adult) that she is going to get married (sometimes it’s to daddy and sometimes Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid), and have two babies. When she goes to work she will pump so that she can leave mommy milk for her babies while they’re at school.

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Yep, she even nurses her baby. Mimicking behavior and language is going strong, which means we have to really make sure we’re not doing/saying anything we don’t want her to do.

She has developed strong emotional relationships with people other than us and isn’t shy about showing preferences. She is really loving Peter and Rachel who we see every weekend now that we live here. She adores her cousins and actually get excited to see family members. She loves making friends, but like me, feels shy initially and tends to quietly standby and watch kids play if she’s feeling excluded. It’s interesting seeing traits we’ve passed on in her.

Her communication skills are off the charts. I tried to get her on video telling you about herself but all I got was this:

We have clear, lengthy conversations with her – often that she’s started. People who aren’t around her often laugh at what comes out of her mouth. We were out and had to wait in line for a bathroom a few months ago, she calmly said “Mommy, the bathroom is occupied so we have to wait in line.” The woman in front of me turned around and said she’d never heard a toddler speak like that. She absorbs words and phrases like a sponge. It’s pretty amazing.

We’re now singing as well, especially songs from Frozen.

Of course she tells us that we are not allowed to sing the songs unless we’re wearing a skirt or dress. She likes to listen to the same songs over and over to learn the words. When we’re in the car she will tell us to turn up songs she likes (Katy Perry, Paramore, and Iggy Azalea are favorites at the moment) and off songs she doesn’t. Oh Ella.

We’ve been completely potty trained for about seven/eight months. After months with no accidents, we did see a spike when we moved. I think it was just a slight regression due to all the change. Outside of development some of her favorite things include: pink – still loving pink (so she’s really excited about her new room at our house), babies and princesses, skirts, dresses, tiaras – all princess, all the time.

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She also loves swimming, running, parks, playing with friends and her cousins, Anderson, and coloring. She will color for hours. She’s gotten pretty good and even stays in the lines for the most part. She is a character.

She’s grown and learned so much in the past six months since her last update I feel like I could write a book. I just cannot believe she is three years old!

Making of Memories

There is something about the smell of popcorn, cotton candy and handheld light up toys that brings memories from my childhood flooding back. On Saturday afternoon, Ella and I sat in our seats at a local events center, ready to be wowed by the 100 Years of Disney ice skating show. I scanned the audience, seeing random lights all around, kid scarfing down on popcorn and other treats, and instantly felt like a kid again. It brought back memories of attending the circus, begging to get one of those cheap toys and get all of the clowns’ autographs (obviously this was before Stephen King ruined clowns for me).

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As I stared off into the crowd, I started to wonder when she’ll start to form long term memories. What sounds, smells and sights will ignite fond childhood memories? Will she remember Disney on Ice, trips we take, special events or just random days that were special in their own way?

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I watched Ella’s eyes wide with wonder as she watched her favorite princesses and characters take the ice. She sat there mouth agape in amazement. It brought a huge smile to my face and I realized that whether or not she remembered that day fondly, it was totally worth the cost of admission, a coloring book and a souvenir cup of lemonade.

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