Sunday, February 27, 2011

A new day for Harper

My new years resolution was to start attending church more regularly.  Part of what had kept us from going was the fact that I knew Harper would have a difficult time being left in the nursery.  However, I decided that she was old enough to start being left and that I couldn't make any more excuses.  The first few times she cried like crazy, clung onto me for dear life and I had to leave her crying hysterically.  I felt guilty, but kept reminding myself that it was good for her (and of course for me).  I've even tried bribery (candy) without any luck.  Most times when I've picked her up she's been fine, but the drop-off was still hard.  Every time I ask her if she had fun she would say no.  I knew that this would help her to be ready for school this fall and I knew that being in the worship service was important to me so we kept it up.  

Well, today was a new day!  I'm not above bribery and did promise her candy if she did well today.  To my surprise, she actually walked into the room by herself (instead of me having to pull her off of me and hand her over to the teacher).  She turned around to look at me and started getting teary, but just then the teacher called her name and she went running to her to be picked up and comforted.  I left with her looking like she was going to start crying, but I could not believe it had gone so easy this morning.  When I picked her up an hour later she was happy and so excited to tell me she played outside today and didn't cry!  She also promptly asked for her candy. :-)  I was SO proud of her and she was SO proud of herself.  The whole ride home she kept saying "No cry!" and was smiling from ear to ear while enjoying her Pez.  I'm hoping this trend continues and that she can enjoy her time in her class so that we can enjoy our time at church too. 

Promptly after this picture was taken we all changed into shorts, which was a very big deal in our house.  Handley tells me everyday that she doesn't like cold weather and can't wait for summer.  She and Harper were both super excited to have bare legs today and I was so excited about the warm weather that I spent most of the afternoon washing and organizing their spring/summer clothes.  I know it's premature, but at least next time we have a 75+ degree day, I'll be prepared instead of having to run to the basement to look for something for them to wear.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"The Guy"

I'm sure most of you have probably seen what we call "The Guy." He is usually standing on street corners, dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume and advertising for a tax preparation company.  In January, when he first appeared at one of the major intersections by our house, Harper loved to point at him and comment on his dancing.  As we drove off she kept asking about the "guy" and wanted to see him more.  I'd forgotten about the guy until we were sitting at the red light of that same intersection a few days later.  I was lost in my own thoughts until all of the sudden from the back seat I hear, "GUY!!!!" and when I looked back I saw Harper smiling from ear to ear and pointing out the window at the guy.  

Since that day she has been obsessed with the guy.  I mean, really obsessed.  I'm not kidding when I say that one day after we passed the guy she spent the next HOUR asking about him.  "Guy?  See more?  More dancing?  Guy?"  I kept telling her that we'd see him again next time, but that wasn't good enough.  She wanted to see him right then and there.  

Sometimes when we pass by she needs some sort of explanation as to why we can't see him more.  I'll tell her that he's eating his lunch or getting ready to go night-night, depending on what time of day it is.  She gets so tickled thinking about him doing those things.  When we are getting close to that intersection Handley will prepare Harper and tell her to start looking out the window for him.  It's so funny and cute how excited they get!  We were lucky enough to see several of those guys when we were visiting my parents last week.  Harper even spotted a Statue of Liberty drawing in a magazine Handley had and came running to show me a picture of the guy.  Sometimes when we are no where near the intersection Harper will ask about him.  I don't know what we'll do when tax season is over, but for now we enjoy seeing "the guy" every chance we can.  

I snapped this with my phone today and zoomed in a lot so you can actually see him. 

Our drive home from my parents on Thursday was better than I could have imagined.  The girls did SO well in the car and I was very pleasantly surprised that they both stayed entertained and happy the entire 7 hours.  They were very excited to see Robby that evening and stayed up late being silly and playing with him.

Today we stayed on the go all day.  It started with Harper and I joining Robby and Handley for their special Saturday breakfast at Chick-fil-a.  Then it was a quick stop by Home Depot to pick up paint for the nursery.  The girls thought that was lots of fun and came out of there holding more paint color samples than I'm sure one person is allowed.  Thankfully the lady behind the paint counter thought they were cute and didn't seem to mind.  Handley told us she was going to do an art project with hers and Harper just liked the Mickey Mouse shaped Disney color samples.  After that it was on to Gigi and Papa's house to visit for lunch and pick up Sydney.  They were kind enough to let her stay with them for the week while I was out of town and while Robby was busy with work.  This afternoon we got to play outdoors in the beautiful weather and enjoyed dinner with friends at Jen and Justen's house tonight.  It was a great way to start our weekend and we look forward to another amazing day of warm weather tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mama to Mommy

Harper has always called me Mama, but this week she started testing out Mommy and it seems to have stuck.  It sounds funny to hear that coming out of her mouth, but I guess I should get used to it.  The other transition she seems to have made is from a strong-willed, outgoing, and sometimes stubborn toddler into a full-fledged terrible-two toddler.  She's testing every limit, trying to be defiant, asserting her independence and pushing all the boundaries.  When I don't give in to her antics she screams, pitches a fit, and melts down.  As I told my mom, I'm going to have to put her in her place real soon because although I know this phase will pass, I'd like it to pass sooner than later.  I'll tell you one thing though, I sure do wish I could have a glass of wine right now.  As my grandmother told me tonight after spending a few hours with us, "I bet you are tired at night."  She's right, I am.

Today we had a jam-packed day.  After gathering some more cute accessories for Hudson's nursery we met my dad for lunch at the pizza place my brother works at.  Handley was SO excited to see Cameron at work and loved the fact that he was going to cook her pizza.  She is usually not a great eater and has to be convinced to eat more than a few bites of her meals.  However, today she ate every single bite of her piece of pizza.  She told me that she knew Cameron would be happy that she ate all of her lunch.

This afternoon we got to see Paxton for a while and Handley followed him around the whole time.  She has a major crush on him and it was so cute to see them playing together.  Harper was also pretty fond of  playing with him.

Other highlights of today included me finally finding the perfect nursery fabric at the 7th fabric store I had checked and getting to helping my cousin, Brookes, learn to sew and complete her first project.  We ended our day having Cameron and grandmother over to have dinner with us.  Handley was excited to show Memaw how to play her Leapster, while Harper loved toting around a bag and climbing up into her lap every few minutes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Customers in Training

Handley has "winter break" this week.  Because she was out of school for a week we decided to come back to North Carolina with my mom to visit for a few days.  The 7 hour ride here yesterday went surprisingly well.  They usually do well in the car, but the last time we drove home from here the last 2 hours were miserable. Granted, I was by myself so there wasn't a whole lot I could do to entertain them and the movies/toys we had with us had already served their purpose for the first 5 hours.  This drive was nice because my mom was able to turn around and help keep them entertained.

This morning we ran a few errands, stopped at several fabric stores to search for the perfect nursery fabric (which I have yet to find) and made a quick stop by the grocery store.  At the Harris Teeter grocery store near my parents house they have these adorable kid-sized shopping carts with little flags attached that read "Customer in Training." Since we were only going to be picking up a few things I let each of the girls push their own cart.  I could not stop laughing.  They were so stinkin' cute!  Both girls felt so big and absolutely LOVED having their own carts to put the items in.  Now, while it was the most adorable idea in the world, I could NEVER actually let them do this on a regular basis if the stores near us had kid carts.  It would take me at least twice as long to get through the store because Harper kept picking up random stuff off the shelves and putting it in her cart.  I also wouldn't be able to concentrate on my own shopping list because she can't quite steer or control the cart that well, but of course she doesn't want any help.  Today she ran into every display we came near and we had several near misses with other shoppers too.  Thankfully everyone else thought they looked cute too and didn't mind having to steer clear of the cart heading towards them.

The rest of our day was spent enjoying the amazing weather outside while the girls ate popsicles and ran around.  Harper and I also snuck in a nap.  I wasn't planning on napping with her today, but after she spent an hour in her crib and wasn't going to sleep I decided to go check on her.  She'd taken her diaper off (second time this has happened in a week) so I thought if I layed down with her she might actually go to sleep instead of playing.  Turns out while I was dosing off and on in the bed she was beside me playing peek-a-boo under the covers, messing with my hair, and doing anything she could to keep herself from going to sleep.  After threatening to put her back in the crib for the umpteenth time, she finally drifted off.

Tonight, my brother Cameron came over for dinner and it was so sweet to hear Handley repeatedly tell him, "I love you, Cameron."  She's such a sweetie.  She has also had an increasing interest the past few weeks to "read" and spell everything in sight.  I LOVE that her pre-reading skills are emerging on their own and that she is so into letters right now.  One of her favorite things to do is name the beginning sounds and letters of objects and people around us.  Tonight at dinner she was sounding out (with help) and spelling (on her own) one syllable words like dog, dad, mom, Cam (Cameron), cat, and pup (puppy).  Tonight as I was tucking her in she kept asking to spell "just one more word" we did. :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mimi is here!

My mom is in town this week and we couldn't be more excited to have her here.  The girls have been wanting me to do nothing for them and would prefer for "Mimi" to do it all.  Handley even insisted that I stay in the car this morning at school so that Mimi could walk her in all by herself.  I've enjoyed her being here, not only for the company, but also because it has allowed me to get a lot of things checked off my to-do list.

We have been enjoying this awesome weather by spending lots of time outdoors.  I've got major spring fever now and can't wait until this warm weather sticks around for good.  Handley is ready too because she keeps asking if she can wear nothing on her legs.  Her dislike of tights has worn off on Harper because now she is protesting when I try to dress her in them.

This afternoon we spent a while at the neighborhood playground.  Both Handley and Harper were thrilled to see their friends there and loved being able to run around outdoors with no coats on.  I wish I had a video camera rolling as Harper was saying goodbye to Dylan.  With both hands she grabbed a hold of his face, tilted her head, and went in for a BIG smooch.  The funny thing was that she wasn't satisfied with just one kiss so she kept following him around and kissing him again and again.  We were all cracking up and thankfully Dylan didn't seem to mind too much.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today was Handley's Valentine's Day party at school and I was excited to get to go into her class.  She loves when I can come to school with her and loves it even more when it's just the two of us.  Thankfully, my friend/neighbor Sheila was able to babysit Harper for me so that I could give all my attention to Handley.

Harper was thrilled with the idea of going to Sheila's and being about to play with Addyson.  She always has a lot of fun there and Sheila thinks of such great things to keep them entertained.  Today they decorated cookies with frosting and sprinkles, played outside, had lunch and lots of other fun things.  Harper was happy to be able to bring her backpack and her lunchbox and went straight in and started playing with Addyson.  She waved goodbye to me without any protest, so I was off and headed to Handley's school.

The school party included a lunch of fruit, Chick-fil-a nuggets, and the most adorable heart-shaped cheese. They also had cupcakes for dessert.  After all the kids were done with lunch it was time for the games and crafts.  I had planned two crafts for them to do and a few games.  The kids loved the "pin-the-heart" game, but the Valentine ring-toss was the clear favorite amongst this bunch.  (I purchased it from Oriental trading last year before Handley's 2-year-old party thinking I could use it each year for the kids' class parties.  So far it has proven to be a great purchase.)

On the ride home Handley loved looking at all the Valentine's she got from her classmates and especially checking out what kind of candy she got.  This afternoon we had plans to meet our friends Erica, Grace and Bonnie at the playground so we could enjoy the 60+ degree weather.   As we were getting ready to leave I agreed to let Handley bring a box of conversation hearts with her.  Harper, not to be left out, also got a little baggie of hearts.  I overheard Handley telling Harper that she was bringing hers so that she could share them with Grace at the playground.  She asked Harper if she was going to share her hearts with Bonnie and her response was, "MINE."  Then I heard Handley say, "Harper, sharing is a part of love and you love Bonnie so you should share your heart candy with her."  Harper's response was again, "MINE."  I'll have you know that she did not let those hearts out of her hot-little-hands until every last one was gone, but she was eager to share some graham crackers with Bonnie. :-)

Harper ran up to Bonnie as soon as she saw her and they both hugged.  So sweet!

Handley and Grace enjoyed playing on the slides, climbing on the monkey bars, running around the tennis courts and playing their version of hop-scotch.

 Since Robby was working late I ended up getting some take-out steak and salmon for us so we could enjoy a Valentine's Day dinner after the girls were in bed and after he got home.  It was a great way to end Valentine's Day 2011.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kite-Flying day

We had a great day.  It started with Robby and Handley's first daddy/daughter breakfast date.  He's been talking about starting this tradition with her for sometime and today was the day.  She was so excited and couldn't get out the door fast enough this morning.  She had her very first taste of Waffle House and loved it.

Next, we all spend the morning running errands and getting a few things checked off our to-do list before heading home for lunch and a non-existent nap. Harper, who is not ready to give up her nap, has been trying to do just that.  Out of the past 6 days she napped 2 of them.  The other days she hangs out in her crib for about an hour just playing, singing, and doing anything she can to keep herself awake including calling "MAMA!!!!" over and over and over.  When I finally go in and get her I ask her why she didn't go to sleep and she just shrugs her shoulders, smiles and says, "I don't know." Handley stopped napping consistently by the time she was about 18 months old, and she was fine without a nap.  To this day, she still "rests" and watches tv or a movie so that she can have some downtime, but she rarely got fussy or cranky in the evenings.  Harper, on the other hand, is not ok with a nap.  What's happening is that she knows Handley is on the couch watching a movie and wants to be right there with her.  However, Harper does get cranky, fussy, grumpy and any other word you can think of to describe a tired kid without a nap.  I'm hoping this phase passes and she goes back to taking her great 2 hour naps.  I'm certainly not going to give up that easily.

This afternoon we took advantage of the sunshine and spent sometimes outdoors.

It was pretty windy and it turned out to be a great kite-flying day.  Handley had so much fun flying her kite and would have kept doing it all day if we didn't have to head indoors to get ready for our dinner plans with the Atkinsons.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On the verge of potty training...

Last night before bath time, Harper took off her diaper, ran into Handley's room to grab a pair of her panties.  She put them on (with some help), ran around like a crazy fool, and laughed like crazy.  She was SO excited to have them on and was just beside herself.  I was able to get a quick picture with my phone before she was off again.  

Doesn't she look so proud? :-)

She has been showing an interest in the potty for sometime now and I feel like she is really showing a lot of readiness signs.  I did a boot-camp type potty training with Handley just after her 2nd birthday and it worked like a charm. I'm planning to do something similar with Harper, but my only problem is I need to find a few uninterrupted days at home to do it and that is just hard when our schedules are so busy. However, I'm ready to make it my mission to carve out a few days that I can commit to being at home then I plan to go ahead and say goodbye to diapers.  I'm just thinking how wonderful it would be to have this done before Hudson arrives this summer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A boy for sure! (and other random stuff)

Lots of stories to share in this post, but first I want to share that I had another doctor's appointment this morning and my doctor was 100% sure we were having a boy!  Hudson Zachary will be his name and we couldn't be more excited.  I showed Handley the ultrasound pictures when I picked her up from school this afternoon and she told me it looked like I had a frog in my belly instead of a baby.  Ha!

On Monday I signed both girls up for school for next year.  Handley will be in Pre-K (which is so hard for me to believe because my very first teaching job was teaching Pre-K) and will be in school 5 days a week!  I really wish there was a 4 day option because I'm not quite ready to have her gone every single day.  Harper will be in the 2 year old class and will be going 3 days a week.  Part of me felt guilty for putting her in the 3 day class since I only had Handley in the 2 day class when she was 2.  However, I just know that with Handley going everyday that Harper would be bored out of her mind at home and once she adjust to being in school she's going to love it.  I told Harper I signed her up for school and she put on her most pitiful face and said, "no school...mama" meaning that she wants to stay home with me.  Ha!

Yesterday we spent the majority of the day at home.  I was able to clean and do laundry while the girls pretended to go to Kindergarten, have a sleep over, and take an airplane trip.  Last week when we were flying home from Colorado we were sitting the the row directly behind first class.  Handley asked me why those people (meaning the ones in first class) got special drinks and snacks.  I explained to her that they had paid more money for their tickets than we had and that is why they got those things.  While I was cleaning she came to me with some play money from her cash register and told me excitedly that she paid extra money so she got to sit in the front of the plane and have coffee.  :-)  A little bit later it was awfully quiet so I went to check on them.  They were both in the bathroom, sitting on their respective potties and Handley told me that they were still on the airplane and that they were "squeezed in tight" because it was a really small airplane bathroom. I think it's so funny the things they focus on and remember about experiences.

Yesterday afternoon we went to our playgroup's Valentine party. Handley was so excited because this is the first year she had written her name on each of her Valentine's and couldn't wait to pass them out.  Not only did we exchange Valentine's, but the kids also got to play a few games, have some treats, and make Valentine cards for their dads.  When we got home it was a sugar rush!  They were both so excited to rip into the cards and find all the candy.

All the kid's boxes

Working hard on her card

You can tell Harper was not happy about having her picture made

Aren't these the cutest? My friend Christy is an amazing baker and always makes the kids their own cookies for each holiday.  She is so talented because not only do they look good, but they taste GREAT and are the softest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted.  

This precious little one is really starting to show her stubborn side. I know it's part of her getting older, trying to assert her independence, and approaching two.  Most of the time I just have to laugh because I've been here before and even though she thinks she is so big, I know that I'm going to win. :-)

The other day we were in the playroom and while I was helping Handley with her Valentine's Harper was making a huge mess (dumping out everything possible) while she played.  When we were getting ready to go downstairs I asked her to pick up the magnets and put them back into the basket she had dumped them from.  She looked at me and said, "NO...mama" meaning that she wanted me to do it. I calmly told her she needed to clean them up and she started protesting. Handley helped me clean up the rest of the playroom without one complaint, while Harper continued to pout over the magnets she didn't want to clean up.  Finally Handley went over and told her, "I'll help you clean them up won't take long at all and then we can go downstairs" but she still didn't budge.  I told Handley to leave some for Harper to do and she did.  After a few warnings, Handley and I proceeded to head downstairs and as soon as I opened the gate to head down Harper lost it!  The whole saga went on about 10 minutes and she finally gave in and put the 5 magnets that were left on the floor in the basket and came downstairs with us.  Handley asked her her, "That wasn't so bad, was it?" and then she turned to me and said, "Mommy, do you appreciate me when I'm being helpful since Harper is being grumpy?" I told her I appreciate her VERY much and don't know what I'd do without her help around here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

We're home!

We made it home from Colorado yesterday and I was so happy to finally be here.  Getting through the airport with two big car seats, 4 suitcases, 2 laptop bags, 1 camera bag, the girls backpacks, my diaper bag and a stroller was a sight to see.  As soon as we landed we hit the ground running.  We went straight to dinner to celebrate our friend, Brian's, 30th birthday.  Today we had another birthday party to attend and then went to visit Jen, Justen and Parker.  Handley has been looking forward to this day all week and was SO excited to finally get to see him in person.  She was so sweet and asked a million questions.  Jen, being the laid back first time mother that she is, let Handley hold him right away and she was not giving him up.  Every time I'd ask her if she was done holding him she would quickly say no and say that she'd like to hold him a little longer.  He snoozed away while we passed him around and even Harper got a turn.

Handley liked to inform us that Parker was smiling at her, moving his arms around and "dancing" to the music on his bouncy seat.  She probably told me at least 15 times that Parker was "so cute."  Harper was pretty interested in him too.  She wasn't the least bit jealous when I was holding him, but liked to confirm that Jen was his Mommy and Justen was his Daddy.  Just so we all had that straight.  Seeing the girls with him made me even more excited about adding our little guy to the family this summer.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our escape to the outdoors

Since we've spent practically the past 48 hours indoors I had plenty of time to plan my escape to the great outdoors.  That escape plan included a walk to the village, me pulling the girls in a wagon, and a stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for one of their famous caramel apples covered in M&M's.  I've been talking to Handley about getting one of these caramel apples since we got here earlier this week and it's something we've both been looking forward to.  When I was younger, my family came here skiing and those apples were always a favorite treat of mine.

Harper ready to go
After a quick stop by the buffalo, we made it to the Chocolate Factory and just like I remember from years ago, there was a giant teddy bear sitting outside.  Handley wanted her picture taken with him, but Harper did not.

When I showed Handley the apples she was a little disappointed that they didn't have any of the M&M ones, but rather more gourmet looking choices.  That disappointment didn't last long when the girls both discovered white-chocolate dipped marshmallows with sprinkles and decided that was what they wanted for their treat.  I was fine with that since the apples are about $8 each and these were only $0.99 each.

Neither of the girls were to interested in playing at the slides or the little house today, so after walking around a bit more, we all decided we were cold and headed back to the condo to wait for Daddy, Gigi and Papa to come home for lunch.  Thankfully, they were right behind us and we didn't have to wait long.  After lunch the girls enjoyed their marshmallow treats and Handley got bundled again to head out and ski with Robby this afternoon.
Being silly and trying on Gigi's ski gear

I gave Helen my flip video when Robby took Handley out so that I could at least have a few videos of her skiing.  They went through Riparoo's forest (a little kids terrain area) and even though Robby is the one doing most of the work, I'm still so proud of how much fun Handley is having and how well she is doing on skis.  Here's the link to the video:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Too cold

Yesterday and today have been miserably cold.  Like a high of -1 yesterday kind of cold.  You read that right, it wasn't  31, or even 21, or even 1 degree outside.  A high of negative 1 means most of the day the temperatures were in the negative double digits.  Our crew all decided it was not worth getting frostbite to go skiing so everyone took the day off.  Rylan's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and we had planned to celebrate with him while we were all out here.  To get out of the house we walked to the village for a birthday lunch out and then came back to have cake and let Rylan open presents.

The rest of the day was spent trying to come up with activities to keep the kids (and us) from going stir crazy.  Thankfully, the kids are pretty oblivious to the fact that we hardly saw the light of day and had lots of fun playing with Rylan's new toys.  Another thing they look forward to every evening is getting on their PJ's and meeting back in the living room to cuddle up with Gigi to read stories.

Today's temperatures haven't been much better.  I believe they predicted a high of between 3-7 degrees.  Robby, his brother and his parents braved the weather for a little while, but came in after a few runs.  Most everyone else here has had the same idea because the usual very busy hill outside our condo has been bare with only a skier here and there all day today and yesterday.

This morning I decided I'd have to get creative to keep the kids entertained indoors again all day.  We started with building a fort, played several rounds of games, made things with play dough, and had fun trying on Gigi's shoes.

While they were doing all of that I did laundry and starting cooking dinner to keep from getting too bored.  Sounds like a grand old time, huh?  Helen offered to watch the girls so I could get out and do something, but there really isn't anything to do so I decided to just smile, make the most of these indoor days, and start dreaming of spring and summer temperatures.

Handley really wanted to ski today, but there was no way we could let her out in those frigid temperatures.  Thankfully, the next two days here are supposed to be at least 20-30 degrees warmer and will make for much better skiing conditions for everyone (and better walking around the village conditions for me). :-)