Tuesday, January 31, 2012

things to remember

Roman is 14 months, almost 15.

  • Walks/runs like a pro. He looks so little to be walking!
  • He loves LOVES his shoes and socks and gets so excited to put them on each morning. 
  • Still doesn't talk - we think his sister makes up for it. And he just may be the best charades player ever - he knows what he wants and can generally get his point across. He understands us very well, but just doesn't seem to be using any words. Once in a while a mamamamamama. Oh and his signature word "artz!" Sometimes it sounds like "orange", sometimes it sounds like "thats".
  • Although when he can't get his point across, he gets frustrated and might hit or bite or pull hair. boo! Working on that one, lots of little time-outs.
  • He is a clown and loves to be silly.
  • Loves to climb in and out of things, small boxes, chairs, etc.
  • He dances! Turns around in circles flapping his arms. Oh and he does kind of a shoulder shimmy thing.
  • He's a clever little guy - if you move something up out of his reach, he will likely drag something over and use it to climb up. 
Stella, 3.75 years old.
  • Has invented a super hero alter-ego named Rainbow Girl. Rainbow Girl rescues people and has "rainbow power". And sparkles. She saves the day. I might actually have to make her an outfit. Today at the park:
          S: "Hi"
          Me: "Hello"
          S: "I'm Rainbow Girl"
          Me: "Oh, well, hello, Rainbow Girl"
          S (pantomimes removing her mask): "It's actually me, Stella!"
  • Has started wearing all her hair bows at once. She does it herself, loves it and is so proud that I absolutely must let her go out like that. Independence is good.
  • Stella loves few things more than pretending to be a puppy. She will stay in character for hours.
  • She really wants a pet dinosaur.
  • Both kids spent a Thurs-Tues long weekend in SLC with their grandparents. Without us! Win-win-win.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christmas Cookies 2012

Here are the results of our fourth annual christmas cookie frost-off. Stephen's brother Jonathan and his family came over to help, and seeing as this was our fourth year, we sprung for some more advanced decorating tools. Bring on the tips!

Best Merry Christmas From Leningrad:

Best Goth Cookie:

Best Traditional Cookie:

Best Jimmy Buffett Cookie:

Best Cookie That Could Also Be A Tattoo:

The Salvadore Dali Award for Best Surrealist Cookie:

Best Protest Cookie (tie):

Best Undue Corporate Influence Cookie:

Best Minimalist  Cookie (the star):

Best Texture and Most Gratuitous Use Of Frosting:

Best Stone Age Cookie and Best 3D Cookie:

Best Protest Cookie (tie) and Best Cookie Incorporating Multiple Cookies:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

learning for me

There's something I've been thinking about for a while, and I thought it would be good to get it down in writing.
This has been a year of potty training struggles. We tried just about everything, including probably the stuff you're not supposed to try. Stickers, charts, m&ms, presents, short-term rewards, long-term rewards, you name it. And it is just so frustrating when you can't really see why it isn't working. My lovely aunt pointed out to me in July that Stella just really wasn't there yet. She knew how the process should go, but there were a few key things missing - she still wasn't using the right names for #1 vs #2, and she couldn't tell you when she needed to go. So basically I spent months running around trying to anticipate urination. And can I just say -- I never want to type those two words together again. And with a baby to juggle it was just incredibly frustrating for all of us. So in the end I backed off and we all thought everything would click when she went to school.

We had moved her from where she was last year (which we LOVED) in favor of getting her a little closer to home and a spot secured for elementary school. The new school was really not a good fit - they wanted only 100% potty trained kids. I met with the teacher before school started and told her exactly where we were to make sure things were going to work out. We were both hopeful that the routine of school plus the social aspect would help things click. And they did, a bit. But it wasn't long before the teacher told Stella that she couldn't come back to school again until she had this all down. She actually expected me to keep her home until she was accident-free.
That didn't feel right to me and it finally came down to this:
1. Stella loves school and is highly motivated to attend.
2. If she could have avoided being kicked out (she had 3 strikes), she would have.
3. Ergo, she couldn't have avoided it at this point.

It made absolutely no sense to punish her for this, much less by depriving her of school. I am horrified by the whole situation. We were able to get her back in her school from last year, with her old friends and teacher, all of whom were excited to have her back and they are so great with her.

ANYWAY - did not mean to give a potty diatribe, the point is that this has been hard. And stressful on us - and her - and then guilt-inducing since I feel like our choices put that negative pressure on her. I mean, if we never switched schools, NONE of this would have come up in this manner. I felt like we were making our daughter into a worrier. Someone even remarked that she is a worrier. Suddenly I was nervous in a whole other way - that we were causing our child such angst that her self-perception would be warped, she would become a chronic worrier, never able to move forward in life past the worry.

So I was a guilt-ridden, stressed out parent when again my lovely aunt enlightened me. (And since then I should note that Stella has really caught on to the potty training. She just did it in her own time.)

Are you ready? Here's the wisdom:

Our children are who they are. Their personalities are there from day one, they emerge in different ways as they grow up. You don't make a child into a worrier - they are a worrier or they aren't. And really, it doesn't matter, because our job as parents is not to make sure they don't end up as worriers (or whatever), our job is to help them (whoever they turn out to be) make their way in this world.

I realize that doesn't solve the potty challenges, but it does help me deal with it better.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


 Roman as Baby Elvis
 Stella as Rapunzel
Ghosts we made out of grocery bags

Halloween seemed more like its own season this year. I got an early start and made both of their costumes, including Rapunzel's hair. It was a lot of fun. I especially loved the challenge of Roman's jumpsuit. It needed to be something he could move in. And I don't know how, but he just really had the personality to really pull it off this year! We also carved our first jack-o-lantern. Lots of fun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

best day ever

How do you have the best day ever? Marry the love of your life and follow these steps.

  1. Stay married for 10 years.
  2. Drop your kids off at the mutual lovefest that is the grandparents' house. Add cousins.
  3. Drive to the sea.
  4. Stay in beautiful updated historic hotel on the sea. Sleep really well and wake up when you're ready.
  5. Go to the spa in the hotel and have breakfast of champagne and fruit.
  6. Relax
  7. Get facial.
  8. Relax some more. Enjoy a glass of champagne with the hubs.
  9. Get couple's massage.
  10. More champagne!
  11. Steam bath.
  12. Relax with some champagne.
  13. Decide to leave spa after five hours. Walk out feeling thin and healthy and gorgeous.
  14. Have late lunch at a greek place on the water.
  15. Try to see some tourist sights. But don't try too hard. Bonus points if you don't actually go in anywhere.
  16. Take nap.
  17. Borrow hotel's bikes and go for a nice long ride along the seawall.
  18. Stop for italian ice. Preferably passion fruit or mango.
  19. Ride back into the wind - a little challenge is good for you.
  20. Clean up, put on favorite little black dress and head to ArtWalk in the historic district. Look at artwork, talk to artists, drink the free wine and sangria. 
  21. Catch mardi gras beads from the party wagons. Souvenir shopping for the kids is done!
  22. Eat a fancy late dinner and enjoy time with husband. Congratulate yourself for good decision making. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

more to remember

Stella, almost 3 1/2:
  • Every day she is excited to tell me "today is my birthday and my princess cousins are coming over!" If pressed she will admit to it being her pretend birthday. But it's a lot like the Mad Hatter nonetheless.
  • She absolutely knows which parent to ask for things. She bragged to me once that "Daddy is a yes-boy. He says YES I can have apple juice upstairs, YES I can watch tv, he says YES to everything." I heard him say no to her and she said, "But Daddy, you're a YES-boy!" Lucky for us her strategy is pretty transparent. 
  • Stella made her own costume. My sister asked if she was a beekeeper. "No," she replied, "I'm a cucumber."
Roman, 10 months:
  • He sits on the floor and uses his legs to rotate in a perfect circle. It's very Homer Simpson-esque.
  • He's trying to communicate like Stella did, but in a totally different (monosyllabic) way. Bah! Phhshh!
  • He has 8 teeth and can stand up and clap his hands. He is so proud of himself and is about to take off walking.
  • He is just a funny happy baby. 
  • He loves to bonk things with his head. Like your head. Or any part of my body. Sometimes it is soft and sweet, but more often it is hard and bonky. I have seen stars more than once, and now when he may just be coming in for a nuzzle I find myself reflexively dodging. Sorry, kid.
  • I hear horrible thuds all too often as he explores our often hard-surfaced little world.

The two of them are absolutely thrilled to see each other every morning. Enjoying that while it lasts!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

summer recap

We once again escaped the worst of the Texas heat this summer. I am so grateful to have a flexible schedule that allows us to do this sort of thing - Stella and Roman and I left town for a whole month. Only downside was that we missed Stephen terribly, but luckily he was able to join us for the last 10 days. 

We went to Portland, Oregon and stayed with family there. My fab aunt & uncle basically let us take over their basement which was totally awesome. They have three boys between the ages of 9 and 16. Who would ever have thought that these boys would bond so much with a three year old and a baby? Stella just adores 'her boys' and had a ball. Roman learned all kinds of new things and got private coaching from the boys and my uncle. When we left town he was just getting stable sitting up on his own. When we came home he was cruising, crawling and pulling up like a pro.

We also tagged along to spend a few days in Sun River (near Bend). I just love Oregon, especially in the summers. Well, to be fair, that's the only time I go. But their summers are just marvelous. Everyone complains about the heat when it hits 80. Meanwhile Texas had one of the hottest summers on record - 110s and no relief in the evenings. It is such an amazing treat to go north and suddenly you can go outside again! I have lots of family in town and so it was a treat to catch up with aunts and uncles and cousins and create new bonds together - and help reinforce some old ones. 

Then we went to Salt Lake. My brother and sister-in-law graciously offered us room in their basement. God I love basements. So wish we had them here! I read once that you can actually have a basement in Texas, it's just that so many people think you can't that no one builds them - thinking they won't sell. 

We had a ball catching up with family and friends. My sister-in-law was off for the summer so we got lots of time with her and Kaia. I loved seeing my sister and finally meeting her boyfriend. Good times with cousins and kids of cousins, aunts uncles, etc. We saw a live, outdoor, sing-a-long production of The Sound Of Music at Sundance. It was a ball. It's one of Stella's favorites and she was excited to know the words and music.

We had quality time at the cabin in Wyoming. New additions include a real-life tipi. That place is kid heaven! Stella loved making smores and named them "hot cookies", which is pretty fun to say out loud. Jenny upped the ante by making them on dark chocolate-coated granola thins. Mmm.

We did the first ever (perhaps annual?) Mandala campout. My aunt and cousins Lydia, Emma and Will came with us, and my grandma came for the day. We just did an overnight, easy campout. All food was cooked on the fire, if at all. Will brought his homemade potato cannon which was pretty freaking impressive. Stella wanted to go on a bear hunt. I was a bit obsessed with having pillows there.

We came home and it was still hot. In fact, the whole state was on fire. I think we were right to leave! Hoping to make this an annual tradition. August in Texas is just unbearable. But we are glad to be home, and now working on establishing a "normal" routine after 4 weeks of travel.