Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

So here we are again, bidding farewell to another year. And what a year it has been!
It started off with us putting our house on the market. Four months later, almost five years to the day we offered on the house, we accepted an offer. It wasn't quite what we hoped for, but it allowed us to move onward if not upward. More like a side-shuffle.
In August we bid a teary farewell to our first home together (okay, maybe only I cried...) and to our two cats, who were going to spend some time with my parents while we crashed with Blue's parents (cue bawling re: cats).
We closed five years to the day we closed buying it. Fitting. Huge sigh of sad relief.
And here we are, four months later, all surviving our new digs with all the patience and grace we can muster. And while my stepdad seems to enjoy caring for the cats, I know he is battling allergies too. And my mom misses her plants, which are enjoying their study abroad programs at her sisters' houses around the corner. And while my inlaws always welcome us upstairs, I am sure they miss having their space to themselves.
So today I filled out some pre-qualification forms with various banks and have started answering fun financial questions, a month sooner than planned. We are ready to move onward and finally upward. The kids need their own rooms and a playspace bigger than a closet. I need office space for my freelance work (had a fantastic year there!). We need a house again. So 2015 will be the year of the house!
This year I also got a new job (again), back in publishing. That part has been fantastic, as has the much much shorter commute. I do miss horribly the kind and funny people I worked with. Happy hour must be arranged in 2015!
2015 is also going to be the year I lose 31 pounds, as I am 31 now, and why not? It'll get me back to my wedding weight. I do so want to be a good example for the kids. So wish me luck there!
I think that's it. The kids are great, and hilarious, and awesome. I owe you all Nora's two year letter, I know. Hard to find time lately...
Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Letter to Indigo at Two Years Old

Dear Indigo,

My, how time flies when you're having fun. Or when you are sleep deprived. Either way, here we are. You are two years old. Twenty-four months. 730 days. And not a baby anymore. You are a little boy, in love with trucks and school buses and dinosaurs. You rock a pink fedora and love pushing the pink and white pony toy around Nonno and Nonna's house. You are confident and loving and your laugh is definitely one of the best in the world. "Bubble Guppies" is your favorite tv show, and you love to dance when they sing.

I can't even list your vocabulary any more -- you pick up new words on what seems like a daily basis. When I walk through the door after work you turn around in your booster seat and your face lights up and you shout, "Mommy's here!" and then you point to the seat next to you and say, "Sit, mommy!" And Lord help anyone else who tries to sit there, in "Mommy's chair." Everyone has assigned seating, chosen by you and Periwinkle. You both love your routines, the familiarity of dinner at Nonna's table, with daddy in his chair, and mommy in hers, and everyone else settled appropriately. Dinner with milk, and then a cookie. Sometimes two.

You still resist going to sleep some nights, but there are more stretches of "easy" evenings, where Daddy and I get to eat before 9pm. Glorious evenings.

You are opinionated, refusing to brush your teeth until I threaten to use your toothbrush myself. You want to carry your own bag into daycare. You proudly lead me to the classroom door every morning, helping silly mommy who just can't seem to remember where it is.

You shout excitedly when we drive past school buses, letting me know, "Mommy, bus! Look there, mommy! Bus!" And then we drive away, and you sweetly ask, "More bus, Mommy?" as if I can make them materialize out of thin air. Luckily, the town usually comes through with at least one more bus as we drive along. Phew.

You still have a bit of a temper, an abrupt shift from my snuggly, sweet boy into a frustrated mess of emotion, and your go-to action is to bite. Sometimes you think it's funny and bite even when you aren't mad. If you try to bite your sister, she gets such a superior tone to her voice as she tells you, "No bite, Inno! Not nice!" It's kind of adorable, but please stop trying to bite her. Remember, angry dinosaurs can stomp and shout, but they never hurt other people. One of these days that will sink in. We are trying to help you express your anger and frustration in other ways, and you KNOW "No bite!" but you still don't always follow that rule. You, like all of us, are a work in progress.

You have had many successes on the potty, but we aren't pushing that too hard. It's fantastic when you lead me to the bathroom and then actually GO though. School is working with you on potty training, too, which is great. One of these days you'll get there! I'm just so proud that you are trying. I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to you both being out of diapers. So is my wallet.

You've been at your new daycare for two months now, and you are doing amazing. We have been told so many times how polite you both are, saying "Please" and "Thank you" without being prompted. Such a little man! You play with trucks nicely with your new friends, help clean up, and enjoy all the arts and crafts you do there. Last week you made a scarecrow, which you proudly show me every morning. I picked up your school pictures today, and was blown away by how mature you look.

They say we're entering the "terrible twos" but I have to say, you are at my favorite stage thus far (of course, I've said that at every stage thus far...). You are fun and funny, and we can have actual conversations. You are just starting to use your imagination, which makes playing with you so new and exciting. You are helpful and thoughtful, asking "Okay, Mommy?" if I seem upset and giving hugs all the time. Thankfully, you are still my snuggle bear.

Basically, I love you, little man. Now and always. Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ketchup and Lies

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, but it still seems like it came out of nowhere. One day, they were eating almost everything I put in front of them. The next day, everything required ketchup.

Their future.
And I do mean EVERYTHING.

Roasted chicken? "Ketchup?" No big deal.

Cauliflower? "More ketchup!" I can handle this.

Beef stew? "No! Want ketchup!" Excuse me while Mommy suppresses the urge to vom under the table.

Some sliced grapes? "Ketchup, mommy!" My stomach literally turned at this one, a real-life horror straight out of the book If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond, which mentions finding out "you like ketchup with your grapes." Who knew it was a real thing? And can we never do that again, please?

I wouldn't mind so much if they weren't starting to scoop the ketchup straight into their mouths, bypassing the nutritious food entirely. We've now taken to dribbling the ketchup on top of the food to ensure they eat something other than lycopene and sodium for dinner.

And yesterday on the way to daycare I caught Periwinkle offering her stuffed bunny "More ketchup, Bunny?" Adorable, right?

On a related note, I'm now lying to my children with regularity. They will eat pasta only if you assure them that the red sauce on top is ketchup. Also, all meat is known as "chicken" because that is all Periwinkle "likes." Don't tell her she's recently had salmon, beef, pork, and ham, if you'd be so kind. I'm not sure she could handle the shock.

What do you mean this isn't ketchup?

And they now refer to spaghetti as "pizza" and meatballs as "robots." Indigo requesting "More bobots, mommy?" is perhaps the cutest thing in the world. I claim no part in these mistakes -- they are all them.

However, Periwinkle referring to a stuffed lion as her "binosaur" is definitely my fault. Their recent obsession with dinosaurs has led to some serious tiffs over Indigo's red dino he got for his first birthday, and which is suddenly THE toy after a year of being ignored. So the lion has an identity crisis now.

Don't judge me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chatty Peri

While Indigo can speak, and does when he wants to, Periwinkle is by far the chattier of the two. And by chattier, I mean won't shut up. It's wonderful and sweet and hilarious.

In the morning we get some sort of variation of, "Mommy, where are you? Daddy coming? Indigo, wake up! Daddy, where are you?" in her sweet baby voice. Then she takes roll call of her toys: "Baby? Bunny? Monkey? Blanket?" and then an announcement of "No poopie!" as we start changing her diaper. Sometimes she lies.

Another cute exchange occurred this weekend. Her cousin, who is a few months younger than the babies, ran up to her with his arms outstretched. I'm pretty sure he was going for a hug, but instead he knocked her on her butt. She wasn't hurt, just stunned. She stood up, ran to me for protection, looked back at her cousin, and said reproachfully, "No push!" Ten minutes or so later he approached again, wanting to play, offering a toy to her. She very strongly said, "No push!" again and ran away from him. Girl holds a grudge! We'll see how she acts next time we see him!

She also enjoys telling the cats off. White Cat will be eating his dinner and she runs up, "No, no, no, Boomah!" Actually, yes, yes, yes, he is allowed to eat in peace, kiddo.

Peri likes being helpful, as well. She'll willingly throw away dirty diapers (tightly wrapped up, of course!), asking permission with an "Away?" and then "Thank you!" Yup, she thanks us for the privilege of tossing dirty diapers, although she has started to shy away from #2 ones.

They also have a favorite movie these days. I'll give you one guess.... you're right! It's "Frozen"! It's the first thing they've ever sat through in its entirety, mesmerized. They know it quite well by this point, and Periwinkle often requests "Let It Go?", which is her name for the movie. She tries to sing along, too.

Like I said, she's chatty, and smart, and funny. I can't wait to see what she says next! Although I do wish she'd quiet down sometimes to let her brother take control of the conversation!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Letter to Indigo at 18 Months

My Little Man,

Sometimes I worry that you think your name is "Buddy" because we've called you that so much. We've been searching for a nickname for you since you were born. My first idea got shot down after a few weeks, but luckily your sister has come up with something adorable that we are all calling you now. I'd love it if you tried saying her name more often, just so we can hear how cute it sounds.

Right now you mainly just yell, "Elmo!" a lot. You are obsessed. You hear the song for "Elmo's World" and you get so excited. One time I thought you were going to jump out of the bathtub when it came on. And heaven help us if we try to bring you up to bed while "Elmo's World" is on!

We got you both little Elmo stuffed animals when we took away your pacifiers. I hoped it would be a worthy substitute, having your BFF hanging out with you in your crib. Boy, was I wrong. I feel absolutely horrible listening to you cry at night. You cycle up and down, upset and calm, each time making me think that you will now fall asleep. You are trying so hard to fall asleep, but you haven't learned to self-soothe yet, so it takes you over an hour. Periwinkle will cry with you for a little while because you are keeping her awake, and then she somehow drifts off into sound sleep while you are still going. But before she does, she tries to comfort you, rubbing your back and saying your name calmly. She loves you and just wants to help you. Can you help her and try to be calm as you are falling asleep?

Sometimes I take you out of the room to give you a break. We'll pull up the blinds in our bedroom and show you the cars going by. You love watching cars. When we're in the car and another one drives past, you say, "Car!" in this little voice full of wonder. I think they make you happy. This probably makes your great-grandpa happy, because he LOVES cars.

After this little interlude, and sometimes going downstairs for some milk if you are SUPER worked up, you'll go back into your crib and fall asleep. I'm not sure if you just need reassurance that mommy and daddy are still nearby, or if you're playing us because you know we'll come back, or if you just need more time to learn how to fall asleep without a pacifier... but I hope you get over it soon! Sometimes we don't get to eat dinner until after 8:30pm! But seriously, it makes me sad to hear you cry, and I hope you get better at bedtime soon, for your own sake. Sleep is wonderful. Trust me.

Besides our nighttime struggles, you have been a wonderful, sweet little boy. You still love snuggling, when you're not trying to con us into giving you more pretzels, or opening and closing doors, or trying to make a break for it out the front door so you can run around "ow-side." Sometimes you stand in the front doorway and watch the boys next door playing basketball, and I know you really want to go play with them. You love playing in the little house in the backyard, mainly interested in opening and closing the door and shutters and pushing the little doorbell. I love that you're so engaged with it.

I love watching you explore new toys, completely concentrating on how they work and what you can do with them. You and your sister quietly played with a new stacking train for almost an hour, without making a peep. It was fantastic! You shared, and took turns, and divvied up the toy, like such a big boy and girl! I was so proud of you. I love when you share, which sometimes you don't want to do. You get upset and sometimes hit and bite, especially at daycare. We are working on you finding other ways of saying, "I'm mad!" and I know you'll get there soon. When you are little you just don't know how to express how you feel. You don't even know how to know what you feel. Periwinkle sometimes just shrieks and throws food when she's frustrated she can't get out of her chair. I'm sure mommy and daddy did the same thing when we were little. It's okay. We'll work through it!

You are also a very helpful little boy. We ask you to bring your sister's lovey or sippy cup, and you trot right over with it. You shove it in her face, drop it, and walk away, but the intent to help is there. You are very chatty when you want to be, and very quiet when you want to be. You remind me of your uncle (my brother) in that regard. Your crazy reddish-brown curls remind me of him too, although the curls could also come from daddy's side. Your nonno and Zio Pippo have curly hair too. All I know is that I love it. You had such short hair for so long, and now it's growing and curling and it's pretty amazing.

Everything about this age is amazing. You make such fun, silly faces and laugh with such pure joy, I wish I could just exist in that moment with you always. I so love when you are happy. It lights up the room. I love watching you walk hand in hand with Daddy down the street, two men on the move. I love how exuberantly you hug your sister, and the sound of your "mwha!" when you blow a kiss across the room. Your high fives make my day, and I love the way you cling to me with such a firm grip when you don't want me to put you down (but I have to sometimes).

You may be a year and a half old, but you're always going to be my little man, my "buddy," the first baby I brought home, my little love.

Just stop calling Daddy "mama" okay? I'm pretty sure you know exactly what you are doing and how much it drives him crazy. But I think the joke has played out now, okay? Tell your sister to stop, too. He's "Daddy" or "Papa" or "Dada." Got it? Good!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Letter to Periwinkle at 18 Months

Dear Periwinkle,

I am constantly reminded of myself when I look at you. It goes beyond our similar facial features and wild, curly hair, though. You are a know-it-all, bossy little kid. You crack me up. If Indigo is doing something you know he shouldn't be doing, you call out to him with your nickname for him, waggle your pointer finger back and forth, and say, "No, no, no!" Then you look to me or Daddy for approval. I love that you are trying to help. It's adorable. But I must warn you to not become a tattle-tale. Sometimes breaking the rules is okay. Of course, sometimes you tattle on yourself, which is perfectly acceptable (and hilarious).

You have such a matter of fact attitude about telling your brother what to do, and about picking out books to read, and about walking from here to there and back again. You are full of confidence. I love that about you. But remember to be humble, too. Remember sometimes other people will struggle with what you find easy, and remember to have compassion when they need help to get there too. Sometimes you will want to help, and that is wonderful, but do it gently, kindly, and without making them feel badly about needing help. This can be a fine line to walk, but I know you will figure it out with grace and charm. Hopefully more quickly than I did. And remember that there will be times when you will require their help, and that you should accept their help with the same grace and kindness.

But all of this is rather serious for an 18-month-old girl, I suppose. You are still a baby. Or perhaps not. A toddler. You still shriek when you don't get your way. You still throw your sippy cup on the floor when you are feeling tempestuous. You still cry in the morning if we don't get you quickly enough. You still toss food on the ground instead of saying "All done!" and waiting for us to remove you from your high chair.

But soon you won't need the high chair. Soon you won't have a crib at daycare. You'll have little benches to sit on and cots to nap on.

In the morning you and your brother sometimes blow each other kisses. I wake up with a smile on my face on those days. We'll hear you say, "Where Mommy, Daddy?" and Indigo will raise his arms up in a questioning manner and say, with his voice dripping concern, "Oh, no!" I love it. And I also feel bad, so I scurry in there, or send Daddy in while I steal a few extra moments snuggled in bed. And you both break out in grins and start jumping up and down, so excited to see us.

Watching you two interact more and more has been the highlight of the past six months. You give each other hugs and kisses. You chatter to each other and make each other laugh. When your brother is crying, you get so worried about him, and you rub his back like you've seen me and Daddy do many times. It is perhaps the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Never mind that you, too, are unhappy it's bedtime. When he cries you reach out to comfort him. When he calls out for his Elmo or his "bankie" you bring him Elmo and his favorite blanket. You are such an amazing little sister to him. He is so lucky to have you.

Worried about your brother crying upstairs.

You saw Daddy blow his nose one day, and you just had to do it. Now if the box of tissues is within reach, you grab a few, hold them to your nose, and blow raspberries to make a similar sound. Then you delicately hand the tissues to me to dispose of. You are so into imitating everything we do. A clean diaper fell on the floor, and you picked it up and tried to shove it into the diaper pail. If you find scrap paper on the floor, you bring it to the trash and put it in. You like when we give you a paper towel to "clean" your tray, and you enjoy studying mail. I even got you to help Swiffer the floors once. I will have to think of other ways to have you help us around the house, while you still enjoy it!

I can't wait to see what the next six months bring. What new skills will you learn? What new funny phrases will you utter with complete seriousness, sounding older than you are? What will scare you, and what will intrigue you? The summer is coming, and with it such adventures!

Just stop calling me "Mom," okay? It's "Mommy" or "Mama." At least for a few more years, please.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Where Is Spring?

Who knew, when I last posted in January, that three months later it'd still feel like the middle of winter? We keep getting teasing days of warmth followed by another flurry of snow or frigid "Polar Vortex" days. Uncool, Mother Nature. Uncool.

When it is nice out, the kids love to run around outside.

That's right, run. Since I last posted, they have figured out walking and moved right along into outright running. They cannot be stopped. We take them out the front door and they want "Down" and they want it NOW, and then they want to frolic straight into the street. Or to sit down in some muddy grass.

This is what they've driven me to.

We briefly dabbled with letting them walk in and out of daycare, but soon they realized they had this thing called FREEDOM and another thing called DIVIDE AND CONQUER and we were lost. Indigo would be picking up cigarette butts while Periwinkle cruised into an oil slick. So, no more. At least not for a little while.

We did have one glorious day on which they got to run around outside in the backyard playing with their little house and running after a soccer ball (they get that from Blue), and another day on which we went to the local children's museum. It's so wonderful getting to go and DO things with them, as opposed to just lugging them around to whatever we are doing.

At the children's museum. Can you imagine this many of them?

There have been meltdowns (Periwinkle) and pretzel binges (Indigo) and sleepless nights (all of us) but mainly, we are doing well. This age is truly a blast, and I'll be writing more about their individual progress in their 18 month letters. (crap, I just realized they turned 17 months this week and I didn't even realize it! Worst mom ever over here...)

Sorry for the blurry photo.

I just wanted to say hi to whoever is still out there reading. I'm going to try to post more often as we get out and about more and experience life with two TODDLERS.

Taking a break from toddling and looking adorable. They're lucky they are cute!
(On a side note, I've lost 20 pounds since starting Project Sheep Rescue in January 2013 and for the life of me I can't find the damned sheep sweater for a "midway" photo. 20 pounds to go...)

Friday, January 3, 2014

365 Days of Indigo and Periwinkle

I started a bit late, on January 4th, 2013, and finished up today, January 3rd, 2014. I missed about 20 days (some days I sadly barely saw them and spent my short time hanging with them instead of snapping a photo) and filled in with a few of my favorites, for a total of 351 pictures from 2013-2014.

I have to credit for the step-by-step instructions on the super easy collage making. I should have paid more attention to the "Choose a tag no one else has" because when I went to use Instaport to download all my #project365 images from Instagram, I got everyone else's images too. Oy. So if I do it again, I will have to find a unique tag!

So here's my collage! It's been fun and it's so fascinating to see how much they changed.

I'm going to print it at 16x16 so I'll be able to see the individual photos better. I'm sorry it's probably pretty impossible to see them here, but I just wanted to show you the cool effect they all have together. If you know us and want a copy so you can zoom in, just comment and I'll send it along!