Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh, the games we play!

I feel like a three-ring circus sometimes because of how much I entertain the kids, so I am always excited when they take the lead on what they want to do. Today was one such day. After reading this book:

Olivia wanted to dress in a "smock, shoes with ribbons, and a beret just like Fancy Nancy" and "paint some art" (incorporating leaves that we had collected the previous day on a nature walk). I found a dress that would work as a smock, tied ribbons to her shoes, and found a hat that would work. She didn't like the hat, and decided to put in a flower bow that she said was fancy. Then, she went to work:

And, of course, Leo had to get in on the fun! He wanted to eat the paint, though. Nicholas was up for the fun, so you can see me trying to stop Leo from sticking his painted hands in his mouth, which he thought was a hilarious game!

 Olivia has started watching Dinosaur Train again. She liked it last year around this time, and has gotten back into it because Backyardigans is gone from Netflix. Anyway, I like that show because it is pseudo educational, the characters are nice to each other, and there is some music. It consists of two mini episodes with a short lesson from "Dr. Scott the paleontologist" after each. While we were at the playground yesterday, Olivia wanted to pretend to be Dr. Scott. (He ends each lesson by saying, "Get outside, get into nature, and make your own discoveries!) She has been totally into "discovering" things. She observed that the day lilly buds were yellow, and discovered that the blooms were going to be, too! We had a great time on our nature walk (there is about a quarter mile path into the woods in two places at the back of the playground in our neighborhood), and we collected leaves, observed ants in an ant hill, noted that pinecones come from pine trees, and found some hickory nut shells that squirrels must have cracked.

Olivia continues to amaze me with her memory. She is fighting going to bed at night if she has a nap and often will "read" a book to herself before bed. I know she can't read, although she is just beginning to sound out some words, and can often guess by the first letter and context clues. But, she has several very long books memorized. Nicholas and I got a kick out of her "reading" Max's ABC book to herself the other night, which is a 40 page book. She missed very little. I dared a picture of her after she finally fell asleep the other night after reading Sleeping Beauty. (The other part of this story is that Olivia is giving up her nap most days. We try for quiet time, but sometimes just get stories. She has a cupcake game that she plays by herself and it takes about twenty minutes. That is often "quiet time.")

Summer has begun, and we are outside a lot now. To the playground, to the pool, and just enjoying our backyard. Our neighbor Mallory came over for a look at the Giga ball this afternoon, but the girls were too scared to really use it. Instead, they played in the water and got the giggles. Jane and I found out that they are both big Sophia the First fans. (For the uninitiated, this is a Disney series about a little girl who becomes a princess because her mom married a king. I actually kind of like it because it isn't quite so "happily ever after" as most princess stories. And the music is catchy.) We happened to have the soundtrack in the car, as we had checked it out at the library this week. Olivia has most of the words to all the songs sung by Sophia memorized. Here is a picture of the girls giggling. My heart runneth over.

Later, after Mallory left, the kids continued to play in the pool and get even wetter.

And yesterday we broke out the Giga ball that Uncle Charlie gave to Leo as his Christmas present. It's been sitting in the closet since then, waiting for the perfect-dry-backyard-sunny-day moment, and yesterday was it. And it was right that the gift was for Leo and not Olivia, because, although she was interested in rolling it and getting in it and pretending it was a rocket ship, Leo was the one who actually like to use it as it was intended! Oh, my dangerous boy!

Our other backyard games are usually rolling, throwing, and kicking balls; pretending the area under the willow tree is a hide-out or club house; hide-and-seek; duck-duck-goose, which even Leo knows how to play now and is, oh, so cute when he does! To see him pat Olivia's head and say "Duck!" is just beyond sweet! We also tend the garden and harvest whenever we can. We've had a few peas, strawberries, and blueberries so far! Olivia loves for us to eat "al fresco" as Fancy Nancy says, but we only do occasionally because it is usually a disaster of the kids running around and not actually eating!

We've been doing quite a few pool runs, too. Leo, again, is pretty fearless, which is scary. Olivia gets scared when big kids come into the little pool and are roudy. But, we've been having a good time anyway.

CHOM continues to be a favorite, and since I hardly get to pass anything down from Olivia to Leo, I thought I would take a liberty and pass this:

We've done some sprinkler fun in the front yard when it was raining, too.

And, before gymnastics on Tuesday, Olivia and I played in the car while Leo was napping. We sang Sophia music and then played "Mom's Morning Out" where she drops me off at school and says, "Love you! See you after lunch!"

 Leo's been a solid one-nap-a-day kid for weeks, and then he started getting up super early. He's getting his four eye teeth right now, and that is hurting him, I think. Poor kid!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bath time!

I love that the kids take a bath together each night. And I love that they are playing together more and better each day! These two bring such joy and laughter to our house!

I've been trying to get some good pictures of the kids in the bath tub for a while now because I want to print two in black and white and frame them for hanging in their bathroom. So far, this is what I have:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nicholas update

Nicholas is still recovering, but after one week mostly spent in bed, he started getting up and around for an hour or two at a time on some days. He had, and has, good days and bad days. He's found that he can eat scrambled eggs, mini raviolis, pudding, mashed potatoes, soft rice, and beans without chewing. On Mother's Day, he did four loads of laundry for me and helped the kids make me cards. I was very grateful knowing what an effort it was. Last Wednesday, he went into work, and was wiped out when he came home. Thursday, he went into work, and came home and took care of kids for an hour while I napped since I was so exhausted from taking care of everything on my own for two weeks. I was SO grateful for that nap. Each day Nicholas is doing a little more, and I think he is doing amazingly well for the extensive surgery he had. And I am so thankful each day as I get my husband and as the kids get their daddy back!

The x-rays show that his airway is more than doubled from before (4 mm to more than 8 mm). Nicholas's breathing is much better, and we can tell because he is not snoring and is already waking feeling more rested. The doctor says the recovery time is six weeks until he can chew, but Nicholas has his REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates...funded by the NSF) starting at the end of the month, he moves offices this week on campus, he has lots of research administration work to do, and a full plate of research and other commitments. He's already back in the saddle!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jacob's Barnyard Party!

Last Sunday we went to another Barnyard party for our neighbor friend who has the exact same birthday as Olivia. They had better luck with the weather, but it rained a bit, too. Olivia, Leo, and I had a great time! Happy birthday, Jacob!  Here are some pictures from that one, courtesy of Phillip and Jennifer:

Here comes the rain!

I swear Leo had fun on the pony, despite what this picture says!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Olivia's first library card!

I know you love the outfit! Olivia is getting good at dressing herself!!

When she got the library card yesterday, she looked at it and said, "The T says ta, the P says pa, and the L says ll. What is TPL?" She is so smart, and even though I know I am biased, it knocks my socks off that she knows all her letters and their sounds!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Survival mode...just pictures for the grandparents

Keeping the kids occupied. Leo loves being under the tent. Olivia loves "decorating" it.

I got about a fifteen minute break the other day while the kids watched a show with Daddy. It worked out less well for him, so we haven't done it again.

Leo loves the Fur Real puppy Olivia got from Abby last year.

Really loves it!

Leo is getting more verbal everyday! And he loves music/singing/banging/noise of almost any kind.

The upside/downside of Daddy being on a no-chew diet is that he requests milkshakes. The kids also want them. Even Leo.

Today was quite a day. Lots of whining--I was about to lose it. But then we went to the splash pad to play and we accidentally crashed someone's birthday party. I decided to go ahead and play. The parents came over and it turned out that I knew them from Leo's Kindermusik class. They offered me champagne and apple juice for the kids. Things started looking up! Look who is using a big kid cup!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia's birthday on Tuesday was a hit! She woke up in the morning wanting to put on the dress my mom sewed for me when I was young, saying it was perfect for birthday clothes! Immediately on waking we did cake and presents because she talked about it the day before and I had said we could. Here are the pictures from that:

I told Olivia we could do anything she wanted to do that morning, and she chose CHOM. And another dress to wear. She is excited about being able to dress herself, and she always chooses dresses! This is one from Abby. The kids had a good time playing everywhere in there, but I caught some pictures from the market.

And a few of Leo on the beaver slide. He is growing up, too!

After naps, we hit the playground and the pool, and ate hot dogs for dinner per Olivia's request! Awesome birthday!

And I am totally copying from my friend Emily, who does THE BEST job of documenting her children's lives, by introducing the "birthday questionnaire"! Here are Olivia's answers this year!

1. How old are you? 3
2. What makes you happy? Hugs
3. What is your favorite animal? Giraffes
4. What is your favorite thing to eat? Peas and Macaroni and cheese
5. What is your least favorite thing to eat? carrots
6. What is your favorite thing to do? Play
7. What is your favorite TV show? Dora
8. What are you really good at? Swinging
9. What is your favorite movie? Backyardigans
10. What is your favorite color? Pink
11. What is your favorite song? Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
12. Who is your best friend? Mommy
13. What do you and your Mom do together? Go to CHOM and play
14. What do you and your Dad do together? Play
15. What is your favorite sport? Swimming
16. Where is your favorite place to go? Pool
17. What is your favorite book? Dora
18. What do you want to be when you grow up? Cinderella