September 30, 2011

The Little White House: One Year

One year and one day ago our realtor called us and said, "Are you ready to buy a house? Because you're closing tomorrow!" It had been such a long road, with closing put off month after month. We were so excited!

We signed all of the paperwork and got the keys. It was a Thursday night so we drove straight to church afterward. After church we went to our house -- our house -- with Eric's parents and went inside and prayed together that God would bless our little home. And He has, time and time again!

That weekend Eric and his dad and his brothers and our friends and our neighbors started ripping things out. We soon realized that we had bitten off a little more than we could chew! There were many late nights when Eric was exhausted from working all day at his job and then putting in many more hours on the house. Almost every single day we felt so very overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. God provided many helping and generous hands, however, and six weeks later we were able to move in.

I can't believe it's been a year already. It has been such a wonderful year in our little house, and we are looking forward to many more!

September 29, 2011

My Fella

... celebrated his golden birthday today: 29 years old on the twenty-ninth. It wasn't a really special day. He had to work while the rest of us went to the zoo. But I got up with him and made him breakfast, and I managed (with help!) to surprise him at church with a great big cake after the service!
(It was from Costco, it was enormous, it was delicious, and it was cheap.)

I accidentally cut his head off but look at those eager little faces behind him!

Happy birthday, Eric. We are so happy we got to help you celebrate your golden birthday. :)

September 25, 2011


It's not hot. It's not cold. It's still humid enough that you want to turn on the A/C, so you turn it on and then it gets really cold so you turn it off and then it gets muggy again so you turn it back on ...

Of course, that could be because our main wall unit air conditioner appears to be as old as I am and is either on or off with no happy medium. 

I think Eric would be happy to leave it running 24/7 and cool the house down to about 60 degrees.

I miss central air. But that, my friends, is the only thing I miss about our old apartment. No wait! I miss a separate eating area with a hard floor under the table. And ... and ... and ... yeah, that's all I  miss.

In a weird aside, the other night I had a dream that we were living back in that apartment, only it wasn't the same apartment, and we were actually sharing it with the people who lived downstairs from us. We weren't friends in my dream, we were still strangers to each other but living in the same apartment. So weird. And sort of nightmarish.


I appreciate the responses and diagnosis for the Boogie. It seems that if I can sort of rouse her a little bit before the crying starts, she doesn't do it. So it must be something to do with transitioning during her sleep cycle.

Also yesterday she had a little rash on her cheeks. I thought it was a reaction to something that touched her face but it was worse this morning, and spreading to her chest and arms. I think it's Fifths Disease. Turns out it's been going around. I kept feeling her forehead for a fever, and she would say, "Why are you feeling my brain, Honey? Is my brain hot?" Then she would go to Eric and ask him if he wanted to feel her brain. hahahaha

So, maybe the virus was causing some sleep problems too, though she didn't have any other symptoms that I was aware of.

The Specktacular family arrived yesterday! All of the little girls are having a great time together. A-girl is almost four and she and the Boogie immediately became BFFs. Little T is two and is mostly content to do her own thing. Peabody has been her normal toddler self, ruining elaborate Little People set-ups and wanting any and every toy that is in the possession of someone else. I haven't taken any pictures yet but I will! I'm still kicking myself for not getting any of H-man and Koto while they were here -- I'm not repeating that mistake.

September 21, 2011

What's Up With The Boogie?

I hear the Boogie crying in her room. I go in and she is sitting up in bed. She stops crying as soon as I walk in. I ask her what is wrong and sometimes she mumbles something unintelligible then lays down, and sometimes she just lays down. Tonight I noticed that she seemed shaky. She goes right back to sleep and doesn't remember anything in the morning.

This is something that has occurred before from time to time, but has been happening every night for the past 4 or 5 nights (maybe more.) Up until tonight it was happening somewhere between 11:00-11:45 p.m., but tonight it was around 10:30. She always cries until I go in -- she never wakes herself with her crying.

I mentioned it to a coworker today who asked if the Boogie might be overtired. I think she gets the sleep she needs. Her bedtime has always been around 9 p.m. Last week we moved it up to 8:30, although I don't know when she actually falls asleep. I never wake her in the morning, but rather let her sleep until she wakes up on her own. She gets 10-11 hours of sleep at night. She rarely naps anymore -- even if I think she needs one and make her rest in the afternoon she usually does not fall asleep.

I don't think it's a bad dream because from time to time she will have a dream that scares her. When she does it wakes her up. She is coherent and will come into my room to tell me, or if she cries she has to be comforted, and she remembers them the next day.

She doesn't sleepwalk, and she doesn't wet the bed. 

What do you think is causing this? It is very strange. Give me your diagnosis!

September 20, 2011

Tuesday: The Toddler

I started writing this in yesterday's post but it kept getting longer and longer and I decided it needed its own day.

Peabody is very entertaining these days. She is one smart cookie. Get this: she can COUNT. How smart is that? Okay, well, she doesn't actually get the concept of counting. And I have to get her started by saying "one" ... but then she says "tewwww, dreeeee!"

She is into everything. EVERYTHING. Until recently her favorite place was the shoe rack in the front closet. I would see her from the across the room and cry, "No! No shoes!" and run toward her to intercept while she would grab a shoe and dart away as fast as she could. She got into trouble enough times that she finally (mostly) stopped. If we forget to put the gate across the bathroom doorway she goes in there and pulls things out of the trash and grabs the toilet brush and bangs on the toilet lid (thankfully she hasn't figured out how to open it yet) and gets under the sink. If we don't put the gate across the kitchen doorway she goes in there and bangs pot lids and pulls all of the plastic bowls out of the drawers and goes into the laundry room where the pantry food is and empties boxes of tea bags onto the floor and brings boxes of crackers out to us so we'll give her some. She gets under the tv stand and pulls out all of the dvds. She pulls the cds out of the holder. She empties the toy bins. She empties the drawers of play food and dishes. If the Boogie leaves her clothes drawer open, Peabody yanks everything out. She pulls all of the books off of the shelves.

She loves to be read to. Her favorite is a Crayola board book about colors. That is always the first one she pulls out. Her second favorite is called Baby Cakes, which was also the Boogie's favorite at this age. We all have it memorized.

She will bring a book to me and push it into my hands saying "MamaMamaMamaMama" which is universal for "read this/open this/pick me up/give me crackers."

She is still in love with Barney and playing a Barney DVD is the only guaranteed crabby-toddler-soother. It also will completely keep her attention for 45 minutes if there is something I must do uninterrupted. She sings the "I Love You" song. If I sing it to her she must hold my hand, and she hugs and kisses me at the right times. Sometimes I sing it to her just so she will give me a kiss, since she will willingly kiss her sister and Daddy at any given time, but mostly refuses me when I ask for one.

She sings the ABC/Twinkle Twinkle song, and another ABC song from Sunday school, and the happy birthday song: "ha dirday oo yewwww."

She just cut two more teeth on the top, and I think she is working on two on the bottom. Once those last two pop through she will have all of her teeth except for the 2-year molars.

She signs more, please, and all done. She says lots and lots of words. I have completely lost count. She'll try to say almost anything we tell her to. The ones she says consistently are mostly identifying words like ball, book, baby, cup, cracker, Daddy, snack, teeth, shoe. She can point to and say eye, ear, nose, mouth, teeth, head, belly, toes. She also says hi, hello, bye, more, mine, uh-oh, and has started saying no but with an "m" which gets confusing since it sounds just like the way she says more. 
Me: "Do you want more crackers? More?"
Pheebs, shaking her head no and signing "more": "Mo!"
I pour a handful of crackers on her tray.
"Mo!" she yells, violently swatting crackers off the tray and bursting into tears.
"Are you all done?" I ask. She signs "all done" while weeping. I unbuckle her from her seat and put her down where she stops crying and crawls around on the floor hiccuping and eating the crackers that only moments ago were so repugnant to her.

Do they make Midol for toddlers?

We sometimes have conversations.
Peabody picks up a toy phone and holds it to her ear: "Hello?"
Me: "Hello?"
P: "Hi!"
Me: "How are you?"
P: "Gooooo' [good]"
Me: "I love you!"
P: "Bye-eee."
If I miss my cues she says her part anyway.

When she sees her blankie she sing-songs "Whey ah yooou?" and ends with a little gasp of delight.

She calls "Daddyyyyy" with an upward inflection at the end. When he responds she babbles a long string of gibberish that sounds like she is explaining something to him.

On Sunday Chief was doing the rounds at church counting everyone, and opened up the door to the temporary nursery. Peabody adores him. He knelt to her level to give her a high five but she wanted a hug and rested her head on his shoulder ... for a looooong time. She was very still and the longer she stayed there the more we adults laughed. Then she decided that was enough and straightened up and pushed the door closed in his face. 

She is very scowly. It started with a little game where she and I would scowl at each other and say "heyyyyy" in a deep voice and then burst out laughing. Now she just frowns at us all the time. Such a lovely child. 

She is beginning to understand and follow instructions. She will go get a diaper when we tell her to, and also come lay on the floor in front of us for a diaper change. After she is changed she gathers up the wet diaper and the box of wipes and drops them over the gate onto the kitchen floor. Sometimes for variation she drops them over the other gate into the bathroom. I have no idea why she does that.

She is just too cute and I love this age a lot.

September 19, 2011

Monday Thought Dump

-The other day I was chatting with a friend and fellow blogger who commented that "blogging just takes so long." For the record, she posts a lot more regularly than I do. But I agree that writing up a blog post is extremely time-consuming. If I try to write in the morning, the productivity of my morning quickly becomes a big fat zero. The same goes for the afternoon. If I try to write after the girls go to bed, I don't finish until long after everyone else is asleep. Maybe if I did it more often, I wouldn't feel like I need to squeeze so much into each post.

-The Boogie is crying right now because she doesn't want to watch the episode of "SuperWhy" that is on. This is not an auspicious start to my day.

-aus·pi·cious  [aw-spish-uhs] adjective  1. promising success; propitious; opportune; favorable: an auspicious occasion.

-Peabody is sucking her thumb while clutching her shirt in that hand, while rubbing her bare tummy with the other hand. Toddlers are so weird and entertaining. 

-Last week started out warm and humid, and ended with chilly nights and cool days. That's it, folks. Fall is here. 

-I am very sad that summer is over.

-I am stubbornly wearing sandals and flip-flops for as long as I can. 

-I just looked up the forecast for this week and we are supposed to have highs in the mid-seventies, and a chance of thunderstorms later in the week. I feel better now. 

-I recently tried to convince my husband that we should move further south to where there are long hot summers but he refused. We need to stay in this house for a while before selling, so I have a few years to wear him down. 

-The only good thing about cooler weather is that once we get a good frost the mosquitoes will be gone.

-I am really enjoying my Nook. I've received several Barnes & Noble gift cards and have purchased a few e-books, but Barnes & Noble has many freebies so I've been working my way through those. :) Also Eric helped me figure out how to borrow e-books from our library system which is so cool! In addition to reading I like to surf the web, play Mahjongg, listen to music, and make lists on my list-making app. 

-I love lists. 

-We moved the girls' bedtime up by thirty minutes so that Eric can get to bed earlier and get more sleep. One week down and with the exception of church nights, so far so good.

-I have been trying to get up earlier in the morning. Each night I set the alarm on my phone. Each morning I hit snooze a couple of times. Each morning I end up getting up at my regular time anyway. I think I need to start putting my phone on the other side of the room instead of on the nightstand within reach.

-In the early days of Eric's job with an early start time, I would get up with him every morning and pack his lunch and we'd pray together and I would go down to his car with him to say good-bye, and after he left I would start my day. I did that for a long time, until his start time got moved up another hour. That was just too early for me, so I would get up with him and pack his lunch and we'd pray together and I'd go down to his car with him to say good-bye, and then after he left I'd go back to bed for just a little more snoozing. I did that for a long time, too. Now he gets up, gets dressed, sits next to my side of the bed and I usually kind of wake up (but sometimes I don't) and he prays with me and kisses me good-bye, and I go back to sleep and he packs his own lunch. I sometimes think about how productive my morning would be if I would get up when he does, but I simply cannot survive on that amount of sleep. After a couple of days I am just plain crabby, and after several days I get sick. I don't know how Eric does it. It must be God's grace!

-Why is it that on trash days when I hurry to get the cans to the curb first thing in the morning, the garbage truck doesn't come until mid-afternoon, but on the days that I don't get the trash out right away the garbage truck comes while I am still in my pjs?

-We are having an infestation of fruit flies. It isn't as bad as the house fly plague we had early in the summer, but it's still gross and creepy. I did some googling this morning and put out a little bowl with vinegar and dish soap in it. The flies seem to like it enough to hover over it and land on the edge of the bowl, but so far they are avoiding the liquid itself. The trash can is tightly covered, we don't leave dirty dishes or food out, and I keep all the fruit in the fridge. Except for the bananas. You can't keep bananas in the fridge. Or can you? I guess once we've eaten them I won't buy anymore until the flies are gone. Blasted flies.

-Peabody is throwing a fit at my feet. She has entered full-on toddler temper tantrum days. If her sister has something that she wants, she tries to take it from her. If the Boogie won't let her have it, Peabody yells "Miiiiiiine! Mine! Mine! Mine!" and hits the Boogie and collapses onto the floor sobbing. If I ignore her she gets up and comes over to me and collapses again sobbing and writhing in anger at my feet. Fun times.

-The Specktacular family will be arriving in a few days for a week-long visit! We are looking forward to that. Their little girls are 2 years old and almost 4. As much as my girls enjoyed H-man and Koto's visit, I'm sure they will love having other little girls around even more. I am anticipating that the play kitchen, doll house, and dress-up clothes will get a lot of use. Also we are hoping that the weather is nice so we can make some trips to the shore and zoo, and Eric will be taking the grown-up Specktaculars to NYC one day.

-Speaking of H-man and Koto, the R family arrived back in NJ the Tuesday after Labor Day, and immediately caught a flight back to Germany that same day. So, we didn't get to have any more time with them which was a bummer, but it was good that they all got to go home together. 

-And that is all I am thinking about "on my mind" to quote the Boogie. 

September 13, 2011

Crafty Boogie

One day last week the Boogie was going about business as usual, which means that she narrates everything she does and interjects "Honey, look" into every other sentence. I was going about my own business as usual, which means that I respond "oh that's nice" "oh wow" "good job honey" absentmindedly while doing my chores. So when she told me that she wanted to make a stethoscope I didn't think anything of it.

She made her way into the laundry room and found a paper cup. "Honey, can I have this?"
"Oh, sure, yes that's fine, go ahead," I said from the sink where I was washing dishes.
"Well," she said, "I just need two more."
"Okay, that's fine," I replied.

She was quiet for another minute or two then popped out of the laundry room with a pipe cleaner from the VBS craft stash that I hadn't managed to put away yet. "Honey, can I have this pipe cleaner?" I glanced over my shoulder and nodded and went back to the dishes. "Well, can I have two?" she persisted.
"Sure, you can have two," I answered, not even turning around. I barely noticed when she carried everything to the dining room table.
"Honey," she called, "I need some star stickers. And markers. Can I please have some stars and markers?"
I dried my hands and found them for her.

She occupied herself decorating the outside of the cups with stars. She write her initial on the bottom of each cup. After several minutes she called me again, "Well, Honey, I just need some help. Can you help me please?" I dried my hands again and went over to her. "I just need to poke a hole here," she pointed to the bottom of a cup. I got a pencil and jabbed a hole where she was pointing. "Now this one," she slid another cup over to me.
"Now I can do this!" and she pushed one end of a pipe cleaner into one of the cups. I twisted the end so it wouldn't slide back out and did the same thing with the other cup and another pipe cleaner.

I need to state that at this point I still had no idea what she was trying to do. Clueless, much? I got distracted by something and a couple of minutes later she called me back to look. She had poked a hole in the bottom of the third cup and pushed the other ends of the two pipe cleaners into that cup. A light bulb went on over my head. "Oh a stethoscope!" I exclaimed. I twisted the ends so they wouldn't slide out. The Boogie's grin was from ear to ear. "Yes! A stethoscope!" She picked it up and held two cups to her ears. Her face fell. "It doesn't work," she said sadly, "I need another hand." I cut a small slit in each cup and slid the ends of a headband into them and it worked!
I was so impressed that she thought of this all by herself and figured out how to do it without any input from me. What a smart kid!

September 5, 2011

Butterfly Girl

We went to the zoo again today. Two visits and our membership has paid for itself. :)We didn't get there until after 2:00, which actually was perfect. A lot of people were leaving as we arrived, and it wasn't crowded at all.

As soon as we walked through the gate the Boogie exclaimed, "I want to get my face painted!" She waited patiently while 3 other children in front of us had their faces done (the tiny pirate boy was especially cute) and when it was her turn told the artist that she wanted a pink butterfly.

It ended up being more purple than pink but she was thrilled with it! I took this picture with my phone and she kept asking to see it. She was very sad when we had to wash it off in the shower. I guess I'll have to learn how to paint butterflies.

She had to have her picture taken on a hippo ...
... and then on a baby hippo, too.
On our way home from the zoo we stopped for ice cream instead of dinner. Sometimes it's fun to break the rules.

We had a nice weekend. It was so lovely that we both had three whole days off. On Saturday night we drove to PA to help celebrate Reenie's birthday. Bless her heart, she ALWAYS comes to visit us, so we figured it was well past being our turn to make the drive. It was nice to meet her friends, although we were the only ones there with children. The Pheebs attached herself to the first man who walked through the door, and all of the adults present graciously helped entertain her as well as steer her away from trash cans, kitchen cabinets, stairs, breakables, and toddler-level appetizer trays. We ate yummy food and played classic party games. It was fun! Reenie and I compared NOOKs and made plans to get together again soon.

On Sunday afternoon we put Peabody down for a nap; put the Boogie down for a nap; cleaned the kitchen; straightened the living room; finally climbed into bed for our own naps ... and the Pheebs woke up. Argh. I brought her into our bed in hopes that she might, maybe, possible go back to sleep. She rolled around for a bit, talked to her daddy, and finally laid down with her thumb in her mouth. Oh good, I thought, maybe this will work! And then the phone started to ring. I could barely hear it over the A/C in our room, but I knew that Peabody heard it too because she stopped sucking her thumb. After four rings she suddenly sat straight up, put her hand to her ear and exclaimed "Hello?" So much for naptime.

Back to work tomorrow! The R family is also on their way back. They should fly home to Germany one day this week, but they will stay with us until they leave so we'll have a little more time with them.

While I was sending the zoo pictures from my phone to the computer, I came across a few more:

I am vigilant about keeping pens, markers, crayons, etc., away from Peabody, but one slipped into the house unobserved by me and I didn't find it until after she did. Thankfully her face seemed to be the only thing she drew on.

A Nutella sandwich tastes good, and spreads well on the face, too.

Some friends introduced the board game Blokus to me and Eric. The classic version is for four players (which is more fun) but we found a smaller travel version for only two players. The Boogie was dying to play it and since the rules are very simple she was able to play against me. And ... she beat me.

During VBS the Phebis spent each evening with her favorite Uncle. A busy week meant fewer naptimes, however, and one night she just couldn't stay awake. There really wasn't anywhere to put her so she had a little catnap in her Poppop's office chair.

And one day while some cousins were over, I came across this:

Betcha didn't know that Schwinn manufactures back braces for baby dolls.

September 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

Recently on Facebook I read something that I thought was so profound I just had to post it here on my blog. It was accredited to my friend Jamee who has 3 children and one on the way. (I hope that if I am quoting it incorrectly Jamee will let me know!) I know all of you moms out there will appreciate this:

"Cleaning a house with children present is like brushing your teeth while eating an Oreo."