Friday, November 30, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

Always a sucker for a family tradition, I couldn't resist the Elf on the Shelf hype.

This little guy is supposed to help keep your kids in line under the threat of reporting bad behavior to Santa. I never said I was above bribery.

Anyway, this is how it works: Santa delivers an elf to your family the day after Thanksgiving. Each night, the elf returns to the North Pole to report whether your kidlets were naughty or nice. The kids name the elf but CANNOT touch it or else ol' Elfie will lose his magic. So, he remains a revered figure that the parents can leverage use as a reminder to keep their precious angels on good behavior. 
Our elf is named Sprinkles.
He is surgically enhanced with pipe cleaners in his arms and legs so he is more "bendy"
Sounds like a good deal, right??
Well, it is. Except for one little caveat -- Sprinkles is supposed to be found in a different location each morning so the children know that he has been back to the North Pole to report their behavior.

There is a whole underground contention of over-achiever mommies who create elaborate vignettes for their elves each morning so Junior can ooh and aah over the hilarity of how his elf switched all the clothes in his closet with his sister's. Besides creating more work to pick up after your elf, isn't he setting a bad example for naughty behavior -- the EXACT thing I want to discourage??

Why would you do this??
So, Sprinkles is going to be somewhere in the middle. He won't be pulling any over-the-top stunts that I have to clean up (NO more powdered sugar snow angels in our house). I just hope he's not a slacker and can remember to move places each night when he gets back from checking in with Santa.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Barrett was an Indian in his Mothers Day Out Thanksgiving program. He drummed enthusiastically on his little coffee can and let out a loud "Hey Dada!!" in the middle of their opening number when he spotted us. At the end, Charlotte clapped for him and said "yay Bear-Witt!"
Indian Barrett, eating muffins made by his class at his school feast
2. The MetLife blimp was tethered near our house, so we went for a visit. I heard there are only three of them in the US!

We were all impressed by the humongous balloon. Plus, it has Snoopy on it.

On the first visit, the blimp man said that if we came back the next day at lunch when the winds were calm, he'd let us get in!

So, we went back but it was too windy so we didn't get to be pretend blimp pilots. It was still fun though!

3. My friend Jenny shared the joy of her little ladycake's outgrown dresses and shoes with Charlotte. It's like the hand-me-down lottery, since Jenny hand made most of Catherine's pretty clothes! Who hoo!!
Charlotte loves them and looks adorable. I'm still getting used to seeing her in bright big-girl colors and leggings. Or really, any colors other than white or pastels.

Look at those glitter shoes!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Things That Are Not Awesome

So. I gush a lot about how cute and sweet the kiddos are -- which is absolutely true (in my objective and completely unbiased opinion...). But, seriously. Things aren't sunshine and rainbows ALL the time. In fact, I think it's a little irritating when people act like everything is perma-perfect.
Let's keep it real, folks. It's impossible to pretend that things are 100% perfect 100% of the time. Not to mention exhausting to keep up that charade.

So anyway, here's a few recent stories that I'll probably think are funny later...but not quite yet.

The other day, I was in Barrett's room, helping him get dressed in clean clothes after a potty accident (super fun task in itself).  When I walked back down the hall to the living room, I saw that Charlotte used those 2 minutes to open a bag of powdered sugar and was laying on her stomach in the middle of the pile dragging her little arms and legs through the mess, like a snow angel.

When she saw me standing there, shocked and momentarily speechless, she stood up and ran towards the kitchen, leaving an incriminating trail of sugar footprints and shedding sprinkles of powdered sugar off her clothes with each toddling step.
Do you know how hard it is to sweep up powdered sugar?  And that the vaccuum makes it blow everywhere?  And that mopping it makes the floor sticky?  Just asking...

A few days later, I was helping Barrett use the potty in the powder room off the kitchen area when I heard a crash. I left his soiled underwear soaking in the clean-flushed toilet (best way I've found to pre-clean it before it goes in the washing machine...) and dashed out to find the source of the crash.

Charlotte had climbed from the chairs to the top of the breakfast table and knocked over my big vase full of water onto the white canvas cushions I was sewing to recover a pair of club chairs. She was using the cut stem of a split-leaf philodendron to color brown marks on my hand made white piping.
I'd been working on reupholstering these chairs since JULY.
These are the finished chairs.  In their former life, they were a lovely avacodo-colored curduroy.
Now they are white canvas on casters with nail head trim around the bottom and sides.
I will never reupholster again. Or at least not until the next time I really really want to recover something.

Anyway, as I was cleaning the mess off the cushions and redirecting the water away from the sewing machine I'd set up on the breakfast table, I heard the powder room toilet flush.
Yep, Barrett flushed the undies I'd left soaking. Because I'm sure that's really good for the plumbing. Hey, at least I didn't have to clean them after all.

(cringe.  and eyeroll.  and heavy sigh.)

And then, just when I was ready to give up on trying so hard to "do a good job," I looked in the rearview mirror the next time we were in the car and saw them sweetly holding hands, just on their own.
We were just riding down the road, and they spontaneously decided they wanted to hold hands.
Moments like this make it all worth it, a million times over. If I'm going to agonize over tantrums and shenanigans and frantically wonder what-am-I-doing-wrong?!? then I should get to bask in the sweet moments when they come too, don't you think?
It hapened again, a few days later, when we were riding in Kristopher's truck
I made me feel like I must be doing something right.
Even if they do flush their underwear and can't be trusted around a bag of powdered sugar.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Off the Top

Barrett didn't have Mothers Day Out on Election Day, so it seemed like the perfect time for a haircut. Except that every other mom had the same bright idea...

Luckily, we went to the special kids salon this time and they have a whole dedicated waiting room stocked with toys, blocks ,and coloring books to keep their little clients from becoming restless while they wait their turn.

I've just about decided that the kids salon is the only way to go -- Barrett and Charlotte are so much happier (and more cooperative) by the time they get in the chair, plus the fun airplane/car hydraulic chairs keep them busy during the cut itself. And cartoons. And lollipops. Whatever it takes.

Charlotte just had a bang trim to keep it out of her eyes.
Barrett's was thinned all over, but they left enough length for a few curls in the back.

I probably should have gotten it cut shorter so we wouldn't have to go back so soon, but I can't help loving his baby curls. He has the whole rest of his life to have a grown man haircut and I'm just not ready yet!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Boo to You

For at least a month leading up to Halloween, the kidlets were so excited about their costumes.  I kind of wanted to do coordinating costumes (while they are still young enough to allow me to indulge in that) but we couldn't come up with a coordinated theme that they were equally excited about, so we decided on a cowboy and a cupcake.
Cupcake dress rehearsal on 10.30
I set out to semi-make each costume and gather all of the necessary costume accessories (lampshade for cupcake wrapper, tissue poms for icing; cow print vest and sheriff's badge/spurs/holster...)

Reach for the sky....

And then...somewhat predictibly...they completely changed their minds at 5:05pm Halloween night, as we were leaving the house to go to our party. 
(note: by "changed their minds" I really mean pitched fits at the prospect of wearing previously-wonderful costumes and now insisting on totally different ones)

I'm proud to say that I rolled with the punches on this one.  Normally, I freak out when there is any deviation from "The Plan."  And I make it a policy not to negotiate with terrorists throwing a tantrum just to get their way.  But in this case, the whole point of trick-or-treating is for the kids to have fun, and I don't really care if they are a cowboy and a cupcake, as long as they are happy.
So, they went as "Super Barrett" (aka, super hero costume that he got as a birthday present...and loves) and a ladybug (extra costume from our dress-up stash)
This is THE ONLY picture of them together.  All night. 
Neither is looking at the camera and Charlotte doesn't have her ladybug costume pulled down over her little pumpkin.  Sigh.
Everyone was happy though.  And that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Family Photo Outtakes

Since we've had kids, we try to get a family picture on the beach each year.
"Oh look!!!  An airplane!  Or seagull!  Or maybe just the wind blowing!"
Key word: TRY
2.5 out of 4 looking at camera...getting better
It's not usually successful.

Someone usually gets pushed face-foward into the sand in a fit of frustration (I'm not going to name any names...)

I'm outta here!

It's hard enough to get a picture of a single toddler, let alone two PLUS pleasant-expressioned parents who are nonchalantly holding squirmy babes, distracted by the sand and seagulls.
Barrett and Kristopher's airplane picture = success!

Charlotte and me ... = FAIL
Not quite the same
Her little foot got caught up in my shirt.
It's always worth the carefully orchestrated effort, though (everyone clean, fed, dressed, and well-rested at the same time)

She's wigglesome and I'm about to drop her!!  I'm about to DROP her!
Hurry and take the picture ~ she's climbing me and I'm about to lose her!

Even if we don't have a picture-perfect pose, we have some pretty funny memories~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beach Babies

We all went to the beach last month and had some much needed family time and R&R.
I was so excited that Kristopher decided to take the full week to be with us -- his longest vacation in YEARS!
 The kiddos loved the all-dada-all-the-time beach bonding.
Here's some favorite pics from our week.
"Dada!!!  Here comes a wave, dada!  Get ready!  Here it it comes!!!!"

And again and again and again and ... again

She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini relaxed

Sweet kisses

"Let's sit still so mama can take our picture and we can go play."

"Ok, that's enough."

Monday, November 12, 2012

For the Record

Another installment of stats and recent happenings for the baby book~
The kiddos manned a shuttle launch.
Just kidding. 
This was a toy space ship at the science museum.
Bet I had you going there, huh...?
Barrett is still trucking along in the 50th percentile for weight and the 95th for height. 
Frog says RIBBIT!
He is really into cowboys right now (specifically Woody, the cowboy from Toy Story) and into Buzz Lightyear too.  He loves going to Mother's Day Out and consistently talks about the same friends from school.  Luckily, his favorite little friend lives in our neighborhood, so we get to see him outside of school a lot too! 

He recently introduced Kristopher to the other kiddos at the park as "my friend, Dada." 
As in: "Hi, my name's Barrett.  This is my friend, Dada."

"Reach for the sky!!"
"There's a snake in my boot!"
After Woody phrases, his favorite catchphrase is "Hey, what's the big idea?!" from Donald Duck

Barrett and Charlotte are really starting to play together more, which is so much fun for me because (1) I think it is so cute when they play sweetly together; and (2) it is slightly easier to keep them out of trouble when they are occupying each other.  He pronounces her name as "Char-what."

Charlotte is built similarly to Barrett; she's in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height.  Her hair has a reddish tint in the sunlight, but is more brown than Barrett's. 

Everyone says she looks just like my mama, which is a big compliment :)
Opening a care package from Grammy and Grandpa
Thanks for the goodies!
Her very favorite movie is Lion King; according to Charlotte, all animals say "ROAR" like a lion.  She pronounces Barrett's name as "Bear-whit."  She cries for him every single time we drop him off for Mother's Day Out.

She is very shy and bashful in new situations and around new people (new nursery lady at bible study, birthday party around kiddos she doesn't know well, or GASP! a new babysitter), but usually warms up after a few minutes.

With Baboo, her very favorite bunny in the whole world
I had a big volunteer shift for Junior League a few weeks ago and had the hardest time finding a daytime babysitter who could watch the kiddos for such a long stretch.  We ended up using a new sitter for the first time and Charlotte reacted to the new girl by running to her room and closing the door. :( When I went in to find her, she was peeking around the corner of her dollhouse, but then covered her eyes to hide as soon as she saw the new sitter over my shoulder.  Poor thing!  Meanwhile, Barrett was giving the new sitter a house tour (he loves to show people "Barrett's big boy bed," "mama's bath tub" and "dada's shower." 

The firemen didn't answer the doorbell at the firehouse, so we helped ourselves to the firetruck in the driveway...

Like most little girls, Charlotte likes to twirl (spin around and around with her hands in the air) and dance (stand still and bounce up and down) and all of this is even more fun lately with the awesome Christmas music dance tunes.  She'll sweetly give you a hug or kiss every time you ask :)
While Barrett tries to get up and down to play during mealtime, Charlotte likes to sit at the dining table like a big girl.  She's great at throwing her dishes in the sink after meal or snack (which is helpful...but also dangerously emphatic, when she pitches her melamine plate in a sink with glasses)

She loves to rock in the baby rocker

It's a new adventure every day -- sure, sometimes it is crazy, but there's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing~