Friday, June 30, 2006

Fisher Price Little People

Brianna is obsessed with the Fisher Price Little People toys. If you've never heard of those, they're these little plastic chubby kids that come with tiny settings like, a castle or playground. Bree calls them her "kids" ("Mom, come, play room, my kids!") and spends most of her playtime these days making them act out scenes on their little props. And, she got several new sets for her birthday, including a new playground set from Grandma Arlene that arrived in the mail today. (Great, more fuel for her "It's always my Birthday, it's my party, I'll cry if I want to" attitude!)Well, the new Little People set was an immediate hit. We couldn't get the toys out of the box fast enough. There were two new "kids" for Bree and a whole playground with a slide, merry-go-round, and a swing too. Needless to say she spent a large majority of the rest of the afternoon making the kids play on their park. They went down the slide a lot and she was making them say "Whee!" and everything. (They appeared to be having fun too. Of course, that could be due to the fact that their plastic smiles are permanent? Just a guess.) It's been funny to see her getting more and more into pretending as she plays, making her toys act out real-life situations. Here's hoping I don't see her "kids" acting real-life situations out by oh, I dunno, say squeezing out half a tube of finger paints, chasing the cat, or hiding a sippy cup of milk in an empty drawer in some sort of making cheese experiment. I mean, she's super adorable, and I love her to pieces, but one kid with her energy, get-into-everythingness and toddler-sized ego is about all I can handle right now!

Bree and her "kids" all enjoying the playground.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Party Girl

Despite the fact that Brianna's birthday was about 2 weeks ago, she remains enthralled with birthdays and parties in general. At this point she's pretty sure that if there's a party, it must be for her. That's probably because she got to celebrate her birthday more than once. She had her big Idaho party of course, and then on her actual birthday her daddy and I had another little celebration with more cake and a few more presents. After all this birthday buzz she even learned the Happy Birthday song and we catch her singing it to herself every now and then. And, to top it all off, recently, the mom's group we're in also had a party for all the moms and kids' with June birthdays. Of course, some of the moms had brought cup cakes to share. Well, a few minutes after arriving I started talking to one of my friends a few feet away from Bree when suddenly I realize that I can hear her singing very quietly..."Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to 'Ranna..." When I looked over at her what do I see but Bree standing on the seat of a dining room chair, leaning way over onto the table and quietly using her fingers to lick the frosting off one of the cupcakes, all while happily singing Happy Birthday to herself. She had even managed to pry up the edge of the Saran Wrap that was wrapped around the plate, since we weren't planning on serving the cupcakes for awhile. Oh well, it was a party for June birthdays after all!

Her party obsession isn't helped by the fact that yummy cakes and ice cream are served at these functions. And, it also doesn't help that her daddy's birthday is coming up later this week. She was with me at the grocery store when I bought the cake mix and cherry ice cream (Trav's favorite) for Daddy's big day. When she saw the ice cream she immediately wanted to eat some..."Cream cream?" "No," I told her "We have to wait. This is for Daddy's birthday party." She thought about this for awhile, (probably wondering why someone else was getting a party), and seemed to forget about it. But, she hadn't really forgotten. As soon as we got back in the front door she ran over to Travis and said "Daddy, party!" "We bought some stuff for your birthday party," I explained to him. Bree ran over to the grocery bags, pointed to the ice cream and said "See, party Daddy!" This was all fine and well until I tried to put the ice cream into the which point Bree started sobbing hysterically and saying "Party! Party!" It took us a half hour, and a scoop of ice cream, to calm her down and explain that Daddy's party is a few days away yet. Life is rough for tiny party animals.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Bedside Fun

Okay, I admit that I actually spent most of today on the computer returning e-mails, and working on documents for my Mom's Group website. (Which means tomorrow I'm swearing it off and spending some major quality Mom time to make up for it.) But, Brianna, her daddy, and I did manage to have a few quiet moments before bedtime tonight. Bree picked out a book about the jungle and we were reading along when she suddenly pointed out "Look, is that a 'mingo(flamingo)?" And sure enough, it was. We were surprised because neither one of us could remember ever discussing or pointing out "mingo's" to her before. (Except, maybe at the zoo?) So for the rest of that book she was stuck on finding and pointing out 'mingos. After the jungle book we read a Garfield book. When we got to the end Bree said "Silly Garfee!" and insisted she take the book to bed with her. We tucked her into bed with her book, and went through the usual steps, up to the last kiss goodnight. I leaned over, kissed her forehead, and was straightening back up when I was stopped by the demand "No, kiss my cheek!" and a chubby finger was pointing to the exact spot. So, I kissed the spot as ordered. Satisfied with getting the last word of the day in, again, she said "Nite, nite," and Travis and I sneaked out of the room, happy to let her drift off to sleep with the illusion of having the upper hand.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Is That Mine?

Bree has now passed into that delightful toddler phase where she's into what's hers. She's been going around lately asking "Is that mine? Is that my food? Is that my chair? My bear!" and so on. The other day at Shannon and Nayan's house she saw that Nayan's little sister, Amani, had a sippy cup that looked just like hers at home. She said "Is that mine? Is that my cup?" She kept asking it over and over despite the fact that both Shannnon and I had reassured her it wasn't her cup and that hers was safe and sound at home. The issue of "mine!" has been a pretty big one between Bree and Kadyn also. Although they do seem genuinely fond of each other whenever we play at one of our houses, the one whose room is being shared is inevitably pulling toys out of the other's hands, shouting "Mine!" and bursting into tears. Of course, the other half the time they spend hugging and kissing so it's kind of a love/hate relationship at this point. I think I'm considering buying Bree one of those "Rules of Toddlerhood" T-shirts, just so everyone knows the deal upfront. You know the shirts that say: "If it's mine, it's mine. If it's yours, it's mine. If I've ever touched it, it's mine....

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nayan and Bree

Today Brianna and I had a playdate with Bree's friend Nayan and his mom Shannon. Nayan is two and a half and currently Bree's only male friend in her age group. It always makes me smile to watch them together and see little echoes of how men and women interact as adults as well. Today Nayan was pushing Bree along as she sat in his toddler-size red car in the backyard. She sat there like a little princess with a personal carriage. When one of the wheels got stuck Nayan even came around and straightened it out and then continued pushing the car around. Everything was going great until Nayan "crashed" the car into a large flower pot in the yard. (Ok, he just bumped it and the car was stuck for a while, but how typical, not asking for directions!) After they tired of using the car the two of them were playing house in the mini-size house in Shannon's back yard. Shannon even has it set up with a kids' patio furniture set since there's also a small deck in front of the play house. At one point Bree and Nayan were sitting across from each other in the patio chairs, the table between them. The table had a little potted plant sitting on it and for some reason, Nayan just shoved the flowers right off, onto the ground where they spilled out. Bree was most distressed and jumped up saying "My flowers, my flowers!" Ah yes, these little domestic disputes! (Hee hee hee :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One Spicy Girl

I can never tell with Bree if it's going to be a day that she eats well or just picks at her food all day. She is on the small side for her age but the doctor says that's probably her genetics and isn't worried about it at all. On my part I feel like I'm always jumping through flaming hoops trying to get Brianna to eat all the appropriate servings of veggies, fruit, dairy, meat, and grains she needs each day. I guess this is all pretty typical for the toddler years but sometimes Bree manages to surprise us with the untypical food she decides she likes. Her latest odd favorites are green olives and also banana peppers. She tried the banana peppers the other day when we ate at Quizno's. Travis and I were adding the peppers to our sandwiches when Bree insisted she wanted to try one. We warned her they were hot but she still wanted to taste one. (Actually banana peppers are pretty mild.) Well, she tried one and loved it..she wanted to eat them like candy. She said "Mmm...spicy!" So I told her "Yes, they're spicy, they're hot!" To which she replied, "Ranna likes spicy!"

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tales From the Crib

The other day, to give Mommy a much needed break, Travis took Bree out to Parker Lake park, just the two of them. Apparently, while they were there they walked out onto the fishing dock to see if they could spot any fish in the water. While they were looking Travis told Brianna she should say "Here fishy fishy fishy!" Not long after that they actually spotted a fish, much to Bree's joy. (Although, please note that this is Trav's story to tell, he posted in on the Taylor family website forum and is calling me a thunder-stealer again. Can I help it if my blog is more popular? Can I?)

Well, anyways, apparently Bree has decided that the fish calling method works well to call anything, or anyone, she wants to show up. This morning when she woke up she was yelling "Here Mommy Mommy, here Mommy!" Actually, I never quite know what my little "alarm clock" will be yelling out first thing in the morning. Some days she just cries but other mornings she's called "Mommy, where are you?" or "Where'd Mommy go?" or "Help! I'm stuck!" just to name a few.

Evenings are also interesting with Bree as bedtime rolls around. Of course, there's the usual book-reading and lengthy prayers. Lately though, Bree's wanted to say prayers twice every night. We'll get done with our prayer and she'll immediately be saying "Last time Mommy, last time," meaning "let's pray one last time." But, this second prayer is always markedly shorter since I always just say, "Okay, Dear God, Bless Brianna. Amen." But, that seems to satisfy her, and I mean, I can't say no to wanting to pray! The main variable to bedtime though is which little toy Brianna chooses to take to bed with her. We always let her choose one or two things to take to bed so she doesn't feel isolated and can entertain herself if she's not ready to go to sleep right away. Tonight she picked out her kazoo and also her little plastic clacky thing. (What's it called, the thing where it has a handle and like 3 round things on the end and you bang it against your knee?) So, for about 15 minutes after we tucked her in we could hear the sounds of kazooing and percussion coming from her room. :)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Next Time Won't You Sing With Me!

We bought Bree one of those echo microphones. (You know the ones with no batteries but when the kids talk into them the echoes make them sound louder. It was in the dollar section at Target the other day.) She immediately loved it and today she insisted on bringing it with her in the car. The whole time we were driving around doing errands she was in the backseat, belting out the ABC song into her mic...(mike? how do you spell the abbreviation for microphone anyways?) It was making me laugh because she was actually doing really well. It went something like this: "A,B,C, D, E, (mumbling),G, 'aish,' I, (mumbling), (sort of recognizable but slurry MNO and then), P, (mumbling),S,D(T),U,B(V), (mumbling), Y and Z! Now I (mumbling) ABC's, nest time (mumbling) sing with me!"

Look at Me!

Despite the fact that I thought I had put the fingerpaints away where Bree couldn't reach them, she of course managed to do just that. She must have stood on one of the little chairs in her room and been high enough to get the bottles down. I'm not quite sure how she did it but she did. She hadn't been in her room more than 5 minutes by herself (while her daddy and I finished up our dinner in the next room) when she comes running out of her room, with green fingerpaint all over her hands and shirt, going "Look at me! Look at me!" We jumped up and followed her back into her room where we saw she had managed to get all four colors down and had squirted about half the green bottle out onto the top of her table. (Green of course, one of her favorite colors! It was actually fairly contained for a painty mess, not to mention that I've learned since the whole crayon on the wall incident and now only buy completely stain-free washable art supplies.) "Look at me!" she said again, "fingerpainting!" She was so cute standing there, so happy with herself, I figured the damage was already done and I couldn't scold her for it. (Okay, yes, I'm somewhat of a softie all right?) Instead I just helped her into her art smock, moved her creativity out onto the balcony, wiped up the mess and then resolved to keep the fingerpaints in a more toddler-proof spot in the future.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MN Zoo with Hannah and Kadyn

Today we mooched off of Hannah and Kadyn and used their membership card guest passes to go to the MN Zoo. We spent most our time in the "farm" area where the kids can pet and feed barnyard animals. The girls were so cute together and Bree had a blast seeing the animals and hanging out with her buddy Kadyn.

Kadyn and Brianna holding hands. They were so excited to walk along, holding each other's hands. It makes me laugh because they are such a study in opposites: tall, short, dark, fair, more introverted, more extroverted. Together they make a perfect pair of best buds. :)

They actually walked this way for a pretty long time.

Bree feeding the goats alfalpha pellets on the "farm."
Wow! Feeding the goats is SOO exciting!

Making sure to feed the baby goats as well.

Petting a cow (sort of).

The girls "riding" a pig.

Help! I'm Stuck!

As part of her quest for independence Bree now resists sitting anywhere that she's strapped in, like the stroller or the shopping cart. Since I know it must be frustrating to be a toddler, always going places on someone else's agenda and feeling really confused about whether you just want to be a baby or a big kid, I really try to give her some "wiggle" room on some issues. (Some, but not all! Brianna is getting better at accepting that on the important stuff, Mom always wins...hopefully.) So, I try to be understanding, especially about her need to walk on her own and be independent...she is afterall an independent spirit by nature. And, since I'm a stay at home Mom we usually don't have any type of pressing agenda so I try to respect her slow-poke pace when walking and give her a few moments to inspect a bug or collect a rock instead of constantly dragging her along by the wrist. My philosophy is, she's learning and needs the time to think about stuff. I don't want to rush her childhood by pulling her from one activity to another. But, this idea doesn't really work in the grocery store. It's just not cool to let your kid learn by opening a box of rice or throwing cans of peas in the aisle. So, she stays strapped in to the grocery cart and I frantically try to rush through my list before the tantrum begins. Actually though, recently instead of having a tantrum Bree just starts yelling "Help! I'm stuck! Help!" over and over again. That's what she did the last time we were at the store as we were going through the checkout line. This was much to the amusement of our cashier, especially when I started trying to explain to Bree that she wasn't stuck, Mommy had put her there on purpose, even while she continued to yelp about being stuck to anyone else who would listen. But, the minute I started pushing the cart away she stopped her yelling and calmy said "Bye-bye" to the checker. Toddler moods, they sway with the wind.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Swim Fun

Since it’s been getting to the hot and humid part of summer here, we’ve been going swimming more often recently. On our last family trip downstairs to the pool Bree had a complete blast. She’s not really into “swimming” per say. She actually likes to just walk around the edge of the pool and climb up and down the stairs leading into the water. This time she decided she was into jumping into the pool as well. She would stand on the edge and launch herself into her daddy’s arms and then turn around and do it again as fast as her little feet touched the edge when he set her down. After she got tired of jumping Daddy took her into the water and was throwing her up into the air, much to her delight. She would count off “1,2,7, Blastoff!” Then he would throw her up into the air with her squealing the whole time. But, as soon as he caught her she was saying “Try again!” After observing all this I can’t help but wonder if we don’t have an adrenaline junkie on our hands…hopefully she won’t be asking to bungee jump on her fifth birthday!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Phone Skills

Since all of Brianna’s relatives live out of state she ends up talking to them on the phone quite frequently. I think she actually has pretty good phone skills for a two year old, but still, the conversations usually end up pretty one-sided. Bree mostly listens and then makes random comments that for the most part have nothing to do with what the person on the other end is saying. Since I only hear her side of it, it’s kind of amusing for me. For example, here’s how her phone “conversation” with her grammy went the other day:

“Hi Grammy! Grammy, watching TV. Grammy, poking kitty’s eye. (Which, she actually was doing.) Grammy, other side! (Switching to her other ear) Hi Grammy! Grammy other side. (Switching to her other ear) Hi Grammy! Grammy wake up! Hi Grammy! Grammy, room, see? Grammy? Hi Grammy! Grammy, outside (meaning “I’m outside”)! See geese Grammy. …”

And so on. She tends to wander around while she’s talking on the phone and make observations about things and “point” things out to the other person as if they can see them as well. Also, she will keep saying hi to the person every so often just to see if they’re still there and paying attention I guess. Then sometimes she just feels done and either leaves the phone sitting on the floor or a table, or she’ll say “Daddy’s turn” and hand him the phone. Of course, if one of us asks her if it’s Mommy or Daddy’s turn she’ll say “No, ‘Ranna’s turn!”

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Side Note From Brianna's Mommy

Is it just me or have I been writing a lot of blog entries lately? And long ones too? (All right, I know I have, I can see them too, it’s a rhetorical question okay?) I’m not sure if I’m writing more because Bree’s been giving me a lot of good material lately or if I’ve become so into writing about her that I’ve lost perspective and now think every little thing she does is hilarious, even if it’s really not. (No, that can’t be true…every thing she does IS pretty funny right? I mean, right?) Well, maybe because since I skipped a week I’m feeling a neurotic need to “make up for it,” or maybe I feel compulsive about writing and the skipped week is now resulting in an overflow of new additions since I got home. Who knows? But I have to ask, was anyone going to tell me that I had two entries that were exactly the same except that they had different names?? Anyone? I mean, how embarrassing! They’re fixed now though and the Park Fun one actually has a park story under it. Speaking of embarrassing though, I’m hoping that the birthday letter wasn’t in the “over-sharing” category. I mean, it is a very personal thing…maybe I should have put a warning on it like “WARNING: This entry is especially sentimental and sappy, if these types of emotions make you hurl please do not proceed.” That might have been nice. (Although, I have to say I am rather proud of my restraint with not over-sharing too much, I mean you haven’t heard about any potty stories even though we are potty training and while many of them are more like tragedies, there have been a few funny potty moments. And, I haven’t said anything about Brianna getting any younger siblings either but we are thinking about that too. I’m sure many of you appreciate these facts.) I think the Grammy’s appreciated the birthday letter anyways. Speaking of certain of Brianna’s Grammy’s who shall remain nameless (Grammy Deb and Grammy Dee-dee amd also some of their co-workers that they have been bad influences on, you know who you are out there!—oops did I type that out loud?) I know that you are sneaking peeks at this website while at work when you’re supposed to be, you know, working. Therefore, in honor of your stolen work moments and in light of my recent long-windedness I will try (but I can’t guarantee it), really try to keep myself in check and blog a little more concisely and get back to the short and sweet type anecdotes. But look, here this is getting long again. Oops, it happens so quickly….let me tell you about this one time…..

Bossy Britches

I guess since Bree is now two, she figures she pretty much knows better than me these days. Here’s a sample of one of our usual conversations: (This one happened while I was on the phone with my mom while I was multitasking between the call and getting ready to run an errand and she was quite amused on her end since she wasn’t dealing with it…Thanks a lot Mom!)

Me: “Brianna, we need to run to the store, let’s get your shoes on.”
Bree: “Mom, finger painting!”
Me: “No, we’re not going to finger paint right now, we have errands to run sweetie.”
Bree: “Finger painting,” (gets the finger painting paper out and points) “See Mom? Finger painting.”
Me: “No baby, we’ll finger paint later, we need to go to the store and pick up some things, you want to come?”
Bree: “Okay! Shoes on? Shoes on Mom, shoes!”
Me: “Yes we do need to put our shoes on, that’s right.”
Bree: (Dragging my pink flip-flops to me) “Pink ones Mom, pink ones!”
Me: “No sweetie, I don’t want to wear the pink ones, they don’t match, I’m wearing the brown ones today.”
Bree: “Mom, pink ones! Pink ones Mom!”
Me: “No, see, I’m already wearing brown ones.”
Bree: “Okay, green ones Mom?”
Me: “All right let’s find your shoes, where are your shoes at?” (Strategic redirection of topic.)
Bree: “Socks on, socks Mom!”
Me: “You want to wear socks with your sandals? Okay let’s get some socks first then.”
Bree: “Pink ones Mom!”
Me: “Okay then, pink ones. Can you sit down and we’ll put them on?”
Bree: “Okay.” (sits down and lets me put her socks on) “Mom, shoes on! White ones!”
Me: “All right then. Okay your shoes are on.”
Bree: “Mom, socks on Mom?”
Me: “No baby, I don’t want to wear socks, I need my toes out to wear these shoes.”
Bree: “Mom, socks, socks on!” (goes and gets some of her dad’s socks out of his drawer)
Bree: “Mom, socks see? Wear em?”
Me: “No, I told you baby, I don’t want to wear socks.”
Bree: (pushing the socks onto my toes) “Socks Mom, wear em, socks!”
Me: “Brianna, I don’t need any socks and besides those are Daddy’s socks and they don’t fit, let’s just go bye bye!”
Bree: “Okay mom! Mom, lights off! Lights off Mom!”
Me: “Yes, I know, I am turning the lights off. Thanks for reminding me.”
Bree: “Mom, lights off!”
Me: “Yes thank you, I am.”
Bree: "There you go Mom. Good Job."
Bree: “Mom, mom, diaper bag mom. Where is it?”
Me: “Yes, I didn’t forget it, I’m getting it.”

And, finally, I wrapped up my phone call with my mom and we were out the door. This was actually only about 5 minutes of our day but overall I’d say I have the patience of a saint, wouldn’t you? :P

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Fun

Being the thoughtful child she is, Brianna got her daddy a "Cool Daddy" T-shirt for Father's Day, although she really had no idea that it was from her. Not only that she and I got up early while Daddy slept in and she helped me make him a special breakfast of watermelon slices and an omelet with his favorite ingredients mixed in. Okay, actually she watched the Mickey Mouse Club House show on TV while I made the breakfast. And, truthfully, Daddy didn't get to sleep in very long since she marched into his room about a half hour after she got up and yelled "Daddy, wake up!" After letting Daddy have his luxurious morning of "sleeping in" we all spent the rest of the day being kind of lazy and actually the day was pretty standard for Travis having a toddler climbing all over him and such...I guess a Dad's work is never done eh?

Bubble Blowing

One of Bree's favorite activities lately is blowing bubbles out on our balcony. These pics were so cute, I just couldn't resist posting them. (Although, Travis called me a thunder-stealer so I will say, make sure to check out his whole album of bubble blowing shots on the Kodak Gallery link as well!)

The expression says it all..."Hooray! Bubbles!"

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!

A bubble magnifying glass :)

Verbal Variety

Always saying something new, I couldn’t resist sharing these latest additions to Bree’s conversational repertoire:

Her carrying a toy cup up to whoever is in the room, holding it out and asking them “cup of tea?”

Reading her books, opening to the first page and saying, “Once upon a time,” then flipping through a few pages, closing the book and going “The End.”

Pushing past Mommy while saying “Coming through!”

Declaring “Awesome!” when she thinks something’s cool.

Getting impatient whenever Daddy leaves the room and asking “Go get him?”

And, playing hide and seek with Daddy, covering her eyes, counting “1,2,7” and adding on “Ready or not, here I come!”

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Beetle Appetizer

Today while playing out on the balcony Brianna found a little black beetle crawling on the floor. She was so excited! She picked it up and carried it over to show her daddy and then decided the beetle was her new best friend. Pretty soon she had gotten a piece of white paper and was setting the beetle down on it, watching him crawl across it with great interest. Well, the next thing we knew Bree was standing at the coffee table with her white paper in front of her, sticking her tongue out and making a sort of gag noise. “Hey, are you okay?” I asked her. “Where’d he go?” she said, holding her palms up. While she wiped at her tongue with her hand I realized that she’s asking where the beetle was and I had a sneaking suspicion where he went too. “Did you eat him?” I asked her. “Where’d he go?” she asked again. “Well, I think he’s in your tummy now,” I told her very calmly. Oh well, I guess a little extra protein never hurts right?

Finger Painting

This afternoon we decided to try out the finger paints Bree got for her birthday yesterday. We got creative and also really messy but we had a blast and expect to sell our artwork for top dollar!

One messy, but happy, fingerpainter :)

The masterpiece.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My Baby is 2!

Well, as if I haven’t been verbose enough about Brianna’s childhood so far, writing down pretty much every little thing, I’ve also written her a birthday letter for each of her two birthdays. In the letter I just try to write down where she’s at developmentally and where I’m at emotionally in our journey together. Maybe someday when she’s, I dunno, 35 or something, she’ll actually want to sit down and read them and maybe think it’s pretty cool, (or maybe not!). So, since today is Brianna’s birthday, instead of my usual cute and quirky Bree anecdotes I thought I’d share this year’s birthday letter: (Am I the only one who can’t believe she’s two?!)

Dear Brianna,
Wow! Here it is your 2nd birthday already. I thought the first year went by fast but this second one has gone by even faster it seems. You have changed so much since your last birthday! You are walking so much more gracefully and purposefully, not to mention running, jumping, and climbing all over.

And your verbal skills have just exploded. You can say so many words I can’t even count them all. You are even starting to talk in complete sentences and are always managing to surprise us with the funny little things you say and do. You seem to be saying something new every day and we have to be careful what you hear us say since you understand so much!

Since you’re a toddler now you are going through the typical toddler phases: tantrums, struggles with sharing, getting into everything, potty training, etc. But, despite these symptoms of “Terrible Two-ness” you are still a joy to me on a daily basis. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, in between household chores and running errands I try to make myself slow down and really appreciate you in the small moments of life—like when you bend down to marvel at an ant on the sidewalk or your pure joy at blowing bubbles out on our balcony. I know it will be soon enough that ants won’t hold any interest for you and blowing bubbles won’t be the highlight of your day. It’s these moments I try to hold in my heart each day.

As I’ve watched you grow this past year I see what a bright, vivacious, fearless, and outgoing personality you have. Even thought you are only 2 right now I still look at you and pray that your daddy and I can make the right decisions that will guide you and help you grow into a polite, wonderful, self-assured, and strong woman without crushing that fire and spirit you have.

I feel blessed to have watched you grow, blossom, and interact with your world this year and I can’t wait to see what’s next in your big adventure of life…I love you so much! Happy Birthday baby!

All my love,

Brianna Rose, newborn, 6/16/04

Brianna Rose, 1 yr old, 6/16/05

Brianna Rose, 2 yrs old, 6/16/06

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Park Fun

Surprise! Bree and I went to the park today. (You never would have guessed it right?) Brianna ran all over, up the stairs and down the slides. At one point she was climbing up a ladder and said “Ranna, go up!” Then when she got to the top it was “Look at me!” We had fun for a while longer and then it was time to go home and start making dinner. As is our custom we said goodbye to the park and this time Bree added “See you soon!”


Lately Bree has shown a lot of interest in playing the word games we used to tell her as a younger baby. Since she’s a toddler she loves the repetitiveness and predictability of rhymes like Patty Cakes (which she’ll ask you to repeat over and over and over). Another oldie she’s revived from her younger days is Peek-A-Boo, only she calls it “Peek-ee-Boo.” Recently she found out I could sing the rubber ducky song from Sesame Street. (You know that one that Ernie sings.. “Rubber ducky, you’re the one, you make bathtime so much fun, rubber ducky I’m awfully fond of you..Bo bo bo bee bo.” Oh come on, it’s catchy, like you’ve never sung it before?) Her favorite game right now though is one that her and Grammy Dee-dee made up when we visited Idaho recently. Grammy would pretend to fall asleep and Brianna would say “Wake-up!” Then Grammy would open her eyes real wide. It made Bree laugh every time. She even turned it around and would fake being asleep herself and then Grammy would say “Wake up Brianna, CockaDoodle Doo!” and she would laugh and open her eyes and look surprised.

Evening Mayhem

Last night turned out to be quite entertaining, here’s how it went down…For dinner I made German Pancakes (for those of you who don’t know these are egg pancakes). As usual we sat down to bless the food and Brianna said it was her turn to pray. So, she clasped her little hands together, bowed her head and said “Bless the pancakes.” Travis and I managed not to laugh but we smirked at each other across the table since it was the first time that she’s actually blessed the dinner herself and by name too! We all dug in and when she was finished eating Bree announced “all done,” as usual. Well, wiping her hands and face and getting her out of her booster chair has traditionally been her daddy’s job since he eats so fast that he’s usually done even before Brianna’s done, (which is really fast). He reached over to help her and she said "No, not Daddy’s turn, Mommy’s turn." (She’s really been into dictating who’s “turn” it is to help her do things, which usually means Mommy right now.) According to her royal decree I helped her down.

After dinner she was looking for the cat. We told her we thought he was hiding under the bed. “Go get him?” she asked. “Sure,” we said. So off she went in search of the kitty. Once she found him she became obsessed with the idea that he needed a “neck-ahce” (necklace). She could not be convinced otherwise no matter what we said. Sure enough when I looked over towards her next she had managed to get one of her necklaces around his neck. He actually wore it for a few minutes, (I think he felt pretty). When the fun of making a cat wear a necklace wore off she next grabbed the phone and made Bogart have a whole pretend conversation with Grammy, holding the phone up to his ear. Finally, the cat slinked off and instead she put “Socket,” her sock puppet, on her hand and made him press buttons on the phone. She looked over at me and said “Mommy, Socket pushed buttons!”

To wrap the evening up she took a bath. When she felt she was done she got out, raced into her room, opened her dress-up drawer and put on her grass skirt, some black glasses, a russion hat and was saying “Look at me, look at me!”

Thankfully, it was bedtime after that, whew! She’s a funny one but it sure makes me tired to keep up with her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Snack Time

Today when it was time for her snack I called Bree to “Come here.” She was around the corner and said to me “Hold on a second!” (A new phrase for her, which of course, made me smile.) And, sure enough in just a second she came over and settled down to eat her snack, peanut butter on wheat bread and apple slices. After a minute she turned to me and told me she needed “dip” for her apples. She usually means ketchup when she says dip, but, thinking this time she must mean peanut butter I added an extra dollop of that to her plate. But, she still insisted she needed “dip” and this time I understood she wanted ketchup with her apple slices. So, we both headed over to the fridge to get the ketchup out. When I opened the door, there on the second shelf was one of her little rubber duckies where she had sneaked him in unbeknownst (that’s a word right?) to me the last time I had opened the fridge in her presence. Bree said “Rubber Ducky, what are you doing?” She grabbed him up and observed “Rubber Ducky, so cold!” Then she and rubber ducky proceeded to eat their apples in ketchup dip quite happily.

In the Shop-it

We’re in the habit of tucking a sippy cup into bed with Brianna at nap and bedtimes so she can have a drink if she wakes up thirsty. Today as I was putting Bree down for her nap I couldn’t find her new Elmo cup. In a rhetorical question I said, “Where’s your sippy cup…on the floor?” Then Bree said, “No, in shop-it (her term for her little shopping cart).” So, I looked in there and sure enough there it was. It is still so weird to me that we can have these kinds of interactive two-way conversations!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

One Wedding and a Birthday (Our Visit to Idaho)

Since I’ve been pretty regular in writing a daily entry, I’m sure there are those of you wondering where I’ve been this past week. Well, we took off to visit all the relatives in Idaho! We had a lot of fun and managed to squeeze in a lot of family events and quality time while we were there, although, I slacked off in doing blog entries. So, here are a few little moments that were noteworthy from the past week:

We arrived in Boise on Wednesday morning and Brianna immediately began observing that things were “new and diffint (different)” as she put it. We went to Grammy Dee-dee’s house and she started talking about the “new and diffint” crib there. Grammy had laid out some toys and stuffed animals there so of course we had to discuss all the “new and diffint” toys. It was no different at Grammy Deb’s house either, everything was “new and diffint.”

Not only were the toys and cribs “new and diffint” but so were all the people we saw. Between Travis and I, we have a lot of family and friends in Idaho so Bree has a large number of people who love her and wanted to see her. After meeting the first few she started asking me “Mommy, who’s that? Who’s that Mommy?” She met so many people that she started to think that she was related to everyone and was asking me “Who’s that?” about random people in the park. (Although, I do find it kind of flattering that she thinks I know just everyone!) I have to say, she did really well warming up to people and actually remembering their names. By the end of our trip she knew and would call by name, “Annie (Auntie) Em,” “Unca (Uncle) Mike,” “Messy (Missy),” “Amy,” “Aunt Katty (Kathy),” “Unca Cody,” “Lisha,” “Unca Mark,” “Unca Jerald,” “James,” “Nessa (Vanessa)” and even some of the dogs, “Jinner” (Ginger), and “Tucka” (Tucker). I told you I had a lot of family, and that’s only the start of them!

Of course, aside from all her other relatives she was talking a lot about “Grammy” and also “Poppa.” But, it got kind of confusing for Bree since she has 5 Grammy’s living in Idaho and we were always going to one of the Grammys’ houses. Since we’ve never really given the Grammy’s any distinctive name to distinguish them from each other (at least, not when we’re talking to Brianna) she solved this problem herself. She ended up seeing my mom, Trav’s mom, and my grandmother (Mom’s mom) the most. So, to tell between them she started calling them “Grammy,” “Uddo (other) Grammy,” and “Diffint Grammy.” Between my mom and Trav’s mom, whoever we were with at the time was “Grammy” and the one not there was “Other Grammy.” And for some reason, my own grandmother she consistently called “Diffint Grammy.” (Oddly enough all 5 or 6 of her Grandpa’s were just “Poppa.”) It was pretty darn amusing but it did get her point across.

One of the big events we attended during our visit was my cousin Jerald’s wedding. At first I thought we might actually get through it without being disruptive. That is until the guy in the pew in front of us sneezed. Well, that was the end of quiet time for Brianna. She started saying “Bless you guy, bless you,” in a loud voice. When he didn’t turn around or respond she just kept on saying it a few more times in her usual exuberant tone of voice. When she finally determined he wasn’t going to reply she decided to take matters into her own hands…she started fake sneezing and then blessing herself! So, while the vows were being said she was at the back of the church going “Achoo! Bless you! Achoo! Bless you!” This went on for quite some time…Oh well, they did invite us knowing we had a two year old, hopefully they won’t hold it against us.

The variety of new people and places Brianna saw in Idaho was reflected in her prayers. Every night she added some new thing to the list, much to the amusement of the 3-4 relatives standing out in the hall, listening and giggling. Some of the new things she included in her prayers this last week were to “Bless my sippy cup, bless tippy toes, bless Unca Cody, bless Unca Cody’s boat, bless the puppies, bless Annie Em, bless Messy…” to name a few.

One of the last big events we had in our week in Boise was Bree’s own birthday party! We’d been talking about it so much beforehand that she was thoroughly prepared for the big question. Now, when you ask her how old she is she’ll say “two!” We celebrated the big number 2 at the park with lots of friends and family in attendance. Of course, par for the course for a toddler birthday, Brianna was in tears several times during her party…once she fell down and once she was mad about sharing the swings with other kids at the park. But, she perked up once she saw her little cake. She was sticking her fingers in and licking the icing off way before it was cake time. (But, seeing it was her birthday and all, nobody said anything.) Then she was saying “Mmm, good pancake!” (I guess since she’s eaten pancakes a lot she thinks all cakes are pancakes?!) She also had a blast opening her presents and wanted to play with each new toy right then and there. (She really made a haul and got lots of great new clothes and playthings.) Then it came time to light the candles on her cake. The wind was blowing and it was hard to get them lighted and once we did they were lit for approximately .2 seconds before Bree promptly blew them out. Then we sang the Happy Birthday song. Bree was beaming her little face off and once the song was over she said “try again!” So, we all sang it a second time.

When we got home Brianna was super excited to see our cat, Bogart. Once she saw him she said “My kitty!” Then I said, “Oh kitty we’ve missed you!” So Bree repeated, “Kitty, miss you!” They spent like a half hour snuggling after that.

Well, there were lots more funny and noteworthy moments during the week, but this is getting long as it is. We had a great time with everyone and want to say thanks for having us!

Sharing a popsicle with one of the bears at Grammy Dee-dee's house.

Bree looking adorable in her new yellow dress at Grammy Deb's house.

Oh, what a face!

Brianna in her "wedding dress," white with a pink bow at the waist and a pink shrug. (She's wearing her Grammy's corsage. ) :)

Bree hanging out with Uncle Mike before the wedding.

The happy couple. Congrats Susan and Jerald!

At Jerald and Susan's reception...Brianna and I (in the middle) with Aunt Missy (on the left) and Auntie Em (on the right).

Brianna's big day, her second birthday party! Here she is opening a Doodle Bear from Uncle Mike and Aunt Tammy.

Opening an Elmo Giggle Ball from Aunt Kathy and Uncle George and family. (Note the T-shirt in the back that says "I love my Mommy and Daddy but Grandma and Grandpa are the best! A gift from Grammy Dee-dee!)

Bree tasting her birthday cake.

Clapping her hands with glee after everyone sang the "Happy Birthday" song.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Boots and Dolly at the Park

OK so no surprise, Brianna and I ended up at the park again this afternoon. However, this time it was a little more interesting than usual because Bree insisted on bringing a few friends along. She refused to leave the house without her little yellow monkey named Boots and her baby doll. At first, I tried to make her choose just one. I told her they both couldn't come and who did she want to take. She said Boots so I said "Ok, can you put Dolly down then please?" So, she threw Dolly on the floor. Trying to help Bree with the seperation anxiety I said "Ok Baby, see you later," to the doll. At that point Brianna rushed back over to Dolly and said, "Dolly, sad, don't cry," then kissed her head. After that, I couldn't tell her no, call me a pushover if you want. So, off we went with both Boots and Dolly in tow. Of course, I wasn't allowed to help carry either one of them, Brianna struggled along valiantly to carry them both. When we got in sight of the park Bree looked at each one in the face, "Boots, park! Dolly, park!" At the park the three of them went down several slides, and they all swang..swung...swinged? Ok whatever, they were all swinging together, each on their own swing at Brianna's insistence. One time after Boots went down the slide, Bree came down after him, picked him up off the ground and said "Good one Boots!" (It was pretty hilarious!) Then later, when she was trying to get Dolly to ride one of those things, you know what are they called, the horses with big springs that go into the ground and they rock back and forth?? Anyways, she was trying to get Dolly to ride one but Dolly kept falling off. When the baby fell off the horse and onto the ground Brianna said "Dolly, what are you doing on my face on the ground?" After all that Boots and Dolly were all tired out so we came home and fed them a snack.

Wake Up! Good Night.

We never quite know how Brianna will wake up in the mornings. Sometimes she'll scream or cry, other times she'll play quietly for awhile, talking to her stuffed animals in bed. Today she woke up and yelled "Mom, where are you?" (Yeah, we don't use alarm clocks at our house.) So started our day.

Then around noon I was getting ready to make lunch when Bree marched into her room and declared "bed!" "Are you sure?" I asked her, "I'm making lunch right now, don't you want some lunch?" But she pointed to her crib and said again firmly, "bed!" I was shocked, she never just puts herself to bed! But, who was I to argue? I laid her down but as I was closing the door she couldn't find her little sippy cup of water. "Where's water?" she yelled. So, I came back into the room and showed her it was right there. She rolled over, gripping her cup and said "Thank you Mom. Night night," and promptly fell asleep. I left the room shaking my head.

We put Bree to bed early tonight since we are waking her up super early for a flight tomorrow. Of course, we still had to go through the same bedtime routine to get her to go down. Bath, PJ's, reading books, then prayer. Tonight when we prayed we made a special request for a safe trip and Brianna's additions included "Thank you for bubbles, bless the potty, bless Grammy, bless other Grammy..." After prayers we tucked her in and gave her kisses and started to leave the room. Usually at this point we have to just ignore the requests she's yelling out for one more kiss or another prayer or we'd be there all night. Tonight as we were backing towards the door she was saying "Daddy, kiss toes!" "Kiss your own toes," he told her "Go to sleep." But, he didn't get away with that one. Bree yelled "Daddy, get back here!" So, he went in and kissed the royal toes and after that the princess fell asleep without protestation.


Okay, there's really no story here, just realized it's been awhile since I posted pictures of our baby. These are from the other day when we spent a quiet afternoon playing on the balcony. Bree helped us blow bubbles and smelled the flowers among other things...

Blowing bubbles on the balcony.

What a sweet little face!

Smelling the flowers.

Our little cutie pie!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Shoe Conversation and The Big Slide

The other day Brianna and I had our first whole conversation in complete sentences. She wanted to go to the park and said, "Mom, where are my brown shoes?" "I don't know, I think they're in your room," I told her. So, she ran in there and I heard her yell "I found them! There they are. Too high Mom!" (They were up at the top of her dresser.) (Ok, all right that last sentence wasn't really a whole sentence but give the kid a break, she's only 2!)

Well, once we got the shoes on we headed off to the park. We went to a new park this time and it had a really tall slide. Of course, Brianna wanted to go down that one first. She has no fear, but I do. It was really, really tall and I didn't want her to go down alone so I climbed up there with her..much to the dismay of the 6 year old in line behind me. Well, we got up there and went down, Bree with a big smile on her face. Once we were at the bottom Brianna immediately got back in line. I managed to convince her we should try the smaller slides though and we played for a while longer. When it was time to go Bree started waving and saying goodbye to the park and everything in sight. (A little ritual that helps her leave without throwing a fit.) So, one by one she named each park plaything "Goodbye park, bye swings, bye red slide, bye blue slide, bye kids, bye bikes..."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

ABC's Say

I would like to think it's because of my diligent time and effort spent emphasizing education, but actually, largely due to TV shows like Sesame Street, Brianna has become aware of the alphabet and letters. Whenever she sees writing she points and says "ABC's, ABC's Mom!" Then we say "Yep, sure enough," or something of that nature. Well, today Bree noticed that there were "ABC's" on her tube of diaper cream. She pointed this out to her daddy and he told her that those ABC's said "diaper cream." (Although, actually they said more like A&D Diaper Ointment.) Then Bree noticed more ABC's on the shampoo bottle. Daddy told her they said "shampoo" (All right, it was actually conditioner and it didn't even say that on the front of the bottle either.) After the shampoo Brianna found ABC's on the toothpaste. Daddy said those ABC's say "toothpaste" (translation: Colgate). After that Bree handed me the tube of toothpaste, then pointed at it solemnly and told me, "ABC's say 'Brush your teeth!'"

Me Too!

Today Brianna's Daddy got her dressed, he put her into jeans and one of the new shirts I recently bought her. After her clothes were on she ran into the room to show me. I hadn't seen her wear that particular shirt before so I said, "Wow. That's a nice shirt, I sure like your outfit today!" Then she looked at me and said "Me too!" She's never said that before! So, of course, I was left there laughing while she ran off to do other things.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Socket To Me

Like most kids her age, Bree hates to have her hair washed. She loves the part where we add soap to her hair and get all foamy, right up until we have to wash it off that is. Then she fusses and cries and insists that her eyes hurt, even though we use a "no more tears" shampoo. So, the other day I tried something new. I rediscovered a bathtime hand puppet made of terry cloth. (Actually, I think someone gave it to us at the baby shower before she was born but it's been lost in the closet all this time.) At bath time I wore the hand puppet, (who's supposed to be a pink hippo I think), and had it soap up her hair and then pour water over her head. She thought it was pretty fun but she still fussed about washing the soap off. As usual, to help her recover from the trauma of having water on her head and running on her face, I used a wash cloth to wipe her eyes. Only, this time I used the hand puppet since it was made of wash cloth material. Brianna stopped her fussing, looked at the puppet and said "Thank you socket!" (Short for sock puppet, like on Blues Clues.)

Positive Vibes

Inevitably since she's a toddler, we end up telling Brianna "No," or some other version of it, quite often each day. So, in order to counter balance the negativity of saying "No," we also try to catch her being good and compliment her. To do this we often say "Good Job, Very Nice," or "Very good!" In her usual manner she's managed to turn the tables and use our own words on us. Now, when she sees Mommy or Daddy doing something she thinks is nice she'll tell us so. Take today when we were blowing bubbles on the patio. After I tried to blow a bubble and had it break right away she instructed me "too hard," implying I was blowing too hard. (I actually had just told her this when she had tried to blow bubbles a few minutes earlier..) I dipped the stick in the bubble solution and tried again and got a nice row of bubbles going. Bree smiled and said "Very good Mom!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pop A Back Please??

Brianna is small for her age. But even so, I get tired hauling her all around when she feels like being carried, it makes my back hurt some days if I end up holding her a lot. On these kinds of days if her daddy is with us, I'll say, "Can Daddy hold you?" to her and then to Travis, "Can you hold her, my back hurts!" Well, when we went for a walk today while Daddy was at work she wanted to be held. So, I picked her up and kept going. She was saying something to me that I couldn't quite make out but then on the third time she said it I realized she was saying "Mom, back hurt?" It actally made me feel kind of bad that I had said it enough she thinks I don't ever want to carry her...

When our backs hurt, Travis and I are in the habit of popping each other's backs. To do this, one of us lays face down on the floor while the other one uses the heels of their hands to push along either side of the spine. This activity, like everything else we do in front of her, did not go unnoticed by Brianna. Today after her daddy got home she was laying face down on the floor going "Pop a back please?" So, we each took turns "popping" her back. (We really just massaged it a little, but it made her happy anyways.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blue Grammy

Ok, this actually happened a little while ago but I forgot about it until today, when we saw an older woman in the apartment hallway...

Brianna has gotten to the stage where she calls anyone obviously not an adult a kid, then women she thinks are roughly my age are all called Mommy (unless she knows their name specifically), and any woman she thinks is older than that are all Grammy's to her. Well, the other day as we were leaving our apartment complex we saw an elderly lady out on her patio. As Trav was loading Bree into the car she pointed and said "Ud-doh (other) grammy." (As in, it's not my Grammy, but look, there's a grammy.) But, Travis misheard her and thought she said "eddo (yellow) grammy." (An easy mistake to make in baby babble.) So, trying to tease her he said, "No, that's not a yellow Grammy silly that's a blue grammy." So Brianna pointed again and said "blue grammy," and we laughed a little at her expense. (So terrible of us, I know.) We'd forgotten all about it by the time we came back from playing at the park. However, as we pulled back into our parking spot there was the same woman, still out on her patio. Bree pointed her out again and said "blue grammy," so proud of herself for remembering to say it "right," like Daddy had told her.