Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hand Prints in the Background

Over the course of having this blog, I've changed the way it looks a few times, because change is good and after awhile I get tired of having the same old background I guess. But, what has stayed the same consistently is me putting some form of hand prints or finger painting motif there in the background. Occasionally, I think about getting rid of the hand prints and maybe going with something more sleek and designer and grown up. But, for one thing, this is a blog for and about my kids so I want it to look...well, kiddish for lack of a better word. And also I think having hand prints in the background sort of speaks to me about the kind of childhood I want the kids to have and the kind of mother I hope to be. I think Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus says it best - she always is telling her class, "Go out, take chances, make mistakes and get dirty!" Because is there any other way to really learn then trying things out for yourself and really experiencing things? I don't think so. So I strive to be that mom who isn't always just tugging their kids along by the hand telling them to hurry along to the next adult centered activity. If I can, I like to let them dawdle and look at their world around them, let them jump in a puddle for the joy of splashing, and hand out finger paints to them without worrying about the god-awful mess that I will inevitably end up cleaning up shortly thereafter. Now does this mean I always achieve this? That I'm always kid-centered and every time she asks I let Bree paint messily to her hearts content? That I never tell my kids to hurry, get impatient, or steer them widely around a puddle because I'm thinking more about if it will ruin their clothing than how much fun they'll have doing it? Well no, I'm human and I'm not Mary Poppins either. (You know, practically perfect in every way.) But, I do think Mary Poppins is pretty wise... a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down a little easier and that you can look for magic and fun in every day things, like taking the time to go fly a kite, if you'll allow me to speak in cliches and metaphors. Point being, I truly hope that when the kids are grown and are looking back at their childhoods, that what we'll both remember, what we'll see more than anything else, are fun, messy, colorful, and glorious child-sized hand prints running all through the background.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lost in Translation: Your Guide to Interpreting "Briannese"

Although Bree is a very verbal gal she still has quite a bit of "baby language", those things she mispronounces that we just stare at her and go "what??!!" But they do make for some pretty funny conversations sometimes when you hear these unexpected words and have to do a quick translation in your head.

  • "reg-ee-yer" = regular
  • iguana = harmonica
  • burtsday = birthday
  • zert = dessert
Of course, then there are those times when it's not that Brianna is saying the word wrong per say, just that sometimes her l's tend to sound like r's and if she's talking fast (pretty much all the time) the word gets a little slurry, especially if it's got more than two syllables. In those cases, if I'm not really concentrating on what she's saying it's very easy for me to mishear and end up repeating something back to her that's just insane...

  • robot eyes/lullabyes - I was on the computer recently when Bree walked up to me and started saying something. I admit, I wasn't really paying that much attention to what she was saying at that exact moment, being distracted and all. So what I heard was "blah blah blah blah Mom, robot eyes." Well that got my attention. "What? Robot eyes?" I repeated. Deservedly, she stared at me like I was a loony for a heartbeat and then said, "MOM! Not robot eyes, that might scare me! I SAID, I want to listen to lullabyes!" (She has a lullaby CD.) Oh!
Then there are the songs. When Bree can't make out the words to a song she tends to just fill them in with, whatever, whether it makes sense or not. Although, I can't really blame her on that one. This is a pretty human fault. After all, how many of us can say we remember all the words to "The 12 Days of Christmas." (Admit it, all you can think of is 5 gold rings and a partridge in a pear tree! Or there may be a few smartie pants' who may also know 3 french hens and 2 turtle doves, but what were there 9 of huh?) And if you're a Nirvana fan, well, I can be pretty sure that whatever you THINK the lyrics are to Smells Like Teen Spirit is not what they're really singing. (And here, as a complete sidebar, I just can't resist saying that without looking at written lyrics can anyone be really sure what words they're singing in that song? Seriously, listen to it, and I dare you to decipher every word they're saying. And then, if you haven't seen it, you should check out Weird Al's version. )

Well, anyways, here are some Bree versions of a few songs...
  • At our house, Jingle Bells goes like this: "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way! Oh what it is to ride in a soup en ooh pen say! HEY!"
  • And on the songs note, Bree's version of Twinkle Twinkle is "Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are. Up up up up sky so high...."
Personally though, I think the funniest things are when Bree tries to act grown up and imitate the adults in her life.

  • joking - Brianna is exploring humor lately I think. She's into "laughing" a lot (more on that another time) and has been experimenting with telling jokes. But, the whole why a joke is funny thing is not quite jelling for her. Sometimes, when Mom and Dad laugh she even says, "Why are you laughing?" and I'm sure it must seem to here that we are laughing at random things. This is kind of apparent in the "jokes" she tells. They usually go something like this: "Mom, I have a joke to tell you." "Okay, what?" "What did Gingy say?" "Hmm..what?" "That it's time for dinner! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Mommy says/Daddy says - They say imitation is the best form of flattery but I think that repeating things that "so and so says" is pretty high up there too. So, I guess Bree must like her parents okay because her new thing lately is to quote one of us to the other parent. "Daddy says that we only eat zerts AFTER dinner Mom." "Mommy says that when Noah gets older he can play Legos with me!"
  • serious talk - Travis and I are big believers in trying to explain why we are saying no to Brianna when and if we can. This especially applies to situations that are dangerous. If we have to say no to something that falls in that category it's usually followed up with a little explanation about it being dangerous and we don't want her to get hurt, that would make us sad, etc. Apparently this hasn't been falling on deaf ears since Bree decided to turn it around on me the other day when she saw me grabbing a casserole dish out of one of my upper cabinets. If you recall, I broke one not too long ago (she drew me a picture of it) and she must have had this in mind because she told me: "Mom, you have to be really careful. Because that could crash on you, on your head. And then I would be mad at you and it might cut you on your head and you would have to go to the doctor and he would peek right in there..."
  • naughty or nice - Along with starting to understand rules and WHY we have them, Brianna is starting to get a grasp on what's right and wrong. Or, more accurately, what might be considered "naughty" or not. (A concept I think she started becoming aware of after watching a few Christmas shows.) This was made clear to me the other day when she said, "Mom, sometimes I'm a naughty kid..." and then she added, "And sometimes you're bad parents!" Now, I don't know where that came from, and I suppose I could have taken an ego blow from it, but it was just too funny! And I think it's kind of good that she's starting to recognize we all aren't perfect all the time and we have our faults. So, what I said was, "That's true. But we all have to try our best and do better the next time when that happens." She thought about that and then said seriously "Yep, we sure do!"
Riot! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

His and Hers Milestones

Turns out both the kids reached some milestones this week. They were rather quiet ones, but still, both fairly notable though.

For Noah it was getting his first haircut. Yes, already! What can I say, the kid was born with kind of a crazy hairdo, it almost needed a little trim straight from the womb. The main thing was that he had these long sections that hung over his ears.

You can see it pretty well in this picture, over the ear on the right there...long wings.

So, I did a little trimming. He really could have used it, even at 2 months but I just felt fairly ludicrous giving my tiny baby a haircut. And even still I can't exactly take him to the barber! I suppose that the front of his hair is kind of wild and crazy too by some standards. But, I just can't make myself cut it. He was born with that mop and it's sort of his signature look! :) For now then, just a trim over the ears.

And then Bree's milestone this week was this:
Can you read it? B-r-i-a-n-n-a... well, sort of. But a very very good first try! Readable even! As far as I know, this is her first attempt at writing her name. She just ran over to show me the other morning while she was coloring and I was surprised. Kind of funny as well in light of my recent post about her doing "pre-writing."

She's sure growing up by leaps and bounds these days! But she's still got that big ole' Bree grin that keeps us wrapped around her pinkie, and she knows it! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Phone Skillz

Brianna is really into answering and talking on the phone of late. When it rings, she races to answer it and then begs to talk to whoever happens to be on the line, and most the time it doesn't really matter who it is either. She just starts in going 90 miles an hour about her day, or more often, talking about imaginary scenarios, much to the surprise, confusion and/or amusement to the person on the other line, depending on who that may be. Yep, she'll just chatter away and only after a few solid minutes will bother to stop and say, "Who are you?" The funny part about her phone habits recently though is that she's started using this overly loud, slightly affected voice, as if she thinks she needs to talk loudly to cover the distance between herself and the other person, or as if whoever she's talking to is hard of hearing. It's like this, "WAY-ELL, TODAY-EE GINGY WAS ACTING SILLY. SHE WAS HIDING AND I HAD TO FIND HER..."

For some reason it seems Gingy, her favorite stuffed animal, is always somehow involved in just about every phone conversation. Bree is pretty sure that everyone is just dying to talk to Ginger. So at some point in the phone call, she's sure to say, "Here, talk to Ging..." and hold the phone up to her stuffed dog's face. It used to be that this was all she did and the caller was treated to a long silence while they were supposed to be having a deep discussion I suppose. Now though, Bree does the talking for Ginger and although she still holds the phone up to the dog she says things in a high-pitched voice so at least the poor victim of stuffed dog conversations isn't just stuck listening to nothing.

The real phone funnies tend to come when Bree is talking to "GooGoo" (Grammy DeeDee) though. This is because GooGoo is quite indulgent of all kinds of silliness and will not only talk to Ginger, but will let Brianna go on, respond to things as instructed, and sing silly songs with her etc. This was the case the other day when Grammy called to talk to Bree. After a brief discussion about the day and so on Bree said, "Grammy 'peat (repeat) after me 3 things. Peat this first thing: I love Gingy!" So Grammy obediently said, "I love Gingy." "Okay GooGoo now 'peat after me number 2. 'Peat this: I love Bogart." So Grammy "peated" that. "Okay Grammy 'peat after me....peat after me...." (long pause while she thinks of the third thing). Grammy during this pause, thinks that maybe she's missed something and says, "Repeat after me." To which Bree says, "NO! GooGoo. You 'peat after ME: I love Apple Cinnamon!" And so Grammy did that too.

Meanwhile I was snickering in the background...

Naturally though, like most kids Bree has yet to understand and adhere to the "rules" of phone etiquette. And by this I mean, it's really hard to talk to anyone on the phone while she's around. The minute you answer the phone she develops some urgent need that has to be addressed and taken care of, or decides to launch into some vigorous singing, and etc. So if you've ever called me you know there's a steady stream of background noise, not to mention me intermittently needing to say something or other to Bree, right in the middle of what you're trying to tell me, and there's a lot of me going "What? Sorry could you say that again I didn't hear it!" Lately, deciding she's old enough to at least start to understand, I'll say to her, "Bree, look do you see I'm on the phone? I can't hear when you're yelling like that. Please say, 'Excuse me Mom' and then I can talk to you. Or you need to wait a minute." Well needless to say this hasn't been meeting with much success so far. Although I did have to smirk when Bree got a little bit of her just desserts the other day...

There she was talking to Grammy when Noah, who was rolling around nearby, decided he was unhappy and started verbally letting us know he was grumpy. This went on for a minute and then Bree turned around and said "NOAH! I can't hear on the phone when you're yelling!" Somehow though, I really don't think that will translate into my own phone conversation being any quieter. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to Eat Puffs: An Instruction Manual

First, you must very carefully select a puff. This is an important decision since no two puffs are alike and they are to be appreciated individually, like snowflakes. And it can be hard for a kid, with pudgy fingers and not a whole lot of fine motor skills yet. It can take awhile.

Then, very carefully guide the puff into your mouth. Careful not to drop it! Then you'll have to start the puff selection process all over again.

Insert the puff gently into your mouth.

Yes, very gently, insert the puff into your mouth being careful not to gag yourself or appear to have bad manners by shoving your whole hand into your mouth or anything.

Now chew the puff. Gum it until mushy.

Sometimes the puff will get so mushy that pieces of it might ooze out of your mouth...

But, that's okay, just pop it right back in there!

Then, repeat the whole thing from step one.

And repeat...

...and repeat again, and again, and again, and again.... until you, your Excersaucer, your clothes and your hands are all covered in puff mush and slobber.
Eat as many as your Mom will let you, they're yummy!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Birthday Thoughts

Okay, so I know this blog is for the kids and all, that and it's already a been over a month since my actual birthday, but I've been having some "getting older" thoughts brewing around in my head for some time now with nowhere to go. So, allow me a moment to get sentimental, get wordy, and sort through these "birthday thoughts" here...

There have been signs for awhile now, but on this last birthday it became obvious to me that I'm just not a kid anymore, in any sense of the word. I don't think I can even be considered a "young adult" anymore. Nope, I'm pretty sure I now stand firmly with both feet in the "adult" category. What's clued me in to this fact? Well, there are physical signs... for one thing my knees pop almost every time I bend down and if I spend any time at all bent over a table, or playing on the ground with the kids, I seem to have a hard time getting "unbent" without some sore muscles. Then there's also some mental changes, like when I see a teenager doing something, anything, more often than not I think to myself, "What on earth?" And I just can't relate. I don't know the latest cool slang words and even if I did I'm pretty sure I would seem ridiculous saying them, immediately making them uncool.

I think maybe the biggest thing that's made me aware of my "getting older" status though is watching the people around me get older as well. I mean, I feel pretty much the same as I always have but it's hard to deny the passage of time when people you remember quite vividly meeting when they were first born, and you were in high school, are now old enough to be attending their first prom and others you remember as being scrawny five years olds yesterday are now sporting a full beard. Even Indiana Jones is looking a bit, if not alot, older than I remember, no offense to Harrison Ford.

Although I'm aware of being "older," I'm not saying that I'm "old" or having a midlife crisis or anything. I am the age I am, it just seems weird sometimes because you have your whole life to think, "Oh I'll never be that age!" and then suddenly there you are. But, there's no sense to try and act like I'm perpetually 20 years old. Who needs 20 anyways, now is when I'm in my prime! There's something to be said for the age that I am. For one thing I'm finally getting comfortable in my own skin and it's kind of nice to be okay with yourself as opposed to the that self angst thing that most of us have in younger years. Nice to be free of the compulsion to mess with and redo my hair and makeup incessantly. After a certain point, I can mess with it all I want and unless I hire a professional team, it's not gonna make me look much different. And know what? I'm okay with what I see in the mirror, especially considering I'm a mother of two. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I spend all day schlepping around the house with crazy hair, no makeup and a sweatsuit on. (Well okay, SOME days I do. I think I may have permanently emotionally scarred the FedEx guy one day when he knocked on the door unexpectedly.) But even on those days I feel okay being me. After all, who am I trying to impress? I'm pretty certain my husband would think I'm attractive even if I have two black eyes and am wearing a paper sack, everyone else can just take me or leave me. So, I do what I can to look reasonably nice and guess what? I think I'm better looking in many ways now than I ever was at 20!

I guess it's just nice overall not to have to take myself so seriously all the time like I did when I was younger. If you ask me, the ability to laugh at yourself and be less self-absorbed is a big part of "growing up." (Yes, said without any feeling of irony as I sit and type a whole blog entry all about me!)

So for the most part, I'm digging my new phase. The, "Yes, I'm an adult and I have kids so call me Ma'am and don't bother carding me" era. Although, there are some sobering parts as well. Going to high school reunions and those kinds of thing make you realize the things you meant to do, the goals you set back then, that you have less time to get to now, maybe a sense of your own mortality, but not in a morbid way. I guess I have less of a tendency now to put things off, or think to myself I have plenty of time to do _______, I'll get to it later. I suppose I've lost that sense of "bulletproofness" that comes with the "young adult" and under crowd. Because the truth is you just don't know what's around the corner.

So what do I see around my corner? Well, who can say? But what I do know is that it'll be an adventure, full of ups and downs, learning and earning wisdom, worry, tears, laughing, hugs, you name it. And yes, also the aches and pains that come with getting older. But then, no matter what age I reach, I'll never actually be old.... because I have kids. Yes they have their drawbacks sometimes, they're loud, they're exhausting, they're unreasonable and demanding. But then, it's kids who keep you young. Just when we reach the age when we start to lose touch with what it means to be 8 with an ice cream cone, they come in with their enthusiasm, their naivete, their endless hope, their excitement and we see the world again through their eyes, we remember and get to experience it all for the first time over again. After all, without our children, we would be too "grown up" to get excited about Christmas, we'd have no excuse to carve a pumpkin just for the fun of it, to roll down a grassy hill in summer, we'd be too knowledgeable and cynical to marvel at fireflies in a jar. And then, when our children finally get old enough that they too start to lose that magic we are hopefully blessed with grandchildren...

So, what do I see in my future? What can I expect as I get older?

Here's to my endless childhood....

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wow, Wow, Gifts Made by Hand!

Although it turned out all right in the end, it was obvious that Brianna got sucked into the vortex of commercialism this past holiday season. So in light of that, I thought it was great, if not perfect timing, when one of our favorite cartoons, Wow Wow Wubbzy, did a show centered around giving gifts and how the best ones are hand made. If you haven't seen Wow Wow Wubbzy, it's actually a very silly little show but it's good, one of the few I'll actually sit down and watch with Bree. (But this is the only time you'll catch me admitting it!) The great part of the show though, is the preschool music video in every episode. These are catchy little animated tunes that sing the "lesson" of the day. And this one was all about how you don't need to buy expensive gifts for people, and lots of times it means more when you make it yourself. (Which I thought was neat, I'm a crafter myself and like to make stuff. Plus, it's just a great message for kids. )

Although I do have to admit that it kind of made me smirk in a somewhat wicked way because, when you listen to the lyrics it's pretty funny. After all, getting macaroni glued together is such a classic "handmade" gift to get from your kid. And I got some great ideas for the next time I need to give someone a present! Now, when you get a painted face on a rock, a sock puppet, or a bow tied around an old shoe for your birthday, you'll know who and where it came from!

And in case you didn't catch that, here's the lyrics:

The best kinda gifts are made by hand
Just use some tape or a rubber band
No need for a diamond covered pony
You can just make it out of macaroni

Draw a card or write a letter
Pick a flower or knit a sweater
Paint a picture red or yellow
Make up a song and play it on cello

Make it yourself
It comes from the heart
Make it yourself
It’s a work of art
It doesn’t really matter what you do
Because it’s a gift and it’s from you

If you want to do something really sweet
And give someone a special treat
Make some art or bake a cake
It’s from you, there’s no mistake

You can paint a face on a rock
Make a puppet from a sock
Tie a ribbon on an old shoe
No need to buy something new

It’s made by you
Not from the shelf
It’s made by you
Not by an elf
It’s made by you… and you made it yourself

Make it yourself
It comes from the heart
Make it yourself
It’s a work of art
It doesn’t really matter what you do
Because it’s a gift and it’s from you

Yeah, it’s a gift and it’s from you

Oh, and if you liked that one then here's a few more for you:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Naughty Mrowser

Most the time, when Bree is playing pretend I think it's kind of cute and also fairly informational about the inner workings of her mind. Quite often she gets totally sucked into her pretend scenarios as she reenacts things that have happened or acts out scenes more like the way she would like them to go if she were in charge. All in all, it's a very normal phase and I suppose, in a way, good therapy for her to work things out.

Sometimes I even get in on the act. As I've mentioned, sometimes I get to be Dr. Mommy but more often lately I'm the "honey" and Bree is my "mommy." Which, can get a little confusing for her. She'll go, "Hey Mom... I mean Honey..." So I don't really mind all the pretend friends and so on.

BUT, I do have to say there is one pretend game I hate and that is when she plays "Mrowser." Mrowser is both the name of her stuffed cat (aka the cat formerly known as Motorcycle and before that was known as Motorhead) and is also the name Bree goes by when she's pretending to be a cat herself. Apparently this Mrowser character is quite naughty and if I could, I'd get rid of it/him/her. First of all, when Brianna is Mrowser she refuses to speak to me most the time because, cats don't talk. It's perfectly logical but completely maddening!

Take for example when Bree/Mrowser wants a snack. She'll stand by the pantry and meow and scratch at the door. So then I go open the pantry door and start to pull out some crackers. "Meow" says Mrowser and shakes her head. So, I go to grab the raisins. "Meow" says Mrowser and shakes her head again. Next I try a rice cake "Meow" says Mrowser, and in a high fake voice, "I want toast!" "Okay, fine." I say and I pop a slice of bread into the toaster. Once the toast is out I say,
"Brianna do you want butter?"
The kid/cat just looks at me.
"Do you want butter on it?" I ask again.
The kid/cat is still just staring at me.
"HEY! Do you want butter!" I ask a little louder.
(In a high voice.) "I'm NOT Branna, I'm Mrowser!"
"Okay, fine, Mrowser, would you like butter on your toast?"
"All right! If you can't talk to me then I guess you don't really want a snack after all!"
(In a high voice) "Yes, butter!"
And then she'll try to insist she needs a drink of milk from a bowl on the floor so she can lick it up like a cat.

It's just all a little too much for me to indulge for very long some days. Not to mention, Mrowser is kind of rude. One thing is that the "cat" seems to burp constantly, you know, the fake forced ones that if you hear someone trying to do for more than 10 minutes you start to feel sick yourself. (Or is it just me?) So then we say, "Brianna, please stop burping. You're going to make yourself sick and we don't want to hear it anymore."
"I'm NOT burping, it was Mrowser!" (Yes that stage, the blame it on your naughty imaginary friend part.)
"Well, Mrowser needs to stop then and also needs to say excuse me after burping."
Response (bbuuuuuuurrrp)
Brianna says, "Mrowser, stop that!" (giggle giggle)

I suppose it's all innocent enough but some times it can get on my last nerve. I HATE it when she pretends to be a cat but it's her favorite game lately. She plays it often enough that even my mom can recognize Mrowser, over the phone! I was talking to my Mom the other day and Brianna walked into the room and said something in her little high pitched voice she uses while she's playing pretend cat. And my mom says,
"Is Brianna being Mrowser?"
"Yes..." I say.
"Oh, I thought so," she says, "I recognized that squeaky voice she's using."
Then Mom laughs.
"Oh sure, easy for you." I say. "I HATE it when she's a cat."
Which only makes my mom laugh harder....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Itty Bitty Buddies

I'm not naive enough to really think that the kids well be the best of friends for every moment of their entire lives. I'm sure that they'll get thoroughly aggravated and tired of each other at times just like I did with my sibs, even though I love them to death. But for now anyways my two are pretty good buds. Bree seems genuinely glad to have Noah around most the time and already manages to play with him, in her own way. Of course, they're different people, and more importantly, at very different stages right now so they each have their own interests...

Noah is really into holding onto and inpsecting/gnawing on toys right now. This is his favorite rattle there in front. No really, it is his favorite, he's crying because he can't reach it and so far, frustration is an emotion he doesn't handle well. (But who does?)

Yep, this is what he does most. Hold things and gnaw on them, (that is, in between all that rolling around to get to the toys in the first place). Naturally, while Bree thinks all this is kind of funny to see him do, it can only hold her attention for a few minutes...

She's much more into doing big girl things these days... like, playing on the computer. She has a few parentally approved websites that we've bookmarked for her and she actually uses the mouse and can get online and to her favorites sites all by herself. Which, on the one hand is kind of good since she can somewhat self entertain this way for a little while, but on the other hand... well who knew I would need be battling with my 3 year old for computer time?

But, despite their gender, age, and personality differences they manage to find common ground more than you might think. Bree is especially fond of "showing" Noah how to do stuff..., use the computer. But then, that only holds HIS attention for a few minutes.
(And here she's simultaneously teaching him about one of her other favorite hobbies, being a nudist.)

Or, here she is happily showing him about AquaDoodle. And about playing dress up.

Of course, it's fairly inevitable that sometime during their "play" she'll try to take advantage of her being older and bigger by trying out things like this on him. (Good thing it's a water marker!) He doesn't seem too upset about it though and takes most of this kind of big sister harassment pretty much in stride.

So, overall they do seem to like each other. Bree likes to lay on the smooches. Here she is coming in for one, and look at Noah's face. Can't really blame him though, you can never quite tell what she's going to do when she's in close like that.

Awww... so sweet.

Guess I'll try to enjoy it now and remember these times down the road when they're picking at each other. ("Mom, Noah won't stop LOOKING at me! Make him stop...")

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Well I said it before but now it's really official that our little man is on the move! He's rolling more than ever and manages to roll all over the place, getting into just about everything from floor level up to about 18 inches off the ground. I think it's pretty funny for the most part because he's perfectly happy to make his way around whichever room I lay him down and happily babbles and rolls along. (I wonder if I attached a meter to him how far he's actually traveling in one day.) It's kind of amazing to me though how fast he's gotten to this stage already. Besides the rolling he's now added "mamama" to his babbles (not that he knows what it means) and one of his favorite activities in the past week is to hang out in his excersaucer with some Gerber puffs in the tray (the melt in your mouth kind so I don't have to worry about choking). He could spend all day just trying to figure out how to pick them up and get them in his mouth. See, he can get them into his fist but then it's the whole getting it from inside your fist to inside your mouth without dropping it part that's tricky. Most the time he resorts to trying to shove his whole fist in his mouth, but he does get the occasional puff actually into the mouth.

Anyways, just thought I'd share some shots of the little roller "in action."

Here he is, halfway through the big maneuver, look at the concentration and the effort there.
(And still managing to show his Bronco pride. go BSU!)

And whew! He made it and is now that much closer to...wherever it is he thinks he's going. (I think that pink poodle over there in the background was his goal.)

Of course, as I told you, the kid is kind of sneaky about his rolling around. He seems to pretend like he doesn't know how when someone is looking at him. See him here, trying to look all innocent like he's not thinking about rolling over and trying to get something he shouldn't get into.

Who me? I don't even know what rolling is!

Ho hum, just sitting here mom. It's not gonna happen while you're looking at me....

Aha! Caught him in the act! Although, what mischief he could possibly be getting into in the middle of a bare floor I have no idea. And yet, they always seem to find something don't they? :)

It used to be that Noah hated spending any time on his stomach. But now he seems to be fine just hanging out in this position, and it's great because its a whole new angle to catch him doing funny stuff in. This is his "keep your chin up, kid" pose.

I love this face! This one always cracks me up because I just find it funny when my infant raises his eyebrows questioningly at me. How is it they manage to master the "Aw gee Mom, gimme a break" expression at such an early age.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An Art Lesson

Lately Bree's really been into drawing. Pretty much any piece of paper she can get ahold of ends up scribbled on, bills, a page in her baby book... Which, while sometimes annoying and frustrating since I can't seem to keep a piece of paper to myself, is actually a good sign, active scribbling is sort of a milestone for kids, especially when they get to this age and start making "meaningful marks" on their paper. Oh, it's still just squiggly lines but you can tell things are starting to come together in a prewriting kind of way. It's been interesting for me to watch Bree go through these early steps towards writing and drawing in a meaningful way. At first it was really just really random and uncontrolled marking.

Then she started doing more of this type, which is still fairly random, but it's more controlled, focused on one area of the paper and you can see she's working on circles up there on the right side. Of course, that's when she's drawing a picture. When she's "writing" it looks completely different....

Just a few samples of Bree's "notes." She's into making lists. (NO idea where she got that little habit. I never do it myself. :P) And she knows what they say too, although no one else can read them. But obviously, she's picking up on the fact that writing looks like lines that go left to right.

And, for the first time here in the last week or so she's actually drawing things that you can actually kind of start to identify. This is her very first obvious picture of a person. See, round body, arms and legs and even a sort of face.

And this was her first attempt that I know of to actually try and draw a portrait of a real object. She drew it pink crayon on pink paper so it's a little hard to see, but it's a baby, (baby Jesus to be exact, she got a little pantyhose dolly in a blanket around Christmas time, Sunday School craft). But see, there's a head there with a face and an oval body as well.

And, actually, it's pretty darn good. (Although, as her mother I'm fairly certain that I'm required by law to think so.) :) But look, this was her actual subject there on the left, and there's her drawing of it on the right. (I fudged around with it in Photoshop to make it black and white so you can see the lines better.)

Pretty lifelike huh? I was impressed anyways. And I think it's funny she added eyebrows and a nose and mouth as well.

Of course, this is not to say we don't still get plenty of random squiggles presented to us that we're supposed to know what in the heck they are pictures of. Take the following two pictures:

I was handed the one on the left and informed, "Mom, this is a picture of when you broke that bowl." (I dropped a casserole dish on the floor the other day and it shattered into a million pieces, big mess.) I found that pretty amusing and I thought, well yeah, that does represent a crash pretty well. And, knowing that I was planning on doing a drawing blog entry I wanted to take a picture of it to post. So, I went to grab the camera. When I came back into the room a few minutes later I couldn't find the picture. After a minute of looking I came across the picture on the right. "Bree, is this that picture of the bowl I broke?" I asked her. "NO Mom," she told me in a quite exasperated tone, "THAT'S a bush!" Oh, well, silly me. Although once she told me, I can totally see a bush, can't you? I mean, how else would you draw one?

Oh yes, definitely a little Picasso on our hands here, or maybe more like a mini-Jackson Pollack, that is a rather abstract version of a bush. :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Breeisms - The First 2008 Installment

Okay, if you read my blog very often you know that the "Breeisms" posts are a regular feature. And as you know, these are collections of funny one-liners or short stories of Brianna's day in compilation form. Sort of like the cliff's notes on Bree's funny antics that probably otherwise wouldn't really make a whole blog entry on their own. Well, I suppose "back in the day" of my early blogging I would have made them each their own one paragraph entry, but then, that was back when I used to post every day, sometimes multiple posts a day even. (I've had people say to me, "Gee, I just don't know where you find the time to do all those blog entries!" But you know, the whole writing thing is my creative outlet. It's my thing to blow off steam and relax. You may take a bubble bath or play Nintendo instead, I blog.) Having many shorter posts was also before the whole having two children scenario. So, some time back I started making note of some of the silly stuff Bree does and when I'd gathered up a handful then I'd do a post. And I started regularly calling those entries "Breeisms." And, okay I admit what you've probably already suspected...I sort of like coming up with interesting little titles for my blog posts, not having the same name for any of them, etc. So at first when I kept calling them "Breeisms" I felt kind of out of character about it and felt the need to title entries like this, "More Breeisms" or "Even More Breeisms" maybe "Another Round of Breeisms" "Again with the Breeisms" and even "Yes Breeisms, Again!" But now I'm giving up on feeling the need to qualify the title and shall now henceforth and forevermore simply call these little collections of amusing anecdotes about my daughter plain old "Breeisms." I'm embracing the fact that it's a thing on my blog, so yes, you may see several entries in the same month entitled "Breeisms," although I reserve the creative license to add to that title as I so feel. (Uh because in case you haven't noticed I can get just a wee bit wordy, just sometimes. Take this very long and fairly unnecessary intro for example, or the fact that I just substituted the words "creative license" to take the place of "right" in the last sentence there.) So there you have it, my declaration of independence from feeling the need to come up with creative titles for "Breeisms." (Just wondering here, did you notice I managed to say "Breeisms" 11, oops nope 12 times just there? Oh and that I can go on at great length about pretty much nuthin'? It's a talent...)

Well anyways, without any more verbal wanderings and without further ado here it is - your official first installment of .... well you know what they are by now. (And there are quite a few, it's been about a month since the last ones and they've been adding up.)

  • answering the phone - is Bree's new favorite hobby. When the phone rings at our house the race is on! It's a mad scramble! Brianna will yell "I'll get it!" and start running towards the phone eagerly which in turn prompts me to dash around trying to find it, somehow the darn thing is always in a weird place. She wants to feel like a big girl by answering the phone I guess, sometimes she even cries if I beat her to it. And I really don't want her to answer our phone, she says embarassing things - take the time it was MY PASTOR on the phone and before I could pry it out of her hand Bree managed to answer and say, "Hi! I'm Branna! I pooped this morning! Who're you?"
  • sweet Santa - Bree got a candy cane in her stocking for Christmas which she was pretty happy with. She told me, "Mom, Santa brought me a candy cane! How sweet of him!"
  • Captain Cat and Dr. Mommy - just a few of the alias names Bree refers to herself and me by. Yes, her imaginary life continues to be quite rich. Sometimes she's Captain Cat and sometimes I even get to be Dr. Mommy and then it's my job to hold down her pet animals while she gives them a checkup. They usually ALL need shots as well but she gives them band-aids and suckers afterwards so....
  • broken arms and legs - something my drama queen claims to get quite often these days. Anytime she hurts herself, "Mom, I broke my leg!" Or even worse, one time when she was being stubborn and I grabbed her by the hand and marched her to me she said indignantly, "Mom, you just broke my hand!"
  • Happy Meal! - apparently a strong force in Bree's little life. Like most kids, she loves to get her occasional Happy Meal, it's quite a little treat for her. The last time we got her one it was on a hectic day, when it had gotten to be later than we normally eat. Bree had skipped her nap and was pretty tired so she actually fell asleep on the couch while Trav was out grabbing our McDonalds at the drive-thru. Trav walked in the door, walked up to Ms. Sleeping Beauty, laid a hand on her shoulder and said very quietly to her, "Wake up Brianna. Your happy meal is here." To which she instantly bolted awake, launched herself standing and said, "HAPPY MEAL!" It was hysterical!
  • When you were a little kid/when I grow up - Some of Bree's favorite topics lately. "Mom, when you were a little kid what kind of toys were in your Happy Meal?" "Mom, when I grow up I'm gonna drink coffee and drive and eat hot peppers!"
  • Bare Necessities song - Brianna loves to sing, it's just that she doesn't catch all of the words sometimes. And so, like her father, she just tends to make them up in that case. Well, she got the Jungle Book movie for Christmas and has already been singing the Bare Necessities song. Only, in her world it goes like this "...Bare athethitees, the simple bare athethitees, forget about your worries and your toes!" (Because what 3 year old is gonna remember the word that goes there is strife!)
  • I don't love it - Well, it's official, everyone's a critic. You see, we have a big glass window in our back door, which is great and all except for the fact that we don't have a fence and our neighborhood is still under construction. So, call me a prude but I feel weird thinking that random construction guys could be seeing into my house, especially considering that there are plenty of days I never manage to get dressed and spend all day in my PJ's. I had a curtain up for awhile but it blocked a lot of light so instead I decided to give it a frosted look. After Bree noticed what I was doing she walked up and said, "Mom, I don't love it. I don't love what you're doing. How will I see Daddy cook?" (His grill is on the patio.) Funny thing is, she said the same thing when I decided to take some clutter off the counter and put our toaster in the cupboard..."Mom, I don't love that." Maybe she's resistant to change, or just opinionated! :)

Friday, January 04, 2008


Our last visitors for 2007 were Grammy Deb and Papa Roger. They sneaked in just before the new year to spend a few days with us and the kids. It was nice, a very laid back and peaceful visit (largely due to the fact that there's not a whole lot to do in Hamilton in the winter and it was snowing while they were here so the roads were slick). We spent a lot of time just hanging out, they got to play with the kids quite a bit and we took the opportunity to snap a few pix of them together. Well actually, Bree was so busy and active we didn't really manage to catch her in any of the shots, but we got quite a few good pictures of Noah enjoying his grandparents:

Look at this expression....I don't think he likes them at all do you? He's a smiley kid, but even more so with his grandparents.

Of course, that could have something to do with the fact they kind of go out of their way to make him smile and do all kinds of silly things. Here's Grammy Deb in the corner sneaking up on Noah and saying "BOO!" to him. She got him laughing pretty hard.

And here's a special Grandpa and Grandson moment.

There you go, three generations of Taylor men.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Baby Babbles and Belly Laughs

Noah is now almost 6 months old and he's reached that age where everything starts happening at once. Suddenly he's much more active and seems to be reaching those milestones left and right....

For one thing he's started teething. He doesn't have anything to show for it yet but judging by his newfound crankiness, his urge to gum everything within reach to death, and the excessive drooling, I would guess he'll have a few by the end of the month.

He's also started rolling over, both front to back and vice versa. Which, even though he's not crawling, makes him mobile enough that we have to watch out what Bree leaves on the floor. If Noah sees something he wants enough he can make his way over there, rolling over and over until he gets it. He's kind of sneaky about it though, we haven't actually SEEN him rolling over many times, he seems to wait to do this thing until your back is turned or you walk out of the room for a minute, and then when you turn back around...surprise! He's 3 feet from where you left him and now on his stomach, stuffing the corner of a blanket in his mouth!

Of course, aside from the physical changes he's also becoming more fun and interactive as his personality is starting to come out. He's started "talking" to us quite a bit, babbling syllables, his favorite being a tie between going dadadadadada (much to Trav's complete smug satisfaction, why is it they always seem to say that first?) and making a raspberrry "bbbpbpp" noise with his lips. It's kind of amusing as well since he's experimenting with his volume control. You never know if he'll be whispering "dadada" or screeching it at the very high range of his vocal ability, sounding a lot like those whistling fireworks.

I think the most charming part for me though is watching the relationship develop between Noah and Bree. So far they seem to like each other pretty well. (Bree even said the other day, "Mom, I'm so glad we have a brother!") Brianna finds his little noises and movements funny, she's always busting up laughing over him. (I'm pretty sure she thinks he's doing stuff just to amuse her.) She particularly thinks it's funny when he makes his raspberry noises and also when he splashes around in the tub. I've had the two in the tub together a number of times and it's always the same. Noah gets all excited in the warm water and flaps his arms like he's trying to take off in flight and then kicks his legs like a bronco, making lots of splashes in Bree's direction. Then she starts laughing and splashes him back, which makes him get excited and kick some more and so on until Brianna is practically hysterical she's laughing so much. So she likes him but it goes both ways too, Noah always has smiles for her and she was the source of his first big belly laugh the other day.

Noah's always smiled easily and has been laughing for awhile now, little giggles and such. But the other day he had an out and out big old guffaw at his sister. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that it was evening and both of them were getting into that zone where they're tired enough they get silly, and everything seems funny. And Bree was doing her usual...interesting little pretend play things. For some reason she was being a chicken at that moment, jumping up and down and clucking and such and being really loud about it too. Loud enough that little Noah started paying attention to her, watching her very closely. The next time she started in on her jumping up and down, flapping her arms and making loud chicken noises he just busted out laughing, a big old laugh. (She did look fairly ridiculous so...) Of course, seeing him laugh at her made her laugh and only act more outrageous which made him laugh again, which made Trav and I laugh at both of them laughing. And that went on for a few minutes, you know how it is. I'm sure you've been in that sort of situation before, a sort of a group laugh hysteria where you can't seem to stop for a few minutes. Of course, somehow, as it seems to cross the line so easily with her age group, it ended in tears a few minutes later for Bree when she was just so amped up and hyper over the whole incident that her antics got out of control. Poor kid. Oh well...

But there you have it, Noah's first big laugh, attributed to Bree.