Thursday, April 25, 2013

Timmy at 21 months

I thought things would only get harder the closer he got to the age of 2, but for some reason I feel like I got a reprieve this month with Timmy.  He and Annie still fight, but not as much and not as intensely.  Strapping him into the car seat is not a wrestling match anymore, but he does insist on doing at least one or two of the clips himself.  Fine by me -- it beats having to pin him into the seat with my forearm two or three times a day.  I haven't heard of any more problems with the babies in the child watch room these past few weeks, either.  Sometimes I even get him to voluntarily hold my hand in a parking lot.  He can be stubborn at times, but mostly he is just sweet and curious, silly, lovable, and so much fun.

I love the way he wakes up in the morning and after his nap.  I hear his happy babble and I know there's no rush to go in there and get him.  He loves when one or the other of his sisters goes in there and plays with him.  He lines up toy cars and trains on the crib rail, one of the girls will climb in the crib with him and cover him up with the blanket, and they'll play all sorts of silly games.  After a little while I go in there and see his bright happy face. He looks like he's hosting a little party and he'd be happy to stay in his crib and enjoy the attention of his sisters all day long.
He still doesn't say more than one word at a time (more and more words all the time), but he's letting me know more and more what he wants and getting to be particular about it, especially when it comes to food.  I ask him what he wants to drink and he'll shake his head "yes" if I get it right and "no" if I don't.  He wants to pick his own yogurt or cheese snack out of the fridge.  He tries to eat the cheese snack through the wrapper.  What he doesn't like he tosses off his tray.  He'll say the name of what he wants if it's easy to say:  "Milk", "juice," "cheese", and his favorite, "CHEET!" (treat)  He tells me he wants a "bite" of whatever I'm having.

At some point in time his eyes changed from green to hazel without me noticing.  His grandpa pointed it out as soon as he got a good look at his face.  He said, "Let's see, Timmy, what color are your eyes?.. I think they're hazel like mine!"  I had to take a few good looks myself, but sure enough, there is a little bit of brown mixed in with the green.  I got as close as I dared with the camera to take a good picture of his eyes.  I put him in a trance by singing the "Elmo's World" theme song so he'd sit still.  That boy loves his Elmo!
He is very attached to his little cars and trucks, and he is like a squirrel with acorns carrying them around the house and arranging them just so.  He lines them up side by side, and other times end to end.  He is always surprised and happy to find one that he's forgotten about, in a crease of his car seat or in a toy bin.  He holds them up to hear us say what color they are and then repeats.  "Geen."  "Boo."  "Lellow."  But he can't remember which is which.  I'm happy to see him taking an interest in colors.  He also wants us to tell him what color different crayons are, and Annie loves the chance to show off her knowledge.

He also loves to point out actual cars and trucks, and he loves big trucks.  Tim Sr and I were talking about how we are going to have to get a car seat for Tim's truck so he can ride in it.  It would seriously make his day.  We've been too cheap to buy car seats for the truck to this point.
He loves wearing shirts that have pictures on them.  His favorite one has a diagram of an airplane taking off, and he loves it if I point to it and make airplane sounds.

He laughs when he toots.  And he toots a lot.  Almost as much as Annie.

If you ask him where something or somebody is and he doesn't know, he does this:
Where did Sissy go?
He always has a blister on his thumb from sucking it.

He nurses just twice a day now.  When he gets up in the morning he's too busy to be interested.  I can barely get him to sit in his chair for breakfast.  So now we've taken another step toward weaning, and it makes me glad and a little sad at the same time.  Mostly I am happy that again, I have a child who will be gradually and easily weaned.

Grandpa's visit

Tim's dad came and stayed with us for a week, from Tuesday the 16th to Tuesday the 23rd.  At first he thought he was escaping the cold north because it was in the high 70s/ low 80s, and he and the kids spent lots of time outside.  Then when the weekend came, it abruptly dropped into 50s and we had to pull out the sweatshirts and jackets once again.  I left the house thermostat turned to a/c and didn't even notice because it wasn't kicking on anymore.  Finally he said to me, "Rachael, do you have the air conditioning still on?"  "Uh, yeah, I guess I do."  He said, "I'm freezing!"  I went into the hallway and looked at the thermostat and said, "It's a balmy 65 degrees in here!"  Oops.  So I turned it back to heat.  Crazy North Carolina spring.  I've already turned it back to a/c.  From here, he went to Florida to spend time with family there.  Hopefully he's enjoying some relaxation and consistent warmth and sunshine.
Delaney and Timmy were taking turns trying to fix Grandpa's hair.
I dropped them off at the park when I went to work out, and when I came to pick them up, this is the sight that greeted me.  You can't see too well in this crappy phone picture, but Annie is covered in dirt.  Tim Sr said, "This is what happens when grandfathers take little girls to the park."  It was funny.
All comfy on the couch watching a movie

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day in the Life: Spring 2013

I'm joining Navigating the Mothership again for Day in the Life.  I really look forward to these.  I think one day I'll make them into a coffee table book.

Today is Friday, April 12.

6:00 a.m.  My alarm goes off and I grab my phone to shut it off.  Beside me Delaney stirs.  After the second time she came to me in the middle of the night complaining that she was scared because she'd had nightmares about spiders, I relented and allowed her to sleep with me.  I haven't had a kid in this bed in so long, I don't even know when.  It is impossible to sleep soundly when there's a kid in bed with me.  More than once I've had to push her back to her side, and from time to time I could feel her toes nudging my thighs.  This will NOT become a habit.

The upside of having her in bed with me is that this morning she hops out of bed immediately, gets dressed and makes her bed while I make mine, brush my teeth, and start my coffee.  Just yesterday I was still tickling her toes at 6:15 to try to get her out of bed.
She's already dressed and her bed is already made by 6:10 a.m.  I tell her her owls are upside down and she says, "I know.  I did it on purpose!"
6:15 a.m.  I start making the girls' breakfast.  This morning they both choose Dinosaur Egg oatmeal.  I give them their packets and their bowls so they can open them and pour them in themselves, and then count each dinosaur egg.  The more the better.  They always announce to me how many dinosaur eggs they have and I automatically say, "That's great, sweetie."  I start drinking my first cup of coffee.  There's nothing like that first cup of coffee in the morning.  Love it.  Don't know what I'd do without it.
6:37 a.m.  They spend their extra minutes looking at our home videos before we leave for the bus stop.  Lately, looking at videos of themselves is one of their favorite things to do.  Then I fix Delaney's hair and we get ready to leave.
For some reason Annie wanted Delaney to put on her shoes for her and Delaney was happy to oblige.
6:53 a.m. We walk out the door and head down the street to the bus stop.  The bus arrives within two minutes and Delaney is disappointed because she and Annie didn't have much time to run around in circles and giggle with their stuffed animals.  I would have taken pictures but my neighbor would have been in the pictures and I didn't want him thinking I was a weirdo.  We set out for home, me carrying Delaney's stuffed elephant and Annie carrying her ladybug baby.  They can never leave the house without something.
Annie runs up to the porch, then comes back down saying, "Mama, I saw a bee on the porch... Mama, stop taking pictures!"  She's such a threenager.  I love the color of those bushes in springtime.  Fall and spring are the only time I like those bushes.
7:00 a.m.  I turn on Sesame Street, then get Bubba out of bed, nurse him, change him and bring him out.  One of the first things he does is grab that little yellow dump truck he loves so much.  It is really Annie's.  She did in fact ask for it and receive it for her third birthday.  Then she never thought about it again until Timmy discovered it and wanted to play with it all the time.  Suddenly it became very important to her.  They fought over it every day for about a week until I was ready to make it disappear forever.  Thankfully the fights are fewer and farther between now, but Annie is quick to remind us that the truck is hers and she's letting Timmy borrow it.  I am duly appreciative.  
He sees what's on and runs over yelling, "Elmo!  Elmo!"
7:15 a.m.  I pour a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for Timmy.  I'm out of ideas for his breakfast right now.  He hasn't been touching his eggs lately, and he does nothing with oatmeal besides rub it in his hair.  My breakfast is two eggs over easy and a granola bar.  Then I put on my workout clothes.  
Timmy finishes his Cheerios, I pour my coffee into a travel mug, and we leave for the Y.  It's starting to sprinkle on the drive there, and I really hope it's not going to be pouring when it's time to to to the Commissary afterward.

Timmy laughs hysterically as we drive over the speed bumps to get to the Y.  It has never been so much fun to go over speed bumps.

8:15 a.m.  We arrive, I drop the kids in the babysitting room and then go to my HIIT class.  The usual instructor is out today and the sub has us do a different format of class.  We need two sets of weights and a mat.  I didn't bring a mat and I have to borrow one of theirs.  It's pretty icky but it doesn't stink.
Just looking at this picture makes me want a shower.
When the half hour long class is over I long to go for a run, but we have to be one our way.  The Commissary trip has to happen, and it has to happen this morning no matter what.  We are critically low on many of our staple foods.  I'm encouraged when I hear a lady in the hallway as we're leaving the babysitting room say that it wasn't raining when she arrived.  But it looks like we're out of luck.  As I'm loading the kids in the car it starts to pour.  As we get closer to the house, it becomes dark as night and the rain comes down in sheets.  "Rain, rain, go away.." I mutter as I nervously grip the wheel at 10 and 2.  I slow down to a little under the speed limit.  I'm scared to death of hydroplaning.

9:25 a.m.  We stop at the house and I run in by myself to change into jeans and a shirt that are presentable for the Commissary.  No workout clothes allowed there.  I'm hungry so I eat a banana, and we're on our way again.  The rain continues, not quite as hard as before, but steady.  

I remember that I have a giant trash bag full of old potting soil in the backyard that needs to go back to the woods.  I couldn't drag it when it was dry.  I definitely won't be able to drag it now that it's wet.  I will have to borrow a wheelbarrow from a neighbor on a nice day.  Why is there a giant bag of potting soil in my backyard?  Because I overturned one of the huge planters that I'd managed to drag down off the patio into the bag, thinking it would be easier to drag the bag than try to move the full planter across the backyard.  I need the planters empty so I can put new soil and new flowers in them because it's spring now.  [Delaney's watching me write this and she really wanted me to add "because it's spring now."]  This weekend I will get a wheelbarrow and get it all taken care of.   
I am too lazy to set the clock forward.  We're ready for fall.
9:55 a.m. We arrive at the Commissary.  The rain didn't keep anybody away, it looks like.  I have to park far away.  Then I get the bright idea to go get a cart and bring it back to the car so I don't have to walk across the parking lot with the two kids in the rain.  But guess what?  Now the cart is soaked.  And thanks to the great job I did cleaning and de-cluttering the car last weekend, I have not a single spare sweatshirt or jacket with which to wipe off the seats.  I have to carry Timmy and push the cart with one hand all the way to the the entrance.  The only one happy about this is Annie because she's allowed to hold our umbrella.

Once inside, we head straight to the restroom where I grab paper towels and wipe off the seats.  It takes a lot of paper towels because they are not very absorbent at all.  Finally we have the cart seats dry, I load the kids in and go shopping.

Back outside we get a break from the rain as long as it takes to get everybody and everything into the car.  Then it starts back up again.

11:30 a.m.  We're back home and hungry for lunch.  The hardest part about the weekly grocery shopping is getting back home and having to put it all away and make lunch.  I'm so overwhelmed.  The state of this kitchen makes me want to cry.  Especially the floor.  It is filthy.  There are parts of it that my socks stick to like velcro.  I know what a brat this makes me sound like but I just can't wait until Monday for that floor to get clean.  The girl who cleans my house twice a month went out of town for Easter and it's been a whole month since she's been here.  I've been struggling.  The kitchen floor and the bathrooms are two of the main reasons I hired her in the first place during Tim's last deployment and they are in sorry shape right now.  I sweep every day, and I mopped once before Karen's visit, but this kitchen floor needs a good deep clean.  Now there's stuff all over the counters, Annie's rooting through the fridge for stuff, I can't get lunch on the table quick enough, and I just want to fast-forward to naptime so bad..
As I'm getting lunch together, Timmy points to his bum and says, "Poopy."  I pause to go change his diaper.  I serve lunch, eat mine as fast as I can, and finish putting the groceries away.  I turn on music to help motivate me to get it all done before nap so I can rest while they do.
12:55 p.m.  We're all fed and I've got the kitchen under control.  It's taken an hour from the time we came in the door to get to this point.  I eat a couple handfuls of Hershey kisses as I tell Annie and Timmy they've got five minutes until nap.

1:10 p.m.  Finally the break I wait for every day.  I make a cup of tea and read Tim's daily "letter" he writes me every day before he goes to bed.  He tells me he's intrigued by Texas, and I think he's trying to prepare me for when he tries to get a recruiting gig in Ft. Worth.  But he reassures me he hasn't done anything "crazy" yet, and we are still a year out from when any decisions get made.  What he doesn't want is to get school in Quantico because that could lead to the Pentagon next and a horrible commute.  We will be having these conversations more and more often in the next 9 to 12 months.  

After I read Tim's letter, I lie down for a nap.  Just before 2, my phone rings.  How long have I been asleep?  Maybe 20 minutes?  I have to take this call, it could be Delaney's school.  It's the Orkin man.  I must sound sleepy because he sounds apologetic as he asks if it's OK to come over.  I say, "Sure, I'll just look out for you so you don't have to ring the doorbell."  Don't even think about ringing the doorbell.  Then I watch at the window impatiently like an old biddy, waiting for him to arrive.  He comes over, does his thing, and leaves.  I just enjoy the time I have left to myself, checking Facebook and my blogs.  

2:55 p.m.  Annie wakes up from her nap and I tell her we'll leave for the bus stop in 10 minutes.  By now the rain has stopped and the sun is peeking out.
I've always wanted to take a picture of me and my kids' shadows, but this one doesn't turn out so great.  My shadow has Princess Leia hair for some reason.  It's windy.
3:05 p.m.  We walk to the bus stop to get Delaney.  She gets off the bus with chocolate on her mouth (on "Fun Friday" they get ice cream), and the tongues of her shoes sticking out.  Why, I don't know.  She's excited because she got a certificate for reading 100 books and a gift card to Books-a-Million!  I go to take a picture of her with it, and my neighbor offers to take one of us both.
3:20 p.m. We have a little snack.  Delaney doesn't have to do any homework tonight but she asks to do a writing worksheet.  The kids are supposed to do two per week, so if Delaney wants to get a jump on hers Friday afternoon, who am I to argue?  She's really on the ball today.  During this time I also cook the bacon for our mushroom and bacon pizza.
4:00 p.m. Timmy's up.  Delaney comes with me to get him up.  She opens the blinds and the curtains, which I don't normally bother doing since all he does is sleep in there anyway.
Hello, Sunshine!
4:15 p.m.  It is a typical Friday evening.  We'll have pizza early, they'll take showers/baths, and we'll watch a movie -- Peter Pan which starts at 6 on Disney Junior.

I have lots of little helpers when it's time to make the pizza.  First they help me spread the dough out on the pan.  They each get a little bit of it because they like to eat raw dough (strange!).  Timmy helps himself to a big piece right from the middle, leaving a hole.  Stinker.  I mend it together as well as I can before putting the sauce on all by myself -- "because I can't risk any of you people hurting the dough with the edge of the spoon!"  I give them each their own little bowl of mozzarella to sprinkle on next.  They cram most of it in their mouths and put some on the pizza.
Annie abruptly loses interest and goes up to the playroom.  Delaney helps me put on the mushrooms and bacon while Timmy stands at the counter eating his cheese.
Delaney wants me to clarify that she gave him that cheese.  Good thing somebody was looking out for him!
4:50 p.m.  The pizza is done and it's time to eat.
In the picture below, Annie is already asking to be excused as soon as dinner is served.  The only thing she likes to eat is spaghetti and meatballs.  She tells me every time we sit down to dinner that she has a bellyache.  On many days she has nothing to eat from lunchtime until breakfast the next day.  Somehow her cheeks remain thoroughly pinchable so I don't worry too much.
5:30 p.m.  Once the rest of us are done eating and the kitchen is cleaned up somewhat, I send the girls to take a shower and then I give Timmy a bath.  Everybody is clean and in their pajamas before we start the movie.

Delaney asks me for the second or third time to cut the sleeves off her pajamas because they're too tight.  For the second or third time I tell her I'll get to it in a little while.  She gets tired of waiting for me and she gets out her and Annie's scissors.  They tackle the task together.  I make it clear that they are never to cut up clothes without my permission.
6 to 7:30 p.m.  We pop popcorn and watch Peter Pan.  Timmy sits still for about the first 10 minutes or so, and then he goes around lining up his little trucks in different places.  At least he doesn't dump his popcorn all over the place like last week.  He must have learned his lesson when I took his popcorn away and he got no more.
7:30 p.m.  When the movies over the kids brush their teeth and we say bedtime prayers.  Annie prays for Grandma to get better (she has shingles).  I pray for Delaney to have good dreams and a good night's sleep.  I tell her she's going to have happy dreams about mermaids and butterflies and blue skies and rainbow water slides.  She says, "And Hook."  "No, not Hook.  Only good things."  The girls don't take too long to go to sleep.  [Delaney just read this as I finished typing it and said, "That's wrong.  We take a long time to go to sleep."  I'm about to tell her to write her own blog.:)]

The rest of the night gets away from me fast.  I do my belly exercises for my diastasis recti first.  I am on an 8-week program to close up the gap in my rectus abdominis (muscles that make up the "6-pack") and strengthen my core.  It takes about 10 minutes a day and I am just starting week 2.  After that I take a shower, finish cleaning the kitchen, make a cup of tea, fold a load of laundry, write Tim my letter, and watch Shark Tank and 20/20 before finally turning in at 11.  Tomorrow we'll all sleep until 7.  Yay!  And there will be nobody in my bed but me.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nutritious snacks for a mom and kids who are constantly eating

I've been thinking a lot about snacks lately.  No one who knows me is surprised by that.  In fact they would probably roll their eyes and say, "When are you NOT thinking about a snack?"  I know I eat a lot.  I say "lately" for a couple reasons:  The first is, I've been gradually trying to move away from snacks that are processed and packaged and salty and sugary.  I want things that are better for the body.  The second reason is, it turns out I'm raising three little ones with growing bodies and appetites that are a lot like mine.  I try to limit the snack times for all of us to just twice a day -- between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner.  And I want to make them count so I don't have to keep fending them off until the next meal (all the while looking longingly at the cupboards and fridge myself.  After all, I can't be telling them it's not time to eat if I'm sitting there noshing.)  Not to mention I have all kinds of things I'd rather be doing than preparing and serving food all day.  But it's hard to resist the temptation to just give them a bunch of crackers when they ask for a snack and be done with it.  Crackers are their favorite.  For the last few months, I have only been buying one box of crackers a week instead of the two or three I bought before.  But then I have to replace the salty beloved cracker with something else that's equally satisfying.  I'm always on the lookout for things that don't take much time to put together, that are healthy, and appealing to the kids.

These are the things I've come up with so far:

1) No-bake energy bites.  If you're on Pinterest you've probably seen a version of these from time to time.  Mine are adapted from this recipe.  It's oatmeal, ground flaxseed, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, chocolate chips, and I replace the coconut it calls for with whatever cereal I have on hand since I don't like coconut.  Mix it all together, let it chill in the fridge, and roll it into balls.  Delicious!  And if you like letting your kids help you in the kitchen (I really don't, but I allow it), this is a perfect recipe for that.  I serve them with breakfast, between meals, and I even like them for dessert sometimes.  We go through them quickly around here.  They are filling and they have lots of fiber, which is great for all of us, but especially for Annie.  She is my pickiest eater and there are days when she doesn't eat much at all and has trouble going to the bathroom.  That's when I know I'd better whip up another batch.  What I don't like about this recipe is the hassle of having to measure out peanut butter and honey, and using a spatula to scrape it out of measuring cups (and then get those measuring cups clean!).  I should be able to eyeball the amounts by now, as many times as I've made these, so maybe I'll try that next time.
2) Fresh fruit is always a winner.  I usually go to the nice grocery store once or twice a week and get whatever fruits are in season, on sale and look good.  Now that it's berry season my kids love that.  And of course I keep bananas on the counter year-round.  The problem with fresh fruit is, it lasts a minute in this house, and then we fall back on the diced fruit cups which they also love, but I'm not so sure they're good for us at all.  We've gone a few days without any fresh fruit in this house, and it's hard to find the motivation to go the grocery store with all three of them during spring break.  Hopefully in the next couple days I'll get back into going twice a week to keep up our supply.

3) Fresh veggies are another thing I've tried.  At least a few times we've come back from the bus stop and I've had a nice snack platter set out on the table with baby carrots, bell pepper slices, and some hummus.  I've tried avacado too.  I want to encourage them -and me -- to eat more of those things.  That goes over like a fart in church.  None of my kids want to see a fresh vegetable at snack time.  They are definitely my children.  I myself would not touch a bell pepper of any color until I was at least 28.  Until I was in my early 20s, I had a rule that I would not eat anything green.  Then I discovered guacamole at a Mexican restaurant and made an exception for that.  But it was many more years before I expanded my palate to include green vegetables.  What really helped open my mind was to watch them being prepared at one of those Japanese restaurants with the hibachi chef sauteeing (?)  grilling (?) them right in front of me.  I saw the way they were being seasoned, smelled them as they cooked, and it was very appetizing.  I've made my own stir-fries here at home, and have always liked them.  Funny story:  At Thanksgiving at my friend Kelly's house, I tried a veggy before I knew what it was, and noted it had a nice nutty flavor.  I asked what it was, and was floored when I was told it was a brussels sprout.  Tim pointed out to me a little while later that I did not eat any more of them after I found out their name.  I have a bad childhood memory associated with a brussels sprout.  I'm a work in progress but I have improved a lot over the years.  The kids will eat a veggy here and there.  I seem to have the best luck when I steam them.  But I am not steaming them for snack time.  So far raw veggies are not appreciated by anybody in my house but me.  And even then, I have to make myself eat those instead of something more tempting like crackers.  My old beige food-eating habits die hard.  But I've survived and turned out quite healthy in spite of that, so my hope is that my kids will too.  I just hope it doesn't take them 25 years to learn!

4) Cheese snacks and yogurt.  We spend most of our grocery money in the dairy aisle every week.  We are huge dairy eaters.  As long as we can tolerate it, that's all well and good.  We get protein and calcium that way.  But my constipation-prone Annie loves her dairy a little too much and I wish she'd balance it out more with fiber-filled foods.  I know they make those yogurts like Activia, that help keep things moving.  But I'm a little worried about the artificial sweeteners in those.  If it's something they eat a lot I'd rather it didn't contain artificial sweeteners.

5) Granola bars.  I found an easy recipe that makes about 24 to 30 of them, depending on how you cut them.  They have a nice chewy texture and they aren't a crumbly mess at all.  They only take a half hour start to finish, but even that's more time than I usually want to spend.  I don't cook because I like to cook -- I cook because I like to EAT.  I also kiss an entire stick of butter goodbye every time I make them and that seems like a lot.  Everybody except Delaney likes them and that's too bad because they are perfect for school lunches.  The little stinker would gobble up a Quaker granola bar in a nice shiny wrapper, I just know it.  Too bad, I'm not buying those.
6) Trail mix and dried fruit.  I try to serve these at snack time now and then, but they aren't  received well.  They move it around and pick around, eating this and that, telling me they don't like this or that, and being hungry still.  I feel like we end up wasting a lot of trail mix because it gets old in the cupboards when none of us likes it very much.  And that's a shame because that stuff is expensive.

One day I'd love to be able to completely give up the things that come in a package and last forever, but I'm afraid of what will happen when we run out of fresh foods and have nothing left.  I get a little panicky at the thought.  I figure fruit cups are better than no fruit at all.. right?  

With summer approaching, I'd love ideas for more healthy and portable snacks for the pool or beach that don't require much effort on my part.  Last year I brought a lot of Goldfish which they loved, but I'll see if I can do better than that this year.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter and Karen's visit

We had the best Easter we could expect to have with Tim not around.  Tim's sister Karen arrived Thursday afternoon and stayed until this Tuesday afternoon.  Goodbye is always hard.  We always feel bereft for a little while when a visit with a family member comes to an end.  It takes a few hours before we kind of shake it off and go back to normal.  Tim and I always talk about how this is one of the biggest sacrifices we make in our lifestyle -- not getting to spend much time with our extended families.  We miss out on a lot in Ohio and Massachusetts.  We wish we didn't have to be SO far away, and I'm on Facebook all the time looking for everybody's news and updates.  But visits when they happen are always great with lots of quality time packed into a few days, lots of laughs, and lots of good memories.  We were so glad to have Karen to spend the first few days of spring break and Easter with.

I'm sure that Karen is also missing these three little boogers of ours.  I know how much she loved being awakened at 7 a.m. sharp every morning by little feet pounding up the stairs and little voices calling, "Auntie Karen!  Auntie Karen!"  I know how much she appreciated the voices outside the bathroom door reminding her "If it's yellow let it mellow.."  (Delaney learned about that at school.)  I know for sure she misses the hours she spent with Delaney during nap time making sparkly unicorn sticker mosaics, building "habitats" for birds consisting of at least 30 pine cones on the back deck, playing Princess Memory, putting together puzzles, and making paper airplanes in all shapes and sizes with a name on each one (and that's just a few things -- Delaney is tireless).

Now we've got a visit from Grandpa coming up, and a visit from Grandma a couple weeks after that, and I've got a birthday party to plan.  More good times ahead!
Movie night.  We saw Monsters Inc.
Delaney is asking Timmy to share his ice cream at one of our favorite places, Cow Cafe.  That ice cream was so yummy after all those weeks of being sweets-deprived!
Skype call from Tim right after church, which would have been perfect except for Timmy fussing and crying for most of the conversation
These lamb cupcakes are not nearly as easy to make as they appear, but we had fun in the attempt!
Delaney's cupcake lamb looks scared, and with good reason.
My lamb was the most pathetic of all.  It didn't even have ears.  If not for Karen, it wouldn't have had eyes either.
The bubbles they got in their baskets were a huge hit.  They didn't even last two days.
And lastly, a video of cake-covered Timmy laughing.