Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grandy and Auntie Grace visit

The girlies and I were treated to a visit from my mom and my sister Grace this past weekend.  It flew by like I knew it would.  The timing was especially nice for me, as it was during Tim's three-week-long trip to Florida for training.  Tim will be back in 11 days, not that I'm counting or anything.

We joked about how Tim is probably just complaining to me about how hard he's working, but when he comes home, his duffel bag will be full of sand, and I'll find his swim trunks and flipflops in there, maybe a golf ball, or a souvenir shot glass or something.  Sorry, hon, but it is Florida.

We all missed him, but he surprised us with a call on Skype that first evening.  Grace was at the computer at the time, and she's not familiar with Skype, so she didn't know what the noise was that means a call is coming in.  She was even more surprised when I darted over, and with a click of the mouse, brought Tim's face up on the screen.  My mom, who was across the room, thought that Tim didn't even have to call -- he could just pop up at any time, like 'Hello, I'm watching you..'  That would be scary!

It was so lovely coming down the stairs every morning with the girls and finding Mom and Grace there.  On Saturday morning, I tried making breakfast, but Annie would not allow me to, wailing miserably when I wouldn't give her my undivided attention.  I got a little overwhelmed.  So Mom jumped in and finished up.  I felt bad for putting her to work while she was visiting, but she didn't mind.  She made breakfast Sunday and Monday morning too.

They brought goodies for the girls -- little toys, candy, and some cute summer clothes, including the little dresses they're wearing in the picture above.  Mom also brought me something -- an early birthday present.  She knows I love Norman Rockwell, and she said this reminded her of me.  It's called "Little Mother."    Now I have to find a plate holder, and a place for it where it won't be broken.

We never went far, and didn't do very much.  We don't need very much to be entertained when we get together, as anyone who's ever been around us knows.  We can be very silly.    For instance, we went through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru Saturday after dinner because Grace wanted munchkins for the next morning.  She started cracking up when I asked what the smallest order of munchkins was.  Then I couldn't finish ordering 10 munchkins without giggling.  I was completely sober.  I was just under the influence of my sister.  Schlosser girls are notorious for laughing at drive-thru windows.  Everything is funnier when you have to say it loudly into a microphone.

Here are some pictures we took, in no particular order:

Delaney and Annalise look so pretty in their coordinating dresses.  That purple is definitely one of Delaney's colors!

We all enjoyed coffee and Grace's book on the patio during the little ones' nap.
Grace was our official family photographer while she was here, and she must have taken about 500 pictures, many of which she watched me heartlessly delete.  To her, even the blurry photos are keepsakes.  Here are a couple of my favorite pictures she took of the girls at bathtime:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why Mama's not cranky today

It's such a cruel irony that a long busy day of playing with the girls, cleaning up their messes, making them a nutritious albeit haphazard dinner, and even pushing their little butts along on a four-mile run, could end in a night of me tossing and turning until well after midnight.  Then Mouth here, a.k.a. Annalise, had to wake me up at 5:45, just when I thought I had her trained (for two days).
I think the nickname "Mouth" suits her, wouldn't you agree?  Her mouth is always open -- laughing, yelling, crying, eating, snarling, barking orders at me.  It's a good thing she's so cute or I'd put her out, her and her sister both.  I remind them of that all the time.

But even a long night and an early morning don't dampen my good mood because ... tomorrow my mom and my sister Grace are coming to visit!  We last saw them when we went to Cincinnati for Christmas, and I didn't expect to see them again until.. actually, I had no idea.  So it was a wonderful surprise earlier this month when Grace called and told us they were coming to visit.  They'll be getting here sometime tomorrow afternoon and leaving Monday morning.  Have a safe trip, you two!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A little escapee

Late this morning, I was racing from one end of the mall to the other, with Delaney in her stroller and Annie in her carrier, in a hurry to get home for lunch and to get them down for their naps in time.  They were both already tired.  Something caught my eye and made me slow down.  It was a very little girl.  She played near the entryway of a store that sold uniforms, and then just took off out into the middle of the mall.  When I saw nobody was coming after her, I decided I'd better.  She didn't look like she could have been more than two -- as in just turned two.  And the little stinker was FAST!  I chased her the length of about two stores before I caught up with her, saying, "Little girl!  Little girl!  You've got to go back to your mommy."

She turned around and went back the other way, with me following.  She was just running, jumping, and having a good old time.  At the doorway to the uniform store, I told her to go in.  She did.  At least she listened.  A woman was rushing to the front of the store calling for her, and when she saw her, she picked her up and held her close, so relieved.  My heart felt a little squeeze, and I wondered how long had it taken her to notice her daughter was gone?  I know that feeling of turning around and not seeing your child.  That happened to me once or twice in a store, and it's the main reason why I like to keep Delaney in a stroller.  There is nothing worse than that feeling.  It's like free-falling, with my heart in my throat, unable to breathe until I see her again.  And even though it felt like forever, I know that the once or twice that it happened, it was no more than about ten seconds max.  The one to two minutes it took me to escort that little girl back to the store would be a long time to not know where your kid is.

The two of them disappeared among the racks of clothes, and we were off again.  I tried to ascertain whether Delaney had understood what had happened.  "Did you see that little girl running around in the mall?  She was being naughty.  She should have stayed with her mommy, shouldn't she?"  She didn't say anything, but I'm sure hadn't missed a thing.  Whether or not it was a lesson to her, I couldn't say.  As I said before, she was very tired.

I take Delaney all kinds of  places without a stroller, because even when she's not being the best listener, I can still keep an eye on her -- at a park or a playground, or walking down our street.  At the stores in a mall, you can lose a kid and have them be only two feet away from you when it happens.  There are too many places for a kid to disappear in a mall, and I've seen one too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  So I always have her in a stroller at the mall, unless Tim's with me and he can help me keep track of her.  She'll be three in July, and I see no signs of the day coming when she won't be in a stroller at the mall.  

I wonder now, at what age can you trust a kid to stay with you when you let her out of the stroller?  10?  11? :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Annalise at ten months

I  have to say this has been her cutest month ever.  She has never been more lovable, kissable and squeezable than she is right now.

There haven't been any big changes this month, but it's getting easier to see the toddler she will be soon.

That lonely little tooth on the bottom finally got a friend.

She babbles away at us, and I think she really thinks she's talking.  At the table, she'll look at one of us, and say, "Dah!"  We'll say, "Dah!" back, and she'll just go from one of us to the next, slapping her high chair tray and saying, "Dah!"  Big Sis loves this game, and finds that slapping the table and yelling, "Dah!" is a fun way to express herself too.  Annie also loves to lower her chin to her chest, flattening her cheek and chin fat, and then blowing raspberries.  That puts us in a bit of a tough spot, because it's so cute, but we can't be encouraging that behavior at the table.  Delaney's known for awhile that raspberries at the dinner table isn't acceptable.  

She still acts devastated if I leave her sight.  It's endearing, but sometimes I think, 'How much longer will she do this?'  Then I look at that face, and I pick her up, cover her in kisses, and say, "You silly girl.  You know I'm not going anywhere."

Her preferred mode of transportation (aside from Mama) is crawling, but she's spending a lot more time on her feet, cruising, and sometimes standing alone for several seconds.  Her legs are strong from standing at the side of her crib tormenting me.  She's a pretty proficient stair-climber too.

I wish I'd had the camera handy yesterday right before dinner.  I'd put Annie in her high chair with frozen pears in her mesh feeder, and I was all the way on the other side of the room for a minute.  Tim was finishing up cheeseburgers and fries.  As I was talking to him, I was walking back across the room to the table, and suddenly I stopped.  I saw that he'd just noticed too, and he was about to say something.  "That's a whole strawberry she has in her hand," I said.  But wait -- a whole strawberry in each hand.  She raised one fistful to her mouth, chewed, then the other, and looked up at me like, 'What?'  That little stinker Delaney had given them to her.  She persists in treating Annie like a puppy whom she will toss the occasional scrap to, even though we try to teach her not to.  She sees us giving her things, but doesn't understand the rules about what to give a baby.  To tell the truth, I'm not sure I understand the rules.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleep Lady Part 2

As I alluded to in another post, I finally had to put the hammer down on Annie's sleep shenanigans again.  I successfully did the Sleep Lady Shuffle with her in January, and all was well for a few weeks.  But then one morning at about 5:30, I heard crying, looked at the clock, and gave in to my laziness.  I went in and nursed her, and nine minutes later was back in bed sleeping.  Boo!  That went on for a few more mornings, and then she started waking me up around 3-ish.  Then 1.  Then 1 and 4.  And every night was a new surprise.  I completely gave up and went to her every time she cried, reasoning that these nights were still easier for me than nights of doing the Sleep Lady Shuffle.  For awhile that was true.

Then I finally had a night that was worse than any night, EVER, since I gave birth to her.  Nothing could be worse than that night, right after she'd gotten over her illness, when she went into hysterics every time she was laid in her crib.  She still wanted and expected the sick baby treatment, I think.  Even Tim tried to help get her to sleep, rocking her to sleep, only to have her start screaming once he left the room.  We tried every quick fix in the parents' playbook -- rocking, shushing, nursing, rocking again.  We knew that we would have to train her again, but for that night, we just wanted the easy way out.

Unfortunately, there wasn't one.  I sat next to her crib as she screamed, then cried, then at last went to sleep.  Two hours later we did it all again.  I was in turmoil.  I gave her Tylenol in case it was her teeth.  I gave her a sippy cup of water, in case her throat hurt after screaming herself hoarse.  I remembered that she'd acted normal that day.  If it's teething pain, shouldn't she be crying all day too?

That night, she slept a grand total of about six-and-a-half hours, and the longest stretch was the last two-and-a-half.  The next day, she was fine.  She didn't hate me.  She played like usual, got cranky when it was time for a nap, and otherwise, just looked for trouble like she always does.   That night I prepared myself for a long night, as I would put the Sleep Lady's techniques back into practice.  This time there would be no backing down.  I was in bed by 9:30, and said a fervent little prayer before I fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.  Then I heard her cry and looked at the clock.  5:30.  Really?  I squinted and looked again.  That was terrific!  But her wake-up time is 6:45.  I waited a while before going in, hoping she'd go back to sleep, but soon her cries became loud and demanding.  It was show time.

I went into her room with my pillow and her sippy cup of water.  She was kneeling at the side of the crib watching for me, and at first her cry was almost a snarl or a growl, as if to say, "You're late!"  When she realized I wasn't picking her up, she was furious.  She cried and cried (about 15 minutes -- not long at all compared to the night before!), took a couple sips of water, and kept on crying.  Then, from my spot next to her crib, I spotted her lovey bear on the floor, and handed it to her through the bars.  She quieted as she rubbed the soft material against her face.  At last she laid down with a sigh, her bum in the air.  I waited for a few minutes, until I was sure it was safe, low-crawled to the door, then slowly stole out of her room.  Even with her white noise machine turned all the way up, every little noise is deafening.  Downstairs in front of the TV, I heard her wake up and cry again, but I didn't go back up there.  She was soon asleep again.  Night 1 of Sleep Lady Part 2 was complete.

Night 2, which was last night, was even more uneventful.  She was in bed by 7, and didn't wake up until 6:15.  Then I remembered that 6:15 was really 7:15 (darn Daylight Savings Time!), and so she was up for the day.  So was Delaney, because I'd remembered to change the time on her My Tot Clock before putting her to bed.  So we adjusted to the time change without a hitch!

We'll continue to see how it goes ..

Monday, March 8, 2010

Delaney at two years, eight months

Another month has flown by, and it's been a good month.  So, what has our mischievous little brown-eyed girl been up to lately?  

Well for one, she's been fine-tuning her ability to get what she wants from us.  When she asks us for things -- about five times every waking minute -- she punctuates her requests with an enthusiastic nod yes, as if to say, 'just say yes, like this'.  It is so irresistably cute.  Tim is especially likely to fall prey to this tactic, and he shakes his head as if to say, 'I'm being had, and I know it, and OK, let's get you a treat.'  One request leads to another, which reminds her of something else she wants, and she could go on and on, so we can't say yes to everything.  I mentioned this book in my last Delaney post, one of the books she got for Christmas: If You Give a Pig a Party.  "If you give a pig a party, she'll probably ask you for some balloons.  If you give her some balloons, she'll want to decorate the house.  When she's finished she'll put on her favorite dress.  Then she'll call all of her friends to invite them to the party.  Her friends won't be home, so you'll go with her to look for them..."  And on and on.  That is our Delaney to a T.  Boy, did she have fun when Grandma was here!

cover art

March 3 was Delaney's first full day in underpants.  She had three accidents that day, and two were in the first two hours.  She's been doing great.  On Day 2, we ventured out to Target and had dinner at Panera.  She stayed dry the whole time, but I was on pins and needles.  I had a change of clothes in reserve.  She went to the bathroom at Panera, while I held her under her arms.  It looked like she was perched on the edge of a giant crater.  I never thought about how huge public restrooms really are.  By Day 3, she was going several times to the potty with no prompting from us.  On Day 4, we drove to Arlington to the Pentagon City Mall, spent about an hour and a half there, and went home.  This time, due to the unpredictability of traffic on 95, I had TWO sets of clothes in the diaper bag.  I didn't need them.  We had her little Princess throne in the back of the Jeep, and she went in it upon arrival to the mall, and just before leaving.  There was also a pitstop at GapKids.  I'm looking at my watch constantly now, in a way I haven't since the early days of breastfeeding, going, 'How long has it been..?'  Day 4 turned out to be her first full dry day.

I can't wait until I can be comfortable with resuming our normal activities, i.e., Tot Gym, leaving her at the CDC (Child Development Center), or outings ANYWHERE with just the girls and I.  I skipped a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese this past week, the morning of Day 2.  Potty training and Chuck-E-Cheese probably don't go together well.  Delaney misses her friends, though, so I think it's time to ease back into doing normal things.  I mean, she really misses them.  She tried to escape the house on Saturday when she saw a group of older kids across the street, and thought they were her friends.  She opened the front door, which for some reason wasn't dead-bolted that time, and that's where I found her in only her underwear, apparently thinking about whether she ought to make a break for it.

[Why don't I just invite them over here? you ask.  Scroll back up to the top of this post, and take a good look at that picture.  That's why!  I'm embarrassed by the way this house looks.  I'm having a harder time keeping up with it than ever.  It's all I can do to keep us in clean clothes, eating off clean plates, and making sure there isn't anything too disgusting that Annie can eat off the floor.  It's hard to swallow my pride, but I know I have to.  And I've already promised Delaney I'd invite some friends over for a playdate.]  

We've come a long way in a short time with the potty, and I'm so pleased with her progress.  Tim is so blase about this, saying, "You sell her short.  You underestimate her."  It's not that I don't think she's capable -- it's just I know how stubborn and headstrong she is!  This is such a huge turning point for us.  It wasn't too long ago I was telling poop horror stories!  And number 2 is still iffy.  Given the opportunity, she'd much prefer to do it in her pants still, so we have to stay on top of that.

What else is new..?

Her new favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Wonderpets is so last month.  She asks for it several times a day.  Then at the end, she wants me to do the Hot Dog Dance with her.  When Grandma visited, she had to do the Hot Dog Dance too.  Never in my life have I felt like a bigger dork than while doing the Hot Dog Dance, but who sees me?  Grandy and Auntie Grace, you'd better practice your Hot Dog Dance too.

She knows that tooting is funny.  She said to Tim as he was helping her get dressed, "I tooted, and I tooted again, and it was FUNNY!"  Ha ha!  That's our girl.

She is so inquisitive, and wants to know about every little thing.  Wrapped in a towel In front of the mirror after her bath one night, she pointed to her nipples and asked, "What are these?"  "Nipples," I said.  Then she wanted to know, did I have them?  Did Dada have them?  Did Annie have them?  Same thing with her bellybutton.  Yes, Delaney, we all have one.  Isn't it amazing?  I'm bracing myself for a really embarrassing question asked in a really public place.  Like, 'Why is he so fat?'  I just know it's coming.  I even have an answer at the ready:  "God makes us in all different shapes and sizes, and He loves us all."  I don't even know where she'll pick up the word "fat."  I try not to ever say it, because she takes every new word, tries it out for size, and then keeps it at the ready, waiting for just the right moment.  So we try to guard our words here.

I love this picture here.  Tim took this one at the Air and Space Museum.  There she is, observing and learning.  

I just sat here and told Tim another story that I have to include here because it's kind of poignant for us.  Sunday was sunny and in the high-50s, so that afternoon, I took the girls to the playground up the street.  Delaney was so happy to go there.  We hadn't been there in months.  Even after the snow was gone, the mud was there a long time.  

At first it was just us.  Then two older kids, I'd say around the age of 10, arrived.  Delaney rushed over, saying "Those are my friends.  Hi, friends!"  The kids, who we actually didn't know at all, sat down on the swings, not acknowledging her.  Would it have killed them to say hi?  Delaney told them, "You can't sit on those swings, those are my swings."  I explained that they are everybody's swings, and she could sit on one of the open ones.  She was okay with that, but then said to the kids, "OK, you can swing on those swings.  I'm going to go play at the playground. Come with me!"  She motioned for them to follow, and hesitated, waiting for them to do so.  I just watched at a distance, a little sad for her, but at the same time thinking, 'At some point she'll have to realize she's under three feet tall, and not the boss of everybody.'  Still, it bothered me that the kids paid her less mind than they would a fly.  Our indomitable Delaney was nothing more than a baby in their eyes.  

After a moment's hesitation, Delaney was off again to climb the jungle gym, not noticing the slight.  Soon she was happily greeting more friends.  I've said and thought many times since she turned two, I wish she'd move on, get past this phase, whatever.  But at this moment, I thought, please don't change.  I want you to be exactly like this for the rest of your life!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ode to Saturday night dinner

This dinner gets its own post because, alas, it was not enjoyed the way it -- and Tim -- deserved for it to be.  We decided to try having a nice dinner in, as opposed to  our usual dinner out on Saturday.  We were thinking seafood, so Tim went to Wegman's to get the makings for seared sea scallops with linguine in an herb wine sauce.  And that's not all.  In only an hour, he whipped up this dinner, along with fried calamari and shrimp cocktail as appetizers.  By the time he got done, it cost just as much to have dinner in as out, and the kitchen was a wreck.

After all that hard work, you would think we sat down and savored this meal together, right?  Sadly, this scrumptious meal ended up getting the same treatment as macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

Delaney and I attacked the calamari and shrimp while Tim still slaved over the scallops and linguine.  I was starved, so I ate ten pieces of calamari myself, and another five of Delaney's, since she only liked the breading and left the rest.  

Finally it was time for us all to sit down and enjoy the main course.  But Annie was fussing, Delaney was needing the potty, and I don't think either Tim or I sat down for more than a minute at a time.  At least I had the presence of mind to take a picture, before I began frantically shoveling forkfuls down my throat.  

Later I told Tim that this is a meal we should make some night after the little ones are in bed.  We should have it over candlelight with glasses of wine.  I will eat 20 lunches if I have to in order to be able to put off dinner until 7:30 or 8.  

Tim was crestfallen when I told him I didn't like the linguine very much.  "That was the hardest part of the meal!" he said.  He had to agree, though, that the linguine wasn't what he had hoped for either.  It was very dry, needing more olive oil, and maybe a little less red pepper flakes.  It was also a little too al dente, which he had already warned me about.

Tim has been taking such good care of us.  I have been so tired and sluggish because Annie's been waking up a couple times a night again, and I haven't yet geared myself up to get back on the Sleep Lady Plan (because I know that will result in even less sleep for a few nights until it gets better).  If there was a contest for Husband of the Year, I would enter him in it.  He's the best.  I've been letting things slide, but he does so much around here.  

This was going to be a short post about dinner, but it turned into a post about Tim.  So be it.  Here's to you, honey!  Go get your motorcycle, you deserve it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A visit from Grandma

This past weekend we were treated to a visit from Grandma Brady.  She arrived late Friday morning and left Monday evening.  It was sad saying goodbye to her Monday, and I told Tim, "A weekend doesn't seem long enough, but it's better than nothing, and we'll take it!"

Delaney, Annalise and I picked her up at the Dulles Airport Friday morning.  Delaney was so excited.  The past few days, Tim had been asking her these questions:  "Who's coming Friday?"  "Grandma!"  "What are you going to give Grandma when she gets here?"  "A hug!"  "What's Grandma going to bring you?"  "A present!"  I scolded Tim for teaching Delaney to be greedy and expect presents from Grandma when she comes, which she did -- the best one of all being this recordable storybook from Hallmark.  Now Delaney and Annalise can listen to Grandma and Grandpa reading them a story anytime they want.  And they do.

There was lots of snuggling on the couch, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, playing hide-and-seek and reading books.  Delaney would say, "Grandma,  sit down and watch Mickey Mouse with me!"  "Grandma, come read me a story!"  "Grandma, cover me up!"  (One of her favorite things is to lie down and have someone cover her up so she can "go to sleep.")  She's a bossy little thing.

Little Sissy was not so sure about how much she liked having Grandma around.  She liked her just fine as long as  I was in the room too, or if she was distracted enough to forget about me.  Here's Grandma reading to Annalise.  I had recently left the house, and she didn't know it at first.

 Grandma's reading me a book.  This isn't so bad.
But wait, someone's missing..
Oh no, Mama's gone!

Friday night, Grandma got to try our version of pizza.  She liked ours better than Grandpa's.  On Saturday, we were planning to go out to dinner at the Olive Garden, her favorite.  We arrived at 4:30, thinking we'd beat the dinner rush like we old people always do, and were shocked to see there was a 45 to 50 - minute wait!  So we left, and drove around for awhile, and she and Tim bickered about which "only American or Italian" restaurant to go to next.  Tim and I don't go to Woodbridge often, and the only thing we know about it is the Potomac Mills Mall and the girls' pediatrician.  Now we also know about the crazy traffic at 4:30 on Saturday, and how we should plan accordingly if we're going to have dinner there.  Then maybe we won't have to sit in traffic and hear this:

Grandma: "Timmy, you are just like your father.  You need to be patient and go with the flow."  
Tim: "I don't like driving around like this.  I need to have a plan!"  
Back and forth, back and forth..
Delaney:  "Dada and Grandma, play nice!"

We ended up at the Macaroni Grill, were seated right away, and the girls stayed in their seats throughout the whole meal.  Delaney ate a lot of bread dipped in olive oil, and not much else.

Here are some more pictures from the weekend:

Delaney decided to show her affection by piling toys on top of Grandma.
Playing a game at the Air and Space Museum.  I think the space shuttle was Delaney's favorite thing.  Back at home, Delaney pretended that Grandma's Diet Coke bottle was a space shuttle.
Looking at puzzles at the library on base.