Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week in Review

I've done it a bit before, but I decided to start writing down the little things the kids do each week as they happen and consolidate them into a weekly post.  This way, I have a weekly summary of where the kids are developmentally and a record of the things I never want to forget.  There are so many little moments throughout each day that leave me with that "my cup runneth over" feeling.  I know I'll be glad to have these memories recorded--especially on those "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" days when I need a little lift!

So, with that said, here's what happened this week:     


The Swiffer Sweeper is Jane's favorite toy lately.  She loved to pretend to sweep the floors with it, and today she found a new use for the sweeper.  She saw an episode of Barney with the song, "Rock 'n Roll Star."  Ever since seeing it, the Swiffer Sweeper has been transformed into a rock and roll guitar.  Jane stands on the fireplace brick, strums her "guitar," and sings, "I'm gonna be a rock 'n roll star!  A rock 'n roll staaaaaaaar!  Gonna be a, a rock 'n roll star!"  Walt loves nothing more than giggling at his sister in concert. 


Janie and Walt had their two-year and nine-month well-visits respectively.  It sounds so cliché to say so, but time goes too fast!  I love watching them learn and grow, but I can't help but feel sad as I have to pack away their cute little clothes to make room for bigger clothes every few months.  The doctor says everyone is healthy and happy!  It didn't hurt that no shots were involved at this visit.  Janie did have to get a finger prick for a lead test, but she didn't even flinch.  She was more concerned with watching the blood fill the vial than what was happening to her finger.  Hooray for fantastic nurses that love to work with kids!  The only hiccup was Walt's height.  Either we have a Curious Case of Benjamin Button on our hands or the number was wrong from last time, because the chart says that Walt is shrinking!  We'll be sure to keep an eye on that...  :)  I'm inclined to think it's just a mistake because his size 12-month overalls pop open every time he bends over!   


Philip worked nights this week so we got to go to noon Mass as a family for Ash Wednesday.  Janie thought I was dirty and tried smudging the cross off of my forehead all day.  She'd say, "Mama!  Help you!" and then lean over to wipe off my ashes.  Inspired by her doctor's visit, Jane decided to be a doctor today.  She declared that every stuffed animal or doll she came into contact with was "sick" and gave them a full exam on the living room ottoman.   


Jane greeted me first thing in the morning with a, "Good morning, Mama!"  She was grinning ear to ear in her footie pajamas and holding four favorite stuffed animals. 

Janie has a fascination lately with any and all things school.  She can't wait to be a big girl and go learn like the big kids!  I hope this enthusiasm remains.  When the day finally comes, I think she'll love it since she's such a social butterfly.  Starting today, she's been jumping up and down and saying, "School!  Go to school, Mama!"  She's even enlisted Baby Stella to join her.  "Mama, Baby Stella go to school.  Learn."

Walt learned a new trick!  From the seated position, he leaned forward onto his arms and pushed his legs behind him so that he was on all fours.  Unfortunately, he got stuck in the splits.  I couldn't help but snap a picture before he figured out how to move his leg behind him.       

Stuck in the splits
My 9-month-old in size 12-18 month clothes
I didn't want to stain Walt's adorable outfit with baby food so I stripped him down to his socks and bib.  Check out his wrist!  It looks like I've put a rubber band around it.  I love my chunky monkey! 

We added legs to Walt's activity table and showed him how to stand next to it.  It's his new favorite activity!  He stands next to the table and pushes the buttons until his chunky legs buckle and he collapses into the pillows we position around it. 

Jane saw Philip and I hugging in the kitchen.  She squeezed between us, wrapped her arms around both of our legs, and said, "BIG HUG!  Awwwww!"

While I was doing some dishes this morning, Jane ran off to grab something in her room.  She came back holding her doll, Baby Stella, and the magnetic bottle that attaches to her mouth.  She climbed up onto the couch, positioned a pillow under her arm, and started "feeding" Baby Stella.  "Mama, Stella hungry."  She's such a little mother! 


Philip returned Saturday morning from his last night of working nights for the week.  Hooray!  We went to a furniture store to look for a desk for my new office space (more on that later!).  You should have seen Jane's excitement when she saw an assembled set of bunk beds with a slide!  Another 2-year-old was playing on the set, and Janie happily joined him.  They had a ball going up and down the slide and bouncing on the top bunk.  

Jane had her first cheeseburger last night for dinner.  She loved it!  "Ooooooo!  Cheesy burger!  Yum!"

Janie seemed beside herself with happiness when Philip was able to tuck her into bed and read "Goodnight Moon."    
Walt was thrilled to have Philip home, too.  Here they are cuddling after Walt's last bottle.


Jane decided she wanted to go "au naturel" this morning.  While I was distracted eating breakfast, she put together this ensemble.  I like the light-up princess boots. 

As Monty came inside and ran past Janie, she said, "Aw!  Monty so cute!"  Speaking of Monty, Jane's favorite game in the car is to have us ask her what kind of an animal Monty is.  "Jane, is Monty a horse?  Is Monty a kitty?  Is Monty a monkey?"  Her response is always, "No!  That's silly!"  

We finally bought Walt a convertible carseat.  Since his feet were dangling over the edge of his infant carrier, we thought it was time!  Now that Janie's 2, Dr. Phil says he agrees with the AAP that her carseat can be turned to face forward.  Having her facing forward combined with Walt in his big carseat is a lot of change in one week. As predicted, Walt doesn't seem to notice that anything's different.  Maybe he'll be more excited when we put up a mirror for him.  Jane, on the other hand, loves the change!  She talks almost non-stop about what she sees through the windows.  I think it's because she has more time to process what's coming into her field of vision and attach the right words to them.  "Look, Mama!  Tree!  Biiiiiiiiiig truck!  What color that?  Big house!  Aw, doggy!"

The kiddos in their new carseats
Jane has a tendency to stuff her face at mealtime.  Every meal becomes a scary game of Chubby Bunny.  We've repeatedly been telling Jane, "Sloooooooooow down.  Small bites!"  At dinner tonight, Jane had a very stern face and told Philip as he took a bite, "Sloooooooow down, Daddy!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekend Update and Lenten Facebook Fast

We had my family over for the February birthdays on Sunday.  It's always such a joy to see our family all together--especially the little cousins.  It's pretty incredible watching your children play with your siblings' kids.   My favorite part is seeing how different they are and the personality traits they might have picked up from their parents.  Jane, unfortunately, picked up her mother's trait of struggling to wake up gracefully from naptime.  She had a marathon nap before everyone came over, and she wasn't thrilled to have her picture taken...

Jane's trying to escape.  Sorry she used you for leverage, Lucy!

Calm cousins without Jane
 Once she had some food in her and a chance to play with her cousins, she was a happy camper again.

Kiddie Table

Birthday Cake

I made it low-fat, of course

For part of my Lenten promises, I'm giving up Facebook.  The fact that I had to consider whether or not I could do it coupled with the thoughts of the things that would make it difficult for me solidified that a Facebook Fast was necessary!  I'll be anxious to see what kind of withdrawal symptoms come about.  Stay tuned.  I know you're supposed to do your Lenten promises in private, but I'm cluing you all in so you don't think I'm a complete jerk for not responding to any posts or messages. 

I know many of you reach my blog via Facebook.  If that's the case, consider subscribing through the RSS Feed so that you'll continue getting blog updates while I'm away from Facebook during Lent.  If my readership goes down, I'll just take that as an exercise in humility and get the hint that you needed a break from me, too!  :)  

Off to upload some last pics on Facebook before Lent begins, and then it's off to work on a craft item.  More on the craft later.  

Have a blessed start to your Lent! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Janie Turns 2!

Janie turned two on Saturday, and we had a Barney-themed birthday party to celebrate.  Here are a few pictures of the preparations and festivities. 
Jane's Happy Birthday Sign
Dino cookies out of the oven
Frosted dinosaur sugar cookies.  (Great job decorating, Philip!)
Slicing open the crayons (you'll see why later)
Chopping up the crayons
Into the dinosaur molds
Crayons out of the oven

Ta da!  Dino crayons!
Dino PBJ
Dino chicken nuggets
Janie's cake
Make a wish...
Do you think they're related?

Partying with Aunt Maddy
Opening presents.  She tried to hold everything all at once!
Barney DVD!  Yessss!
Family Shot.  The one picture we have of Janie in her full outfit (well, minus the bow.  Close enough!)
Walt loved the balloons

Hours and hours of fun

Another round of "Happy Birthday" that night as a family
It was a fantastic day.  In fact, I think Jane would say it was the best day so far in her two years of life!  Janie is (and we are) so blessed to have such good buddies to help us celebrate.  I didn't get pictures of everything I wanted to that day because we were so busy having fun and visiting with our friends.  That's what matters, after all!  Thank you to everyone who made it such a special day for Janie.  We love you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week In Review

Recent Milestones/Developments/Victories/Funny Things:
Our gaggy baby Walt is adjusting to textures!  This week he tried yogurt bites, puffs, and moved on to 3rd stage foods.  He must be going through a growth spurt because he suddenly has an insatiable appetite and he's taking long naps.

We're working on teaching Jane how to pray before meals.  On Wednesday morning, Jane and I prayed before breakfast and started eating.  A few minutes into her oatmeal, Jane put her spoon down and spontaneously attempted the prayer by herself.  "Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  Amen."  Hooray!  Sure, she had a crazy combination of hand gestures, but it's starting to look and sound like the real deal.  Hearing her little voice pray so slowly and reverently reminds me to slow down. 

When I got Walt up from his nap today there was a rosary in the crib with him.  I don't know how it got in there.  My suspicion is that Jane thought Walt needed to work on his prayer life.  Maybe it would help him to stop swiping her toys. 

Favorite Quotes of the Week:
From the changing table this morning.  Jane said, "Daddy work.  Daddy loves me!"

Whenever I get the diaper bag down or put on a jacket, Jane says, "Mama shopping?  Church?"

Every time we arrived in the parish parking lot this week for events, Jane said, "Church!  Jesus!" 

Looking at nightlight in nursery on rocking chair, Jane said, "Oh, woooooooooow!"  She quickly followed with, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

The pregnant squirrel came to visit everyday.  At least we think the squirrel is pregnant.  Maybe she's just fat and I'm not helping her to make good choices with her diet.  She loves NutriGrain bars. 
Where did my baby go?!  Walt's size 12 month clothes are getting tight and his 12-24 month socks squeeze his chunky calves and ankles like sausages. 
We had record high temperatures early in the week and went for a walk on Monday night.  It was so nice to get out and about as a family in the fresh air. 
The hummus was in the middle of the table.  When I had my back turned, Jane pulled it closer to her, scooped a big heap out of the bowl, and put it on her tray.  This girl loves her hummus!
Walt loves his food and has to have it right away.  He was starting to whimper, and Jane immediately ran out of the room.  I thought she might have been trying to escape the noise.  She came back a few seconds later with her ladybug nightlight.  She pushed it up on Walt's tray and said, "Here, Walt.  Ladybug."
The Girls
Philip playing with the kids after dinner
There's no such thing as too many accessories, Mom.
Sometimes Walt makes faces that are so eerily Philip.  I love those footie jammies. 
I've started pushing Jane into the table without the tray that goes on her booster chair.  That way she can eat from the table like a big girl.  She was eating some Goldfish crackers Thursday morning, and I left her while I went to change Walt's diaper.  I was gone for less than a minute when I heard a huge crash.  She had pushed herself back and the side strap on her booster seat came loose.  The momentum must have sent the whole chair backward.  Jane was shaken up, but she didn't get hurt.  As I was hugging her, she said through tears, "Mama, I scare you?  Goldfish SCARY!"  She decided that Goldfish crackers are now very scary things. 
SNOW!  We received about 10" of snow on Saturday.  This is the view from our living room window.  A burning bush usually blocks the view, but the weight from the snow bent the branches down to the ground!
The deck.  Check out the precariously leaning pine...
Walt and Monty, hanging on the couch

Philip had to work all day today.  Fortunately, he made it there and back through the snow in his little Honda Civic.  We're looking forward to a quiet family day tomorrow at home.  

On to preparations for Jane's birthday next week!  How is she already 2?! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Light a candle and eat a stack of pancakes!

I'm so glad Philip gave me the book The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day by Meredith Gould.  If not for this book, I probably wouldn't know about the feast day we're celebrating today.  

Today is the Presentation of our Lord, aka Candlemas (formerly the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin).  Candlemas is celebrated every year on February 2.  February 2 is 40 days after Christmas.  (Again, that number 40!  Dr. Taylor Marshall gives a great bullet point summary of the number 40 and its appearances in the Bible in this blog post.)   

Back to today's feast day:  The Gospel of Luke recounts the presentation of Jesus in the Great Temple of Jerusalem.  To fulfill mosaic law, Mary and Joseph bring the male baby Jesus to be presented at the temple and to offer a sacrifice 40 days after His birth.  They encounter Simeon, an elderly man.  
" had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  And inspired by the Holy Spirit he came into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 'Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2:26-32).

The prophetess Anna also meets the Holy Family, gives thanks to God, and tells everyone she meets about Him, the "redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38).

In celebration of Jesus, "a light for revelation to the Gentiles," (Luke 2:32) Catholics bless and light candles on this day.  All of the candles that a Catholic church will use in the upcoming year are blessed on February 2.  Here is the prayer to be said by priests to bless the candles at Candlemas:
God our Father,
Source of all light,
today you revealed to Simeon
Your light of revelation to the nations.
Bless + these candles and make them holy.
May we who carry them to praise your glory
walk in the path of goodness
and come to the light that shines forever
Grant this through Christ our Lord. 

Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil are great and all, but I never knew it was a rip-off of an older tradition.

Candlemas Day was also the day when some cultures predicted weather patterns. Farmers believed that the remainder of winter would be the opposite of whatever the weather was like on Candlemas Day. An old English song goes:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.
Thus if the sun cast a shadow on Candlemas day, more winter was on the way; if there was no shadow, winter was thought to be ending soon. This practice led to the folklore behind "Groundhog's Day," which falls on Candlemas Day.
If candles aren't your thing, adopt the European tradition of eating crepes or pancakes on Candlemas Day.  Because they are yellow and round in shape like the sun, they are supposed to make us think of Christ, the "Light of Light."  That's definitely a tradition I can get behind--especially if my grandma's buttermilk pancake recipe is involved.  I'd take a stack of pancakes any day over a stinky groundhog!

So, happy Candlemas Day to you!  Get some candles blessed, light them, thank Jesus for being our "Light of Light," and eat a stack of pancakes!