Friday, June 27, 2014

Piper - 20 months

My 20-month-old Piper is growing up so fast. She started climbing out of her crib so regularly (as in, immediately after we put her in) that there was no point to keeping her in a crib. So I converted her crib to a daybed before the age of 2, which I never thought I would do. Libby was in a crib till the week she turned 3! Bedtime is a challenge every single night, keeping those girls in their room, but I think it's getting better.

It's amazing how much we can learn from kids. My sweet Piper reminds us to pray before every meal. Usually before I even sit down at the table, she is folding her arms and saying "prayer, prayer."

One thing she likes to do lately is put a blanket over her head and pretend to be a monster ("mon-her").  She also likes to hop like a frog and say "ribbet" and play Ring Around the Rosie ("ring round"). She cannot get enough of jumping off the couch, but she doesn't always wait for someone to catch her. Yesterday, she dove off and landed on her face.

Libby and I like to play a rhyming game where one of us says a word and the other names a word that rhymes. Libby is getting pretty good, but still uses a lot of made up words to come up with a rhyme, and usually those made-up words start with a b. For instance, if I say "what rhymes with table?" she might respond with "bable." Anyway, one day in the car, Libby said "what rhymes with water?" and Piper spoke up and said "bater." Libby and I cracked up. It was so awesome. I'm 95% sure she was actually trying to say "bottle" as in water bottle, which she was holding, but it was hilarious nonetheless. This morning Piper was saying "bater" over and over just to make us laugh.

Piper is now interested in helping in the kitchen. She sometimes helps me put away the dishes that go in the lower cupboards. She likes to press the button on the blender and push the plunger on the salad spinner and add ingredients to the bowl when I'm baking. Of course, she also likes to take dirty dishes out of the dishwasher, rearrange my pots and pans, climb onto the counter and steal chocolate chips, and leave stuffed animals in the pantry.

I'm so glad Piper is still an adventurous eater. This morning, she was munching on frozen kale while "helping" me make a smoothie. She will eat nearly anything and regularly packs away more than Libby. I'm having a hard time thinking of her favorite foods, because she eats everything with the same gusto.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May picture dump

Libby loves to draw and is getting so creative. Today she drew a bee, complete with wings and antennae. It was quite impressive. Here is a carrot she drew with sidewalk chalk.

We had a Cinco de Mayo party, so we could have an excuse to have people over, eat Mexican food, and make a pinata.

 The kids loved the pinata!

This is classic Piper: sneaking her toes up on the table and saying "cheese" for the camera. 

Libby playing make believe...not sure what her intention was here, but it was adorable.

Piper loves the swing and insists on buckling herself in.

This is the face Libby makes for the camera, if she acknowledges it at all. :)

One hot day, the slide got too hot to touch, so I let the kids put their swimsuits on and I made a "water slide" by spraying it with the hose while they slid down. It's a fast slide to begin with, and the water made it crazy fast. They were both done after one turn - it was too scary.

Libby loves her playset.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Piper - 18 months

At 18 months, Piper is definitely her sister's best friend. I'd say it was around 15-16 months that they really started playing well together and I didn't have to worry (as much) about Libby sitting on or strangling Piper. Just last week, I decided to move Piper into Libby's room at night, hoping it would help quell Libby's "I don't want to be alone!" protests at night. So far, so good. The first night was adorable...I could hear them giggling and talking for nearly an hour before they went to sleep.

They climbed onto the counter and finished off a package of sprinkles while I was taking a shower!
A few things I want to remember about Piper at this age:

She is so obedient when we tell her it's time to pray. She will stop what she is doing and clasp her hands together. She sometimes even bows her head, but usually she looks around at us to make sure she is copying us just right. If we fold our hands, she folds her hands. If we fold our arms, she folds her arms.

She knows so many words now I can't even keep track anymore. She will attempt to copy nearly any word. Some of the most repeated words we hear from her: no, stop, mine (those are usually directed toward Libby), snack, eat, milk, bike, bath, back (when she wants to ride on our backs), drive-drive (whenever she sees a car), Bibby (Libby), and of course Mommy and Daddy. She can also name body parts (eye, ear, nose, mouth, hair, cheek, chin, hand, foot, toes).

She is still crazy obsessed with animals, particularly dogs. I'm pretty sure we are the only ones on our street that do not have a dog, but we get plenty of use out of the neighbors' dogs. If we are in the backyard, Piper is usually sticking her hand through the fence and calling "Lily! Lily" to the dog next door.

She likes the Old McDonald song and the Slippery Fish song. She knows sounds for duck, cat, dog, cow, horse, owl, rabbit, alligator (snap!).

She plays tag with Libby and can say "got you!"

She LOVES riding her tricycle, which is why we hear the word "bike" so often. (For a while, I started parking outside of the garage and going in through the front door, because if she saw her bike in the garage and I did not immediately let her ride it, it resulted in a major temper tantrum.) She is so fearless on her bike. Our driveway has a bit of a slope and she will push off, lift up her feet and fly down with hesitation. Problem is, her trike is not all that stable, so I try to run along beside her in case she tips. She wears a helmet and it's already come in handy a few times.

She is happiest playing outside, on her bike, in the swing, petting the dog, or rolling around in the grass with Libby.   

Monday, March 31, 2014

Flower arranging

I have a few sets of fake flowers that Libby has been really interested in playing with lately. Today, she decided to spruce up our beloved aloe vera plant.

I love her creativity.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So, we moved again.

For the past couple of years, Jared and I have often discussed how awesome it would be to live in Utah again. We love the mountains and the skiing and just the insane amount of fun outdoor recreation. And of course, we would love to live near family (his sister and parents are there). Well, as we were boarding the airplane to fly to Utah for a visit in September, Jared got an email about a possible job at BYU. It sounded amazing. Living in Utah, working at the greatest university on earth (no bias here), free tuition for our kids? Oh yeah. But even as he started to work on applications, we both felt hesitant. We didn't know why, but now that a possible opportunity was here, it didn't feel right.

A month or two later, we got another surprise. Jared was approached by a colleague in his company from a different department and basically recruited for a new position at headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. They seemed to really want him, so we thought, why not? Let's apply for this one, too. Almost immediately, he was offered the job and expected to respond soon. If he accepted the job, it would definitely be closing the door on the possible BYU opportunity, which hadn't even closed applications yet. But for some reason it seemed like the right thing to do, or at least...a good thing to do.

And so, here we are, in our 4th home in 4 years. And while I think I will always long for the mountains of Utah or the pine trees (and warmth!) of North Carolina, or the BBQ and Bluebell (and family!) in Texas, Iowa is starting to feel a teeny tiny (tiny) bit like home. But let it be known that I am only able to say this because we've had a bit of reprieve this week from the truly awful winter we've had (can't forget that record-setting -55 degree windchill in January). Ask me in the dead of winter what I think of Iowa, and I will probably be harsh.

In the 2.5 years we've lived in the midwest, I've kind of scoffed when I've heard people talk about "midwest hospitality" or how great the people are here. Maybe we have just lived in the wrong neighborhoods before, but I haven't felt particularly welcomed. (Or perhaps I'm being a little unfair by comparing midwesterners to southerners - that charming southern accent makes any exchange seem friendlier.) But this past week, I have met quite a handful of friendly neighbors and church members and I am feeling excited to be living here. We had a beautiful, warm day yesterday and our street was suddenly full of kids, weaving in and out of each others driveways, garages, and backyards. Libby took off on her little red bike, "I'm going to go play with my friends!" and followed them around for hours. The parents congregated in one of the driveways and told me the names, occupations and family histories of everyone on the block. It's apparently a pretty friendly place after all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Libby Speak - Winter Edition

Driving to our church Christmas party, we were going to pick up a little boy and his mom, but they weren't home. Libby was very sad that her friend (whom she had never met) couldn't come.
I only have 18 friends. 

Getting out the ingredients to make gingerbread men:
We need some bread for the gingerbread man.

I ask her what her bad dreams were about:
Mean ducks trying to eat me. 
An elephant coming down the stairs trying to eat me.
A turtle ate seagull (her stuffed animal named Seagull).

I've taught her that complimenting a person before asking for something makes her more likely to get what she wants:
Mommy, you are so pretty can you please get me a cream of wheat? (She always calls it A cream of wheat.)

Daddy, I like your new jacket. Can I please have some candy?

After learning what it means to "pants" someone:
I'm shirting you. (Pulling up my shirt.)

I'm skirting you. (Pulling down my skirt.)

Discussing nutrition:
When I grow bigger like you then I will eat vegetables like carrots and broccoli.

You're a big girl now. You get to eat food like hummus and vegetables and bread.
And ice cream and popsicles and lollipops.

I sent her to wash her hands and when I went to check on her, she was standing at the sink brushing water all over the sink with a paintbrush. "Libby, did you wash your hands or have you just been playing with the paintbrush?"
I just played with the paintbrush. I dip it in there (points to toilet).

Daddy, I need to watch some TV.

Trying to convince me that inanimate objects make her do things she shouldn't:
The sugar was just wanting me to eat it! (one of the many times I found her on the counter eating brown sugar with a spoon.)

Greeting her sister:
Hi there Pipe, how was your nap?

Learning to describe things:
Is this tall or long? 

Is it 14 or 10?

Is it short or small?

I told her we were going to the store.
Cowboys don't go to the store.

I told her to wash her hands.
Goats don't wash their hands.

I told her to put her shoes on.
Superheroes don't wear shoes. 

Driving home from a neighbor's house just a couple of streets over, I didn't buckle the kids into their carseats. They started to stand up. Jenn: Kids, you have to at least pretend like you're buckled in.
Or a mailman will put us in jail. Jenn: Well, a mailman can't put us in jail, but a policeman can.
Well, it's a type of man. 

Singing her own made up song after church one day:
I will sit in my chair and raise my hand. I will keep my feet away from other people. I will be good for Jesus. I will be a sunbeam.

What are you excited about in our new house?
I like the basement in our new house a little bit better than this house. And I like the door knobs and the doors.

I picked her up and accidentally poked her in the bum with my keys.
Now I won't be able to pee because I can't sit on the potty. And I won't be able to eat because the food goes in my mouth and through my stomach and down to my bum. And I won't be able to grow up and be a mommy and have kids because it will hurt when the baby comes out. Yes, it will probably hurt when the baby comes out, but not because I poked you in the bum with my keys.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Musical Beds and MMR

Anyone else play musical beds at night? Last night, Libby ended up in our bed, then crowded Jared out so he went to her bed and I was in Piper's room rocking her for hours.

Why? Piper got those blasted MMR immunizations on Tuesday. She hasn't gotten sick yet (though I noticed a measles rash forming today), but is no longer sleeping through the night. On Wednesday, she had her worst ever tantrum...screaming (not crying) for nearly an hour, scooting on her back around the room, bumping her head into the wall, kicking her crib, and refusing to be touched or held. The same thing happened to Libby when she got the MMR shot: cranky as can be and suddenly quit sleeping through the night. Libby also got a measles rash and fever, so that certainly accounted for some of the sleep and mood problems.

I don't subscribe to the MMR-autism link, but from my own experience (a whopping sample size of 2), my kids do act like a different person after that shot. Libby was back to herself after about a month. I pray it does not take that long for Piper, especially because we are moving soon and I'd really like to start sleeping again.

But it does make me wonder about the parents of autistic children who say their kid woke up a different person. That may be entirely true and maybe some of the symptoms of MMR shot even look like some of the symptoms of autism, but how do you know where one ends and the other begins? Could a child have a bad reaction to the shot like mine did and during or after the recovery of that, happen to develop symptoms of autism? Without the two being related? I don't know. I do sympathize with those parents and no matter the scientific truth about a link or not, I believe their experiences are real. I obviously don't have the answers nor the mental clarity at the moment to say anything else on the matter. I mostly just wanted to record my experience with Piper so I can remember for future reference if I am lucky enough to have another kid and unlucky enough to go through MMR inferno again.