Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Year Gone...

Happy 3rd Birthday Gracie!

It is September 30th. I am going to pretend that because we are technically still in Gracie's birth month, this makes it okay that her celebratory pictures and updates are three weeks late. Join me in my delusions, will you?

Whatever you say lady, just keep the sweets coming!
As usual, we continued our tradition of making Gracie's birthday cake together and then licking the beaters. Mark got to participate for the first time, since he was napping when we made his cake in April. As usual, there were no complaints!

How do you get the ENTIRE beater into your mouth??

Grace is a pro. At getting the cake batter off - not
at keeping herself clean...

Grace was super excited about her birthday this year, and seemed to understand a lot of what was going on. She saw some of her gifts early and kept saying "Gracie's present? Gracie's present?" She also would include the word "purple" when talking about birthday items. "Purple cake?  Purple presents?" She's also quite enamored with cupcakes these days. (I have no idea where this came from - maybe her Strawberry Shortcake cartoons?) So, despite the fact that mommy had a homemade cake all set to go, when we went to the bakery a few days before the party, mommy got sucked into the bakery's evil plans to thwart the budget when she saw the above "cupcake" cake that could be made in any color. Gracie's "Purple Cake" had been ordered before we left the store.

The festivities began just after 10 am, by which time it was only about 80 degrees outside. Apparently the weather has no concept of what the term "fall" means. Despite the heat, the kids had a blast putting together a toy Gracie had received on her "real" birthday the weekend before:
Gee, it's  a good thing people brought you gifts Gracie,
because you clearly don't have ENOUGH already...
It says here that if a child owns more than their
weight in toys, the other kids get to take some
home too. Yay!
Unlike last year, Gracie ate up all the attention rather than being shy when everyone sang Happy Birthday.

"See that huge purple cupcake? That's for meeee!!!"

This year, she even did a great job blowing out the candle.
As everyone enjoyed cake and ice cream, Grace got started on the presents.

Cousin Noah: "Hey Grace, if you're not sure what
to do with all those presents, I can help you out...
Just sayin'. I'm nice like that."

Grace loved opening gifts, and unlike last time, she was
quick to tear open bags and paper to get to the good stuff!

"OOOOHHH!" She was so much fun this year,
enjoying every gift!

She also understood a little better this year... when you
get to the "end" of one gift, it's time to move on to the next!
"Hey Daniel, did you see all those gifts? We're goin'
home with toys for sure! No way Gracie weighs
more than all that!"
Mark picked a little something out for Gracie himself:
"Look at what I just learned to do! Whatever I find,
I'll give it to you!! Happy Birthday!"
Mark really did find his finger fit into his nose for the very first time that day. He's had a few other new behaviors as well. Recently he's had some separation anxiety, and is constantly wanting me to pick him up.
"Down! Down! Down!"
(This is what he says constantly... when he wants me
to pick him up.)
Luckily for him, if mommy doesn't comply with his request, he knows there is no shortage of love at the family party!

"Finally! A woman who knows what the word "down" means!
Can you teach this to my mommy Auntie Kim?"
All in all, it was a wonderful day, filled with fun and happiness. And sugar. Lots and lots of sugar, as evidenced by this photo:

This, dear readers, is a classic case of sugar coma.
Glassy eyes, chocolate around mouth...
I may have failed to mention that we baked Gracie's cake the morning of her party, so the cake batter was eaten just after breakfast. She also got her share of cake and ice cream before opening gifts. But the above look indicates there was more going on that meets the eye...

You got that right lady. It was THESE.
I'm pretty sure Grace ate her way through a large amount of M&Ms. The question is, how did she get so many???

Oh look! DeeDee is giving something to the kids!

Oh look, someone placed the candy bowl
where Grace could reach it easily! I wonder
 who that was....

"Silly mommy! Don't you know to always ask DeeDee
when there's something you want?"

Yes, the "Grands" strike again. Grace had a blast at her party, and took a wonderfully long nap after all the days' events. Mark took a nap before we even got to the cake and ice cream, and later on he settled into his favorite "chair" while waiting for Grace to wake up:
"I'm working on finishing "War and Peace".
I figure it will take about that long for Grace
to sleep off all the sugar and excitement..."
Happy Birthday Baby Girl! I hope you had a wonderful day, and maybe you'll even remember your "purple party" as you grow older.

She insisted on wearing her "purple hat"...
until about 20 seconds later when the string
became too much for that little chin.

My Little Princess trying the Minnie Mouse cutout crown
from one of her birthday cards.
Thanks to all of my readers who have patiently waited for this post. There is so much more to share! Daddy was on vacation, and we have lots of pictures of the Children's Museum, the zoo, and even our basic everyday fun activities. I will try to bring those to you soon... in the meantime, enjoy the little ones in your life because time goes by far too quickly.

See You Next Time!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm Not Dead... My Laptop Is

*Warning: This post is not meant for younger audiences. It contains lots of text and NO pictures. I'll try to make it vaguely interesting for those of you willing to brave a pictureless post.*

Did you know that veteran bloggers tell newbies that you should always leave your readers wanting a little more? That way they come back to visit your blog. Something tells me they didn’t mean to write regular posts for a year and then stop for an entire month. Just an educated guess.

Well, if it helps, I’m not dead. But my laptop *almost* is. So I’ve been babying it along, hoping to keep it functional until we get it fixed. The part arrived today (collective cheer) so I hope to be back to our regular programming soon.

In the meantime, I’ll update you on the last month. I was going to wait until the laptop was fully up and running, but as I called to wish my dad a happy birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!) even he asked what was up with no posts for a month… I get the distinct feeling Sunshine SAHM fans aren’t feeling very sunny.

So, here’s a quick recap – no pictures (they take lots of time and the computer is screeching at me even now).

Four weeks ago…

We were vomiting.

Well, Mark was vomiting. But the rest of us soon followed suit. Robert had to stay home from work to help me, and then he got to stay home so I could help him. The kids did pretty well – especially since the television ran about four times as much as it usually did. Deprogramming them was almost as much fun as having the flu.

 Three weeks ago…

We went to visit Papa and DeeDee, played in the dirt, and made plans for a “purple” birthday party for one cutie pie about to turn three. Everything about the birthday was “purple”. For some reason, “purple cake” was the order of the day, and she must have requested it at least three times a day. She saw some of her presents in the closet, and would say “Gracie’s toys? Gracie’s toys?” Somehow I managed to keep them from being played with until the big day, despite how adorable she was when asking for confirmation that they were indeed for her.

At some point, Mark decided to start in on his terrible two’s… just like his sister, he’s got an early start at eighteen months. Apparently my kids are as impatient as their mother. Mercifully, he has just begun to test the waters. He hasn’t had any full blown tantrums, but the signs are all there. Sigh. This too shall pass. (Right? RIGHT???)

 Two weeks ago…

Daddy was on vacation! We started with a visit from the cousins. We did lots of fun things, including going to a nearby park with a water feature. Mark was timid at first, but once he realized he could run through the water he loved it. Grace was still pretty cautious, even though her cousins were clearly enjoying it. After about ten minutes in the water she headed for the playground. She played there until we decided to pack it in then suddenly decided she really wanted to play in the water again. Surprise. We finished the night with ice cream cones. Mark was so exhausted he couldn’t even finish his. Everyone slept well that night! *grin*

Both of the kids are very verbal now. Of course, Mark isn’t nearly as good at communicating, but he is further along than Grace was at his age. He says things like “bye bye” when he sees a set of keys and “down” when he wants you to pick him up. So, when he pointed at our key holder and said “Bye bye down!” I knew he wanted me to pick him up so he could reach the keys. (Which he promptly took to the back door and tried to “unlock”.)

Yeah, I speak toddler. I’m smart like that.

Grace loves to say “Look at me mama!” as she climbs onto the swing set crossbars or jumps from the top of the toy chest. Lately, she’s been very vocal about wanting to “go bye bye” in “daddy’s big truck”. I tell her we are going in my car, and she screws her face into a disapproving look. She still heads for the back door though.

This week we were playing in the back yard and she ran up to me excitedly saying "Look mama, look!" She grabbed my hand and ran over to the side yard, me in tow. When we stopped, she pointed to the sky and said "Clouds!" 

I love that little girl.

She also loves to point out spiders. There are a number of them that hang out by the back sliding door. She will gaze at them (protected by the glass) and talk about the “ciders”, count them, and generally be fascinated. I’ve tried very hard not to pass on my fear of all things crawly. This week we saw a cricket. While she was very happy to talk about the cricket, she said “I’m scared!” when I tried to bring her close enough for a good look. Maybe some things are just genetic.

The cousins went home on Saturday, but our week had just begun. We went to the zoo, the children’s museum, the playground, on walks, and visited friends. It was an exciting week! All the new experiences resulted in random requests later. As we got in the car to head home from the store, Grace said “I want to go see the animals.” After deciphering the message (it’s much harder to speak toddler when the request is completely out of context from your activity) I told her we couldn’t. Later, she wanted to “playground”. At some point, I made the mistake of telling her we needed to take her to the beach someday. Since then, she has asked at least three times if we could go to the beach. Have I mentioned she’s never been?

Hopefully some zoo and museum pictures will make their way to Sunshine SAHM soon…

On Saturday we had a family birthday party for Grace. She loves all the people and having lots of kids over to play. She was much better at opening gifts this time. Last year, she was a bit miffed that we had her open a gift and then wouldn’t let her play with it. This year, the moment she finished opening one she would look at the table and ask for another gift.

Christmas should be really fun this year.

This week we’ve been attempting to get back to normal and slide into a routine again. Grace found her potty training chair in the garage when daddy was cleaning up from the party. She brought it into the bathroom… and Mark has fallen in love with it. He can play “poo poo” all he wants – this mama’s not ready to try at eighteen months again! Maybe I’ll get up the gumption when his second birthday rolls around.

I might have some new motivation for the potty training however. Grace and Mark lead busy lives, but Daddy and Mommy have lives too. (Sort of.) We’ve been house hunting. Some days I’m so excited I can hardly wait to decorate the kids rooms, get our family pictures onto the walls, and generally be able to make some permanent changes.

Other days, my children vomit on (someone else’s) carpet, slam the door into (someone else’s) drywall, show an interest in potty training (in someone else’s house), and smear the contents of their diaper on (someone else’s) wall… and I begin to wonder if we should wait a little longer before buying.

They say no news is good news. For us, this has been true (with the exception of my poor little laptop being on the fritz). I hope to be bringing you my parenting words of wisdom on a routine basis again soon. Of course, I’ve never imparted any wisdom prior to this, so don’t hold your breath. But keep checking back! (Or, enter your e-mail address into the box on the upper right sidebar. Your address will never be shared, and you get a nifty little e-mail with a preview of my newest posts along with a link to the blog. Easy peasy… and no more constant checking for a new post!)