Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mommy's Little Kitchen Christmas Helper

Cooling sweet rolls

Joshua "making"... we all stayed in our pjs for most of the day!

Dinner time!

Our friend Landry

We have been very busy in the kitchen over the past couple of weeks. We kicked off the festivities with a baking day with our friends Amie and Landry. What began as an afternoon baking party turned into eating chili in shifts among lots of cookies as Amie and I scrambled to finish while our husbands played with the children. It was exhausting, but it was so much fun! Last Sunday, I made sweet rolls for our Waco Christmas morning. I chose Sunday because David could run interference with the kids. This is the first year I would say that sweet rolls were easier than the peanut butter balls, which I attempted with both kids awake and no other adults around... hmmm. I envisioned Joshua's playing with a blob of peanut butter dough happily while I rolled and rolled and rolled... and rolled some more. He made one ball for Daddy, ate a little ball, and then made me nervous for a while until I quit trying and waited for nap time to continue. My kids just aren't hands-free enough yet for me to be up to my wrists in margarine and peanut butter for such a long time!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mommy's Little Helper

Joshua loves to help me with things. He is very sweet about giving Ellie toys and playing with her. Sometimes Joshua is actually helpful; other times, I smile and remind myself that he is being very sweet as I restrain myself from discouraging his efforts. (Picture bath time: Making sure Ellie isn't about to fall over or eat peeling paint or get pelted by the generosity of her brother giving her "many toys!")

The Griffin in him

When we sit down to breakfast at my Mom's house, there is a sea of beverages. Christmas morning is the ultimate example: juice, milk, coffee or tea, eggnog, and homemade cider... and even water for me, usually! My Mom says Griffins like lots of fluids! I guess Joshua is related. He likes to have his options. This is our morning snack. Maybe some "Bissy Da-das" (Goldfish) and "many wups"!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pink Car

Well, I have been stalling because it has been so long since I last posted anything! I guess I will get started even though I don't have pictures to go with many of my stories lately. At Thanksgiving, cousin Lily brought Joshua - oops, I mean ELLIE :) a little pink car riding toy thing. (How is that for a word picture!?) The reason that I forget that it is for Ellie is because although it is pink an purple with a little detachable purse, Joshua LOVES that car! He has a rocket as well that he loves, but there is just something about that car. David and I have been working on reminding Joshua that Ellie is sharing her car with him until she is old enough to use it by herself. He disagrees!

Ellie loves the Pink Car as well, I have learned. What's not to love? There is even a detachable purse! (To Joshua's credit, he refuses to drive the car with the purse attached...) Ellie thinks it is quite delightful to sit next to the car roll it around. She gets a grip on it and moves it back and forth. Yesterday, I put her on it and held her while I pushed her around. (Of course, this took place during Joshua's nap time!) Ellie was all grins. When I stopped pushing her, she kind of bounced in the seat as if to say, "Come on, now, keep it going, Mom!" When I took her off the seat, she shrieked and shrieked in protest. She knows what she wants!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Stroller Seasons Part 2

Awhile ago I pondered how I noticed changes in my kids based on their stroller behavior. Well, it has happened again! These days when we are out in the stroller, Joshua only rides for a short time, and Ellie leans forward and bounces in anticipation. I think that she really would leap out if I didn't strap her in! During times when Joshua sits next to Ellie, she bothers him a little, but more often they end up just laughing at each other. No more snacks for Joshua in the stroller because Ellie will get mad that there is nothing for her, and the stroller where they can't sit next to each other? Forget about it! That's too boring for both parties!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ree riss yats!!

Well, in case you didn't guess, this is yet another lesson in Joshua's language. It is also a Mommy thrilled with the beginning of the Christmas season as always, but even more because it is so fun to explain things to Joshua as we go. We are enjoying day-by-day reminders of the Advent of Jesus with Joshua and Ellie's Advent calendar, and we tell Joshua the stories of the different characters every day. This week, we have told the story of Mary each day. I decided to be very redundant this year so that Joshua will remember the couple of sentences I share with him.

Joshua loves the Little Drummer Boy. He likes the song, but he really loves the book that his Great Aunt and Uncle sent to him. I think we read it twenty times yesterday! I thought it was so interesting that he recognized Mary in the book, but he kept asking where the drum was because it is shaped a little differently.

Oh, and the title of this post... Joshua loves Christmas lights! (Can you see those words in the title?) He likes the kind that are really porch lights and street lights as well. Easy to please! David told him that the lights are for Jesus' birthday party - even if lots of people don't realize it! I have been thinking about making a birthday cake for Jesus each year as part of our Christmas Eve celebration. What kid can't relate to birthday cake?! :) I haven't taken any pictures of Christmas in our home, but I will soon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving and beyond

We had a wonderful couple of days with family here for Thanksgiving. We also loved having Daddy "home. all day!" (in Joshua's words) for several days in a row! Today it is back to normal in our household. We all were sad to see the long weekend end, but I think it is nice to "get going" in life again. Joshua woke up this morning and said, "Miss. People." But he has also been very happy playing by himself! He is currently 1.5 hours into his nap and chatting away with his alligator and Ellie. (Ellie is not in the room with him.)

For Thanksgiving, Ellie ate turkey, roll, and winter squash. What a grown-up Thanksgiving meal! Joshua loved the ham best of all. Unfortunately, we don't have many pictures from the weekend, but I love the chaos in the kitchen in this picture! I guess we can put that big space to good use from time to time.

I loved opening up a couple of boxes of Christmas decorations that had been stored for us since before Lebanon. It is so fun to be back for this time of year, although it was fun to make traditions there and share them with our friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sibling non-rivalry

Maybe I have posted a lot about Joshua and Ellie together, but it is just too sweet, and I appreciate it every day... so I will continue to talk about it! Joshua has picked up on several phrases we have worked on teaching him. (Phew... finally!) He runs into the house and announces when he is "home", he says "thank you" (sometimes,) and he ALWAYS remembers to say "Morning, Ellie!" or "Morning, Elle-Belle!" whenever she wakes up. I encourage him be telling him that some day she will answer him when he greets her! There bath times overlap from time to time simply because they have so much fun. I am trying to think about what they do together, but I think they pretty much get excited, laugh, and squeal. Ellie flaps her arms in an effort to handle her delight, and Joshua scoots around and shares toys with her.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dealing with Dogs

Joshua loves dogs... at a distance. A decent distance. When he is certain they are not going to come toward him. There are three dogs that he has been around with relative ease. Two of those three are gentle, laid back golden retrievers, and one we just recently met.

Ellie loves dogs. She probably doesn't realize what a dog is at a distance as Joshua prefers, but let her get close and even get her toes licked, and she will bounce and laugh in excitement. It is really funny. We will see if she continues to have fun with dogs or if she gets a bit more skiddish as she grows.

Meet the dog that is perfect for both of our kids. His name is Raleigh. I have never met a dog like Raleigh before, but this is just Joshua's type of dog because he keeps his distance. The other evening we were in the room with Raleigh for hours, and he never once approached anyone except Ellie, much to her delight. So Joshua could walk around and not get attacked, and he could enjoy looking at the dog as he felt safe. And Ellie got her toes licked because Raleigh felt comfortable approaching her... I guess because she can't walk yet. And Mommy was relieved because the dog didn't have to be banished for our visit!

Movin' and Groovin'

Our kids like to dance. It surprises me how much they are aware of rhythm and music. It is like they can't resist moving, no matter how young they are or how uncoordinated they seem! Joshua loves to bounce and drum when he hears music. He has also been learning motions to songs at church and MDO. He nods his head and taps his fingers to different beats. Ellie bounces as well, but on her little rear end. It is hard to see in the picture, but Ellie has taken quite well to Joshua's little drum. It sat on the shelf for awhile, but now each child holds a stick and has a blast!

More on movin'... Ellie still hasn't crawled yet, but she gets around! It's not as if we watch her scoot around, it's more like, "Hmmm... I am pretty sure I did not set her down right next to that electrical outlet," or "Wait, how did she get my shoe and shove it into her mouth?" or "Oops, Ellie is stuck halfway beneath the couch!" Maybe she doesn't want to crawl because she doesn't ever see Joshua crawl. All I know is that she wants nothing to do with hanging out on her tummy! She can get onto her hands and knees or hands and toes easily, but she never tries long enough to get the movement down in that position! The more I notice all of Joshua's little pieces and toys strewn about, the more I am just fine with waiting for Ellie to get going!

Maturing interaction

I love watching both Ellie and Joshua as they figure out how to interact with the world and the people around them. Joshua enjoys jumping into conversations with an insistent, "uh-huh!" He also tells a "joke" and jumps in with exuberant laughter when he hears others laughing. Ellie's current favorites are peek-a-boo and patty cake. She also is quite conversational as she initiates and responds with grins, "da-das", and claps.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I recently mentioned Joshua and his concept of "working." It continues to develop. The other day, I was in the kitchen, and Joshua came in carrying something. There was a flurry of activity, and he was gone again. I went into the living room, and he had all of the mixing bowls and other random items out of the lowest cabinet in the kitchen. I wondered what had inspired him to empty the cabinet, and David explained that Joshua was "working." Joshua had picked up his bag (a puzzle carrying case), gathered his utensils, and set to work!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clap, clap, clap your hands

Ellie is, as they so graciously say on Sundays, a "very social baby." Translation: put her down and act like you might walk away. Just try it. The response you will get is an extremely dramatic leaning back of the head, opening of the mouth, reddening of the face... wait for it... that shrill scream will begin shortly! Maybe I have mentioned it before, but it really reminds me of a cartoon or something! Our sweet little girl simply loves company! She loves to play games and to be cuddled. I realized that she would clap in response to me when I started. Soon after, she started initiating the game herself. Then, David noticed that she started clapping when she heard the word "clap!" Hmmm... I wonder what all goes on in Ellie's head that we don't even understand!

Friday, October 15, 2010

9 months!

And how did it fly so quickly? Elle-belle, as we affectionately call her, is 9 months old today! I remember how for her first months, she never wanted to stretch her arms away from her body. Now, she flaps them all around in excitement as she explores. We love our girl!

Trips to Baylor

getting butterflies

running hills

Enjoying the grass

visiting the bears

Friday pizza picnic!

I just mentioned our outings to Baylor, and then I realized that we have lots of pictures of some of our favorite things there...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You light up my life

Ellie's look of sheer joy and excitement. She balls up her fists, makes a funny face, and looks like she can't contain herself. My words don't do it justice...

Ellie has a stuffed pig that plays music when you pull on a plastic link attached to the tail. When it plays music, two little red lights in the cheeks blink. It is sort of weird, but she absolutely loves it. When I start the music and show her the lights, her face breaks into an immediate grin... many times in a row. It has never gotten old to her!

Ellie also seems to love walls. Yep, I meant to type "walls." The first example is the couch in the living room. She had gotten pretty unhappy any time I set her on the floor. One weekend, she was perfectly happy every time David set her down in the living room. I said, "Oh, sure, be content when there are actually two sets of hands to hold you!" David pointed out that she really liked facing the couch, maybe because it made her feel like she was in a smaller space on the floor. Well, we recently stopped using the baby bath tub, and Ellie's favorite bath toy is the wall! She likes to hold the rubber duck, but she usually drops it and turns away from me to look at the wall. Ellie flaps her arms, pats it, and squeals at it. I just wish I could get inside her brain! The third example is the kitchen wall. If I put her near the wall, she will inch her way over, (not crawling), until she can pat the wall.


looking at the dik-dik

Some new phrases/concepts/words Joshua loves:
  • Woh-een: (working), when he sees construction vehicles, where Daddy goes each day, the men on the roof of a building at the zoo, I think he gets it!
  • up-ee: (help me), the first example of pronoun mix-ups, Joshua most often uses this phrase when he wants to help Mommy with something rather than when he wants Mommy to help him with something
  • mnum-mnum: Most of Joshua's words make sense to us, but I have no idea how this means "raisin". Not to be confused with "Mum-mum" which is the name of Ellie's little teething biscuits
  • bee-woo: Baylor! Joshua loves to go to campus and see the bears, walk around, chase squirrels, etc. We recently found lots of butterflies, too! The last time he chased a squirrel, the squirrel had a nut he wanted to hide, so he wouldn't climb up the tree away from Joshua. David actually had to intervene Joshua kept getting soooo close to the squirrel, and the squirrel was getting obviously agitated.
  • dik-dik: this is actually the real word! It is Joshua's current favorite animal at the zoo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cleaning with Kids

HA...! :) I imagine that no one ever finishes a to-do list. As soon as you do, there is something else to do. Well, I have had a running to-do list of cleaning tasks since we moved in to our house that had been "cleaned" by the property management company. Today, I reached that rare place where it seemed nothing was pressing AND I had a burst of energy and motivation. I put Ellie in bed for her nap, and I spent some bubble time and Play-Doh time with Joshua. We tried out a new recipe together, and then I set to work on the baseboards and leftover grease-grime from who-knows-how-many-tenants before us. (In my defense, I have attempted this once before, but it needed a second round.) Joshua did great for awhile with his trucks and blocks strewn around me. About halfway around the kitchen, Ellie woke up. Now, she is perfectly happy to play in her crib for awhile, so we let her. However, the inevitable happened, and Joshua was ready for a diaper change. I pulled off my gloves and figured that while I was taking a break, I might as well get Ellie up. And since it was close to lunch time, we might as well have lunch. Which was followed by a near-immediate meltdown by Joshua who was ready for a nap. And then I realized I needed to clean the kitchen. By the time I finished that, Ellie was hollering because she can't crawl to the toys she loses yet. That mop bucket with the gloves hanging over the side is going to have to wait a little longer. Ellie and I hang out in the living room for awhile, and I dust. She is throwing one fit after another, it seems, so maybe she is ready for a nap. I put her in bed, and one hour later, she is still yelling (playfully) in her bed. I guess she wasn't quite ready to sleep! And here I sit, my burst of motivation and energy spent, telling you about the mop bucket that is still sitting in the kitchen...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome, Autumn!

Joshua's "yat" from his first winter that Ellie will wear this winter.

Putting away the itty bitty socks... Ellie is enamored with socks. No matter her mood, if I give her a sock or two, she is occupied for awhile.

As everyone in Texas knows, the weather has been so nice lately. In some places, fall means the leaves change colors. Here, it means we can go outside without melting! In Waco, most nights and mornings have dipped into the 40s in the past week, so I have been busy sorting and washing winter clothes and sizes.

Anything but crawling!

When Ellie started to sit up by herself, I noticed that she didn't fall over very much. I remember that Joshua's learning-to-sit process seemed to last a long time because he would sit very well, but then topple over and whack his head on the very unforgiving tile floor of our apartment. Ellie hasn't had that issue until now, which leads me down a little rabbit trail...

It was so fun to watch how Joshua developed. Everything was very new and exciting, and the first year went by so quickly. It is equally fun to watch Ellie go through this process of the first year, but I thought it wouldn't all seem so new. Well, naturally the second time around we are more confident in many ways, but from day one, I realized how true it is that every baby is different. I have enjoyed watching Ellie develop and noticing the ways that she is different from Joshua. I often wonder how these differences will look when they are older. But I digress...

Ellie has started to topple over quite a bit. She has a big gash on her nose to prove it. There is no tile floor here, but there is Joshua's race track. Ellie's problem with falling is not because she has a balance issue; it is because she wants whatever she sees, but she is NOT willing to crawl for it! She leeeaaaaannnnsss over until she just isn't sitting any more. Sometimes it is graceful and gradual; other times, her arms give out and she hits the race track she so desperately wanted on the way down. Either way, it makes her MAD because this girl only wants to sit now!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adventures in parenting

I guess you can't really have parenting without adventure because the normal things turn into adventures with little ones in tow. And with every adventure, we learn many lessons. :) Yesterday, we decided to go and have a picnic at Baylor. Our picnic was pizza that we picked up on the way. This may have been Joshua's 3rd picnic. I think it was Ellie's 2nd, but she slept in her carseat for the first one. Lessons learned:

1. ALWAYS use bugspray. Poor Ellie has two big mosquito bites on her sweet head alone! I will admit, they seem to bother me more than they bother her, but still...
2. Bring LOTS of napkins. Actually, I will go a step further and say bring lots of wipes.
3. If you think you don't need a stroller, you are wrong. You might disagree, but I promise, you will wish you had a stroller later. If not because one child gets heavy after awhile, maybe the other one will spit up her bright orange squash straight down the front of your white shirt. Not naming any names...
4. College campuses are not very stroller friendly, so maybe even use the jogging stroller for the hiking through the grass you are bound to do.
5. Also newsflash for parents spoiled by the conveniences of America: why WOULD the bathrooms at Baylor have changing tables? Really... how often is a student going to need to change a diaper between classes? (I didn't need the changing table; I just had to chuckle at the Mom who was irritated that she couldn't find one. I remembered the days in Lebanon where it was a pleasant surprise to find a changing table every now and then.)
6. Pizza is not the most picnic-friendly food for a 2 year-old.
7. Ellie likes grass a lot more than Joshua used to like it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Tomorrow is the end of Joshua's birth-month. I make note of it because it really feels like we have been celebrating him all month. I have had so much fun! Yesterday I took cookies to Mother's Day Out. They will have one day each month to celebrate the birthdays from that month. It just so happens that Joshua's was the only birthday in September.

Anyway, on Joshua's actual birthday, he said "Appy boh-day" a couple of times. Since then, it has been "appy" no matter how much we try to stress the word "birthday."

Parent: "Joshua, say 'Happy Birthday!'
Joshua: "Appy!!"
Parent: "Great! BIRTH-day!"
Joshua: "Appy!!"
Parent: "Look at me. 'B-irth-D-ay'"
Joshua: "Appy!!"

So there were "appy" cards strung from the mantle, "appy" cookies, and "appy" pictures on the wall. (David printed out pictures from the past year of Joshua's life and put them on the wall of the dining room. We have loved looking at them!) I have a feeling there will be many of these little talking stories in the coming months that we won't want to forget!

Helpful and hurtful

Ellie has been sitting well by herself, but I still like to put a pillow or two around her if I am going to be up and about while she is playing on the floor. I guess the other day I forgot to put the pillows out, so Joshua did it for me. Only, why stop at two pillows when there are five pillows in the room? I thought it was very sweet that he laid them out for Ellie. As I was praising his gesture, he snatched the giraffe right out of her hand. I considered taking a picture of the face that followed, but I thought it would be too mean. If you have ever been around Ellie when her feelings are hurt, you know the face!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is a commonly used phrase/word for Joshua. The meanings we know so far include "alligator, elevator, apple juice, applesauce, and have patience." Sometimes, he says it very clearly, but it very clearly means something that I can't guess! It is so fun to hear all of the words Joshua is learning. David realized that he actually thinks the elevator is an alligator. When we approach an elevator, Joshua says his word for it, and then he claps his hands the way we taught him an alligator mouth closes.

On another communication note, Joshua is quite the conversation-maker. David and I will be talking in the car or house, and Joshua will repeatedly say, "Uh-huh, " in his most grown-up voice. It is funny; especially because I don't think we really say "uh-huh" all that often... but maybe we do!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toddler's Day Out

Also known as "Mother's Day Out, " but I am now positive that we send Joshua for his sake, and not for mine! At least at this point, with Ellie at her current stage, I don't do much more during the time that Joshua is at "school" than I do on a normal day. However, I know that it is good for him to be around other little kiddos his own age. He always leaves a little sad and comes home extremely happy and ready to chat. Joshua doesn't sleep at all during nap time, but then he takes his normal nap 2 hours late, so that is pretty nice! Joshua now has a new backpack, and while he loves seeing it and carrying it, he doesn't love the fact that carrying it means he is on his way to school to play with his friends. You might laugh and think, "Why in the world would he need a back pack?" Well, he doesn't, but I need him to have a backpack so that I can put things on his back! It got a little ridiculous: Ellie on one hip, purse over my shoulder, Joshua's big bag overflowing on another shoulder, lunch box in hand, holding Joshua's hand, and usually chasing the sippy cup he dropped from time to time. Yikes. I like his back pack. :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy 2nd!

Our precious Joshua turned 2 yesterday! We had such a fun weekend with grandparents and Aunt Ashley celebrating him. Weekend festivities began with a trip to the zoo with Granddaddy on Friday afternoon. Everyone else joined us on Saturday for hot dogs and cake. Joshua was a bit out of sorts, and it turned out that he was actually sick. :-( He was a trooper, and he ended up eating half of his hot dog and opening many of his presents. On Sunday morning, Joshua had muffins, spared the Children's Ministry his fever by staying home, and said good-bye to Grandpa. We went to the Waco Cultural Arts Festival... I think that is what it was called... for about 10 minutes before we decided that it was too much for our sweet little sick boy. However, in that 10 minutes, Joshua colored a birthday rock that he enjoyed several times throughout the day! (And to think that David wondered if we should even keep it!) We love our son so much, and we are so thankful for him! (Pictures to follow later!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting ready for the day

Clean diapers: check!
Breakfast: Check!
Taking a break before the clothes part :)


When Ellie wakes up first, she sits with Joshua in his crib for a minute.

Mornings are a juggling act, especially since Ellie started eating from a spoon. We have a pretty decent rhythm, and it goes something like this:
  • Joshua talks for a little while; I go in and get him. He tells me about things, and then he gets out of bed. He asks for crackers, and when I say, "no crackers for breakfast," he asks for cereal. Every. Morning. :) I gauge from his mood whether it is worth the diaper change battle right away. Sometimes, I go for it. Other times, I wait until after he has eaten. He hasn't realized that it feels great to shed that 5 pound overnight diaper!
  • We go into the kitchen, and Joshua gets a bowl for his cereal. He eats cereal and yogurt most mornings with the occasional scrambled egg. During the breakfast moments, enter: Ellie
  • She hears Joshua, and she starts to talk. Joshua is very insistent that she needs to get up!
  • Diaper change for Ellie; she usually gets dressed for the day
  • bottle and food for Ellie at the table with Joshua
  • Everyone finishes, and we move on to getting Joshua dressed (Mommy has been showered and dressed for hours... ready for game time!)
  • gather a sippy cup for Joshua, a car toy and burp cloth for Ellie
  • We are in the car by 8:30 most mornings for our daily outing!


Trying out the big bow

Very proud of the noise she can make by hitting that plastic bowl!

Until this week, my daughter has been virtually bow-free. I think Ellie a headband bow to church one morning, and that is about it. It was kind of on principle that I protected her from those things that look so large they might cover her face or make it difficult to hold her head up... I mean, really! Well, even though Ellie is getting LOTS of new hair, the term "lots" is relative, so I decided to give bows a try... little bows. I bought a little variety pack last week, and the headband made a big dent around her sweet head, so that was a fail. On Monday, I went into a store looking into nap pads for Joshua's school, and of course, I ended up buying headbands and bows. (In my defense, I did not buy the nap pad!) I must say that I am hooked! I think Ellie looks so pretty! I bought two little tiny bows and one bigger one, and then I returned the bigger one the next day. Ellie just kept looking at the ceiling to see what was on her; it was pretty funny! The little bows don't seem to bother her, although she pulled the headband down over her eyes once.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Look at me!

Practicing standing

Hmmm... sometimes those are in my mouth, but now they seem so far away!

Big girl!!

Well, somehow Ellie is officially sitting up! For the baby book's sake, it is hard to say when it first happened. Over the past couple of weeks, I realized she could sit with very little support, then with no-support-but-don't-go-too-far-because-she-needs-help-balancing, and now, I can walk around and do things while Ellie sits there and plays! (However, I must stay in the room, or she will let me have it!) I thought these milestones came quickly with Joshua, but I had no idea everything would happen faster the second time around! Ellie is all smiles, and we are having so much fun watching her personality blossom.

At the park with a 2 year-old

Ellie's in the swing I want!

Finally Mommy got her out.

Happy swinging...

But I don't want to take a picture!

Joshua is not two yet... not according to his birth certificate. According to his behavior, yes, we have a two year-old! Don't get me wrong; I am not complaining. He is terrific, but the ways that his temperament has changed over the past month have been pretty clear and surprising.