Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More tea?

Playing tea party with Lola and our dollies...
A definite highlight from the weekend.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving.
- Bethany :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

open wide!

The girls visited the dentist yesterday!

Now, I opening admit we are way, way, way behind in getting Lola (and Millie too) to the dentist. I mean these guys recommend a first visit by at least age 1, preferably right after the first tooth appears.

That said, we obviously didn't do that, due to a combination of laziness, stubbornness, and, well, fear.

Lola freaks out at every little thing and just bringing her for a regular well-child visit at the doctor is an ordeal. So I told Ray a while back that he can bring her (and Millie) when he is able to. I handle basically all of the medical appointments and such and I just didn't want to handle this one too.

And he understood (or at least said he did).

Well, thanks to a slower work schedule this time of year, yesterday was the day.

We've been working with Lola on a few methods to tone down the meltdowns at things like this, when she freaks out about the prospect of what might happen instead of just controlling what she can control, so we gave her a clear description several days ago about what would be happening and, more importantly, what we expect of her (she can be scared, she can be afraid but she could not scream and break down).

But, really, she cried a lot on Sunday, as the week approached and cried a lot on Wednesday, begging to go to school (!!!) so she wouldn't have to go to the dentist.

Now Ray set the appointment himself and it happened to be at a time when I was on assignment for work so he, really, was on his own.

I got a few texts... as they were checking in,  double-checking with me Millie's prescription info, etc.

And then I went into my work appointment.

My cell rang almost as soon as I got back to the car.

I braced, preparing for a frustrated, overwrought Ray.

But, no, he was giddy, happy, proud.

Lola did great, he told me. I had said previously that if she just sat in the chair I'd be happy. Well, she did everything that was asked of her - including the cleaning! - and didn't cry at all. She wasperfectly behaved.

Now, for many families, this is to be expected. For us, this is huge. We are incredibly proud and told her so. Many times.

Millie, well, she was less than excited. And cried some, yes. But she's 2 so that's to be expected.

The verdict? Eveyone's teeth looked clean and no cavities.

Lola's teeth are a wee bit crowded at the bottom (just like her mommy's) so braces will likely be in her future. Millie, though, seems to have plenty of room.




(The most amazing part of these pictures? That they simply exist. I'd asked Ray to get some photos and he looked at me like I was from Mars, saying that it would be hard enough to get the girls to cooperate much less get some images. But he did it. And I am very appreciate that he did so. He's really not big into the picture-taking thing. But he did it for me. And that makes me super happy.)

I'm kind of sad I missed it now, in retrospect.

We've been blessed with two amazing daughters...
- Bethany :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

my girls


Lola was in the backseat, Ray was driving, Millie was in her car seat.

It was my birthday and, because my car had been in the shop, I got door-to-door service that afternoon, with my family picking me up from work and bringing me home.

Everyone seemed happy enough. Millie was laughing, Ray was jovial, I was, well, just happy to be going home with my family.

But then, out of nowhere came this, from Lola, "I am FURIOUS."

Ray and I were caught completely off guard and we exchanged very puzzled expressions with one another.

Lola picked up on it.

"Wait," she said. "What does furious mean again?"

Me: "It means you're really, really mad."

She laughed loudly, "Oh, no, that's not what I am. I'm not furious."

She is, however, quite funny.

She certainly keeps us on our toes.

***


This is Millie, awaiting therapy at the hospital.

The first thing she does, every time we get there, is walk up the kiddie chairs, turn around and plop herself onto the tallest one. It wasn't until September-ish that she was able to get herself up there and I think she needs to reassure herself every time that she can still do it.

This photo makes her look huge though (as in tall), doesn't it?

Or maybe I just still think of her as my little baby, my little angel.

I don't mean to do it anymore, but every now and then I'll ask, "Where's my baby girl?" or say, "Poor baby," if she gets hurt.

Every time, though, Lola corrects me.

"She's not a baby, Mommy," she'll say. "She's a big girl. Or, well, not a big girl like me, but a big little girl."

And she's right.

I just forget that from time to time...

- Bethany :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

family fun!

We've had a busy, fun last few days here.

First, starting on my birthday last Thursday, as my dad came over to celebrate with us.


Lola, who was excited for my birthday in her own way, was more excited to have some one-on-one time with Grandpa so Millie and I took the chance to play a little bit ourselves.
She's such a goofball some days.

 

 It was a nice evening.

The fun continued throughout the weekend as my parents came to visit.

The girls (and me and Ray too) had a blast and spent the whole weekend laughing, running and giggling.

We took Lola to the gymnastics center on Saturday to just let her run around and burn off some energy. We adults had a great time, too, getting in on the action, playing lots on the floor, the trampoline and balance beam. My parents even jumped in the pit a few times!

Myself, I reminded myself yet again that I'm not 20 years old anymore and my arms are still paining from playing around on the uneven bars a bit (just the lower bar, lest you think I was doing something more impressive than simply holding myself up and flipping forward).








Good times.

They stayed home with the girls that night while Ray and I got a much-needed night out. (We saw 12 Years a Slave and oh-my-gosh was it good, so much better than the last movie we saw (Gravity, which neither of us really liked all that much - and yes, I know we are in a very small minority).)

Then, without kids, we were able to make some progress on Christmas shopping.

Before we knew it, it was Sunday and time to say goodbye. For at least a little while. Hoping plans - and weather - work out to allow us a quick trip to the Cities later this month. We'll see.


As for our "regular" life, we had a good "family day" yesterday.

Just spending time at home with our little princesses.


Happy days.
 
- Bethany :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

34

A year older, a year wiser?

Eh, not so much. Maybe a year older, a little calmer though, which is awesome.

My birthday last year was about as far from celebratory as you could get. A day after Millie's first seizure and we knew that, come tomorrow, we would know Millie's "diagnosis' -- all we knew was that they'd found something. Something.  It was a scary, scary place to be.

Twelve months later, and we're all doing quite well. Our family is well in tact and no one's life is in danger (well, maybe the puppy's but that's because he absolutely refuses to be completely, 100 percent potty-trained).

Anyhow, the point is, today is a more traditional birthday.

And I have two wonderfully sweet girls who will help me celebrate.


This was a total coincidence. Millie's daycare had them making handprints yesterday. LOVE it.


Another coincidence. Lola had a half-day of school yesterday and she spent the afternoon making me pictures at daycare. Here, she wrote, "Lola love. Thank you for everything."

***

These are portions of actual "birthday cards" she colored last night and hid in my drawers for me to find this morning. Such a sweetheart.



And then, on this one, she wrote, for the very first time, her name in cursive.




So, yeah, already it's been a pretty good day.
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

first snow!

So we got snow this past weekend.

Not a ton, a couple of inches that, so far, has stuck around. It was enough to make the roads less than ideal and enough to allow Lola some outside fun time.

With Ray, of course. Ha. (It takes me a couple of months to warm up to the idea of winter. Usually by January, I'm more willing to go play outside. Not yet.)

But Millie, as soon as she woke up from her nap, she saw Ray, Lola and Mustang running around and she was insistent that she, too, would play outside.

She even willingly put on her coat, which is noteworthy since she hates wearing it.

But as soon as the rest of the gear came out, she was ... less than excited.


She was a little more happy when I put her down to go sledding with Lola...

... Until Lola ran them right into a tree (or branches from a bush).






Millie, rightfully so, was not happy to go a second time.


And there was no third time.

We went inside shortly thereafter.

***

I've been scrapbooking a lot lately.

After the Disney book was (finally?) finished, I decided I want to go back and scrapbook some of our favorite family moments. It gives me a hobby anyway.

And since Lola is my best little helper, she's gotten into it as well.





She loves anything art. She could sit and color for hours on end. So the idea of taking that to the next step, to cutting and pasting and drawing and journaling, she's just loving it.

Though, she has taken the "scrapbooking" idea to another dimension, literally.

She made a 3-D "swing" on her scrapbook pages for her miniature Princess toys.

And here she made her own laptop, "Since you and Daddy always won't let me never play on yours."





All in all, it's been a lot of fun.

And I love that, since I've yet to find a good spot for the Disney scrapbook, it just sits on the extra chair in the living room.

I intended to put it away, but it's the perfect height for little kids.

And at least 4-5 times each day, the girls wander over there and flip through the pages.


I love to just see them re-living it all...

So, fun days around here.  

Cold days, yes, but fun days.
- Bethany :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

tidbits

A picture-driven post on a variety of topics...

***


One of the (many) things I will remember from these days is Millie's bedtime routine.

She walks herself to her bedroom and waits patiently as I kick the dog out of the room, dim the lights and turn on the noise machine.

She reaches up and I lift her to my left hip. She wraps her legs around my waist and settles in against my side.

She smiles and immediately lays her head, resting her cheek on my left shoulder.

I tilt my head, resting my own cheek atop her head.

And I sing.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

One time through, gently swaying, side to side, rubbing her back all so gently.

At the end of the lullaby, I pause and, without looking at me or lifting her head, she raises each of her index fingers, One more time, Mommy, just one more time.

And again, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

A little softer, a tad slower.

Then, I set her down on her feet and she walks to her bed. She crawls up and I tuck her in.

Good night, Angel girl.

***
 

Our kids have rarely been exposed to computer games.

YouTube, sure, TV, you betcha'.

But I never really loved letting Lola pound away on the laptop.

Now, though, in the last week or so, we've begun introducing the computer to her a bit more, allowing her to play some the PBS Kids games, just a bit at a time.

And, of course, Millie's got to be included as well.

Because anything Lola can do, so can Millie.

Just ask her. Ha.

Sisters. They're great.

***


Cuddles!

Her blanket is attached to her fingers these days.

Just like Lola, when she had to similarly have her own special blanket with her at this same age, Millie is not happy unless her blanket is by her side.

She seems to understand it doesn't go in the kitchen or bathtub, but everywhere else, it comes along.

***



She also loves socks.

Or, rather, hates them.

Really, it's hard to tell.

Her most favorite activity is to pull off her shoes and socks ... and then put a sock on her left hand.

Daycare asks me all the time, "Do you guys play puppets a lot at home?"

Um, no.

But she is happiest with she has a sock on her hand, her Cuddles at her side, and her family surrounding her in the same room.

We can't disagree with that. We love it the best when we're all together too.

Happy times.
- Bethany :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life with Lola


This is it.

I think, easily, this latest stage of Lola's life has been my favorite. She's old enough to have real conversations, debates and, yes, some arguments too. She's maturing to the point where she is understanding that there is a reason why Mommy asks her to do the things she does.

She is learning to read quite well. She isn't completely reading on her own, but she reads select words from each page and is writing out a variety of words without help. She's doing amazing.

Halloween marked the end of the first session of gymnastics. When we went to sign her up for the second session, we were asked to sign her up for the next stage, the more advanced class for her age group.

It was rather cute, on Tuesday, when Ray took her to her first gymnastics class in this setting. He's been out of town a lot lately so he hasn't taken her to a class before. And while he believes me when I tell him that she's doing well and everything, it's entirely different to see it firsthand. I got several texts that evening from Ray, amazed at how she is doing both socially and physically.

But more than that, it's her heart we love the most. Lola is the sweetest, kindest little girl, not a mean bone in her entire body.

We had her first parent-teacher conferences this week. She told us (student-led conferences) that her strength in school is using kind words and being nice to everyone.

When it came time to choose, on her own, one of the school's principles to focus on for a longer-term project, Lola chose diversity and inclusivity, "Because everyone should feel welcome," she explained.(Insert teary eyes here.)

One of the areas we wanted to ask her teacher about was about her socialization, her apparent anxiety, from public performances to playing with the neighbor kid down the street, the kid can be afraid of her own shadow.

So while I was distracting Lola, Ray talked to the teacher about her shyness. And she looked at him like he was from Mars. No, she's never seen any problems or concerns with Lola socially or anything. There was one time that she was to be paired with an older boy student, but Lola was not comfortable with that so she was paired with a girl instead. But the instances Ray mentioned, those are apparently unique to situations outside of school.

So that's awesome.

All in all, she is right at or ahead of where she's supposed to be and she is flourishing in school.

We're very proud.
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

language barriers

Millie's still doing great. She's developing quite well and has definitely hit the Terrible 2s, judging from the more-frequent screaming fits she offers few days.

But they're compounded more so than the tantrums Lola would throw because while Millie is both terrible-two-ing she also is extremely frustrated, frustrated that we don't always understand what she's trying to say.

Case in point: car rides. When Lola was attending daycare regularly, I'd pick up the girls and Lola and I would chat about her day while on the way home. Well, understandably so, Millie began to get really annoyed because I wasn't talking to her.

So I began talking to Millie and Lola would watch her answer (through sign language) and be our miniature interpreter. It was super cute.

Well, now I'm kind of screwed because Lola isn't going to daycare anymore. Ray's wintertime schedule means he can meet her bus after school and save the costs for after-school care and, bonus!, Lola gets one-on-one time to work on her school lessons.

So I'm now alone in the car with Millie on the way home from daycare, but she's gotten used to being able to "talk" with me, to tell me about her day.

It isn't working so well on our own. Because, to "talk" with Millie, I need to actually see her hands and with her sitting behind me, that would mean I'm not exactly watching the road. Forget texting while driving, my problem is sign-languaging while driving.

So now, I've been basically trying to purposely hit every red light so I can have a few seconds to converse with my 2-year-old. Meanwhile, I'm working to try to teach her that I just can't talk with her this way in the car when we're alone.

But I feel really bad about it...

That said, yesterday was really rather funny.

We were signing back and forth (at red lights, I swear!) and I was saying Mommy and Millie are friends, and she would say it back, Millie and Mommy and friends.

And we did that for Lola and Millie, Daddy and Millie, Daddy and Lola, etc.

But then I said Mommy and Daddy are friends.

And she laughed hysterically, shaking her head no, no, no.

Um?

So I tried it again.

Same result.

We did this about four times and she never agreed with me.

Ray tried it himself later that evening, once we were home, and again Millie rejected the premise.

So maybe Ray and I aren't quite as in sync as we thought?!

It makes me laugh.
- Bethany :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

a belated Halloween

We didn't do our full Halloween plans on Halloween.

Ray was still out of town, Lola had gymnastics and Millie was not in the best of moods.

So I figured, Why push it?

Also, my dad came to visit us that evening, so we had some special Grandpa Al pizza and decided to just stay in and pass out candy.

Of course, after about 15 minutes of that, Lola, who had worn her Rapunzel Getting Married dress to school that day, asked if she could change out of her leotard and go trick-or-treating door-to-door herself in that same "costume."

I was busy with the trick-or-treaters at our place, and caring for a very hyper Millie.

And Grandpa Al was more than willing. So the two of them went out, a little later, but Lola was able to get to about four houses before she came home, proudly presenting her loot.

She had a blast and I so wish I had grabbed the camera...

***

We decided this past weekend, now that Ray was home, we would have our own miniature Halloween party.

We got Lola in her outfit and then went to see if Millie was in a cooperative mood...

Our little Strawberry.



But it didn't last long. She very quickly started bawling.

Pulling at the strawberry cover and begging us to undress her.

So we gave her a few other options...


But struck out there as well.





Meanwhile, Lola was loving her costume.

Cinderella Getting Married (notice a theme? What a funny kid.).





It was fun. Even Millie had fun, once we took off her costumes and let her run around in just her diaper and jeans. (For some reason, we weren't even able to put a shirt on her until nearly bedtime.)

She's such a cutie.

I am kind of bummed that I was never able to get a picture of both girls side by side in their costumes.

But there's always next year...

Happy (belated) Halloween.
- Bethany :)