Thursday, March 26, 2015

Millie's mirror

A big part of Millie's speech work is done in front of a mirror, as she practices and learns how to form her mouth into the correct shapes to make the correct sounds.

I could have just used a regular ol' handheld mirror -- and I do.

But after our bathroom remodel last fall, I had been storing the old wall mirror in the garage, unsure what to do with it.

So, it has now become Millie's special mirror.

Some before shots...

And then, a few weeks later, with a little sanding, some paint, some cardstock and some vinyl...

The sparkly ribbons are actually leftover from our Disney surprise, when we did the whole Frozen-themed scavenger hunt at Christmastime. And you can't tell in the picture, but there is a very light layer of iridescent glitter on the clothespins.

I love it.

And the best part? Millie loves it more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

fashionably challenged?

So I should have thought to do this earlier, but I didn't.

This week, through a sort-of-kind-of work thing, I am letting my girls dress me every day.

Call it a fashion experiment.

I was talked a few weeks ago with a coworker about a blog I had read online (read that one here) where a mother had let her toddler do this.

So we decided to give it a go with our own daughters, to see what would happen.

Anyhow, if anyone is interested, you can read all about it -- and see the daily pictures! -- on the magazine blog, found here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Movie day!

This is a shocker, I know, but we went and saw Cinderella this past weekend.

Although I'm still not sure if we went to see Cinderella or the Frozen Fever short, but either way, we saw both this past weekend.

The Frozen short was adorable. We laughed lots and I thought it was extremely cute. Personally, I loved it, but no surprise there.

Cinderella was enjoyable too. I really liked the first two-thirds or so and there were many great moments. All the acting was well done. There was just one aspect of the ending that rather irked me, but I won't spoil anything. (And to be fair, there was one aspect of the ending that I absolutely loved as well.)

My biggest complaint about the film is that they changed the castle, haha. The girls were both confused and I was just kind of disappointed, though I can understand it. I guess we're just too obsessed with Disney World.  *smile*

Speaking of, we saw a 10- or 15-minute preview of Cinderella when we were down in Florida last month. And then Millie and I got to see the actual carriage that they used in the movie while we were at Hollywood Studios. (Ray and Lola were on Tower of Terror.)

There was one rather funny -- and perhaps a little insulting -- moment in connection with this. Right after we had this photo taken,  we were walking away and a woman stopped me to say that I should go back through line and have Millie's picture taken with the carriage once more, but this time without me in it. Ha. At first I was wondering if I ruined the picture or if I looked terrible or something, but she just meant that the gold in Millie's Anna dress (from Frozen of course) was quite striking next to the golden carriage...She probably wasn't wrong, but no, we did not wait in line again.

Memories. Great memories...

It was such a great trip.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Through her eyes

This is what Lola presented to us earlier this week, her own vision of Disney World.

The castle of course takes center stage, with a rainbow in the background, and our family standing nearby, two of us on either side.

But it's the tree that makes me smile. (Well, all of it makes me smile, but the tree is extra-special.)

If you ask Lola what her favorite ride at Disney was/is, her answer comes without hesitation, "The yeti ride."

The yeti ride, or more accurately Expedition Everest, is the roller-coaster at Animal Kingdom. It was a particularly treasured experience for Lola because she wasn't tall enough to ride it when we went the first time, in 2013. Of course, it was on that trip that we learned our rather timid daughter, despite being afraid of many things and experiences, loves thrill rides, roller-coasters especially.

So in anticipation of this last trip, Ray was measuring her frequently, just to see if she'd be tall enough for it and once we knew she would, she was able to watch many, many videos of other riders' experiences.

To say that she was looking forward to this ride would be an understatement.

But finally, that day came.

This was a picture of Lola and Ray before they went on the Yeti ride. All excited and ready to go.

This was Lola during the ride, on the big drop (thanks to Disney's photo services of course).

It makes me laugh every time.

(For the record, she went on the ride at least a half-dozen times, loving it each and every time.)

Anyhow, back to the picture. Animal Kingdom's icon is the Tree of Life and Animal Kingdom is now Lola's most favorite Disney park, not because of the animals, but simply because that's where the Yeti ride is. (It also doesn't hurt that Animal Kingdom is currently developing a "Avatar" land, based off the movie, which also happens to be Lola's most favorite movie, or "the blue people movie," as she calls it.)

So, now, all her pictures of Disney World have now evolved from castles and princesses to trees and roller-coasters.

And it makes me smile.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Millie update

She woke up, stumbling out of her room, not quite awake but excited for breakfast, her most favorite meal of the day.

I meet her in the hallway and direct her to the bathroom, still trying to get her acclimated to the routine of diaper-free life. I soon realize that someone forgot to put her in a pull-up the night before and she spent the night in panties. Whoops!

Luckily, she's amazing.  *smile*  And she was just fine.

Eventually, we make our way to the kitchen, where the table is set and her breakfast awaits. She happily receives her food, reaches for her talker and tells me, "Yummy! Muffins." Then smiles, with a mouth full of mini muffins and pushes a few more icons on her talker, "More please. Muffins. Yummy."

She eats, gets her half-hour of TV time while I get dressed and cleaned, and then we head out to preschool.

This is life.

This is her life these days.

You probably didn't notice what isn't there, on that recap of her morning routine: medications. She's been off her meds completely since Valentine's Day. Almost a full month. And she's doing great. No real signs of trouble.

She's been potty-trained now about a month, give or take. Yes, we were way behind on this (ha, she's well past 3 1/2), but we've been focused on other aspects of her development the last two years and it simply was not a priority until recently. Yet, when it came time to actually do the potty-training thing, she struggled for 2-3 days and then embraced it, eager to be a big girl. She's done really awesome, I must say.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent three very long nights painstakingly updating her talker, reorganizing all of the choices and just presenting her icons in a more understandable format. It took a dozen or so hours, and I wasn't sure if it was all that helpful...

... until I gave it to her.

And after about an hour of talker babbling (randomly hitting icons and learning where it all was), she loved it. She is now using it more than she ever has, to talk to us in tiny little sentences. her favorite so far seems to be, "Yuk. I don't like this," at dinner time. And then asks for more muffins. Ha.

Life is good.

Her life is good.

We had her conferences at preschool recently and were pleased to hear all about her progress and how she is doing. We are so proud.


Lola is the Star Student at school this week. We spent most of Sunday picking out photos and fill out out questionnaires.

What is your favorite color? Light blue.
(No idea where that came from, this is a change.)

What is your favorite food? Daddy's French toast.

What is your favorite subject? Piano.

If you could go anywhere for a vacation, where would it be? Disney World.
(No surprise there.)

What is your favorite sport? Gymnastics.

Who do you admire?

Who do you admire?

We talked about this a lot, on a few occasions before we got to filling out the form. We talked about people Mommy and Daddy admire, what it means to admire someone, examples of why we admire people.

Finally, we broke it down together: I asked Lola to name three qualities that someone she admires should have.

She came up with them on her own: they should be happy, love people, and share.

So who does she admire?

Millie. She said Millie.

Me? I admire them both. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

a night at home

Just a regular night at home.

Mommy's cleaning the kitchen.

The girls are playing in their rice "table" (cake pan).

Ray is making kabobs.

(Hey, it was finally warm enough to do some grillin'!)

The nice guy he is, Ray was tailoring each kabob for each person so he asks Lola what she wants on hers.

"Um, chicken, that yellow stuff (pineapple), tomatoes," she responded.

"And green peppers," I say, adding my not-quite-asked-for 2 cents.

Lola watches carefully as Ray puts hers together.

"No, I don't want any of those orange things!" she cries out as Ray put on a pepper.

"Those are green peppers," he said.

She looks confused.

"Mommy said you had to have green peppers," he continued.

She nods, not really understanding.

"They're orange green peppers," Ray said.

"Oooh," she said, finally getting it. "Mommy said I had to have green peppers. She didn't tell me they were orange."

Ray just slowly shakes his head, muttering to himself sarcastically, "Yeah, you're not like Mommy at all."

It made me laugh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's in a name?

It started with Lola. It always seems to start with Lola.

We were excited first-time-parents-to-be when we came up with the idea of a nursery "theme" (the outdoors). Ray excitedly got to work, painting all sorts of beautiful touches to what was Lola's first nursery, in the apartment.

He capped it off with a set of three butterflies who circled around Lola's name. signifying Mom, Dad and Baby.

When we moved into our house he went even further, creating a room infused with very bright, bold colors.The highlight at that time (before he added the Disney characters) was Lola's name, which he spelled out by creating giant-sized building blocks of sorts.

When it came to Millie's nursery, Ray did such an amazing job on the fish and the whales that we simply decided to paint wooden letters, to not compete with his artwork.

But then, about a year ago, Millie moved in with Lola.

And everything got complicated.

We talked about converting Lola's middle name into Millie's, but that would be difficult.

We tossed out several other ideas too, but nothing stuck.

Meanwhile, Ray painted Elsa and Anna, since the girls are so Frozen-obsessed.

And then I got a Cricut Explore. And discovered the fun of vinyl.

Soon, I realized, Ha, I could do this myself.

And since Millie is more Frozen-crazy than her older sister, it only make sense to let it snow.

So there it is. After about a year of room-sharing, we finally got Millie's name on the wall.

And she is thrilled.