Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Pictures from Xander's Family Birthday Last Year...

...just in time for his 5th birthday! We're celebrating this Monday.

In fact, we will be using this crown. It's a Knights and Princesses theme.

Last year was also his golden birthday, hence all the golden things.

Showing off his new dragon pajamas and fishing tackle box.

Chef Xander

Xander made his own lunch today. He told me all the steps to go through as he made it, "and then, taste it." He said it tasted yummy.

The meal: peanut butter and jelly and shredded cheese sandwich.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Nick had a nap today that was a little over two hours long. When he woke from that, we had snack and playtime and TV time and read-aloud time. It was only an hour later when he started acting fussy. I asked him if he needed another nap. He wanted books. After that I changed his diaper. As I was doing that, he rubbed his eyes and said, "Nap?"

I said, "You want a nap?" and he said, "Tee," which is one of his ways of saying "yes." So I put him down just now and he is happy to be taking his second nap of the day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Old Pictures - Xander's 4th Birthday

Working together on his woolly mammoth cake (there were many more pictures of his birthday that were posted last year; I'm posting some of the others now)
The mammoth
 Some dinosaur/jungle snacks
 It's hard to tell, but the dip is in a dinosaur's back :)
 Baby Jaguar Paw sandwiches, although now they look a bit more like bears with their heads bent to the ground
 Jungle treats
 Diego Saves the Dinosaur party ware, according to Mom ;)
 Bobo Brothers craft
 The family
 The Diego birthday boy
 Free-for-all fun in the backyard
 Dakota found the dinosaur!
 That's Jed in the background swinging with Izelle

 Elvia and I conversing with Kylee in the foreground
 Grandma Bonnie and Xander sharing a smile
 Daddy helping Xander
 Now Erik is swinging with Izelle

Goodbye :(

Library Visit

I am so proud of Xander and Nick. We went to the library today to drop off books and pick up some others about moving. The kids don't know we are probably moving yet, but I wanted to have the books on hand.

First of all, I drove them all the way to the library and started to get out when I realized that I had left the library books at home. So they had to sit in the car for double the amount of time. They were angels for the first half, started to be upset, and then were angels for the rest of the ride because I gave them a snack.

When we got to the library, Xander and Nick both walked in while we held hands. Xander took the books and returned them by himself. We walked to the children's section. There were two little girls playing. Xander walked right up to them and said, "Hi guys! My name is Alexander." The girls didn't interact much but they were nice. The older girl was, at least. The younger was a toddler, probably 2.5 years old, and acting a bit like a toddler. Nick, on the other hand, acted like a perfect little gentleman. Remember how I left the library last time? In tears of embarrassment because of Mr. Nick? Now he is nearly 22 months old and it was completely different. He played happily and quietly with the farm animals and magnetic cars, cooing every once in a while or saying, "Moo!" At one point he looked up and pointed to the giant dragon hanging from the ceiling and let out a pretty big roar. I figured that was just cute. Especially since he didn't repeat it. I was able to browse the children's section while Nick played (appropriately) and Xander sat reading the book he had picked, occasionally updating the two girls. ("That's my little brother. His name is Nick. I got a new Pokemon DVD that I hadn't watched before. Last time I had Pokemon Battle Dimensions.")

Nick even cleaned up after himself periodically, even though the only one who had instructions to do that was Xander. I gave them a five-minute warning, then I told them to clean up. They did. I told Nick to say bye and hold my hand, and he did. We walked back out of the library. It was amazing.

Oh, and then they behaved for a quick trip to the grocery store, during which Xander pushed the little cart, unloaded the cart to pay for the items, pushed the items out to our car in the cart, and went back into the store to return the cart (with me and Nick, of course).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Grandma Bonnie Made It!

Grandma Bonnie watched the boys for twenty-four hours and she made it! Erik and I were away together overnight for the first time ever since having Xander. Xander was happy to have Grandma Bonnie come and watch him while we left, he just wanted to talk to us on the phone while we were gone. (Every time I hear him on the phone he sounds so tiny and young and vulnerable!! And happy.) Nick was sad for about a minute, I think, but Grandma was about to read him a story when we left, so he quickly turned his attention to the book.

The boys had a fabulous time.

There were two "casualties." Grandma Bonnie was very sorry about them but they weren't really casualties at all, because both are now fixed. When she was helping Xander pick up some of his bazillions of Legos, she started to carry his King's Castle to the side of the room and it partially broke. I heard that Xander cried but he quickly bucked up and realized that Dad could fix it. And Dad did. The other thing was blueberry applesauce all over Nick's shorts, which nobody cared about, but there are no stains after both of us worked on it a little bit. Voila! No casualties!

Oh, and Grandma Bonnie had a cold/laryngitis/cough/something while she did all this! I'm sure the boys did not allow her to rest, but she may have gotten in an early bedtime. I don't know.

Menu Plan Vacation

Erik will have almost finished his first day of the trial week in Austin. In another hour we'll call him. Xander asked if he could call Dad on the phone.

I had this whole menu plan for the week that was frugal but yummy with a variety of different meals. Then I woke up and remembered Erik won't be here so we won't need as much food. I'll probably only make half the meals I planned to and we might still have leftovers. Tonight we had leftover Mexican Chicken Frittata, leftover ham slices, crescent rolls, and walnuts. Yay, protein! I gave both boys about four or five ounces of ham and they still wanted more.

I tend to treat them (and me) when Erik's gone, as consolation. The above dinner is one example. Plus we're watching the end of Prince Caspian as we eat. The treats started earlier when Xander and I decided to make whole-wheat ginger snaps and lemonade from scratch. I also made air-popped popcorn for the movie. Yummy! I will try hard to save some cookies for Erik, but I may just have to make them again when he gets back. The lemonade was a recipe from and it was amazing!

Hopefully it will be good for our health, too. I've been using my mom's sickness concoction on myself and I really think it helped. The ingredients are: hot water, lots of lemon juice, smashed garlic, and lots of honey. It wasn't pleasant the first time around but when I learned to strain it it was fine!

Roomtime for Nick

Nick has been happy to play in his playpen/bed every day for "independent playtime." Because he was happy in there, I was in no hurry to change it to give him "roomtime." In the Babywise parenting group that I'm part of, most of the toddlers change to roomtime around 18 months old. Nick is almost 22 months old.

For the last week, he has been doing his frustration scream more often in independent playtime. I decided it was time to try roomtime. I put his playpen mattress on the floor, moved his playpen over, put Pooh on the mattress along with a set of toys, and turned on music for him. He understood immediately and helped me place the toys he wanted on the mattress (cars). I put up a baby gate across his doorway, closed his door, and said, "Have fun!"

He cried hard for about ten seconds. Then he got busy playing. I didn't hear one unhappy sound for the rest of the hour. When I came in and helped him clean up, I noticed he had used his Fisher-Price Little People airport ramp for the Hot Wheel cars. All signs pointed to him being ready for roomtime.

Today there was one interesting glitch. After playing for a while, he experimented with opening the door and standing there talking. At first he said, "Hi!" I was within eyesight, but when I looked up, he wasn't looking at me, just out of the room in general. He babbled for a while. (Although I am starting to understand more of it and I think most of them are actual words. I realized today he can say "Piglet", "push", and "button" on top of his other vocabulary. He also says a word that I am almost positive means music, but it doesn't sound anything like the actual word.) Then he pushed over the baby gate. He cried. He looked a little frightened, so after I fixed the baby gate I went in to comfort him. I watched him play for a while. It is amazing just watching the learning process take place. He tried to do what I was doing to push the button for a new song on his music box. Nothing happened with his forefinger. Quickly he realized his thumb worked better. He tried the thumb on either hand. Now he is an expert.

Tomorrow if he pushes over the gate I will probably set it back up, tell him to keep playing for independent playtime, and close the door. I think it will work. This transition is working so much better than the more abrupt transitions I used to make with little Xander.

The reason I type up this experience in so much detail is so I can remember what we did next time a parent poses a question about it in the Babywise group. :)

Kindercare Book List

Okay, this is dumb, but I love book lists, so here goes. In the latest Parents magazine, there was a summer book list/advertisement from Kindercare. To us, it doesn't matter whether it's summertime or not because we do learning activities all year, but I will have a lot more time with Xander. I plan to have him "apprentice" to me for the summer, learning things like washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc., but we will also have time for other things.

Here are some books Kindercare recommended that I think would be interesting:

The Going to Bed Book, Sandra Boynton
Baby Bathtime!, Dawn Sirett
The Sleepy Little Alphabet, Judy Sierra
I Heard a Little Baa, Elizabeth MacLeod
What's Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites, Tad Hills
Maisy's Nature Walk, Lucy Cousins
My Animals, Xavier Deneux
Uh-oh!, Rachel Isadora
Higher! Higher!, Leslie Patricelli
Shades of People, Shelley Rotner & Sheila M. Kelly

I figured if we come to a week when we can't find the Letter of the Week suggested books, we can look for some of these.

Preschoolers and Prekindergartners:
Mouse's First Spring, Lauren Thompson
All the World, Liz Garton Scanlon
The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
 Frederick, Leo Leonni
The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney
The Mitten, Jim Aylesworth
Go, Dog, Go!, P.D. Eastman
Fortunately, Remy Charlip
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
What Can You Do with a Paleta?, Carmen Tafolla

Between prekindergarten and home, Xander has probably already heard these books, but I think he would like hearing them again and reminiscing about when he heard them before.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Bee

Nick has heard a lot of Hop On Pop these days. He often requests it, and Xander knows how to read it to him. There is a section about bees. We also see big buzzing bumblebees in our backyard these days. (It's spring here.)

Just now Nick came running into the dining room saying, "A bee! Bee! Bee! A bee!" It took me a minute to realize it, but he was chasing a fly into the room. As I type this, he is on a hunt to find the "bee" in another room. He is very excited about it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Speaking of Pictures...

Speaking of pictures, I am on the old laptop and perhaps I can find some very old pictures in need of publishing.

Just an old picture from the Cumberland house.
 One of Mom's raspberry branch series.
 I believe Xander was just about two years old in this picture.
Have to publish this one in case we should ever lose it. I still can hardly believe he went right up to that enormous Easter bunny for his picture. Two years old.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Xander's First Pictures

This afternoon Xander took some pictures with my new camera. This is the first time he's ever taken his own pictures. :)