Friday, August 31, 2007

last summer pool day?

It's still hot enough here for a swim in our backyard pool, but we are supposed to get rain this weekend. So far, twice a breeze has blown in with so much moisture in it, you could taste and smell the rain and it seemed like if you could catch a handfull of air, you could just squeeze out water- but we only got a couple of flecks of wet on the ground instead of the torrential downpour the breeze seemed to promise.

I've been trying to get back to taking the kids to the pool regularly and have been really impressed at their abilities. Ivan can swim now with just arm floats and loves it. Dominique swims in a suit with 6 floats in it like Ivan used to use. She can almost keep herself afloat with that and a noodle, but doesn't want the noodle and keeps pushing it away. She is so fearless. She tries to swim all on her own and likes to blow bubbles or put the lower part of her face in.

Ivan is terrified of strangers. It probably didn't help that our seldom seen African friend tried to pick him up and when he ran away, she went after him as he led a terrified chase. He screams if someone comes close to him and runs away if I'm not right there with him.

If you have kids, what all did you teach them about strangers- to fear them, trust them or something in between?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Time flies when you're having fun

It seems like the days, weeks and months are zooming past. School has started back here, which is incomprehensible to me. Where did summer go? Ivan survived his first bee sting Sat. I'm glad to say he's not allergic like me and my dad, but sad to say that he seems to have inherited his dad's disposition toward picking up bees. Yep, he picked up the bee, which understandably stung him. Brian apparently did this twice. I hope Ivan learned his lesson the first time. In any case, that bee won't be stinging any other curious little boys or girls since I quickly transformed it into dead insect paste with a flip flop after rescuing it from the watery sea where Ivan had flung it.

Today Dominique made herself perfectly understood. She brought me her diaper changing kit from the diaper bag and said "uh". I asked, "do you need your diaper changed?" She grunted "uh, huh". So I opened it up and lo and behold, she had a major diaper deposit. Amazing what can be communicated with some grunts and actions. Amazing that a 13 month old can basically initiate a conversation, describe her needs and make sure those needs are met.

This was from a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get the grand finale song and dance on tape from our library time. The intense screaming throughout is Dominique- sorry to all you viewers and all library time attendees. Sometimes Ivan does the motions better, but if he's really excited or happy, he just spins. He loves to spin.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ivan imitating Dominique take 298

I was trying to think how many videos we would have of Ivan imitating Dominique if we had gotten it on film every time. It happens all through out the day, but maybe not every day, so I'd say a conservative guess would be about 300 to date.

Is there someone you try to imitate or admire a great deal? What is it with siblings that he would imitate her so much?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Train ride

Here are videos of Ivan and Dominique riding a train at a store. I think Ivan's expression when it starts up is hilarious. Neither he or I knew what it would do once it started, so I was sure to have the camera ready for that moment of surprised delight.

Dominique enjoyed it too. She liked to ride all cool and collected, one handed with her tongue sticking out!

They just added a video uploading feature to blogger- so I'm seeing if it will work. If so, adios youtube! Do any of you other youtube users have total strangers commenting on your videos? I got tons of hits from people checking out Ivan's video of him playing stick (but that made sense since people would be searching for videos of stick players), but why anyone would watch our boring kid videos I have no idea. Too much time on their hands I guess. And then they admit that they wasted time there by commenting. I mean I know my kids are cute and all, but I'm not so parentally delusional to think that they are all that entertaining unless you have a vested interest, like you are related, a longtime friend or possibly even a new friend from the net.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not a little baby anymore

Dominique got some new clothes recently. Some clothes just change a child. It was a t-shirt and skirt. She looked 13 in them. Ok, at least 3 then! I think I've only just realized that I no longer have a baby. I know, I know, the presence of teeth, braidable hair, the fact that she can walk and say a few words should have tipped me off to this fact already, but I'm a little slow sometimes.

It is fun to see her personality come out. Well, that is the sweet side. Somehow I erroneously thought that a girl might be easier- like not so demanding or something. It's actually taken me be surprise when she protests with her screaming, writhing, hitting tactics. It both surprised me and made me think- oh,oh, here we go again! Back to the sweet side. I try not to laugh when she does it, because she only does it when she is visably upset, but when Dominique cries, she covers her mouth with her hand. I don't know where she got it from, but it's like she understands that her screams, or maybe her slobbering, crying mouth is not ladylike. At first I thought her teeth were hurting her, but I've been watching long enough to know that she'll get to crying about something first then cover her mouth. So cute, I'll have to take a picture. She'll really like that!
Saba soaks up the love. I've totally neglected our dog since I've had kids. Now I find her more annoying than cute- hair, dirt, in my way, flees... Good thing the kids make up for my lack of kindness and generosity. She may go a couple of hours without eating, but if the kids hand feed her, she'll eat it all with delight.

Haven't asked a question in a long time... What makes you look or feel older? younger?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ivan's first original composition

He explains his song, the nature of which is for mature audiences only.

A second video was recorded between these two in which Ivan made it clear that the song was for Dominique. He sure wasn't singing about his own spankings.

Despite the graphic lyrics, no one was harmed in the making of this video. However, the composer did run into me with his stick some days later. It hurt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our in ground pool (literally)

Ivan discovered mud this day. Dominique discovered that she didn't like sitting in water while being dressed.

Dominique funnies: she says "oh,oh" for several sounds including the phone ringing, the door bell and the air conditioner cutting in.

Her first French word is "nez" (nose). She likes to say "nez" while poking my nose. Both she and Ivan also want to pick my nose, but I don't let them! They think it's just grand fun to have a couple of little holes right there the size of their fingers on my face. Dominique also wants to put her fingers in my mouth all the time.

I think she grew a foot size last night. I went to put some different shoes on her today and went through several pairs before I found one that fit! It seems like just last week I had her in all those other shoes and now her feet are too big!

Time to go through her closet again and send clothes on their merry little way to other darling little girls becoming little ladies way too quickly.

Monday, August 20, 2007

from the land of drought, we bring floods

Ever since I've been here (9 years), Abilene has been in a drought. It's hot and dry- except this year. We are 17 inches over normal rain for the year. Hurricanes usually do Abilene good. They don't reach us, except with some rain, which we usually need. But the latest to flitter nearby gave us 6 inches Thurs.-Sat. and overfilled our lakes South and North of town. The creeks which run North and South, whose job it is to siphon the water from the south to the north didn't know what to do with all the influx and spewed into the streets. I was actually headed out of town, when my travel mates took a potty break and we spotted city crews a few streets over blocking off roads. When we found out they had evacuated 3 streets over, I decided to stay put instead of leaving Brian with two young children and an anxiety filled neighbor in a wheelchair. The water ended up floading to the street behind us, but ours stayed dry. So we were thankful.

The water Ivan is splashing in is from the rain, not the flood waters which carry all sorts of crazy illness causing bacteria. Dominique has discovered fashion apparently and had to go out into the muck with her jewelry on.

She has not however discovered refined taste in her clothing accessories as she covered her head in supper. Ivan had to imitate her, but chose a clean dish- smart boy there. I think I'd actually take a dirty diaper over picking food out of her hair- so nasty.

Brian has been practicing for a gig and Ivan has been writing songs. His latest is about spankings. I don't think Brian will be able to use any of it. We did catch it on video however. So stay tuned ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ivan and Dominique enjoyed driving a train at the store.

They also had fun in the play area where we ate.

But what are outings, when there are so many exciting things at home: a box, a pot, the dog water. Children love dog water and dog food. I've had many children in this house, as well as our two permanent curiosity seekers and every single one (of a certain early age) have been fascinated by the dog bowls and their contents. Both of my children have of course tried the culinary delights of dry dog chunks. Can't always get them to eat vegetables, but who can resist brown, grainy, hard, dog treats? Both of my children can lap water. Dominique had the bowl between her legs and bent herself forward to lap, so at least I can say that she laps daintily, not on her hands and knees like her brother. I have not been able to break Ivan of taking slurps out of the outside water dish either- hey when it's hot and there's this huge bucket of water just beckoning child and canine alike, what's a guy to do???

Maybe I should teach Saba how to use the potty. It may be easier. Some children ask to use the potty, my son asks to go outside then comes in 2 minutes later to tell me he pooped. Maybe I should try to photoshop a picture of Saba on the potty and tell Ivan she has a new trick. I could let her go in the bathroom several times a day and flush for her and give her stickers. A little deceptive you say? maybe... ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a fun two days

Best part of yesterday: having breakfast in the early morning sunshine in a beautiful park with the sound of water splashing from the fountain and enjoying my supper with no screaming, even enjoying ice cream in delightful silence while the kids played outside.

Best part of today: taking Dominique to a pool party that I was told about last minute and hanging out until 10pm with tons of other kids and family.

Worst part: Ivan tantrums littered throughout yesterday and today, 'causing him to miss out on the most awesome pool and party and clobbering him upside the head with the car door when he ran up to me as I was shutting it.

Funniest part of today: Ivan watching kids arrive to our fast food lunch stop and exclaiming over and over "My friends are coming!" He didn't know a single kid coming in, but they were all his friends and he did have fun playing with them.

Ivan and his "friend" (a complete stranger to us)

Monday, August 13, 2007

dust off

Well, the company is gone and the camera is gathering dust. I've taken about 3 pictures of the kids since the auntie and uncle left ;( I should get some new material tomorrow. After dropping daddy off at work, we are heading to the farmer's market, a breakfast picnic in a downtown park and more wandering downtown until library time- maybe we'll even take the trolley (a free old time trolley bus that makes a circuit in the downtown area).

Here's Dominique catching a ride with our neighbor, Big Buddy.

I keep forgetting all the funny things Ivan says, so this time I wrote down a couple of them.

We were coloring and Ivan is making several scribbles so he asks me:

"what's this I drew?"
"I don't know, what?"
"It's a dog hiding"
This is absolutely brilliant in my opinion, because you should never underestimate that scribble.

New scribble:

"what's this I drew?"
"I don't know, what?"
"It's something"
Again, I have to admit he's incredibly intelligent. He knows he doesn't have the vocabulary for everything, but he has very obviously drawn something.

He repeats the charade again with another scribble:
"what's this I drew?"
"I don't know, what?"
"It's something again!"
At this point I'm sure he's wondering how he could have gotten such dull parents.

The other night Ivan wanted some water, but I was busy with Dominique. Then he came to me and exclaimed "I don't know which one". I told him I had no clue what he was talking about and he repeated this phrase severals times even adding "it's dark" and something about the bathroom. Again I said that I didn't understand what he was trying to tell me. He paused. Thought some, then came up with a new tactic. He then said: "Can you turn the light on?" Then it dawned on me. Our bathroom has two light switches and they are turned sideways. He didn't know which one to turn on! Of course when I got to the bathroom, I found his potty/stool pushed up to the wall, where he excitedly turned on the correct switch once I showed him which one.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm tired of the potty and we just started!

I think the diaper corporations are in a conspiracy. Maybe I should have done cloth after all. Apparently they have made diapers so good now-a-days that young children are inhibited in their learning how to use the potty. Why do something totally foreign when the diaper is not a nuisance? I even tried putting a bunch of toilet paper in his diaper, so it would feel yucky. He never said a thing, but when I got him up to the YMCA to swim and opened his diaper in front of about 15 preschoolers and 3 careworkers, there I found a huge mess of soggy toilet paper all over his you know whats.

Tonight we got the closest ever to any action in the potty. I sat with him and read to him and hoisted him up in at least 5 different positions, poured water over him, cheered, encouraged- nothing. I know he had to go because I'd left his diaper off and gave him about a gallon of chocolate milk to drink and he was holding himself and asking for a diaper. When he asked for one, off we'd go to the potty. I told him to try not to go in his diaper and to ask for help to go potty if he felt like he had to go. After all the books were read (again) and he was tucked in, he came out saying he had to go potty. So we went again and read again and hung out for a very long time, until his head was falling over tired on my leg and he announced he was done. Of course there was nothing there.

His diaper was dry when I took him, so that made me wonder if (on top of not having potty success), he supressed the urge and could end up with other problems because I'm trying to get him to use the potty instead of the diaper. I'm sure all of you wanted to know all that.

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long. I've been painting. More to come on that...

Tomorrow we have a swim birthday party to attend for Myka and Alyx, then Sun. we will get to go see Shayshay. So I'm looking forward to the weekend.

In the last picture, Ivan is wearing what will be Dominique's halloween suit. Someone gave it to us and Ivan loves to take it down and put it on, which is getting more and more difficult to do since it's a size 2T.

If any of you don't feel too dignified to pray for potty abilities, we could use all the help we can get ;)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dancing the day away

Ivan made up a new dance move while Jenn was here so she tried to catch it on video. He folds his arms up and raises them up alternating from side to side. Also, this video features a cameo appearance by a friend of Brian's who was coming back from a trip to Cuba and stopped by on his way home.

Dominique is dancing to her cd from Grandma Ruth. Every song has her name in it. It's so cool. She loves to hear her name and make sure everyone else heard it too!

Do you like to dance?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Auntie and Uncle par excellence

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dominique had a rough day, therefore I had a rough day. She is cutting two teeth at the same time. Apparently this affects her ability to walk, stand, sit or be by herself. If I so much as set her down she screamed and cried. Maybe my pores seep pain reliever? If so, we need to bottle our find. In the meantime, I held her a lot today and listened to her cry the rest of the time. We tried oragel. She loved it and wanted to eat the stuff- which caused another crying tantrum when I took it away and I still couldn't set her down.

Ivan is not very compassionate about the situation. He figures if Dominique can be carried, he should be carried too. And he also takes some morbid delight in gently tipping her over whenever he walks by her. Sometimes he sticks out a leg or arm, sometimes he just pushes her. With her being off balance today (physically and emotionally), she screamed if he so much as touched or looked at her.

We did have some fun in between the screams, we made a craft, did make believe, danced and of course read many books over and over (Dominique is becoming quite the prolific reader- if bringing books to readers and forcing them to read as she sits and turns pages counts).

One evening, Brian was watching the kids. When I came home, he was out back and this is the state in which I found our children. Gotta love dads!

I'll try to post some of the videos from our auntie and uncle visit tomorrow.

Friday, August 03, 2007

last day fun and tears

We spent Jenn and John's last day in Texas having a lot of fun. We all went to Fort Worth where we enjoyed a visit to the most amazing zoo I've ever been to. It was slightly drizzling right before we got there, and we'd driven through pounding rain 2 out of the 3 hours getting there, so we almost tried to do something else, but I'm glad we got to the zoo instead. The rain held off until right when we were leaving and only became a bit harder rainfall as we were getting in the car.

We saw all sorts of animals, but my favorites were the monkeys- gorillas, orangutangs and some monkeys with a remarkable face on the front and on their rear ends- which I thought was terribly hilarious and creative.

I saw many animals for the first time ever: kangaroos and her joey, hippopotamus' rhinocerus and a comodo dragon.

The funniest thing was when about 30 birds flew off right by Jenn's head.

I'm so glad they came, but it is always too short. I'm sitting here bewildered that they've already come and gone. It seems like I'm excited for months that they are coming then it just goes too quick. Seeing them wave goodbye is always so hard, so I appeased my deep sorrow by looking at pictures of them just taken- maybe that way we can hold on to them a little longer.

As we were driving home, Ivan was trying to figure everything out. Uncle John and auntie Jenn are going to eat? They aren't coming with us? We are going home? Where are auntie Jenn and uncle John?

They are far, far away, but oh so near to our hearts... we love you and miss you already. Thanks for the mail and gifts, for your visit, your friendship, your spending time off to see us and not some more exotic location, although Abilene outdid itself weather-wise this trip, I'm sure you don't choose to keep coming back due to it's enticing attractions ;)