Wednesday, November 28, 2007

not a baby anymore

My baby is not a baby anymore. We changed her crib into a toddler bed and she is so proud of herself that she can get out of her bed all by herself. It makes the night ritual both easier and harder. Harder because if she doesn't think she's ready to go to sleep, she gets up and walks out about 5o times; easier, because I can rub her back, or snuggle beside her or read books comfortably and send her off to la la land in a dreamy happy bliss of warmth.

Dominique is the most polite kid I know, if you measure politeness by saying "thank you". I tried counting how many times she said "thank you" in one day and lost count. She said it 3 times before we got to the breakfast table. I picked her up and gave her a kiss and she said "thank you". She handed me something and I took it and she said "thank you". And if I don't say "your welcome" immediately, she just keeps repeating "thank you, thank you, thank you", until I reply. So it all adds up pretty quick.

Then there are moments when I remember that she's not all grown up yet. I pulled her into bed this morning when I wasn't quite ready to get up and she was making nursing noises in her sleep. I haven't nursed her in over 4 months! It will be nice when she can use more words too. So far her solution to frustrations or misunderstanding is to scream.

Surprise, surprise!

Like I said, we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas as one at Nana's and Papa's. Of course, they showered us with gifts, but the last gift Nana gave Ivan and Dominique to open contained bike helmets. Ivan was so happy. He cried out "yeah, a bike helmet". Then when Nana brought out the bike, he was really shocked and dazed and held this beautiful grin of delight all night.

They took a few runs down the hall.

Then took them out to the dark street- where they both quickly learned the laws of gravity, incline and balance.

Now they figure anytime is a good time for a ride. Here's Dominique in her pyjamas. I'm sure they would want to take the bikes to bed with them if they weren't quite so bulky.

Papa calls Dominique "little Barbara". I wonder why.

While we were away in Houston, Abilene got it's first snow. Lucky for us, the second snow was only a few days away. When it snows here, it is cause to celebrate and play and enjoy it before it melts. I think I counted 6 snowmen on our block. We made a snow bunny- because I'm funny. Hey, if you can carve shapes in snow so easy, why just stick with balls?

The snow was perfect- heavy and wet. The next day it was gone, but thanks to our melting snow bunny, we hosted my children's first ever neighborhood snowball fight (Ok, so there were 2 girls, and my kids, but they are all from our neighborhood).

Dominique and Ivan thought it was pretty awesome to throw snow at their mom and friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The feast

Here is my artistic shot for the trip. I thought the look of Ivan and Nana making cookies looked so nostalgic and filled with warmth as seen through the mirror on the opposite wall. I figured out in the next shot how to angle it so that I wasn't in it, but they were moving too much and it came out all mush.

Ivan was all excited about the big feast. Who wouldn't? He was sitting at his spot way before guests arrived and wanted to know which was his fork and spoon. He was also very excited to get to have a knife.

In attendance were: Nana (in red) with her son and his family (ahem- Brian, Ivan, Dominique and Angela). Papa Terry and his daughter's family: Alex, Amy, baby Enzo, Christian (in blue) and Andrew (in yellow).

We played darts, which is a tradition. Alex had brought a new dart board that insulted us while we played. It could use real metal tips or plastic ones and kept score. It was very fun to play with. The real bonus though was that it meant there was an extra board for Dominique and Ivan to play on- at their level. They love darts! We need to rearrange our dart playing room and get back into this sport!

After much effort and a failed first attempt outside (Ivan's fault), Nana got her much wished for picture of her and her grandkids. This is the first good picture of them all ever. Ivan cried through years 1 and 2. Andrew wasn't much better. But they both seem to have matured some this year. Christian and Dominique have always been picture taking gems.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

2 in 1

We're back from our trip to Houston where we celebrated 2 holidays all at once, Thanksgiving and Xmas. These pictures are from our first day there. It was warm. Nana bought cyclimen flowers that the boys planted. Ivan got something planted on his cheek too. I wonder who that came from? He usually carries a set of lips on his face when he and Nana are together. Ivan was not at all impressed with the worms Daddy found. Dominique carefully smelled all the flowers, even the ones with no scent.

The cold front came in the next day. Apparently it snowed several inches in Abilene, so we missed our first snow (it only rained in Houston). We are now home and found a little patch of snow left beside the car. The neighbor told me we have a 90% chance of snow for tonight, so maybe we will wake up to a white morning outside.

Ivan spent the 6 hours of the drive home explaining all the reasons we should stay in Houston. It seems all those kisses, hugs, special attention, good eating, getting totally spoiled and opening gifts seems to have gone to his head. His only consolation was that we were bringing home his gifts. More on that to come...

Monday, November 19, 2007

to the barnyard in his cowboy boots

Ivan was given some pretty cool cowboy boots. He loves them. He's also been studying his baby Einstein video about farms. We aren't farmers, none of us have lived on farms. I tried milking a cow once and got two drops from the cow and a laugh out of my grandfather (he actually farmed, but his farm was a little far for us to visit- continent and oceans away in Jamaica). So I really can't say I know a thing about farming. And yet, Ivan has become fascinated with tractors, farms and his cowboy boots. He wanted us to take him to his barnyard. He didn't understand when I told him that we aren't all alloted a barnyard at birth. Has baby Einstein failed to teach our children a critical step in all the vast worlds they portray? Like the simple fact that: "Ivan- you live in Abilene, Texas and while you may hear a rooster on some odd morning while passing by city property, they aren't supposed to be there. We are by definition city dwellers".

Luckily, we have a friend who lives out of town and she has some animals. I don't think it would be considered a farm per se. Farms
do things like raise animals and food to eat. My friends have goat pets. She won't even eat their chickens, or turkeys, yet alone a goat. She has gotten to the place of allowing herself to eat her chicken's eggs. So, we are still a long way from any hands on learning of actual farming life- apart from those nifty little videos that is!

Also seen here is Big Buddy, our neighbor, who is lamenting the fact that we are leaving town tomorrow. Wait 'till he finds out we're going to Canada for a month! Yep, you read it right. Mom's booking the tickets as I type.

The big plastic thing is a birthday gift from another neighbor. It's a giant submarine and tons of fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's 10:36pm and I'm not where I should be

I have a picture that I need to finish by tomorrow and here I am posting. At first I just needed a break, so I read books to the kids and put them to bed. Then I read some blogs and now I'm officially procrastinating. But I do need to get the rest of my blogables file posted before we snap a bunch more during thanksgiving. (Justifying my procrastination)

We are headed to Houston Tues. Tomorrow I hope to finalize flights to Canada, do laundry, pack, take care of library material... and oh, yeah, take care of my precious two gems. They will be so excited when I tell them in the morning that the next day we are heading to Nana's.

Among the things I need to pack are xmas gifts for the grands... one of which is the picture. Sigh... I've come full circle. I shouldn't make it sound like such drudgery. It really is exciting when it comes together. I guess I'm just ready to be done with this one, so that I can start one of the myriad others that I am excited about.

The pictures posted here were all taken by Ivan. He has figured out how to turn on the camera and likes to take shots. I have to prompt him lots- like move your finger, try to find me (or whatever his subject is) in the viewfinder. Most times, he doesn't look through the right hole and then the pressure of pressing the button makes him move the camera wildly. These are the decent shots. The one of Saba was one he was trying to take of me! This is another wonderful thing with digital cameras- I can let him shoot away, and he can learn and have fun without it costing me a thing!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Her first musical composition

When grandma Sue and grandpa Ray were here, we all went to a family reunion and they got us rooms in a gorgeous hotel. This was the bed Dominique and Ivan shared. They were so excited about it, it was nearly impossible to get them to fall asleep at night, even after swimming in the pool and a full day of family time. They rolled around, jumped and jittered until sheer exhaustion finally set in. Then I bundled blankets and a quizillion pillows around them in the hopes they would not roll off in the night.

I think this picture is pure cuteness. Ivan was making friends with an older girl. They were having quite the conversation. Half of it on Ivan's side was incomprehensible, but kids are so understanding about that. As you can tell, Ivan was being a little shy, but was so happy to have made a friend.

Ivan had been making up songs the night I recorded this. Dominique kept trying to sing a song of her own, but was constantly being interrupted by her big brother. I finally got him to settle down a little so that she could be recorded singing her song. This was it. I especially like the little dance she did to go with it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In need of laughter?

My lol moment today (laugh out loud), was when the kids begged me for some unsweetened cold mint tea. They were literaly dancing they were so excited about it. However, once they had it in their mouths, their tune changed. Ivan called it "funny tea" and Dominique just kept yelling "EWWW, EWWWW, EWWW!" I didn't even know she knew that word. It was so funny.

Her vocabulary amazes me. She says: "help me down, help me up" and all sorts of things I can't recall just right now. She is also very polite- she often says thank you when I give her something. Ivan always needs to be reminded to say thank you. Today he knocked a kid over at library time because he was wildly spinning while the other kids all did the actions to the songs in unison. I hate to curb his excitement, but this is READING time. While the other kids all sit and listen to the stories, Ivan wants his shoes and socks off. He wants to lounge on the floor and stare at the other kids (unless it's a song at which point he gleefully spins). Meanwhile, Dominique was exasperated that Ivan didn't have his socks or shoes on and kept bringing them to him. I tried to get her to sit in my lap like all the other toddlers, but she was busy setting the fashion world aright.

Hope you enjoy these top 10 recent funny pictures. We have a never ending supply and like to share the wealth. I hated to do it, but I cropped Ivan's cowboy picture, due to the sensitive material and the fact that there are some sick people in the world and on the internet. You can well imagine that he was wearing nothing but the boots and was quite proud of it. I love how kids are so free about their bodies. When they are naked, they think it is so fun and beautiful. They prance and dance and say "look at me- I'm fabulous" in a hundred different ways- and they are. They truly are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More of grandpa Ray and grandma Sue

We sure took a lot of pictures with the grands here. It seems like so long ago already, especially with thanksgiving and Christmas looming up upon us. As soon as I get one gift project underway, I seem to think up 3 others. Hopefully I'll have enough time to do them all.

We did get a biggy out of the way today- the family picture. We always give the grands and uncles/aunts an updated family picture. The problem is that we are picky. Brian doesn't like studio shots. We like the picture up close too. The last couple of years we got friends to help and while they were good, they weren't what was in our heads. Our best picture was one Brian took with the timer set on the camera when Ivan was a baby. So we tried it again- only now we have two toddlers. Brian acquired his dream camera this last year along with a great stand, so we set that up and tied one of the helium balloons to it (yes, they still fly some) and took about 17 shots. By the end, the kids were cranky and eating up my mini m-n-m bribery tool like they were going out of business, but hopefully we'll have a good picture in the bunch. We'll see come Friday.
Today I didn't have extra kids and Brian needed time to practice for a gig Sat. so I hauled my twosome on some errands. We went to 6 places! Usually I limit outings to one or two places. It was pretty crazy.
With no extra kids to watch this week, we can get out of the house! This is major fun. Tomorrow we are going to library time, which we haven't done in ages. Friday we are going swimming, with the most fun being that a couple of our friends and their kids are going to join us. Usually, it's just me and the kids in the pool with a couple of adults. We have fun, but the kids like it way more when other kids are swimming too.