Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Happy birthday little guy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Visiting friends

We're on our way to visit friends pre-holiday. Rich's college friend Adam has three boys, 10, 8, and 6 years old. We last saw them a year ago, and E was particularly taken with Connor, the middle boy.

Driving on our way back from seeing them, Elizabeth leaned forward and said dreamily, mommy, do you know what I'm finkin' about?

I'm finkin'about.....Connor! she said with a smile.

She talked about him for a long time after (never mentioning the other two).

Rich has got his eyes on this already.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

more milestones

In September, my friend Vickie (now a private blog so I won't link) posted that she let her daughter, just a month older than Andrew, pick out which book was read to her at night. This never even occurred to me as an option, so we tried it. And darn if Andrew didn't pick Goodnight Moon every single time. We'd offer 2-4 books, rearrange them, and he consistently picked Goodnight Moon. And then he started letting out a little giggle (a real giggle, heh-heh, not the inhalation hiccup) when we would open the book.

He's still a big Goodnight Moon fan (a book that never really appealed all that much to Elizabeth - she liked it but could take it or leave it), but now he loves Doggies by Sandra Boynton.
Each dog makes him giggle. And nine dogs - well, the 9 dogs howl on a moonlit night. Aaaooooooooooooooooohhh.

Two nights ago, I opened to that page and he let out a very gentle, tentative ah-ooh. Last night I took Andrew into the bathroom, where Rich was getting Elizabeth ready for bed, to show Rich what he was doing. But there was too much other excitement in the bathroom so he wasn't interested, and then somehow Doggies ended up dunked in the (clean) toilet (perhaps this is TMI, but when Andrew is in the bathroom when Elizabeth is conducting her evening business she calls him the poop grabber. Not that he's ever actually grabbed any poop, but that's merely because we have prevented said grabbing from occurring). Luckily, Marshalls today had another copy, and when I brought it home this afternoon Andrew again tested out Ah-ooh. And then looked so pleased when Elizabeth and I laughed with him and started howling ourselves.

And tonight, when Gee left for the day, he waved and I swear he said bye bye.

And he's also become a pointer. Just happened a couple of weeks ago. He wasn't doing any pointing at all, until suddenly he was. He makes another litle sound when he points - Rich thinks it sounds like 'look!' but I think it sounds like 'wha?'

These are the fun milestones. Can't wait to hear what he says next.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a little football

Some pics from September, our first football game of the season. Since the camera cord is MIA, time to catch up.

We picnicked on the lawn pre-game. A friend was married that weekend in Charlottesville, and while we couldn't make the wedding, we did make the post-wedding next day football tailgating party.
We had a great time.

Elizabeth really does intently watch much of the game. Andrew was pretty into it, too.

Though I've forgotten the boy actually did nap at one point. Even in a stadium full of nearly 60K people. Now, quiet house, no one around? Not so much.

He does love football, though. TV doesn't capture his attention the way it did (does) Elizabeth's. He'll glance at her shows, or dance to music. But when football comes on? He loves it. It even merits the special Andrew chuckle. (And once we have find the camera cable, you'll hear it too - actually managed to get it on video).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I think it was Rich - or possibly Ryan - who first started calling Aggie indestructible. So, a hefty bill (ouch) later, we find out the dog has an UTI. A little medicine and she'll be fine.

At 13, anytime something seems a little off with her, I think, ok, this is the beginning of the end. So tonight I asked Rich what else the vet said, and he said, do you really want to know? Of course! Well, her bloodwork was perfect and the vet said she's in excellent shape.

This dog is going to live forever. Or maybe it will just feel like forever.

(I kid, I kid. But you try sleeping while she's yipping her fool head off for 40 minutes every night. She's still in lockdown for a few days - we hate to do it, as she is generally great at sleeping in E's room or ours, but you try stepping in a cold puddle of pee after you're awakened at 3 am by a crying child and see how you like it - seriously there's only so much we can handle, and we are maxed out right now.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poor Old Dog

We depart from the usual stories of our children for one about our poor old dog. This isn't an Ol' Yeller story. She's more or less fine - she goes to the vet tomorrow for a check up.

We've had Aggie since Susan adopted her as a 1 yr old pup from the DC animal shelter in 1997. She was not treated very well by her previous owners and kind of went "pound crazy" just before Susan rescued her. To say she was a challenge out of the gate was an understatement (about half a dozen cable remotes, a roommate's shoes, and the linoleum floor in the group rental house can attest to that) Over the years she's become a very loving, loyal dog. Overall, she's adjusted very well to the addition of Elizabeth and Andrew. It may be though that her age is catching up to her.

Ag is over 13 yrs old, and she's beginning to show her age. Even when she was 11 or 12, she could muster the energy of a 2 yr old pup. Not anymore. She has more and more difficulty getting up and down stairs and would rather saunter for walks than her former brisk pace.

Ag in snow (from 2005)

The past few weeks have been a real challenge with Ag. She's been doing her business in the house, particularly on the rugs in the living room, Andrew's room, and Elizabeth's room (we recently bought a steam cleaner which has come in handy). She wants/needs to go outside much more frequently that usual, so I'm thinking it might be a treatable condition. Still, it could just be a sign of her age. She's sneaky - she'll quietly slink off to a room, do her business, then go curl up somewhere until we find the mess. The last straw was the other night when I went into Elizabeth's room in the middle of the night to find 3 spots and a pile of poop. Unpleasant. She was still curled up in the dog bed in E's room acting as if nothing was wrong. Could be that she's sending a message. More than likely though she just needs to be checked out, thus the trip to the vet tomorrow.

We now have her overnight in her crate in the kitchen. She doesn't mind the crate but has really become accustomed to sleeping upstairs. She whimpers, whines, and yelps for about 40 mins each night. We feel bad, but we just can't trust her in the middle of the night in our room or anyone else's. Hopefully, we can give her some meds and get past this troublesome time.

And now back to your regularly scheduled escapades of Elizabeth and Andrew...

- Rich

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bath Time

A quick one as it's getting late and kind of tired from a long weekend. And still fighting this #$!% cold.

I've posted on the bath time routine before. That was only with Elizabeth though. The routine is quite different with Andrew in the mix.

Andrew is a very busy little guy. The shelf that runs the length of our tub is at the perfect height for him to peer at and grab things. He'll start with toys then move on to the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body scrub, etc. It keeps him entertained which is important. Except that he is constantly up and down, up and down, grabbing something, playing with it for a minute or two, then getting back up there to grab something else. Eventually, most of the contents of the shelf ends up floating in the tub.

Since he's not walking yet, he's not all that surefooted and so I keep one hand on him at pretty much all times. We used to use a handy little seat that would keep him slightly contained. He learned pretty quickly how to climb up out of the seat which became more dangerous than just keeping him in the tub. So the seat sits on the shelf.

Elizabeth likes the seat and is still small enough to wedge herself into it. It's kind of funny. She really gets a kick out of sitting in there. It makes it easier to wash her up because she actually needs help climbing out so she's somewhat held hostage. Most of the time she doesn't use the seat, which makes it challenging to wash her up while keeping a hand on the little guy. Not to mention that she likes to "help" me wash Andrew which mostly amounts to dumping buckets of water on the little guy's head when I'm washing his hair. This amuses Elizabeth to no end. Tonight, she took it upon herself to put some conditioner on Andrew's hair as well. He didn't get any in his eyes and actually seemed to enjoy the attention from his big sister.

Washing Elizabeth's hair is exhausting. It's a constant negotiation usually resulting in my dumping water on her head and causing her to cry, "My eyes! My eyes!" It's just water. She can be quite the drama queen when she wants to be. I have to do this twice - shampoo and conditioner - because of all the frizz and knots in her hair. It's a tough routine and usually leaves me pretty exhausted/exasperated.

I had to take my hands off Andrew temporarily tonight to finish Elizabeth's hair. In the seconds that took, Andrew managed to pull himself up by the knobs of the faucet and began dancing around while shrieking with delight. I could not stop laughing. It's not all bad.

Forgot to Add: Elizabeth did something that she has never done after the bath. After she was completely ready for bed, she noticed all the toys, etc. in the tub and said that she wanted to clean it up. She hopped in the tub and proceeded to put everything back on the shelf in mostly the right places. Daddy was very pleased!

- Rich

Saturday, November 14, 2009

dance class

We enrolled Elizabeth in dance class this fall. She loves it. Over the summer, she and I would watch So You Think You Can Dance - I would DVR it and she and I would watch the dance segments together, and then attempt to recreate some of the moves. So I knew it was time to bring in a professional. Two of her best friends in the neighborhood also signed up, so it's been fun to see them all in class together. She loves her leotard and tights and really, really loves the ballet slippers.

The big shocker of the class happened on the first day. The teacher opened the door of the studio, ushered all the girls in, and firmly shut the door. So the parents and caregivers wait in the lobby, taking turns peering through the glass door to catch glimpses. The class seems perfect - lowkey, just learning to move their bodies. I have to check in with the other parents. There is a Dance Institute that is closer to our neighborhood than the current studio, but the age requirements meant the girls couldn't all take class together there until this upcoming winter term. But it seems more serious than our cozy studio. So we'll see what we decide next.

View from the door - Elizabeth is on the far right

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grocery Trip

I had the opportunity to get out of work early this afternoon and spend some quality time with the kids. As I've done before, I decided to take both Sweetpea and the Little Guy to the grocery store. Cheap entertainment, right?

The store has these cool grocery carts designed like spaceships with a double seat, two seat belts, and two steering wheels. Thankfully, both kids wanted to ride (well, Andrew didn't exactly have a say in the matter) so that made things easier. The only downside of the carts is that they are like Chevy Suburbans -- they're absurdly long and difficult to navigate. I definitely catch the glares from the people with the new mini grocery carts zipping around the aisles. I guess it's karma -- I commute in our Mini Cooper, zipping past gas guzzling SUVs every chance I get.

The other great thing about the store is the free samples. There's usually no shortage of fruits, cold cuts, cheese, and bread (with dips) to snack on. Elizabeth needs to get the samples herself. Andrew was shoveling samples into his mouth like a madman. The turkey breast particularly fascinated him. His eyes got wide, his jaw dropped open, he lurched forward in his seat reaching out to grab he rolled turkey breast on the toothpick. I think he even drooled a little. I tossed the toothpick and gave him the meat. He smashed it into his mouth and gobbled it down. That's my boy. Andrew just ate whatever I handed to him - he didn't care. He was just loving all the snacks. Which helped keep him occupied and less interested in trying to escape from the cart.

Elizabeth must have had about 4 pieces of turkey. She loves the stuff. She wanted more bread - a specific kind of course, not just any bread will suit the Sweetpea's taste. Problem is the basket was empty. "It's OK, Daddy. We can wait." We weren't in a rush so we circled back around a couple times but they didn't put any more of her bread out. The woman behind the counter was probably like "Move it along already, Dad." So we did.

We had a good time and got some necessary shopping done. The cracker/snack aisle was the most challenging. E kept picking up boxes of cookies, crackers, etc. and wanted to buy them. I have her trained however.

"Daddy, I want to buy this. Is it on sale?"
(I check tag on shelf.) "Sorry, baby girl, but it's not on sale."
"Ok." (finds another box) "How about this one?"
If we can't find something on sale, we usually just move on. It works.

The only real hitch was at the end of the trip. This particular store offers kids free cookies and balloons. It's not possible to leave without getting them. (I have tried - it's just not worth the trouble) E grabbed a handful of cookies - "One for me, one for Andrew, one for Mommy." "What about me?" E grabs another cookie. "One for Daddy!" Not sure if Mommy got her cookie. Andrew definitely did not because, as E said, "He's a baby. He can't have cookies." Not true - they're harmless sugar cookies. So I let her get away with the scam.

We only got one balloon mostly because I didn't think Andrew would know what to do with it. He was fascinated with E's balloon though. He would look up at it with eyes wide and reach out his hands as we were getting loaded into the car. I had them both in and I stepped away for 5 seconds to move the cart to a proper location. I come back to the car to see Elizabeth full on sobbing - tears running down her red face. Andrew was sitting there happily, playing with E's balloon. The horror! She definitely can be a little drama queen when she wants to be. After trading the balloon out for a bad of toys, all was right in the world, and we drove home.

I need to find a way to do this at least once a month. It's good quality time.

- Rich

Thursday, November 12, 2009

tuckered out

Elizabeth is still loving school. And so far, she is a good student, except the teacher tells us she is a bit of a trouble-maker when it comes to naptime. They nap after lunch and recess for about an hour, and we were pleased that was in the schedule, because she needs a nap. However, school is too exciting for her - she refuses to sleep, which is ok, but according to the teacher, she also does not rest quietly and tends to get into mischief.

We asked her recently why she did not fall asleep or stay on her mat. Well, she said, the other kids throw things at me and I have to throw them back, or they whisper to me and I have to whisper back. So I can't sleep.

I suppose we are pleased she appears to be popular.

Which is why she comes home completely tuckered out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

one word

When Elizabeth was very small, I used to say to Rich that if I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be delighted. She was just delighted to be here, she took great delight in her surroundings, and her days were quite delightful.

I've been searching for a similar one word descriptor for Andrew. When he was quite small, my friends with children similar ages would talk about how the baby would follow the older sibling with his/her eyes and smile at the older sibling. For nearly everyone, that adoration of the older sibling started quite young. Not so for the little guy. Elizabeth would appear and Andrew would show one emotion: alarm.

We're over that stage, thank goodness. He mostly enjoys when she picks him up and hauls him around. He is furious when she takes things from him, and it's only a matter of time before he learns to hit back.

But one word for him. It's somewhere in the realm of interested-curious-calculating. When he looks around, I think his thought process mostly is: what is that, can I eat that, can I climb on that, once I climb on that what can I do then. But he's also pretty darned delighted.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Caramel apples are tasty
But crayons are even tastier!

Monday, November 9, 2009

a brief list of things Elizabeth never did

  • ate dog food (many, many times)
  • climbed the steps repeatedly
  • ate crayons (heck, there were no crayons in the house 4 years ago)
  • gnawed on the remote control until the rubber backing peeled off
  • splashed in the dog's water
  • climbed on the coffee table to bang on the TV
  • tried to climb out of the crib before she was one
  • shrieked in anger, fists shaking, when something was taken away
  • ate a lollipop before she was one
Yeah. We're in for it. I'm sure we'll be adding to the list.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

long day

It was a gorgeous day today, and even with wracking coughs, we are slowly getting better. So despite everything there is to do around here, we decided to hit the zoo. two cool kids out for a day of fun
let's go!
Andrew watching the lemurs. When something strikes Andrew as interesting or funny, he lets out the oddest little chuckle. It's almost a cross between a loud inhalation and a hiccup. And totally unpredictable, so we'll never get it on video. The lemurs warranted.

Elizabeth has inherited one thing from her mother - after glancing at each exhibit, she was quick to say, let's go see something else. So we missed any pictures of her today as she was constantly on the move.

With the trip to the Zoo, Andrew didn't get an afternoon nap. We were eating dinner, when Rich said, is Andrew ok? Looked over and he was shoving his face with food, as usual, but while bobbing and weaving and closing his eyes. I put out my hand to steady his cheek, and he just sort of melted into dreamland. This tickled Elizabeth to no end.

One tired little guy.

And while I'm here typing, here's what passes for a typical night now -
8 pm - Andrew out in his crib
8:30 - Elizabeth out
9 - Susan crawls into bed, watches a DVR'ed show
9:30 - Andrew crying - put in the paci, and back off to dreamland
10 - Susan out
10:30 - Susan wracked with coughs, but back asleep quickly
11:30 - Andrew up again, but this time awake. Susan doesn't move. Rich rocks him back down in about 30 minutes
12:30 am - Elizabeth wracked with deep coughs. Susan doesn't move. Medicine, water, cough drop, a little story reading to calm her down, cuddles
2 - Rich gets to bed
5:30 - Andrew awake, nursing does not result in sleep. Perhaps mommy coughing prevents Andrew from drifting back off
6:30 - Susan gives up, take Andrew downstairs to play
7:50 - Andrew decides he is tired, wants up to be held, settles in for a nap
8:10 - Susan grows tired of sitting on couch holding Andrew. Maneuvers so she and Andrew are both laying on couch
8:50 - Elizabeth wakes and gets Rich up, both come downstairs. Elizabeth amazed at Mommy and Andrew
9:15 - Susan extricates herself, and heads to bed
11:30 - Susan awakens to Andrew's cries. Comes downstairs to find he has eaten a green marker. Crying because Daddy took it away.
11:45 - Rich takes both kids out, Susan gets ready and cleans up a bit
12:30 pm lunch
2 - head to zoo

Hmm. Rich is also sick, though much better. But after typing it out, he really is the hero of last night. Despite a fair amount of sleep, I'm still dragging.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prognosis negative

Well, diagnosis negative is the accurate title, but bonus points to anyone who can identify the source.

Anyway, pediatrician suggested cough suppressant, since the cough is mostly horrific at night. If it's still bad, bring her in Monday.

Clinic turned out to be a breeze. But the strep test was negative, lungs are clear, so just (just!) a cold. Warm liquids, rest (ha), cough drops.

Friday, November 6, 2009


and tired of being sick. Time to test the Saturday services of our pediatrician, and figure out if we can find a health clinic open on a Saturday for Susan, too. Boo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Cuddler

Elizabeth believes that the greatest reward she can bestow upon us is to cuddle with her at nighttime. I admit, that Daddy does like to cuddle with his little girl. But she literally dangles it in front of us like a carrot. If we do something that she wants:

"Daddy, I'm going to cuddle with you tonight!"

If you don't continue to give her what she wants or upset her in some way, she takes it back:

"I'm not cuddling with you tonight, Daddy. I'm cuddling with Mommy!"

The other day when she said this, my response was "Yay!" The look on her face was the definition of befuddled. She said it again, and I said "Yay!" again. She was momentarily confused, but I don't think she ever really thought that Daddy wouldn't want to cuddle with her. Ah, how the mind of a 4-yr old works.

Then there's the "bait 'n switch" which has been happening a lot the past several weeks. She'll say throughout the day/evening that she's cuddling with Daddy. And, at the last minute, after story and prayers,

"I want to cuddle with Mommy!"

Mommy does her best to encourage cuddling with Daddy, but to no avail.

Elizabeth would set time bounds on cuddling as well. She usually breaks it down into 10 mins, 5 mins, or 2 mins. If she says she wants to cuddle for 10 mins, that usually means she wants you to stay there until she falls asleep. If it's 2 mins, it means she wants to do something - play with her dolls, look at books, or rearrange her room - after a short period of cuddling. 5 mins is a wildcard. It could mean that she's really tired and falls asleep quickly. It could mean that she wants to chat for a while before being ready to fall asleep. Ya just never know.

She's pretty serious about the 2-min rule. She'll ask, "Is it 2 minutes yet?" repeatedly until you answer in the affirmative. After doing this the other night, she looked at me and asked

"Why are you still here?"
"Uh, I'm just not ready to go yet."

*momentary pause*

"Why are you still here? Why don't you go downstairs?"
"Um, ok."

Never a dull moment with the Sweetpea. Just don't let her know that we do still kind of like the cuddling.

- Rich

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the princess and her chicken

What is it about 4 year old girls that makes them deeply desire to be a princess for Halloween? Whatever it is, it's ubiquitous. We went to a birthday Halloween party and the first four girls who came in were princesses. 3 cinderellas and 1 tinkerbell, who I guess is not technically a princess but it was a big poufy dress nonetheless.
And others have already covered this, but when did Halloween become a never ending holiday? When I was a kid, there was trick or treating, plus our church always had a Halloween party. And I guess we sometimes dressed up for school? This year, we went to Ren Fest the Sunday before, and E wore the princess dress. There was a small party at school and Rich's office did trick or treating. Throw in the dress up birthday party, and she'd worn the dress 4 times before Halloween night. Speaking of the big poufy dress, as I fluffed it out repeatedly and watched her swish around, and let's not forget holding it up when she went to the bathroom, suddenly I could not help but think this dress was more of a pain than her wedding dress will be someday.
But it was adorable. Andrew was pretty much befuddled by the entire experience, but still had a good time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Name that Baby Chicken

OMG I love - LOVE - this chicken costume. So happy we could use it again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

And we're off......

Another November, another NaBloPoMo. We're in for the whole at least 30 posts in 30 days things. After all, if we could blog from the hospital last year, surely I can do this? Right?

Well, it's 10:25. Rich is in bed with his cold. Andrew is snoring from his cold. Elizabeth is coughing from from her cold. And I lost my voice somewhere this morning and my head feels like it's two sizes two big. But it's Day 1, and here's the post.

Last week I went through the archives here. We've covered a lot this past year and a few months. But my goodness what we've left out. Did you know we went to Massachusetts this summer? That we have a really fun tradition for Father's Day? That Elizabeth started a dance class and wears the cutest little leotard and tights every Tuesday? That Andrew not only claps and does how big is Andrew, but has been shaking his head 'no' for months? Or that he climbs stairs? Or that Elizabeth met the mayor? Or that we went to the beach a couple of times? Or visited the Polish embassy? Or, or or...heck that we even celebrated Christmas, or had a big party to celebrate his baptism?! I've wanted to post the pictures of Elizabeth the day we brought Andrew home from the hospital, but never managed that. We've done a terrible job of keeping a record! Why, if you only knew us from the blog, you'd think we were sick all the time, never slept, and had a lot of relatives with birthdays. So NaBloPoMo (national blog posting month) is the way to catch up.

When we started the blog, we backdated a whole lot of posts, so that we could launch with some substance to the blog. I had wanted to write back to Father's Day 08, but we ran out of steam and just launched. I've been wondering if I should write about things that happened in the past and then backdate. Which would flesh out the history, but might not make it clear I'm (we're) doing a post a day. Though I guess I could back post, and then do a daily posting pointing to the back post. Can't decide. So dear reader, what do you think? Should we flesh out our archives with events when they happened, or post them now, catch up on the past year, all in this month? Stay tuned to see what we decide, but input welcome. (oh, and at some point I'll get in here and fine tune the blog and add in more links etc). But, now, after the AwwClutter kickoff, I'm taking my too-congested head and no voice self to bed.