Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Happened on Wednesday

The above picture is one of the girls at Whole Foods yesterday. It threatened to rain all day so I didn't plan any outside activities for us, and instead we ran errands. Hadley's eating a cookie and Harper has her beloved "Mum Mums" that she is crazy for. Harper has a little bow in her hair, but you can't see it too well in this picture. I tried to accentuate the "lift" she has going on in the middle of her head. Now instead of just going straight up, it goes up and off to the side. This adds to her "I look like I just put my finger in an electric socket" look.

Before we go out in the world, Harper has to take her morning nap. This is a challenging time for Hadley since she is ready to get going, and we still have some time in the house. I feel guilty putting her in front of the TV, so I've been trying to come up with stuff to do with her during this time.

On Tuesday while Hadley was in preschool, Harper and I went to the library to find some books for Hadley. It was nice to be able to actually read through some of the stories since usually when I go I just grab stuff off the shelves and hope for the best. It's hard to take a look at books while keeping an eye on your toddler running around.

I found a gem of a book called What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins. It's a great story about a little girl who gets up while it's still dark, the mom drinks coffee and writes, and the dad drinks tea and takes his daughter to the bagel shop. On just about every page there is something we have in common with this family. I also got a book called Here Comes the Train in hopes that Hadley would see how much fun the characters in the book were having seeing the train roar by. She is terrified of trains because they are "too loud."

So I put these book in a bag along with some other activities, and then decorated the bag with a few pictures of Elmo, Dora, and Goofy. When Harper went down for her nap, I knocked on our door pretending someone was here. Hadley and I opened the door, and there was the bag from her favorite TV characters. They had written her notes asking her if she'd like to read the books, and do the activities they put in the bag.

Here's a picture of Hadley working on a letter and number page (I ripped it out of an activity book and put it in a bag with a letter from Goofy, etc. telling her they couldn't complete it because it was too hard):
Here's Hadley gluing pieces of paper that we ripped up together. We are making a collage to decorate on top of Cookie Monster:

Here's Hadley posing for the camera:

Here's a picture of the bag.

I think Hadley liked it. She loved the book What Happens on Wednesdays which made me really happy. We talked about it all day yesterday, and on the way to preschool this morning as well. And she loved the bag. She takes it with her all over the house, including the bathroom. I keep trying to put it out of her sight so I can fill it back up again with activities for the next day, but she continues to ask for it.
The last activity I planned was for Hadley to write Goofy, Elmo, and Dora a letter. I told her that I would write what she says, and this is what happened:
"Dear Elmo, Goofy, and Dora,
D. (No it's not a typo. That's the first thing she said.)
I like to jump. I also like to take pictures of cameras. I want to watch Mikey Mouse. So let's go watch Mickey Mouse.
Love, Hadley."
So I guess it didn't make her forget about TV afterall, but at least we got some reading and coloring time in too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trying New Things

Jesse and I found a great little brewery in Gaithersburg over the weekend. It's called Growlers, and it reminds me of the places we used to hang out in when we were living in South Bend. The restaurant is so cute, the food is good, the beer was good, and the best part was that it felt like a place where all the locals go. As you can see, the girls were very happy to go out for a bit.

Harper's been sleeping very well recently (and I assure you it has nothing to do with the above picture). We've stopped setting our alarm because she is usually up at 5, but on Thursday it was 7:35 when we woke up, and she was still asleep. I couldn't believe it. Since that night, she has made it clear that she no longer needs the swaddeling blanket, and prefers to sleep on her tummy. She has always fallen asleep well, but since she's been on her tummy, she sleeps longer with fewer interruptions at night. On Saturday morning I said to Jesse that this was the first night in almost nine months that we've slept through the night.

And here's my other happy camper. Hadley's new interest is Mickey Mouse. It has been two days since Diego or Dora have made their way through the TV. It's all Mickey Mouse all of the sudden. I don't know where she learned about him, but she loves the show now. Goofy is her favorite. Every time he's on the show, she says, "I like this guy." She also wants high heels like Minnie. Awesome. I feel like you should be reading this while humming the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

Harper is fascinated with the straps of strollers, carseats, and high chairs. You could put her in a chair with straps and no other toys and she'd be happy as a clam for almost an hour.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Zoo

Here's a picture of the girls hanging out at the zoo. We made a trip there yesterday to meet up with some friends and see what the animals were up to. Hadley looks like she's going to set sail, and Harper looks like she's ready to enjoy the day.
Below is a picture of a cow that we admired for a bit. This is the petting zoo where we always start off. The parking lot is right behind us and I can usually get a shaded spot, plus there is a little park in this part that Hadley likes to play in (this is where Hadley and Jennifer Garner's little girl were playing last spring before I realized who it was...and who I was standing next to while our girls were playing). Plus, it's close to the bathrooms which is incredibly important for me to know at this point in Hadley's life. The only downside to going to this part of the zoo is that there is some kind of wasp and hornet exhibit that we have to walk past and we all know how that makes me feel.

We stopped for lunch. Hadley did a very thorough job of checking out everyone's lunch and making sure everyone was being fed. She also managed to mooch off of the kid on the right quite a bit. He and his family are new to the area and go to our church.
Because we are members of the zoo, every time we go Hadley gets a package of free cookies. So I pack an applesauce and she munches on those. I leave the rest of the lunch in the car and she eats it on the way home while watching a DVD. Thus keeping her awake so she'll take a nap when we get home. If going to the zoo were a sport, I would definetely be considered for someone to look out for.

And here's a picture of my one of my beauties:

It was terribly hot yesterday, but the zoo has these great fountains that mist water on everybody, and Hadley loved playing in them.

And here's a picture of a panda licking a giant ice cube. S/he had the right idea on a day like yesterday. This is actually a great exhibit, and I hadn't been through it since they remodeled it so I was happy to be able to check it out. It's really a beautiful zoo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I haven't posted in awhile because for about 2 or 3 weeks, we've all been fighting a nasty cold. I think Hadley got it first, and I am the last to suffer through it. This afternoon I have to go to the doctor to see whether or not I have pink eye, which is awesome. But I think we are all on the mend now for the most part.
We don't get too much sleep around here because Harper's new thing is waking up at 5am. She had been sleeping until 7 but I guess she decided that she can get a lot more done if she woke up at 5. She's a girl after my own heart, so I can understand.

However, last week we took the not sleeping thing to a whole new level. I am proud to say that I have never pulled an all nighter in college. No assignment seemed that important that I needed to stay up all night. But apparently I needed to go through that once or twice so that I could be prepared for being a mother. My parents always said college prepares you for life. I guess I should've listened more carefully because between Wednesday at 9pm from Friday at 9pm I got almost 3 hours of sleep. Total. One of the girls needed me every 30 minutes all night long. At 1:15 on one of those nights, I walked out of their room and said, "OK, see ya at 1:45." Sure enough, I was in again 30 minutes later.

Jesse was in North Carolina last week, so I am very thankful that my parents could come out and help. My dad even got to take a trip with the girls and I to the doctor's office on Friday morning because I was convinced both of them had pnuemonia.

But we are getting back into our routine and so I have some pictures to share of the girls.

Here are a couple of Hadley and her winter hat. She puts this on, along with the mittens, almost every day. We usually have to have a discussion about why she can't wear these items outside during this time of year. I suppose if she were only wearing the hat and mittens like she is in these pictures it'd be OK.

You'll have to pardon the box of Kleenex and garbage can in the picture. I was in bed for most of the day yesterday, and Jesse took the picture. And I guess don't look at the magazine thrown on the floor or all the dust, too.

Here are a couple of pictures of the girls eating lunch together. Harper is munching on some kind of rice cracker called a "Mum Mum" or something like that. She loves them.

So that's the news for now. I'll try and be better about posting now that we are getting back to our lively selves. Really, I did everyone a favor. After my post about potty training, who wants to hear about runny noses and all that?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Whole New World

Do you remember these pictures?

Well here is her crazy sister doing the same thing (no, the dress is not a coincidence).

I use the word "crazy" to describe Harper because there is no better word to use. Harper is our wild child. While Hadley is independent (I dropped her off at preschool today and she told me not to walk on the sidewalk with her; she'd do it herself), Harper will only let me leave if Jesse is there. No one else will do. And she will let them know not only by crying at the top of her lungs, but body slamming her head into whoever is holding her, flailing her arms around like a mad woman, and of course, kicking her legs.

The other thing we are learning is that Harper loves to rough house. The other night, Hadley and I were playing while Harper was in the exersaucer. Hadley stumbled into it by accident and both of us were concerned Harper was going to start to cry. Harper looked at me, and then at Hadley and started laughing like I'd never heard before. I wish I had it on tape. I thought she was going to throw up she was laughing so hard. So of course, I encouraged Hadley to do it again so I could try and videotape it. This is what I got:

It doesn't come close to what happened earlier, but it's worth a chuckle or two. And yes, Hadley still has a pacifier. She gets pretty upset if we tell her she can't have it before bed (this video was taken right before bedtime).

So Harper gets to see the world from a different viewpoint now that she is sitting up, and Hadley now has her passport into the great country of toilets. I am nervous about saying Hadley is potty trained because I've heard about kids who "get it" and then decide to go back to diapers. I am sure it's a lot like saying, "Our kid is finally sleeping through the night," but it seems we have made a break through.

We didn't read any books on what to do. Instead, we used what I like to call "Jesse Feyen's Independence Method." About three weeks ago he suggested we use the July 4th weekend to potty train Hadley because, and I quote, "Nothing says independence like pee-pee and poo-poo."

I won't go into the details, and I am not posting any pictures of the process. I will, however, take a moment to jot down some of the conversations that have come about since Hadley's been using the potty:

  • It seems that I need to talk about using the bathroom about every 15 minutes now. At one point, Hadley was sitting on our coffee table watching Dora and I said, "Hadley, do you have to use the bathroom?" "No." she said. "Will you tell me when you have to go?" "Yea." she said. "OK. Don't pee on my coffee table." I told her and marveled at a sentence I never thought I'd say.
  • I've mentioned before that Hadley responds well (to put it mildly) when we talk in a different voice using an object such as a doll, stuffed animal, or more likely, a pen, couch, or shoe. Sunday night we were having a conversation with Oscar the Grouch about using the potty. Actually, it was an Oscar the Grouch hair elastic. This time Hadley was Oscar, and I asked Oscar if he would tell me when he had to use the potty. Hadley replied in Oscar's voice: "I'm not going to tell you because I might fall in. I'm really small."
  • On Saturday night we were reading stories to Hadley before bed and one of the books was a Dora book. During the story, Hadley interrupted us to say, "Hey! None of these people are wearing diapers!" We told her that was right, and she is just like Dora and Diego now. "Yea, I am just like Dora and Diego. And Tico, and Isa, and Abuella, and Map!" That's right, Hadley, Map not only helps Dora find where she needs to go, but he also knows how to use the potty. Nevermind the fact that he has no arms or legs and is a piece of paper.
  • I was in the living room with Harper while Hadley was in the bathroom reading books and doing puzzles to "pass the time" so to speak. At one point I said, "How ya doin', Hadley?" She said, "Good. I made a sidewalk for my buddies." I jumped up and ran down the hall to see what that could possibly entail and was relieved to find that Hadley had taken a rather large chunck of toilet paper and spread it out on the floor. A sidewalk. For her buddies. Phew!

So we'll see how it goes. We went out yesterday for about 3 hours and Hadley not only stayed dry, but told me when she had to use the bathoom, so that seems like a good sign. Who knows what will happen in the next few days, but I'm proud of her. And I'm proud of Harper, too. Even though she's crazy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reading Logs, Trains, Ducks, and Water Shoes

Hadley signed up for the summer reading program at the library this year, and when you finish the activities on the Reading Log, you're supposed to take it in and have it signed. On Monday we did that, except we had one activity we needed to complete, and that was to talk to a librarian about a book we've read. So Hadley talked to a librarian about the book Cowlick, which is about a sneaky cow who walks into the boys' bedroom at night and gives them a big lick on their heads, creating very messy hairdos.

Hadley did not like this book. At all. She was angryat and scared of the cow, and wanted nothing to do with the story. So I was a little nervous about what she'd say when we talked to the librarian about the story. But Hadley did fine. She wanted to show the librarian the picture of the cow licking the boys' heads, and the librarian did a great job of showing concern because Hadley was on a mission in search of this important piece of information, all the while explaining to her what this story was all about.

Here's a picture of Hadley with her completed log before we went into the library:

Yesterday the girls and I went looking for something called "water shoes." Hadley needs them for preschool and so far I have purchased two kinds of shoes that don't work. The first was a pair of sandal type things, but they didn't work out because her toes need to be covered. This grosses me out to know end for some reason. I guess I associate wearing something like this when one would go camping, and you have to wear these in the showers because the bathrooms are filthy. Anyway, the second pair I bought were a pair of croc like shoes. Something I did not want to get because everyone and their sister owns a pair, but they seemed to meet the requirements so I got them. Well, those didn't work out either. I think they were too small. So yesterday we went to more stores to look for the darn water shoes. We didn't have any luck, but we did get to crash a storytime at Barnes and Noble, feed the ducks, and the best part, we found a train that rides along the water at the Washingtonian Center.

Here's Hadley "sort of" paying attention at storytime. She's facing the wrong way, but that's OK.

And here's Harper and her eyes. Harper's eyes look like this when she's tired, awake, happy, sad.....

Here are some pictures of Hadley feeding the ducks:

I find it ironic that the prettiest picture I have ever taken is of a duck.

As we strolled around the Washingtonian Center, Hadley spotted this:

Hadley and I wanted to go on the train very badly, but Harper looked like this while we were "oohing and ahhing" over it:

This look means, "Mama better move fast because I'm hungry and tired and I'm about to let the greater DC area know." Harper has a temper.