Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recent happenings

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote a real update. Here are some of the things we've been up to.
Be warned, this post is lengthy.

RYAN is now 3 1/2 months! He was taken off oxygen at his follow up appointment a couple weeks ago, and has been back to his old self for over a week now. I'm guessing he's close to 13 pounds. He does all the normal 3 month old things: smiles, coos, and chews his hands (or anything else he can wrap his little fingers around). He hates being on his stomach, so I try not to force it on him too much. He can roll from his back to side. He scoots some, especially in his crib. I'll often find him, after his nap or in the night, fussing as his head is smashing up against the bumper. He loves face to face interaction of any kind, and gets surprisingly uptight when he's feeling neglected. Sometimes when he's fussing for no reason and I've tried everything, I lay him in his bouncer and turn on a Baby Einstein dvd. It immediately captures his attention and will entertain him for short periods of time. It's great for me because in addition to his naps, which are still scattered and generally short, it allows me to get things done that I'd otherwise be doing one handed.

Ryan laughed for the first time last Friday, and has done it a couple times since. I've attempted to capture it on video, but each time he's immediately become distracted by the camera and stopped. One of these days I'll be successful.

Our little flirt

Look what I can do!

More smiles!

Must have been dreaming something sweet!

CHLOE is either a princess or a "vallerina", depending on the day and her mood. She loves anything "pretty". The more glittery, fruffy, obnoxious and bright, the better! While she's mostly "girl", however, she does hold a special place in her heart for Spiderman. When choosing Valentines a couple weeks ago, she was all about Princess ones until she spotted Spiderman! I couldn't believe it! Eventually she decided Winnie the Pooh was the best option, but this was very much out of her character. She also enjoys rough housing with her dad. While I don't encourage it, I have to admit it's pretty entertaining to watch. She knows how to give a body slam, an elbow drop and a tackle! I am just waiting for the day she tries some of these tricks on her brother. Hopefully it's a while down the road when Ryan can hold his own.

Getting ready to cook up a treat in her kitchen

Potty training her baby

Chloe likes things done a very specific way, and in her own manner and time frame. This truly makes life glorious for us all, let me tell you! Example: choosing a fork for lunch. If I even dare OPEN the utensil drawer to, heaven forbid, help her, she about loses it. In the rare case that I do this, she immediately slams the drawer shut, re-opens it, chooses her fork (usually a 30 second if not longer process), closes the drawer, and then looks me right in the eye and says, "Don't do that again, Mommy!" This applies to just about everything: choosing her socks, pushing "play" on the remote, turning on the faucet, the process of being buckled into her car seat, and even applying toothpaste to her toothbrush. Here's what's funny. The second she senses my hands are full or that I'm preoccupied with something else, her independence shatters and she's suddenly helpless, vulnerable and absolutely incapable of doing anything by herself! Like I said, glorious...

One of her latest obsessions is dressing herself. And not just the process of choosing an outfit and putting it on, but changing it numerous times throughout the day. She always has a valid excuse, of course. Like the fact that she got a single drop of water on her shirt and therefore needs to change her entire outfit because there isn't another shirt in existence that will match the black pants she's wearing. After lunch it's pretty much guaranteed she's going to try to get away with it. After all, who can function with a stain on their sleeve? Then there's the "I don't have an excuse, but am needing a change from my already gaudy and mis-matching attire". Whenever possible, she prefers wearing a skirt or dress because it makes her feel pretty. And I can't remember the last time she stayed in her jammies all night (or in her bedroom). Here's how I found her the other night (in Ryan's room). Could this possibly be comfortable?

The panties are just the icing on the cake!

And this was her outfit of choice for date night with Daddy

She never EVER stops talking. Just listening to her wears me out sometimes! Here are some of the funny things she's been coming up with:

Chloe: "What's that, Mommy?" (while driving past UCCS)
Me: "That's a University! A school!"
Chloe: "Where Ashley goes?" (her friend)
Neil: "No, it's a school for grown ups!"
Me: "Yeah, a school for adults, Chloe!"
Chloe: "It's for adults, Daddy! Not grown ups!"

Neil: "Am I amazing?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Are you amazing?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Did you get your amazingness from me?"
Chloe: "No, you got your amazing from me!"

Chloe: "Mommy, is your bum big?" (taking a slight pause to examine my lower half) "Oh yeah! It IS big!" (Seriously?)

Chloe: "Mommy, you're a carrot; daddy's a sweet potato; I'm a doggy, and Ryan's a horse!"

(At the dinner table after a particularly frustrating evening with Chloe)
Chloe: "I don't like carrots cooked. Only cold!"
Neil: Want me to tell you all the things I don't like?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Are you gonna be on the list?"
Chloe: "No, but Santa is!" (obviously she associates "list" with "Santa")

"Is it a different one?" is her most commonly asked question. Example:
Chloe: "Mommy, where are we going?
Me: "We're going to Target."
Chloe: "Is a different one?"
Me: "A different one from what?"
Chloe: "Is it a different one?" (now annoyed that I don't understand her question)
Me: "It's the same Target we always go to, Chloe."
Chloe: "But is it a different one?"
In this instance, I've learned that a simple "yes" or "no" usually suffices.

Anything plural has a "ez" added to the end (example: shoesez)

Anything that happened in the past happened "last night"

Most recent comebacks: "Don't tell me what to do!", "Leave me alone!" and "Don't talk to me!"

And one of her favorite things to say, "I'm a mommy, so I can tell you what to do!"

Chloe asks a million questions, and while it usually drives me crazy, I have to appreciate her curiosity and hunger for learning. She is starting preschool a week from tomorrow, and she couldn't be more ready! Her latest favorites include Tom and Jerry, Lipton noodle soup and dancing around the living room to classical music. Generally while doing this, she's wearing a skirt and will hold onto it with one hand while prancing and spinning around on her tippy toes. Such a dainty and feminine little thing she is. I seriously need to get her in dance classes!

I took these last weekend after giving her a MUCH NEEDED haircut.

This girl is NOT camera shy!

Valentine's Day church activity

Thanks for the apron and chef's hat, Grandma Susie!

NEIL, aside from helping me keep my sanity with the kids, has spent most of his free time in the basement. He's finished painting (thank goodness for a paint sprayer), tiled the bathroom and wet bar area, installed the toilet (which Chloe now demands to use half the time because it's just so cool), hung baseboards and trim, and almost finished caulking. Here's how it's looking.

Recreation room

Wet bar area (in theater)



And per Chloe's request: the toilet

Despite our lack of flooring (and furniture for that matter), Neil was determined to watch the BCS Bowl last month on the big screen. And so, he got the projector mounted to the ceiling, screen on the wall, and speakers wired. As you can also see, the guys carried the couch downstairs so they'd have something to sit on. What do you think of the foot rests?

James, Neil, Chloe and Matt

All that's left of the basement is window sills, hanging doors, tiling the shower area, counter tops for the bathroom and wet bar (which have been ordered), finishing the custom shelving unit in the rec. room, touch-up paint, and finally, carpet! We are SO CLOSE to being finished. And can I just say how thrilled I will be when that day comes?

I am doing the same old things. Changing diapers, nursing (still more frequently than I ever did with Chloe - my boy likes to eat), working out when I get the chance (and anticipating warm weather so I can get outside), attempting to maintain a happy healthy home, and trying to convince myself that it's okay if I can't do it all. Ryan's naps and feedings are still pretty sporadic, which can sometimes make planning difficult, but I'm accepting that that's okay too. I've been experimenting lots in the kitchen, both with cooking and baking. I made a killer stir fry the other night that I'll have to share. I'm learning, with regard to cooking, that I've adopted a lot of my mom's techniques with just making stuff up from what I have. I love that. And, after a few attempts, I think I've finally figured out how to bake a decent loaf of sourdough bread!


My mom is coming out a week from Monday and I am looking forward to that. I'm hoping to set aside a day while she's here (and I don't have to deal with the kids), to dive into the world of digital scrapbooking. While I prefer a traditional scrapbook page, I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never complete Chloe's scrapbook, let alone begin Ryan's at the rate I'm going. I do so much on the computer as it is (and really enjoy it), so why not give digital a try? My cousin shared some helpful tips and websites to get me started. If anyone else has ideas or recommendations, I'm all ears!

I'm also anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Christmas present, which has been on back order now for two months! I've considered getting a nicer camera for a couple years now, and I finally decided to just go it. Photography has always been a love of mine, and I would really like to make something of it if I can. I have LOTS to learn, and am anxious to get started... if the dumb thing will ever get here.

That's about it with us! Hope everyone's well and had a Happy Valentine's.



Coates Family said...

I LOVE Chloe's hair. She looks so cute. And isn't it great to be married to your handy man?! Neil's projects look great. Do you know where grandma susie got the chef's hat and apron? Too cute. Hope you guys are well.

Camille said...

Chloe is so totally related to Rebecca. Everything you said is soooo Rebecca!

Kelly Stoddart said...

I am impressed with your bread making skills. I would like to try but yeast just kind of scares me. I am glad that Ryan is doing so much better. And I totally understand the picking out your own outfit with Chloe, we sometimes have battles with Kyanna because I just won't let her go outside in the middle of winter in her shorts and tank top, I won't!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are one busy woman! I am so glad Ryan is doing better, he is getting so big and is just cute as can be. I feel your pain with having a 3 year old girl, there is some days with all the questions I just want to put in ear plugs. I know I would miss all the funny things she says though. Good for you for making the sourdough bread, it looks awesome! The basement looks so good, I have to say I'm a bit jealous. I miss ya tons!

The Goulds said...

Too cute! Alyssa does the same thing with dressing up...all day she is putting different clothes on & LOVES to layer...its cute!
I love the basement. Good work Neil.

stephschmidt said...

Wow! Your basement looks awesome! How awesome that Neil has been able to do all that! Are you counting down the days until your mom gets there? I think I would be. I imagine your mom is, too :) Let me know what you think of digital scrapbooking

Jodi said...

Before I forget, thanks for the advice on the blog question I had. I bookmarked the site you recommmended.

The pics of Chloe and Ryan are great! Chloe looks so grown up in a few of those pictures! :) And Chloe says the cutest things!

Your basement looks great too. I'm jealous of your home theatre! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun using that!

Dayna said...

oh i miss miss MISS you! this post is just what I needed. how did you know! I just want to kiss on both chloe and ryan. i really miss them too. basement looks great! and you are one hot ballerina:)

Mama/Gma Jill said...

What an amazing and wonderful post with amazing and wonderful pictures! You do such a beautiful job.
SO proud of you! As I read I couldn't help thinking of another little girl - oh - about twenty-four years ago.
I wrote this on Dec. 31, 1984:
"You LOVE dresses and don't like to wear pants or sweaters because, 'I won't look pretty,' you say. If you had your way you would wear your slip and nothing else (it has a lovely pink rose on it). But lately it's been FREEZING and you caught cold... This morning beween sniffles and sneezes you said you wanted to wear your short-sleeved smocked pink flowered dress. I told you you had to wear a sweater and pants too. You cried. 'Do you want to be sick?' I asked. 'Yes," you said, as innocently as could be and all teary-eyed... I hate for you to cry, but at times you simply must. I quietly dressed you (as you cried) in pants. That was several hours ago. You've played in jubilance and laughter all morning, beginning five minutes after. See how short-lived heartaches are?"
Just couldn't resist.
And on March 16, 1985:
Valeri: "Mommy, read this to me (Jack and the Beanstalk). You be Jack, and I'll be the beanstalk!"
Sound like anyone you know???
So precious - all of you!
Love you sooooo.....
Mama/Gma Jill

Anonymous said...

Your bread is beautiful!

Mamamanya said...

Wowzers! The basement looks awesome...can't wait until mine looks like that too...David will call Neil soon, really he will..I think he'll want to borrow the paint sprayer from Neil but it probably won't be until the end of March/early April. I laughed at your cute Chloe and her hilarious conversations! Oh, and could you send me your sourdough bread recipe...I am a HUGE sourdough fan and miss it oooohh soo much! Good old San Francisco :) I sure love reading your blog. Your little family is just the CUTEST....really the CUTEST!

The Barton Family said...

I'm behind on blog reading and just got to this post! Valerie you really are amazing for even attempting half that stuff. And I am impressed and inspired to pay better attention to the cute things my kids do and say and find more joy in the day to day! Thanks for the inspiration. You're doing great!

Wendy said...

That was a great post! Good way to get updated on everybody. The basement looks awesome. Tell Neil he's done a great job!

Bre said...

I can empathize with million mismatched outfit changes a day. Naomi must think I rally love doing laundry! You're lucky to have such a handy husband, I wish we would get our basement finished.

Pat said...

I love your blog! And I'm going to tell you the same thing I just told Wendy--don't feel guilty about not being able to do it all. I'm amazed you're able to do all that you ARE able to do! I love all the precious photos and wonderful things you write! You are never ever going to regret doing this--it's all wonderful! It's fun watching your cute kids growing up before our very eyes. And I love all your home improvements--so much fun! Love all of you too!