four years

We have a little know it all in our house. And if she doesn't know, she asks. And asks. And asks.

And even when she does know, she still asks, just to make sure Mom and Dad keep on top of things.

I guess when you are four and think you're a princess, that kind of behavior comes standard.

DSC_9708.jpg

DSC_9713.jpg

Having parents that coordinate your birthday cake and party favors to match your outfit probably doesn't help in the 'sense of entitlement' department.

DSC_9761.jpg

Happy birthday, Brooklynn.

bird chasing

Brooklynn was standing by the front window looking out into our yard the other day, bouncing up and down on her toes, nose pressed to the glass. I was getting ready to tell her not to lean on the window so she didn't get it dirty when she turned, saw me, and almost yelled, "Dad, there's a robin in the grass, can I go chase him?" I had no sooner signified my approval when she was out the front door and into the grass. The robin flew away, Brooklynn patrolled the lawn for a moment, and she came back in to announce her triumph.

If this was a one-time occurrence, you might think it odd behavior. It's not. When we are on walks: "Dad, can we go get that Robin?"

"No Brooklynn, that's someone else's yard."

In a park: "Dad, can I chase that bird?"

"Sure." And off she zooms.

Me, seeing a particularly large robin near the back patio: "Brooklynn, do you want to chase that bird out there?"

She looks out, rolls her eyes at me, and sighs, "No Dad. That bird has a baby in her belly. You can't chase those ones." And she walks away as if the weight of constantly having to educate me on the ways of the world and bird chasing sits heavily on her shoulders.

oh no!

We have been reading the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty out of Brooklynn's princess story book for a week now and she has been requesting to see the movie. Tonight, it's raining and we can't go outside, so I figured it was a good as night as any to watch it. Oh no!

Even though she knew it was coming, Malificent's first appearance was still enough to warrant an extended eye-covering period.

let's all be nice

We were driving home with the kids in the back and Rhiannon and I discussed something work related. Rhiannon’s comment to me about some ideas we were kicking around was “at least put a bug in his ear about it”. I replied, “Yeah, maybe I’ll do that.”

And from the back seat, “Hey, you don’t put bugs in people’s ears. That’s not nice!”

So, we got to try and explain how that phrase just means to tell someone an idea and maybe they’ll think about it and do something in the future. No bugs involved. And after trying to approach that several ways, I thought we reached an understanding. No real bugs, no naughty behavior. Just a case of a misunderstood idiom. Rhiannon and I moved on with our conversation.

Apparently not all of us moved on because a few minutes later, from the back seat, a small voice muttered to herself, “I don’t like bugs and I will not put them in people’s ears for ideas.”

today is the day

Moving By the end of the day, everything should be on the truck[1. If things have been a little quiet recently, we've been busy. I can't promise it will get better soon, but it will get better.].

Wow.

snow days

Rhiannon has yet to have a snow day teaching this year, and considering she has a week to go before state testing, she doesn't want one right now. However, that doesn't mean we haven't been waiting for a nice day with some snow on a weekend. This year in Denver, the snow has been pretty sparse, so getting a sunny day to get the kids out was too good to pass up.

This is Fun

On top of that, the snow was great for packing.

Snowman Building

Outside of the one mishap where the first attempt at a tall snowman fell over, it went pretty well.

Snowman Building

And just like so many other things right now, we are calling the snowman George.

Snowman Building

discovering the stash

Unlike Brooklynn, Maddi likes her some pacifier from time to time. Not all the time, but more of than not, she'll take one if offered. She especially likes one when she is just a little tired but not all the way to sleep when we lay her down. We keep her crib at an angle in her room so there is a corner behind it that is both hard to see and hard to get to. When we seem to be missing some of the seven pacifiers we have around the house at any given time, we can normally look behind her bed and find one that has dropped back there at some point during a night.

Or, on a night like tonight, we can find five of them.

Sometimes I hear a story in the news about someone hoarding supplies in case of a natural disaster or government collapse. If a catastrophic event that leads to the breakdown of our society ever does occur, and if one of the supplies in high demand after such an event is a collection of pacifiers, I feel confident I know where to go: Maddi's secret stash behind her bed.

Hoarder

Actually, she'll probably just share them with you.

Growing up fast

So things have been a little quite around here due to some big life changes and what seems like going from 5 am or earlier every day to about 8:30pm without a break. Rest assured that everyone is doing fine. I'm working on the backlog and hopefully, if nothing else, I'll keep up with pictures a little better this year. I don't think things are going to slow down at all, because look who's standing...

Freestander

Help us all.

holiday concert

Back by popular demand, Brooklynn's holiday concert for this year[1. As always, head over to Vimeo for the full HD version.].

2012 Holiday Concert from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

When the girls stop dance and all look down for a little bit in the first song, that was because two of them realized they had the same shoes. Brooklynn would also like to point out that she fell down because she was just doing a little silly dancing and not because she's still a little clumsy.

maddi - month 9

Editor's note: Yes, I haven't posted one of these in a while. Don't worry, the unposted ones are all in relatively complete draft state. It's the pictures that I'm really lacking. So, I posted one without pictures. And yes, we are taking pictures. It's the post-processing that's the tough part to keep up with. Dear Maddi,

You are now nine months old, and it's a little overwhelming to thing that you've now spent as much time with us as it took for you to be ready to join us.

This month, you took your second car trip up to North Dakota, and I'm happy to report to you that it went much better than the first, for several reasons. You are a much better eater than the first time. At that point, you were terrible at burping, so the fact we did not find ourselves on the side of road to burp you was a big help.

Secondly, Mom climbed into the back seat to feed you and sit by you for a good portion of the trip. You like to see people, and having someone right there beside seemed to make being stuck in a car for 10 hours a little more bearable. The only drawback was the fact that you didn't like being put in the car for the drive to and from daycare without Mom back there with you.

You are tearing through pureed food about as fast as we can shovel it in your mouth, at least as long as it consists of meat and veggies. You have shown a distinct displeasure with fruit: applesauce, peaches, and pears. You make a grumpy face and stop eating. I'd say it's sweet that you don't like, but you seem to be ok with a little ice cream now and then, so I'm not sure what your hesitation is.

You may be eating a lot of food, but you are also moving around to burn off that energy. You crawl around with little regard for what might be in your way. A pile of clothes and stuffed animals - who needs to go around? Just crawl right through it.

You like to explore everything, especially the volume knob on the TV receiver and the dirt in the big pot by the steps. If we are sitting in the living room and you suddenly make a bee-line up front, chances are we will have to intercept you before you can get dirty. About halfway there, you will even stop to check if we are coming, and I imagine it's been frustrating to get so close before we grab you. Don't worry, you've managed to get dirty more times than we would like.

You are also pulling yourself up to standing now, so we expect that you will be starting to furniture walk sooner or later. I know that crawling is a great way to get around, but if you want to keep up with your sister, you're going to have to get up on your feet sooner or later. Let's just avoid going down the steps until you get a little more coordinated.

You fell off our bed for the first time (under my watch, as your mom would like me to point out) and landed on your forehead. Between your aunt who works as a neonatal intensive care nurse, a family friend who is a pediatric emergency doctor and the family physician, we called about everyone we could think of that night and no one seemed too worried. A little light bruise that went away was the worst of it, but we were pretty scared for a little bit.

You have also started to prefer Mom over Dad if given the option, so if you managed to associate me with falling, I'll take it. Making those connections at your age would be great. Either way, I still love you very much, just like your mom and sister do too.

Posing

And if you develop an unexplained fear of heights as you grow older, sorry.

Love, Dad

stop, thief!

It seems like this should be something out of a cop TV show, where the police chief gives a statement that the suspect was successfully apprehended, complete with incriminatory evidence, after a lengthy investigation. Then cut to the tv interview of the mother saying how she tried to raise her baby right but didn’t know what else she could have done and the token neighbor saying how shocked everyone is. Maddi is a sock stealer. Not only does she rapidly and repeatedly attempt to take off any socks we put on her feet, but now she is mobile and crawling, and early reports from daycare seem to indicate that she will attempt to take socks of the other kids. As they put it, she's on the prowl. All the time.

If her behavior toward me is in anyway typical, she really is very interested in feet and socks. Who would ever suspect such a thing out of someone with cheeks like that?

So Pleased

patched up

On Friday evening, as I carried Brooklynn in to the house after getting home from daycare, she told me her tummy hurt. I asked her what about it hurt and she threw up on me. Twice[1. I can verify that she ate all her corn for lunch that day.].

We were a little bummed out because we had planned on going to a pumpkin patch and activity center on Saturday morning with her friend Mason. We had already rescheduled one weekend due to inclement weather a couple weeks ago so this was our last shot before Halloween.

Corn Box

Rhiannon found out that Mason had been sick the weekend before and threw up for three days, so we weren't exactly confident that it would be something she would get over quickly[2. It also explained why Rhiannon was feeling sick for a few nights last week.]. We agreed to push back until Sunday and see how things went.

On Eyeore

Brooklynn didn't throw up at all Friday night or Saturday. Yes, she only ate graham crackers and took a 5 hour nap Saturday afternoon, but we won't complain. Sunday morning, after 36 hours healthy, the pumpkin patch was a go. Between the big slide, wagon rides, pony rides, pyramids, and pumpkin picking, we had about as much activity as we dared put Brooklynn through.

Driver's Seat

She threw up her only food of the day (mini-Oreos) later that afternoon, but she's been fine since then. Kids and their ability to bounce back.

pretty lights

I'd like to say happy birthday to my wonderful wife, Rhiannon. Because I'm a gentleman, I won't say how old she is[1. I imagine everyone who reads this already knows how old she is anyway.].

Sparkler Sundaie

And, because I'm a gentlemen, I also won't tell you that Rhiannon strongly considered blowing out that sparkler, nicely placed in the ice cream sundae at her birthday dinner. The fact that the ice cream is sitting on top of a half pound of cookie was what made the choice of dessert an easy one.

every four years

Rhiannon and I really look forward to the summer Olympics every four years, completely forgetting that the enjoyment of watching so many different sports will soon be followed by the fall presidential election season. Unlike four years ago, we have now have two kids that occupy much of our time[1. So we don't pay as much attention to politics, I guess.], and perhaps more importantly[3. I don't mean to imply that anything like this is more important overall than our kids. Rather, it was intended to be a comment that the new TV technology helps us tune out political messages more than children do. Or something like that.], we watch most[2. Anything that isn't live sports, basically.] of our TV via DVR-type technology, which means no commercials[4. Now if we could just get those political surveys and focus group telephone calls to stop].

We've already conceded the fact that our two votes will not make one bit of difference one way or the other in the county we live in, but we will still probably fill out our ballots and turn them in. Maybe I'll let Brooklynn help me with mine. She seems to have taken a recent interest in politics, especially last Saturday morning when we visited the nearby donut shop and saw these on the shelf.

The Race

Apparently, Lamar's Donuts is doing a little informal political polling of their own and they let all ages make their viewpoints known. Rhiannon and I chose to abstain from picking one or the other lest our extremist views unduly influence our young and impressionable wards.

Brooklynn had no such reservations, and when we told her the blue one was a donkey and the red one and elephant, the correct choice was quickly obvious[1. I should have said the blue one was something cool like a giraffe, just to make it more fair.].

Maybe I won't be having her help me with my ballot after all.

friendly hangout

We were outside last weekend checking out our neighbors new camper when Brooklynn and Dylan decided to take off. They headed to our house to play, and when I informed them it wasn't ok for little girls to go inside completely unsupervised for too long, they decided that the rock by our lawn was the next best place to hang out. Get Friendly

I imagine it will seem like the blink of an eye until I wish that they would like to stay at our house to play rather than taking off across the neighborhood.

l o v e

Someone had her hair all done like a princess last weekend to be a flower girl and absolutely loved every minute of it. Curls

And then someone's dad drove her and her sister the long way around town between the wedding and the reception, because no naps had been taken up to that point. Someone's dad is a pretty smart guy.

Congratulations to the happy couple and thanks for including our little girl in the festivities.

L O V E

reflection

We came back through the Denver airport on Sunday, September 9th, 2012. I was in the same airport on Sunday, September 9th, 2001. At that time, I was there to visit Rhiannon while she had a layover on a trip home from a volleyball tournament. I went through security without a ticket, without taking off my shoes, and without any full-body scanning. I didn’t know it then, but it was the last time I was at an airport where the atmosphere of the entire place could be described as casual.

Flying out last Friday, we waited for 5 minutes for someone to use a laser to scan our 6 ounces of water in a bottle to mix up formula for Maddi on the plane[1. I don’t feel one bit safer getting on a plane having had this done to “protect” us.].

I have some strong opinions on the state of the security antics associated with flying right now, and I’m just a little saddened by the fact that my kids are growing up in a world where it seems like the default behavior is to assume the worst about people until proven otherwise.

Here’s hoping that 11 years from now, things will be better.

roll over

Turn your back for one second and your kids will get all grown up on you.

Roll Over from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

It seems like a couple of weeks ago that she was a newborn who couldn't hold her head up and now we have this tiny person in our house who you can't even trust to stay in one spot for too long.

Brooklynn does get concerned when Maddi ends up on the wood floor. Luckily during this video, she was busy with me as I tried to get her to finish her supper.