Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Days

I used to love daylight savings. Catching that last glimpse of light in the sky around 9pm always signified summer - a great feeling. That was before I had kids. Now these long days have come to signify poorer sleep habits for Bella. On a normal schedule, bedtime for this little lady is 8:00pm. But with the sky staying light well past that time, we're hard pressed in convincing her that it's bedtime. I've given up trying and bedtime has pretty much turned into 9:00pm. It'd be nice if the later bedtime meant waking up later, but it's actually the opposite. She gets up earlier than usual because, again, the sun is up. We tried the room darkening shades last summer and it didn't seem to help like I had hoped. She sometimes naps, but then it just ends up keeping her awake even later at night. Not fun. I think that this sleep mess is also affecting her mood - cause she's been a handful again.

Example: Thursday morning we had plans to go fruit/veggie picking with some friends. I had a twenty minute battle with Bella over her outfit. Normally, I let her wear whatever she wants. (She wore that Sleeping Beauty outfit to the grocery store last week). I'm not always thrilled with her choices, but if we don't have any major plans, it doesn't really matter. Lately, however, she's been wanting to wear winter clothes. On this particular morning, she picked out a sweatshirt and sweatpants. Since we were going to be outside in 90 degree weather, this just wasn't going to work. There was a lot of screaming and throwing of clothes. . . but eventually I won this battle. We arrived at the farm just in time to see our group take off without us in the hayride that leads to the orchards. Now if we didn't have that battle, we would have arrived with plenty of time and Bella could have picked fruit with her friends.

Here she is picking cherries. Not super hip on picture-taking, but I did get this semi-posed smile. Here's our loot. Sampling the cherries at home. They taste good! A real smile! My Aunt Bia was in the area on business this week and we got together for dinner on Friday. I forgot to get the camera out and take pictures; but we had a really fun time. Bella behaved better for her than she did for us all week!

Today has been a good day. I've thanked Bella several times when I caught her listening well. After church, we went to Target and I bought her this pool that I've been eyeing up since last summer. I didn't take into account the fact that we don't own an air pump and this was a fairly big pool. All of the air in that pool came from me. It was a labor of love.
Bella really enjoyed herself, so it was worth it.
Taking a break to talk with Auntie Lori. I didn't get many photos of Graydon this week. I was either wearing him while I was taking pictures (at the farm) or he was sleeping when I had my camera out. I did happen to get this one of him and Bella yesterday. While Bella's sleep habits have been not-so-good, Graydon's have definitely improved. He goes to bed around 7:30pm, sleeps until around 5:00am (ish) when I feed him, then he goes back to sleep again until 7:00am (ish). This has been going on for about a week and a half now. I hope he keeps it up, cause it's been GREAT!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blueberries, Car rides, and Father's Day

When I was a little girl in Brownies (Girl Scouts), we wore sashes; and on these sashes we'd sew on badges that we'd earned for accomplishing various tasks (cooking, babysitting, sewing, etc.). I've been thinking lately that mommies should have sashes. If we did, I'd have two new badges to add to mine: "up-all-night-with-puking-child" and "middle-of-the-night-stain-removal". It all started earlier in the day at the grocery store. Bella wanted to get some blueberries. A healthy snack? Sounds good! When we got home and I was unloading and putting away the groceries, Bella took the container of blueberries to the living room. I thought nothing of it. When I finished up in the kitchen, I joined Bella in the living room only to discover an EMPTY blueberry container. She ate the WHOLE thing! I was a bit concerned about what all of those berries would do to her little stomach; and those concerns were realized when Bella started throwing up around midnight. This went on a few times during the night. As hard as we tried to contain the stuff, it ended up on her bedding, the carpet, and the bedding in the extra bedroom (that we had to move to since her bed was covered in the stuff). We were all up a lot that night - which is why Bella did a bit of this the next day. Wish I could have done the same. Thankfully, after her tummy emptied out and she got some rest, Bella was feeling better again.

On Saturday, we took a day trip to the shore. I let Bella take some pictures to keep her entertained during the car ride. It's always neat to see things from her perspective.I guess this was the reason that Graydon was being so quiet. Should have known.

Like most families, yesterday we celebrated Father's Day. Bella told me that her favorite things about Daddy are playing with him - especially bouncing on the purple ball, chasing around the house being "monsters and alligators", and having popcorn nights. Graydon loves it when Daddy wears him in the Snugli and cuddles with him on the couch. Andy is such a great dad to our kids and I am so thankful to have him in our lives. We made him a little frame and got him various gift cards to different places he likes to visit. We did a bit of relaxing and then went for a drive. The kids slept and we talked. We ended the night with "Slumdog Millionaire". I can see why the movie won so many awards, it was really good.

I'm starting to get back into my scrapbooking groove. I have a lot of catching up to do. *Disclaimer: I used to include links to my online scrapbooking gallery for credits to who made the stuff I used as that is proper digi-scrapbooking etiquette. Due to my inactivity on those sites, my gallery has been deleted. I don't care to create another one and I don't think that any of this blog's readers even care who created the stuff I use; so from now on there will be no linking. I'll take my chances with the digiscrap police. :).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A week of firsts. . .

It was time. After about a month of Graydon watching us eat - his eyes following our food from the plate to our fork to our mouth - we started him on rice cereal.
I'd say that his reaction was neutral. Didn't love the stuff, but ate it up just fine. Well, until Bella (or Sleeping Beauty), shoved the spoon too far into his mouth. He was done after that.

All in all, though, a good first cereal experience.

The firsts didn't stop there. We decided to take advantage of all that the YMCA has to offer and get a family membership. Our first family activity was, of course, the pool. Bella couldn't wait. All morning she kept asking to go to the YGBS (clearly a little confused about the letters to the place with the big pool). Like the cereal, Graydon was pretty neutral to this experience as well. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. There were a few tears but I think those were from the cool water. He did great (and looked so cute in his swim trunks). Graydon is five months old now. This photo was taken about a week late since he turned 5 months while we were in Wisconsin and I didn't have his teddy bear with us. He is growing up so quickly. I felt like we had Bella forever before we started to feed her cereal (we started her at 5 months as well). It still feels like Graydon was just born (maybe that's because his sleeping habits sometimes resemble those of a newborn - but that's another topic). I try to soak in these days as much as I can; but it's like trying to catch water, it just keeps slipping through my fingers. Look at this big boy. He is such a delight. I call this photo "Pure Joy". Looks like Andy found just the right spot.Graydon has been experimenting with sounds lately. I definitely think I heard him say "hallelujah".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

to Wisconsin and back. . .

Two weeks goes by pretty fast when it's spent with people you love. It was wonderful to spend that time with our families and, as always, it went too fast.

It's been almost five years since we moved out east (Aug. '04) and I've been on the roller coaster of homesickness since then. Sometimes I am completely fine. But then come the other times. The harder times. This is one of those times. I'm feeling sad about all that we're missing out on by not being close to our family and I'm feeling guilty about all that they're missing out on by not seeing our kids grow up in person.

During Andy's three years in seminary, I can't think of a prayer that I prayed more than the prayer to move back home when Andy was finished. Clearly, God had other plans for us. I do believe that this is where we're supposed to be, but it's really hard sometimes. My feelings are probably amplified by the fact that I have a new niece that I won't get to see much, we have a little baby who they won't get to again until he's one, and our next trip home isn't until after Christmas. Sigh.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think it also makes the times that we do have together that much sweeter. Like these moments of meeting baby Ava for the first time.And other fun family times:

Grady snuggling up with Auntie LoriWhile the guys were out at the New Glarus Brewery tour, we ladies stayed back and gave each other pedicures. My toes were in desperate need. Auntie Lori took on the job of making Bella's feet pretty. Grandma Debbie and her Kilps grandkids. Burp cloth is strategically placed. If it's not spit-up, it's drool. You always end up with a wet shoulder one way or another after holding this kid.Friday was zoo day. It had been a while since my last visit to the Milwaukee Zoo.

Bella's been on an alligator kick lately (we play make-believe and she always likes to be an alligator while Graydon and I get to be koala bears). I loved getting these wax molds when I was a kid and am glad to pass the tradition on to Bella. The fish were a big hit. Grandpa Mike with the Kilps grandkids. . . . and with Grady Boy. I forgot to get photos of my Dad with Graydon during my last visit, and wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. We celebrated my Dad's 60th birthday. Our family is growing fast. We're all here, except Lori. With our size, it's hard to get everyone together at the same time. This was pretty close. Grandpa with his grandkids (plus Kristen & Jeff).Grady Boy loves Auntie Steph. . . and Uncle Jeff!Sydney just woke up and is a very happy girl. After the week in Kenosha was up, we drove out to Verona. Bella had so much fun playing with her cousins. This was the first of many popcorn snacks throughout the week. We took a little trip to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum and rode the train. Here are some photos from that afternoon.

Graydon also loves Auntie Laura. . .

and Uncle Tim!More fun with the cousins. Bella is already excited for their visit out here in August!We got to see one of my best girls, Jenny, who I haven't seen in a while. Both of us moved away from Kenosha and weren't home at the same times. Recently, she and her family moved about a half hour away from Andy's parents; which meant that we could get together!!! It was so much fun to spend time with them.We started our trek back to New Jersey on Sunday afternoon and finished up on Monday. Both kids did really well on both trips. Both needed a little TLC at different stages, but that is to be expected. Bella kept herself entertained with the dvd player. I believe she is watching 'Hairspray' in this picture and had the "Nicest Kids in Town" song on repeat. We listened to that song at least 15 times.Graydon liked to look out the window.One quick funny: Before our trip, we kept telling Bella that we were going to Wisconsin. When we got there, we went to Grandma & Grandpa Benetti's house for a while and then stayed the night with Auntie Mary. Bella kept saying that she wanted to go to Wisconsin. We were confused and told her several times we told her that we were in Wisconsin. This continued for a while until she said that she left her kitty cat in Wisconsin. It was then that we realized that, in her 3-year-old mind, 'Wisconsin' was really Grandma & Grandpa's house.