Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Have headband, will sing

Chip and our neighbor Don swapped out the television and all of the components in our living room armoire on Saturday. It was an undertaking. And one best done without the assistance of a three-year-old with incessant questions and an eight-month-old who just wants to crawl, preferably up your leg.

So, Mary Clare, Charlie and I retreated to the second floor while Chip and Don wrestled wires and plugged and unplugged everything countless times. Mary Clare quickly became bored with the laundry game (I have to try), and she wasn't up for Charlie destroying everything she tried to build with blocks, so I asked her if she wanted to do a short video to send to Brennan.

One video quickly turned into five, and the more time she spent performing, the more she loved herself. Seriously. If you listen closely to the second video, at the very beginning she whispers "I beautiful," to her reflection.

I just don't know what to say. But alarming as it is, I cannot help but admire her self confidence. And apparently Charlie cannot help but appreciate the entertainment value. Love his hearty little chortles.


As for the subject matter -- priiincessss, priiincesss -- well, what four-year-old boy wouldn't go cuckooo to see his little cousin flounce around and sing about all things royal. Poor B. Pretty sure he was underwhelmed by Mary Clare's performance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's on

Apparently, Alexandra's classmates have had it with her bullying ways. If they're not fussing about a stolen toy or a less-than-gentle touch, they're claiming that they don't like it when you sit on them. Babies.

Since her peers no longer want to play her reindeer games, Alexandra decided to take it up a notch. She tried to mix it up with her teacher. Sherri was nice enough to share a photo of Alexandra's "my day" sheet. Check out the line below the orange highlighted sentence. 

My guess is that the sad face is representative of the teacher's feelings about the matter, because Sherri said it's pretty clear that aggression does not make Alexandra the least bit sad. I do, however, really admire the the teacher's optimism. 

Here's hoping that today is better! And the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Her turn

We got a small taste of the green-eyed monster Wednesday night while we were taking Charlie's eight month photos. In all honesty, Mary Clare was perfectly patient and helpful. She just really wanted to be in the photos. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready for her to join Charlie, he was over it. While the combination made for comical photos, it did make Mary Clare a little sad. The poor thing just wanted to take some pictures with her brother. And you can see how well that went.

So even though we were well past bedtime, I told her we would go take some photos just of her.

Boom! Just like that her face lit up, and she said, "In my room. Come, mommy!" and raced off down the hall. I entered her room and found her carefully seated in her rocking chair. I started taking photos, but just like that she jumped up and informed me she needed a book. So there she sat, reading away while I snapped a few pictures. The lighting is horrible and she is grimier than all get out, but it was really too sweet for words. So I'm sharing.

I should also note that this may very well be the first time since babyhood that a picture of a bow-less Mary Clare has appeared on the blog. Let's all take a moment to recognize the bow that gets tossed during play time every day, never to be returned to those smooth brown locks until the next morning when her mother places it with great care (and hope) in her hair once again. Sigh. Clearly, those kids in her new classroom are a bad influence.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scenes from a snow day


Sadly, not a St. Louis snow day. What a joke that was. 

But rather than hate on Kansas City for getting all the good snow, let's revel in the adorableness that is Brennan and Alexandra all bundled up for some winter fun. 

Sherri reported that Brennan was more brave this year and would sled by himself from the hill encircling the pond down into their garden area (sledding is fun when you have acreage). And Alexandra, well, is anyone really surprised that she didn't blink an eye about being pushed down a hill in a sled all by her lonesome? The girl loved it. Loved it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Charlie, eight months

Holy mobility. Those two words pretty much sum up the last month for Mr. Charlie. In case you couldn't tell from the ridiculous photos, there is no stopping the boy.

He isn't truly crawling yet, but a pre-army crawl of sorts will take him pretty much wherever he needs to go. Charlie can go from his belly back to his bottom (his downward dog form is excellent) and he is really starting to pull himself up on things. He typically seeks out wherever his sister is playing, much to her dismay. We are currently thanking my dad for making Mary Clare's kitchen set as sturdy as he did because all those handles and drawers are an eight month old's dream. I pay the price for this new mobility as well. Yesterday's target was my bathroom drawer. In the blink of an eye Charlie had the drawer open and was waving around the organizing tray like a trophy. Of course, along with this new pulling up skill comes its own share of bumps and bruises. Charlie sported a pretty little shiner on his forehead after learning that what goes up, must come down after a run in with our desk.
We are at eight months, and still no teeth. I'm not sure why I'm surprised. I checked where Mary Clare was at this point, and she didn't have teeth, either. Luckily, this has not squelched his appetite, although the boy does have some definite opinions about what he likes and doesn't like. The list of foods isn't nearly as long or as grand as it was with Mary Clare (summer foods vs. winter foods is what I tell myself), but he's had green beans, peas, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pears, plums, mangoes and apples. I'm hoping to work some nectarines and additional squashes in during this week's baby food making session.
Charlie's not jabbering as much as he was last month, but we still hear the ba ba ba and da da da sounds from time to time. Thankfully, he is as happy as ever, although he does seem to be going through a bit of a mom phase. This was never the case with Mary Clare, so I'm trying not to rub it in too much to Chip when Charlie clings to me. Because I'm not a feeling hurter like some people I know.
The January and February photo sets are sadder than sad, but I've linked to them nonetheless. Maybe the public shaming will force me to upload photos.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My match

Two posts in one day! It looks like I am feeling the love today as well. 

Every Valentine's day, I receive a cute little email from the Mizzou Alumni Association reminding Chip and I that we are a Mizzou match. Even though we didn't know one another while we were at Mizzou (still not sure how that happened), I do love being a Mizzou match. And I do love my matchee.

Happy Valentine's day, dear husband. You're grrrrreat.

Feeling the love

Happy Valentine's Day!

In case you can't tell, Mary Clare is pumped about Valentine's day this year. Or, according to her, Balentine's day. (Vs are hard.) If Mary Clare were typing, this post, she would say: We brought STRAWBERRIES for the wed and white pawty! And BALENTINES! With WINGS (rings)! For my FWIENDS!

(Okay, a lot of letters are hard to pronounce when you're three.)

Here's hoping that you get all kinds of balentines with wings. And that you are feeling the love today as well. And hopefully it's a kinder, gentler version of the love that Mary Clare is unleashing on her brother in these pictures.

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

While we're on the subject of praying

It seems little Alexandra could use some of our prayers. Fear not, she is healthy as a horse and just as happy as ever. What she is not, I fear, is patient. 

For weeks Brian and Sherri have been getting reports from school that Alexandra sometimes tries to steal her friends' food, has trouble sharing, is prone to wrestling with her classmates and yes, will even sit on her peers from time to time. 

So, yes. My niece is a bully. (But a very cute bully.)  

Upon her arrival home last night, Brennan greeted Sherri with a curt, "Mom, Alex was bad at school today." 

The daily report from Alexandra's teacher confirmed it:

Alexandra has been bad about pulling on her classmates' shirts, lying on them and being forceful. It makes them and Alex sad.

So, while I don't like to see that my little niece is sad, or a bully, I'm sorry, but that sh*t is funny.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Get your prayer on

My parents spent the weekend in Kansas City with the Joneses. In addition to doing a lot of farming with Papa Thole, Brennan also found some time to create some artwork for Mary Clare and Great Grandma Thole. Mary Clare received a handmade book featuring pictures of Brennan and Papa at the fire station, as well as carefully stapled book tucked full of tickets, also known as small pieces of carefully cut paper I will be finding around the house for months to come. Great Grandma Thole was a bit luckier in the art department and received a completely precious foam cross emblazoned with the word "God" across it. You know, just so there's no confusion.

My dad delivered the cross to my grandma this afternoon, and she was genuinely delighted by it. She immediately had dad hang it in her room, and was quite complimentary of Brennan's handiwork.

Sherri relayed this to Brennan, and their conversation went a little something like this:

S: Brennan, Great Grandma really loved her cross.
B: Was she so excited?
S: She was so excited.
B: Did she yell?
S: No, I don't think she yelled.
B: Did she hop out of her bed?
S: No, I don't think so.
B: Well, now she can pray to God.

I think the current favorite phrase of Brennan's equally devout cousin Mary Clare says it best: Lord have mercy.

For real, I am still laughing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Muriel, the most beautiful princess of them all

Considering he works in sales, I find it somewhat baffling that Chip is terrible with names. I mean, he's downright horrible. As in I frequently have to tell him the names of his extended family members and their spouses. Yet he does well at his job. Maybe it's the name badges everyone wears?

So it was no surprise that when Mary Clare started getting into Sesame Street,  Chip needed some help with the character names. I will admit to frequently getting Zoe and Abby Cadabby confused (they are new, after all), but we're a year in, and Chip is still hard pressed to tell you who is Ernie and who is Bert. Don't even ask him to name Snuffleupagus.

Well, as you can imagine, if the Sesame Street characters were a problem for a boy who grew up on Sesame Street, then the Disney princesses are a really big problem. Chip can identify Cinderella and Belle 95 percent of the time, and he usually knows which princess goes with which movie, but it's never good when Mary Clare puts him on the spot and asks him to name the princesses. 

So you can imagine how entertained I was when Chip told Mary Clare that her new red-headed princess doll is named Muriel. 

Ah, such a pretty name. What little girl wouldn't want to be Princess Muriel?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kids in the woods

Sherri and Brian dropped Brennan and Alexandra off in the woods this weekend to do a little exploring. In their defense, it was nice outside. And they gave them each a pudding pack for the road. 

They're not completely heartless parents. 

And when the kids finally found their way back home, B and Alex were kind enough to stop and pose for a photo before going inside. Those kids are well trained, I'm telling you. They could teach the dogs a thing or two. 

Sherri said it was hard to keep Alexandra in one place, but I don't know, this looks pretty impressive to me. That girl can move. And fight. Just ask the kids in her classroom. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pearly whites

This morning, as I got Mary Clare ready for school, she blessed me with one of her cheesy grins. After I complimented her on her beautiful smile, she said, "Mommy, now you show me your teef." After I obliged her with an equally cheesy grin, she said, "Your teef look good for work." And then she paused, did the three-year-old version of jazz hands and sang, "At Maaaaritzzzz!" 

After a compliment and send off like that, how could I not be pumped to go into the office? 

Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope your teef are work-ready as well.