Saturday, December 29, 2007

Have a breastfeeding question?

Ask Reiley! For those of you who might not know, Jen is a leader for La Leche League International, a support organization for breastfeeding mothers. Part of Jen's job is to answer phone calls from moms (and dads, grandmas, friends) who have questions about breastfeeding their babies. Reiley has watched these phone calls for the past year, and now has suggestions for common breastfeeding issues. Sore nipples? Use "that cream that comes in the purple tube" on your nipples, and "nurse your baby when he is hungry." Latch not quite right? "Can you see you baby swallowing?" This picture is of Jen and Reiley having simultaneous conversations with Moms.

Watch this video to see the young breastfeeding counselor in action. Unlike Jen, she ends her calls with "Do you have anything else to tell me? I love you! Bye!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Ainsley

Our little lady is one! It's hard to believe - this time last year, our world was in upheaval from this little tiny bundle. Over the year we've all found our new place in the family, and it's hard to remember what our family was like without her! Here's the birthday lady with Grammi (Kevin's mom) Reiley and our friend Carter helped Ainsley blow out the candles (and tear into her cake, of course).
Ainsley was pleasantly surprised that the ladybug's attenae was a pretzel (one of her favorites).
Opening her present from Reiley (she's a big fan of tissue paper).
More presents with Mommy and Reiley (it's hard to keep a 3-year-old away from presents!)

She's doing a lot of talking now, and she has little signs she makes to let us know what songs she wants us to sing (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Five Little Monkeys). This video shows some of her talking and tricks.

Hunt for the Perfect Tree

At the beginning of this month (yeah, I'm a little behind), I was itching to go get our Christmas tree. The year Kevin and I got married, we started the tradition of going to a tree farm about 40 minutes from St. Louis, riding out on the wagon to the fields and find the perfect tree. I look forward to it every year, and I was SO excited that it would be Ainsley's first year to come with us! I like to get the tree as quickly after Thanksgiving as possible, so I decided this was probably the only weekend that we could do it. Saturday's weather forecast was rain all day. Feeling some anxiety, I hoped and wished that Sunday would clear up. Late Saturday night, I checked the forecast - clear for Sunday! We excitedly put on our clothes Sunday morning and get packed up for the car when Kevin checks the weather again - rain starting in the morning. I decide we'll take our chances, and we set off in the car. Forty-five minutes later, we get to the farm, where the sky looks ominously dark. We stop in the tree farm gift shop for a potty break and to say hello to Santa. Reiley was lured over to Santa by his candy canes, but declined a seat on his lap. (Notice Ainsley's "Don't think about touching me" face)

As we leave Santa to head out the door, we see and hear torrential rain falling. Drenched families sprint into the gift shop. We and other farm-goers try to wait out the storm. After 25 minutes, it's still raining and we're getting hungry. I try to swallow my disappointment as we drive to the nearest McDonald's to eat and wait out the storm. Some burgers and chicken nuggets later, it's still raining. We make the decision to head home and get a tree at a Christmas tree lot near our house (so so so sad). Feeling disappointment at this less-than-ideal turn of events, I try to explain the new plan to Reiley, who readily accepts it, while I sit in the front seat wiping away tears. (Yes, I realize this is slightly pathetic as I am 26 :-). ) Kevin, being ever so patient with me, tries to comfort me through my ridiculousness on the ride home. We arrive at the tree lot where it is now FREEZING. Do we look like we're having fun?
Ainsley's face being pummeled with wind. Staying dry in the car while awesome Daddy ties the tree to the top of the car. Everyone toughed it out so that Mommy could get her tree. It makes me realize that at Christmas (and every day) I am grateful to have a family that accepts and loves all of me (even the obsessively crazy parts!) I hope you are all having a loving holiday season!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Young Bridge Engineer

Reiley was stacking some lacing beads yesterday and informed me that she was building columns. Bridge columns that is. I knew that Kevin would be jumping out of his seat at the hope that Reiley is some kind of bridge design prodigy, so I whipped out the camera! I gave her a lasagna noodle to be the road, and she worked very diligently to build 4 columns and played with the spacing to get the noodle to balance. Here is her finished product:

She'll tell you more about it in the video.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Adventures of the Running Fairy Princess and her Bunny

Our Halloween adventures started with a trip to Thies Farm for "Pumpkinland". We had to go fairly late in the season because of temperatures in the 80s during much of October (global warming - still scaring me!!). The low heat tolerance of #1 (as Kevin and I call Reiley doing "code-talk") kept us away until the weekend before Halloween, but we enjoyed a beautiful, blustery fall day at the farm. Here they are proudly toting their pumpkins.
We carved them outside and Ainsley enjoyed mixing the pumpkin goop around with the spoon and trying to eat it. Reiley is sporting a nightgown, which she wore to preschool for their Halloween party.
The long-anticipated night arrived, and our little ladies morphed into a "Running Fairy Princess" and a bunny. Reiley said that she wanted to be a fairy who runs, not flies, because "Mom, I can't really fly in the air". Ainsley even wore her little bunny hood, which I think makes her face look even rounder and more squeezable:-).
Ainsley literally lunging for chocolate at Grammi's house (hey, I completely understand the feeling).
Reveling in the chocolate coma - Ainsley chose my favorite, Snickers!
Another Halloween is over, but we are zooming ahead into the rest of the Holiday season (need I say again how much I love the fall!!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Go Ainsley Go!

Ainsley started crawling this week! Being the crazy camera-toting Mom I am, I have been wearing my camera on my hip because I saw it coming, and I caught it on tape. True to herself, it was not a toy, but food that lured Ainsley into crawling (that girl loves to eat!).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods

We had some more fall fun a few weekends ago in Central Illinois visiting my parents. It was a beautiful day (though still more like summer than fall - global warming is scary!!). We took a trip to the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, which was the perfect zoo for my kids. Yes, we love our expansive St. Louis Zoo with all its thrills, but Springfield's Zoo was small, very walkable, quiet, and relaxing. There was a cute little playground that the girls loved, and Reiley (formerly slide-shy) went down the "Huge slide, Mommy!" for 15 minutes straight.

After Zooing, we Grandpa and Reiley had a jam session. My parents got Reiley a guitar for her birthday and has been enjoying playing, but her strokes are much more confident after carefully watching Grandpa's technique. You can scroll down and watch a Live and Uncut version of Old McDonald.
We also played at a playground close to my parents' house, where Ainsley was WAY excited to be sliding right next to Reiley (over and over again).
I wanted to include a classic picture of Petersburg (my hometown). Kevin, being the city boy he is, insisted that he take the girls walking through the corn (because that's apparently what people who grow up in the country do with their days - walk aimlessly through corn). Though corn walking was a huge hit with Reiley, who exclaimed "I want to walk through the corn all day long!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Step away from the Swiffer...

While Reiley and I were cleaning the bathroom the other day, Ainsley discovered the most ingenious child's toy ever made - the Swiffer. You can push it, pull it, twirl it around, pivot on your bottom while swinging it in a circle, bang it, pinch it, you use it to smack things, and, most importantly, chew on it. It is so entertaining that my attempts at swapping out the Swiffer for another toy illicited intense rage. Thirty minutes later, after using an old towel on my hands and knees to wipe up the dust, I attempted to remove the Swiffer again to change Ainsley's diaper. More fury. Solution: break apart the Swiffer so that she can hold the handle while changing the diaper - quickly reassemble Swiffer after new diaper is on.

Yet more evidence that regular household items are far more entertaining to babies than carefully sculpted plastic. Here's a movie of the Swiffer antics (Reiley got a little too close to the Swiffer for Ainsley's comfort), including Ainsley's trademark "grimace smile".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hokey Pokey, anyone?

Reiley's favorite part of preschool is singing and dancing (go figure, right?). I am amazed that songs that she already knew (Five Little Monkeys, Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, Hokey Pokey) are so much cooler when she sings them at preschool. When she is singing them at home and I try to join in, I am quickly shushed because "she's singing her preschool songs", of which I am obviously not a part. While I am very happy that she is enjoying preschool and clearly takes great ownership over what happens there, my brain is racing ahead 10 years to Reiley at 13 expressing her teen angst and yelling "Get out my life, Mom!"

Right now I'll politely stay silent, enjoy the fact that she's three, and listen to the solo choruses of Hokey Pokey.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Apple Picking Time

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I don't think it always has been, but since I've had kids it is because there is SO much to do. Apple picking, nature walks, pumpkin farms, apple cider, and most off all, no more disgusting summer heat and humidity! I feel like I can actually breathe and walk farther than my car without sweating profusely.

That said, I've been looking forward to going apple picking for several weeks. So I was less than pleased when the morning's forcast predicted a high of 89 degrees. The heat increased our frustration factor (particularly for Reiley who prefers to find the shady spot in any amount of bright sun). However, the pig races, pumpkin cannon shooting, petting zoo, and ice cream at the apple farm upped our spirits (rather, prevented a complete meltdown before we were able to get cool in the air-conditioned car). Here are some highlights:

Riding out to the fields. Reiley is trying to act cheerful, though she is sweltering and slightly crabby (there had been no ice cream at this point).

We kind of rudely sat Ainsley in the huge barrel of apples just to get a cute picture. Selfish of us - yet cute!

Last year during apple picking, Reiley sat in one of the trees (the closest this non-risk-taker has come to climbing a tree) and wanted to recreate it this year.

Ainsley spent about half an hour chewing on the apple, and Reiley in the background is clearly spent. (In retrospect, we realized she was coming down with a stomach virus, not just crabby).

Fun and sweat was had by all!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ainsley's Adventures

Ainsley is SOOOO close to crawling, but not quite there. She's rolling, doing an almost-crawl backwards, lunging forward to catapult herself towards toys, and the round-and-round pivot on her bottom. All these locomotive devices have gotten her in some adventurous places lately.

Here she managed to roll herself all the way under the futon, and couldn't figure out how to get out. Whereas Reiley would have been immediately furious, Ainsley checked out this predicament for a little while, banging her head on the bottom of the futon, and then looked at me like, "Hey, can I get some help here?"

She's figured out how to pull herself up on her knees, but is still trying to understand how to pull herself up the rest of the way. In this picture she's trying to steal the apple on the picnic table from an unsuspecting Reiley.

Her newfound mobility has made the dishwasher her favorite plaything. Just the right height to pull up on, a shelf that slides in and out, dishes to take in and out. WAY more fun than the hunks of wood and plastic in our house called toys.

Ainsley's also very interested in reading all of our grown-up books. She studies the covers, trying to pull the words off, flipping the pages, until she gets FURIOUS about something that I haven't quite figured out. That's the point when she typically chucks the book across the room in frustration.

I had forgotten how fun nine month-olds can be! So much personality, new mobility, funny babbles - all fun and games until she gets into big sister's toys, not understanding that they are carefully placed for an elaborate pretend scenario. Once she starts crawling, I forsee some brawls.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Movies Movies Movies

As promised, here are some movies of the girls. Some are new, others are oldies but goodies:

Here is a movie of our worm adventure yesterday, complete with mom commentary from me. Mom commentary seems useful when I'm talking to the kids, but now that I'm sharing it with everyone I realize the potential lameness :-). I'm coming to terms with the fact that my "cool" factor might be decreasing as I get older and plummeting even more quickly due to my mom status. Oh well, the girls think I'm funny (at least for a few more years).

Here's an oldie: Reiley practicing her guitar skills with a rousing rendition of Oh Susannah. We might be American Idol bound!

This one is of one of Ainsley's favorite pasttimes - the head-shaking game. She'll look at you (usually while she's eating in the highchair) with raised eyebrows and shake her head, waits for you to shake your head, and then shakes her head again. Looks funnier than it reads - it keeps us giggling!

And for all of the Cardinal fans out there, we'll close this blog with an inspiring round of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" by Reiley

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Attempting to be a Modern Blogger...

When you really have no idea how to do it! I occasionally read blogs and the bloggers always seem so witty and insightful. However, I don't think that I have the brain space or time for wit and wisdom. Case in point: As I sit here writing this blog, Ainsley just plucked an entire grape from the bunch I was eating. I see her chomping away and freak out, "What are you eating??" Kevin chimes in, "Oh yeah, she picked that up, I thought you saw it." WHAT?? No, I didn't, I was trying really hard to be witty and wise!

To save my children from dying while I impart my humor, I'll use the blog to keep you family and friends updated on our life and to share pictures and movies of our rapidly-growing girls. If all is calm on the homefront, you may even receive an occasional treat of my thoughts about the world. (I know, you can't wait, right?)

Here are some pictures of the girls:

Reiley has really developed a love for anything crafty. We made this bird feeder and Reiley spent about 30 minutes painting it (using this VERY serious face). What I failed to remember is that bird feeder painted with washable paint = no paint on the bird feeder after it rains. Fortunately, there was no turmoil because of the paintless bird feeder.

While Kevin was digging up weeds, he found a worm and Reiley wanted to hold it. Keep in mind this is the kid that one year ago would not touch any bugs. She spent 20 minutes keeping it as her friend, showing it the swingset (including going down the slide and steering the wheel).

Letting Ainsley touch it. Although Reiley had serious fears that Ainsley might eat it or squish him.
I'm trying to be artsy with the camera (it doesn't happen often).

Ainsley going down the slide on her tummy. Reiley is such a timid slide-goer (probably because I was a nervous first-time mom) that Kevin and I are determined to make Ainsley a slide enthusiast.

I'm tired tonight from all of this blog learning. I'll post some movies tomorrow!