Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So lucky

So very lucky.

Big Sister Quote of the Day XVI

I don't wanna feed da baby all by myself because... because... I'm naked!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Plans for the future

While watching "A whole new world" from Alladin:

Ellie: Hey, Mommy, I have an idea!
Mommy: What's that?
Ellie: I know what we can do!
Mommy: What?
Ellie: When we bof get bigger, do you want to ride on a carpet wif me?
Mommy: A magic carpet ride?
Ellie: Yeah, jus like Princes Jasmine and dis guy?
Mommy: I would love to! That would be fun!
Ellie: It would be lots of fun. Dat's a good idea, right Mommy?
Mommy: Right.
Ellie: But not today. Maybe when we're bof bigger.
Mommy: Ok.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

As hectic as I sometimes feel like the holidays are, I am reminded that it's really all about two small things. Nothing else matters.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mary Did You Know?

Have you ever heard the song "Mary did you know?"

Let's for a moment forget the fact that Mary was a virgin (I think she'd be a little suspicious about what was going on if she were)...

The words really hit me hard. In particular, "Mary did you know... And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God."

It makes me think about my own children differently. When I'm holding Addie, she's just a little baby so dependent on me. Mary's baby was the same. I'm guessing she had no idea (though I'm sure I'll be told wrong). It's impossible to imagine all the things a little baby can do when they depend on you for absolutely everything.

My baby Addie may never walk on water or calm a storm with her hand, but imagine the things she may be able to accomplish?? Maybe she will rule the nations? Or maybe she'll start smaller like give sight to a blind man? Give hearing to the deaf?

The point is that I just don't know the amazing things this little baby might accomplish in her life. I don't know what sorts of technologies she's going to help create. I don't know the lives she will change. All I know is that she changed mine.

I look at my children, and though they may not be "the son of God," I am awed by the thought of everything they are and will be in years to come. I am humbled to know that all they need right now is for me to hold them and love them.
Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Big square with a holy moly inside

Our recent favorite toy is a set of blocks that each have a letter on them. We make squares out of them and long rainbows. Ellie wanted to make a really really big square so we set out to make the biggest square possible. If the square is filled in, the biggest possible is 5x5, but she wasn't satisfied. That square was the same size as all the other squares we made yesterday. So Mommy had a good idea and made a square without blocks inside. The biggest we can make is 7x7, with two blocks left over.

Mommy: Where do we put the two extra blocks?
Ellie: We can just put them in here (places them inside the square).
Mommy: Wow! That's a big square!
Ellie: Holy moly!
Mommy: It's a holy moly square, look Daddy!
Daddy: Wow! That's a big square with a lot of holy moly inside of it!
Ellie: (removes the two extra blocks) Now it's just a big square, Daddy. The holy moly is all gone, Daddy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WOW! I say WOW!!!

Check it out! The Prosthetics program that I was a part of in MD has made it to the cover of National Geographic! How awesome is that?!?

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about that project. I have never before, and most likely never will again, had an opportunity to be involved in such an important project. Imagine the number of lives that can and will be changed with this new "bionic arm"?!? As an engineer, you can not ask for a more rewarding program.

Or can you? I was only involved at the beginning of the game. I helped design one of the nodes that moved the wrist and the node that would provide tactile feedback to the patient - way back when the Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program started in 2006. Unfortunately it was such an aggressive program that it burnt out a lot of fantastic engineers. I "got out" just in time because Ellie was born the Spring of 2007 and we moved back to Colorado to be closer to family in early 2008.

I didn't get burnt out. It's a shame when I think of the effect that this program had on some of my amazing colleagues, but what do they think now? They're on the cover of National Geographic! Look at what their hard work has resulted in?! People said it couldn't be done. I'm not sure how many of us engineers believed we could actually do it, but we did. Or they did - finished what I started.

Part of me wishes I had stayed to the end of the project, but I know that I would have been burnt out too. Who knows what kind of effect it would have had on my family life. A demanding project like that does not mesh well with starting a new family. But I can not express how proud I am that I was involved, even if just at the beginning, and how proud I am of those I used to work next to for pulling it all off. There are some amazing engineers out there and I had the honor of being in their presence, and possibly even considered as one of them.

I hope my daughters are proud of their Mommy. I'm sure they'll be proud of their Daddy because he does all sorts of things for NASA (the only way you can get cooler than that is if you're an actual astronaut), but maybe they will look at this one piece of technology and know that once upon a time, their Mommy wasn't too shabby either.

Wordless Wednesday XX

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big Sister Quote of the Day XV

After showing Ellie her ornament for the year, she brings it up to her little sister and says, "See Addie? Is me and is you. I made it for you! See?"

Monday, December 21, 2009

A little rough

This weekend was a little rough on us. I think it's harder on Ellie to spend the whole weekend seeing how much we need to focus on Addie, but it's harder on Addie to spend the whole weekend without us being able to focus on her. In the end, it was a little rough.

On Saturday I met a good friend of mine for lunch and Ellie wanted to come with us. I took Addie and apparently Ellie had a minor meltdown after I left. That evening I had plans to go to dinner with another friend of mine who was in town, and I decided to swap. Ellie went with me to dinner and Addie stayed home with Daddy.

Ellie was very good at dinner. She was a little shy and didn't really like my friend too much, but she ate all her food (almost NEVER happens) and was very well behaved. Once we were home again and I was walking Dan to the door, I had the following conversation with Ellie:

Mommy: I'm going to walk Dan to the door now. Do you want to give him a hug?
Ellie: No.
Mommy: Ok, I'll be right back.
Ellie: Hey, Mommy?
Mommy: Yes, Ellie?
Ellie: Mommy, dank you to bring me to dinner wif you.

Oh man, make my heart melt! She was so appreciative for me bringing her with me! And apparently my reaction to her thank you was a good one because she's told me thanks for bringing her to dinner half a dozen times since then. She really is a sweetie.

The talk

I've already mentioned how the Disney on Ice show resulted in mixed feelings. One of the more negative ones was the result of the scene in Lion King where Simba's dad dies. Ellie was quite concerned about the lion and kept asking "where the other lion go?" Not thinking that the Denver Coliseum was the appropriate venue to have that conversation, we told her that he went behind the curtain to rest. I don't think she bought it because she kept asking about the other lion. Later that day, she asked me "The other lion go behind curtain to rest?" just to confirm that my answer hadn't changed.

She's a smart cookie. At what age do kids learn about death? At what age do you talk to them about it? I know what someone who believes in Heaven would say, but I'm curious about what parents say when they don't (Salina, what do you plan to tell your kids?). I certainly don't want her to learn about that for the first time from school (the radio show recently talked about a lady's 3-year old daughter telling the kids at school that their mommies were going to die), but I simply don't know how or when to bring it up.

I know that the biggest reason for my hesitation is that she's only 2.5 years old. She's too innocent, isn't she? The darkest things she should have to worry about are why the thistles are chasing Tinker Bell and why they make a mess that she has to clean up. Or why Izzy at school won't share her toys with Ellie. Aren't those the type of dark thoughts that a 2 year old should have to deal with?

On the other hand, she does seem to have a lot of anxiety about losing Mommy or Daddy (blame Finding Nemo). I'm assuming that's normal, but maybe it's not? Maybe it's my way into the conversation?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going to see Santa

Walking down the mall to see Santa (who we ended up not standing in line for because Ellie was scared, but she did wave to him and he waved back), Ellie was yelling quite loudly:

Santa, where ARE you? Santa? Where ARE you? Santa, we goning find you! Santa? Where are you? We goning find you!

All baby wants for Christmas

Mommy: And what do you think Addie wants for Christmas?
Ellie: Umm... a button.
Mommy: A button?
Ellie: A BLUE button.

All I want for Christmas

Mommy: Ellie, we're going to go see Santa today!
Ellie: Oh?
Mommy: What are you going to tell him you want for Christmas?
Ellie: Uh... I want purple pincess and green pince.

Why does this girl always have to challenge me?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decorating the Tree 2009

A couple weekends ago (Thanksgiving, sorry for the delay) Ellie helped us decorate the Christmas Tree. She loved wearing the garland, ornaments and tree skirt as her new princess costume.
As I'm sure every toddler does, she wanted to hang all the ornaments at her level so that she could see them. The result is that we have a tree with "sections." Here you see the section with all of her ornaments.
Here is the section with all the cute little glass ornaments. We thought about not putting up the glass ones, but Ellie insisted. Or was that Aunt Erin? There was something about how the ornament would have its feelings hurt if it couldn't go up on the tree.
And finally, here is the blue bulb section.

Ellie was quite proud of being able to decorate the tree by herself. She would take an ornament out, straighten the hook and try to hang it on the tree. When I tried to show her that the hook needed to bend around the branch, she said "No, let me show you, Mommy." She'd once again straighten the hook and put the ornament on the tree. "See, Mommy? Let me show you again." I'm not sure how she got so many ornaments to stick without bent hooks, but she did try to show me her secret technique.

Later, when we tried to spread out her clumps of ornaments, she got really upset and insisted that we would put them back. I guess Mommy should know better.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh yeah, and that too

Last weekend we went to see Disney on Ice with Ellie. It ended up being a roller coaster day in terms of emotions. On one hand, she loved the show and wanted to see more. On the other hand, she was exhausted and an absolute monster that evening.

As soon as the show was over, though, she wanted to rush home to tell Daddy all about the fissles (thistles) that were casing (chasing) Tinker Bell. They made a mess and weren't very nice until Tinker Bell said "No dank you, fissles! No dank you!"

That night, though, she had her first real nightmare. She cried and cried about how she doesn't like the octopus (I'm assuming from the Little Mermaid segment of the show).

(crying the whole time)
Ellie: I don't like the octopus.
Mommy: Oh, did you have a bad dream?
Ellie: Yeah, can you get rid of it?
Mommy: It was just a dream. The next one will be better.
Ellie: I don't like the octopus.
Mommy: Where's Bun Bun? She'll keep you safe.
Ellie: I don't like the octopus.
Daddy: How about the star night light? We'll turn it on and it will keep you safe.
Ellie: I don't like the octopus.
Mommy: Do you want to turn on your night time music?
Daddy: Yeah, that will help too!
Ellie: I don't like the octopus.
Mommy: Uh...
Daddy: Uh...
Ellie: Is just pretend right?
Mommy: Oh, right! Yes, it's just pretend! I was going to say that.
Ellie: Octopus is just pretend.
Daddy: You're so smart.

** I hate it when I can't think of the right thing to say. Ellie did it for me! And to think this also would have been a perfect opportunity to remind her of her special rock under her pillow (which I did the following night). Oh well, next time I will know to start off with reminding Ellie that her night mare is not real.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Camera Smiles

Anyone who has a young infant knows that these are hard to come by. There is something about the magic red light on a camera that makes a smile disappear instantly. Anyway, enjoy...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ellie's Performance

What a difference a year makes! Below is a video of Ellie and her friend Brynnie during last year's Christmas performance. Brynnie is absolutely adorable bouncing around, while Ellie mostly just stands there staring at Gapa in the audience, however at the end she steps up and shows how well she knows her sign language. They were so sweet it makes me want to cry.
And here are the girls in this year's performance. Please excuse the slightly obnoxious "Oh come on" that I said because the teacher kept getting in the way. I was, however, able to get Ellie on camera by holding the camera high in the air. I'm so proud of my little girl, though. She knew all the words! Pay close attention to the part of the song where they say "Rodolph with your nose so bright..." because Ellie's voice is the only one you can here. She's just so cute sitting on the step singing as loudly as she could (she was hoarse afterwards). Brynnie, as precious as always, is standing behind her in adorable pigtails.
After the girls sang their songs, the older kids did their performance and Ellie kept asking when it would be her turn again. So, at the end of the show, we went back up to the stage to sing again. Can two girls be any cuter together? I doubt it.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby files complaint; no one takes action

Tid-Bits VI

I love how when Addie naps with me, she sleeps better if her hands are in mine. I love holding those tiny fingers!

I love how Ellie answers a yes/no question with the word "yes" and not "yeah." It's a small thing but you'd be surprised at how noticeable it is and how adorably proper she sounds.

I love how most of the time, Ellie answers with "yes please" and "no thank you" and usually says "welcome" after someone thanks her. Even if you ask her something like "can I have a sip of your juice, Ellie?" she'll respond "No thank you" or "yes please." She's so polite!

I love how Ellie knows so many words to so many songs. It continually impresses me.

I love how Ellie thinks that if you get an eye booger out of her eye, she can make a wish. She'll blow on it and wish for something. Eye booger wishes are just as good as eyelash wishes.

I love how Ellie likes to read books to me. It's impressive to see how many words she has memorized and interesting to see which ones are more meaningful to her (and thus she knows those words).

I love that Ellie often says "and smart too" after someone tells her she's cute or silly. We owe that one to Great Aunt Pat.

I love how I can hold Addie. Just hold her. Like a baby should be held.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I can't stop thinking about "It"

Ok, I should have written about this long ago but I thought it would pass.

I'm being haunted by something I heard on the radio a few weeks BEFORE Addie was born. 2.5 months, people! And I still can't stop having nightmares about "It."

One of the radio stations in town does a section every afternoon of "Other People's Problems" where someone writes or calls in a problem and other listeners call in their solutions. The problem on this particular day started out as a pregnant woman who thought she was having a boy but when the ultrasound revealed that the baby was a girl, she no longer felt attached to the baby. She no longer really even wanted to be pregnant and felt like it was someone else's baby. Most of the listeners called in saying things like "Oh, that happened to me, and the feeling goes away the moment you hold your baby for the first time."

But then there was a lady who called in to say that she went through a similar thing during her pregnancy. Her story went something like this:

I thought I was having a boy and was so excited. Then I found out it was a girl and I didn't want it anymore. When it was born, I was hoping the ultrasound was wrong, but It still wasn't a boy. I didn't want It, but I was obligated to take It. I fed It. I bathed It. I changed Its diapers, but I never loved It. I make sure It's warm and dressed but I have never been attached to It. It calls me Mommy, but It's Daddy gives It the love It needs.

She went on and on for a good 5 minutes telling her story and NEVER ONCE referred to her daughter as just that - her DAUGHTER. She ALWAYS used the word "It." It was bone-chilling. When the DJs asked her old her daughter was, she responded "I think it's almost 3 now."

How crazy is that? Ok, I can understand taking a long time to attach to your baby because they're so demanding and they give nothing back in return. But a child who is almost 3 has laughter and explores the world. They give you hugs and kisses. They tell you they love you. They get excited about seeing anything you show them for the first time. The love smiley face pancakes and walks around the block to see Christmas lights. They love to put blankets over their heads and pretend to be ghosts or princesses, whichever suits the mood. They run everywhere they go. They say funny things like "No pretend mac and cheese for you Mommy, you get beans and sausage!"

How can you NOT feel for a child with such a big personality, let alone one who is yours. Your very own child. Yours. She idols you. Yours. YOUR DAUGHTER!!!

Ok, people. There you have it. It was so bone-chilling to hear this lady talk about her daughter for so long and never once call her anything other than "It" that now I have nightmares about it. I want to find the little girl and give her a hug and adopt her and show her that she is loved.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silent Niffer

Silent Niffer. Holy Niffer. All is calm. All is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child.

Wait. That's not me.

I'm back from a couple days of silence. It's actually been longer than you think, but we'll keep the actual number a secret.

We've had a couple bad days with Addie. She still wakes a couple times in the early mornings and sometimes it's hard to put her back to sleep, but what has really made the last two days difficult is that she's suddenly switched to taking only 15-20 minute naps during the day. That's just not going to cut it. Mommy needs to sleep longer than that.

The annoying thing about her waking up is that I KNOW it's because she has to fart or poop. Can someone please tell me how you teach a baby that it's really ok to fart during times when she's NOT in her Mommy's arms? It's like this little girl is convinced that I need to be holding her in order for her to have a successful bowel movement. Sure that sounds all sweet now, but you wouldn't think so at 3:00 in the morning. Unless you're reading this at 3:00 in the morning.

Anyway, if I can just get passed that then I think things would be fantastic. It's frustrating to always be wondering if Addie isn't sleeping long because she's too tired or not tired enough. Do I keep her up longer (she typically can only stay awake for an hour) or do I put her down earlier (the last few days she's ready for a nap only 15 minutes after waking).

So, sorry about the silent Niffer. We've also had a couple difficult and grumpy days with Ellie, so I can't even fall back on her cute stories as a back-up. However, I'm sure I'll return soon.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Big Sister Quote of the Day XIV

In one hand, holding out a Bun-Bun wrapped in a blanket, she says "See? It's a baby Bun Bun." Then holding out another Bun-Bun, she says "And see? It's a big sissa Bun Bun."

Ninja Baby

How do you spell "Waaaaa"???

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bah Humbug!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Birthday Earth

I was told about a pretty cool product that I thought I'd share. Take a look:
This is what the Earth looked like when Addie was born.
And here is the Earth when Ellie was born.

I got the images from Birthday Earth. Email me if you want a coupon code for 50% off (expires end of 2009).

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Most bizarre thing I've ever owned

Michael's aunt gave us some handmade bears that she did herself. Aren't they cute? So why would I claim that these are the most bizarre things I've ever owned? I asked her to make them for me. No, that's not why. Wait for it... wait for it...

The bears are made out of Merlin's hair. Yes! I'm not kidding you! Do you remember his first haircut? You're probably thinking to yourself, "She didn't!?" to which I have to say "I did!" I think I'm going to have to blame the pregnancy for that idea because I can't fathom why I would have ever thought to make bears out of my dog's hair if it weren't for my hormones going crazy.

Believing in something

Someone recently asked me when we will start taking Ellie to church. Not being much of a church-goer, I said we didn't have such plans. She then responded with "How is she going to believe in anything then? She needs to believe in something."

I'm curious... many of my readers are religious and attend church regularly. Others are not. What do you guys think?

Do I have to send my children to church in order for them to believe in something? Is it even fair for me to pretend to be a church-goer when I really am not? What if I want them to be open to other religions? This person obviously was thinking of a Christian church, but would she be ok if I told her that we've decided to sign Ellie up for a Jewish school?

If I want my children to grow up and make their own decision on which religion they want to believe, what's the best way to do that?

In my ideal world, I envision picnics and hikes where my daughters and I sit and ponder how wonderful God must be to have made such a beautiful and complicated world. Is that not enough?

Is it not enough that Ellie and I sing "I see the moon and the moon sees me... God bless the moon and God bless me and God bless the one I want to see. God looked down from up above and he picked you out for me to love...?"

What do you think? If you're a more religious person than I, I'd like to know how you feel - if your goal was for your children to make their own decisions on religion, would you feel that church was required? If you're not a religious person, but have the same goal, what's your approach?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


OH MY GOSH! What a special moment! Ellie drew me a picture, but what was special about the picture is that it actually almost, sort of kind of looks like what she said she drew. She was even telling Nana how to draw flowers:

Firs you go dis (draws a big line down the page). Firs you go dis (draws another line down the page). Firs you go dis circles (draws the flower on top of the stem).

Not too bad. Mommy's so proud. And she drew them for me! I'm the luckiest mother around.