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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big Sister Quote of the Day L

After a particularly short nap (Ellie has a difficult time falling asleep when she takes a nap with me at home - Daddy was out of town), Ellie woke with a VERY bad case of the crummies. We got ready with her crying the whole time, all piled into the car and were off to see Nana. After a few minutes I noticed that Ellie was no longer upset.

Mommy: Did your crummies go away?
Ellie: Yeah, dey just go'd away because Addie just looked at me and it just made me want to laugh!
Mommy: Oh good! I like it when she can make you happy.
Ellie: Yeah. Me too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Addie knows what to do

I bet at least a few of you are wondering where Addie was when the rest of us were at the wedding. Since the wedding was so late at night, Addie stayed home with some family members. Gramma watched her on Friday but it was Grampa who watched her on Thursday (so we could go to the rehearsal). It was a surprise to me that Grampa offered to watch her. I wasn't sure how he would do and apparently neither was he. After only a few minutes with Addie he acknowledged that he had no clue what to do with her, but apparently she did. From what I was told, their evening together went something like this:

Play on the floor where Addie was sitting upon Grampa's arrival.

Addie starts to fuss and Grampa looks at the clock to see he was a little late giving her dinner. Grampa takes that as a sign she's hungry.

Grampa sits Addie in the chair and she eats until she starts to fuss and pushes away the spoon when he tries to feed her. Grampa takes that as a sign she's done.

Grampa sits Addie on the floor and she crawls to the staircase and starts climbing it. Grampa takes that as a sign she's ready to go upstairs.

Into the bathroom she goes and she stands by the edge of the bath. Grampa takes that as a sign that it's bath time.

After playing in the water for a while Addie starts to fuss and stands up. Grampa takes that as a sign that bath time is over.

After dressing her and putting on a diaper, Addie crawls over to the books. Grampa takes that as a sign that it's time to read books.

When Grampa tries to read the third book, Addie takes it and throws it on the floor. Grampa takes that as a sign that story time is over.

Addie leans towards the crib, practically throwing herself towards it. Grampa takes that as a sign she wants to go to bed.

After playing for a while with the blanket over her head, Addie grabs the blanket and pulls it up under her chin and closes her eyes. Grampa says good night and leaves.

When I talked to Grampa a few days later, he was dying to know just one thing... did he or did he not put the diaper on the right way? Yep. Well done, Grampa! You done good. You done good.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Flower Girl

This last weekend Ellie and I were in Miss Lissa's (aka Miss, Melissa, Mel) wedding. We both got prettied up like princesses. I had the standard up-do and Ellie had lots and lots of curls. I'm sure Ellie loved the attention and loved getting her hair done. It made it so much more real than all the previous times she just played make-believe-princess.
But oh did she shine! I couldn't stop staring at my little girl who simply KNEW she was a rockin' princess.
And she had just a touch of silliness, I'm sure she got it from Brynn.

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But she did fantastic. There was another little flower girl who was almost a year older than Ellie, but Ellie held her own. She took her role VERY seriously. We had been practicing at home and during the rehearsal, she had a handful of pine needles that she pretended were flowers as she dropped them. During the actual ceremony, she was very determined to put flowers down from the very beginning of the runner to the very end. I just love this picture of them. They were so precious.

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I have to admit that I cried during my friend's wedding. No... it wasn't for her (as happy as I am)... It was because my little Ellie seemed so grown up. Images flashed before my head of her walking down the aisle of her own wedding, arm in arm with her Daddy. And yet here she was, just a small little 3 year old who already knew that weddings were special. It was a hard few minutes for this Niffer.

I include this photo because it's just darn cool. We got a new camera and have decided that every wedding should have a designated NEW CAMERA GUY. Michael couldn't stop playing with the settings and found this cool one that keeps one color but turns the rest of the photo black and white. I love the result.

After the wedding Ellie wanted Bun Bun to join in the fun for the party. I quickly devised a low-hassle location for Bun Bun that forced even more "awww, how cute" sounds from those surrounding us.
Ellie had a lot of fun with Alexandra. Since Alexandra was almost a year older than Ellie I expected Ellie to want to copy her every move, but much to my surprise it was the other way around. Alexandra adored Ellie and did everything she did, right down to the same meltdown during rehearsal dinner (when only Ellie had a valid face plant that deserved the tears).
But regardless, I took note of the subtle difference in interactions between Ellie and her new friend. I guess it goes to show that Ellie can be a leader too. Yay!

The wedding was a late one and by the time dinner got to us, it was already an hour past this girl's normal bedtime. But she hung in there, insisting that she stay to watch Princess Miss Lissa dance with her new Prince. In the mean time, she showed me the proper way to kiss a princess (I must say it's a bit strange getting kissing lessons from my own daughter).
And snuggled up close to her Daddy, who she hadn't seen for quite a few days because he was on travel. She knew that this was a special treat to stay up so late, so she was quite the trooper.

And when the father-daughter dance came one, the bride opened the floor to all the father-daughters in the room... There is nothing that can pull at a Mommy's heart strings quite as much as watching your daughter dance with her Daddy.
Though unfortunately I didn't realize the camera was as zoomed as it was. Doh. Here I was thinking I just couldn't get far enough away from them. Oh well.
Look at how she stood on his shoes. Sigh. Gasp. Sniff. Sob. There goes my heart.

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Sigh. Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy being a Mommy to this little girl?

And as luck would have it, the very first dancing song was a fantastic big band song... and you know how Niffers are. I HAD to get out there and dance with someone. And you know how Ellies are. She LOVES dancing Niffer Mommies. Who doesn't?

All in all it was a pretty darn good night. Ellie wasn't quite as enthralled by the "real princess" as she was for the last wedding she went to. Maybe it was because she already knew Miss before she was a princess. Who knows? But that doesn't mean it wasn't magical for her. You could still tell that she knew the moment was special and she is looking forward to her turn. I caught her telling Alexandra "Yeah, we're bof Princess Lissa and we are spinning with our princes, right?" when they were practicing their twirls.

Well... Miss Lissa, you were beautiful. Your wedding was gorgeous and I'm so glad to see you so happy. As Ellie often reminds me, now you will live happily ever after and will never be sad again. Those are the rules.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Big Sister Quote of the Day XLIX

We recently learned that the longer we're on vacation, the less Addie sleeps. And on one particularly annoying night in the hotel, Addie decided to wake up every hour from midnight to 3:30. Finally Daddy tells me to just let her cry for a little while, which is always a big risk since Ellie was sleeping in the same room. But we were frustrated so we both dropped to our pillows in disgust.

Ellie, of course, takes this time to wake up and says "Oh oh! My baby is crying!" To which we, of course, snapped "We know! Go back to sleep!" Ellie, sensing that both of her parents were frustrated and had given up on trying to make Addie happy, decided she knew just how to help.

Standing up in bed, she yells "TOOTIE!!!" and Addie, of course, started laughing. Ellie, proud to have accomplished the very thing neither of her parents could do, plopped back down on her pillow.

Needless to say, Addie took the gesture to mean it was REALLY time to get up and the whole family woke for the day before 4:00 AM. We were done with our first nap by 7:00!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All Done?

I think that Addie is considering being done with this whole breast feeding thing. When we went to Maryland last week, it was hard to get her to feed because Ellie was always in the room. Her big sister is always so entertaining. But since coming back, it's been very similar. She no longer seems interested in breast feeding before taking a nap like she usually does and even the times she does feed, it seems to lack the same sort of enthusiasm.

My goal was to pump and feed until she was 12 months, so I'm close. I was going to keep up the morning and bedtime feedings until she was about 13 months old. That's what I did for Ellie. But if she's not interested, we may be ending sooner than that.

This is not good. What she doesn't know is that **I** am not ready to be done with breastfeeding. Oh, sure there's the connection between mother and baby and all that sappy la-dee-da, but it really comes down to this: I have plans for these babies! I NEED these boobs. I am in two weddings in the near future and both dresses were ordered FOR THESE BOOBS. I'm guessing that neither bride would appreciate being upstaged by one of their bridesmaids suddenly turning the wedding into a topless form of entertainment.

So, my dear Addie, you CAN NOT give up on me yet! Mommy needs you. Mommy NEEDS these boobs! These boobs and I have obligations we HAVE to meet. Don't let us down (both figuratively and literally).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Props to my soul mate

I have a problem that I can't seem to fix. My soul mate knows me too well.

Wait... huh? Are you confused already?

The problem is that the sweet guy keeps thinking of the perfect gift for me. So perfect, in fact, that he will buy the gift only to have me insist on buying it soon afterwards. I almost always ruin his surprise.

Examples?

He printed my blog into a book for Mother's Day last year. A week later (and before he could give it to me on Mother's Day) I found myself almost ordering a book myself. He had to come clean so that I didn't waste money.

I love church windows and he bought me one for my birthday last year. A couple weeks before my birthday, I found the same one and wanted so badly to spend my own money to get it. He had to come clean so that I didn't waste money.

Before Addie was born I thought it would be a wonderful symbolic thing to get a ring with Black Hills Gold on it. The green leaves could be represent Spring Ellie and the orange leaves could represent Autumn Addie. Here I was thinking I was being helpful by showing Michael some ideas. Little did I know that he already bought me one. He had to come clean so that I didn't waste my money.

The list goes on and on.

And now it's happened again. He figured out what he was going to get me for Mother's Day (yes, I know... that's NEXT MAY). Then this weekend we were at Home Depot and it occurred to me that it was the time of year to plant daffodils. I SOOO BADLY WANT DAFFODILS!!!! So, of course, I insist on searching to see if the store has any. And he had to come clean so that I didn't waste money.

I'M GETTING DAFFODILS FOR MOTHER'S DAY!!! He wanted to plant them without me knowing about it so that when the spring time came, daffodils would suddenly appear in my yard for me. He's such a sweet husband.

There are worse problems to have than a husband who knows me so well that he always gets me EXACTLY what I want, but I kind of feel bad for the guy because it is nearly impossible for him to surprise me. I'd say 8 out of 10 times, I ruin the surprise before he can give it to me.

Everybody together now... "Aaaawwwwww..."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Parenthood in a Nutshell

Ellie: Mommy, Addie is getting re-ah bigger now, right? But she's still not big enough like me.
Mommy: Yep. She's growing up slowly but quickly.
Ellie: What?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Driver's Safety Class

Ellie: Are you taking me to school?
Mommy: Not today. I thought I could but Daddy needs to.
Ellie: Why?
Mommy: Because I can't pick you up and we only have car seats in one car.
Ellie: Why can't you pick me up?
Mommy: Because I have to go to a class.
Ellie: I wanna go wif you!
Mommy: No, this class isn't fun.
Ellie: But why do you have to go?
Mommy: Because I got in trouble.
Ellie: Why?
Mommy: I was driving too fast and the policeman told me I had to go to a class instead of time-out.
Ellie: You were driving too fast and you get in twouble?
Mommy: Yep. It was stupid of me.
Ellie: And... and... you were driving too fast and... and... and you drive into da pool! And... and... den da please-man says "No dank you!" and said you haf to go to class to sdink about what you did.
Mommy: Pretty much. Well, except for the pool part.
Ellie: And afta you go to da class, you will hug da please-man and say you are sorry. Right, Mommy?
Mommy: That sounds like a good idea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Leaves for Mommy

When we were camping a couple weekends ago, Gramma took Ellie on a hike. This is what I saw when they came back. Awww... melt my heart!

Yes, she picked me "flowers" only this bouquet contained grass, pointy wheat-like stems, a few flowers, and best of all... ASPEN LEAVES!!! I have always loved aspen leaves ever since we invented Aspen Hunting when we were young (I'm hoping there will be a post about our aspen hunting adventure scheduled soon). I even got married in September (last Saturday was our anniversary, thank you very much) because it's my favorite time of the year.

I love these little moments when Ellie gets me something special simply because she wants me to be happy. It makes my heart sing and was just what I needed.

And here was my Ellie - with a bouquet of aspen leaves because Gramma told her that Mommy really liked them. In fact, she knew exactly why she picked them for me...

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Which lead to her wanting to take a video telling me why she picked the flowers. This makes me laugh because I feel like it makes it painfully obvious that she needs to work on her acting skills. Too funny. In case you can't understand her (she's a little shy sometimes), the reason she picked aspen leaves for me was... "because... because... because when you were born, you love aspen leaves."

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Clean Plate Club*

My post about our trip to see Pappy made me realize that I really need to talk more about some of the other grandparents. We visit Grandpa Blue and Grandma Jeane this weekend, but sometime's it's hard to remember to talk about the grandparents in town because we see them so often that it lacks the obvious "adventure" aspect to the story. But oh, are they special!

Nana has always embodied the sweet little grandma that you read about in the story books. And if not, then they should write stories about her. She's so tiny and so energetic that I think it's impossible for someone to not smile when they see her with her granddaughters. She wears her excitement proudly and is simply not capable of hiding it inside.

Books and learning are Nana's thing. Whenever she offers to take Ellie over night or for an afternoon, she always has a plan laid out. There is always an activity in store for Ellie - some learning experience, whether it be the county fair or a trip to the bookstore. Sometime's it's an arts-and-craft or coloring activity that she found online. Sometimes it's a new game she bought. Regardless, it's always in the spirit of learning.

And she makes learning fun. I can SEE the effect it has on my Ellie and I'm looking forward to watching it with Addie too.

Nana always has such a big smile on her face whenever she's with the girls. It's one of those smiles you KNOW is real. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they're practically the same size, but there is something about her that makes it so easy to get fantastic pictures. The girls simply adore her...

... both Ellie...

... and Addie.

She is a fantastic cute grandma and I love how her energy and love for learning rubs off on my daughters.

But let's not forget about Grampa! Oh Grampa! Nana likes to joke that he did it the right way. Grampa did not have any children of his own so he didn't have to deal with the same frustrations that come along with raising young children, yet he gets to be a grandpa. He gets all the benefits with none of the work. Or so Nana likes to say.

If there is an award for "Grandparent with the most laughs" then it definitely goes to Grampa. The children make him laugh out loud more than any other grandparent. I'm not sure why that is, but whatever the reason it's definitely apparent that he loves being a grandpa. Maybe more than anything else.

Grampa likes to try new things with Ellie. Both he and Nana do a fantastic job of trying to think of unique adventures to take Ellie on. I love it. So does Ellie. Ellie loves spending time with Nana and Grampa and often tries to convince us that it's Friday night so that we can go have dinner at a restaurant with them.

And Addie loves Grampa too. They have this special "bond" let's call it, where she likes to put her hand completely in his mouth. I don't know why, but she does. And she only does it to him. Strange, I know. But she thinks he's great fun because of it.


* And if you're wondering what the Clean Plate Club is... somehow these two have figured out the magic recipe to get Ellie to eat more than she does anywhere else. Ellie is always so proud to belong to the Clean Plate Club - but only if Nana and Grampa are around.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Camping with two children

After it took over an hour and a half to get Addie to sleep, and after nearly a dozen trips to the smelly outhouse every day with Ellie... it's hard to say whether or not our camping trip was a success. I think I'm going to skip ALL the details and just mention the highlights... in no particular order.

Awesome stone heart on our campground. It has me thinking I might make it a tradition to try to make a stone heart whenever we go camping. It would keep the girls occupied for a while and it will bring a smile to future camper's faces.

Ellie was excited to help put up the tent and was actually quite a big help. You know, instead of having to go back and redo everything she just did herself... she was an actual contributor. She was so excited about the tent that she even asked us "Is it Chwistmas???!!!"

And Addie? Well she wants to be just like Ellie. We told her she was a great "helper" too. You know the kind (see above).

Ellie also helped make cherry cheesecake for dessert. Yummy.

But Addie preferred to eat the leaves, rocks and dirt. To each his own.

Ellie played botchie ball and bean bags with us and was actually quite good. At one point, Daddy didn't get any bean bags in the hole but Ellie happened to get one. She reassured him by saying, "It's ok, Daddy. You just need a little bit magination. I have magination so I could get one in da hole, but you don't have magination. Maybe tomorrow you will have magination like me."

Meanwhile, Addie cheered everyone else on. Super cute.

At one point during the camping trip, Ellie told me "We don't want to feed da squirrels because if we feed dem den dey will not be wild and den dey will hit us wif dere pine cones! See dat squirrel? See his pine cone? He will hurt us wif it!" Apparently that's not QUITE what Gramma said, but the theme stuck. Throughout the weekend she was warning us to watch out for those darn squirrels and their dangerous pine cones.

I think over all Addie did quite well for her first camping trip, but I am VERY relieved to know that we will not be camping with a baby ever again. I can't wait for next year!!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Fire in Nifferland

There is a fire just west of where I live. On the way home from the airport the other day, I saw the most red sun I've ever seen. Half the sky was filled with clouds, all sourced from the same spot in the mountains. It's a big fire. And now, after a couple days of trying to control it, the papers say it's 0% contained. Ouch. No one really knows how many houses have been burned, though I heard one source say the number is around 100. The entire Boulder valley smells like campfire and I find it strange that a smell that I love so much can also be so depressing.

It's one of those things that is just impossible to fathom until you see it with your own eyes. How quickly can a house go up in flames? Check out these photos above to see (and click to see the next few photos). And if you question the speed of those frames (I'm certainly no expert), then check out this series of photos.

My heart goes out to those families who have lost everything. There was once a time when I was convinced I'd live in the mountains when I grew up. Being raised a mountain girl, I love the outdoors. I miss the cool crisp air and the bugling elk in the fall. I miss it all. However, now that I have a family of my own and have started to build up my own home of treasures and memories... Oh man. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about all the things that one could lose. Let's not even touch the idea of losing family members... I'm simply talking about the memories that one stockpiles into their homes.

My husband and I talked about it again last night and wondered if we'd like to move to the mountains some time in the future. There are advantages and disadvantages that I never considered when I was younger and so certain. In this conversation, though, my husband said "I think I'd have to be completely certain that I would be ok losing everything in the house."

But how is that possible? Sure you can store MOST of your photos in a secure location, but you'd lose the recent ones. And my mind starts to wander to the other items I have that I would NOT want to part with... my grandma's dresser, my grandma's steamer trunk, my other trunks, Michael's grandma's bedroom furniture... my treasure hunt list.

Oh God. My heart hurts. Let's just not go there. Find a happy place, Niffer. Find a happy place. I think I'm going to go find myself someone to hug... maybe someone half my height or less. Maybe someone whose hands are smaller than my own. Maybe someone who... doh. Who is asleep right now. Hubby, here I come!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Caption Contest

...And Go!

Friday, September 03, 2010

My bucket

You wouldn't know it but I've actually been in a writing slum recently. My queue of pre-written posts is used up and even though there are quite a few posts I WANT to write, I haven't found the motivation. GASP! Yes, even Niffer sometimes finds it hard to always write about the great things about parenting.

I think recently the most frustrating thing I have to deal with is that both of the girls are Mommy's girls. I mistakenly assumed that since Ellie was a Mommy's girl, Addie would HAVE to be a Daddy's girl by default. Or if Addie was a Mommy's girl then Ellie would have to transition to a Daddy's girl by default.

Nope. As it turns out, they both prefer my attention over anyone else. And sometimes they both demand my attention at the same time. It's exhausting for me to be pulled in two directions at the same time. It's not uncommon for me to be eating my own dinner while feeding Addie hers AND playing dinner games with Ellie to get her to eat. Feeding three people at once is draining.

And it's hard on Michael too. He wants to help but can't really. Most of what Addie is going through right now is a stage. Ellie went through it too (only worse) when she was Addie's age. But with both girls wanting Mommy, Daddy is left wondering when it's his turn. He feels unwanted.

And it sucks to watch the motivation drain from his face. It sucks for me to watch him get hurt when all he wants to do is help and be adored. I know he's adored by his daughters, but it's hard for him to remember that.

So... Niffer has been out of commission for a while now. Hopefully I will be back in the swing of things next week! I have a lot of endearing stories to tell... as always. So, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Big Sister Quote of the Day XLVIII

For whatever reason, Ellie was grumpy after waking from her nap...

Addie: Da da da.
Ellie: Addie, you smell like slimy.
Grandma: Hey, you're not being very nice to Addie.
Ellie: Yes I am! Because she is slimy! We don't say someping dat isn't true!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010