Friday, March 30, 2012


Admittedly these two have their challenges, but it makes my heart sing to know that they are still one of the most important people in each other's lives. How can I be certain? Recently, even though the girls have been struggling to get along (still far from bad), pictures and letters to her sister keep popping up in Ellie's cubby. LOVE.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Daffodils are in Bloom

Ellie: Mommy, I got someping that makes you very happy!
Mommy: What's that?
Ellie: It's someping that makes you stink of me.
Mommy: Oh, is it a rainbow?
Ellie: No. It's a flower. It's a daffodil. See?

... Yes... and THAT'S how I found out that my precious daffodils have started to bloom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ellie's Photos

The other day when we were at the Butterfly Pavilion with our Magic Butterfly Hat, Ellie asked very politely if she could use the camera to take pictures of pretty things. I love seeing what she felt was worthy of a photo... It gives me a look into how she views the world around her...

What I found to be particularly interesting is that she never once took a photo of a butterfly.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Things to Make With Q-Tips

I saw this on a sign while we had an adventure using public transportation a while back and for whatever reason it spoke to me. It made me smile...


Princess crowns, but only use the pink ones. A Christmas tree with presents underneath waiting to be opened. A butterfly with antenna or a spaceship with detachable rocketship boosters! Self-portraits with flare or even fake hair. The Giza pyramid yellowed with ear wax - yuck. The Eiffel Tower colored black with Sharpies - an awful smell. Chairs for your aging Barbie. A castle with Prince Charming and all. Black Beauty all gung-ho. A stop sign unable to stand on its own. Candles and Q-tips as the wick. But NOT racecars. Those are for making with cotton balls!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Addie's Negotiating Skills

I think she's a pro.

Addie: I have a cookie?
Mommy: We're going to eat dinner but you can have one after you have a clean plate club.
Addie: I have one now?
Mommy: Not now. How about after dinner?
Addie: How 'bout... yes?
Addie: I have a pincess too?
Ellie: No.
Addie: How 'bout... yes?
Addie: I go to da payground?
Mommy: Not now sweetie.
Addie: How 'bout... yes?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ellie's Buttons

I try not to focus on my frustrations as a parent, but it can be challenging. Every parent has their own battles that they fight, both internally and with their children. One of mine is getting the kids ready for school in the mornings.

I try really hard to foster a parenting style that encourages my girls to make their own decisions and come up with their own solutions. Instead of them doing what I say just because I said so, ideally they would do it because they want to do what I asked. This, of course, is Niffer's Ideal World and does not exist. Instead, what really exists is a constant struggle for myself to get them to pay attention to what I am requesting they do.

No one likes to be told what to do, so I try hard to not tell them either. This ends up making things harder for me than they need to be, but I hope that in the long run it will pay off.

Every now and then I hit gold. Like this morning.

Yesterday I was taking the girls to school and I had a serious talk with Ellie...
Mommy: Ellie, I feel like you don't listen to me unless I yell at you but I don't like to yell at you. Can you think of something else that I can do to get you to do the things that need to get done? This morning it took you way too long to get ready and it wasn't until I started yelling that you listened. I don't like that. Do you?
Ellie: No.
Mommy: So, can you help me think of a solution to fix the problem?
Ellie: Umm... I know! I don't think you know about this, Mommy but I have buttons!
Mommy: Buttons?
Ellie: Yeah! I have a button for "get ready" and when you push it, I will get ready. And I have a button for "go potty" and when you push it, I will go potty.
Mommy: Really? Do they really work?
Ellie: Yes! Tomorrow I will show you where the buttons are and you can push them and I will do whatever you want me to do.
Mommy: And I won't have to yell at you?
Ellie: No. You just have to push the button and leave and when you come back you will see that I did what you wanted.
Mommy: WOW! I'm so glad you told me about your buttons! I'm so excited to try them out!

So... This morning Ellie introduced me to the buttons. There were more than I thought. Every handle on her dresser was a different button to get dressed in different ways. The handles on the closet doors were buttons to put her shoes on (one for each foot). There were buttons on the door in the bathroom for every one of the typical bathroom functions and even a few spare buttons that she didn't know what they were used for.

Since it was my first morning using the buttons, I'm not going to say I was perfect. I sometimes pushed the "Get pants on" thinking it would get her to put her socks on. And when I pushed one of the extra buttons, she did a silly dance instead of brushing her teeth. It was not without its flaws.

But we got ready about 10 minutes faster than we have in a long time.

Best part about it? It was a solution that Ellie came up with herself. I swear, every now and then I think "I'm not too bad at this whole mother thing after all!"

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Magic Butterfly Hat

I swear, we're getting better at this! I think we're practically pros. Of course all pros know the right secrets and we discovered the secret to getting butterflies to land on you. It's the magical butterfly hat. First I was wearing it and had a few butterflies land on me right away. Then of course Ellie wanted to try out the magic hat. She patiently stood in the middle of the room and waited (god she's cute). I started to get nervous that the hat wouldn't work its magic for her but then Daddy had a brilliant idea. Get Ellie as high as possible and perhaps the hat's effects would be more apparent.

And apparently that was the missing ingredient. Combine a black and white hat with lots of contrast with the fact that it is the tallest item around and the butterflies come swarming! Ellie must have had half a dozen butterflies land on her!

This time it was only Gramma who got the wonderful butterfly greeting without the aid of the magic hat. Ellie is convinced that if a butterfly lands on you, it means you're very special and kind. I think she's right.

The only exception to that rule is if you're special and kind but simply can't stand still... Addie has yet to have any butterfly kisses, but she doesn't seem to mind.

Over all, it was a wonderful way to share the day with Gramma.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I love the fact that Addie has had glitter in her hair for almost 2 months now. We simply can NOT get the sparkles out. She may be going to college like this.

Ellie: Beans beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you eat! Let's have beans for every meal!

I love that Addie says "Hi Yo!" instead of "Hello!" Oh so cute.

I think it's adorable how Addie will blow in my face whenever she thinks her breath smells good. Likely situations include: right after having an M&M or her daily vitamin.

I love how Addie likes to pretend to be a dragon and will come up to you and say "Rarr! I'm a baby dagon! Rarr!"

I think it's funny that both girls have started copying Mommy's "but no." I didn't realize I said it so often until they did. "Thank you for asking so nicely, BUT NO." Hearing Ellie saying that is funny to me. Hearing Addie say it is even more so. Perhaps you just have to hear if for yourself.

It's absolutely precious how Addie handles the situation when you tell her she can't have something:
Mommy: Sweetie, we need to leave your bear here.
Addie: But I love my bear!
Mommy: We can't have dessert until after you get a clean plate club.
Addie: But I love my dessert!
Mommy: Let's not pick that stick up. It's yucky.
Addie: But I love my tick!

I love how Addie says "Ta Da!" whenever she transforms herself. Put her coat on her head and "Ta Da! I'm a dagon!" Put a blanket on her head and "Ta Da! I'm a pincess!"

It's absolutely precious the way Addie says "ca buz" instead of "because."
Mommy: Why did you do that?
Addie: I... I... Ca buz I wanted to be a une-corn!
Mommy: Because you wanted to be a unicorn?
Addie: Yeah!

I love how Addie says "sof-a-me" (Soft me) to get me to pet her soft dress.

Addie: Dis is my you-n-corn. Dis is my dagon. Dis is my pegasus-sus.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Diversity at Daycare

Perhaps Addie's class is more diverse than we think it is. Recently she was telling us about a conversation she had with her friends...

"Guess what!? I went to to da da field yesserday. Wif my fwiends! And I said "baga" and Gabby said "baga" and I said "smoo ya" and she said "smoo ya" and I said "click clack goora" and she said click clack goora." And I said "lema sna la la" and she said "lema sna la la"... and I said..."

I wish there was a good way to type all the clicking we heard in her story. It sounded like she as speaking some Native African tribal language with all her throat sounds and clicking. Even if it doesn't translate well into a post, it made us smile if for no other reason than she went on and on about the weird words she and her friend were saying.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Great Dinosaur Debate

Dinosaur: Hi Ellie!
Ellie: Hi toy dinosaur!
Dinosaur: I'm not a toy. I'm a pet dinosaur.
Ellie: No, you're not. You're a toy.
Dinosaur: No, I'm a pet dinosaur. I'm just really small.
Ellie: No, you're just a toy.
Dinosaur: No, I'm real. See?
Ellie: You're not real. You're just a toy because I'm talking for you.
Dinosaur: You are?
Ellie: Yep.
Dinosaur: Oh.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hay is for Horses

Ellie: Hey!
Daddy: Is for horses.
Ellie: Hey!
Daddy: Is for horses.
Addie: Hey!
Daddy: Is for horses.
Ellie: Hey!
Daddy: Is what horses eat.
Addie: Hey!
Daddy: Is for horses.
Ellie: Hey!
Daddy: What do horses eat?
Ellie: Hay!
Addie: No, carrots!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Beauty and the Beast


Thursday, March 08, 2012


Butterfly Pavilion - I have to say that finally, after a few years of trying, we now have the hang of it. It's all about the sunshine. If it's sunny out, the butterflies are in abundance. They're stunning! It seemed that everywhere I looked there was one begging me to photograph it.

And Ellie is getting the hang of it too. We told her that butterflies land on those they know are special and kind and to tell a butterfly that you are that type of person, you need to sit really still. Apparently that's all it took for this butterfly to realize that Ellie was special. Seconds after she sat down, he came to say hi.

Poor Addie. She tried. She really did try, but in the end it's more fun to dance around and play than to beg butterflies to land on you.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Our Adventure

The girls got some money from Pappy as a Valentine's Day gift and so last weekend we decided that it was burning a hole in the girls' pockets. So, off on an adventure to spend it we went!

We decided to ride the bus into town to the toy store and from the start I knew our adventure was going to be a success. The day was warm and the girls were playful.

The girls walked along the curb of the sidewalk, improving their balancing skills. Seeing our little Addie do this...

...brought back memories of when we did the same thing with Ellie not so long ago. Isn't it funny how certain photos just DO that to you?

Life is good, especially if you add a little bit of whimsy to the day...

... but too much whimsy is a bit more difficult to handle... hehehe... look at the focus on Addie's face!

The bus... can anything else in a toddler's life be quite as cool? I think not.

Once down town, of course we had to stop by the balloon man. Addie loved her dragon... all the way up until she saw Ellie's unicorn. Sigh... note for next time - they WILL get the same balloon animal.

Isn't it funny how sometimes the best part of an adventure is the journey? Our destination was the toy shop and we did make it there and the girls bought a bunch of "pet" lizards, but it's not the part of the day that I remember the most. I remember how thrilled the girls were to ride the bus just like Daddy does when he goes to work. How grown up they both felt!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Niffer's Library

For as long as I can remember I've fantasized about having a special room for just me and my husband. I always imagined it being full of plants with lots of windows to let the warm sunshine in. My husband and I would just feel more comfortable in the room than anywhere else and we would each sit there (him drinking his coffee and me drinking my tea) doing whatever it is we like to do, but just being close to each other.

There was a part of me that never thought I would have this special room...

... but I do now! It's nothing like I imagined it being. It isn't full of plants and it certainly isn't bright and sunny, but it's even better. And it's perfect for Michael and me. We are now proud owners of a REAL library of our very own and it's everything I never imagined a personal library to be. It makes me think of the old libraries you see in old castles and palaces in Europe, only this one is just the right size for us. And it's ours. I sit in the corner and work on my gnomes, and Michael sits at the computer playing his games. Life couldn't get any better and it certainly can't get any cozier.

You might be asking yourself "A library? What does she mean? And how? And why?" Let me answer a bit aobut that... My mom stumbled upon a garage sale where the lady was trying to sell her grandfather's old library of books one at a time. My mom's heart broke at the idea of all these wonderful books being separated and bought them all on the spot. There are full collections of people like Voltaire, Guy De Maupassant, Walter Scott, Alphonse Daudet, Dumas and Shakespeare, to name a few. All of them are beautifully bounded antique books ranging from 110-150 years old. The photos above probably show 1/3 of the books (the rest are behind these) and though not all of them are in great shape, there are some amazing books. She bought them for a couple hundred dollars and ended up giving them to us. Upon looking online, it looks like these books could be worth quite a bit more (enough that we need to get them insured), but I'm not going to tell you the number here.

So my mom hauled these books over and we were swamped in piles of old books that made our house smell like a real library. And Niffer was happy. We bought ourselves some shelves and arranged our boring office into a library. My grandma's dressor (one of my most cherished things I own*) now sits proudly between two cases of beautiful books (Michael's grandma's anniversary clock does too). I'm sure my grandma is happy.

I just gotta take a moment to give you a better appreciation for the treasure that has been given to us. Look at these gems. These are some of the Voltaire books, and they're all like this - beautiful gold enlayed covers. They're absolutely gorgeous and we just had to display them. No worries... my little Book Worm gnome is there to protect them (that and the fact that we keep the room dark and the sun out.

My special room may not be what I had originally thought it would be. It's not filled with plants or sunshine, but it's filled with something even better. We find ourselves sitting here often and thinking "I like this room. I like it a lot." It's perfect. It makes me happy. And it smells good.**

* My other beloved pocessions include an old steamer dome top trunk from my other grandma and a beautiful bedroom set from Michael's grandma. Perhaps someday I'll turn them into perfect nooks too?

** I wonder if my girls will grow up to think about our little library whenever they smell old books. Wouldn't that be grand if the smell made them think of our perfect corner of the house?

Friday, March 02, 2012

Playing with Daddy

Wow... We might actually be getting to the point where Addie gives us lots of laughs with the things she says... This entire week has been about her - Usually I have more stories about Ellie! Alas... Here's another that made us laugh...

Mommy: I need you to go play with Addie for a while please.
Daddy: Addie, I'm here to play with you!
Addie: No! I pay wif Mommy!

Addie then proceed to run into the closet. She slid the closet door closed behind her, waited a moment, and then stuck her arm out so you could only see her arm and pointing finger...

Addie: Not jer toys. Do not touch Daddy!

... And proceeded to closer herself off in the closet, waiting for Mommy to return to play.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cheering Mommy Up

Addie: Was wrong?
Mommy: I'm grumpy.
Addie: No. You're appy!
Mommy: No, I'm grumpy.
Addie: No, you're appy!
Mommy: Grumpy!
Addie: You're appy!
Mommy: I'M GRUMPY!
Addie: No, AP-PEEEEE!!!!

This went on for about 5 minutes. In the end, she won the argument. After all, she's so gosh darn cute... as much as I tried to stay grumpy, this girl's persistancy won me over.