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Friday, September 28, 2012

Tid-Bits

I love that Addie says "Is upside-inside" when her clothes are inside-out.

I love how the girls protect each other. If Daddy steals Addie away, Ellie will say "Leave her alone! You can have me instead!" to save her. Addie will typically take the "pulling Ellie's leg from Daddy" approach while saying "I will save my sister!"

Mommy: I will tell you what the surprise is after we do it.
Ellie: Ok. la la la. We're doing the surprise. (Pause) I still don't know what it is!

I love how Addie says "Noo-noll" instead of "Noodle."

I love how the girls enjoy playing a game where they sing a song together, taking turns with single words...
Ellie: You
Addie: Are
Ellie: My
Addie: Sun
Ellie: Shine...

I love the nonsense, funny made-up worded songs that Addie sings. They're fantabulous!

Speaking about our neighborhood girls, Addie said "Olivia (9) and Sara (12) are old ladies but they're still very nice."

Ellie: My listening ears are turned off so you can tell me out loud what the surprise is and I won't be able to hear you.

I love how when Addie walked into her old classroom, all the kids instantly stopped paying attention to the book their teacher was reading, jumped up and ran to the door to give her hugs and kisses. EVERY CHILD. Many of them said "I miss you and soon I'll be a Polar Bear just like you!" It's nice to know that Addie is loved all around.

I know that Ellie is "grown-up" because she can now eat a cupcake and NOT need a washdown afterwards.

I loved how on our train ride to Glenwood Springs (which happens to have lots of tunnels along the way), Addie would say "Watch dis. I can turn off the lights." Then she'd sit there mischieviously looking around waiting for the train to enter a tunnel. Too cute!
I love how proud Addie is to form "I love you" with her fingers and hold them up high for me to see.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Beach

Once upon a time, a long long time ago (back in August), we visited Grandpa Lou.  Yes, I'm ashamed that I'm only just now writing about it.  It was actually a VERY good trip but the highlight was certainly the beach.
This was the first time we have been to the beach with the girls where it was a complete success.  Granted we don't get to go very often since we're a bit land-locked, but when we went with Ellie last time she was Addie's age and it was almost but not quite the complete opposite of a success.  This time, the girls had a lot of fun.  I enjoyed watching Addie be silly and seeing how proud Ellie was to make little sand castles.

Daddy showed the girls how to make their feet disappear.  Pretty silly stuff.  He also showed the girls tiny little crabs from the sand.  It didn't take long for him to perfect his crab-catching abilities because the girls enjoyed seeing the beach's version of a creepy crawly.  For me, I'd rather just pretend I didn't know they existed.

There is nothing better than photos of being surprised by waves.  They're a must-have when it comes to beach pictures.  Addie and I learned about checking for piles of sand in our swimsuits after sitting in the waves so many times, and Ellie discovered that she can write messages in the sand.  I love you too, sweetie!
Visiting the beach with my two little girls who enjoy it so much?  Well, that's just about the closest thing you can get to me being a beach loving soul.  In the end, any chance I get to have a family photo opportunity is one that makes me a happy camper.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Going on a Boy Hunt... Gonna Catch a Good One!

One day Ellie told a story during the car ride home. It went something like this...

Once upon a time there were two girls named Addie and Ellie. They loved to go on walks. They always went on walks together. So one day they asked their mommy if they could go on a walk.

"No, it's dinner time," she said.

"How about now?"

"No, it's time to clean your rooms."

"How about now?"

"It's time for a movie."

"How about now? Please?!"

"Ok," Mommy said.

So the two girls went on a walk together to have lots of fun walking together because they love to do that.

Then Addie said, "Is this really just a boy hunt?"

And Ellie said, "Yes, so let's go look for some boys. Oh there is a boy! And look! He has friends."

Addie asked, "Do you think we can marry them?"

Ellie said, "Only after they grow up."

Addie smiled and said "OK."

And they lived happily ever after.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Little Sister Quote of the Day

Addie: I like you Mommy. I like Ellie too.
Mommy: She's a good sister, isn't she?
Addie: Yeah, I like her all the week.
Mommy: You'll like her forever?
Addie: Yeah, for every day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

California Wedding

Addie: I'm back!
Mommy: But where did you go?
Addie: I just go to 'Alifornia to marry my pince.
Mommy: So you're married now?
Addie: Yeah, but don't forget I'm happily ever after too!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keep an eye on your husbands!

Addie: I'm a pincess and I married Cinderella's pince.
Mommy: Does that mean you're Cinderella?
Addie: No. I just married her pince when she was not around.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Real Magic of Christmas Time

For the last month or so Ellie's tooth has been loose (she finally did lose it last Tuesday).  As I guess would be expected, this put the topic of the Tooth Fairy and other magical character on her mind.  In the car one day, completely out of the blue, she asked "Is Santa Claus real?" 

Mommy and Daddy were NOT prepared for this question.  We had actually been debating the Santa topic ourselves but we assumed we had a while to decide what to do.  Apparently not!  And since she took us by surprise at a point where we didn't have a game plan, Mommy and Daddy were silent for a while, not really knowing how to respond.  Finally I asked her "What do you think?" which led to her explaining her own rationale without Mommy or Daddy ever actually answering the question.

And we felt guilty for it for weeks afterwards.

Much to my surprise the Tooth Fairy and Santa debate was (and still is) the most challenging debate Michael and I have faced when it comes to parenting so far.  Do we keep the magic (in the traditional sense of the word) of Santa alive?  Or do we come clean with the truth?  If you think hard about it, about the little details and consequences of either decision, you might start to appreciate how difficult it is for Michael and me.

Without going into every single argument on both sides of the fence, I thought it would probably be a good idea to "document" where I'm coming from.  Perhaps when my girls are in counseling for how their parents messed them up, it might be useful...

I love Christmas.  No, I don't think you understand.  I LOVE Christmas.  It doesn't bother me in the slightest that stores already have Christmas items out and it's only September.  I love looking at the stuff and imagining the magic that is in store for this upcoming Christmas season. 

Part of this is the magic of Santa.  I'll be honest.  Until recently I had no qualms with the jolly old man in the red suit.  Believing in Santa Claus and his magical ability to come down the chimney (even when you don't have a fireplace, mind you) to deliver his presents is all a part of childhood, right? 

But when I fantasize about the magic that is in store for any Christmas season, Santa is usually towards the bottom of the list of things that come to mind.  I think of the Christmas lights.  I think of carolers, even though I've never actually seen any.  I think of walking down lanes filled with snow.  Snow angels.  Glistening snow diamonds.  Seeing your breath cloud up the air.  The feeling of your fingers melting and thawing after you go inside for a nice hot cup of cocoa.  The warm fuzzy PJs.  The decorations.  The tree.  The ornaments.  The meals with family.  The gift giving.  And receiving.  Christmas songs don't bother me even if they're played ALL MONTH LONG.  Bells.  Ribbons.  Elves.  Old style houses decorated with old style decor like candles in the windows and a simple wreath on the door.  Freshly fallen snow on the tree branches with bright blue skies above.  Footprints through the snow, whether they're from animals or little kids.  Building snowmen if and when there is enough snow.  Watching the snow fall from a warm and cozy window.

I could go on and on.  My Christmas season is full of magic, with or without Santa Claus.

So what's the issue?  Recently (and yes, for me, it's only been recently.  For Michael, he has struggled with this debate for a while) I simply can't get over the fact that even if Santa Claus is magical and is a part of most children's lives, and children grow up too fast as it is... even knowing and agreeing with so many of the arguments I've been told... I can't get over the fact that it's a lie. 

By telling our children that Santa Claus is real, we are lying to them.  We are teaching them that it's ok to lie, just as long as you have a good reason to do so.  Perhaps that's the reality of it.  Maybe that's a realistic lesson to learn.  After all, it's not like anyone is FULLY honest with someone else if they're put in an uncomfortable position and don't want to hurt that person's feelings.  But no matter how parents may justify it as being a GOOD lie, it's still a lie.

And I don't want to lie to my children.  I want to model the relationship I expect from them.  How can I expect them to be truthful with me if I can play the parent card and lie to them?  Oh, but it's magical.  That's what makes this lie ok.

Is there a conclusion to this?  Well, we were forced to make a decision the night that Ellie lost her first tooth.  After all, Tooth Fairy is another example, right?  Why start the Tooth Fairy thing if we don't have to?  But yet did we want to take that away from her?  

Oh she was so excited.  A whole new level of excitement and pride that we haven't ever seen in her before.  So, here's what we ended up doing....

Before going to bed I asked Ellie what she was going to do with her tooth....
Ellie:  I think I'm going to put it under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find.
Mommy:  Oh?
Ellie:  Yeah.  The Tooth Fairy is the only real fairy. 
Mommy:  Why do you think she's real?
Ellie:  I think she's real because I want to believe she is. 
Mommy:  That seems reasonable. 
Ellie:  I'm so excited!

That night I put a pair of earrings under her pillow with a note that said "Wow!  Your first tooth!  You must be so proud of yourself.  You mommy and daddy are very proud of you for being so brave."  She of course assumed it was from the Tooth Fairy, but I didn't correct her.  I also paid close attention to be sure I didn't ever say she was right.

I'm still torn on the subject, and probably always will be.  Our current plan is to not come out and tell her about Santa BUT if she ever flat out asks us again, we will answer.  And we will answer in a way that reminds her that Christmas is full of magic even if Santa isn't someone who comes down the chimney we don't have.  We will tell her about how St. Nickolas lived a long time ago and loved to give presents to people to make them smile, even if they were secret.  It's a tradition that everyone loves to keep up by playing the "Santa" game.  Santa is someone who loves her so much and is so proud of her that they don't need her to know who the present is from.  They just want her to be happy.

Now, how is that anything but a magical Christmas?  One that emphasises what Christmas should really be about?  I'm sure that no matter what, we're going to mess up from time to time as parents.  I hope that if they ever read this post when they're older, they will be able to understand where Mommy and Daddy were coming from.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Addie's Self Portrait

Addie's first self portrait. Not too shabby. She was the one who insisted that she have legs and arms. When I told her to draw fingers, I simplified the directions, which resulted in 3 fingers. She looked at it funny and said "No, I need 5." Wow. That's actually quite an insight!!


Recall Ellie's first self portrait? I find it interesting to compare.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Family Trip

Last weekend was perfect for me.  We took a long weekend and went on a mini family vacation.  It was mini in the sense that it was JUST the four of us AND we did NOT visit ANYONE.  It was history in the making.  For our first mini family vacation we decided to ride the train... or correction:  Addie insists it wasn't a train.  It's an air-train.  How cool does that sound?  ...  We decided to ride the AIR train to Glenwood Springs.  It was the first time any of us have been on a train in the US and I must say...  Wow.  They give you LOTS of space!

The girls loved to watch the scenery as we went by and it was worth watching.  Their favorite part was passing by the people on rafting trips who decided to moon the train.  Ellie thought it was hysterical at first but then after some consideration she announced "It's a little bit funny but I don't think it's very polite."

The girls look so tiny next to the train, don't they?

Glenwood Springs has a little amusement park that you have to ride a tram to get to.  Of course this was a fantastic thing for the girls.  Very exciting stuff.  I get a kick out of how they enjoyed waving to the people in the other cars.  And to the ghosts in the empty cars.  Addie loves to say "Hi" to just about anything.

The view from the top...  WOW!  This is a happy happy Niffer.

Fairy Caverns is located at the top too and the girls were impressed though a bit disappointed that they didn't see any real fairies.  Only a little.  I'm sure they were hiding.


Mommy and Daddy's favorite part was this stelagtight (which apparently the spell checker wants to change to "tight fisted").  What was neat about this is that you could watch the water drop onto the formation.  You could watch it being formed (very very very slowly) right in front of your eyes.  Michael took a great photo of the splash from the water dropping down.   Pretty cool.

I suppose any visit to Glenwood Springs wouldn't be complete without a trip to the hot springs.  The girls enjoyed how hot the swimming pool was but commented on how the water tastes a little funny.

And I suppose any visit staying in a hotel wouldn't be complete without the girls wrestling with Daddy on the bed.  What is it about a Daddy relaxing on a bed that seems to scream "Please, tackle me!"???

I love the magic the girls bring to everyday life.  While waiting for our train to arrive for our return trip home, the girls turned these yellow lines into a stage.  They danced and performed for me.  Everyone commented on how well behaved they were.  Magic has that effect on young children.

All in all it was just what this Niffer needed.  A trip with my very own mini family.  I'm thinking there are many more to come!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monkey

LOOK WHAT ELLIE CAN DO!!!!


video

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sentences

Ellie has been practicing her sentences! She wrote every sentence without needing any help with spelling. I happen to think she's incredible.






And this last one is my personal favorite, mis-spellings and all:



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To My Love

Today we celebrate our 8th anniversary. Wow. How is it possible that time can go by so quickly and yet at the same time, it also feels like we've been together much longer? I guess that's the mystery of life.

Whenever I try to write about my feelings for you I always come up blank. There is no doubt in my mind that the 8 years (actually, 10.5 years) we've been together have been the best years of my life. I love you just as much, if not more, than I did that beautiful September day in Manitou Springs. We've been through so much together and built such an amazing life for ourselves, but I still feel like I did on that day. I still feel like this is just the beginning. Our story is yet to be written even if I know the ending. The ending goes something like this "And they lived happily ever after."

Though our lives have changed and now it's filled with the energy and laughter that two daughters provide, I thank my lucky stars every day because I have never felt anything other than "This is what I want."

I want to grow old with you and so far we're off to a good start!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Special Surprise

A week or so ago we gave the girls a big surprise. We told them it was coming but we didn't say what it was. It drove Ellie BONKERS. Finally the day of the surprise we told them they had to dress up as princesses and both girls jumped at the opportunity. For real life. Really they did.

They even let me braid their hair into pretty heart braids. Well sort of. Ellie had a full heart but Addie decided she was ok with just half of a heart and insisted that it looked better. Uh. Ok. Whatever.

The surprise was Cinderella at the Boulder Dinner Theater. Oh my goodness were they excited when they finally found out what we were doing.

Nana and Grandpa joined us. While Ellie and Addie were mesmerized by what was going on up on stage, I'm pretty sure the grandparents were mesmerized by the girls.

As for me, I loved watching the girls too and the show was pretty good. One thing that I particularly loved was that Cinderella (or I should say the actress who played Cinderella) had some sort of minor disability and had a bit of difficulty walking, and certainly couldn't do fancy footwork in a dance routine. I loved the fact that it showed my girls... no, I'll correct myself... it showed ME that my girls don't care about that sort of thing. She was still a perfect pretty princess in their minds.

Friday, September 07, 2012

How did it go?

Ah, the big day. The first day of Kindergarten. It's a moment in everyone's childhood that symbolizes growing up.

And Ellie missed it.

Yep, you heard me right. Ellie's first day of Kindergarten and we were on vacation. Her mommy and daddy really need to change the way we view vacation and when we can take it. Suddenly we're in a world where we can't just pick up and leave whenever we want. It's going to affect Ellie's education. Strange.

Alas, it's not that big of a deal. She missed two days of Kindergarten so her first day was the following Monday. She was so excited to be a Grizzly Bear.

Here's the rundown on the Kindergarten decision:

- Private Kindergarten is CHEAPER than public Kindergarten so she is still at the same preschool she was at before. What? We have to pay for PUBLIC Kindergarten? Well, technically that's free, but that just gets you to lunch. Then you have to pay or provide lunch. Then you pay for the second half of Kindergarten, which gets you to 2:30. Then you have to pay for after school care to get you to 5:00 or 6:00 (we're working parents, remember?). Crazy.

- Private Kindergarten has better parent/student ratios (9 students per teacher instead of 25 for public).

- Private Kindergarten takes weekly field trips to the Library and monthly (or every two months) field trips to other "real life" places like the farm, super market, etc.

- With the Private Kindergarten located in the same preschool (she's a Grizzly Bear now instead of a Black Bear, for those of you keeping track), it's far more convenient. Addie is still in preschool (she just recently moved into the Polar Bear room). From a logistics standpoint, it was a no-brainer.

So... The downside to this decision is that Ellie was quite disappointed that she didn't get to ride the bus to school like many of her other friends would.

She's also disappointed that she's not in Kindergarten with Michael like we originally thought she would be. She's concerned he's going to find another girl who he will want to marry instead of waiting for her when 1st grade begins.

She's disappointed that she won't meet a bunch of NEW friends.

But there are lots of upsides too... She still gets to see her best friend Brynn in the afternoons.

She is in the room right next door to Addie's room and gets to give her sister hugs many times through out the day. She excitedly tells me "Mommy, I was SOOO lucky today because I got to hug Addie FIVE times!!!"

Likewise, she still has Stretch and Grow and Spanish classes, BOTH of which Addie participates in with her. They LOVE it. Ellie loves being the big sister and Addie gets a kick out of doing something she knows the big kids get to do.

Regardless, I know she's doing ok. Every day when I pick her up she is super excited to tell me about what she learned that day. And she's learning a lot. She's so mature. So brave. So excited. I asked her what her favorite thing about in Kindergarten is and without hesitation she said "I really like to learn every day!"

So her first day of Kindergarten wasn't the typical "big change" that one would expect. No, for us, that's going to be the first day of 1st grade. I'll be the parent crying while Ellie skips off for her new adventure, and all my mommy friends will be like "oh, yeah, that was so LAST year." Ha!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

She was so proud.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Travel Buddies

Ellie was Daddy's travel buddy and was so proud to be chosen as his special travel buddy. He would say "Where's my travel buddy" and Ellie would jump to attention, "I'm here! Here I am!"

Addie wasn't so keen on being my travel buddy...
Addie: I'm not your travel buddy!
Mommy: Why not?
Addie: Because dat's a boy! I'm a girl.
Mommy: Oh, is "Buddy" a boy's name?
Addie: Yeah, but I can be your travel bear 'stead.
Mommy: Works for me, Travel Bear.

Monday, September 03, 2012

The infamous sheep-skin rug

There is just something about the sheepskin rug that Grandpa Lou and Grandmommy Jeanne have at their house. Ellie commented on it years ago, and this time it was Addie's turn. When she saw it spread across the back of the couch, she asked in a concerned voice, "Is dis part of Mernin?"