Saturday, December 17, 2011

Birthday party

Molly's birthday party was this afternoon. It's the first formal birthday party she's ever had and it went great. Molly wisely chose to invite only a few good friends from the neighborhood, no new friends from school or anything, so the kids jumped right into playing together as if it was any ordinary afternoon ... well, an ordinary afternoon spiked with juice boxes and cupcakes.

Speaking of cupcakes, I was inspired by this fantastic blog post I read a while ago to stop going to all the trouble to make Molly's birthday cupcakes (and half-birthday cupcakes) from scratch and just buy them. I was all set to have a grocery store whip up the pink batter for us, but then I called the bakery and found out that they don't actually whip up batter and hence can't make a custom batch of pink for Molly. Their cupcakes come ready-made frozen and they just frost them. Eeeeeww. At that point I didn't feel like shopping around small bakeries to find one that actually bakes and then deal with the hassle of picking them up, etc. So yet again, I baked my own.

This time around I found a recipe for white cake (not yellow, which we learned last year turns orange rather than pink when red food coloring is added) and one that didn't involve lengthy whipping of egg whites and other complicated steps (learned that lesson on the half-birthday).

Pretty easy, pretty tasty and just fine for blowing out candles.

The birthday guests ...

Friday, December 16, 2011


Still among the best toys...

Birthday morning

I gave Molly a hug last night and told her it was her last night as a 3-year-old and she told me she didn't want to turn 4. Silly kid. Actually, she has told me several times that she wants to turn 6 and then stay there forever. :)

Anyway, this morning she was perfectly happy to open her gifts as a 4-year-old.

We had a special breakfast of waffles and hot cocoa. I don't think Molly had much of the cocoa but her horse was into it.

Cool window markers!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy family

I've been trying to limit the number of times a day I say, "Sarah said ..." but that program with Molly's teacher really hit home for me. She talked about this NPR story about tantrums -- how there's nothing a parent can do to stop them and how the quickest way to end them is to do nothing. This is advice I've heard before but it made me realize that even trying to intervene in a nice way makes tantrums worse, and that's what I've been doing. We've had a week now of just treating tantrums like sneezes -- they happen, she can't help it, they pass -- and it's remarkable how different things go. They're still intense (she even made herself throw up during one, awesome!) but they just end and life goes on. Before, things tended to escalate until she would, say, throw her trains at the television or hit people or generally crank it up until we had to put her in her room to cool off. Now I find that it hardly even brings down the mood of the house at all. So much better for everyone.

Molly and I have also had a lot of mommy-Molly time in the past week. That helps a lot, too.

I found these baby overalls in a box of Molly's old things and they're almost too small for Kate already. I can't believe we've gotten this far without putting overalls on her!

Both girls have colds this week. Molly decided to stay home from school yesterday. Actually, she decided that a few days ago before she even got sick. She said she wanted a day to rest and I couldn't agree more. She loves school but it exhausts her.

She stayed in pajamas until after lunch and played quietly by herself most of the day. What a sweetie! A lot of that play was with old Legos that she brought back from Grandma's house at Thanksgiving.

She even played quietly in the kitchen while Kate and I took naps. Here's what I found when I woke up.

It's a parade. Every single guy's leg is lifted up. They're marching. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday calmness

About a week ago I had one of those nights where I couldn't fall asleep because my mind was buzzing with "to do" lists and plans and stress over all the things going on this month -- gifts to buy, gifts to make, SinterKlaas, Molly's birthday party, how to fit all our stuff in the car when we travel, appointments to schedule, volunteer work, events at Molly's school. The next morning I decided it has to stop. Nothing on that list is worth losing sleep over. So I'm trying to simplify and calm down. There was a parents' coffee at Molly's school yesterday where her teacher talked about taking care of yourself, sleep, eating well, ways to keep the kids from provoking you, etc. I'm feeling pretty calm right now, thanks to that. I hope it lasts.

One thing I really have to do is spend less time on the computer. I don't spend much, but the computer has a way of making me ignore bedtime and that's just not good. So here are all the photos I meant to put on the blog this week but didn't because I was trying not to get sucked in.

I found Molly some matchy raccoon PJ's while I was out Christmas shopping. I decided not to wait.

SinterKlaas visited our house Monday night.

Molly puts hay and carrots in her wooden shoes

Here she is the next morning with her fruit, animal crackers and bean bags
Kate got bean bags and her favorite thing -- an apple!

There was a brief moment the other day when both kids were occupying themselves while I was in the kitchen. I noticed the quiet and found them both engaged in rather silly activities. Molly had strapped a head rest from Kate's high chair around her neck. Kate was inside a laundry basket.

What else? We went to the holiday fair at Molly's school on Sunday. It was chaotic but Molly had a good time. They have craft projects for the kids set up in the classrooms and here she is displaying what she made.

Umm ... the other day I figured out how to use a wrap to put Kate on my back (pardon the terrible flash-in-the-mirror photo). We do this in the morning now in that hectic time right before school when I need both hands to help Molly make her lunch and Kate is ready for a nap and doesn't want to be set down.

Molly put Baby Doll in her shirt -- a beautiful hand-me-down white blouse that she has decided is her "chef shirt" for getting messy in the kitchen -- and made us some bread.

This is from some day last week when Molly was so exhausted she decided to have a quiet time. She was so quiet, in fact, that I finally went down the hall to investigate and found her in Kate's bedroom asleep in a bean bag chair with a stuffed animal behind her back. Wow. It was time for Kate's nap, too, so I nursed her down and stepped around Molly to put her in her crib -- I figured it wouldn't be so bad for a little noise to keep Molly from sleeping for two hours. No luck. Kate took a full nap (that's a whole 40 minutes there), cried when she woke up and still Molly slept. When she finally did wake up she was pretty confused and unhappy. Poor kiddo is still not quite right in the sleep department. If only she could sleep past 5 a.m.!

Two girls napping in the same room.

And here's Kate doing what she likes best lately -- standing up on anything and everything, stable or not. If she pulls herself up on something low she also likes to climb over it, especially Molly's new foot stool from Beppe (which Molly now guards obsessively. It's their most fought-over object).

This evening she climbed over the corner of the open dishwasher door. She landed on her face and couldn't get herself tipped over. Poor baby.

Now everybody's in bed and I'm off to do something other than getting sucked into the computer. Right after I google a few more things....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Molly says...

I've got a stack of little papers here with Molly quotes on them. Time to share.

First, a couple weeks ago I heard Molly use her first casual swear word (I think it's her first). She was playing with a little doll she named Polly. Polly was sitting in the seat of a toy grocery cart and Molly, very quitely, made Polly say, "Bollocks. I have to stay in here the whole time and I want to get out."
There's only one person I know of in Molly's life who uses that particular British expression. We're looking at you, Daddy.

Speaking of Daddy, this week Molly and I discussed making gingerbread cookies today, which happens to be her Daddy's birthday. When I reminded her of this she got very excited and said the cookies could be for his birthday. Then she grew serious and she asked me, "Is he a cookie kind of man?"

And finally, this morning we couldn't find Molly's toothbrush on the counter. We discovered it in one of the drawers.
Molly said, "It was Daddy. He's a ninja. He's sneaky."

Happy birthday to the ninja daddy, who's really a pie man but is willing to eat cookies on his birthday if his daughter makes them. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving trip

We had a ton of fun visiting family for Thanksgiving, and that's saying a lot considering Kate hardly slept at night and we were kind of stumbling through each day.

There were all sorts of fun things to play with at Oma and Grandpa's house.

Molly looking at the Christmas tree with special snowman glasses.

Kate scooting toward the tree. Mmmm, fragile objects.

Molly dressed up for Easter  Christmas

Molly and Beppe

Silliness with Beppe

Two princesses and their grandparents

Cute picture if Molly wasn't giving us the devil child look.

Going for a walk at my mom's house, to pass the time waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. We saw chickens!

Playing on the rope swing at Grandma's house.

Molly's really into hide and seek. Here she is hiding under a bush.

Found her!

Beautiful Thanksgiving sunset as we arrived at Ganny and Papa's house.

Snuggling Oma.
 We took Kate and Henry with us Black Friday shopping. They did great for their first Trolly Day. We thought it was a great success ... until we realized we hadn't actually got much shopping done.

Babies heading out on Black Friday

Meet-up at the mall.

Back home for lunch and naps, Daddy gets some snuggle time with the babies.

Kate and Freddy

The older kids stayed at Oma's house and played on Trolly Day.

Lucy and Kate

Molly and Henry

Our little ladies

Freddy and Kate

The boys play with trains

Grandpa and Kate finally hit it off. She sat in his lap so long she almost fell asleep.

Look how big Henry is already!! They're 4 months apart and already wearing the same size clothes.

Katie with her grandma

Cousins cuddling.