Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed In

With feet of snow falling from the sky and no snow plows in sight, we've essentially been snowed-in all weekend. Lance and I were able to get out to his work Christmas party on Friday night (though we both had to literally dig our cars out of snow drifts with shovels), but we've been hanging out at home the rest of the weekend. It has, surprisingly, not been too terrible, though I think I'm using up all of our fun indoor activities in one weekend. Baking cookies, stringing cereal onto necklaces, making reindeer out of hand and footprints, pretending to hibernate in our "bear cave", long bubble baths in the middle of the day. We ventured out into the snow just once and I had to pull Rowan on a sled as the snow is up to her waist.

Rowan has been surprisingly well-behaved (well, for the most part) and Tate is now officially walking. He had been taking 10-12 steps or so, but is now using walking as his primary mode of transport and can walk a good 30 or more steps. Hopefully this will mean less bruises--though he did just have a bleeding lip and swollen ear, so I'm not counting on it. It's rather humorous to see such a little guy walking all over the place. Unfortunately he's also getting good on the stairs, so I will need to break out the lovely baby gates.

This awful snow has been a catalyst to our vacation planning. We are thinking Key Largo in February and have also decided to invite my mom and Michelle to come along, hoping for at least one day and one night out. I'm excited already and we haven't even booked anything yet! One unexpected bonus to this weather is that Hope College is closed tomorrow which means Lance will be home with us all day. Maybe a plow will come through and we can all go do something fun--sledding if that windchill gets a bit higher or maybe a trip to Play World, where I imagine I will be spending quite a few mornings this winter along with the trampoline center and the dreaded mall play area that both children love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tag...I'm It.

I have been tagged by Stephanie ( in a game of blog tag. So, I now have to list 6 random things about myself and tag six other bloggers. Both of these things will be a bit difficult because my only blog readers know me pretty well and I don't know many other bloggers. I'll list my 6 things and choose the other bloggers later.

1. I eat ice cream almost every day. It's sweet. It's smooth. It's creamy. It's delicious. Sometimes in the winter, it is replaced by hot chocolate. But I occasionally put a scoop of ice cream in the hot chocolate. My favorite kind is Homemade brand Chocolate Chip ice cream. The last time I bought it, I ate the entire HALF-GALLON in a 24-hour period. I can no longer buy this kind of ice cream.

2. No blue foods, please. I'm not sure where this "blue raspberry" idea came from, but I have never seen a blue raspberry--especially not that neon blue. There is nothing at all natural about that color. No blue popsicles, slushies or kool-aid for me. Yes, the other colors are just as full of artificial dyes, but I just can't handle the blue. Other foods I don't like: mustard, Snickers, strawberry-flavored anything (but I love real strawberries), curry, Skittles.

3. I have no idea what I want to be when I "grow up". Though I hope to go back into the workforce someday, I don't know what I want to do. Most likely, I will slowly work on my Master's and go back to teaching someday. But, when I think about what I would have the most fun doing, I have all kinds of ideas. Part of me thinks it would be fun to be a lawyer, but I think I'd actually like law school more than the being a lawyer part. Part of me thinks I would love to be a radio DJ. How fun would it be to talk to random callers about funny stories all day, play good music and give away prizes? I think I'd love it. I'd be fine with going back to school to get a broadcasting degree. I wouldn't be fine with getting stuck with doing a terrible internship or a middle-of-the-night show. Part of me wants to join the Peace Corps and work all over the world--no mortgage, no car, etc. But, I don't think that's practical to do with young children who or with a husband who doesn't really share that dream. Any ideas of what I should do?

4. I'm always coming up with ideas that I later wish I would have patented. I used to write them down on a pad of paper kept in my glove box. Here are some things I invented way before they actually came out: Vitamin-enhanced juice drinks (I would certainly have done well on this one), premeasured laundry detergent in a capsule (perfect for dorm/laundromat situations), chocolate Cool Whip (I don't think this one did so well). Here are my current ideas: a "party pack" of soda that has 3 Sprites, 3 Diet Sprites, 3 Cokes and 3 Diet Cokes, because it's just too hard to know what to get when several people are coming over; a molded spoon that has a grip on it--sort-of like a pencil grip--with a space for the thumb and fingers so toddlers can learn to hold a spoon correctly. My 2-year-old is still clueless on how to do this. I'm always thinking of things but then I forget about them until I see them marketed years later.

5. Lance and I once tried to adopt a pet pig. We went to a pet fashion show at a club in Charlotte and there was a cute little pig there up for adoption. We were going to name him Vladimir. But, we were living in an apartment at the time and they did not allow exotic animals. It's probably a good thing because we're both fans of bacon.

6. My first car was a gray Ford Tempo named Legs. Legs was the best. I got her when I turned 16 and loved her much. Upon college graduation, I upgraded to a Dodge Intrepid and took Legs to my mom's who sold her for me. I told my mom she had to tell the new owner that the car is named Legs and, in order to buy the car, they would need to keep her name. The great part is my mom actually did it. She told the girl who bought the car that she needed to keep the car's name. I'd like to believe that Legs is still around, being driven around by a college kid, racking up parking tickets.

Catching Up

Poor, poor little blog. So unloved. So neglected. We have somehow gone through Thanksgiving, Tate's 9-month stats and Lance's ongoing case of salmonella, and not even one little post.

First things first. Thanksgiving at my mom's included lots of food (including my three pies), a few games and Lance's early morning shopping trip on Black Friday coming home with a 42" flat-screen TV which is now (horrors!) sitting on our MANTLE! In Charlotte, I would not even allow a television in our living room, but the layout of this house makes it kind of necessary for it to be in the living room. And getting rid of that terribly large entertainment armoire opened up a lot of space. Random bonus: I can do dishes and watch TV at the same time.

Tate is now 9-months old and, though I still won't call it walking, does take about 10 steps or so unaided. Unfortunately he still hasn't found his balance and this attempt at walking has resulted in his falling and hitting his head on things like: the edge of the open dishwasher, Rowan's bed frame and the corner of the coffee table. Poor little guy has several large bruises on his head. He loves to clap his hands and will occasionally blow kisses. He weighs 20 pounds and is 28.5 inches tall. Though he seems enormous to me, he is exactly the 50th percentile for both weight and height. 90th for head, of course.

Rowan's current obsession is being a baby. She can do nothing by herself because she is a baby. She needs to be held because she is a baby. Ah, the joy. If only she would take 2 naps a day like her baby brother! Rowan also finished this session of gymnastics and showed off her favorite move (the tuck jump) for her class, earning a medal she loves to wear.

On to Lance. Note to readers: Not that you would, but NEVER EVER eat at Big Boy. If you are forced to go, don't order the french toast. Lance has learned his lesson. While away on a business trip, Lance was served raw french toast. After eating one bite, he decided he was done with his meal. Evidentally, however, his meal was not done with him. And here he is with salmonella. He's on day #6 and doesn't seem to be showing great signs of improvement. I have never seen him this sick. Which means I have gotten to take care of 2 kids and a sick husband, have missed both of my book club meetings and had to cancel a scheduled-well-in-advance and much-needed haircut with Amanda. I need a drink and a night out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Steps, First Signs

We're here in Naperville, along with Lance's parents, visiting Monica, Robert, Hope and Grace. Both kids did great in the car and we're having a great time here. Lance, Rowan, Tate and I are all staying in the same room--Lance and I in a bed, Tate in a Pack-n-Play and Rowan in a sleeping bag in her princess tent (and feeling so grown-up about it). Tate woke up 3 times last night and, though he may have fallen back asleep on his own, I couldn't risk Rowan waking up, so I got up immediately and fed him. Just hoping this doesn't become a habit.

Yesteday Tate decided to surprise everyone and take a few steps on his own. He really doesn't even stand on his own for more than a few seconds, but he takes a few little wide-stanced sumo steps and then falls over. He's still a few days shy of 9 months and, though he's very proud of himself, I think he's growing up too fast!

A few days ago, I thought Tate might have been trying to sign "more". He would put his hands together and get all excited. I'm still not so sure he is really doing "more", but today he certainly started waving "hi". I'm going to try to get video of both milestones and post it soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tate's Little Scoot

One day last week, Tate did this funny little scoot. He did it just that day, not at all since, but I got a little video of it and I'm going to try to post it.
He is now just so active--crawling everywhere, pulling up onto everything (and often falling, resulting in lots of bumps and bruises) and even standing on his own for a few seconds. He loves eating, moving, and trying to play with Rowan. He hates his carseat, being away from mom and dad, and diaper changes.

The Season's First Snowman

Winter is officially here. To think a few weeks ago, I was playing with the kids at the beach. Yesterday we planned on hiking around the Outdoor Discovery Center. We got there, popped the kids into their backpacks, hiked for a little while, saw the birds of prey (yes, despite my unnatural fear of birds, we still went) and hiked back. Rowan was saying "It's so cold my face hurts" and Tate was burrowing his head into Lance's back.

This morning we woke up to snow all over the ground. Not a lot of it, but snow nonetheless. By the time we were home from church, the snow had melted off the ground, but it was still all over the deck. Lance took Rowan out and they made a cute little snowman who Rowan loves. She said "Snowman, if I put you in the microwave will you melt? Snowman, do you want to come inside and eat hummingfish with me (lots of reading The Lorax around here)? Snowman, do you like to eat raisins and carrots and snow?" Rowan loves to make snowmen, but what she loves even more about the snow is eating it. As soon as she gets outside, she grabs a handful and shoves it in her mouth. When she comes inside, she requests hot cider. Tate and I watched from the window. He laughed everytime Lance would throw a snowball at the window.

While Rowan is excited about the snow, I am not. Though I'll still try to get outside, at least briefly, each day, the days of spending 2 hours at the park are long gone, buried under the snow, only to emerge with the tulips and daffodils in the spring. In the meantime, we'll be doing lots of baking, art projects and dress-up, watching Tate reach lots of fun milestones, and hoping to get through this season with some sort of sanity.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Imaginary Friends

When I was little, I heard that it was very normal for children to have imaginary friends. Not wanting to be abnormal, I decided to make up my very own imaginary friend. His name was Cubby and he was a bear. Every once in a while I'd remember I was supposed to have this imaginary friend and I'd make it a point to have conversations with Cubby for my family to hear. In all reality, though, I didn't have an imaginary friend. I really couldn't fathom that kids actually have these imaginary friends. I tried, I really did, but it just wasn't my style.

Rowan, however, is one of these very "normal" children with imaginary friends. She has lots of them and they go everywhere with her. Her favorite is a little girl named Emma. Her next two favorites are Baby and Max. Today she busted out with Howie's #1 through 4 as well as "The 6-o'clock man". Every day Rowan wakes up and Emma is there. Emma gets dressed with Rowan, eats with Rowan, gets into trouble with Rowan. Any time Rowan does something deserving of a time-out, she immediately lets me know Emma did it. Jumping on the bed during nap? Emma. Pushing Tate over? Emma. Painting with poop? Emma. Emma also accompanies us everywhere we go. Emma needs to be strapped into a high chair, pushed in a swing, given bedtime kisses. I told Rowan she can do all of those things for Emma, but I am only worried about Rowan, since Rowan is my daughter. Rowan let me know that Emma is my daughter, too.

We went to visit Grandma Jackie for two days this week since Lance was out of town. It was so great to have Grandma play with Rowan while I played with Tate. I feel like it was one of the few times I've had to just play with Tate and not have hundreds of other things to do. Rowan was having a blast with Grandma, there was no dinner to be made, no laundry to do. Just Tate and me playing. He was so much fun. Pulling up on everything, letting go for a few seconds and standing on his own. Laughing, cuddling, just being such a sweet and happy little guy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Beautiful Day Until...

We spent the morning at the park--over 2 hours of swinging, sliding, running and eating. Both kids were great. They napped at the same time and I called Heather. As we were talking, I heard Rowan playing in her room and then she finally fell asleep. When I finally went in to wake her up, she had once again escaped the silver belt. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Last weekend Lance and I went to a martini party and a friend convinced me to take pictures the next time Rowan was up to her antics. So, here they are. Rowan painting on wall 1, a photo of wall 2 and a photo of one of the doors. When I took the picture of Rowan, she actually looked at me afterward, smiled and said "cheese". No remorse whatsoever. I didn't even bother taking pictures of the sheets, bedrails, stuffed animals and comforter cover, all of which were immediately thrown into the wash. One day, when she's a famous painter, I can show everyone how she got her start.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Because we could...

With weather like this, I had to just do things because we could. We spent some time this morning out on the new playset. Tate took a great morning nap, we played a bit and then we skipped Rowan's afternoon nap and headed to the beach. I think it got to 73 degrees today and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go. We then stopped by Lance's work and ate at New Holland Brewery. Overall, a great day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

70. Sunny. November.

In stark contrast to last week, when we were holed up inside, this week we will be outside as much as possible. Potty-training is going well. No need to stay home. And the weather is absolutely perfect.

I am loving this weather. All morning was spent outside. During Tate's morning nap, Rowan and I played on her new playset in the backyard. We just got it installed on Thursday and it's already been worth it. After nap, we walked to the park. And I'm sure we'll be outside again when the kids get up from their afternoon naps. It's actually warmer here than in Charlotte and is supposed to be warm the next 2-3 days as well. I'm sort-of even contemplating a trip to the beach. Of course the water would be freezing, but Rowan kind of just likes to play in the sand, anyway. I'm guessing I'll be drinking in the sun as much as humanly possible before my deep winter depression sets in and I'm rarely seen out of my house. Hope you're all loving it as much as we are!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Crafts

Since we were stuck inside most of last week, Rowan and I made some fall crafts to pass the time. We made yummy applesauce, salt dough ghosts, a fall tree, lots of pumpkins and some leaf collages and animals. Rowan has names all 7 of her ghosts (Rowan, Tate, Lily, Baby Ally, Boo and 2 others whose names I can't remember) and likes to set them around the house--in Tate's exersaucer, in his high chair, on other chairs and I discover them when I sit on them or try to put Tate on top of them. She also often has little imaginary friends, lately Max and Emma have been making appearances (I think these may be characters on Dragon Tales which she watched for about 10 minutes one day last week while I was putting Tate down for a nap). When she woke up diaperless from her nap, she informed me that Emma took off her diaper. Though being covered in poop, she couldn't blame the fingerpainting on Emma.

Here are some pictures of a few of Rowan's crafts and a cute one of Tate for good measure.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Tonight we went trick-or-treating with our two little monkeys around our neighborhood. They were too adorable with their monkey suits and banana bags (yes, I actually made them!) Rowan had so much fun saying "trick or treat" and "thank you" and, of course, getting candy. Even more fun for her, however, was handing out the candy to the other trick-or-treaters. She would stand at the door, candy in hand, saying "Here come some more kids! Here they come!" and then would "toss" the candy into the bags. Rowan is still scared of masked people and today the costume that scared her the most was Hillary Clinton. Tate barely napped at all today, which is not like him at all, and he fell asleep during the trick-or-treating experience.

The rest of the week has been both busy and lazy. We didn't leave the house much for most of the week for two reasons: 1. Rowan is potty training and I didn't want to take too many chances with long outings. 2. We've had some work done at our house and I needed to be here for some of the workers.

Potty-training is going surprisingly well. The first few days Rowan had several accidents, then had a few days with no accidents (however, there was still a terrible nap-time poop painting incident) and then today she had one accident. Needless to say, I think it's going pretty well. We went to Target today and Rowan picked out some new Elmo big-girl underwear.

As for the work on our house, we now have a larger, nicer deck with stairs to get to the back yard, so we no longer have to let the dogs out into our yard through the basement windows. We also have a nice playset for Rowan complete with swings, a playhouse, a picnic table and a little rock wall. She loves it. With this strange 64 degree weather today, we spent most of the afternoon outside playing. Tate loved the swing and Rowan loved everything. I'm so excited for the great weather forecasted for the next few days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Potty-Training the Pellow Way

I have no idea what I am doing. I have decided to potty train Rowan. I just decided "This is it. This is the week. Something has to be done about this silver belt issue and I guess this has to be the start." So, here we are. We had no plans for the week, the weather was supposed to be cold and yucky, Lance was going to be out of town. Let's just go for it. Of course, I had no idea how to start. I read a few books and decided I'm not totally on-board with any of the experts. The "wait until your child tells you they're ready" approach is probably not going to work unless I want to wait a long time. The "have a potty party and train your child in one day" also seems a bit insane. Lots of decorations, preparation and the potential that, after all of that, I will have an untrained child. So, I just kind of read a few ideas and am randomly choosing some things to do.

Sunday morning, we woke up, told Rowan she doesn't need diapers anymore and put all of her diapers in our closet--for naps and night only. We then let her run around with only a shirt on and encouraged her to go to the bathroom anytime she needed to. I think she peed on the floor 4 times. About the same yesterday. Though we did venture out of the house for a very fun pumpkin decorating time at the library where she wore "big-girl underwear" and even went potty in a public place. Today, instead of cleaning up the floor, I just told Rowan to go potty every 60-90 minutes or so and there were no accidents. But, again, I have no clue what I'm doing. I think we'll just kind of keep going at it for a while, staying home a lot this week and then venturing out for short trips in places with nearby public restrooms. I guess we'll just see how it all goes. Literally.

This weekend was tons of fun. We had our Halloween party on Saturday--lots of kids, lots of friends we hadn't seen in a while. Lots of food. Rowan and Tate were dressed in their monkey costumes (though in the photo, Tate is still wearing his funny spider shirt). I meant to make banana treat bags for them, but never got around to it, so Rowan carried her Diego Easter basket from this past year. A few more days until Halloween. I really need to get on those treat bags.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gymnastics Routine

On Thursday evenings, Lance takes Rowan to gymnastics. Rowan gets some daddy-daughter time and Tate and I get a little time to ourselves. It's great for all of us. However, Rowan has, once again, decided not to nap anymore. So, though she should be napping right now, this is what I'm listening to through her monitor "Good somersault, Rowan. Good tuck jump. Now let's do log rolls. Log roll, log roll, log roll. Do a tuck jump, somersault. Bunny bunny bunny hops. Good girl, Rowan! Watch this tuck jump! Good job!" This will continue for a long time.

And, as she has proven several times over the course of a week or so, duct tape no longer works. So I have also had several surprises after rest time. So, even though I'm not entirely sure she's ready, I think I'm going to start potty training next week. We have virtually nothing on the agenda. We'll hang out in the house and work on it. Should be great fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make it Hot Pink, Please

Rowan's favorite color is hot pink. I'm not really sure when she decided hot pink was better than blue, but she did. So hot pink it is. When I ask her who her favorite character in a book is, she'll say "hot pink". When I ask her what flavor of ice cream she'd like, she'll say "hot pink". When I ask her what she wants to wear, of course it's "hot pink pants, hot pink shirt, hot pink socks..." And of course the hot pinks are all different shades. It's attractive.

So tonight I tried to make the hot pink work to get Rowan to eat her dinner. And it worked. I made a pineapple stir-fry with chicken and several colors of pepper, one of them being red (which in the right light can sort-of look like a shade of hot pink). She's never eaten a pepper before without spitting it out, but tonight, she went for it. She ate a whole bowl of the stir-fry. Even the chicken! I bought a pink banana squash at a veggie stand, so we'll see how that goes. I may not be above adding a drop of red food coloring to all meals so they look hot pink. I'm not big into the artificial colors, but maybe it's just what Rowan needs...

Friday we took Rowan and Tate downtown to a parade--I'm thinking it must have been for Byron Center homecoming. In any case, people threw candy at Rowan and she thought it was the best. Yesterday Lance and I enjoyed a much needed date night. Today we tried a new church--not one we'll be going back to. This whole idea of finding a church is no fun. Then we played outside and went to the park. A good weekend, but shorter than it should be. Tate is moving around quicker and is harder to keep up with! He eats more veggies than the rest of us combined and loves to be chased and tickled. He is such a giggler and it's so adorable. Now if he would just start sleeping through the night!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back to Reality

So, I'm no longer 30. And I entered into this next year with a wonderful surprise weekend trip to Charlotte alone. Yep, just me and my breast pump for a nice 4-day excursion. No kids, no dogs, no responsibility whatsoever. Lots of food--Zink, Dean and Deluca, Brooklyn Pizza and, of course a Dutch Baby. Lots of activity--shopping, mani/pedi, dinner group, book club, a birthday bonfire at the lake and a hilarious David Sedaris show. Lots of friends--Trang, Mike, Nathan, Betsy, Jared, Jenni, Toni, Patricia, Molly, Karen, Susan, Scheili, Kristin, Rachel, Marsi, Mara, Jen and a quick visit to school to see Kay, Pat and Quyen. I was so busy and had such a great time.

Some of the highlights/funny moments: After the David Sedaris show, I needed to pump. But, we were on the way to a bonfire, so while Jared drove, I sat in the backseat and pumped the whole way. And, after the bonfire, at 2am, I did the same thing. Poor Jared--he's such a trooper. Molly decked out her house in Halloween decorations, we all put on Halloween tattoos and played Halloween games--something that would have made college Gina very happy--and was quite amusing. Susan got engaged--finally!--after dating Kris for 9 years. Marsi gave Tate the most adorable Harley Davidson jacket, I got to meet new babies Rylan and Charlotte. It was such a perfect trip. And Lance survived with both children.

I came back rejuvenated, missing Lance and the kids, ready to cuddle with Tate and give Rowan her presents. Though it was a late night, it was nice to be home. And then, the next day, it was all back to reality. Back to nap-skipping, tantrum-throwing, time-outs and teething. But also back to cuddling while reading books, coloring, making projects and leaf-collecting, cheering on Tate's crawling, playing pat-a-cake and splashing in the tub.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tate's New Moves, Part II

It's official. As of a few days ago, the rocking became crawling. It's a nice, slow pace at this point, but Tate is definitely mobile. No more laying him down on the floor in the living room to play while I unload the dishwasher. He will most certainly not be there when I finish. No more plopping him in the playroom with the small choking hazards Rowan loves to play with. He will most certainly find them. And he's quite adorable, looking all determined, while he crawls around. I am excited for his milestone, but am realizing just how much my dogs shed as it all ends up on his clothes. Tate also now has his two front top teeth to go along with those bottom ones. My little guy is growing up! And, according to Rowan, Tate is her "BFF".

As a family, we have been busy lately. Zeeland Pumpkin Fest, Hope's Alumni soccer game, a trip to Grandma Jackie's for her birthday, a day at the zoo. We're doing our best to take advantage of the last little bit of decent weater before outdoor activities require many more layers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nice Mushroom!

A few funny things Rowan has said recently:

This morning, after three days of not shaving, Lance asked Rowan what was on his face. She said "It's a mushroom, Daddy."

Tonight, while I was wearing my white bathrobe: "Mommy, you're married already? You're wearing your wedding dress?"

Today, while taking Harley to the vet: "Will Harley's doctor give her a kiss and a band-aid?"

In the car on Saturday, after we tried to go to the end of The Pull (which didn't work out so well since it ended in 67 minutes instead of 3 hours): "Are we at the pool yet? Where's the pool? Can we go to the pool now?"

When she swings from her hook-on high chair: "I'm just doing some aerobics, Mommy."

When I ask her why she is taking off all of her clothes, which is occurring several times daily: "I'm just getting a little bit naked, Mom."

When she wants to do something with Tate that he can't do yet (play Ring Around the Rosie, eat pumpkin seeds, have a race): "Tate can do it when he gets bigger. He's getting bigger and bigger every day."

It's so funny to hear her vision of the world. She is growing up so quickly and has her own ideas of what she wants to do, what she wants to wear, how she wants her hair. She's all about hot pink, loves playing outside, going to the park, playing with (and eating) sidewalk chalk and is still quite a mommy's girl.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End of the Roll

I guess it was bound to happen. The weather has been gorgeous, we've been really busy and somehow, last night, we finished the most recent roll of duct tape. So, after a morning at Hope's psychology department so a developmental psych class could observe the Rowan and Tate and the rest of the morning and lunch spent at the beach, I came home and tried to make do with scotch tape during Rowan's nap. But, Rowan, always the wild one, easily tore off the 6 layers of tape, threw her diaper over the side of the bed, pooped on the floor and finger painted with it. And there was a lot of it. Imagine it. Then imagine it much worse. That's what I was greeted with. Poop all over the walls, carpet and fabric headboard (which I am now realizing wasn't the brightest idea). And, of course, all over Rowan. A call to Lance at work to come home early, followed by a very, very long bath and endless cleaning and her room still stinks.

But, my rant is now done and I'll focus on the positive. I love that we walked to the park with Cooper on Monday and went to another park with Brady on Tuesday. I love that my mom and sister came over on Wednesday for dinner and ice cream. I love that it was 80 and sunny today. I love that we got to spend the day at the beach. I love that Lance took Rowan to gymnastics today and she came home and said "Mommy, we did log rolls and tuck jumps and the bear crawl" and proceeded to demonstrate each technique. And, of course, while they were at gymnastics, Tate and I went out to buy more duct tape. So, we should be good for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tate's New Moves

After weeks of trying to figure things out, Tate is finally able to get up on his hands and knees and move--albeit backward. It's still a pretty slow move, but he seems pretty proud of himself. I took some pictures, but blogger hasn't been letting me post, so I'll try to post them another time. He is pretty much as happy as could be as long as someone is paying attention to him.

We had a great weekend over here. Saturday Susan took me out for a day of shopping (where I splurged on 3 pair of jeans), hanging out in Rockford and then going to dinner at Bonefish Grill. Lance's parents came in that day and on Sunday we went to Crane's to pick an alarming amount of apples. Rowan had a blast and Tate was as content as could be in the Baby Bjorn. I think I'll be making all sorts of apple treats the next week or so. Sunday night we played at the park where Rowan loved attmepting to climb the rock wall and going across the "mushrooms" all by herself.

Today was a playdate with Cooper and Lindsay at the Outdoor Discovery Center. Lots and lots of walking outside. Maybe a bit too much. At one point I had Tate in the Baby Bjorn and was giving Rowan a piggyback ride. Then bootcamp tonight. We've been busy and have a really busy week. We're loving the slightly cooler, but still warm weather and are getting outside as much as we can.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Little Pica

So, for as long as she's been able to feed herself, Rowan has penchant for eating. Unfortuantely her cravings are not for food. While I can sit at the dinner table practically begging her to eat something other than cheese or yogurt to no avail, she has no problem picking up random flowers, bugs, pieces of dirt and popping them right into her mouth, a special little snack. Her most recent craving, however, has been wood and paint chips from her window sill. Every morning when I hear her start to wake up, I head into her room and she is standing at the window. I give her a look and she says "Mommy, I was just looking out at the little girl." I look out the window. No little girl. "I was just looking at the trees, Mommy." But, the chunks missing from the window sill tell another story. And the paint chips on her tongue kind of blow her cover.

At first I thought it was pretty funny. But it is now getting to the point that I'm thinking she really might have pica. When I was telling stories about Rowan to some friends, an OB friend of mine said "You should really have her hemoglobin checked." So, we may just have to do it. Here's what has to say about pica: "Many young kits put nonfood items in their mouths at one time or another. They're naturally curious about their environment and might, for instance, eat some dirt out of the sandbox. Kids with pica, however, go beyond this innocent exploration of their surroundings. As many as 25% to 30% of kids (and 20% of those seen in mental health clinics) have the eating disorder pica, which is characterized by persistent and compulsive cravings (lasting 1 month or longer) to eat nonfood items. People with pica frequently crave and consume nonfood items such as:

paint chips
laundry starch
baking soda
coffee grounds
cigarette ashes
burnt match heads
cigarette butts

Look for these warning signs that your child may have pica:

*repetitive consumption of nonfood items, despite efforts to restrict it, for a period of at least 1 month or longer
*the behavior is considered inappropriate for your child's age or developmental stage (older than 18 to 24 months)
*the behavior is not part of a cultural, ethnic, or religious practice"

So, on the list, she has consumed (and seems to enjoy consuming)all of these items with the exception of cigarette/match related items and the laundry starch, which she has never come into contact with.

Tate, on the other hand, is now eating baby food and loves everything we give him, though oatmeal is probably his least favorite. He gets all excited when he sees me coming with a bowl or a baby food container and is clearly upset when it's all done. Kind of like the Baby Bjorn, which I think he would hang out in all day, but he is really getting too big. He's so happy and smiley, especially early in the morning. I'll do my best to keep him away from paint chips--at least for a while.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tate's Six Month Stats

So my little guy is already six months old. He's now a full 26.5 inches long and 18 pounds. Though that sounds enormous to me (Rowan was 18 pounds, 14 ounces at a year), it's actually about the 5oth percentile for both weight and height. The doctor said "That's just the normal amount of chub." He can sit, roll over and babble. He wants to move, but isn't quite there yet. When he cries, he sounds like he's saying "mama", though I know he's really not. Poor little thing has quite a cold, though, and has kept us up quite a bit at night crying, coughing and wanting to eat. He's getting better, so I'm hoping he'll sleep better, too!

The weather this weekend was beautiful. Lots of time at the park, doing sidewalk chalk, cheering on the Panthers and going to Carnival on the Grand where Rowan loved the bounce houses, the carousel and her first taste of cotton candy. We also found out some big news! Monica, Robert, Hope and Grace are moving to Chicago! We're so ezcited to have them close by. Though I am now wishing we had just bought the really big house we originally thought we wanted. Not sure how everyone will fit over here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If only I had packed my videocamera...

I could have recorded the scene in my mom's kitchen tonight--Tate laughing uncontrollably at Michelle's ghetto fabulous, completely inappropriate dance moves. Hysterical.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fleeting Moments

So, I haven't really been inspired to write lately. Not because nothing has been going on--maybe the opposite, really. By the time I fall into bed at night, I just want to read myself to sleep. So, the laptop has been collecting dust under the bed. This past week, though, Tate reached a few big milestones and I can't imagine not recording them.

Tate is now a full six months old. I can't believe it. He is getting so big so quickly. Just this morning I was in his room trying to reorganize his drawers with clothes that still fit and I realized that the majority of the clothes were too small and are now being replaced with 6-9 or even 6-12 month clothes. It's a little sad putting away those tiny little outfits and realizing that my little baby isn't so little anymore. As Rowan says "He's getting bigger and bigger every day".

This past week Tate got his first teeth, of course choosing to do so while Lance is out of town. The empty space in the bottom front of his mouth is now filled with two little pearly stumps. They're still not really visible when he smiles, so I get to soak in the gummy grin a bit longer. Tate's favorite activities are watching his sister, playing with toys, rolling over and over and over, "standing" while being held and dancing in the mirror. He also still loves to be carried in the Baby Bjorn, but as he's nearing 20 pounds, I'm not sure my back can take it much longer. I have no idea what I'm going to do them. Tate is also becoming a bit of a mama's boy. I used to be able to hand him off to a stranger without any problems, but this Sunday, I was paged in church to come get him and today he cried every time Lindsay tried to hold him for me. So, I'm trying to enjoy the fleeting moments of cuddle time with my little guy. I can already tell he's going to be busy like his sister wiith time to cuddle only if he's very sick or very tired.

Rowan has lately decided that she can only sleep with her light on. As soon as she's all tucked in and I close the door to her room, she hops out of bed and turns on her light. Tonight I didn't even bother turning it off. She's also either skipping her nap and falling right asleep at night or napping and staying in her room at night, talking to herself, her stuffed animals or me, through the monitor, until around 11. I'm hoping it's just a phase and she'll go back to napping and falling asleep at a normal time. Fortunately the silver belt is still working like a charm.

Today at our playdate with Cooper, Rowan and Cooper drove the Power Wheel around. Rowan, having never been on a Power Wheel, got quite a kick out of using the gas pedal, but clearly had no idea what the steering wheel was for. She ran into pretty much everything in their backyard and Cooper refused to be the passenger while she was driving. He got her back later, though, by running over her foot. I was crying I was laughing so hard. It's so Rowan, though, to just hit the ground running with no idea what's in front of her.

Yesterday baby Maya was born, so today I went through all of Rowan's baby clothes and packed them up to take to Andrea and David. A sea of pink with lots of flowers and an occasional duck. Unlike Tate, Rowan, who was so tiny and grew so slowly, seemed like she wore those clothes forever before moving into the next size. But here she is, two years old, growing up before my eyes. And her little brother following closely behind.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Am I Raising a Racist?

I'm sure this will not be my most politically correct blog of all time, but I'm finding myself wondering what to do about my current dilemma. You see, Rowan has these little magnetic dolls that she loves to play with. She can dress them in little magnetic outfits, have them carry a purse or an umbrella, put fun shoes on them, etc. We've been using them as a reward when she goes potty. Anyway, there is a blond girl named Amanda and an African American girl named Kate. For quite a while, Rowan really didn't show a preference for one over the other. But lately, she's all about Amanda. She wants to play with Amanda and keep Kate in the case or let me or Lance play with Kate. And as I look around at our friends and the kids she plays with regularly and, sure enough, they all look like Amanda. Her best friend in Charlotte was half Vietnamese and her cousin Nathan is half Vietnamese, but here in the sprawling metropolis of Byron Center, it's pretty homogenous. In fact, I think Rowan might be the oddball by being the only brunette in the neighborhood. So, my question is, what do I do about this? I mean, I can't really scope out people with different ethnicities and try to make them become friends with us, can I? And, if so, where do I scope them out? Can you imagine that newspaper ad? "Mother of two seeking children of color to encourage inclusivity in her children. I will provide snacks, toys and anything else necessary for a fun playdate. You provide ethnicity. Dutch need not apply." Don't get me wrong, I love all of our friends and I love that we all have so much in common. I just have a feeling this will be something we'll be working on for a while. Hopefully our naughty black dogs aren't to blame...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Girls' Weekend 2008

Finally--time to write about our 7th annual Girls' Weekend. Though our weekends are generally very low stress, I come home absolutely exhausted. For some reason, we stay up very late and wake up very early. And upon coming home, my father-in-law stayed until this morning, so I found myself with no time to write.

So, this year, we opted to spoil ourselves completely. Dinner on the deck at Bostwick Friday, pedicures on the Kooistra's back porch lasted pretty much all afternoon Saturday and then we spent the evening with our chef making (watching her make) a ridiculously good meal including shrimp and saffron rice, asparagus straws, beef tenderloin with horseradish whipped cream, hummus and pita chips, goat cheese pesto torta and a delicious chocolate tart with lavender whipped cream. We had also been eating and drinking all day. A boat ride Sunday afternoon and lots and lots of talking about actual adult subjects. No one needed their food cut into tiny pieces. We all got to meet sweet little Anders, but enjoyed a break from the other children for a weekend.

Tate, evidentally, did well while I was gone. He took several bottles--initially with some resistance, but he didn't starve. Grandma Mary and Grandpa Carl came on Saturday so of course Rowan was more than content. I'm kind of thinking this whole weekend away thing needs to happen way more than once a year--maybe seasonally. So, if anyone is up for a weekend trip in the fall, just let me know.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's Somethin' in My Nose, Mom

With Lance out of town, I was really ready for a break this morning. My mom came to watch the kids while I went to Holland to get my hair cut--finally! It's amazing that in 10 weeks my hair goes from short to long and completely out of control. Tate somehow slept the entire time I was gone so my mom didn't have to worry about feeding him. Rowan had a great time and even took a nap! When I started to hear her stir, I went into her room prepared to cuddle. She looked at me, stood up on her bed and said "There's somethin' in my nose, Mom." Note that I am now "Mom"--no longer "Mama" or "Mommy"--so sad. I looked in and, sure enough, way up there, is a perfect white sphere. I said "Rowan, what is it?" She said "I don't know, Mom, what is it?" She said she found it on the floor. I looked around and didn't see any more. I checked her stuffed animals to see if one was falling apart and then I got to work on the nose. I tried tweezers, a q-tip and even a pointy nail file to no avail. Rowan of course, was flailing around and screaming. Tate, thankfully, was sleeping. I knew I would be too late to get her to the pediatrician before they closed and wasn't too thrilled on going to Urgent Care the second time this week. So, we worked and worked until she finally blew it right out of her nose. I still have no idea what it was, but I am hoping that putting things up her nose does not become the epidemic that taking off her diaper was. Because I can't use duct tape this time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can't we just pay someone to do that?

Since Lance will be gone for a couple of nights, I went out to do some grocery shopping after the kids went to bed. I told Lance on my way out the door, "If you could clean whatever needs it, that would be great." I'm thinking to myself that I probably won't get too much done with Lance out of town and my in-laws are coming this weekend, so it's time to vaccuum, dust, clean up, etc. Here is what I come home to--a disassembled laptop and a disassembled desktop. I said "What's going on with the computers?" Lance said "I took the airport card out of the laptop and am going to try to put it in the desktop." What? My first thought is: How is this a priority over cleaning? My second thought is: Here we go again. Though I certainly give him credit for trying, Lance is really not a do-it-yourselfer. Past attempts at fixing things have led to bigger problems which have caused us to call in the professionals, so my thought is, why not just call them in the first place? But, alas, it's 11 at night, Lance is still working on the computers (I am currently borrowing his work computer), the house still needs to be cleaned and we will get to spend exactly no time together before his business trip. And there is a distinct possibility I will be left with two broken computers as well. Ah, good times.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Eight Years

Today is our eighth anniversary. In those eight years, we have owned 7 cars (Jeep, Intrepid, Jetta, Lumina, Volvo, XTerra, Odyssey), lived in 5 different places (apartment in Holland, apartment in Charlotte, house in Charlotte, house in Holland, house in Byron Center), had 3 pets (Harley, Sebastian and Stan the newt who was buried at our first Charlotte apartment in a ceremony complete with flowers that I later saw the neighbor girl Britney carrying around), and have 2 adorably cute kids. We have had times of complete bliss and times of absolute chaos. And I can't think of anyone in the world I'd want to share all of that with other than Lance.

We spent a nice weekend in Chicago. Rowan hung out at Grandma Jackie's while we relaxed with Tate in downtown Chicago. A long boat ride, an outdoor concert, lots of shopping, good food and an amazing massage at the hotel on Sunday morning. I'm pretty sure Lance and I had decided that Chicago was our gift to each other so I didn't even think of a gift for Lance. But he, of course, was prepared with a poem, a bag and a massage appointment. And I was empty-handed for him. He claimed he didn't recall any conversation about gifts. Nonetheless I'm feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing. So, I'll have to come up with a great plan for a late anniversary gift. Off to think...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ode to Duct Tape

Ah, the sweet sound of silence. No cleaning. No scrubbing. Just sweet sleeping children, both of whom are currently wearing a diaper. Yes, the silver belt has (at least presently) solved our poop problems. I went to get Rowan after her nap (though she didn't actually sleep) and she was playing in her room, naked, with the exception of her diaper and the amazing silver belt. And, since we marketed the belt to Rowan as a fun accessory, she thinks it's great. She asks for her silver belt any time she has a diaper change, but we reserve it for naptime and bedtime. When we cut the diaper off, she says "Poor little silver belt." I'm really getting my hopes up, but I can't imagine any way she can escape this one.

This new wonderful use for duct tape reminds me a bit of the 99 Pull Team ("Awesome Pull Team") and the very odd, humorous things I remember happening. Here's a very short, not at all complete list of some things that might make you laugh ("you" referring to Steph and Heather. Sorry, Mike, I'm sure you loathe all things Pull like Lance, but really you know that's what the cool kids did). One thing I think I remember is that the coaches tried to get Mike Z to eat something (a graham cracker? a granola bar?) without using his hands. He was unsuccessful. Does anyone else remember this? Also, after completing 99 push-ups, I remember listening to my alarm the next morning without having any use of my arms and trying to figure out how to push the snooze button. Lots of insane throwing up, Koop's punctured lung, singing songs to our pullers in the basement of some dorm while they all cried (what was that?), going to the Kappa Chi house where one of our coaches lived(what was her name?) and having to rub Buddha's belly, Anchor Matt ("It's all in the thighs"), Lissa's multi-use kneepads, feeling like the whole "recruitment" meeting was a bit like a haunted house, drinking lots of tea with lemon, making funny pit signs and pit names with Mike ("Crazy Fun Pit aka Pit O' Death" our freshman year and "The Banana Tree of Death" our sophomore year). Oh, the good times we had. Ooh-rah.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Silver Belt

A busy weekend--a garage sale with the McGowan's, bike rides, lots of ice cream and, of course, continued "My change my diaper" episodes. This really has become an epidemic. And I can't handle it. Cleaning sheets, cleaning blankies, cleaning stuffed animals, cleaning comforters, cleaning carpet. We've tried everything we can think of to get this to stop. Wearing the sleep sack backward, wearing pajamas that are very hard to get off, wearing a diaper with a pull-up over it. But when I get her up in the morning or from her nap, she is naked. Now instead of saying "My change my diaper", she says "Bad girl." Did I really look at her and say "Bad girl"? Have I mistaken my child for a dog? THIS HAS TO STOP!

So, tonight, Rowan is sporting a brand new "silver belt" over her diaper. Yes, this is a strip of duct tape. And no, I don't feel this is over the top in any way, shape or form. It's the natural progression to the next level of trying to outwit my 2-year-old daughter. If she wakes up naked tomorrow, I'll be begging for new ideas. So, start thinking now.

Slightly more exciting news...Lance and I finally feel moved into our house. With the exception of putting things on the wall, everything is unpacked and relatively organized. We still have a list of things we'd like to buy (sleeper sofa (if you've seen a cute one anywhere, let me know. I seem to be finding weird fabrics and microfiber), flat panel TV, a few cute chairs, a swingset), but the actual house is looking pretty good! Our fence is coming the first week in August (with a very shocking price tag, but I still can't wait) and hopefully a swingset will come soon after. So, come on over!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


We finally have working internet at our house! It has been a long time coming and I feel I have lost touch with the world. It's amazing how much I now depend on something I had used very infrequently before college.

Updates from the Pellow home-

1. After a long morning at DeVos Children's Hospital, we found out that Tate's hips are fine! Yeah! So all of those hours in the Baby Bjorn haven't hurt our little man. Really, I would have been completely crushed if I couldn't carry him around that way. I tried putting him in a stroller for the first time (yes, it's ridiculous, he's very spoiled, but we both prefer the Bjorn) and he cried the entire time. No different than a car seat for him, I suppose. Other than that, he's happy all of the time until nap time. Then, when we try to put him down, there is a remarkable amount of crying which never turns into sleep. So, I cuddle him until he falls asleep and then put him down. He sleeps pretty well once he's asleep, but getting him to sleep is the trick. Especially when Rowan is in the room playing with his toys and demanding that I read her a book. I am also sporting some pretty hickeys on my shoulders from Tate sucking on them anytime I wear sleeveless. So, I've taken to wearing short sleeves which means I have an attractive farmer's tan as well as some healing hickeys. Cute summer look.

2. Though we still have no artwork on the walls and have a few more things to do, we are finally starting to feel settled. There is furniture in every room (and finally a kitched table and chairs!) and we are really loving our house and neighborhood. Several of the neighbors have stopped over and there are lots and lots of kids (though many of them are older than Rowan and Tate). Our fence is coming the first week of August and we've met a few potential babysitters. All is well.

3. Rowan continues to change her own diaper. Of course, that's just what she calls it. What it means is I get to clean up poop after naps. I got so mad at her last time she said "I'm scared of you, Mommy." Is that a good thing or a bad thing? She talks constantly about everything and is so adorable most of the time. However, I'm a little concerned about Rowan's social skills. She has lately thrown sand on her friends, dumped water on their heads (and her own) and walked around putting dog food down her shirt (which, of course, made Lily put dog food down her shirt). The thing is, Rowan isn't doing these things to be mean, she actually thinks it's fun to dump sand and water on her own head and doesn't understand why it would be a problem to do this to someone else. She also thinks it's very funny when someone falls and gets hurt and will reenact the situation over and over. When Ally fell down a step at our house and landed on the floor and cried, Rowan would throw herself down the steps, land on the floor, fake cry, get up and do it again. Should I be concerned?

4. Lots of new babies have been born. Anders, Charlotte and Georgia are all here. Can't wait to meet the local ones and can't wait to shop for fun things.

5. I've really missed my little blog and feel I've missed out on the past month or so. So, I'm glad to be back.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yes, it has been a long time...

So, I haven't exactly been updating my blog lately. But, in my defense, I have been busy. Really busy. I remember it being just a bit of a pain when Lance and I moved from our two-bedroom apartment in Holland, Michigan to Charlotte, NC just over 7 years ago. Okay, the moving company was disastrous, but I don't really remember the packing and unpacking being very laborious. Fast forward to six months ago when we packed up our 4-bedroom house to move back to Holland. Insane. Packing forever. Realizing that our only child is more spoiled than we ever wanted. So. Much. Stuff. And now to the present where we are moving everything we had already packed plus an alarming amount of things we have acquired in the past 6-months (including another baby!) and are now still in the unpacking process at our new home.

But, we love our house, though I'm a little perplexed by the small kitchen, and we're just kind of slowly going through boxes that are swamping our garage. Since I wasn't in love with our kitchen table and benches or our dining room table and chairs, we gave those away before we moved and now have nothing to sit on while we eat. So, we've been enjoying picnics on a blanket in the middle of the kitchen floor. Rowan loves her new very bright blue room, however, so much light comes through the windows that she wakes up at 7 every day when she previously slept until 9. She is also often skipping her nap. This makes for a very tired, very clingy small child and it is not fun for any of us. Tate has finally made the transition into a real crib after sleeping in a Pack N Play for 4 full months.

Speaking of Tate, he rolled over for the first time on Sunday. His 4-month appointment was yesterday. I can't believe he's growing up so quickly! He weighed in at 15 pounds, 5 ounces and 25 inches. He is huge! Things were going well until the doctor checked his hips and Tate immediately started screaming. The doctor could feel clicking and is relatively certain Tate has hip dysplasia. So, we have to go for an ultrasound at DeVos Children's Hospital and then will be dealing with a few months of leg braces (best case scenario) or surgery and traction (worst case scenario). Or maybe we'll find out it's something different completely. I'm choosing not to stress about it until I know what I need to be stressing about. The ideal is to catch it before 3 months of age and we didn't do that, but hopefully it won't be too terrible for any of us.

Lance is on a business trip this week, but we're very looking forward to a relaxed three-day weekend. A few things on the schedule, some boxes to unpack, but hopefully a little time to relax, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Missing Croc

A few hours at the park, meeting up with my mom for a few minutes during her bike around Holland, reading books and, of course, Rowan attempting to change her own diaper during naptime AGAIN! Post-naptime laundry is just becoming part of my daily life and I think Rowan actually looks forward to it. She can't wait to push the blinking blue button to start the machine and watch it spin around. Do I honestly have to use duct tape to keep her diaper on? The backward sleepsack only worked a few times. She has now mastered both unzipping the sleepsack as well as wriggling her small body out through the neck opening. Any ideas here would be appreciated.

Tonight Lance and I needed to go to a fence place to look at different fences and try to decide what we want for our new house. Tate cried the entire way there, the whole time we were there and the whole way home. Rowan somehow lost a shoe while we were there, one of her new purple Mary Jane crocs, but we, of course, didn't realize it until we got home. So, I put the kids to bed, Lance drove all the way back there and got the Croc and now we're home and I can't wait to curl up in bed with my book, Stealing Buddha's Dinner (thanks, Steph).

Speaking of my current book, there is a page in the book that descibes an annoyance of mine--deliberate misspelling. I know some people aren't great at spelling, that I often hit the wrong key and end up with misspelled words, that anyone can make a spelling error. Though some of these errors irritate me, what is much worse is when this is done ON PURPOSE! Here is the scenario in the book "...some of us would walk down the road to the little convenience store half a mile away. I loved and loathed this store. Loved because it was the only purveyor of candy and joy to be found. Loathed because it was called Kountry Korner...Why, oh, why, I wondered, couldn't it have been called Country Corner? There was no need to use K's instead of C's." My feelings exactly. There was a salon in Charlotte called I Kut Hair. Every time Lance and I drove past that place, I would tense up and say "Gross. That is just disgusting that they use a K instead of a C." Lance would let me know that, although it might be irritating, it's not really disgusting. But, it really does disgust me. And, for some odd reason, changing a C to a K is a worse offense than changing other letters, though those are, of course, still offensive as well. Not that I would frequent a salon called "I Cut Hair" anyway.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

We closed on our new house on Friday (yeah!), did some packing and went to the beach on Saturday and actually didn't have much to do today. The kids gave Lance his presents (handpainted canvasses, a traditional Father's Day kids book and a great porch swing) and we spent most of the day playing. I actually took a nice, long nap and then we went out for pizza and ice cream. The kids were in pretty good moods, Rowan did surprisingly well at the restaurant and was very adorable wishing Lance "Happy Father's Day" and now Lance is out on a bike ride by himself.

It's Lance's third Father's Day as Rowan's dad and his first one as Tate's dad. So, of course I am happy for that and we had a great day. But, it's also my third Father's Day without my own dad which just makes the day a little bittersweet. There are so many things I miss about my dad--the "Rowe" sense of humor, his amazing culinary skills, his great advice--but I think what I miss the most is something I never had and that is watching him be a grandpa. He was so excited to meet Rowan and I know he would have been an amazing grandfather. I can still remember when I told my parents I was pregnant. I was almost 12 weeks along and I was in town for my mom's birthday. The first gift I gave her was a bib that said "I love my Grandma". She took it out and my dad said "Why are you giving your mom a bib?" Then it sunk in. He was absolutely thrilled. He would always send me e-mails asking how things were going and saying how excited he was.

So, on this Father's Day, make sure you take time to enjoy your husbands and your dads and make memories that will last forever.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"My change my diaper, Mommy!"

The day started out just fine. Rowan actually listened (at least part of the time) at gymnastics. We came home, played, made lunch, and I put both children to bed. Except, of course, Rowan wouldn't sleep. Since the gate is now in place, she can't get out of her room, but she can open the door, peek over the gate and tell me that she's not tired. I decided to go in my room, close the door and ignore her, hoping that she'd get tired and fall asleep. After listening to her talk for quite a while, I decided that it's hopeless and headed in there, only to find her, naked, extremely excited, holding a clean diaper. "My change my diaper, Mommy!" she said. She took her dirty diaper off in bed, got out a wipe and really did try to change her own diaper. I have to give her credit for being independent. But, I was not thrilled about the clean-up on my end. Lots of laundry. Also, a complete meltdown when she had to pick up her sidewalk chalk later. Long, long day.

When Lance got home, he said "Do you want to go see the street performers downtown?" I said "No, but you're more than welcome to go and take the kids." And, to my surprise, he did. It was his first venture out alone with the kids and I think it went surprisingly well. Rowan had a great time. She watched lots of performances and asked the balloon man to make her a baboon. She was very excited about the baboon until she bit his nose and it popped.

Tomorrow we close on our house! Yeah! Then we move in the next weekend and I absolutely cannot wait! Though, I will say, I'm pretty much loving Holland in the summer. Cute downtown, tons of things going on, walking distance to the beach. I keep reminding myself that summer is short and I hated being here all winter. Plus, it's a short drive to come into town.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Art of Escape

Though Rowan has known how to open doors for a while now, she must have just realized that when she is in bed and not sleeping, she can actually get out of bed without my help and walk right out of her door. Here's how I found this out. Yesterday, both of my children were miraculously sleeping at the same time. I took advantage of the situation and mowed the lawn, then took a shower. When I got out of the shower, there was Rowan, just standing there saying "Mommy take shower!" We went back to her room and I noticed she had also been in Tate's room (how he slept I have no idea) and had been wandering around the upstairs.

Today friends came over to go to the beach. I was excited to have a tired child and a nice long nap, but Rowan immediately came out of her room and downstairs. Over and over. Time outs were unsuccessful to say the least. She was so proud of herself. She said "Mommy, I'm just not really very tired." So, no nap. Tonight after the kids were in bed, I ran to Target to buy some doorknob covers and they were all out! All out? Is this a random summer activity that all children are doing? There were clearly 3 racks for doorknob covers, but none were there! So, Lindsey gave me the idea to put a gate outside Rowan's door so at least she can't get out of her room. Knowing Rowan, though, she will find a way...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Little Bity Self

Lately Rowan has been saying and doing things that are so funny. I always mean to come home and write them down, but I never do, and by the time I come to blog, I've forgotten them. One thing she's been doing quite a bit lately is calling herself "my little bity self". She likes to have us sit in a row on the edge of the bathtub and she'll say "Mommy on one side, Daddy on one side, my little bity self in middle". Today she was referring to her shoes as Freddy and Eddy and wore a Dora sock on just one of her feet.

Earlier in the week we played at Tunnel Park and Rowan rolled down the dune. She loved it! We also had a playdate with Monica, Brady, Susan, Lily and Ally on Wednesday and then another one on Thursday with Con, Steph, Annie, Ben, Jemma and Sam. The hope for that playdate was to go to the beach or at least the park, but instead we had a thunderstorm. And that has been the theme of the week. Thunderstorms. Loud, long thunderstorms with lots and lots of rain. Today the rain took a break in the morning and we went to the beach--yeah! Yesterday we went to visit Eric, Thy and Nathan and went to Greek Fest and had a great time. We managed to take zero pictures. Nathan is absolutely adorable and at 5 months has already had 4 haircuts.

Tomorrow Rowan starts gymnastics. I'm really hoping it goes well and Tate is a little angel in his Baby Bjorn.

Postpartum Hair Loss

I remember after I had Rowan I kept hearing about postpartum hair loss. For a while I thought maybe I had avoided the whole thing, but when she was about 5 months old, my hair started falling out in clumps. Well, the time has come again. My hair is coming out in clumps--especially in the shower. Which brings me to my topic of the day. Wiping hair on the shower wall. This is without a doubt the habit I have that irritates Lance more than anything else. I'm not really sure when this habit started, but I know it was well before we got married. So, he's been dealing with it for a long time. Much more disgusting than my wiping the hair on the walls is that I leave it there. When the hair is dry, it's really easy to clean off the walls, but when it's wet, it just sticks there, sticks to my hands, just sticks to everything. So on the wall it stays. I have tried telling him that this is art in a new medium. Not quite sculpture, not quite painting. I even name the artwork to give it a more authentic appeal. Something like "Horses Dancing" or "Five Moons". Lance is not convinced. My justification is that David Sedaris once was part of an art show and his art was literally a garbage can full of everything he threw away including things like toenail clippings. If toenail clippings are art, so is hair. Sometimes I name the art, but lately I've been leaving Lance hair messages in the shower.

Which brings me to my question of the day. Does anyone else do this? I'm kind of hoping Heather is with me on this one. Ashley, a friend in Charlotte who keeps her house impecccably clean, even admitted to doing this. So, I've decided I'm going to make a coffee table book featuring shower hair art. Does anyone else think this is funny? Lance finds it totally repulsive and not the least bit funny. I'll be posting a picture soon, so get ready to either laugh or close your eyes!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our own room

This weekend, Tate finally moved into his own room. I guess three months is long enough for all of us to be sharing a room. But, I kind of miss the little guy. He's just too precious when he's all swaddled up, sleeping so contentedly. He's so much fun lately--enjoying playing, trying to roll over, watching Rowan constantly. Tomorrow will be his 100-day birthday! One thing I enjoy about having our room back is rediscovering reading in bed. I've always been one to read until I fall asleep. But, with a sleeping infant next to me, I've been way too worried about turning on a light, making noise while turning pages, laughing out loud. So, I'm back to reading and loving every minute of it. I'm currently reading Wicked and have a long, long list of books I want to read. Feel free to share any titles you love!

Some things we've done lately. Wagon rides, going to the beach (where all Rowan does is throw sand in the water), lots and lots of sidewalk chalk, Lily's 3rd birthday party at the zoo (Rowan's favorite animals were the otters and the bear), several trips to Captain Sundae (Rowan's favorite answer when I ask what she wants to do is "Go to the Captain!"), a playdate at Susan's which included a walk to Reed's Lake where the kids got out and ran around and Rowan played with none other than goose poop (Steph, I almost called to see if you wanted to join us, but I was being very irresponsible and ignored naptime completely) and a stop for ice cream. We've been trying to get the kids to have overlapping naps lately and yesterday and today Lance and I got to take naps, too! We had a great family weekend and I'm looking forward to a date night on Tuesday for Lance's birthday!

Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 Graduates

I love three-day weekends--especially when we don't have any essential plans. So, we got a few things done around the house, but mostly spent time playing outside, napping and having fun family time. We went to the McGowan's boat in Saugatuck, went to the parade in Holland, went to the park and took a few naps. I've decided that since we won't likely be taking many vacations this year, maybe Lance will just take some random Mondays off on occasion so we can have some three-day weekends more often.

I came to a realization today. The students I taught in my first year of teaching might be graduating this year. I say "might" because, unfortunately, most of them have likely chosen to follow a different path. I taught a class of 29 very difficult fourth graders in a bad neighborhood. As teachers, we were not allowed to stay at school after 5:00 because of the high crime rate in the area. I remember once walking out to my car and having a teenage boy with his hands on my trunk while a police officer patted him down. Yes, most of these kids were not raised with positive role models. None of their parents went to college. Only two lived with their mom and dad, and only one of those couples was married. I once asked about their future goals and found out that only 2 of my students even planned on graduating from high school. One of those was hoping to go to college. Her name was Kiwana and she was being raised by her grandparents. On my 22nd birthday, Kiwana said "Hey, my mom's 2 years older than you!" Kiwana was 10. Do the math. Anyway, I'm wondering if Kiwana or any of my other former students made it. Though that year was the worst of my life, professionally, and my stress level was so high, I struggled to keep my weight above double-digits, I really hope for the best for those kids. And though I imagine it will be much more likely for my to hear about one of these kids on the evening news with a mug shot accompanying the story, I'd like to imagine at least some of them made it to this graduation and are heading to college to do bigger and better things with their lives than they could have imagined in fourth grade.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Life as a Reality TV Show

So, Lance and I just finished watching a few episodes of The Hills (I know, I know. It's just a guilty pleasure of mine) and I got to thinking about my life and how it would make a, well, less-than-thrilling reality TV show. Instead of galavanting around fabulous LA hot spots and wearing designer couture, I could give a little insight into the life of a stay-at-home mom. Today's episode would feature a walk to the park only to find 7 bus loads full of children there to celebrate the end of the school year, several attempts at the perfect swaddle, me constantly washing my hands to look inside Tate's mouth to make sure the crankiness and less-than-perfectr nighttime sleep isn't a result of early teething, pulling Dora stickers off the carpet, a glamorous dinner of meatloaf, rice and green beans which Rowan promptly declared "not good, not yummy" and then Lance and I watching TV on our computer. Scenes from the next episode would most likely feature very similar events, just with different outfits. Next season would cover our big move to the sprawling metropolis of Byron Center and might feature dilemmas such as: finding the nearest decent grocery store, Rowan taking a gymnastics class and taking almost daily walks to the park, but to put a new spin on that season, it will be a different park!

Yes, that is the life of a stay-at-home mom. Of course there are always date nights to look forward to (at least I hope there will be. Tate is still banning the bottle), but for the most part, my daily routine is just that--routine. But there are little pieces of my routine that I couldn't trade--cuddling with Rowan after her nap, finding new ways to make Tate laugh, watching Rowan dance and "spin around", eating dinner as a family and singing the kids their "special special" songs before bed. And I'm also very glad that I had my college days to live a more reality-TV worthy life, complete with many, many parties, lots of late-90s fashion and more than enough drama to make a 30-minute episode each week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Officially Under Contract!

We're so thrilled to finally be officially buying a house. The paperwork is signed, the inspection is tomorrow and we can't wait! We'll be moving in around the end of June, so we still have around a month to take advantage of walking to Tunnel Park, Lance coming home for lunch on occasion, and enjoying a great farmer's market. Then we'll be moving to Byron Center where we'll enjoy a much shorter drive to Grand Rapids and Portage, a large back yard that we will immediately fence in, happier dogs due to the fence and finally a chance to unpack all of our things and find things we had completely forgotten about. And I think there's a farmer's market there, too!

In the meantime, Tate has decided it's no longer fun to sleep through the night. So, we're up in the middle of the night for a feeding and then Tate falls right back to sleep and I don't. Let's hope this is just a quick phase. Let's also hope this cold weather is a short phase. We walked from Lindsay and Cooper's house to the farmer's market and were all freezing by the time we got back. And then Rowan promptly threw her lunch on their floor. But, the absolute adorableness of Cooper and Rowan holding hands in between their strollers made it a great playdate nonetheless. I wish I had my camera and I'd post a picture.

Now for my current argument with Lance (this really is a long-term argument, but we are at it once again). Lance thinks that brown and khaki are the same color. This irritates me because Lance will often ask for something specific (i.e. Could you find my brown pants?) and then I won't be able to find what he's talking about because he's really referring to khaki pants. He is now talking about our house and how the walls in one room are blue and brown. They are actually blue and khaki. I explained to Lance that khaki and brown are kind of like pink and red. They're in the same family, but are not the same color. If you agree with me, please let me know. And let Lance know. This argument really needs to be settled. And I need to win.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Catching Up...

Yes, it's been quite a while since I've written anything. So, I'm going to play a little catch-up here.

Friends--Last Friday Heather, Mike and Wyatt came in from Kentucky for their nephew's birthday party and baptism. As to avoid any unnecessary family time, they came over for the day. Andrea and Isaac joined us later and it was so nice to hang out with friends for a while. Really, this happens all too infrequently. So, for those of us living within driving distance to each other, we really need to get together more often. Let the kids play, sit around, eat too much food. Really, there's not much more to ask for in life.

Mother's Day--A nice, relaxing day spent at my mom's that included lots of yummy food, way too much chocolate, a deliciously trashy US Weekly magazine and Rowan saying "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy. Happy Mother's Day, Grandma. Happy Mother's Day, Daddy." She'll get it someday, I'm sure.

Sleeping Through the Night--Tate is continuing to sleep through the night. Only once this week did he wake up in the middle of the night. He wakes up a very sweet, happy boy.

A Broken Elbow--Lance's dad fell on Monday morning and broke his elbow--chipping a bone, tearing ligaments, etc. I think it was scary for everyone and might be a catalyst for his parents moving out of their current home and into a condo. Surgery followed on Tuesday which involved turning off Carl's machine (from a previous brain surgery) and trying to give proper doses off all of his medicines as well as new pain medicines. This resulted in lots of tremors, but he went home on Wednesday and is doing well now. We'll be heading there today for the weekend.

Car Rides--Tate, like Rowan, hates his carseat. But unlike Rowan, he doesn't eventually give up the crying and fall asleep. He just continues crying for hours, often throwing up, and he doesn't stop crying until we get him out of the car. This made last night's house hunt a bit of a nightmare and I'm already dreading the drive to Canton tonight. I shouldn't complain as he is generally happy the rest of the time. But, it makes things as easy as grocery shopping happen rarely.

Boob Man--I've made a major mistake with Tate and introduced a bottle way too late. He took a bottle once when he was a few weeks old and I somehow thought it would be no problem when we gave him one again. So, when I went to look at houses on Monday, Lance stayed home with both kids and Tate refused a bottle. Not just refused, but screamed like he was being tortured. Since then we have tried a few times a day to give him a bottle and similar screaming ensues. Lance and I would really like to go out by ourselves longer than the 2.5 hours between feedings, so any advice here would be great. Really, Tate must be happily taking a bottle before Girls' Weekend!

House Hunting--Yesterday's house hunt may have been a success! We put an offer in on a house in Byron Center, just off M6, in a neighborhood we like. Since our last offer ended in the seller's saying we had to pay $8000 more than asking price, we're not holding our breath. But we're hopeful it will work out and we can end this whole ordeal! We met the neighbors who said they love the neighborhood and the schools. There's a park across the street from the neighborhood and the elementary school is fairly close by. I'll post pictures after we know if the house will be ours!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

House-Hunting Hatred

After spending the day with Susan, Lily and Ally, our realtor, Monica called to let us know that our first offer on a house had been declined. Not even a counter-offer! Let me just say that our offer was about 5% less than asking price--not ridiculously low at all! She said their realtor wants to get at least asking price, if not more. What? If you're expecting more than the asking price, why not just change the asking price? So, we're frustrated and may go in with a higher offer, but I refuse to go above asking price.

Happier news, though, is that Tate slept through the night--from 9:30 to 7:30! I couldn't believe it. He slept 8 straight hours the two previous nights, but that was from 8 to 4. I wish I could say I slept that long as well, but engorgement kept me awake and I kept thinking "Do I pump? If I do, he'll be certain to wake up and want to eat. If I don't, I'll just lay here wondering if I should be pumping until he finally wakes up." I didn't. I probably should have. Supposedly milk keeps in the freezer for 3-4 months, so I could potentially be saving up for Girls' Weekend already!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mommy has nipples, too!

As of late, Rowan has been pinching her nipples anytime her shirt is off. Apparently they are very annoying to her. I keep telling her not to pinch herself because it will hurt. Today she said "But what IS them, Mommy? What IS those things?" I said "They're your nipples, honey. Everyone has nipples. See? Here are Tate's nipples." I proceeded to show her Tate's nipples (sorry, Tate). "See?" I said "Rowan has nipples and Tate has nipples." She then got a huge grin on her face and said "Mommy has nipples, too!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rowan's "special special" song

Lately Rowan has been obsessed with a song I sing to her at bedtime. She calls it her "special special" song. Anytime the word "special" is used, she says it twice (i.e. "special special treat", "special special surprise", etc.) So, here is Rowan's special, special song. It's part of the song "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks.

*They didn't have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you're asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there'll be so much to do
So tonight I'll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up*

For good measure, here is Tate's special song, "Godspeed", also by the Dixie Chicks.

*The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, we'll find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God heard "Amen," wherever you are
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams*

Unfortunately, Tate's song is slightly out of my vocal range, so I'm not sure he'll ever quite consider it his "special special" song.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We celebrated by eating yummy fish tacos that I made without a recipe. Even Rowan devoured them!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Medical Maladies Part III

Yes, we couldn't stop with the previous maladies. After yet another abscess, I went to the doctor, had a culture done and found out that, in fact, I do have MRSA. Yep, it's the infection that's been all over the news. The one that the newspaper writes articles about healthy people dying from this antibiotic-resistant infection that takes over their body. Evidentally I've had this since my c-section. So, I'm now being treated for it. And I'm hoping it works. And I'm hoping that Lance, Rowan and Tate are MRSA free. The thing about MRSA is that once you have it, you have it forever. So, from now on, any skin abnormality means a trip to the doctor for lancing and culturing, more rounds of meds, etc. I am not a happy camper.

My mom came to visit on Wednesday and was here when I got the news. Of course my first thought is that I'm going to die and leave my children motherless. I know, I'm ridiculous. But, now I'm just a little annoyed, irate with the hospital because they need to step up their sanitation practices and slightly worried for my kids. I'm doing everything I can do to get rid of this outbreak.

Before the dreaded phone call, my mom and I went to the tulip farm with the kids. Rowan loved the windmills and wanted to stop at every one. She also seemed ot like the tulips and the bison. I felt like such a tourist, but it was actually pretty fun. It was a nice day, Tate slept in the Bjorn, my mom carried Rowan around in the backpack and we just got to hang out a bit.

This weekend was Hope's graduation which means Lance has been working all weekend. He did, however, have a short break yesterday and we all went to Kinderplaats at Tulip Time and to Cooper's birthday party. Rowan had a great time. And today the kids are remarkably asleep at the same time. So, I've added some pictures to some of my older posts (I love the one of Tate in the "Fat and Balding" post. Thanks, Andrea and David, for the cute little outfit). Yes, I should be doing laundry or deciding exactly what it is I plan to do with the tilapia in the fridge, but I am just so good at wasting time!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recent Rowanisms, 2 month and 2 year Stats

Rowan's Rendition of the Alphabet Song-- "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY and Z. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep."

Rowan's Personal Philosophy--"My mommy IS my mommy."

Some other interesting words of wisdom from Rowan--Anytime Rowan is more than 5 feet away from me, she will say "Mommy's so sad." Then she'll run up next to me and say "Mommy's happy now." Tonight Lance saw Rowan chewing on something and asked her what she was eating. She handed it to him and said "Finger bones". We're assuming that must mean finger nails. She says something that amazes us and something that cracks us up every day.

Now for the stats. After a not so fun-filled doctor appointment which included shots for both kids and an incident including Rowan grabbing the syringe and scraping the needle down her leg, I though it would be fun to compare the 2-month stats of my very different children.

Today Tate, at two-months, weighs 13 pounds, 5.5 ounces (90-95th %ile) and measures 22.75 inches (50th %ile). In comparison Rowan, at two months, weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 22 inches. That's 5 ounces larger than Tate at birth.

Rowan, at two years, is actually not as petite as she once was! I'd like to say that's due to a varied, healthy diet, but we're still kind of working on that one. She is now 24 pounds, 7 ounces (50th %ile) and 34.5 inches (75th %ile). How any child of mine and Lance's is above the average height I'll never know. I'd say she should enjoy it while it lasts.