18 Months & 33 Months (2.75 yrs)

The 18 Month Old – Ellen
In a few words, Ellen is a cuddly baby who loves Boullie the most. She is a thumb sucker whose teeth came in late-ish and now we are paying for it with swollen gums and sometimes fussy baby. Ellen is a mommy’s girl to say the least. She yells, screams and cries for mommy just to lay on my chest with her thumb in her mouth. Which I both love and hate, but mostly love.

Like my other one, this girl loves shoes. Her favorite are her pink tennis shoes and her blue tennis shoes that light up.

This girl has an appetite. She LOVES “crkakers” graham crackers mostly but is pretty good with a plane round cracker. Other favorites include bananas, oat meal, eggs, bread, pasta — really any carbs are good in her book.

She still makes noise when she eats and she calls for Boullie the most and Vivi secondly.

The 33 Month Old – Vivienne
She is approaching 3 years old which is amazing! She is a full blown bouncing, talking thing that we can’t get enough of … well somedays we CAN.

Vivienne is a wild child. She is the one that won’t let you touch her hair and so its all over her face and she’s jumping from couch to couch looking like a little Tarzan. But this one insists on dressing herself most days. Her favorites are jeans and a plain blue shir,, her blue sparkly tutu, her blue Cinderella pajamas, or just underwear with this one is good.

Some of the things that comes out of this girl’s mouth …

“Shhh the quite forest. There is a bear is the quite forest. Don’t wake up the bear.” — She says this when she sees lots of trees in one area.

“This is a troll bridge mommy” — She says this in the bath tub about the basket that holds toys and sits across the tub.

“Look there are horses over there.” -vivi
“Oh there are horses?” – mom and dad
“Nope!” Giggles – vivi


You Win Some, You Lose Some, On Halloween We Lost

The three words that I would use to describe our Halloween would be:

1) crying
2) snot
3) anguish

Halloween Day
We knew Ellen wasn’t going to make it out trick-or-treating. We didn’t go to the kids fall festival the night before. She had been running a fever and was pretty miserable all day on Halloween. But Vivi was bouncing around, running errands with dad, saying she was sick just to get a taste of medicine and getting excited about seeing her cousins. For the past few weeks we have really been trying to play up her costume as a bug catcher. Since its not the princess that she would say she wants to be. It does help that she likes Dora the Explorer so we say that she is going to be kind of like her. We were winning! She was telling people happily that she was going to be a bug catcher like Dora.

Ok so we start the process of getting ready for the night that means new diaper, going potty, getting outfits and shoes and socks on, packing jammies and a plethora of other things that all parents know to well about what it takes for everyone to get out the door with everything they need and want. Vivi actually put on her explorer boots that I had strategically put high up so she could see them but not reach them making them more desirable than a pair of boys brown boots otherwise would be. And it worked, Still Winning she put them on and seemed to love them. We only had to use one sucker to get her out the door happy (we also consider that a win at this point in the day).

The Car Ride to Nana’s 
Ok so here is where things begin to take a turn. Ellen falls asleep right away, WIN! Vivi is jabbering away which soon turns into a whining … so car songs! Which then makes her yell “NO! Not that one” and “Stop singing that” in general “NOOO nnooo NO! No! nononooooo.” But this can be usual car behavior for a 2 year old. Put her in a room full of cousins and food and doating grandparents, which was our plan, and she can surly turn it around. Well not this time.

For some reason it seems like its my kids that are the most crying and terrible of all the kids of the family. It may just feel like that but recently I thinks its been true that one of my kids seems not happy when we visit the family. This time was no different they were both clingy and sickish and not happy. And when candy bribing didn’t work, tv shows didn’t work, other cousins being happy didn’t work, the promise of all the candy in the world didn’t work we knew that we were in for it. Vivi also was saying that her ear hurt, but later when we got home said that it magically felt better … which didn’t help. They were both pretty pitiful and as Chester and I ate stuffed our face between cries it was apparent that the situation was not getting better.

Decision Time
At this point we could have tried to force Vivienne in her costume for the awful crying picture and then see if she would actually go out the door to trick-or-treat with the other kids. We could have put her in a room by herself to see if she would calm down or we could do what we did which was stuff all our things in our bag, give “I hope you understand” looks (especially to my mom who made a ton of food, did bags for all the kids, then I left her and my dad after seeing them for about a half an hour with Chester’s family) and goodbye hugs to the family, and back in the car and home we went.

Car Ride Home
Well Vivi fell asleep right away (aftermath Win, maybe) … but Ellen basically cried the whole way home and got herself so worked up that she threw up as we were blocks away from our house. We did bath for both girls, gave them each a dose of Tylenol and into bed they went for awhile at least ….

Night Time/Next Day
Well its all a little fuzzy but I believe that Ellen came out of her room to sleep with one of us on the couch around midnight maybe? Then somehow Vivi woke up at around 3 am and decide that it was morning. She was bothering Chester on the couch to dress her, which was waking up Ellen which is when I woke up to call her into the bedroom where I helped her get dressed. We don’t have an alarm clock (we did but it always gets unplugged from little hands) so I had no idea what time it was. I guess Chester figured it out the time, that brilliant man, and back to bed Vivi went — fully dressed. At that time I think is when Chester plopped into bed with me along with Ellen. And there we slept until 7 am and our day began. But that’s a whole 3 hours stretch (win?)

That brings us to today, Sunday, the day after Halloween, and also day light savings. Vivi did pretty good today and very happy that there is so much juice around since we are giving Ellen any kind of fluid that she will drink. Ellen has been weepy eyed and still has a temperature the last time we checked. But we did manage to get into our costumes which didn’t happen at all yesterday and got a few pics. Ellen was a butterfly, Vivi the bug catcher, and mom and dad the flowers.

NOW :: 8 pm
Thank god Chester was here during the worst of it (hopefully) BUT he is now driving the almost 4 hour drive away from us to Danville, IL to a full nights sleep. I on the other hand write this while Ellen is waking up about every 20 minutes. Poor Ellen, poor me.

Happier Halloweens are definitely in our past and our future I think!

The Pilgrimage to Washington with Two Babies for the Second Time

Taking the girls to the grocery store sometimes seems like a marathon — by the end I am sweating and exhausted and wondering what I would do if Schnucks did not offer free cookies for kids. Well then taking them to Washington state from Missouri was an olympic event. We learned from our first trip out and were armed with an endless supply of lollipops, fruit snacks, milk, charged tablet/s but it was no match against a 1 and 2 year old at 12 am and a 10 hour night of traveling.

Being on a full airplane with 2 screaming kids is unlike any stress — you want to laugh at the worst case scenario coming to life right before you and melt down and cry along with the baby in your arms at the same time. But as Chester kept saying “there will be an end.”

It is times like these where I want to tell my coworker Bhairavi, that tells me to enjoy every minute of them being young because it goes by so fast … really? every minute?

I also don’t have as many pics to go along with this post because I left my camera phone (because that’s what it is, first a camera then a phone) in the car in St. Louis which took me a little bit of sulking to get over AND recently Chester’s phone ended up in the washer machine before pulling vacation pics from it. Luckily my mother-in-law got some good ones. I am finding it harder and harder to take pics of the girls anyway because I usually do not have a free hand to take them. With some bloggers who seem like they end up with a handful of magical photos from every meal and every place they go I wonder if they have a secret photographer that follows them around. Even when I have a free hand getting a pic of both of the girls that is not blurry seems impossible.

But we made it in to Yakima, WA in the wee hours of the morning. The girls were super gross from traveling — sticky and moist (yes I said it) and a little smelly but we just put them in bed because it was unfathomable to wake them to take a bath.

Yakima, Washington

Once we settled in really the girls couldn’t have done any better. They slept great they played well. Grandma Lori and Great Grandma Karen made sure they had everything they needed from the boots on their feet to balloons and a piano.

Because I was not raised in the city I never thought of myself as a city girl or my girls as city girls, but it was pretty apparent that they really are from the moment we arrived. I had just packed one pair of sandals and one pair of cute tennis shoes for each of them (I had about 4 pairs each until Chester and the zipper on the bag told me to downsize). But seeing them in the chicken coop and getting fussy on the farm — yep these girls are city girls. So when we got back Chester made a vow to take the girls on more hikes to get them used to walking all the time. Vivi does this like run in front of you and in circles around you until you pick her up. Ellen still does the arching back move so that you protect her head and have to hold her, stinker.

Coming Home — On Point

So the trip back home was infinitely better mostly due to the fact that our flights were during the day. Yes we had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to leave, and keep the kids up until 11 am in Sea Tac but it was totally worth it. We had just a few small melt downs that I squashed with “Good Night Moon” for Ellen and loading more game apps on the tablet worked like a charm for Vivi.

Top free apps that my 2.5 year old loved– Doctor Kids and Toca Kitchen 2.

Right before we left Grandma Karen said to us that we were doing a good job raising the girls, that they were well behaved. Coming from her it felt like the biggest compliment and parenting win. So many times people comment on how cute the girls are or how well Vivi is talking, but telling someone they are a good parent through all the chaos and after spending a week with the kids felt amazing.

It seems like we are just getting back into our regular schedule with daddy at the Children’s ER, Ikea opening right near the kids school Childgarden and the weather is changing for fall. It feels like a lot of changes are coming for us …

a dancing, walking, babbling baby thing

Ellen had a busy day! It is amazing how one day they don’t do something and then the next day they are doing it for the first time. Both of these videos came from when Vivi was napping (YES she has been napping in her toddler bed for the first time since we moved her a few weeks ago). It is so much easier to take video of 1 kid verses 2. But I do have a sweet picture of Vivi today with Daddy reading one of her favorite books right now which is the Dr Seuss Dictionary, best $1 rummage sale find I’ve spent in a while. Its one of those magic books that just when I expect the worse after a few minutes of quiet, she is just sitting so sweetly reading. I always dart away so she doesn’t catch me and get distracted in a quiet moment of bliss.

Anyway in these videos you will see about the happiest baby ever. To the point where may wonder if Ellen has a cranky baby side, and trust me SHE DOES! But she is the sweetest :) Also I should warn you that you hear a lot of my high pitch talking to my baby voice, its a mom thing, I’m not sorry for it, but fair warning, its very prevalent.




I also have to say that Vivi’s PJ’s may look like they are just mismatched and thrown on, but they were very carefully chosen. She is so particular about her PJ’s, more so than her clothes. She always asks where her blue pants and mermaid shirt are. If you try to force her into cute matched PJ’s, you’ll find them on the floor minutes later. And recently she has been wanting to wear her PJ’s ALL the time. This curly haired girl …

Little Pink Tutu #2

We celebrated Ellen’s first birthday at Tower Grove Park with our family and friends that we love. We celebrated the fact that we all made it through her first year with everyone not only intact but pretty happy. As a kid you think that your parents have everything figured out and they always have the answers and know the right thing to do. But this could not be further form the truth. We don’t know what is coming, we don’t know where we are going to live and we don’t know what our life looks like in 5 years. But we know that we’ll be together and will always make a big deal about our little pink tutus because they make it all worth while.

Thank you to Erin Tayloe Photography for the awesome pictures of the day and allowing me to not have to worry about taking one picture. 

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It Takes a Village | Our Little Ellen is ONE

In the words of my mother “it takes a village to raise a child.” And you don’t realize that until you have these little 2 feet people that you are responsible for every minute of everyday. I mean with a spouse it takes around 3 hours until you wonder “when he is coming home?” And a dog — if its quite for maybe an hour you’ll start to look around or call out a name. Then 4 hours later when you realize he has to go out (the dog not the spouse) you actually get off the couch and fetch him. I let a quite minute go by with these two (ok Vivienne) I find babies covered in Vaseline, a green wall, my jewelry box all over my bed (Vivi calling a pearl earring a ‘lollipop’), water all over the bathroom … you get the idea.

With babies you have to have a family that is there for you even when you may not have been the best person to them in the past (check)! You have to find an amazing baby sitter (check)! You have to have friends that always seem like they give more than they take (check)! You have to have a spouse that is on board with your crazy party planning and still loves you at the end of it (check, I’m pretty sure)!

It is crazy that Vivienne was the one wearing the pink tutu only about a year ago. And even crazier that we celebrated my Little Ellen’s first birthday over the weekend. We can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and helping us celebrate. Instead of gifts we asked for donations to Camp Rainbow, an organization that sends kids with cancer to summer camp so they can do what they are best at — playing and being kids while having access to all the medical attention they need. We realize that we are so lucky to have these silly, beautiful girls. They are a handful but just watch the video and you’ll see that its all worth it :)

If you throw a party and want pictures of it I would hire a wonderful photographer like Erin Tayloe who ran around with 2 cameras capturing the day. Pics to come soon :) Can’t wait!

Can She Please Stay a Baby Forever? | Ellen 11 Months

As I was scrolling through this blog I noticed 1) how little I really post 2) how I really dropped the ball for Ellen’s monthly chalkboards 3) how much I love my babies 4) how I need to figure out how to add a favicon to the WordPress blog — it really bugs me. Even though it seems like I have been at the mothering stuff forever, it really has only been a little over 2 years. I have underwear older than that and probably some very weird canned vegetables like carrots.

So here we are with an eleven month old Ellen well 11.5 month old Ellen. Is that crazy?! She was just born. I mean Vivi was just born.

Things you should know about Ellen: 

  1. She has no teeth, ZERO — this is the main reason she looks younger than she is. Which is fine with me, my wittle baby.
  2. She is really good a imitating facial expressions and sounds.
  3. She crawls like a boss. Bear crawl, fast army crawl — whatever gets her there.
  4. She is a thumb sucker.
  5. One of her favorite things is getting her gums brushed with a toothbrush.

Favorite Books: With a big sister, Ellen doesn’t get to pick books. But she loves the Highlights for babies laminated books. These were Vivi’s (of course), but she has since moved up to the magazines. Which she loves. I grew up with Highlights and there is a reason they are still around – better than I expected when mom signed Vivi up for them. #thanksmom!

Favorite Foods: Ellen does pretty well considers she’s gumming it all still. She loves proteins and carbs – eggs, meat, noodles. The only fruits she really likes are bananas and strawberries.

Dislikes: Being put down and left. Diaper changes (I mean who likes these?)

I lost the dang chalkboard, which is why we improvised:

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Here’s Vivi at 11 months:
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Annndd I actually got some video of 3 of the best things about Ellen. Her bear crawl, her dancing head bob that she does ALL the time. And she still lays her head on my chest while she is sucking her thumb, which is also one of the reasons why it feels like she will be my baby forever. I don’t want those teeth to come!