Friday, February 27, 2015

Nathaniel is 15 months!

I haven't written much about Nathaniel lately, but he is doing very well and learning all kinds of new things.  Just like Megan, he loves to be upside down, so here's a photo of upside down Nathaniel:

Yes, he is playing with my phone, which neither of the girls were allowed to do at that age.  Or even now.  Oh well, third child and all that.  He has already figured out how to swipe sideways so that he can look at my photos.  The only game he plays (so far) is the Purina Cat Fishing game that I'm pretty sure is designed for cats.  He's not very good at it.  :)

One day I had just given him a bath, and I let him walk back to his room with no clothes on.  Of course, he stopped at the bathroom door to say hi to the girls in the bathtub, and he peed all over the carpet.  And he's carrying a remote, still one of his favorite toys.

He is still a picky eater, although he will eat some vegetables and most fruits.  But he won't touch any kind of protein except for chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cheese (but only on grilled cheese sandwiches) and yogurt (sometimes).  He did really like Natalie and Noah's birthday cake, though.

As I mentioned, he loves to play with remotes and carry them all over the house.  I helped him up into Ben's recliner the other day, and he was thrilled!

He loves to go down the little slide that is now sitting in the middle of our living room.  He can climb up the back, sit down and push himself down the slide now.  He especially likes to bring a toy up to the top of the slide, then push it down in front of him, then slide down and go get it.  This works especially well with balls.

It is really fun to hear his vocabulary develop, which has been happening in leaps and bounds lately.  I tried to get some videos, but then of course all he wants to do is play with my phone instead of talk.  We have been reading books before nap and bedtime, and he will only allow us to read a few very specific books; he will emphatically push away all other books.  He says "who who" and "roar" from the pop-up animals book, "buhbuh" (bubbles) from the Karen Katz baby flap book, "choo choo" and "choo" (shoe) from the first words book, and "cah" (car) and "boon" (balloon) from the truck book.  That sounds like an awful lot of words for a 15 month old, but he pretty much only says them while we are reading those books.  While going about our day, he says "mama", "bah" (ball), "ma" (more), "ah da" (all done), and sometimes "choo" (shoe) and "cah" (car).  His favorite word is definitely ball.  Oh, and he also makes a very high pitched "ah" sound to refer to a cat.

He likes to play with blocks, and he can even build a short tower all by himself.  He also likes to play with the ring stacker (he can get all the rings on) and try to do puzzles (but he can't get the pieces in right).

And he finally got his third tooth this week, and I believe a fourth one is on they way.  You can't see his third tooth in this photo (it's one of the top front teeth) but it shows off his cute smile.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day.... two weeks late

Even though Nathaniel's not smiling, I think this photo turned out pretty cute. 

Amelia has been working on opinion pieces in writing workshop at school this month, and she wrote the following piece about her teacher two nights ago and snuck it onto her desk yesterday morning.  Isn't this sweet (and funny)?  Her teacher wrote her a very nice note back saying that Amelia's note filled her bucket (they talk a lot about filling buckets in class).

Amelia's Fashion Show

Amelia and her neighbor friend Aiden, who is 8, have been working on making garbage bag and duct tape clothes.  It's kept them busy for quite a few afternoons when the weather has been too cold to play outside (ie, most of January and February).  They finally finished their ensembles and put on a fashion show for me in the living room.   They made themselves shirts (Amelia's is so short it barely covers her chest), dresses, leggings, and capes.  They were really very creative.

 They call themselves the Dancing Weirdos, and they like to do silly model poses with crazy faces.

The girls asked me to take a few videos, so I did, but I figured I shouldn't post them since our neighbor is featured in them also.  The funniest one was when they were dancing strangely and their duct tape clothes started falling off - thankfully they had their regular clothes on underneath.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Clown'n Around

In case you were wondering why the girls had kitty face paint yesterday....

On Saturday we went to the family carnival put on by Megan's preschool.  I was in charge of organizing volunteers, setting up and cleaning up two years ago, and while we weren't able to go last year because it conflicted with N2's birthday party, I helped organize all the volunteers anyway.  It was nice to be able to go this year and play with the girls, instead of working the whole time.  I ran the color walk game for an hour this year, and helped with the cleanup, but that's all I had to do.   The girls both got their faces painted like kitties; Amelia chose purple (of course) and Megan chose rainbow, which ended up being mostly orange and yellow, blending in with her face a little too much.

The balloon twister was also very popular; the girls picked flowers and Nathaniel got a monkey climbing a tree.  The girls enjoyed playing the carnival games.  They played the color walk game early and got to choose some nice coloring sheets - a Jake and the Neverland Pirates velvetty one for Megan, and a large Anna one for Amelia.  I think I had donated both of those exact coloring sheets, so it goes to show that I know exactly what my girls like.  They colored them as soon as they got home.  The pig race game was popular again, although Amelia was upset that her pig didn't win either time they played.  But Megan was very happy that her pig did well.

When we got home, Nathaniel decided to help me with the laundry by putting his Duplos in the dryer.  He would drop them in, then shut the door (he loves to shut doors), then bang on the door until I opened it.  Then he'd stick the top half of his body in the dryer to reach the Duplos, pull them out, then start the whole process again.  He's so cute!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Walk in the Snowy Woods

Yesterday I took the girls on a snow walk through the prairie near our house.  The weather was beautiful - for February - around 38 degrees.  They didn't want to go out at first, but we ended up exploring for two hours (walking a whopping two miles!) and having a wonderful time.  They insisted on bringing a broom along so that they could sweep the snow off the ice and go skating, but alas, the snow was too wet and tall for our broom, so they ended up carrying the broom for naught.  But the broom did make a nice flag for their parade!

We discovered a patch of tall wild grasses that the girls decided to hide in.  Sadly Megan's bright pink and purple snow gear doesn't lend itself well to camouflage.  The big tufty seed heads (I don't know what you call them) were great for marching with, though.

Then we played the hide-and-seek game that we invented during our last walk, where the seekers have to track the hider's footprints in the snow to figure out where she is hiding.   The girls sometimes try to trick me by doubling back on their footprints, but yesterday I found them hiding in this twiggy thicket.

Sometimes I try to trick the girls by following the deer footprints that we see, but they always find me pretty easily, too.  I am careful to make my tracks easy to follow, and I usually keep an ear and an eye out for them while they are seeking me to make sure they don't venture off too far in the wrong direction.  But I love it that they have a chance to experience an "alone in the wild" feeling, at least kind of.  :)

At one point, Megan was trying to climb a pile of snow covered branches, and she unwittingly led us into very deep snow drifts.  She was able to walk along the top without sinking too far in, but I ended up in a snow drift that came up to my upper thigh, and then my boot got stuck under a branch and I had a hard time getting myself out.  And Amelia sunk in a little and got her boot stuck, too, so I had to wade over in very tall snow to help pull her out.  It was fun, but I would have loved a pair of snowshoes!  Once the girls got to the top of the pile, they enjoyed jumping into the snow pile.

 We followed some deer trails through the cattails, in the hopes of stumbling across another secret frozen pond, but we mostly found a marshy cattaily maze instead. This is the best picture I got of the girls together on our exploring walk, because they like to be the leaders and I always have to be at the end, the caboose as they call me.  Usually I take a lot of pictures of their backs as I am following them.

In addition to the deer tracks, we also saw what I thought were rabbit trails, and then this mysterious trail that we thought maybe belonged to a mouse, or other small rodent.  The girls originally thought it belonged to a snake, but we could see tiny little foot/paw prints amidst the curvy snaky trail (and I told them snakes don't come out in the winter in Wisconsin).  We also some some very tiny footprints that may have belonged to a chipmunk.  I am not an expert tracker by any means, and I wish I knew more about identifying animal tracks.

The girls found some dried flower heads with lots of seeds, and they discovered that if they whacked the flowers, the seeds would go flying out and make black specks on the snow.  They thought that was great fun!

 Then we came to the frozen pond, and the girls immediately wanted to lay down in the vast expanse of mostly untouched snow... although there were enough deer tracks that the girls decided the deer must have had a parade across the pond.  And when they lay down in the snow, they immediately want to eat it.

While they were busy eating snow, I made a few snowballs and surprised them with a snowball fight.  At first they were indignant that I would throw snow at them (!) but then they got in the spirit of it, and Amelia snuck up behind me and nailed me in the face when I turned around, and Megan got my right at the back of my neck so that the snow fell down the back of my shirt.  I managed to get Amelia in the forehead and Megan right in the tummy, and then I purposefully missed quite a lot so they could laugh at me and try to get me instead.  They were delighted with themselves when they managed to hit me with a snowball.  It was fantastically fun!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Playing in the snow.... finally!

The girls were thrilled that we finally got some real snow last weekend, and they have played outside in the snow several days this week.  It's been cold out, with windchills hovering around 0 some days, so they haven't been able to play outside for very long, and I've made them stick close to our house so that I can call them in after 20 - 30 minutes.  We got maybe 4 - 5 inches on Sunday (it drifted so much it was hard to measure) and another 3 on Tuesday.  It's dry snow, so they haven't been able to build a snowman, but it's still good for sledding and eating.  :) 

Since they couldn't go to the neighbor's house to sled, and the snow had drifted around our front porch steps, the girls decided to sled right down our front walkway.  They were smart enough to bail before the sled reached the street.

The girls asked me to shovel snow onto the front sidewalk so that they could go faster, so I did.  It felt a little strange to be putting snow onto the sidewalk instead of clearing it off!  The additional snow we got on Tuesday covered up the grass and sidewalk so the sledding is better now.  Amelia was trying to give herself a snow beard like Santa in the photo below.  Megan is bundled up nice and warm, but she always gets cold faster than Amelia does.

The girls and their friendly neighbor girl Aiden brought some snow over to Nathaniel so that he could feel it.  He was curious at first, but did not like the feel of cold wet snow on his fingers.

Nathaniel kept watching the girls playing out the patio door, so I thought I'd take him out to join them.  He was NOT a fan, and screamed the entire time I had him outside.

"It's torture, Mommy!"

When everyone came inside and warmed up, this is what they all looked like:

Amelia was trying to read a book (typical), Megan was trying to climb precariously on things (also typical), and Nathaniel was trying to drink his milk while bouncing on the chair and sitting on his sisters (again, typical).  This is real life in my house.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Going to the Dells

We pulled the girls out of school on Wednesday to go to an indoor waterpark in the Dells, and we had a fantastic time.  Jeff and Jane came with us again, like they did two years ago, and it was wonderful to get to spend the day with them.  And wonderful to be someplace warm and humid and fun in the middle of our cold and dreary winter.

The girls have made good progress in swimming lessons this school year; they are no longer terrified of going under the water.  They had a great time splashing, swimming and playing in the pools this trip.

Amelia especially liked going in the hot tub, now that she is six years old.  She only stayed in a few minutes at a time, and the lifeguard came over at least once to make sure that she was six.  Megan was disappointed that she couldn't try out the hot tub, but we told her that we could come back once she was six so that she could try it.  Amelia only wanted to go in the hot tub with Grandma and Grandpa, not with me.

This trip, Amelia also discovered the kid water slides.  She didn't want to try them at first, but I forced her to go down the smallest one on the first evening, and then she decided that she loved them.  She went down each slide at least twenty times, I would guess.  She liked to have a grownup follow her down, or else have a race with her on the blue and green slides that ended at the same place.  The lifeguard at the top of one slide got a kick out of how she played in the water at the bottom of the slide before she would get out.

Megan tried the smallest kid slide and said that she liked it a lot, but she didn't want to go down it again.  Instead, she preferred the slide in the shallow pool.

Megan especially liked wearing her floaty and swimming in the "ball pool" with Grandma.  She dog paddled around the 4ft deep pool for hours, it seemed like.

Both girls were excited about jumping into the pool to Grandpa.  Amelia even jumped a few times without wearing a floaty or life jacket, and then would swim either to Grandpa or back to the ladder to do it again.  I was impressed to see that, because neither girl really liked jumping into the pool before this trip.  The first photo is Amelia in mid-jump, and the second is Megan right after her jump.

Nathaniel was such a good sport at the waterpark.  I was a little concerned about how he would take a nap, but as it turned out, that wasn't a problem!  Ben took him on the lazy river and he fell asleep on Ben's chest.  Ben went around maybe six times before Nathaniel woke up.  It was so sweet.

Nathaniel loved being tossed up in the air and caught just above the water so he made a big splash.  He also enjoyed walking around in the shallow pool, and "swimming" in a front crawl position in the deeper pool.  He did NOT like floating on his back.  He also didn't like wearing an infant life jacket, which we tried on him just to see what he would think.

Aren't my boys cute?

Thanks for coming with us, Jeff and Jane!