Friday night was my fall CAbi party. The girls and I had so much fun again. It's becoming like our own little cult, sucking all my friends into it and getting them addicted. I think I have 4 friends plus my sister all as CAbi addicts with me. Heh heh heh. Deb, my consultant, didn't leave until midnight again. We always get to talking and shopping and talking and laughing and drinking a glass of wine or two or three. It's so much fun. Robyn was there and brought Jessie too. Jessie and Annika played so well most of the night. There were two instances though where Annika was a bully, pushing Jessie down once and trying to close a door on her another time. Both times Jessie came downstairs in tears. I explained to Annika that she has to be nice to her friends, no pushing, etc. or she could hurt them. Then I made her apologize to Jessie and the girls ended up hugging and all was forgiven. Until Annika got a gleam in her eye - hey, if I hurt my friend then I can say I'm sorry and hug her! I warned her though not to be mean any more and that she could hug Jessie whenever she wanted. My daugher, the bully. Remember in July when she pushed Emma too? Ugh. I hope she's not the class terror when she goes to preschool. I'll have to make sure Kris asks the teacher if there are any incidences at school when he picks her up. Otherwise it was so fun to see the girls actually playing with each other. There was no more playing around each other like toddlers. They were actually playing with each other, making up games and stories like pretending they were both Cinderella (surprise, surprise!) and running around yelling "Swiper, no swiping!" It was a good evening. I still can't believe that James went down like normal shortly after 7pm and didn't make a peep the rest of the night. Not even with Annika and Jessie playing in the room next door or with all our laughing downstairs. The only time James wasn't happy was when Pam arrived and bent down to greet him in his high chair. I don't know what set him off but his little face crumpled and he cried the biggest tears. I calmed him down and when she talked to him again he cried again and then he gave her the stink eye the rest of the evening. Maybe it's the blond hair? Annika preferred Amanda over Mary for a long time and we always thought it was because Amanda looked more like mommy with her dark, long hair.
Saturday we spent the whole day at the MN state fair. It's a tradition to go every year with Kris' family. Nana, Papa, Great Nana, Uncle Dusty, Auntie Carrie and Auntie Carrie's friend Mary Beth were there. James thought the whole thing was very interesting, looking all over from his perch in the baby carrier and stroller. He took a couple short naps but otherwise there was just too much to see. He was such a good baby though the whole day even though he didn't want to eat very much. Why sit down and eat when there all this stuff to twist my body away from mom and look at! I ended up finding a couple "quiet, private" places to feed him and then he would eat some. Silly kid. And Annika thoroughly enjoyed herself too. We started by looking at all the animals in the barns. Annika wanted to pet each and every one I think. She did get to pet a bunny, chicken, duck, rooster, pig and cow. And she requested to see more animals the rest of the day. That's my girl, the animal lover. Next we grabbed some lunch (hmm, pronto pups and footlong hot dogs to go with our State Fair french fries!) and then wandered around some more. We ended up on machinery hill and a little while later the parade went right by us! Annika had front row seats for it. After the parade we took her to the kiddie rides. I had bought ride tickets ahead of time so I knew we had enough for 5 rides and that was it. Annika had so much fun on those rides! Some she went on all by herself and others I went with her. We both had a great time. After the rides it was time to go through the farm. They have this mini farm experience for the kids where you get to plant seeds, riding pedal tractors, pick vegetables, etc. Both last year and this year Nana has taken Annika through the exhibit. The kids even get to wear little aprons and hold buckets and everything. It's pretty cute. Later in the afternoon we stopped by the amphitheater to watch the talent contest semifinals. There were some pretty good acts! At the end they were playing some house music and Annika decided it was her turn to dance. She went to the aisle and danced her little heart out for a few minutes, entertaining all around her. Uncle Dusty has video capability on his digital camera and got this video. Here is the link at YouTube Annika Dancing. And here is the video embedded: Is that not the funniest thing you've seen all day?
Yesterday was more low key. We didn't stray too far from home. Auntie Krystle and Pierce came over to watch the kids for a little while so Kris and I could go birthday gift shopping for Annika. If you want to know what we got her, just let me know. I have a ton of ideas for her too. After we were done shopping we walked across the street to see Auntie Krystle and Pierce's townhouse under construction. They met their neighbors to the north and I got to take some photos of them. We said our good-byes a little while later and they headed out the door. As I was closing it, Annika shouted "Hey, they're leaving me here!" I guess Auntie Krystle had neglected to tell Annika good bye or something but Annika was not very happy to be left at home with boring old mom and dad. Too bad for her! She did have more fun that afternoon running through the sprinkler though. It's rough being almost three and having two loving, attentive parents you know! Ha!
OK, enough rambling from me. Have fun with that video!
Three major accomplishments today made by my six and a half month old son - he crawled up the stairs, he stood up in his crib and he did his first furniture cruising. Man, I can't believe how fast he is achieving these milestones. When I got home from work today I was asking Annika how her day was, what she did, what toys she played with, etc when she said that James went up the stairs. I wasn't sure if I should believe her because, well, girl has an active imagination and will tell you story after story about how she went to the park or played with Madalyn or something else and no, she didn't really do any of those things that day. So, I asked Kris before he left for work if James crawled up the stairs today. Yep, he did. Kris was right there so there was no chance of James falling down. Good thing we had already planned to go gate shopping tomorrow. We lost several key pieces to the gates we had up at our townhouse so we have to go buy all new ones. Argh. Anyway, gates are going up at our house tomorrow.
The second big accomplishment was standing up in his crib after his nap. I heard him moving around in there but he didn't make any noises like he was actually up and not just rolling around. Kris was upstairs getting ready for work so he went in to get him and bring him downstairs by me. And that's when he announced that James was standing in his crib hanging over the side. Um, yikes! So tomorrow the crib mattress will be lowered too.
And finally the cruising. Tonight Annika, James and I were in Annika's bedroom reading books and playing with toys. Annika was sitting on her bed singing into her microphone (girl loves to sing and dance) and James, being totally and completely enraptured by his big sister, pulled himself up to standing by her bed. Then he saw something on the bed he wanted so he took two steps to the left to try and reach it. Then he tried to go back to the right and fell down. Only a few minutes later he was back up there though and managed to take two steps to the right. His balance isn't the greatest yet but I'm guessing it won't be long before he's really cruising.
Wednesday night I employed a little child labor here at home. Annika helped me make her birthday party invitations. They came out really cute and we had all the supplies already here at home so they were free too! Annika was in charge of gluing. I cut the paper in half and then folded it in half again to make cards. Then we used foam pre-cut flowers and Annika used her glue stick to coat the back of the flower with glue and then I pasted them on to the paper. Annika, being my child so completely sometimes, would completely cover the back of the flower in glue (have you seen me butter toast, color in a box, etc? Every square inch gets covered). The glue stick was purple so you could see where there was or wasn't glue. If I tried to take the flower from her before every nook and cranny had glue she would yell "I'm not done with that yet. You give that back!" (OK, we're trying to work on her talking nicely - we're not doing so well at it.) Those flowers won't be going anywhere. She had tons of fun though so I see more "projects" in our future. Maybe we can make matching thank you notes after her birthday.
My last two Craigslist dealings have been much better. Both buyers showed up on time (OK, one was late but she called to tell me so at least) and with the agreed upon cash in hand. Woo-hoo! I'm constantly combing the house now for more things to sell. I am determined to buy all my Christmas presents with cash this year - none are allowed on credit cards - and I don't want to have to scrimp in order to do it. I can get some fairly expensive tastes, especially when buying gifts for people. I always want the best I can possibly get them and sometimes that just costs more. Anyway, I'm wondering if I can finance Christmas this year by selling all the extra stuff currently tucked away in boxes in the basement or in the back of closets. Hmm. It would certainly help in my quest to pay off all our debt! I'll be listing more items tonight or tomorrow. I'm hoping they sell!
We had a fairly low key weekend. Saturday we went to view the 35W bridge. It was unreal to see. We walked on the Stone Arched Bridge and from there we could see the middle section sitting in the water. Then, on our way out we drove over the University Avenue bridge and from there we could see the southbound lanes abruptly end and then nothing but horizon. And on the northbound side we could see some of the destruction, mainly a piece of road sitting at an extreme angle. Disturbing is the first word I can think of when trying to describe it. To think that I drove that road 4 days a week, well, I can't even think about that.
Yesterday I got a few chores done around the house and then the kids and I got ready to go to the mall. We were there on Saturday afternoon and somehow lost James' blanket. I called and they had it in the lost and found so Sunday we headed back to retrieve it. I wanted to start on my fall clothing shopping for the kids too so I asked Annika to come upstairs for me please. She responded with a no. I asked her why and she said "I'm busy!" Busy? My two year old is busy? After chuckling I asked her again to please come upstairs because I wanted to see how tall she is. Then she said "Oh, you want to see how tall I am? OK, I'm coming." What a card. So, Annika is 38" according to her growth chart in her room. (Hopefully it was hung on the wall accurately!) When at the mall I found some clothes for her at Kohl's and ended up getting her 4T's! The 4T pants range from 38.5 - 40.5" and I figure that Annika will be fitting into them nicely very shortly. And now she can wear them all winter long too. I also got 4T shirts just because I've noticed some of her 3T shirts getting a little short on her midsection. We don't need any belly baring around here!
Annika has been very interested in time lately. She has a book that shows a clock on each page and then an activity that you do at that time (7am wake up, 8am breakfast, etc.). At 7pm in this book you have an evening snack. Friday my friend Lisa gave me a few outgrown baby toys from her kids. One of them had a clock with hands that you can move. Well, last night Annika moved the hands to 7 o'clock and looked at me and said "It's snack time!" I giggled then looked at our wall clock. It just happened to be 8 o'clock on the dot and according to the book (and the rules in our house) 8 o'clock is bedtime. So I told her that it wasn't snack time, it was bed time. She looked at the clock, looked back at me and said "Yep! It's bed time." Then she went upstairs and went to bed. I wish every night was that easy!
James has really taken to vegetables. He really likes green beans and today ate squash like it was no big deal. And yet he hates - HATES - pears. And doesn't really care too much for peaches. Is my child strange or what? He likes his vegetables and doesn't care much for his fruits? Ah well. We keep trying new foods. So far I think he's really liking eating food in general.
And James' favorite new activity is standing. He'll crawl over to the stairs, the couch or his personal favorite, the recliner, and pull himself up to standing. Over and over and over again he does this unless you can get him distracted by something else. He is barely six months old! What is with this standing business? Before I know it he'll be walking. WALKING! He's so cute though when he stands. And he is so proud of himself too. I love that big grin he gives me as if to say Look Ma what I can do! I've uploaded a few pictures tonight from the last week so you can see him looking all proud of himself.
And what is Annika doing with all those Cabbage Patch Kids? Well, two are hers, two are mine and two are Kris' from when we were kids. Annika now has six Cabbage Patch Kids to play with. And according to her, three are Cinderella's and three are Prince's. Girl is huge into Cinderella right now. I think we're going to get her some princess dress up clothes for her birthday. I think she'll really like that!
OK, I have literally been right this entry for hours now. I started it at lunch today and I am finally posting it just shy of 9pm. I think that's enough carrying on for one day.
I'm so angry right now. I feel scammed. Well, that's because I was scammed. I sold some things on Craigslist yesterday and today a guy came over to pick up one of the items. It was a Star Wars game, listed for $15. The guy was eager to get it, even wanting to come over last night. So tonight he shows up, 20 minutes late, and then asks if I'll take $10 for it. I ask him if he doesn't have the $15? I can see there's a bunch of bills in his wallet. He says he has two $5's and I just give him a funny look. Then he says "$11?" as he's holding two $5 bills. I say OK and as he pulls a $1 out of his wallet and what comes with it? A $5. Liar. That dirty sucker lied to me! Now I don't mind bargaining for items on Craigslist. I get that it's a big garage sale and I should expect bargaining. However, I think you should do the bargaining beforehand not when the time, place and price has been agreed upon. And I certainly don't think you should lie to anyone! How rude! I have two more exchanges to make - one tomorrow and one on Saturday and if either of them show up "without enough cash" I'll kindly tell them where the nearest ATM is. I have more items I want to list and believe me, I won't be scammed again. Even if it was just $4, it's the principal of the thing!
OK, now that I have that off my chest, let's talk about happy things, like Annika going to her preschool open house tonight. She got to meet her teacher and play with the toys in the room and see some of the other kids. She has a mailbox and a cubby hole for her jacket and backpack. And her teacher seemed really nice and patient. And they have lots of fun toys to play with, including an indoor playset complete with slide! Annika was shy and didn't want to answer any questions from her teacher (like what's your name and who did you bring with you). But when we walked in she was not too shy to immediately start playing with the toys. Her first day is on her birthday and I talked with the teacher about that. Annika gets to bring in treats for her birthday! I think she'll like it there. At least I hope she does. I have to admit I'm worried. And I hope she warms up to her teacher too.
I got home from work today to an empty, quiet house. After doing my after work chores (clean pump parts, put away pumped milk, change clothes, etc.) I was just about to call Kris when he called me. They were on their way home from the county fair. How fun! Kris and his parents were there while his Dad judged the horses. And they even ran in to Grandpa Dan at lunch time and ate with him! I'm so jealous! Annika got to ride on a pony and see lots of animals and eat lots of junk food (she had bits of 4 different milk shakes today!) and I had to go to work! James got to be spoiled and spend lots of time outside. Those are two of his favorite things!
Tonight we gave James some Sweet Potato puffs, the kind that dissolve in your mouth. He was pretty good about picking them up and getting them to his mouth. It was getting them to stay in his mouth that was the problem. They would start dissolving and stick to his hand since his hand was wet with drool. He did eat a few though and seemed to like them. We'll keep trying new foods with him. So far he is a big fan of the cereals but does not care for green beans or pears at all. I know it's super early, but I don't want him to turn in to a picky eater! Annika will eat just about anything (except pickles) and I'm hoping to have the same luck with James!
Well, it's official. James is still my perfect - big - boy. He came in at 20 pounds, 7 ounces and 28 3/4 inches. That's 92% and 97+% respectively. He is big! His head circumference though is a bit on the small side at 43cm or 30%. That's okay. We all know he's got the brains! The doctor thought he was ahead of the curve what with the crawling, sitting, following objects as they fall, etc. She approved of us starting him on solids on Sunday and even said we can try giving him Cheerios and other soluble infant foods. Since they dissolve in the mouth we don't have to worry as much about choking, plus he can practice his fine motor skills. I'll pick up some of those foods this week. Kris gave James a graham cracker at dinner and although he made quite the mess, he did get a lot of the cracker in his mouth. I think graham crackers are too gummy though and I worry about him choking on them. I think we'll stick with Cheerios and those infant puff things for now. And James did really well with his vaccinations. He received 3 injections and 1 oral vaccination. He hardly cried at all and was his normal, happy self within seconds. Kris gave him a dose of motrin before the appointment though so maybe that helped.
James has really been experimenting with language the past week or so. He babbles all the time now. I've heard a few consonants in there but mainly it's been ah and ooh. If he talks though and you talk back to him, he'll respond and you can have "conversations" with him. It was so funny on Sunday (Saturday maybe?) when we were driving. Annika and James were having a conversation in the back seat. James said something to Annika so Annika responded in baby talk. They went back and forth for a good 10 minutes. Kris and I were laughing so hard at them.
It's amazing to me that more people weren't killed in the I-35W bridge collapse. I know more are missing but I thought for sure we would have lost more than we have so far. Please keep those victims and families in your prayers. I can't imagine. I just can't imagine. I have to admit that this whole thing has freaked me out a bit. I think I need to see it. They've opened the pedestrian bridge just upstream from there and maybe in the next couple weeks I can go see it. It seems unreal to me, even the pictures and video I've seen and it still doesn't seem real.
We've had a busy couple days. Saturday morning was James' 6 month pictures. They turned out so well! I had twelve pictures that we cropped and enhanced from which to choose. Now, unless I went a la carte, there was no way I could afford that! So, I bought a package of pictures plus the CD of all the pictures. Now I have every single picture and the copyright to them all! I have a picture each for all our family (and if I want reprints, I can go back to the studio and get them at 50% off!). If you'd like to see how they turned out, I've uploaded an album called James 6 Months. Go take a look! My baby boy is such a cutie! He was in such a good mood and hammed it up good for the photographer.
That afternoon Kris and I headed in separate directions. The kids and I had an appointment that afternoon to get James' new convertible car seat installed and inspected. It turned out that they were running so late that we'll have to reschedule. Some time this week we'll get James in that new car seat. My baby has outgrown the infant seat! And while we were hanging out at the hospital, Kris and his siblings were having a little sibling bonding time. At the tattoo parlor. Go see the pictures (new album labeled 7-14-07 to 8-5-07) to see what Kris did. It's Chinese and means Father. It looks good I think. It's small, say 2x2", and I like it.
That evening we went to a BBQ to see Are, Jessie and the kids. They live in Denmark (hoping to come back to the states May or June of next year - we're so excited!) and are home for a few weeks this summer. Even though it was cool and drizzly, it was such a great night! We didn't get to spend too much time with them. It's always hard to socialize when you're hosting. Hopefully we'll get to see them again before they head home. We also got to see a bunch of Kris' college friends, some which we haven't seen in years. And all of us have kids now, all about the same age, and it was great fun to see them playing together. Annika loved playing with the girls and talked the whole way home about her new friends Sydney and Mia. It was a great night.
Today James is six months old. Six months! Happy 6 months baby boy! To commemorate the happy occasion, James had his first taste of food - Green beans. He ate almost a whole serving before refusing any more. I don't think he totally hated them though!
We met my work friends at the Como Zoo today and spent the morning and early afternoon walking around seeing all the animals. Annika loved seeing all the kids and especially loved splashing in all the puddles left from the rain. Goofball. It's so fun to see these girls grow up together. We've gotten the girls together every couple months since Annika was about 6 months old. Of them all, I think Annika and Brianna get along the best. I think that's because Brianna is fearless and so outgoing where the other girls are still a little timid and shy around each other. So Annika warms up to her and pretty soon we have partners in crime as seen in the puddle jumping pictures from today. Oh man the giggling coming from those two! And the rest of us just stood there and let them do their thing. You only get to be a little kid for so long - enjoy!
When it was time to leave there we got a phone call from Dusty and Carrie again. They were out and about so we joined them for a little while. We always like to spend as much time as we can with Carrie when she's in town. Now that she's closer we get to see her more often. It's great! Annika had a meltdown towards the end of our outing though. Uncle Dusty bought her an ice cream cone and while she was eating it, Kris told her she had to say thank you to Uncle Dusty. For whatever reason, Annika is always shy around Uncle Dusty and so she didn't want to say it. Kris took the cone away, Annika started crying that she wanted it back but wouldn't say thank you, etc., etc. until finally I end up throwing the cone away and Kris carries Annika to the truck, still crying. Ugh. But when you tell her that she has to do something or else and she doesn't do it, you better be prepared to follow through with the or else. She was tired and really needed a nap but I also wonder if we're too lenient with her sometimes. She generally listens pretty well and she really is such a wonderful, sweet little girl - but sometimes, whew. She wears me out. She has a strong willed streak in her and if she doesn't want to do something, there is just no way you are going to make her do it. The day ended up nicely though. We went outside to play, chatted and played with our new neighbors. The moved in about six weeks ago and they have two kids, a boy and a girl, around Annika's age. It's great! Then we came in, had baths and now both kids are in bed sleeping. It's getting late and Kris thinks I've been typing forever so I'll take my cue and wrap this up.
I've talked to all of my immediate family but I wanted to put this out there for others wondering, I am fine. Yes, I do drive the 35W bridge that collapsed today. It is my daily route to and from work. I was not at work today as it is Wednesday and I was working from home. I'm praying for the people involved and I'm hoping that none of my co-workers are among them. Love you all.
Saturday was Gopher Sports Day at Canterbury Park, our local horse race track. Since I am a U of M alumnae, we headed over there that afternoon with Auntie Krystle and Pierce, also alumni. It was pretty fun. We got to see lots of horses, some exciting races, and the U of M band, cheerleaders and dance team too. However, getting there and getting home was quite the challenge! Our truck's battery died and luckily Krystle and Pierce were able to help us shuttle the kids home, go to the local parts store to get a new battery, back to the truck to put it in, etc. What a night! But, the truck is back up and running and Krystle and Pierce came over aftewards to play some Wii with Kris and I. I smoked everybody in Bowling (like always - I apparently have the knack for Wii bowling). What was most fun though was doubles tennis. I smacked Krystle a couple times while swinging. Krystle and I were laughing so hard sometimes we about fell over. Ahh, good times.
Sunday after church and some tree shopping (we want to put some trees in our backyard this fall and next spring) we headed to Gramme's house. My grandpa is in a nursing home, hopefully short term, and so we went to visit him too. Annika was pretty shy around him, instead playing with his Ford tractor or asking Gramme and I to play ring around the rosy with her. James, however, couldn't get enough of Great Grandpa's arm and his shiny watch. Great Grandpa has Alzheimer's and didn't recognize all of us. And at times he was confused but other times he seemed very lucid. It's very sad to see him like that. After visiting we went back to Gramme's house and visited some more. It was a very nice afternoon.
This week is turning out to be so busy! Last night I ran an errand with the kids. Tonight I'm going shopping with the kids and Auntie Krystle for an outfit for James to wear to his 6 month pictures appointment on Saturday. Tomorrow we may head to a local dance studio's open house. I would like to start Annika in a dance class. This particular one sounds great but they don't start little kids until they are 3 1/2 years old. But they have two sessions during the year for Pre-K kids, one from Sept-Jan and one from Feb-June. So, most likely we'll start Annika in the Feb class. However, I would like to go to their open house tomorrow night to check it out. Friday night I'm going to the Fall CAbi host preview (by myself - a night out by myself - no kids!) and Saturday and Sunday are super busy! And next week a couple nights are already booked! We're usually not like that. Usually I have my weeknights open. Busy busy!
Two exciting things are happening. 1 - Annika is now registered for preschool for this fall! She will be going to a local preschool each Friday for 2 1/2 hours of preschool. We walked over there this morning to get her registered and tour her classroom. There is an open house next Thursday where she'll meet her teacher and some of the other kids. School starts on her birthday, Sept 7th! I need to get her a backpack! How exciting! Annika loved her classroom today. She made herself right at home, wanting to play with all the toys. She was so sad when we drug her out of there, promising her we would come back next week to meet her teacher and some of the other kids. Now I have more forms to fill out and get back to them too.
The other exciting happening is I am now registered to donate breast milk to the University of Minnesota milk bank. Our freezer was overflowing with breast milk, I produce more than James needs. So I got registered and donated most of my frozen milk. And I'll be donating some milk each week from here on out. I'm excited to do this.
James is getting better and better about crawling. He's mobile! Ack! His teeth seem to be bothering him though. He's been crabby the last couple days. Motrin and Orajel don't seem to be helping much. We'll keep trying to make him comfortable though, our poor baby!