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Monday, April 21, 2008
I got a friendly "reminder" that I haven't posted in a while again. Sorry Gramme! As usual, I've taken some notes over the last week so I can sort of remember some things to capture here. Last weekend was my cousin Angie's wedding. Annika was, of course, excited to go and wear her polka dot dress. She was a little impatient with all the formalities and just wanted to get to the cake and dancing part. First there was church though and then some downtime before the social hour started and then dinner and finally, finally dancing. She did get to do some dancing during the social hour but really got her groove on when the dance tunes rang out. She would spin and spin and spin in her own world. It amazes me how that girl never gets dizzy. James had a good time too. He would dance or be lavished with attention from his aunts, uncles and cousins. That boy has it good! Eventually James fell asleep in my arms and we convinced Annika it was time to go (by telling her that everyone else was leaving in just a little bit too - she was so tired and still didn't want to go).

The next morning Gramme joined Krystle and Pierce and us for church and then brunch to celebrate her birthday. Annika was being a pill in church (late night = not enough sleep) so she landed herself in the nursery. And James was melting down (late night + late for nap = crabby!) so I ended up in the library with him for part of the service. Then I had quite the time convincing Annika to leave the nursery (and toys) to come have brunch. Ugh. Eventually we made it though and brunch was super yummy. Even better was when Gramme stayed to play with Annika for a while (James finally took that nap) before going home. They were having a grand time coloring in Annika's giant Backyardigans coloring book. Annika even practiced writing Gramme's name. Knowing Gramme was going to leave soon and fearing a meltdown by Annika over it, I was relieved to get a phone call from our neighbor Maria inviting Annika and I on a walk with her and Ryan. A playdate with Ryan can tear Annika away from just about anything. We said our good-byes to Gramme and headed across the backyard. We took a great three mile walk, ending at a nearby school park where the kids had a great time playing.

In the past week Jamesy had two more molars break through. We're still waiting for the fourth one to come on down. He's working hard on these molars and they are taking their own sweet time!

Since the very first class, Annika has been asking me if she can jump off the "jumping board" at swimming class. I kept telling her she needed to ask her teacher. We all know that's not going to happen anytime soon so last week before class I asked her teacher if she had time would it be okay if Annika jumped off the diving board. Towards the end of class the teachers took all the little kids to the to the diving board and one by one some jumped, others were lowered into the water. I was so proud when Annika walked to the end and jumped off into her teacher's arms. She's talked about it all the time since then too. Too bad tonights class was canceled (swim diaper accident shutting down the pool for the night) because Annika was so looking forward to it.

This past week at preschool Annika was "star of the week". We had an interview form to fill out (what are your favorite foods, who are your friends, what do you like to do, etc) and the teacher read it to the class. I hope to get the form back and then I can tell you all her answers.

Saturday night we had dinner with our friends Jon & Michelle. I haven't seen them in ages! And Kris hasn't seen them since Christmas time. That's way too long. It was nice to catch up and have a nice dinner together. The kids are getting so big!

Sunday was a busy, busy day around here. We started landscaping under/around the deck and started building a sandbox for the kids! The sandbox is going under the deck. It's going to be great. The deck is about 4.5 feet off the ground, plenty of room for kids to play plus it will be shaded. Nana and Papa came over and took the kids to the park. While they were gone Kris and I biked to the store to check out sandbox supplies. Then we went home and I started working in back while Kris played with his motorcycle, making sure the battery was charged and taking it for a spin around the block. I had to lovingly, teasingly tell him to get his butt in the backyard! Anyway, there we started digging a trench around the deck to put landscape edging. By this time Nana, Papa and the were back. While the kids played with Papa watching, Nana helped us with the edging. Then Kris made plans and lists for the sandbox supplies and he and Papa headed to the store. Nana and I played in the dirt some more, raking it smooth and leveling it for the sandbox while also letting the kids play in the dirt and color with chalk on the patio. By the end of the day Kris had all the boards cut. Tomorrow he'll finish up screwing them together and then Nana and Papa are coming with the sand! Eventually (meaning yet this spring) we'll finish under there with some paver stones leading to the sandbox and then landscape rock surrounding it. The kids are just going to love this. James was having so much fun digging in the dirt. Of course every once in a while he'd take a big bite of it, only to spit it back out grinning. They were both so dirty by the end of the day. We had to practically drag James inside even though he was tired, dirty and hungry. I think it was a great day for the little boy.

The kids had a great time at the park too. Annika enjoyed the tire swing the most. Papa had her spinning as fast as he could over and over again and Annika only asked for more. The girl just does not get dizzy! And Jamesy had fun climging all over and going down the slides. He even conquered his fear of the swings and was loving those too by the end of the day. That's my boy! He just needed his Nana to show him he didn't have to be afraid.

Annika has turned into a clothes monster. She changes her clothes minimum 4 times a day now. Her room is a disaster with discarded clothes. It might be shorts and a t-shirt, or a dress, or pajamas, whatever mood strikes her. Sometimes it's no clothes at all. This is going to be a fun phase.

We've also created a computer monster with her. Annika was telling me how she wasn't very good at the computer in school. I wasn't very surprised because we hadn't introduced her to it yet at home. Sure, she's seen Kris and I on the computer and she's tapped away playing with letters in Word once in a while but it wasn't a regular thing. Well, I didn't want her to fall behind so one night last week I sat down with her, went to sproutonline and found her some games. It took her one night, less than 30 minutes, and she had that thing figured out. She is now a clicking, game playing machine. And I now have to fight for computer time with both her and Kris. Actually it was pretty cute because Kris called me the next day to tell me about the new computer monster, pouting that now he had to share. Just like with everything we now have to limit Annika's computer time. She could spend hours at Sprout, Disney and Nickelodeon playing the little online kids games.

It's official. Uncle Mathias is moving away. He's going to be in New Mexico for six months and then stationed in El Paso with the Border Patrol. He's super excited and we're super proud but man, I'm already a crying fool missing him and he doesn't even leave until May 2nd. I don't want him so far away! We love you Uncle Mathias and promise to come visit!

Posted by Kristina at 4/21/2008 08:50:00 PM

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Thursday, April 10, 2008
Happy Birthday Gramme!

How does it get to be a week every time before I post again? I swear it hasn't been that long and yet my archives beg to differ. Here are some highlights for the past week:

Last Saturday we actually had decent weather (the exact opposite of the cold, sleety rain we're getting today) so we headed out for a bike ride to the park. While James loves playing outside, he wasn't too sure of the bike trailer. Once we got going, he was okay but there was tears going into it. Annika was super excited though. She likes going for bike rides. She is the more adventurous of the two though. James cemented that position when he hated the swings. He was more than happy to go down the slides but he was not a fan of the swings. Annika, of course, was all over the place climbing up and down whatever she could. We didn't stay too long at the second park we went to but that was only because Annika started her tell-tale potty dance. We made her get back into the bike trailer to go home and boy was she unhappy about that. Since we were a mile from home though at a park without restrooms, we couldn't wait too long.

Annika was much happier that evening when Nana and Papa came over for a visit. Annika had made a grocery store run with Kris when Nana and Papa arrived. While we waited for them to get home Papa took James for a walk in the wagon. When she arrived home, Annika came running into the house and headed straight for the couch, stopped dead in her tracks and started pouting. I knew immediately that while she was excited to see Nana, she was devastated that Papa wasn't there too. I scooped her up and assured her that Papa would be right back and sure enough he was. And then all was well again. James was pretty cute too. Papa took him out of the wagon and James bee-lined it back over and tried to crawl back in. Wagons good. Slides good. Swings bad.

Sunday night our neighbors came over for dinner. Kris started cooking at 2pm and was still preparing the dishes when they arrived a little after 5! He enjoyed it though - and don't let him tell you otherwise! He loves trying out new recipes. This one was a goat cheese enchilada recipe he found on Food Network. He even made his own guacamole and green rice dishes as well. It was super yummy too! All day we had been telling Annika that Ryan and Erin (the neighbor kids) were coming over to eat dinner with her. When we got the 2nd stool out of the closet and put it by the kitchen island, Annika got super excited. She just could not wait to sit at the counter with Ryan and eat dinner with him. She had a great night, until they left of course. I don't think she ever wanted them to leave. We had to reassure her that she would see and play with them again.

Sunday afternoon while Kris was cooking, I played a little Mario Galaxy (love that game!). Annika loves it when I play too and she loves giving me "tips" while I play (Mommy, don't fall off there. Mommy, don't run into that guy. Mommy, don't die. - Thanks Annika). Anyway, every time I would die and have to restart she would tell me "No dice." I have no idea where she got that but it was pretty cute to hear her say. And when I finally did get my star, she clapped and bounced and shrieked "Mommy, you got a star! Yay!" Man, is she silly.

Speaking of silly, Annika has now dubbed herself "Naked Super Nika!" The girl loves her naked time (she had an hour and a half of it yesterday according to Kris) and apparently she also likes to pretend she's a super hero. When naked, she runs around the bedroom with her arms outstretched yelling "Naked Super Nika! To the rescue!" Goofball to the max.

Last night while getting ready for bed I told Nika that in three days we were going to a big party with dancing. Her eyes lit up. I then told her that the big party was called Angie's wedding. She jumped up and exclaimed "Mommy, does that mean I get to wear my new polka dot dress?!?" When I told her yes, she flung her arms around my neck, squeezed as hard as she could and yelled "Mommy! I love you so much!" Um, I think she's excited to wear her dress, go to the party and dance. She is also hoping there are kids there for her to play with. I foresee us dragging her off the dance floor. Should be fun.

Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy. Don't think I forgot about him with all these Nika stories. He is stealing my heart a thousand times a day. Poor boy is finally cutting those molars that he's been working on. All four are coming through but only one has broken the surface so far. He's been crabby a few days this week for Kris.

Jamesy is turning into a climber. I've already told you about the toybox/coffee table shenanigans. Well, one night this week I turned around to find him on top of the dining room table! He had pushed a chair out, crawled on top of it and then on top of the table. He can get onto just about anything these days. We are so doomed. He's still too young yet to understand he could get hurt and he gets so mad when you take him down whatever it is that he's conquered. And he also gets mad when you block him from scaling something too. It must be rough to be Jamesy now. So much exploring to do and these mean parents limiting you!

He is still my precious little boy though. When I'm driving and at a stoplight I'll turn around and grin at him, he'll look at me and then give me the biggest, hugest grin right back. I'll turn back to the front and then turn back to him again and repeat this over and over again until I have to start driving again. I never get tired of him grinning at me like that. You can just see the love in his eyes. I also have to pick him up and hold him as soon as I walk in the door at night. There is no putting him down until he's ready either. Baby boy loves his mama.

Jamesy has started coloring this week. Give him a crayon or (washable) marker and he'll go to town scribbling. He does a pretty good job of staying on the paper too. Although I did come home today to a baby with a big blue streak across his cheek. Apparently he wanted to color himself today too. James favors his right hand for eating and coloring and we're pretty sure he's going to stay right handed too. I'll have to keep some of these very first scribbles!

Posted by Kristina at 4/10/2008 08:45:00 PM

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Saturday Annika went to see her first movie in a movie theater. She and I plus her friends Ryan and Madalyn and their moms headed out to see Horton Hears A Who. Annika picked out gummy bears at the concession stand and then we headed into the theater. I had explained to her that a movie theater is a big room with a giant tv and lots of people get together there to watch movies. We had to sit near the front of the theater as it was filling up but that was okay. Annika sat on my lap the whole time and did so well! She jumped a couple times when some scary-for-a-three-year-old previews came on but I think she liked the movie itself pretty well. Not once did she ask to leave, try to get up or anything.

Saturday night we went to Krystle and Pierce's house for a housewarming/engagement party. The place was packed with friends! Those two are some popular people! It was great because my whole family was there (minus Papa Merv) - Grandpa Dan, Marcia, Gramme, Auntie Krystle, Uncle Pierce and Uncle Mathias. I just love having everyone around me. The kids came with us too and they were having a good time. They both loved all the attention they were getting of course. Eventually James fell asleep in my arms with just a little bouncing in a corner. He slept there for a while until I handed him to a neighbor. Annika was tired so I took her up to Krystle and Pierce's room and she went right to sleep on their bed. James woke up not too long after Annika went to bed and he was ready to continue partying! We ended up staying until the very end of the party! And boy was it nice to be able to just walk home with James.

Monday night was Annika's first swimming lesson for this session. It was also her first time in a big pool without a life jacket or her parents nearby. I was actually pretty nervous the whole time. There were nine little kids and only two instructors in the water. There was a lifeguard on duty nearby as well and he kept a pretty close eye on the kids too but I was still nervous. Annika had a great time though. They had a little table in the water for the kids to stand on and hold on to the side. Then the instructors would take each kid out to practice kicking, floating and arm scoops. Annika got a little too comfortable in the water and would be dancing and jumping around on the table. There were a couple times when I thought for sure she was going to fall off the edge. Her teachers had to repeatedly tell her to keep one hand on the edge of the pool. At the end of the session I realized that Annika had only gone out and back with her teacher one time when all the other kids had gone three. You see Annika was in the middle of the pack and the teachers would start at each end and work their way to the middle. They would get to Annika, ask her if she'd had a turn yet, she would clam up (my shy, shy girl) and refuse to talk to them, they would assume the other had taken her out and move on to the next activity. I debated with myself for a while - do I talk to the teachers about this and be "that mom" or do I hope next week is better and just let it go. I decided to talk to the teachers because, well, I'm assuming Annika won't talk to them next week either (my really shy, shy girl) and I wanted her to get her fair share of turns. So, I talked to the teachers (one was a fill-in as one teacher couldn't get there due to the snow we were getting that night) and they apologized, I explained the whole really shy, not talking to you for a long time thing and they promised to keep an eye out next week to make sure she got her turns. Annika didn't want to leave so there was whining and lots of "No's!" so I don't think she really cared all that much that she didn't get her turns. Hopefully this Monday goes a bit better. James was a handful in the bleachers too. I may need to find some help or babysitters for him or else bring more toys for the boy.

Tuesday was dance class. It had been two weeks since her last dance class because spring break was last week. She was super excited to go again. They started their little dance number Tuesday too. I don't know yet when her in-studio recital is going to be and will make sure to let everyone know the date as soon as I do. They will be dancing to "Dig, Dig, Dig" from Snow White complete with props (shovels) and everything. It's going to be pretty cute!

Annika has quite the imagination. Last night she was having at time out (Boy, can she be mouthy sometimes! I wonder where she gets that from...Don't answer!) and at the end she told me she has a stepmother (too many Disney movies!). And her stepmother is a dragon who breathes fire! And her stepmother was going to eat her! With fire in her mouth! Then she went on to have a whole conversation with herself about this stepmother.

Tonight we went outside to play (Monday it's a blizzard out and tonight we're outside in sweatshirts - gotta love spring in Minnesota!). Annika got her bike out. She got her bike last fall for her birthday and she was pretty good at it. Today though, she was so nervous and fearful to get on, to pedal, that she was going to go down the hill, that she didn't know how to brake, etc. I'm hoping she'll warm up and be a little more relaxed about it. I think she will as by the end of the evening she was already getting a little more adventurous. And I'm not talking about zooming around the driveway or anything. By the end of the evening she wasn't doing the pedal-brake-pedal-brake-pedal-brake thing every two seconds. I made a hopscotch game for her on the driveway and I have to say that she's pretty good at that! She can hop and balance and has pretty good coordination. That's my girl!

James had a fantastic time outside too. He is such a boy sometimes! He played with the rocks, the water (from the snow melting), the dirt he found in the garage - anything he could find to get into. At one point he wanted a toy that had gone under the truck so he got down on his belly and shimmied his way under the truck to reach his toy and then shimmied back out again. His pants, shoes and socks were soaked and really dirty when we went inside for the night. He also really liked running away from me - toward the street- over and over again. No matter what I distracted him with (look a truck! sidewalk chalk! rocks! the dog! snow!) he always headed for something he wasn't supposed to do. Then he'd grin at me, put his head down and keep on running from me. Stinker! It was past James' bedtime when I finally made them go inside and boy was there tears! I promised Annika that she could play outside again tomorrow after school. I better tell Kris that! I'm so glad to have the warmer weather! I foresee lots of outdoor time in our future.

And just for the record, Annika told me "You're a genius!" tonight. I fully believe her too. Actually she was asking me when her birthday was. I told her September and she wanted to know when September was going to get here. I told her first we had Daddy's birthday then Mommy's and then September would come and it would be her birthday. Then I told her that Papa had his birthday in September too, only a few days before her birthday. She wanted to know if Papa could come to her birthday party (I assured her he could) and she was so excited! They could have two parties! And two birthdays! Then she grabbed me around the neck and exclaimed "Mom! You're a genius!" Yep, I sure am baby girl.

Posted by Kristina at 4/02/2008 08:51:00 AM

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