Rollerskating!

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Saturday night Annika and I went rollerskating! We were out celebrating Pam’s birthday with Mark, Amanda, Dean, Jeanette, Theresa, Jason and others. It was Annika’s first time on skates. It was my first time on skates in 15-20 years! At first Annika couldn’t stay on her feet for anything. She held on for dear life to the wall surrounding the rink. We made it around once and took a break for water. Then we went around again and Annika complained that her toes were hurting. One skate exchange for a bigger size later and out there we were again. Each time around she was getting better and better. We had to stop next for a food treat, courtesy of Amanda. Our final two times around the rink Annika wanted to do it by herself. No holding on to Mom (and no Mom holding on to her). I, of course, stuck close as she slowly shuffled her way around the rink. There was still plenty of falling (and some tears when she’d hit a tailbone or elbow) but she was going longer and longer between spills. Lucky girl ended the night with a cotton candy treat. She said she had a good time and wants to go again. She’s even asking for her own skates now. I told her she could practice in the basement and when she got better we could go back or maybe even take the skates outside to the driveway. Oh, and she would like her skates to be pink. Shocker there.

Yesterday we met Jon and Michelle at the Mall of America. We hadn’t seen them in months – maybe even nine months! We still had the kids’ Christmas presents, wrapped and sitting on top of our entertainment center! Isn’t that awful!? We’ve been trying to get together with them since Christmas break and our schedules have just never meshed. I was excited to see the kids again. Man, have they grown! Salix will be 10 this May! 10! We walked around a bit then went to LegoLand to play. And then we went to a restaurant to watch some NCAA basketball and talk and catch up. A bit more shopping and then we had to say good-bye. I’m hoping we can see them again some time soon. Kris invited them over in May to celebrate his birthday. And of course they’ll be invited to our BBQ this summer. As we get busier, it gets harder and harder to keep these friendships alive. Everyone is always so busy with kid activities, hobbies, 2nd jobs, etc. It’s even harder when you don’t live in the same town so you don’t run in to them at kid activities or town events. It’s important to Kris and I to keep our friends in our lives though so we try to plan activities with all our different groups of friends at times throughout the year and then we invite them all over to our house for our BBQ each summer. Next up? High school friends! Time to celebrate George’s birthday Friday night after I have dinner out with a college friend (Amanda)! After that maybe it will be the neighbors. Or family. Or other college friends. Maybe work friends. We’re lucky to have all these great people in our lives!

Tonight when I got home I had to play monster and read a book.  Annika wanted me to pretend I was a monster so she would coming running towards me, speeding by as I was sitting on the couch and I had to reach out and try to grab her.  Then Jamesy wanted me to read him some books.  So I’d be reading a book to him with the occasional lunge towards Annika.  Any good mom knows how to multitask properly.

The past few nights Annika has been telling me that she’s going to put herself to bed.  Usually this is just a ploy to get to stay up a bit longer in her room reading books.  She usually comes out when she’s done claiming she’s scared and I need to sit with her while she goes to sleep.  Tonight though she read her boks and then laid down and went to sleep!  I think this is the first time in her life that she’s gone to bed without either Kris or I in the room with her!

Tonight while putting James’ pajamas on he insisted on doing his own buttons on his Mickey Mouse pajamas.  After a few seconds he’d give up and I’d do it for him until we got to the last button.  He was determined to do that last button on his own.  And he spent a good five minutes working on that button.  Eventually he got it too!  Five minutes of intense concentration is huge for a little 25 month old boy!  He’s so independent, this is just one example of many!


Been working on this for a week now!

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OK, time to update again! I’ve had this post started for at least 5 days now. It’s about time I finish it up and get it posted!

First up is some Jamesy bragging. My little guy now knows all his colors. He sometimes thinks brown is black and red is green but for the most part he’s got them down. He also is counting really well now! He can count to 13 although he somtimes skips 9. I think that’s hilarious because Annika always skipped 7. Must be a little kid thing.

So last week I came home from work one day to find Annika playing on the computer (big surprise) and Kris and James in the bathroom with the clippers out! Kris has been threatening to cut James’ hair and he finally did it. First he put James’ hair into a mohawk and trimmed that up and then he clipped the rest of it fairly shortly (3/4” maybe). I have to admit that it’s pretty cute! Don’t worry. There are pictures. I’ll try to get those off the camera and uploaded one of these days. I haven’t uploaded new pictures in a while. I’m surprised no one’s yelling about that yet!

Anyone else watching American Idol? We have been and I think Annika has a favorite. During last week’s show Annika ran up to TV yelling “No!” when Allison was almost done singing! She didn’t do that during last night’s show but maybe she’s just not a country fan.

A new YMCA is going up near our house. A couple weeks ago we went to their open house. I think we’re going to join when it opens later this year. Not only will they have a gym with childcare (yay!) but they’ll also have two pools and an outside splash pad for the kids to play in. I think they’re even going to have a two story indoor play structure for the kids. Sounds fun! As part of the open house they had a drawing for a free week of summer camp – and we won! Jamesy is too little and Annika just makes the cut off. She can’t go to sleepaway camp yet (too young) but she can go to a week long day camp called Wee Backpackers. It’s on my to-do list now to get her signed up.

Last weekend was fun! Adam and Carrie were in town so we could have a baby shower for them. They received some great gifts and it was so fun to see all of Kris’ extended family. We don’t get to see them very often, especially the little cousins. Annika and James had a great time playing with all the kids. After the shower we made some impromptu dinner plans for later that night with Carrie, Adam, Dusty and Melanie. I quickly called Auntie Shelly and Uncle Dale and lucky for us they were home that night and willing to watch the kids. We had a super yummy meal at Sawatdee with plenty of fun conversation. Then we went to the grocery store, bought a cake and went back to Dusty’s house for dessert. Hmm, cake. By then it was getting late so we made the trek back to the southern suburbs to pick up the kids. Of course they were still awake (there was no way they were going to sleep when there was so much fun to have with Dale and Shelly!) so after some visiting we buckled them back in the car and headed home. It was a late night for all of us!

We slept in as late as the kids would let us Sunday morning (which was not that late – Jamesy was up by 7:30am) then went to church. After church we went to IKEA and met up with Carrie and Adam one more time. They had shopping to do so we tagged along. Annika was bummed though. She wanted to go the Lego Store at the Mall of America, not shop at IKEA. So after we said good-bye to Adam and Carrie we went across the street to the mall. The kids love the little free play area at the Lego store.

It’s been an exciting few days at our house. Bailey’s been here! Krystle and Pierce have been in DC since last Saturday and came home last night. We’ve never had a puppy in our house before! (both Mara and Dagur were 2-3 year old dogs when we got them) There were some modifications we had to make (close doors so he couldn’t get in some rooms, keep small toys picked up off floor, etc.) but for the most part it was no big deal. He sure does have a lot more energy than Dagur! But Dagur did a pretty good job keeping up with him. They would play wrestle several times a day and that worked well to tire the little puppy out. The kids had fun with him here too. Annika played with him several times and would sometimes chase him around the house trying to hug him. James pretty much ignored him though except to say “Bailey no!” or “Bailey down!” when Bailey would try to get his food by putting his paws on James’ chair. Krystle and Pierce came over Wednesday night to pick up Bailey and boy was he happy to see them! Before he could go though, he and Dagur had to get a little last minute wrestling in. It’s amazing how well those two dogs get along.

Last night we met Gramme at the local mall and helped her spend her gift certificate that we gave her for Christmas. The kids absolutely loved the Gramme attention. Annika and James had to touch almost every piece of clothing in the store and say how much they liked it. After shopping we stopped in the mall and got an ice cream treat. Annika got a strawberry shake (she’s on a big strawberry kick lately – we even have strawberry milk at home for her) so Gramme got one too. James and I shared a small Blizzard. Jamesy gobbled down most of it and then he saw that Gramme had some shake left so he scrambled down from his chair and cruised on over to her. She of course let him up on her lap and shared her shake with him. Then when he had sucked that one gone he got down off her lap and cruised on over to Annika. He wanted some of hers too! She wasn’t quite as willing to share. So he came back over to his chair, climbed up and then looked at me with those big brown eyes of his and said “Annika won’t share.” Oh, the puppy dog eyes and pitiful little voice almost did me in. I told him that he’d had enough though and that Annika was going to finish her shake. I told him he had one, two (pointing to myself and Gramme) treats and that was enough. He responds with “No, three.” Sorry little boy. So he went back to Gramme’s lap and proceeded to get snuggled and kissed and hugged and generally spoiled until Annika was done.


Philosophy

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Sunday Annika and I had a philosophical discussion on winter. Basically it came down to this, Annika doesn’t like winter. She doesn’t like that it’s too cold to go outside and play more often than not. And she doesn’t like having to get all bundled up in winter gear. She wants to be able to just run outside without a coat. And the snow gets too deep for her to walk in which also bothers her. I couldn’t really argue with her on any of those. I think both she and Kris would like to move south.

Tonight when I got home from work the house was very quiet. James was still napping and Annika was at the neighbor’s playing. Quiet. Very quiet. So, I wrapped up the baby present we bought last month and headed to the neighbors. They have a brand new tiny baby and I was excited to go pick up Annika and see baby Charlie for the first time. I visited for a little while (so nice to talk to Maria again!) and then tried to get Annika to put her coat and boots on so we could go home. And that blessed little child of mine would not listen to me, would not put her boots or coat on and went back into the family room to play. I think she’s been holed up in this house a little too long. She wanted more play time even though she’d been there for hours. We promised her we’d come back again soon, I told her Daddy had to get to work, etc. Finally she cooperated (before I had to resort to threats and punishment) and we trudged back home through the snowy backyard. Sometimes that girl has such an attitude! No idea where she got that from! Heh.


Cute

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OK, here are some cute things James has said recently:

Last Friday night we were going out for dinner. I asked James if he wanted to go to a restaurant as we were getting ready to leave. He said “Yay! With Mommy! (Puts hands in air like he scored a touchdown) Whoopee!”

The bedtime routine is read two books (one picked out by each child) and then while I tuck Annika into bed James gets his blanket and crawls into the rocking chair to wait for me. Then I rock him for a bit and tuck him in bed. Tonight he crawls out of the chair to turn off the light and then as I’m picking him up to bring him back to the chair for rocking time he exclaims “My blankie! I love my blankie.” Usually I tell him how much I love him when we sit down and he tells me he loves me too then I tell him it’s time to go to sleep. Thursday he had to tell me of his love for his blankie before we could tell each other our “I love you’s.” Sometimes he’s just too cute.

Sunday morning James woke up wet (soaked his pajama pants and shirt), a delight to wake up to. So we go to his room to change him and as we walk in he looks up to me and says “You look nice!” You know your flannel PJs look bad when your 2 year old son notices the nightgown instead and comments on it!

And now for some Annika-isms:

Friday night the kids and I were driving home and something happened (can’t remember what anymore) when I hear Annika from the back seat “What the hell!” I ask her what she just said and she goes “What. The. Hell.” I stifle a laugh and tell her we don’t say that. So she goes “No, Mommy, Hill. What the Hill.” (We happened to be driving down a hill at the time.) “I can say hill, right?” I assure her that yes, she can say hill but that I also know exactly what she said. Stinker.

Saturday Annika came with me to get my hair cut. We all were out running errands that morning so she stayed with me while Kris and James ran to Target. Afterwards we were roaming some nearby stores waiting for the boys to get back. In the Hallmark store, Annika was looking at a bunch of products with baby pictures in them. She first proclaimed her love for babies then she came over to me, touched my stomach and said “I want to grow a girl baby in your stomach. Then I want her to come out and I will buy her these shoes.” (looking at a pair of cute little moccasin baby shoes) She cracks me up sometimes. Poor thing always asks for a baby sister. (Slim chance baby girl – slim chance)


Home Again

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I promised to write more and there I go, disappearing for a week! Well, sorry about that. You see we took a little family vacation and there was no wi-fi or internet connection in our condo and while I did have my work laptop with me, I did not make the effort to go the resort center with internet. Sorry.

So yes, a little vacation. Nana and Papa have a timeshare at Breezy Point and they like to invite us to go with them. I’m sure it has everything to do with the cuddly grandchildren, of course. Friday night I packed, packed, packed and Saturday morning we finished up the last minute items, packed the truck to the gills, loaded the kids and the dog (who went to a kennel but had to sit his 80 pound self on my lap until he was dropped off) and started the drive. We hadn’t even dropped Dagur off at the kennel and Annika was already asking if we were there yet. Um, no. We haven’t even begun yet dear! So we started a movie for them to watch (a treat for long car rides for them) and when that was over we started another. The highlight of the drive for them was the drive thru lunch. Eating in the car is a novelty for them so Annika thought that was fun.

We had a good four days up there, coming back late Tuesday night. Highlights of the trip included paper dolls, swimming, coloring and naps. Nana and Annika played paper dolls a lot. I think it’s something they both love. Even better is Nana has Disney Princess paper dolls. Annika was in heaven I think! One time they were sequestered up in the loft for over an hour with their paper dolls.

We went swimming a couple times with the kids. They wore their life jackets, of course, and Annika has no fear with that on. She’s off swimming around, playing with balls and having a great time. She’d jump off the side and really liked the waterslide too. I went down with her the first time and then after that she was off by herself over and over and over again. Jamesy loved swimming too. It took him minutes to get used to it and then he was off swimming too. We were very happy to see that. Last summer he hated the water. A little older and now he loves it. He’d lay on his back with his arms out from his sides and he’d kick his feet to swim around. Then Papa took him in the big pool (from the kiddie pool) and he’d swim on his stomach paddling his arms and kicking his legs. He’s a natural! He loved the waterslide too. I went down with him a bunch of times and then Kris took over and took him down a bunch more. No fear in that one!

The kids did a lot of coloring (a nice quiet activity!) and Kris and I got a few naps in. See? Couldn’t have been much better!

Lowlights from the trip included Annika’s mouth (big surprise) and Annika going off on her own. One time I was getting Annika dressed and I was trying to help her pick out some clothes. She didn’t like one of my choices so she looked at me and said “Mom! You’re so bossy!” Now, this is 100% accurate of course but I couldn’t let her get away with that, right? So instead I told her “Oh, yeah?” and then proceeded to tackle and tickle her. She hasn’t called me bossy since. Heh. The big lowlight though was the last day when Papa took the kids to the play area to play on the motorcycle game. On their way back Annika took off and found her way back to the condo (through 3 doors and up 1 flight of stairs) while Papa was trying to get Jamesy organized and walking back. We had a little talk, Annika and I, about never leaving adults and going off on her own. We didn’t even know she could open the heavy doors she had to go through much less know her way through the building to our room. Stinker.

So, now we’re back. We got back late Tuesday night. Last night was gymnastics. I wonder how long we’ll keep going to gymnastics. I’ll have to ask Annika if she still wants to go. Maybe we can discontinue that in a month or two so we can do other summer activities like swimming lessons, maybe a dance class (4 weeks during the summer) or a soccer camp or something. We have a YMCA opening in our area soon and we’re going to their open house this weekend to see what kind of facilities they have and what kind of summer camps they offer. And that’s about all I know. Back soon! I promise!