Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!

Is this day for new moms, or what?!  Please.  An excuse to dress up your kids in ridiculously adorable costumes, parade them around the neighborhood, take a thousand pictures, and then eat the candy they collected after the kids go to bed because they're not old enough to eat it, and you can't let it go to waste...

Ellie-girl was the cutest mouse you've ever seen!  

And Robbie has been anticipating being a Kangaroo for a day, learning that Kangaroos go "HOP!" and practicing his jumping.  Which means he bobs his upper body up and down and pumps his arms, while his feet never leave the ground.  Sweet boy!

I tried to keep from squeezing him and kissing his cheeks every second he had his costume on, and failed miserably.  He was just edible!

Once the kids were in costume, we stopped by our neighbors' and one of Rob's coworker's homes to say hi and trick-or-treat.  Then we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the afternoon!

Rob had brought home a pumpkin bucket on Friday for Robbie, and Robbie was very excited to put it to good use today.  (I wonder if he now thinks that he only needs to hold out his pumpkin in order to receive candy from us?)

"Mom, look!  I got brains-candy!"  He did.

Little did we realize that the kids' costumes (which were purchased based on low ticket price) actually represent them well right now!  Ellie was quiet as a mouse today - just taking everything in, smiling and batting her eyes, and generally being sweet.  We even stretched her feedings with all the activity of the day, and she hardly fussed.

Robbie was a busy little kangaroo, playing trains with Grandma in the basement, chasing Grandpa around the house, learning to play the piano, and helping hand out candy!  Only half of my pictures of him turned out because the rest are blurry action shots.  He is always in motion and has zero time to stop and pose for pictures anymore!

To say he enjoyed handing out candy would be an understatement.  He helped for hours.  He would grab 2 pieces of candy, reach his little arm out the door and happily say "Here!" as he dropped the treats into the kids' bags buckets.  After the door would close he would shriek and clap, happy to have shared candy with kids I am now convinced he thought were coming over to see him!

And can I just take a moment to say...
WHAT IS WITH THE TRICKLING-BLOOD 'SCREAM' MASKS?!  That movie (and subsequent costume) is OLD, the mask is just plain gross, and you're freaking my 1 1/2 year old out!  Time to get a new idea.

I watched Robbie hand candy to multiple boys with this costume on.  After a while he would forget to release the candy, his hand hovering over their bag as he gawked at their garish masks.  Once he turned around to me and made his 'icky' face, scrunching up his nose, squinting his eyes, and moaning 'uuuhhhh!', and then he pulled his fingers down his face to explain the trickling blood to me.  He was not amused.

I hear you, buddy.  Something is not right about that.

On a lighter note, I bet you didn't know that kangaroos love cucumber slices?

Or that they enjoy smelling roses?

Rear view... the tail was just too much.

Can you tell we love this little guy?  Just a tiny bit...

We hope your Halloween was full of innocent fun and lots of sweets and sweeties!

(*A special thanks to my mom and dad for letting our family, otherwise known as 'The Traveling Circus', crash their halloween.  At one point both kids were screaming out of exhaustion and hunger, and at best we gave them a work out while they ran between playing with Robbie, getting carry-out Chinese for dinner, and attending to their trick-or-treaters!  The only explanation is that they must really love us.)

Daily life

This is what we've been up to lately...

Ellie discovered the exersaucer (even though her doctor said 'no exersaucers or bouncers'!)  I am a bad mom like that, apparently.  Robbie loved this thing for months, and I was anxious for the day Ellie could enjoy it too - it has so much to play with and it keeps her off the floor and out of striking range (sort of) from Robbie.  It also helps her work on her upper body muscle tone, especially that neck.  If you had to hold that mellon up you'd want to be strengthening your neck muscles, too! 

She accidentally ran her hand over these spinning pieces, which have little balls that rattle inside, and it caught her attention.  She looks determined to figure out what was making all the noise, doesn't she?!  Man, we make intense kids.

Robbie has discovered the world of crayons and coloring books.  Perhaps you've received  one of his masterpieces in the mail??  He is borderline driving me crazy by asking to "cah-lah" from the minute he wakes up until the minute I put him down to sleep.  His favorite thing right now is Thomas the Train, so we have a Thomas coloring book and he runs around the house saying "Tom-Tom!", "cah-lah!", "tick-ah" (it's a sticker book too), "peeeeeaaase?" and smacking his chest as he signs 'please'.   It was cute for the first few days.  Now I have to endure crying jags when he asks at inopportune times to color, receiving 'no' for an answer.

And it was bound to happen sooner or later, but Picasso got a little crazy with the blue crayon.  This was before we paid attention to what kind of crayons we purchased (meaning washable or not!).  We are now the proud owners of washable crayons, and I have been watching him like a hawk and haven't even had a moment to myself to clean the wall.  I'm told Magic Eraser will remove the crayon (and hopefully only the crayon!) from our beautiful upstairs hall wall.  There are 2 other companion marks further down that wall, all at about 2 feet high. 

Yesterday he was coloring nicely in the kitchen while I made dinner, and suddenly bolted for the dining room.  Even though he was 2 steps ahead of me, it only took that little outstretched arm holding the (washable - phew!) crayon to draw a wiggly line the length of the dining room wall as he ran.  It lived up to its promise and came off with one swipe of warm water.  

New house rule: coloring only happens in the high chair.

We are trying to teach Robbie how to do a summersault, and he loves it.  This is what I saw the other day when I checked on him from the kitchen!

Nothing dramatic or fancy... just life with 2 babies.
But today is Halloween which means cute babies dressed up in costumes!  Pictures to come...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All in all, a good morning

This morning the babes woke up at 6:30am... a deviation from the recent pattern of waking around 7:30am/8am!  When you're up that early, there are a lot of hours to fill until 11:30am rolls around (Robbie's nap time).

So I got some milk in each babe's belly, buckled them into their carseats, gave Robbie a cup of cheerio's and we headed to the Arboretum to take in the fall colors.  We got there early enough to see 2 deer at different places along the path!  One had antlers that curled a little bit (or horns... not sure what the correct term is?), and both were close enough to the car for Robbie to identify them and put a real life experience to the word 'deer'.

And the great part for me was the added bonus of having the opportunity to catch up with my friend Jennifer, who lives in Florida and just had her second baby (Caleb).  We could chat on the phone since my kids were buckled into their seats and preoccupied by the scenery (and maybe Praise Baby, too), and her littlest guy was sleeping.  It is so encouraging to talk with friends who can understand what you are going through in life, and for Jennifer and I, that includes caring for 2 little ones that are similar in age (Robbie and Tyler are close, and Ellie and Caleb are 2 months apart).  We shared our joys and also our 'what was I thinking?' moments, and encouraged each other in our journeys.  I am so lucky to have this dear friend of 15+ years!  

Upon returning home, both Robbie and Ellie were in a restful mood, so we spent a few minutes on the couch watching cartoons.  Robbie kept asking to "hold" Ellie!  I couldn't help myself... I am a sucker for these moments.

Captivated by Barney (ugh... cannot stand that show)

He kept holding Ellie's hand, saying "hand".  She would smile and let her hand rest in his!  

I hope these 2 are always buddies.  I see mornings like this becoming very common in the next few years... 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Best weekend ever??!!....

Robbie and Ellie had a few tricks up their sleeves this weekend, and they wanted to wait until Daddy was home to show off.

Ellie slept 12 straight hours through the night (6:30pm-6:30am) without waking up once for a feeding!  I know.  I am super lucky.  I thank Enfamil.  

Robbie randomly stood up during his Friday evening bath and adamantly said "potty", and made us lift him out of the bath and sit him on his potty.  He usually just pees in the tub (multiple times per bath... too much information? If you have a little boy, I think not.  It's as common as breathing.)  So I was curious and a little excited to see what would happen.  He sat still for about 30 seconds, and then started to pee!  It took me by surprise and so the floor got a little wet until I could help him 'direct' the stream (I was not prepared to be doing this so soon!).  But needless to say, Rob and I both got crazy excited with him over his first potty-pee-pee, and I let him have a "treat" (one Reese's Pieces - ha!).

We have decided not to attempt to potty train him, even though he really seems ready, because we have a very long road trip in the car at Christmastime to NJ to see Rob's family.  We think it would be confusing, messy, etc. to be mid-training or newly-trained, only to strap him into diapers or pull-ups again while in the car and then expect him to know what to do with foreign potties at Grammy and Papa's house.

But it's nice to know that he's ready when we are!

For the rest of the weekend, we rested up and mainly stayed indoors.  Crummy weather.  Mommy got a little stir crazy on Saturday and built Robbie his first fort in the living room.  

He loved it, and pretended to drive Grandpa's boat under one of the chairs!  (He is really getting into make-believe now.)

"Mom, this fort is awesome!  I will hold still for .01 seconds while you take my picture in it."

Exploring or dangling... you decide.  We do a fair amount of both.

"Dear Mom: next time, please make my tent bigger... and taller!"

What is a weekend without Daddy mowing the yard, and Robbie straining the entire time to watch out the kitchen window?!  With teether in hand.  We're still popping the last of them through...

Just because I think it's funny... he is constantly slobbering/drooling/has milk dripping from his chin.  This time he decided to use his arm to wipe at his chin sludge.

We are currently wrapping up the perfect fall weekend by eating our favorite thin crust pizza from Jack Straw's and watching the Giants AND the Yankees games simultaneously.  It's Livingston-heaven.  :)

Did I mention that Saturday started out with a surprise Starbucks latte sitting on the kitchen table for me, along with donut holes for Robbie?!  We got spoiled by daddy!

In other news, I am finally becoming a real cook (defined by my husband as someone who cooks without recipes!).  He says anyone can follow a recipe, and he is right.  Not everyone can make up a dish from scratch.  Well, I got a little daring yesterday and attempted my own Beef Barley and Vegetable Soup.  It was enthusiastically received by my audience of one, who happens not to be very picky.  I thought it was decent, too - so maybe I'll post my recipe for you?  Any takers??

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ellie is 4 months old!

Oh sweet Ellie... you are 4 months old!  
Hoppy seems to have shrunken in the wash this month.

At your pediatrician appointment, you were not happy at all!  You screamed almost the entire time, and although you gave us a break while you were soothed by a bottle, your brother's swift kick to your head sent you into hysterics again.  (He was strapped into the stroller while I held you and talked with your doctor, and I think he just wanted to see if he could reach you with his foot!)

You surprised us this month with your growth stats:
Weight: 14 lbs 3 oz, 65th percentile
Height: 25 1/2 inches, 90th percentile!!
Head circumference: 16 1/2, 75th percentile

You are a great eater and I thought you seemed to suddenly outgrow your 0-3 month sleepers this month.  6 month clothes are still a touch big on you, but the length fits you perfectly!
You are the happiest baby I have ever known.  When I come to get you out of your crib anytime you have been sleeping, you open your mouth wide in a smile and laugh out loud at the sight of me!  Your joy is amazing and it makes me feel like the luckiest mommy on earth.  Your smile is beautiful and wide, and it makes you squint your eyes (like I do) and at the end of a particularly big grin you shut your eyes completely.  You love to bat your eyes at us, too.  You are so feminine and sweet, it cracks me up.  You are too young to have learned any of this, and so I figure you will prove to be a girly-girl as you grow up.  You never seem to mind the hair bows I put on you!?

Ellie you are precious to us.  You are endearing and even your brother cannot resist your charms.  He has taken to kissing you on the head multiple times each day, without my prompting.  He loves you so much!  He always tries to help me feed you bottles, burp you, and shush you when you cry by saying "Honey, it's OK!".  He gets sad when you cry and laughs when you laugh.  I hope you will grow up with a special affection for one another.

And just to document your level of activity - you easily follow objects or people around you with your eyes and by turning your head.  You reach for toys and grab onto them, often pulling them towards your mouth.  You try to hold your bottles, too!  We have just switched you to a faster-flow bottle nipple (stage 2) and although you are happy to fill your belly quicker, you are still getting used to how quickly the milk is gone (usually crying for a minute or two at the end, thinking I'm depriving you of the last of your bottle!)  You are a thumb sucker and you put yourself to sleep for naps and bedtime by sucking your thumb.  You love to suck on your own tongue and lips during the day too.  You  have been experimenting with your little voice - you like to yell and also make low crackly sounds with it, in addition to the usual cooing.  You can push yourself up when you're lying on your tummy, and you arch your back when you're lying face up in an attempt to begin to roll over.  Your older brother makes it difficult for you to spend a whole lot of time on the floor (I fear for your safety!) and so you are often in my arms or in a bouncy seat.  I'm beginning to take advantage of Robbie's long midday naps by playing on the floor with you then!

Happy 4 month birthday, Ellie!  We love you so much.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I can't remember...

...what it feels like to have a flat stomach, or sleep in on the weekend. soothing a hot shower can be when it's not rushed.
...the last time I had more than an hour to myself to read without fighting exhaustion. favorite radio station (Praise Baby is on repeat!). great a home can smell that doesn't have poopy diapers in the garbage cans.
...doing only one load of laundry a week.
...what I used to keep in the cabinet that is now crammed with sippys and bottles.
...what we did on the weekends before we had babies.

For all I can't remember, I have been blessed with new knowledge.

I know what it's like to carry the object(s) of your life's greatest joy for 9 months like a secret.
I know how deeply I am capable of loving and sacrificing without thinking of myself.
I know what it feels like to be hugged and clung to for most of the day.
I know that I'm the only one who is aware of and can smell  the spit up in my hair.
I know that I require a lot less uninterrupted sleep to function.
I know that being attractive is not as important as being used by God.
(I also know that on the days that a shower is elusive, dry shampoo is a great substitute!)
I know that I can get a lot more done in one hour of uninterrupted time than I used to.
I know that good health is a blessing and not a given.
I know what my priorities are and how to fight for them.
I know more about the nature of God's intimate knowledge of, and deep love for, me as his child - now that I have 2 of my own.
I know the subtle look on Robbie's face when he is about to do something he knows he shouldn't, when he doesn't feel well, how to make him laugh, his favorite lunch, and when he needs to be snuggled.
I know that Ellie prefers her thumb, when she is tired, that she hates a soiled diaper, loves to be kissed a thousand times all over her face every day, likes to fall asleep by herself, and when she is about to choke on her bottle.
I know that there is nothing they can do to keep me from loving them.  Ever.
I know that a husband who loves Jesus and 2 sweet babies are more blessing than I deserve to have been given, for a thousand different reasons.

For all I can't remember, I sure like what I know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Rob had Columbus Day off last week, so I wanted us to all do something special.  I had decided that we'd go to 2Toots in Glen Ellyn, a little diner type of restaurant that delivers your food to your table via toy train!  It's so fun and Robbie LOVES all things train right now.  Although we generally avoid restaurants right now for a number of reasons, he does pretty well here.

Well, the best-laid plans, right?  We got there and the place was packed.  I forgot that school would be out.  So we drove across town and hoped that the Downers Grove location would be less busy.  Success!

"I'm so excited to be here!"

The train was going past our table at this moment...

"It was right there!  I saw it!"

Daddy and Robbie, enjoying the fine fare of 2Toots (ha!).  
Can you spot Ellie?!

The train running along the counter... it's really very cute.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sonny Acres

This morning we went to Sonny Acres to pick out our pumpkins!  It was 30 degrees when we all first woke up, and 50 by the time we walked out the door.  Brrr.  We stayed just long enough to get our family-of-4 pumpkins (and the 4 white pumpkins that I want to get crafty with!), but will have to go back again to really enjoy everything there is to do.  Ellie slept the whole time and I never really got a great shot of Robbie.  And it's not fall until you have a picture of your babies together in the pumpkins.

I did, however, capture Robbie's face as he 'helped' daddy with the wagon.  Pumpkins are heavy, you know... even for a daddy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


"I worry, I weigh three times my body
I worry, I throw my fear around
But this morning, there's a calm I can't explain
The rock candy's melted, only diamonds now remain..."

"By the time I recognize this moment
This moment will be gone
But I will bend the light, pretend
That it somehow lingered on..."

"Was there a second of time that I looked around
Did I sail through or drop my anchor down
Was anything enough to kiss the ground
And say I'm here now and she's here now..."

"And I will waste no time
Worried 'bout no rainy weather
And I will waste no time
Remaining in our lives together..."

John Mayer - "Clarity"

Tutu much?...

While Robbie napped this morning, Ellie and I got to spend some time together.  
Just us girls.

Oops... where did that tutu come from?
You can't work a tutu without a pretty headband.

Practicing her pique!

Sweet as candy.