Friday, May 28, 2010


Robbie is in a really fun stage right now with his language development... he's come up with a few things that make us laugh and I know I'll forget them if I don't write them down. Grandparents, enjoy!


At breakfast one morning...
Robbie: "Turn off da lights!"
Me: "Why would I turn off the lights?"
Robbie: (cracking himself up) "Robbie telling JOKES!"


As I was folding laundry today, he saw his superhero pj's that have sound effects like "POW!" and "ZAP!" written on them, along with lightning bolts. He pulled them out of the hamper and exclaimed, "Superhero pj's! Lightning BONKS!"


When Rob comes home from work, we all go upstairs to the master bedroom and hang out while daddy changes his clothes. I catch Rob up on our day and often when I am standing near him having a conversation, Robbie will run up to both of us and pull us together by our shirts, saying "Put it together!" and then try to squeeze in between us for a snuggle.


Unfortunately, he is already picking up on the immodesty of our culture through various forms of media. I have yet to walk through Target or any other clothing store without him calling out "NAKIES!" when he sees marketing or ads that have a person showing skin (this morning it was at American Eagle - a photo of a young man with his shirt unbuttoned... earlier this week it was at Target - who knew there was a HUGE image of a woman in a bubble bath along the back wall up above the towels?! I had never noticed.).


We were wrestling with him the other night in the family room, and he was in rare form (I actually set up the video camera on the mantel mid way through because it was priceless!). Ellie was already asleep, so Robbie had the full attention of both parents which hardly ever happens. We wrestled him until he was exhausted and unable to walk without tripping. Rob and I were sitting on the floor up against the couch, and Robbie squeezed in between us, pulling us close to him on either side, and let out a contented sigh and said "All da buddies."


Apparently he either has a fantastic memory or I am letting him watch too much TV, because he enjoys randomly calling out "double you double you double you dot pillow pets dot com!". For some reason this embarrasses me in public, I can't quite put my finger on why.


Upon painfully scraping his knee while playing outside and receiving a band-aid and of course 1,000 kisses to the wound by mommy, he declared "Robbie all healthy."

Similarly, at lunch today I tucked a napkin into the top of his shirt (no bib in sight) in between the first bites of his hot dog. He declared, "Robbie all healthy," confusing messy with sick.


In the car, when I stop at stop signs or red lights, he yells at me from the back seat "GO MOMMY!" but it sounds more like "gomommygomommygomommygomommy!" We are working on learning the rules of the road. :) (And this one is funny to me because he knows exactly what red, yellow and green lights mean and even green arrow, and repeats them all back to me... apparently he just prefers to be moving.)


And not so funny but just worth documenting, he knows the alphabet and what sound each letter makes. He saw a subway sign and correctly identified each letter this week, which is new.


That's all I can think of now... feel free to remind me of any you can think of in the comments and I'll add them to my list!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The gang's all here!

Last weekend the stars aligned: vacation time lined up with an empty weekend which also happened to find 6 adults and 6 children under 2 1/2 years of age all healthy! So the Larsons, Bellitos and Livingstons got together for the 'Summer of 2010 BBQ'.

The cast of characters (and I DO mean characters!):

The ever-adorable Bellito twins: Ryan and Luke.
Don't get any ideas. Between Charlotte and Ellie, these two men are spoken for!

Mama Larson (Becky), who is the best at remembering to document all aspects of our get togethers!

Mama Bellito (Becki), who makes mothering twin boys look easy and fashionable!

Sweet Joey Larson (our godson)

Darling Charlotte Larson, with personality to spare as she winks for the camera!

And the dads... Matt Bellito, Dr. Jeff Larson, and Rob.
I love this picture: the picnic table that would have, in years past, held more bottles of Miller Lite and soda is now piled high with wipes and bottles of water. You really can't find better dads than these guys.

We were so thankful for a beautiful day to be outside, and also for a fenced in backyard as several kids tried to escape the madness. ;)

Charlotte graciously gave up her afternoon nap to spend the day with us, but needed a little quiet time with her milk and blankie to make it through. Robbie snuck in to join her (never one to be without his partner in crime for too long), and demanded that I give him a matching cup of milk.

The kids table!
Next summer it will be quite full, with the addition of the twins and potentially Ellie and Joey. Note to self: get another kids table or stop having babies. You know the latter isn't going to happen...

The sand and sand (supposed to be water!) table was a perfect gathering place and fun for all ages.

You can't get enough of these two, can you!? Neither can we!
Sadly, Ryan (I think it was?) came down with the flu before the day was over. We had no idea he was feeling sick - they are such happy boys!

I have to mention that both Becki and Matt left our house covered in vomit. Seriously, they get the parenting award for the year, decade, some huge amount of time. They are such calm, easy going parents, and it totally put me to shame. I love that we can watch one another parent and continue to learn from each other as friends. I'm so thankful for their example.

Ellie had been anxious to spend some quality time with Joey, and showed me a side of her I haven't seen! She was very gentle and affectionate towards him, giving him loving pats on the back (as if she were so much older than him... 5 months, ha!), and was very interested in sitting next to him and posing for pictures.

We are so thankful for friends that are like family, and who are willing to travel across the miles with babies in order to get together!

How else would we get all these future wedding slide show pictures of the kids while they're young?!

The silence is broken

Wow, that was entirely too long of a blogging gap. (10 days... gasp!)

Are you still with me!?

Robbie is glad you are a faithful reader, and wanted to tell you that summer might just be his favorite season of the year! I filled up the pool (It's more like a bathtub this year with how big he has gotten!) and he invited his buddy Riley over to break it in.

We gathered up all the squirt toys we had and brought them outside with us.

Robbie's noggin doubles as a train track!

What a lover. He wanted to hold Riley's hand in the pool!
Should I be worried!?

Oh, to be little and oblivious to humidity. :) I needed a momma-sized pool to soak in that afternoon!

Welcome back, summer. We've missed you!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can we discuss a few things?

We are having a bumpy start to the spring/summer as far as getting into a nice little routine goes. The weather has been so random... cold, stormy, hot, humid, you name it. And life with 2 babes just begs for routine, at least for me. Last fall I used to go walking nearly every morning at the Arboretum because the temperature was just right. I knew when the kids would wake up, be napping, etc.

This spring I feel like we're all over the place! Where sleep is concerned, the kids wake up on their own at different times most mornings, and Ellie seems to want to nap before Robbie's long nap and just after he wakes, which I refuse to comply with (we'd never leave the house!) so her naps are a bit of a struggle right now. Activity-wise, we jump from park to park on the nice days, and from museum to library to Target to the mall on crummy days, as well as play with anyone who will come over and liven things up at Casa de Livingston. We have made a lot of new friends, mostly from church, and Robbie never knows who I'm going to introduce him to as a new friend each day!

I have tried to jog with them on the prairie path (successfully!), go for walks at the Arboretum (no longer an option since being buckled into the stroller at a walking pace is a form of torture for Robbie), and I recently acquired a bike and double bike trailer for the kids, which I love but the jury's still out where the kids are concerned. We tried it for the first time this afternoon, and by the end of our leisurely family bike ride Ellie was wailing, Robbie was swatting at her while kicking the mesh cover, and muscles I had forgotten I had were burning so badly I started to lose feeling in them (I made the mistake of announcing this out loud). Rob humbly pedaled next to the three of us, and by that I mean he had a huge smirk on his face, didn't break a sweat, and reminded me to shift to a lower gear as we ascended the final hill (that I never realized was there, from the comfort of my minivan!) before finally getting back home. Somehow I was laughing and thoroughly enjoyed myself in spite of the downward spiral. Did I mention my bike is of the comfort-bike-variety? Yes, I am an 80 year old trapped in an almost-30 year old's body.

Our newfound thrill is to go garage sale-ing. (Our? My?) I am going to incorporate the bike riding with the garage sale-ing in the future since there's a trunk area in the back of the kids trailer where I could stash my smaller finds. This past Friday morning we kicked off the season by scoring the double bike trailer and a lightly scuffed dark wooden Eddie Bauer high chair for $50 total. (Retail price for both new would have easily been $350-400!) I also found an almost new winter coat for next year for Ellie for $1, and the best part overall was that if Robbie got attached to a toy while I shopped, it only cost me 50 cents to a whopping $1.50. This is proving to be a cheaper activity than cruising the aisles of Target and a great way to welcome the weekend on Friday mornings. Thank goodness for warm weather.

Saturday mornings find us wandering around the French Market in downtown Wheaton, come rain or shine or 30 degree dips in the temperature. Yes, we love it that much. I try to scramble together a cup of coffee before we go (or ask Rob to stop at Starbucks on the way), and our first stop is the hot-fresh-donuts-covered-in sugar booth. For the love of trying to get rid of baby weight once and for all, why are donuts so delicious!? It's infuriating. I shared mine with Ellie this weekend and dropped a good quarter of it on the ground as well, and both instances removed enough guilt for me to enjoy what I did eat. Haha! Robbie and Rob hang out at the end of the stalls near the train tracks while I stroll with Ellie and pour over fresh fruits and veggies, and the occasional baby items. Best booth yet? Hand smocked and embroidered girls' clothes. I nearly died. Then I considered demanding that we move to the south and only dress the kids in things that are monogrammed, smocked or embroidered.

I have been afforded a chunk of time to myself on most Saturdays, thanks to my sweet husband, and given the freedom to go do whatever is refreshing or necessary without worrying about the kids. I find that a mani/pedi fits both bills once in a while, and after just an hour of soaking and polishing, I feel like a new person and a happier mommy and wife. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy a good grocery shopping trip with an empty cart to fill and no mouths to be throwing snacks at. Just sort of depends on the day and the week leading up to it.

Sunday mornings are actually getting easier and dare I say enjoyable!? Getting everyone up, dressed, fed, napped (Ellie) and out the door to church is a challenge, but we have a nice little system now. Although we are always early for the service and Robbie loves going to his class, Ellie has yet to enjoy being put in the nursery, which means I have yet to sit in the sanctuary with my husband and take in a full sermon since her birth. She sits with us during worship and has recently started to sing along with the music and clap her hands, but it seems like she gets noisier and more distracting earlier in the service each week and we have to excuse ourselves before the first prayer. I don't let it frustrate me, because I know that one day she'll love her class and that will be the end of it. No more strolling the halls or lurking in the cry room (at least with her!). Although I really wish I could be learning more on Sunday mornings, I am thankful to be able to participate in my Tuesday night women's bible study and be spiritually fed there. I have made some very dear friends as I've walked the halls with Ellie this year, and that is a blessing that I would have potentially missed out on if she had loved the nursery from day one! So this is just a brief season and I want to be grateful for what it offers, which is a lot if I'm looking in the right places.

I think that just about catches us up. Are you bored yet?! I'll be better this week. :)

This one's for Papa Livingston!

The winter apparently set me back in my personal development and growth as a mother...

I had to re-learn this afternoon how to let my son get dirty without being bothered by it. You would not know by meeting me (or walking through my house, riding in my car, or peeking into my closet... ahem!) that I like things to be clean.

But I do. Not necessarily in the 'it looks clean but it's really not' sort of way... in the 'germ-and-dirt-free' way. This especially applies to my children. I love when they smell like baby soap or lotion, and when their hair is freshly shampooed. Just seeing dirt under their fingernails and cuticles sends shivers up my spine! Seriously. A messy mouth after a meal grosses me out. Rob had to talk me down during bath time as I swore I was going to find one of those nail brushes to use on the kids this summer during bath time. He said something about how it wouldn't serve Robbie as a boy to do that to him on a daily basis. I'm going to have to trust him.

So anyways, this afternoon Rob had some yard work left over from yesterday that he wanted to get done. Robbie was the dutiful son, frolicking nearby as daddy chopped and pulled and raked.
And then he fell into a muddy hole near the deck and (barely) skinned his knee. Thank goodness I had at least put his crocs on and not shoes I'd have to launder!

"Can you see my boo-boo?"
After careful examination and a few pokes to test its tenderness, we have determined that it is of the small variety.

Trying to get in on the yard action.
Um, sweetie? There are steps...?!

No longer just a spectator, Robbie begins to pull his weight and helps daddy rake one of the beds. Check out that form - one hand! Never mind that his tool is upside down.

Pondering life as a two year old while examining blades of grass.
"If Papa Livingston could see me now...!"

"Wha's DAT? BIG, BIG garbage bag!"

Daddy explains the process, and Robbie runs the clumps of grass and soil from daddy's bed to the yard waste bag.

You have to admire this intensity.

Mission accomplished!
After daddy stopped handing off the clumps, Robbie resorted to just pulling up handfuls of grass and throwing them into the bag. He's a machine, people. You can't turn him off.

While playing in the yard, he kept miss-stepping and falling over into the hostas. I love that he is still a little clumsy. It means he's not all grown up yet!

He is so much stronger than he was last summer, and carried his sand and water table umbrella around the yard, cracking himself up.

I dusted off the sand and water table and Robbie enjoyed his first dig into the fresh sand!

Will you stop taking my picture? I'm trying to concentrate.

Then the young neighbor kids started to get into a very loud fight, and Robbie ran over to the side of the deck to see what was going down. He was jamming his face as far through the rails as he could, and when he turned around towards me he had lines on his cheeks. I'm surprised he didn't get any splinters.

I have my hands full this summer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Me Monday!

Last week I did not, in the process of building a bookshelf for the office, pound on it during assembly with my palm so hard that I broke a blood vessel. As it began to swell, I did not panic at the thought of bleeding out internally through my wrist, because I do not even know if that is possible.

I did not change Ellie's poopy diaper in the large part of the shopping cart while in the toy aisle of Target one morning.

We did not let Robbie stay up 1 1/2 hours past his bedtime one night simply because the thought of walking up the stairs and going through his bedtime routine was too exhausting.

I did not just change Ellie's blowout diaper (necessitating 20 wipes), let her crawl naked afterwards as I took a breather and decided whether the pj's were salvageable, only to watch her pee twice on the carpet before I could get a new diaper on her.

Rob and I are not addicted to Pez candy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Little things

I caught Robbie licking the door handle one morning this week as he was watching TV.
I call it "2 year old multitasking".

I think he was proud that he could reach the handle with his mouth.

After I put him down for his nap, I picked up the family room and found this little scene at the kitchen...

Upon closer inspection, it seems the train wasn't quite cooked through to his liking.

And Cheerios are always better with mustard.

Food for thought: if you buy your child a pretend kitchen, you will inevitably find yourself cleaning up 2 kitchens each day. Did not see that coming. (I must have been sleep deprived.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I don't think that we all have to share the same faith in order to learn from and encourage one another. I am blessed to read Stephanie Nielson's thoughts on life with her husband and 4 children after a near-fatal airplane accident, and she has encouraged me to view my opportunity to be a mother as a privilege and a blessing in ways that others have not (could not?). She recently participated in making a video for the Mormon Church, and although my understanding of the Bible and who God and Jesus Christ are may not line up with her beliefs, I still appreciate her story and the amazing things she has endured and continues to endure as a mom and wife.

And her blog is just downright inspirational.

Visit Nie's blog and watch her video by clicking HERE. Grab a tissue before you do.

May God continue to bless Nie in her recovery, and her family!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Too many pictures for one post... but I can't help myself, and I know the grandparents eat this up. So enjoy...

{In the background: Robbie ringing the bell on the side of our shed,
his favorite thing to do in the backyard!}

"I climbed the mountain!" - Robbie
::Referring to the small hill in our back yard as he stood at the top::

As I am calling out, "No, Robbie... that's your cup, not hers!"
He ignored me, because apparently, she was thirsty and that is what big brothers do.
They come to your rescue.

This is the best picture I have of the 3 teeth on the top/side of her mouth. Too funny!

"Show me your crocks, Robbie!"

Waving and saying "Hi!"

90% of the time... tongue out.