Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The blog has moved :)

Just wanted to let you know I've moved the blog to:

See you there!

Posted at 09:58 am by karensblog
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Vocab, live music, chalk

It's amazing how much Isaac is talking now. He will point to everything in sight, saying "Da?" and, after you say the word to him, he repeats it as best he can. You have to spend a lot of time with him to hear the subtle differences between "teletubbie," "helicopter," and "apricot." But "bumblebee" is pretty clear, and he does a great buzzing sound (complete with a little spit). He even said something quite close to "Julia" yesterday rather than his usual "Doo-dah."

Julia's vocabulary is growing too. The other day, we were driving out of the neighborhood on the way to school. She pointed out the streetlamps and mentioned that the bulbs were burned out. "No," I told her, "they're just turned off. They turn on at night and turn off during the day." "Oh," she said, "they're automatic." Uh, yeah. She learned that word at a restaurant a few weeks ago that had automatic toilets. It still amazed me that she can make all those connections herself.

We took the kids to an outdoor concert a few weekends ago and they loved it. We sat through two different bands -- two hours worth of music and the kids never once got bored. They also had their first taste of cotton candy. Julia had seen the stand on the way into the concert area and we agreed that after dinner she could have some cotton candy (that's cot-ton candy. Julia enunciates it more clearly than Todd or I do). You should have seen her face when we handed her the bag of fluff. She looked ready to burst into tears because she was expecting candy and here we were handing her a pillow! But she was happy enough once she tasted it. And Isaac became the human fly with finger so sticky I could have stuck him to a wall and let him climb up.

We had a good time drawing with sidewalk chalk over the weekend. The weather has been so gorgeous. Sunny, clear, breezy and 70. Isaac kept running from place to place on the pavement, pointing at the ground and telling me what to draw -- "melmo" for fish (his version of the word Nemo), "meow" for cat, "moo" for cow, etc.) until it looked like cave painters had spent a good amount of time in our back yard.

Julia created her greatest artwork to date:

(I added the legs, feet and lollipop, but the rest is by Julia). It's a self portrait :)

Here's the artist at work, putting something in mommy's fish's belly, and adding a little something to the eye:

Julia was very camera shy that day and this was one of my pics of her, as I chased her around the yard:

At least you know I'm trying.

Posted at 02:55 pm by karensblog
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Taking after dad...

One of the kiddos favorite things to do lately is listen to loud music while in the car and bouncing their legs up and down to the music. They take after their dad :) The other day, I put in Santana's "Supernatural" CD. Within the first 10 seconds of music, Julia had pegged it as the same music she'd heard a few weeks ago when Todd was testing out our new portable DVD player and had put Santana's concert DVD in. She is really amazing. Her current favorite song is "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. Turns out it takes about 4 repeats of that song to drive from our house to daycare.

As to that DVD player (a gift from Nana), it saved our sanity on the 5 hour drive down to Indiana and then back up again this past weekend. The kids had a great time at Camp Joe. They loved making the cicadas chirp, and also got to see various other wildlife including a turtle, deer, snakes, and toads.

Another thing we've been amazed at is how similar Julia's and Isaac's language development has been. Isaac's a bit slower, but he says the same words, like "bape" for "grape", "sta!" for "stuck!" (especially when reading the Pooh bear book where Pooh gets stuck in rabbit's doorway), and "ooo moe-ay!" for "holey moley!" He still loves the part in Finding Nemo when the fish are doing their tribal chant, "Ah-oo ah-oo ah-oo-oo-oo, oooh!" He has been in a fun and crazy mood lately. From the moment his feet hit the ground in the morning, he is tearing around the house, picking up toys, throwing them down, running back and forth, stamping his feet. He had his arm cocked behind him to throw a ball, pretty close to Julia yesterday. Julia was kinda cowering, trying not to get hit. He threw it right past her, but as she tried to inch by him, he planted both hands on her chest and shoved. She kept on inching past, with her shoulders all hunched up to protect herself. We're really trying to teach Isaac how to be gentle, before he gets stronger than all of us!

Posted at 02:30 pm by karensblog
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Thursday, June 10, 2004
More pics!

We were at Borders the other night and they were playing some funky, lively music, and Julia started doing the absolute cutest dance I've ever seen. She kinda stood with her legs far apart, bouncing from one foot to the next, with her hands balled up in little fists and grooving away. It's especially adorable with her hair in pigtails because they bounce around with her. We've nicknamed it the "Julia happy dance." Here she is cuttin' a rug with her little bro:

We had a great time last weekend with the Judges, who came to stay for a few days. Paul is just a few weeks older than Isaac and was very entertained by Julia. We invited the Hallidays over for a little U of M lab reunion, which was a much different gathering than it would have been 4 years ago. Rather than playing croquet or horseshoes, we were running around trying to make sure no children escaped or caused irreparable harm to each other. Here's a pic of the feeding frenzy which ensued when I brought out a bowl of mini wheats:

Isaac is way in the back, uncharacteristically far from the food.

Julia's learning all sorts of skills at daycare, one of which is making funny faces. She's been practicing, can you tell?

Finally, Todd took this great pic in our front garden:

Posted at 03:04 pm by karensblog
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Monday, May 24, 2004
Gratuitous pics

Here are some pics from a few weekends back. Nothing special, just a day at the park. We played, had a picnic lunch, attempted to fly the kite. Isaac's working on a killer tan. He must have the brownest scalp north of Florida. Jules is getting darker too, but is much fairer skinned than her brother. She's wearing her Dora the Explorer backpack in which a variety of packrat-like objects are stashed. She has this strange habit of taking a bag (grocery bag, backpack, stroller bag, whatever) and filling it with a collection of small objects. Her latest crib stash includes a puka necklace, a dollhouse plate, and some other random things I can't even remember.

Isaac's vocabulary keeps growing, but he favors words that start with 'b.' Right now, he and Jules love watching a Bill Cosby inspired show called "Little Bill." So he wakes up asking for "Bee-yuh, bee-yuh" (not to be confused with "bay-yuh, bay-yuh," which refers to a Teletubbie scene involving a bear). His other favorite word is "mommeee" with a big smile on the "eeee" part. Needless to say, that's my favorite word too.

Isaac has this really cool pair of light-up sandals that cause him to throw a complete crying fit every time we put them on his feet. He eventually stops crying and doesn't even notice his footwear anymore, but this lack of actual discomfort doesn't deter him from throwing another fit when we try to put them on the next time.

Julia got mad at me last week when I sat her on the potty because I wouldn't let her stand in front of the toilet to take a pee. What a mean mommy :P She has the amazing ability to scoot herself onto the toilet. So the potty thing is almost totally in her control. She can pull her pants down, get on the potty, do her business, wipe, and flush the toilet. The only thing we have to help her with is hand-washing (and trust me, a toddler needs a thorough handwashing after a visit to a bathroom). Amazing to think she was still in diapers full-time just a few weeks ago.

We've finally convinced Jules to let us put barrettes in her hair. Now the only problem is that her hair is so thin, they never stay in. But we're still working on it...

Posted at 04:30 pm by karensblog
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Thursday, May 13, 2004
Guess whos' wearing undies?

Can you believe it? Julia's finally potty training. She used the potty successfully for the first time last week, and yesterday she wore underwear to school and didn't have a single accident. This might have a little do to with the fact that we're bribing her with Skittles and gummy bears, but what the heck, it's working :) It's actually pretty funny. There are times when she gets a candy craving, then tells us she needs to use the potty, and will sit there on the toilet, *willing* herself to do the deed. A few times nothing has happened, and she looks at me and says, "But mommy, I *want* to potty!" So we've started to make stipulations on exactly how much pee is a candy-worthy potty (poop always gets double-candy, though ;) ).

She gets the sweetest smile on her face when the tinkling starts. She is very proud of herself!

She wore her favorite pair of pineapple undies to school yesterday. I told her I wasn't packing any extra, so if she dirtied them, she'd have to be in a diaper the rest of the day. So she did perfectly, then at bathtime asked if she could wear the pineapple undies again today. I said, "No, they're dirty now." And she said, "But I didn't pee or poopie in them!"

Posted at 01:21 pm by karensblog
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Dinosaurs, treasure chest, Teletubbies

I took the kiddos to the UM natural history museum over the weekend. Julia's starting to outgrow her nap and Isaac crashed in the morning, so it was a rare opportunity to go out in the afternoon. Julia's been there once before with Todd and Isaac and it was amazing how familliar she was with the place and how excited she was to show me everything she'd seen. Repitition is incredibly important to this girl. The first time you do something new with her, or take her to a new place, you are setting up a precendent that will need to be followed to the letter from then on. So we went and saw the giant clam that was "big enough to sleep in", and the dinosaur bones, and the big shark hanging from the ceiling. Meanwhile, Isaac was working on some sort of echo-location scheme by running around the big room emitting short, piercing shrieks. Maybe I'll start calling him "bat boy." And we absolutely could not leave the museum without looking at the "small shiny rocks" located in an obscure corner of the tiny geology exhibit. We had to call Todd so he could tell me where it was.

Julia has also become fixated on borrowing a small treasure chest toy from daycare. Apparently, she's driving Candace and Marcy nuts by asking about over and over again. Luckily, we came up with a scheme for her to *not* ask about it all day, and then she can borrow it. Hopefully that'll preserve everyone's sanity. She takes the treasure chest home (it's just a small plastic chest with fake coins molded inside -- kinda like what you'd see in a fish tank) and carries it around with her. It has to be on the side table if she's watching TV, or on the dinner table if she's eating, or next to the computer if she's playing a game, and finally tucked into a corner of her crib which also happens to contain 2 plastic toy dinosaurs from the museum, a small velvet bag containing several rocks, marbles, and a plastic mermaid cocktail decoration, and a rubber ball.

Isaac is enjoying watching the Teletubbies lately. He repeats every "uh-oh," "bye bye" and squeals and claps with excitement to see the "bebe" (pronounced in the French manner) in the sun. I'm not complaining, as he will actually lay still for a diaper change and getting dressed in the morning if the Teletubbies are on the tube. He's also been having a great time playing ball with Todd. He uttered his first sentence, "Daba daba dabe dabu," while pointing back and forth between himself and Todd and holding the ball. It made perfect sense :)

Posted at 10:44 am by karensblog
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Monday, April 19, 2004
Lots of words!

Even those of us who live with him are amazed at how quickly Isaac's been developing lately. His main focus is language. He understands a lot of what's said to him, but lately he'll mimic words, phrases, sounds. Not necessarily understandably, but he gets the tone and usually the main vowel sounds. Yesterday, he started repeating when Todd would say, "Let's go!" He's finally learned the flip side of "Yeah!" and kept shaking his head and saying, "no, no, no, no" over the weekend. He always says something akin to "thank you," when someone hands him a drink or something to eat. He's *finally* added "mama" to his vocabulary. We've been trying really hard to get him to say, "More, mama" or "Help, mama," rather than, "muh muh muh muh muh," repeated continuously for minutes on end. This, "muh muh" repetition has an inexplicable effect on Todd. Basically, he starts looking like his head will explode and cannot function as a normal human being when Isaac's making that sound.

Isaac's other new words: baby, diaper, nana, yellow, apple, diaper, belly button, bottle, eye. He also can point to his nose, eyes, and ears. He gets *extremely* excited when watching his Baby Einstein videos. He claps, at the end of every song and usually yells his approval very loudly. He also points to every object on the screen inquiring, "Da?" and then repeats whatver word you say.

Julia has been running very warm and cold lately. Some days she is all sweetness and light. She says "please" and "thank you" at every turn, points out that she's chewing with her mouth closed, agrees with whatever is going on: "Julia, it's time for a bath. "Okay, mommy." "Julia, it's time for dinner." "Okay, mommy," etc. Then other days, she is the sulkiest, most disagreeable thing you ever saw. She doesn't want to have anything to do with either of her parents and will often cross her arms with a scowl on her face and make a "hmph!" sound to let us know that she's angry.

Posted at 09:31 am by karensblog
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Monday, April 05, 2004
Sun, snow, and furniture moving

I had some photo shoots with the kids over the weekend for some Kool Sheep Soaker auctions I'll be running this week. I didn't use this pic of Isaac because he looks too, well, sexy (is that okay for a mother to say?):

Throw some puka shells around his neck and set him on a beach, and he'd be a chick magnet for a 20-mile radius (in my unbiased opinion).

At the opposite meteorological extreme is this picture of Julia (non-auction related, we just had to take a pic of our little movie star):

Yes, it's still that cold in Michigan. We are desparately in need of some warmer weather.

The whole family made the daylight savings time switch a day early. Saturday morning at 7 am we were all bustling around and ready to get going. We bought some plastic chairs at the grocery store so the kids have somewhere to sit in the family room and down in the basement. Isaac was so delighted at being able to move a piece of furniture that he carried his all over the house:

This is the kid who couldn't walk a month ago. Hopefully this interest of his will continue into the future. It could come in handy if we need to move and he's a bit bigger.

Posted at 01:32 pm by karensblog
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Friday, April 02, 2004
Shots, dollhouses, and breakfast pics

Well, I've been meaning to catch you all up for a few weeks now, but am finally sitting down to do it. Isaac had is 18 month appointment a few weeks ago. He is 95th percentile for length (no surprise there), just under 50th percentile for weight (so he's tall and skinny like his daddy), and, you will not believe this, but just under 50th percentile for head circumference (which means there are some *truly* big-headed kids out there somewhere. Or maybe if that dent in his head was rounded out, that would push him into the 95th percentile like we'd all expect). He had his shots, which didn't affect him too badly, but did make him so sleepy on Sunday that he actually fell asleep in the shopping cart (I don't believe he's every done that before, even when he was an infant).

Julia has been totally happy playing with her new dollhouse from Nana. We've placed it up on a console and she plays with it from her learning tower, to keep it out of Isaac's reach. He was pawing at it yesterday, and she pushed it so far back to keep it out of his reach that the whole thing fell off the table and into the family room. The screeching and crying and howling (from both kids) after that incident left Todd and I deaf for most of the rest of the evening.

Julia has also been very adamant about holding her blankie by its four corners. I guess this is so that it forms a bag as she likes to carry candy in it, whether real or pretend. She's also excitedly counting the weekends until Easter, holding up two fingers (sometimes she has to start with all five and bend them down one at a time until two are left), and telling us there are "two weekends left!"

Here are few pics from breakfast this morning. Isaac insisted on wearing his hat. He looks like someone straight out of "12 mile":

And Julia wanted to show me her big smile:

Posted at 10:08 am by karensblog
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