Monday, December 17, 2012

Conversations with Kaia

I went to get her when she woke up from her nap.
Me: Hi, honey.  Did you have a good nap?
Kaia: I'm poopin'.
Kaia (holding Christmas ornament): Here you go, Mommy.  I did it, Mommy.
Me: Thanks, honey.  Can you please put this back on the tree?
Kaia: Yeah, yeah.
2 minutes later...
Kaia (with a different ornament): Here you go Mommy.  I did it.
Since Halloween Kaia has been a candy fiend.  We have this conversation nearly every morning before we even have breakfast. 
Kaia: Candy, Mommy?  Candy?
Me: No, we are not having candy right now.
Kaia: Later.  Later.
Me: Maybe later.
Kaia (nodding profusely): Yeah.  Dinner.  After dinner.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conversations with Kenzie (and Kaia)

Kaia was crying after I had put the girls to bed the other night.  I waited a while to see if she would eventually lie down, but she didn't, so I headed upstairs.  On my way there I overheard this conversation: (the girls share a room) 
McKenzie: Kaia, do you want mommy?
Kaia: Yeah.
McKenzie: You have to say "mommy"
Kaia: Mommy
McKenzie: No you have to say it like this (yelling) "MOMMY!"
Kaia: MOMMY!
McKenzie: Good honey.  You have to say mommy again.
Kaia: MOMMY!
McKenzie: I think mommy will come now.


Another testament to how different the girls' personalities are...

We were making a gingerbread house the other night.  I remember doing this two years ago, when Kenzie was the same age that Kaia is now.  I remember Kenzie carefully placing the candies on the roof so that they made a nice, straight pattern.  I remember her laser focus and the fact that she worked until the job was done.  Of course, I also remember the colored drool dripping out of her mouth because she was sneaking candies while she worked, but this was nothing compared to our Kaia Boo.  Kaia was so excited to see the bags of candy that she couldn't contain herself.  She did help to put some candies on the house, but only seconds later that same candy would be in her mouth.  She watched as her sister carefully placed each round candy, then pulled it off the house and popped it in her mouth.  Surprisingly, Kenzie remained calm, even though Kaia was disrupting her masterpiece.  They each ate more candy than they would normally eat in a whole month, so I think everyone was happy.

If you aren't fluent in toddlerspeak, when Kenzie asks for the candy Kaia says, "Nooooo, I hold it."  But then she says yes and hands it over.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

1.583333 years

 At Kaia's 18-month well-baby visit the interim pediatrician entered the room and said, "here is the little wunderkind."  He was referring to the report he'd just been given by the P.A. student who performed Kaia's exam.  Apparently he was impressed by the fact that she's blowing every toddler milestone out of the water. She is pretty amazing.  She continues to entertain the entire family with her antics and is learning new concepts and words every day.  Here are a few things she's learned to do since my last Kaia post:

  • Buckle things.  A favorite activity now.  She has to buckle her booster seat when she's done eating and gets mad when I won't let her buckle and re buckle her car seat when we're trying to go somewhere.
  • Say even more.  She talks pretty clearly and uses full sentences often.  She'll hand me something and say, "here you go Mommy," or, when Kenzie is getting some veg-out time watching Dora Kaia, hoping to join her, will say, "want to sit on couch. on couch."  She sings verses of No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Ring Around the Rosie.  
  • Ask questions.  She is always inquiring, "Mommy doin'? doin' Mommy?"  And her new favorite request since Halloween, "candy, mommy? candy?"
  • Be overtly defiant.  Up until now we could write off Kaia's lack of obedience as immaturity. Now it is clear that when we tell her "no, we do not throw food.  Do not throw your food, eat your food," and she looks me in the eyes and throws another spoonful of noodles, she is making a choice.
  • Count to six, or ten, or three.  Depends on how she's feeling.  This is a product of many, many games of hide-and-seek with Sister.  The first time we heard her count to six Dustin and couldn't believe it.
  • Snuggle.  She is a little cuddle bug, and not just with me.  I catch her and Kenzie snuggled under a blanket on the couch all the time.  Kaia copies her big sister and puts "babies" to bed (stuffed animals and the like) and will lie with them and cuddle.  When Kaia gives a hug she gives it with love.  Every time.
  • Pretend.  She's been pretend eating for a while, but she's beginning to create pretend situations now.  The other day she pretended to cry then looked at her teddy bear and said, "baby cry, baby sad."  She pretended to cry again and picked up her bear and told it, "okay, baby, okay baby."  
  • Fall for her first crush.  The girl is in LOVE with her cousin Josh.  She lights up when ever he is around and talks about him all the time.  Randomly she'll smile and say, "Joshy tickle me."  She's gaga for him!
We love our Kaia boo.  She is the silliest of us all, and we're a pretty silly bunch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meeting Great Grandpa

My sweet, inquisitive McKenzie and I were driving in the car a few weeks ago when we passed a cemetery. She wanted to know what it was and I explained it in the simplest possible way.  She seemed to understand and asked many questions.

A week or so later she saw a picture on the computer of Great Grandma Ricci dancing at our wedding.  She wanted to know who she was dancing with and I told her that it was Great Grandpa Ricci, who died before she was born.  She wanted to know if he was in a cemetery.  When I told her he was, she wanted to know if we could go visit him.

I took McKenzie to meet him last week. On the way there Kenzie asked, "when we talk to the stone, can grandpa hear us?"  She listened intently as I answered. Kaia was napping in the car while Kenzie and I talked to grandpa's headstone.  We told him about Dustin's girls, who he never had the pleasure to meet.  We talked about how much we love visiting Great Grandma and how we miss him so much.

McKenzie was pretty quiet on the way home, mostly because she was tired, I think, but perhaps also because she was deep in thought.  When Kaia woke up before we were home I heard Kenzie whisper to her, "Kaia, honey, we met great grandpa."  Be still my heart.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Conversations with Kenzie

The night before Kenzie's outing to a local farm with Grampa, Grammie and Auntie Jenni she talked about feeding the sheep at the petting zoo:
McKenzie: Last time I didn't want to feed them because I was afraid that they would bite my little hand.  But I'm bigger now and my hands are bigger so I'm going to feed them this time.
We drove by a cemetery and Kenzie asked if it was a field for running in.  I explained what a cemetery is and was greeted by many questions, and this gem:
McKenzie: But I don't die, mommy. (pause) Unless I get hit by a car. 
This exchange was followed by many questions about Kenzie's cousin's dog, Shylah who was hit by a car last year.  She wanted to know firstly where Shylah was buried, and also exactly how she got there.  I tried my best to answer her questions without providing too grim of a visual.


The girls and I were at TJ Maxx to make a quick return and they were walking with me.  Kenzie started to hide under a rack of clothes when this conversation ensued: 
Me: Honey, please stay right where mommy can see you I don't want you hiding here.
McKenzie: Why mommy?
Me: Well, there are some bad people and I just like to know where you are all the time. So please no hiding here.
McKenzie: What kind of bad people?
Me: Just bad people.
McKenzie: Like Daddy?
Me: No! (laughter) Not like Daddy.  Just stay where I can see you okay?
Where that came from I have no idea, but I hope the worst bad person she ever comes in contact with is like daddy. 
I overheard this conversation the morning after Lily slept over.
Lily: I missed my mommy last night.
McKenzie: Lily, when you have a sleepover you don't have your mommy. You have someone else's mommy and daddy, but you don't have your mommy.  That's what a sleepover is, Lily, you have someone else's mommy but not your mommy. 
I couldn't see them, but I suspect that Lily, who is older than Kenzie knows what a sleepover is, probably had that deer-in-headlights look on her face because she couldn't believe that Kenzie would go to such great lengths to explain something so obvious.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Doin' mommy? Doin?"

Kaia always wants to know what I'm "doin'" and I thought you might be interested too.  The past couple months have been busy and fun (and busy), so here's a little recap of Ricci family happenings:

  • Dustin began working on a master's in educational technology this past summer and he is now taking nine graduate credit online classes.  It's the Two Summer's program at UCONN so he'll be completed with the program by the end of next summer.  It's crazy, though, he's so busy.  He's also working with a colleague to head up a club of students who are building an electric car to compete in Connecticut's Electrathon.  It's a big commitment.  AND, in his free time (ha!) he's building a kitchen for his brother's new house.  He's super busy and we are looking forward to his winter recess (from UCONN) so he can take a little break.
  • We went to the zoo! Roger William's Zoo didn't disappoint.  The giraffes and elephant were our favorites.
  • Kona had surgery to drain an abscess on his neck.  Then, when it didn't heal properly he had it again.  What fun!  The cone of shame was more like the cone of annoyance for Kona, but he dealt with it like a champ.  The first couple days he couldn't go up stairs without slamming his cone into something, but by day three was chasing the ball as usual.  The vet was happy to see that he actually wore the cone, it was obvious because it was covered with dents and scratches and had pieces of grass poking out of the Velcro.  That's our boy.

  • We have been spending more time with my friend Robin and her daughter Maddie.  We met at a playgroup earlier this year and Maddie is only three weeks older than Kaia.  We've had a lot of fun getting to know each other.  We all had fun picking apples in early September.

  • We hosted a 60th birthday party for my mom.  She was so touched that people traveled from so far to be here for her.  It was a great day and it was so nice to spend some quality time with my uncles, who I see far too seldom.

  • The girls and I spent some time visiting friends and family in Greenfield.  Mindy's boys are so sweet and the girls love to see them.  After this visit Kaia asked for Benjamin daily.  She would ask, "Ben? Ben?" then sadly say, "home."  He seemed pretty smitten with her too.  They had fun playing in Benjamin's new tent.

  • We celebrated Halloween.  McKenzie chose to be a cowgirl and Kaia was a duck.  McKenzie knew the trick-or-treat routine but we were curious to see how Kaia would react to the free candy.  She was so focused on opening the first piece of candy that she got the she didn't really care about going to the next house.  Things like this really show the difference between the girls' personalities.  When Kenzie went trick-or-treating for the first time it didn't take her long to figure out how it worked.  She didn't even ask for candy, she just kept going from house to house collecting more.  It wasn't until the car ride home that she had her first piece.  She's a thoughtful planner. Kaia, on the other hand, is all about instant gratification.  She rarely (if ever) seems to think about the outcome of her actions, even after the fact.

  • Sweater weather is my favorite time of the year.  Two of our favorite outdoor activities are playing in the leaves (which we haven't raked or mowed all season so there are a LOT) and mushroom hunting. We have some pretty funky mushrooms in our yard and woods.  The general rule is that the girls can poke them but not touch them.  Sometimes we collect them, though, to show daddy.  Puffballs are the best.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I promised pictures of our beautiful, farm fresh eggs.  We now have two laying hens and four little girls that will be egg layers in the future (they replace the surplus of roosters were were erroneously given).  We successfully rid ourselves of the final rooster, Big Red, with a craigslist ad and one awkward exchange in the Grand Union parking lot.  

Our two hens, Fiesty and Egg, each lay one egg per day.  It's enough for a few breakfasts, but it will be nice when we no longer have to purchase eggs from the store and we will have extra to give away to friends and family.  While we are happy to have undertaken the challenge of raising chickens, it's not as carefree as we hoped (yet).  Next summer we should have six laying hens, and more eggs than we can imagine.  Then, our labor will be worth it.

Our lady Egg is an inconsistent layer.  The first two eggs (from the left) are from her (notice how jumbo the first one is, poor thing), the third is a Feisty egg, and the white one is a store bought egg.  The yolks in our eggs are bright orange, as opposed to the dull yellow of a store bought egg.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Babies, Babies, Babies

McKenzie loves her babies.  I use that term, "babies," broadly.  Her babies include her three baby dolls, a couple stuffed turtles, many teddy bears and other stuffed animals, and too many little plastic people to count.  She spends time every day putting her babies to bed.  She will lay out every pillow we have and whisper sweet nothings to her darlings as she lays them down to sleep. I can't hear what she says, but it's so sweet to watch her.

Lately she's been asking me if Kaia can go take a nap just so she can have some quiet time with her babies.  Kaia doesn't march to the same drummer as Kenzie.  Kaia enjoys grabbing babies and running while Kenzie screams at the top of her lungs,"Kaia has my baby!!!!"  After a little intervention Kaia will give the baby a hug and kiss and give it back to mama Kenzie.

Playing with babies showcases Kenzie's creative side, but you can certainly still see her Type A organization when you check out these baby pics.

Apparently phones, letters and purses need naps too, sometimes.

Inside the fort we built in the living room.

About a month ago we had a nice visit with Mindy and her boys and Kenzie was in baby heaven.  She sat with Lucas (a real baby!) for an hour playing music, singing, and talking.  She couldn't get enough of him.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rockin' 15 Months

Kaia is hilarious, crazy, brave, smart, adorable and so much more.  She makes us laugh every day.  Just the other night she was walking around with a wide stance, back hunched over.  It looked so funny and we all laughed.  Of course, being the clown that she is, the more we laughed the more she walked.  Now it's called the "silly walk" and I can get her to do it by simply asking.  It's so cute.

Kaia is talking like we can't believe.  We've read that the majority of kids her age (75%) can say mama, dada and a few other words.  Kaia not only has a lexicon of over 50 words, but she's saying two and three word sentences.  It's absolutely astonishing.  I'm sure her amazing vocabulary can somewhat be attributed to her role-model big sister who, to put it bluntly, never shuts up.  We love it, of course, and celebrate every new word.  While Kenzie's first words were mostly animal sounds, Kaia has mastered everything from "milk" and "more" to "diaper," "sister" and "rock" (both the noun and the verb).  I know, I know, enough of the blatant bragging.  I can't help it, I'm impressed.  She rocks.

It's hard to get all this on film.  Sorry for the poor quality of this video (it was night and the house was a bit dark) but I think this captures a little bit of the Kaia I've described.  This was on a rare night when she stayed up after Kenzie went to bed.  I think she was enjoying having the place to herself.

(P.S. She came back with the hat)

And, man, she can  climb.  If you enter our house at any given moment you are bound to find various chairs and toys tipped on their sides to deter Kaia from climbing on them.  She is constantly climbing onto the computer chair, standing, and rocking it back and forth on two legs.  She'll stand on a rocking chair or her rocking horse without holding on and she thinks it's so funny when we tell her to sit down.  The other night Dustin found her sitting on the dining room table.  She's crazy!  We've decide that instead of focusing our efforts on telling her not to climb, our time is put to better use if we teach her how to safely get down from whatever perch she may find herself.  We put the gate on the third stair so she can practice going up and down.  If she falls, it's better than falling from the top.

She's got good fine motor skills too.  She can use a fork or spoon independently (although yogurt is more worn than eaten) and can drink from a "big-girl cup" on her own.  She can push small buttons to make toys talk. She's understanding so much.  I can ask her to get something from another room and she has the attention span to go find it and bring it back.  She asks for sister ("didter, didter?")  if she's not around  and knows how to tell us when she needs something (including a diaper change).  She's also mastering the art of the temper tantrum.  Why is it innate to stomp ones feet when told no?

Kaia is such a joy.  I can't be down when she is near.  My heart is full.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wattle We Do Now

So here's the long and short of it: we have eight roosters.  Eight.  Eight out of our ten little chicks are roosters.  Yes, we paid for five sexed hens.  Yes, we took our chances on the other five. We figured one or two of the straight run chicks would be hens and we'd have just a few roosters to "process."  Boy, it's been an adventure.  It's like a soap opera around here and chickens are in all the starring roles.

Let's back up a little.  Getting the coop finished was a major project, but once completed we felt that he hard part was over.  We were always trying to figure out which of our fowl were boys and which were our future egg layers, but it's much more complicated that one might think.  Because we had a variety of breeds we couldn't easily compare them to each other.  People say to look at the size of the wattle or comb, check for pointy feathers and listen for the tell tale crow.  As our chickens grew and we started to notice that the vast majority of them looked (and sounded) like roosters, we dug deeper into our research.  "Yes," said someone on the backyard chickens forum, "I have a hen who crows."  Yes, another added, sometimes hens have huge combs.  Because we were working with the assumption that we definitely had five hens, it became very hard to discern which were the ladies, because they all seemed like roosters.

When it became too obvious to ignore (and it took us a while to get there), we concluded that we had, in fact, been feeding and caring for our dinner for the past five months.  Bummer.  Our two little hens were no match for the roosters.  We had to eliminate some roos.

Now, don't get me wrong, we've enjoyed these roosters.  They are facinating creatures.  We watched as Doodle became the alpha chicken and saw the others fall in line.  We studied pecking order by leaving the alpha locked up while the other roamed free and watched how the roos aggressively mated the poor hens.  We learned a lot about chickens.  It's been a great learning project.  We would not, however, choose to raise roosters again.  We just want some darn eggs!
We knew from the start that we wouldn't be keeping the roosters, but Kenzie didn't know exactly what we would be doing with them.  We didn't want to kill any chickens until she had a chance to say goodbye (she's not good with surprises).  We explained how the meat came from the chickens by equating it the meat Dustin gets when he guts a fish.  Kenzie has watched him take apart fish many times so we knew she could understand the basics of where the meat came from.  We weren't certain, though, how she would react to losing the chickens.  They have, after all, been raised as our pets, unlike the anonymous bass that shows up in the cooler after Dustin's been gone for the day.  
Mean Chicken

So, it was with hesitation that we asked her to say goodbye to Doodle (the alpha) and Mean Chicken (the mean one).  We were shocked when she ran to the sliding door and in her most playful voice sang out a phrase we have never before heard her say.  With great joy she yelled,  "Dooooooodle!  We're gonna eat you up!"  Should we be worried?  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kenzie is THREE!

Okay, she's been three for over a two months now,  but it's not too late to share.  We celebrated her birthday with a rainbow-themed party.  She mentioned months ago that she wanted rainbows for her birthday and I liked the idea so much that I reminded her weekly so she wouldn't change her mind.  We enjoyed a nice get-together with family and Kenzie had a great time.

It's crazy, but three seems so much older than two.  She's becoming more inquisitive everyday and she really keeps us on our toes.  Sometimes I get to the point where I have to tell her "no more questions" until we get in the car/ sit down to dinner/ until morning etc.  It's so hard to complete a task with a toddler firing questions at me.

We love that she's so curious, though.  She really thinks deeply about things and continues to surprise us with where her thoughts take her.  For example, one time we were coming home from the grocery store and saw a man cutting tree limbs from a cherry picker. The questions started coming.  Everything from who is he to what color is the knife (you know, the one he cuts with). Then, when I thought the Q and A session was over and we'd shared a couple minutes of silence she asked, "Mommy, does the cutter do other work too, like clean the kitchen?"

In the past year McKenzie has reached some major toddler milestones.  She is now completely potty-trained (even at night), no longer uses a pacifier, and she goes to sleep in a "big girl bed" (although she usually ends up on the floor next to her big girl bed). Even though she often seems wise beyond her years, she often reminds us that she's only three.  You know, when she melts down because she wanted more milk in her cereal and we told her she has enough, or when she screams at bedtime because she's "not tired." Ahh, toddlerhood.

McKenzie continues to be a kind, loving, smart, curious, thoughtful, funny, adorable little girl.  We are so proud.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Conversations with Kenzie

McKenzie: Mommy, I can be a hee yaw thing?
Me: You mean a cowgirl?
McKenzie: Yeah.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crazy Sister Love

The girls are playing together more and more often now and it is so sweet to see how they love each other.

Notice in the middle when I told Kaia she can't pull Kenzie's hair?  Yeah, I used to tell her no.  That was until I caught Kenzie asking Kaia to pull her hair.  Now, Kenzie is on her own!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rain Rain

It's been a rainy week here and instead of wallowing in self pity we decided to make the most of the day when the skies finally cleared.  The girls got good and muddy playing in the puddles around the yard.  With the exception of one major digger causing Kaia's lip to bleed (nothing the Boo-Boo Bunny couldn't handle) it was a great outdoor adventure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Darn Tootin'

The chicken coop is done and our little ladies (and a few little men too, we suspect) are living happily out in the yard.  We've been learning all we can about chicken farming and are reading a lot of interesting things online these days.  Did you know that a hen's eggs will be the same color as her ear lobes?  Did you know that as soon as we learned this we had to Google: "where are a chicken's ear lobes?"  Oh yeah, they have ears, and lobes too.  The other night I found myself reading  a blog post titled "Wattle I do for love."

When Dustin builds something he builds it right.  He researched chicken coops for a month before breaking ground on this project.  The end result is an attractive, safe, highly functional home for our new pets.  The door over the nesting boxes opens so it will be easy to retrieve the eggs every day.  

Kenzie helped paint it, and she actually painted quite a bit.  We thought she'd lose interest after a few minutes but she ended up painting both of the removable sides (and parts of her body).
This is her posing-for-a-picture smile.

It wasn't that hot, but she was working hard.

Caught red-handed.

Now that they are accustomed to where their home is we can let them loose in the yard.  We did this hesitantly the first time but countless websites assured us that when dusk settles they will find their way home to roost.  Guess what?  It's true.  All ten were perched in the coop by 7:30 so we could lock them safely in their home.  It's almost too easy.

Kenzie could watch them all day long (and so could Dustin and I if we didn't have other pressing things to do, like, say, work and keep house and, well,  be normal).    We hope that they will start laying eggs by mid June.  More pictures and videos to come.

Kaia is ONE!

Kaia turned one last weekend and it gave me an opportunity to put my new Pinterest addiction to good use. Complete with tissue paper pom poms and personalized banners we celebrated Kaia's big milestone with over 60 people at our home.  Kaia continues to be the happiest, most personable baby on the block.  She was handed around all afternoon and never fussed.  She loved her first cupcake (though admittedly not her first sugary treat) and really seemed to enjoy being surrounded by our family and friends.

She wasn't at all overwhelmed by her birthday song.

I'm still cleaning up from the party and there are balloons and other decorations throughout our house.  Kenzie's birthday is this weekend, so half the work is done already for her party.

Pom poms are the gift that keeps giving...

Kenzie was an early talker (and she hasn't stopped since) and she seems to have taught little Kaia to follow her lead.  Kaia says nearly ten words consistently and tries new ones every day.  The last post showed Kaia's first steps.  After that day she seemed to make a conscious decision that she was going to stop crawling and be a full-time walker.  It was sometimes painful to watch how long it took her to get from point A to point B, but no matter how many times she fell she never crawled.  She would get back to her feet and keep trudging on.  Now she walks like a pro.  She has a bright, warm personality that makes it impossible to be in a foul mood when she's around.  She's our little troublemaker, too, always running to the stairs, toilet, dog food, etc whenever she sees an opportunity.

Some of Kaia's other talents include:
  • understanding simple requests like "throw the ball," "give this to Daddy," "lets to find big sister," "that's too big, spit it out."
  • dancing to the music.  Any noise can entice her to bounce up and down.
  • hugging.  She will give hugs upon request and loves to hug her stuffed animals and Kenzie's babies.
  • saying hi, whoa, Kona, ball, Daddy, water (wawa), arf arf (you know, what a dog says), and eat.
  • signing more, all done, milk, eat, and water.
  • finding her belly and toes.  She likes to eat her toes so we ask her to do that all the time (it's too cute).
  • making us all laugh at her dinner table shenanigans.  She holds onto her tray with both hands and shakes her head (along with the rest of her body) yelling "ahhhhhh" the whole time.  The more we laugh the more she does it.  
  • stopping to smell the flowers.  Although actually smelling things will take a while, right now she blows out her mouth when she "smells."  She smells real flowers and pictures of flowers in her books.
  • climbing the stairs quickly.  Too quickly.  If we forget to put a gate up she knows it and will be on stair three (at least) before we can get to her.  (We could leave the stairs ungated with Kenzie because she had no interest in climbing.)
  • doing laps.  She walks in laps around the kitchen island, and when she gets bored with that she does laps around the dining room table.  Seriously, the girl walks miles each day.
  • "helping" me do the laundry or throw things in the trash.  She gets really excited to throw her dirty diapers in the trash.  
  • making everyone smile.  She is a bright light in our lives, there's no doubt about it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Step by Step

With most things Kaia acts first and thinks later.  She climbs with abandon and isn't afraid of anything (including her sometimes menacing big sister).  Walking has been different, though.  She's very careful, calculated.  Lately she has been venturing to take more unassisted steps.  

As you can tell from this first video, balancing isn't a problem for her.  She's been standing up on her own for a couple months now, but she rarely moves from her steady stance.

Last night she was adventurous. She walked around the playroom for a half an hour, only sitting momentarily when she fell.

Go, Kaia, go!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We have four recent additions to our family.  Four giraffes to be specific.  Buckles, Boo Boo, Pinky and Frog are their names.  We take these baby giraffes wherever we go.  I have to open the hatch to let them jump into the car and remembering to let them out once we have arrived has turned into a new chore.  The other day while at the library for storytime Kenzie suddenly remembered that the giraffes were in the car.  I assured her that they were taking a nice nap and would be happy to see us when we were all done playing.  Then I explained to my fellow storytime moms that I am not, in fact, keeping strange zoo animals prisoner in my station wagon. 

The other day McKenzie asked me something about them, I can't remember what exactly.  Something like, "Mommy are the giraffes sleeping."  I responded with, "I don't know, honey, you're the one who can see them."  She got a real kick out of this.  She stopped short of laughing in my face when informing me, "Mommy, they're just pretend."

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 Reasons Why Kaia is Amazing

1 She's talking.  Crazy.  Last weekend she was saying "hi" a lot.  She is really good at imitating us, though, so we didn't really think she was saying it as a word, just a sound.  By the end of the weekend everyone was telling us that they were convinced she was using the word properly in context.  It took us a while, but Dustin and I now proudly agree that she is, in fact, saying hello to people she sees.  She will extend her arm, turn her palm up and say "hi" as clear as day.  She expects a response, too, and will say it again if the person she's talking to doesn't acknowledge her.  In the past couple days she's convinced us that she also says Kona's name.  I take her outside with me to play fetch with Kona and I say, "Go, Kona, go!"  Now, before I say it, she does.  It sounds more like, "go, go, go. Goa, Goa," but she is definitely saying both "go" and "Kona."  She'll also say "Goa" when Kona comes into the room. (Still trying to catch these on video.  She does NOT speak on demand.)

2 She's walking....with assistance.  For the past month or so she perfected standing up without holding onto anything.  She didn't have any real desire to move, just to stand and balance in one place.  That changed a couple of days ago.  She will grab onto her push car and walk her way around the kitchen with Kenzie steering her in the right direction.  She wants to move fast, too.

Please pardon the baggy shirt and over-sized sweats.  We don't get dressed up on weekends.  
(Okay, we never get dressed. up.)

3 She climbs. This one is a parenting bummer. Kenzie was never a climber and that made things easy for me. Kaia is into everything and wants to climb on everything from the dishwasher door, to boxes and stairs. The other day I caught her happily perched on the first step. She turned and smiled, so proud. Yikes.
This is her getting down from the stairs.  She was standing up on that first step!
4 She shares.  She'll gladly hand over whatever is in her hand or her mouth if we just hold out our hand and say "thank you."  It's really helped alleviate the stress involved with playing the What-Did-Kaia-Just-Sneak-Into-Her-Mouth game.

5 In just two months she will be a year old!  Wow.  That is the most amazing thing of all.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I am one of Pavlov's dogs

Many times each night  I find myself coming to consciousness about ten steps from my bedroom door, in the hallway to the girls' room.  It takes a moment to realize what I am doing, then I'll hear Kaia's cry or Kenzie's, "cover me please, Mommy, cover me" and I'll snap to reality.  Apparently, in my sleep, I jump at the sound of distress from my daughters.  Letting them cry it out or find their own covers might be the better choice if I ever want the cycle to end, but that's not how I've been trained.  Instead, I jump from my bed as if it's on fire and rush down the hallway.  Sometimes I wake in the hallway and don't hear any noise at all coming from the girls.  What's that about?

We use sleep training for Kaia to get her sleeping through the night.  Our method is to have Dustin go to her instead of me.  After a few nights she realizes that she isn't going to get what she wants (me) and will just start sleeping longer.  This works until the next cold hits or her next tooth pops through, then more sleepless nights and more sleep training. 

If it's possible to retrain a baby, how do you retrain her mommy?  

Man, I'm tired.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cheep! Cheep!

We've been talking for a couple years about getting some backyard chickens and last night we took the plunge.  We purchased a variety of breeds to see what works best for us.  We got ten chicks, five of them we had sexed to ensure they are hens, the other five are a gamble.  One of them is a Jersey Giant and is already twice the size of the other chicks.  The odds are good that a couple of them are "Easter Eggers" and will lay colored eggs.

This is the Jersey Giant...roosters can grow as big as 15 lbs!

They will be great at helping us keep our extensive tick population off of Kona's back, will provide lots of entertainment for the girls, and, best of all, will (hopefully) lay lots of eggs.  

Dustin says we have to start saying things like "I reckon" and "darn tootin'" now that we are officially chicken farmers.  I say let's not get ahead of ourselves. I hope to share pictures of vast amounts of eggs later in the summer!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Our little Kaia boo is growing up so fast.  I swear McKenzie's first year didn't fly by like Kaia's has.  She had her nine month checkup last week and we were surprised to learn that she is actually smaller than Kenzie was at this age.  She looks like a little chunker to me.

According to the charts, 93% of babies Kaia's age are heavier than her.  Can you imagine bigger cheeks than these?
While some second-borns are content to sit by and watch their older siblings play, Kaia refuses to be forgotten.  She is a little troublemaker.  I'm constantly stopping her from climbing over the Candy Land board or puzzle or book that Kenzie is playing with.  I'll set up decoys so she'll have her own book or puzzle to climb on, but she's only interested in the one Kenzie is using.  She is always sneaking into the forbidden breezeway (where Kona's food and water are kept), or crawling to the one plant I can't seem to keep her hands out of.  She loves outlets and wires.  She's always on the move.  Whew.  She's busy.
It doesn't matter what room I put her in, the first thing she does is  leave.
She's cute when she's escaping, though, isn't she?

Dustin calls her Hoover because she find every single thing on the floor and sucks it up faster than we can get to her.  We'll see her pinching her tiny thumb and forefinger together and yell "no" or "eh-eh" to try and stop her, but we're never fast enough.  Instead we need to use all our might to pry her jaw open before she swallows said object.

She had her first bath by herself in the big tub.
Splash, splash, splash!
 She's able to stand on her own and does this often.  She has learned how to fall gracefully

She made a canine friend and LOVES to spend time with him. He's pretty indifferent (unless she happens to be holding his tennis ball).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Conversations with Kenzie

McKenzie: Mommy, can I have some water please?
Me: Yes you can.
McKenzie: Ha!  You never say no to that question, Mommy!
"Haha.  Kaia, you make me mile." (note: Kenzie pronounces many words that begin with "s" as if the s was silent . mile=smile, no=snow, etc) 
Dustin was searching for a video on YouTube for Kenzie to watch.  He couldn't find her specific request.
McKenzie: Daddy I want the money Barney, please, Daddy.
Dustin: I'm looking honey, I can't find the video about money.
McKenzie: It's at online dot com, Daddy.
 She does a lot of things based on age...
When getting tucked in to bed:
Me: How many blankets do you want?
McKenzie: Two.  Cause I'm two.
When having a snack:
Me: You can have one more cracker.
McKenzie: I'm having one cracker because Bennamin (Benjamin) is one.  Madson (Madison) is one too.
When getting dressed:
McKenzie: I have two socks because I'm two.
Me: So when you're three are you going to wear three socks?
McKenzie: No, Mommy, that's silly.
When playing:
McKenzie: I'm making three castles.
Me: That's good.
McKenzie: Cause, Yeeyee (Lily) is three, Mommy. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No Man

We were all very excited to have our first real snowfall this winter.  It was perfectly packable snow and McKenzie couldn't wait to make a snowman. I did all the work, of course; the packing, the careful placement of eyes and nose, the scavenging for two perfect arms, the digging through the bonus room for a suitable hat and scarf.  All the while, Kenzie cheered me on and Kaia whined about having to sit in the snow.  I worked fast and was reasonably satisfied with final product.

I snapped a couple pictures.

And it's a good thing I did, because two minutes later...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Take a Stand

Kaia has learned how to pull herself to standing and there's no stopping her now.

Deeda Daamp

Over the past few months McKenzie has been learning her address.  It started one day in the car when we pulled onto our road and, to distract her from a meltdown, I told her the numbers of our house.  She was intrigued.  I held up one finger and she followed suit.  She learned all three numbers and moved onto the street name.  She now knows her house number, street, town and state.  The zip code is next.

While we hope there is absolutely no reason for her to ever need to know this information at her age, we are happy that she does. McKenzie loves to share her new knowledge, but requires that everyone play along.  She will hold up her pointer finger and say, "do one, do one."  She won't move on to the next number until everyone in the room is holding up one finger. 

We aren't sure how much good it will do her, though.  Unless the person she is telling is fluent in toddler speak, he/she may not be able to translate what Kenzie says into "Cedar Swamp Road."  We can picture her at the police station, every sergeant, detective, officer and desk clerk with their pointer fingers in the air, hoping this little girl will be able to tell them how to get her home.  She'll slowly but surely direct them through all three house numbers only to lead them to"Deeda Daamp Road."