28 February 2013

Slices of Life Vol X

A Typical Afternoon:
Daph was working on an art project while Christian chased Lola around with the baby stroller.  Christian and Daphne were both happy.  Lola was sad.

(Sorry about the space...it won't go away for me.)

never been happier

A few lovelies that Daphne has given us recently:

*"Another day you and I can go to a place and cut people's hair.  We will wash their hair and cut it.  Then Daddy will help and we will put sparklies in their hair."  

*"Where are the scissors with the black handle?  We need to find them.  When Daddy comes home he will find them.  Because he is amazing."

*"Jesus, thank you for Erin, Kyle and Addie and all the Albany people, and thank you that Christian takes a nap."

*"Did the bees make that honey for you?  That's so nice that the bees did that."

*Daph: "Can I have a gummy bear?"
  Me:  "Umm, no."
  Daph:  "Is that a question for Daddy?"

An Impromptu Interview with Daph:

Me:  "Where you do you like to go?"
Daphne:  "To Addie's house and Adelle's house."
M:  "What is your favorite food?"
D:  "Pears and peaches and bananas and tomatoes and oranges and corn."
M:  "What are your favorite types of clothes to wear?"
D:  "Hello Kitty clothes."
M:  "What do you like to do?"
D:  "Paint and cook."
M:  "And what is your favorite show?"
D:  "Veggie Tales!"

Most mornings after breakfast I turn on music in the living room and the kids have themselves a dance party.  The same stuffed animal dance partners are included at each dance session.

Even though she was just dressing to go outside to play, Daphne was insistent upon wearing a bow in her hair.  She may look nothing like me but at least she inherited my love for all things pretty.

When you ask Christian what a lion says he'll give you a little lion growl.  He sounds just like a tiny lion cub and it makes him very squeezable and cute.  He also likes to look pretty. 
this photo is horrifying to David

24 February 2013

Playroom Reveal

We've had this little 'office' corner in the family room downstairs...kind of a random corner where we kept wrapping paper/craft items/old check registers.  It was a nicely used corner before we had kids, but since they joined the family, not so much.

We (actually it was totally me) had the great idea to clear out the corner and turn it into a play room.

The idea has worked out so well for us.  The kids LOVE being down there, which is a nice change from them not loving being down there.   Now I can do laundry and stuff while they play.  One time I even sat down on the couch with a magazine and that was really nice until 2 minutes later when Christian noticed I was sitting all by myself.  Apparently he thought I looked lonely and needed a friend. 

The extra space has given us a chance to expand on Daphne's kitchen a bit.  Fortunately for us, we had an old wooden filing cabinet painted in the exact same paint of the nightstand that we converted into the sink and stove.  We're turning the filing cabinet into an oven.

The only things we had to buy were the shelf brackets to hang that shelf above her kitchen.  That means this new play room conversion cost us $1.69 x 2.  It's nice to feel so frugal.

Our new space has helped make both levels of the house more usable for our little family, but it has also given us more room to spread out when people are here.  Our house has plenty of square footage but it has tiny rooms, which makes it feel like we have to sit on people's laps when we have more than 5 people here.  Awkward.

I heard from someone recently that they had a night where they opened up their house for a few of their friends to drop their kids off, freeing up the parents to go on a date.   Totally something we could do.  So this afternoon we had 8 kids, including our own, hanging out with us.  With half of them upstairs and half downstairs our house didn't feel full at all.  I even did dishes because the kids were all playing so well together.  No crying, no fighting.  Really, it was a very pleasant afternoon.  As soon as David recovers we'll probably do it again.

I feel so hemmed in right now, like there's not much I can do outside of taking care of my tiny and semi-helpless children.  I share that we did this babysitting gig not to make us sound like such outstanding people but because it was encouraging to me to hear about a way I could do a small act of service even while taking care of my kids.  I feel almost badly that it was so little of an inconvenience for us.  Clearly we should have spent the afternoon building someone a house or something. 

21 February 2013


We decided to be trendy and cool and use sign language with both our kids.  We stuck to the basics (eat, milk, drink, all done, more) and have found baby sign language to be a very helpful tool of communication.

When Daphne was about 6 months old and just starting to learn the signs I was wondering if I should be teaching her 'please' and 'thank you' in addition to our basic repertoire.  The internal conversation I had with myself when trying to make this decision was as follows:

"Teaching her these words will help her be polite.  I need to teach her to be polite."

"Hmm.  How shall I teach her these?"

"I sign milk, I give her milk, she learns the sign for milk.  Easy."

"But 'please' and 'thank you' are so abstract! How will she understand!"

"I need to figure this out!  Or she won't be polite and people will judge me!"

"....................(crickets chirping)..................."

"This is too hard.  I am not equipped to raise children."

"Here Daph, have your milk.  Sorry I can't help you to become a better person."

Much to my surprise after such a great parenting fail, now she's 4 years old and one of the quickest I know to say 'thank you.'  She thanks everyone...servers at restaurants, cashiers at the grocery store, her doctors, the mail man.

Of course I know "monkey see, monkey do."  I've heard it all my life.  But it is another thing entirely to watch it happen right before my eyes.  The reason Daphne says 'please' and 'thank you' so freely is not because we sat her down and told her how important it was to say those words, but because David and I say 'please' and 'thank you' as naturally as we breathe and she's just copying what she sees.  

(Because, you know, David and I are perfectly amazing people and why wouldn't she want to emulate us?)

Every night when I'm tucking her into bed we spend a few minutes chatting.  I ask her how her day was and just listen as she talks.  She tells me her stories and then she says, "how was your day, mama?"

When we get into the car after BSF I ask her what she learned in class.  She tells me what her teacher talked about and then she asks, "what did you learn in your class, mama?"

I'm showing an interest in her life, and in the process she is learning to show an interest in mine. 

When I set myself up for a year of focusing on being purposeful I had no idea how much that word would end up permeating throughout my entire life.  Watching Daphne follow so closely in my footsteps is the perfect motivation to act on what I say and to be the type of person I want her to be. 

What I'm really figuring out here is that children are great for far more than their sweet snuggles and kisses.  They make you fatter, more tired, and steal every ounce of energy you have and multiply it a hundredfold in themselves.  They give you a new appreciation for going to the grocery store all by yourself and help you realize that it is indeed possible to catch vomit in your hands while keeping your eyes closed from the terrible sight.  And they are tiny little sponges, taking in everything you do and spewing out the good when you're the only one to see it and the bad when you're in the middle of Target. 

Maybe, someday, we'll stop catching vomit and find them grown and amazing, not because we spent so much time telling them what they are supposed to do, but because we lived the way for them.

It seems we'll be all the better for it.  
helping, because we like to help people

*DISCLAIMER: Daph might be a special case of being an excellent copy cat right now at 4 years old.  This could change in a year or even a day.  Christian, despite our most excellent efforts, might turn out to be a terror.  You never know.

14 February 2013

The Day of Love

Valentine's Day is so great.

David had to work today but the kids and I did plenty of Valentine-esque activities. 

Daph and I made these homemade toaster pastry things because they are David's favorite to take to work and have with his coffee at Starbucks.  My kids do not like them because neither of them like jam.  What kind of a person doesn't like jam?  I know some people in this family could eat jam off a spoon. 

(Not me, because that wouldn't be ladylike.)

(Except it's totally me because jam is so good.)

I've been wanting to learn to embroider for YEARS and finally used YouTube to learn the blanket stitch.  Lovely skill to have!  I also learned how to separate embroidery floss, because trying to separate that stuff has been a thorn in my side for far too long.

For Daphne's Valentine treat I made these little felt cupcakes using the blanket stitch.  I think they turned out so darling.

(I used this tutorial)

Daphne HUGGED the cupcakes when I gave them to her, so I think that means she liked them?  Because I'm not 100% on what this face means:
apathy?  love?  can't say for sure.

I'm looking forward to spending hours a day in the front parlor honing this new embroidery skill of mine.

Except that's my life as a princess and I forget at times that it's not reality.  Bummer.
post nap grumpies for the Love Bandit

Since Daph's love language is craft projects we did some Valentine themed ones. 

what a surprise to see him standing on a table

The day capped off when our mail lady filled our mail box with piles of Valentine's.  We did not do Valentine's this year and I apologize for not...we really should have.  Daphne was so happy with all her cards.

The end.  

13 February 2013

Big Boy Hair

I'm sure there has been much talk on when we were going to take control of Christian's wild mane.

(I'm sure.)

These 'before' picture were taken almost 2 months ago now, back when I thought I would get it cut and yet continued to procrastinate.  

I would feel exasperated too if my hair was out of control

Suffice it to say his hair has just gotten longer and shaggier in the past two months, and with all the references to him being a girl (thank you, blind people who can't see his decidedly masculine clothing) it was time for a trim.

I wanted to take him down to the same salon where we have taken Daphne, but West Linn is just soooo faaarrr to drive, not to mention that I knew he would not take kindly to a stranger touching his hair.

Thus we employed Curious George and some fruit snacks and gave it our best shot. 

And now Mr. Handsome Pants is trim and tidy and ready for Harvard.


07 February 2013

Where I Rant and Rave

We were in line at Fred Meyer when the lady in front of us turned around and said, "She is just so cute!  What a darling little girl!  Oh my, she is just the cutest thing!"

I take praise about my children's cuteness with a grain or two of salt because some people seem to lose it around small children.  I think my kids are the cutest ever, but I figure no one's really going to tell us our kids are ugly even if they think it's true. 

A minute later she turned around again.  "What are her disabilities?"

I'm not what you would call quick with the comebacks.  When someone catches me off guard by asking an intensely personal question I pretty much start turning red and stare stupidly before I can catch my bearings.  Finally I responded, "Well, she has dwarfism, but we don't really consider that a disability."

"Oh."  She said. "Well, she is such a cute girl."

At home I relayed this story to David.  He glanced at Daph, who happened to be performing some acrobatic stunts off the side of Christian's high chair at that moment and said, "I don't think anyone can take a look at that girl and think she's disabled."

And that pretty much ended our conversation.  

This encounter got me thinking about what I want people saying to us or asking us in public.  It's a question I hate thinking about because (and you may think I'm crazy here) when I look at Daphne I don't see anything wrong with her.  I think part of the reason I get so flummoxed when people ask about her is because it takes me a second to understand what they're asking.  I forget that others might notice anything different about her.

My heart aches when I realize they do. 

A year or so ago, a lady stopped me in Costco and asked a question about Daphne.  She was raising her grandchild who had some pretty severe health issues, and she said to me, "We're a part of a pretty close-knit group, aren't we?"  I think she sensed my confusion, because she clarified by saying, "the group of us raising handicapped children.  We stick together."

Then I was ultra confused.  I feel as though my peers and I are just raising children.  That's all.  We talk about discipline issues and eating issues and sleep issues.  We talk about our plans for schooling and whether or not our kids should be in sports.  I like to talk about the great deals on name brand clothing I find on half price day at the Salvation Army (best day of the week).  But am I supposed to be in a different group?  A group with the 'handicapped' kids?   Is that where people picture us and expect us to be?

Maybe we're doing it wrong, but we raise Daphne just like we would raise any other kid.  Maybe she is 'handicapped,' I don't know, but we certainly don't think of her that way.  She's just our kid, who, quite frankly, can do anything any other 4 year old can do.

I don't mind when someone asks us about her shoes.  Asking why she wears her braces is a lot better question than "what's wrong with her feet?"  I can easily answer why she wears her shoes; I can't tell you what's 'wrong' with her feet.  Nothing is wrong with my kid, people.  Nothing.

So when you come in contact with someone you decide is uniquely different (because you're so perfectly normal?), don't ask any questions unless you have a genuine interest in his or her life.  Don't be selfishly curious.  Treat them like a person, because that's all they are.  First and foremost, and to the people who love them most, they are just a person.  That's how you should think of them as well.

Ask only the questions you would want someone asking your own child (or asking you).  Remember the child you're asking about can hear you.  And for goodness sakes, realize that sometimes, some things are just none of your business.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."    ~John 9:1-3

Daphne is a rock star, folks.  She's got great things ahead of her.  Maybe just ask me about that. 

05 February 2013

Us + Farm Animals = Great Love

Our stash of firewood has been running low lately so yesterday we took the day to run to Albany and give David some wood cutting time.  Also there are three February birthdays we needed to celebrate
and some delightful farm animals to visit.  Sounds like the makings of a great day, right?

Daphne amazes me with how at ease she is with all the animals.  I've never seen her be scared, even when she lays in the grass and hopes that Annie will eat her. 

Christian fell completely in love Annie.  He wasn't too keen on being on her back alone, but he was perfectly happy being up there with David.  I think if Annie and David had gone on a little ride around the field Christian would have quickly been fast asleep.

And then there's Pascha.  Isn't she the most beautiful little thing?

We are allowed to love Pascha because she is not for eating.  She is the start of our little herd and will be good for milking and producing beef to eat later on.

It's really too bad that she can't live at our house.

After animal time it was birthday time.

And Chinese Lantern time.

And then time for a late night drive home, wherein Christian was fast asleep before we even reached Albany city limits and Daphne talked and talked and talked the entire way home.  

Christian has been talking about Pascha and Annie today and Daphne has been trying to ride Lola.  It seems the effects of the farm animals don't quickly wear off.   

03 February 2013

It Was Fun Anyways

Some highlights from our afternoon:

1.   Just use your Pinterest account imagination and anything can be turned into footballs. 
whoopie pies

juice boxes

2.  Fantastic timing on turning the under-used office area in the basement into a play corner.  The kids were happy as clams.  (Why are clams so happy, anyways?)

3.  Great time with great people. 

4.  David started out the day SO HAPPY.

5.  Daph just loves playing hostess and even gives out football treat bags to her friends.

Some lowlights from our afternoon:

1.  Sad for David that his team lost.

2.  I can't really call this a low, since really a mess is just a sign that you got to have fun.  But I had to take a picture of Daphne's bedroom anyways. 

After everyone left, Daphne was with me cleaning up when she plopped herself down with a great sigh and said, "I'm tired of cleaning up."  I told her that it's a tiring job, but it's part of getting to play hostess, and of course, just a sign that you have people to play with.  It's not such a bad job after all.

We had a really fun afternoon, and while David is disappointed with the outcome, he's just happy his team made it to the Super Bowl. 

Although I think they should put me in charge of the halftime show.  I bet I could come up with something way better. 

01 February 2013

The Super Bowl is Coming!

We are shaping up to throw some serious parties this weekend.

Again, I am thankful for our Super Bowl color being red.  How very handy it is to be able to reuse decorations I made for Christmastime.

Let's see...what else have we been doing...Oh, when Christian climbs up things and gets stuck, he just keeps going higher and higher like he thinks if he can get a bird's eye view of the situation he'll somehow be a little better off.  Alas, he just starts hollering and then I find him like this:


Daphne, decorating extraordinaire, gets SO EXCITED when we are gearing up to have people over.  She made some party decorations with her Bendaroos and has been proudly sticking them all over the house.  Certainly I would would not have thought to decorate the television!  I'm glad I have her to help me with my lack of creativity.

And another situation I walked in on the other day: a Sharpie tattoo parlor happening in Daph's bedroom.  Both kids have giant 49er jersey tattoos on their backs, which may or may not have been slightly embarrassing to showcase at Daphne's doctor appointment today.  (Speaking of dr. appointments, last week when I suspected D had an ear infection, boy was I right.  Her little eardrum had even burst which I had also suspected.  But never fear, it happens sometimes and just heals on its own.  The doc said her ears look great.)
she also has a santa/homeless man on her bicep

he has an 'I heart mom' on his bicep

Today I had to snap this picture and hope I remember to take the same picture in another 15 years or so.  Sheesh, I get a little weepy thinking about the two of them heading off on adventures together:
Hopefully, though, we won't be needing to repeat this particular pose:
totally creepy