Thursday, May 31, 2012

Angry Birds

Will is really good at Angry Birds. I mean REALLY good. I usually let him play for a few minutes a day - in the afternoon before rest time or in the evening before bedtime - and he has single-handedly (as in by himself, not with one hand) taken out enough pigs to score three stars in every level and gain access to a number of advanced levels. If you opened Angry Birds on my phone you'd think I had a chance at becoming the next Angry Birds gold medalist; in actuality it's Will who should be suiting up for the upcoming London games.  Or the Angry Birds video game olympics.  Or whatever competition people who are good at video games participate in to prove their dominance.

There are times when I - mean old mom that I am - won't let Will play games on my phone. You know, when I'm talking on it, or when the battery is dead. Sometimes he pouts, but sometimes he does exactly what I would hope a child of mine who isn't allowed to play Angry Birds on my phone would do...he uses his imagination! To play Angry Birds.
Yes, he's playing in his underwear.  And yes, as soon as I saw this picture I fed that skinny boy some bacon and ice cream.

Angry Birds, the back porch edition, was actually really fun - Will and I played for quite a while that afternoon while Hallie napped.  It was fun enough, in fact, that I just might be buying Will a couple more birds (I think there are also blue, yellow, white, and black birds, each with different "powers") to help us bring the game up a notch.  Anything to keep his imagination spinning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You May Have Had to Be There...

One of our favorite strollers - we've had quite a few over the years - is a simple, light-weight, black Maclaren. My parents bought it for us when Will was about six months old, and we're still using it today for all of our indoor and short-distance stroller needs.

The stroller has one problem though...due to it's low weight (it's really easy to fold, unfold, put in the car, pull out of the car, etc. with just one hand and while holding a child in the other arm) it easily tips over if the weight distribution between the front and the back of the stroller isn't even. That means you can hang bags on the stroller handles if a child is in the stroller, but if the child gets out of the stroller it will tip over backwards, spilling the bags on the handles and anything in the basket below the seat directly onto the floor. This has happened to me hundreds of times, and it's at times embarrassing and always annoying. I often strap Hallie (and used to strap Will) into the stroller, not because I'm worried about her falling, but because I don't want her to get out without warning me and tip the stroller and it's contents all over the floor of the mall.

On Mother's Day we visited the newly remodeled Memorial Student Center on the TAMU campus. Will and I were walking in front, while Tom followed behind, pushing Hallie in the stroller. I turned around just in time to see - and all of this happened in less than a second - Tom pick Hallie up out of the stroller and plop her onto his shoulders, Hallie clap both of her hands directly over both of Tom's eyes, and the stroller topple over. Will and I started to chuckle, and our chuckling turned to out-loud laughter when Tom, still completely blindfolded by Hallie's little hands, tried to pick pick up the stroller, the bag that had been hanging on the handles, and the contents of the bag with his feet. I was laughing too hard to do anything but shove Will in Tom's general direction with the instruction, "help him".

It was all I could do to take a picture; unfortunately I was too late to catch Tom's fancy footwork.

Maybe, just maybe, you had to be there.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


School wraps up today, but don't worry - the end of the school year doesn't mean that Hallie's monthly songs will come to an end. If I can't find official lyrics to take us through June, July, and August, the kids and I will put on our thinking caps and write our own. I can't wait to, after a full year has passed, start at the beginning and watch Hallie grow through these songs.

So here you have it: May!

It is May, it is May
Flowers grow, end of school
Time to say I love you, time to say I love you
Mother dear, mother dear

It's December
It's November
It's October
It's September

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Smokey the Bear

When Will was about 18 months old I bought him a Smokey the Bear t-shirt from an upscale children's boutique in Ann Arbor. It cost considerably more than a t-shirt - or any article of clothing for an 18-month-old, for that matter - ever should, but the soft fabric and positive message spoke to me and I made the purchase anyway, vowing to get years of use out of it.

Will wore the t-shirt quite a few times that summer, but outgrew it before he turned two. I packed it away, planning to put it on baby number two when his/her time came. (It's a wonder the t-shirt survived all that 18-month-old drool.)

At age three, Hallie can finally wear the t-shirt that Will wore when he was 18-months-old. And my girly girl, who loves swimsuits and tutus and leotards and ruffles and bows and PINK, can't get enough of Smokey the Bear.

A couple of weekends ago I took Hallie on a date to the Arctic Wolf Ice Arena's spring show, Fairy Tales on Ice. Knowing the stories included in the performance would involve princesses and be-ooo-tee-ful dresses, I - as I RARELY do - told Hallie she could choose whatever she wanted from her closet full of dresses to wear. She was so excited as she ran off to her room to make her choice, and even more excited when she emerged, carrying the Smokey the Bear t-shirt.

"I want to wear Smokey the Bear, Mama", she said proudly.

I asked her twice if she was sure, reminding her that she could wear any of the pink, flowery dresses I usually reserve for dressier occasions, but she stuck to her guns.

I added a jean skirt, leggings, pigtails, and navy blue bows to the outfit, and she was happier than, well, than she usually is when I let her wear the pink, flowery dresses.

Reminding me how old she is,
just like an accountant would.
I just can't figure that girl out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Little Einsteins, Round 2

Tom has very little time to play the piano these days, but when he finally finds a spare moment to tickle the ivories, he is always joined by at least one of the kids. At this point neither Will nor Hallie is interested in taking piano lessons, but they both love to play with their daddy.

Though I didn't capture a video that day, this is what they were playing. Clearly Little Einsteins in a family favorite.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You're the Best Dad Ever!

Tom snuck out and rented the next-in-the-series Star Wars movie to watch with Grandpa Mike and Will.  I'd like to say that Will was so excited about the movie that he ripped off his shirt, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing a shirt to begin with.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Her 3rd Birthday

Hallie had a wonderful 3rd birthday, with a party at school and presents and cupcakes at home on her actual birthday and a party with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Susie the following weekend. I completely forgot to take pictures of her on the morning of her birthday, or of her beautiful birthday cookies (but you can see the cookies here, thanks to the lovely woman who makes the kids' birthday cookies for me every year), but I remembered to pull out my camera to document the rest of the festivities.

Both kids spent the half hour before Daddy got home watching Wild Kratts, as that was the only thing that could distract them from the presents sitting atop of the piano.  Neither one of them wanted to wear a shirt, which was fine by me.

Once Daddy arrived home, Hallie went to town. (Will was a little upset that she didn't need more help opening her gifts.)  More so than any other year, Hallie was legitimately excited about every single present she opened.
Miss Ballerina doll with magnetic clothes
and accessories from G & G O.
"Piddy" bracelet from G & G O.
Minnie Mouse bank from AJ.  Can you feel
her excitement coming through the screen?
Hello Kitty birthday badge from AJ.
She's starting to freak out a little.
A yellow umbrella from M & D.
H: "Is it raining outside yet?"
E: "No, Hallie.  It'll probably rain again next February."
Penny (a stuffed mouse with accompanying book)
and baby bed from G & G M.
We're still working on keeping Hallie
from climbing into the bed herself.
Will's 1/2 birthday present was the purple
light saber. Clearly he hated it.
Hallie opened a few other things that I didn't take pictures of, including a My Little Pony from Will that he shopped for and picked out all on his own. (He's not quite to paying for gifts all on his own, however.)  And then we went outside to unveil Hallie's "big" gift from Mama and Daddy.
So excited!
Hugging the bike seat.
Admiring the bike's tassels.
Taking the bike for a spin around the patio.

And then we headed inside so Hallie could blow out the candles on her birthday cupcakes.  (Over the years we stumbled into the tradition of having cookies for school birthday parties, cupcakes on actual birthdays, and themed cakes for friend birthday parties.)

A few days later, when Grandpa Mike and Grandma Susie were visiting we celebrated again, first with presents (Hallie especially loved her new outfit, which she put on immediately, and watering can)...

...and then with much-anticipated Hello Kitty chocolate cake.  

Happy birthday, baby girl!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Soapy Mess

At a recent baseball game Hallie and I headed to the bathroom together. While I was washing my hands Hallie stepped up next to the sink, unknowingly placing herself directly below - and within sensor-reaching distance from - the automatic soap dispenser. I immediately recognized what was about to happen but couldn't move fast enough to stop it, and after what happened happened, I made Hallie stand there while I fished my phone out of my pocket so that I could take a picture.

She wasn't upset when the soap dispensed directly onto her head, face, and dress. In fact, after she realized how funny I (and everyone else I sent the picture to) thought the incident was, she reveled in her soapiness for a while.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

I'm writing about the kids' school Easter egg hunts on Midwestern Girl, but wanted to share a few more of our Easter pictures here.  The day had its ups and downs - just like every day - but was all in all a pleasant holiday.  The kids loved hunting for Easter eggs (plastic ones this year - I hid real ones last year and learned my lesson when the dye stained the inside of their Easter baskets), playing with the small gifts and eating the jelly beans left by the Easter Bunny, and singing at the top of their lungs during the Easter church service.  The kids DIDN'T enjoy sitting through the rest of the church service or having their picture taken post-church service.

I was pleased at how well Will understood the meaning of Easter this year, and credit his wonderful teachers for sharing with him the message of Easter in a way that he could understand.  Happy belated Easter!
By the time Hallie had figured out what was going on,
Will had found nearly 3/4 of the eggs.
But Hallie found ALL of the eggs hidden
in/with the shoes - she seemed to know where
she'd succeed and stuck with that domain.
Can you see the half-chewed yellow
jelly bean stuck in her hair?  I think
she was saving it for later.
Happy girl.
Will, as usual, was pretty tolerant of having his picture taken.
Hallie, on the other hand, not so much.
Scream + fake smile.
I really wish I'd taken my sunglasses off (I had no idea I was
even wearing them until I saw this picture on my computer
the next day).  And that I was wearing a different dress.
Real smile + fake/forced smile.
That's the best I could get.
On a related note, I want to mention Hallie's dress.  She received the dress as a birth gift from one of my dad's best friends and his family, but the dress was a 2T so I knew she wouldn't be able to wear it for at least a couple of years.  (Saul and Peggy give absolutely wonderful presents - our wedding present and Will's birth present were favorites of mine when they were received and are still favorite of mind today.)  The dress hung in a place of honor in her closet until this Easter, when she wore it for the very first time.  I'd planned shoot a few photos of Hallie by herself that day - a little modeling shoot to show off the dress - but unfortunately she just wasn't working it for the camera on Easter.  She's going to wear it again for a wedding in June though, so I'll try again then!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dance Party

Just a couple of videos of recent dance parties we've had in our living room.  These two love to rock out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Lily Comes to Town

Uncle Jeff, Aunt Sara, and cousin Lily visited us during their spring break this year. It wasn't Will and Hallie's spring break, so they still spent a few of their mornings at school, but we were able to fit in lots of fun outings, plenty of relaxing time at home, two trips to the gym, and a grown up date night never-the-less.

The most interesting thing about this visit was the way Hallie reacted to Lily's presence.  A big fan of babies, and a big fan of Lily's the last time we were all together, Hallie should have been ecstatic for a baby (well, I guess Lily is officially a toddler now, but she's on the baby side of toddlerhood) to spend a whole week in her house.  And she was, initially.

But once I started paying attention to Lily - carrying her, helping prepare her meals, changing her diaper, getting her dressed - Hallie made it clear that she didn't like the attention she usually received being divided between her and another child.  (My attention is always divided between Will and Hallie, but while Will is at school Hallie has the market cornered.  She didn't like sharing her Hallie attention.)  She wasn't mean to Lily, but she started acting like a baby - wanting to be carried, crying when dropped off at the gym and school, and peeing her pants - in hopes that baby-like behavior would score her a bit more of my focus.  Hallie's tactics didn't work, which led to lots of tears.

Will, on the other hand, did a wonderful job with Lily when he wasn't off playing sports with Uncle Jeff or at school.  He brought her toys, talked to and entertained her, read stories to her, helped pick out her clothes, and even warned an adult when Lily was about to get into something dangerous or messy.  I think he enjoyed "playing" big brother to a child who didn't yell at him, tease him, and hit him the way Hallie does.  He's particularly excited for Lily to return in June.

Hallie taught Lily what NOT to do on the couch.
Team Nike.
(They wore lots of matching outfits.)
The "trunk" on our tricycle was just Lily's size.
This is the only picture I was able to get of the three of them
in the bathtub.  It was VERY crowded, so we moved Will to
the shower the following night.
Hallie liked to help Lily rinse.
Will read books to Lily, and then Aunt Sara read books to Will.
The girls did lots of coloring - Lily loved having crayons
and paper down at her level, but since she couldn't be trusted
 not to color on furniture, walls, other people, and herself, the
crayons eventually had to be relocated to a higher shelf.
(Again, matching outfits.)
Lily had a knack for picking a crayon
or marker that matched her piece of
paper, and then she'd get upset when
her coloring didn't show up.
Hard at work.
Red Cross Fashion Show #1.
Red Cross Fashion Show #2
Red Cross Fashion Show #3.
I was supposed to be watching Lily, lost track of her, and
then found her sitting in my wet shower and going through
my shampoos and conditioners.  Aunt of the Year.
It's a tradition of ours to take a picture of Lily with these deer.
At first she wasn't all that excited about hanging with them.
But then she remembered them from her last visit.
Lily (15 months) with her friends at Dixie Chicken.
We visited Kyle Field, and while Lily toddled,
Will and Hallie ran laps on the track.
Well, Will ran around the track.  Hallie
made it about a fourth of the way
before she laid down and cried.
Will, rounding the bend and heading
toward "home" on lap one.
Will lapped Hallie on her first and his second lap.
(You can see Aunt Sara in the background - she kindly
made the trek around the track to help Hallie make
it to the finish line.)
She made it!
And here are two of my three favorite pictures of my sweet niece.  (I'm saving the third for a different post, and I'll also have pictures our outings to an Aggie baseball game, Will's baseball league's Opening Ceremonies, and both Will and Hallie's Easter egg hunts at school in future posts).

Jeff, Sara, and Lily will be back for another week-long visit in June (they'll be watching the kids for the first couple of days while Tom and I travel to Illinois for a wedding, and then we'll all be hanging out for the rest of the week).  We have lots of fun activities planned - swimming lessons, a day trip to Schlitterbahn, the Children's Museum, Chick-Fil-A (Jeff was raised on Chick-Fil-A - I kid, Jeff, I kid), and a perhaps another date night.  We can't wait!