Sunday, April 29, 2012

The World is a Rainbow...

(If you just sang, "...filled with many colors..." then I love you just a little bit more!)

Isn't our backyard the BEST?!

What is it about a rainbow that instantly fills you with child-like excitement?

Last week, as I let Maddy out for her morning ritual, I glanced to the West and saw a HUGE, vibrant, double rainbow spanning the entire cornfield.  It's rare to even see a rainbow, let alone both ends and then for it to be doubled.  So what did I do?  I raced inside, grabbed the camera, frantically looked around for the memory card to shove inside as I ran back out to our deck.  The rainbow was already beginning to fade, and drops of rain were beginning to fall.  I took a few quick pics and then ran to the master bathroom, where M was busy shaving for the morning.

"Look outside! Look outside!" I squealed as I tugged open the blinds in our bathroom.  Of course, the rainbow was vanishing as we spoke so I shuffled him out to the deck where he could see it better.  Just as we stepped outside, the tiniest bit of color faded from the rainbow and we were left looking at a cloudy sky.

I was so sad. I wanted to share "my rainbow" with him.  It instantly occurred to me that this feeling was so child-like.  When I see something new, exciting, or out of the ordinary, the first thing I want to do is share it with the people I love. 

As the mother of a toddler, someone is always sharing his new discoveries with me.  Leaves, stars, the moon, bugs, hairdryers, drumsticks, bird baths, worms, music, balls, and even movements like jumping, falling, climbing, swinging, pedaling, and rolling.  At times, it's overwhelming for me to constantly listen to his tiny voice pointing out the everyday objects around us "Look Mama! A birdie!  Look Mommy! A plane--way high!".  But I'm trying to stop, to listen, and to share his excitement, by remembering that all of these little things are kind of like my rainbow.

"Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.  If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big. Because to them, all of it has always been big stuff."  --Catherine M. Wallace

Friday, April 27, 2012

On the Fence

I'm assuming this happens to everyone who has a child who is no longer a baby.... people start asking questions about an assumed "Baby Number 2".  It's weird.  This is done in such a casual way--with no real judgement-- It's almost like talking about the weather.  Like, it's just what you do with people who have one kid with no "Baby Number 2" on the way.  And I'm just as guilty of this.  I find myself saying things like, "If and when we do ever have another child....." or "If we decide to have another baby someday.....".   My sentences always start with the word "IF" because unlike other parents that I talk to, M & I do not fall into that category of "We know we want more children, but not right now".  We fall into the category of "Holy $***, having one kid turned our lives completely upside down--in not always a good way-- and we're just finding our footing 2+ years later.... so we're not really sure we'll ever want (or be brave enough) to venture down that road again."

But then, I hang out with my [freaking amazing, funny, sweet, and totally adorable] toddler, and feel this rush of..... love? fun? awe? And I want to bottle it or capture it somehow.  I want him to keep growing and changing and learning, but yet I want to prolong this stage a bit more.  At moments like these, I cannot even explain the..... desire (?) or crazy want that I feel to have another child.

My mind is sooooo far from being made up on this topic that it literally makes me dizzy.  I'm thinking that if I write about it, perhaps I can sort out my feelings a bit.  And if anyone wants to weigh in on this issue, please feel free!

So here goes:

At times, I can picture C growing up as an "only".  I picture the two of us hanging out in the summer and having lots of opportunities for adventure.  I see us going canoeing, or rock climbing, or taking Maddy down to the creek--where all three of us will undoubtedly get filthy dirty and smelly.  I picture us gardening and cooking and crafting together.  It would be easy to fly with an "only" so maybe he and I would take off to visit Arizona in the middle of the winter.  I see M taking C on a random, spontaneous, weekend trip to watch the White Sox and maybe visiting Shedd Aquarium and the top of the Sears Tower.  (or Willis Tower or whatever it's called now) These thoughts feel so... balanced and effortless (and yes, I know parenting is never effortless).

But then, with my rose colored glasses on, I envision myself playing with our two children in the yard, going for hikes, gathering sticks to start a fire while on a campout.  I have my heart set on buying a Pop-up Camper and I picture our two children exploring the woods, roasting marshmallows, snuggling up at night with their canvas partition closed off to give them privacy from their parents. I can hear them giggling in their secret passage-way that M will build in the closets connecting their bedrooms.  I picture us playing games in the evenings or reading books with a kiddo on each side of me.   (I choose not to picture bickering in the backseat of the minivan or shouting about broken toys or  pushing and shoving because my perfect children will of course, never do these things.)

Both camps look pretty good to me, and honestly, I'm leaning towards the two children camp.


I think I am terrified about having another baby.

Is there any way to order an 18 month old?  Because, that is about when I started to finally I was doing okay. Yes, C was a fussy baby.  Yes, M & I were under tons of stress from the move back in to our house.  No, I hadn't had a single opportunity to do any "nesting".  Yes, we were buried under a million inches of snow and could barely go outside when C was a newborn.  But does that really explain why I still can't shake the "baby anxiety"?

The thoughts of a crying baby, the sleepless days and nights and in-between, the memories of nursing (I don't think I really minded it until I realized how a-maze-ing it felt to be finished), the thoughts of my frail and mal-nourished body that resulted from nursing, the memory of dinner time with spoon-feedings, the thoughts of teething--and the mood swings that went with it, the memories of Tylenol & Ibuprofin and random fevers, the memories of coughs and colds and diaper rashes, and the feeling of someone being totally completely 100% dependent on ME---all result in a slight case of hives and a quick dash to the liquor cabinet.

And the sleep deprivation.  Oh the sleep deprivation.  I know so many people who chatter about "rough nights" and simultaneously breeze through the following day.  But if there is one thing I've learned about myself after having a baby, it's that I. Need. Sleep.  I am not one of these people who can run on less than 8 hours a night.  I'm grouchy, irritable, inpatient, and probably pretty hard to get along with.  Even now, when C rarely wakes up early or during the middle of the night, it just annoys me to no end.  So if someone could guarantee that a new baby wouldn't cry much and would sleep a lot and teething & nursing would be a breeze, then I'm pretty sure I could maybe handle it.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure those babies don't exist.

After having C, I felt very out of sync.  I had such a hard time adjusting to life as a family of three (plus 4 legs--and she is another story of being traumatized by the baby).  I feel like it finally just "clicked" this past year.  Now, being a family of three feels "right" and normal and dare I say... fun?  So why would I want to venture back into those deep, dark, scary woods?

Honestly, I don't know.  Maybe it's that some tiny part of me feels like the next time, I might be a little more prepared.  I won't know what the woods look like, or how dark or deep they might be, but I think maybe, just maybe, I'll have a few of the tools that I didn't have last time.  And perhaps the biggest one might be that little ray of sunshine... named Charlie.... who may provide some comic relief (or comic frustration) when the trees seem to be un-ending.

But for now... I guess I'll just stay up here on the fence.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Incredible Edible Egg

Tonight as I peeled hard boiled eggs for our egg salad, C sat across from me in his chair and munched on "peanut butter toast raisins" (ants on a log).  But his curiosity got the best of him and he finally asked, "Me crack egg?"  Sure, why not?  I wobbled an egg across the island and let him 'get crackin'  (pun intended).

TEN MINUTES later, he had the egg peeled!  That's right, ten beautiful totally occupied minutes of peeling an egg which allowed me to rinse, cut, and boil the green beans for dinner, finish whipping up the egg salad, and even begin to set the table.  It was glorious.  I'm thinking we'll be keeping hard boiled eggs on hand-- not only are they a quick and healthy snack but they apparently are a ten minute toddler time filler as well!  Yay!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Steven Bomgaars; An Interview from 1989 (or thereabout)

I'm beginning to think that I should have organized my entire life much sooner than this year!  I'm finding all sorts of goodies!  The other day, I uncovered another family interview.  This time it was of my dad--- and although it was all written in my own 5th grade cursive, I'm still in love with it.  Take a look:

I have no idea if this was some kind of class project or just my own journalistic endeavor.  (My poor parents had to put up with all sorts of things like this from their daughters)  At some point, when I'm feeling more sappy and nostalgic, I will definitely be writing more about these interviews-- and how special it is to do things like this with your children.  But for now, here's the interview taken with Steven K. Bomgaars.  (Can you tell I had to come up with the questions this time? The first three are basically the exact same!)

1.  What did you spend most of your time doing [when you were a child]? I spent most time playing different sports with friends, reading, and playing at friends' houses. 

2.  Where did you spend most of your time?  Usually I spent time at the library, the baseball field, or at my friends' houses. 

3.  What hobbies did you have when you were younger?  I liked playing different sports, reading, and collecting baseball cards.  

4.  What did you want to be when you were younger?  I wanted to be a pro baseball player because I thought it would be exciting. 

5.  What do you do for a living?  I teach high school Government. 

6.  Explain your job.  Well, I teach Government and History for 11th and 12th graders.  It also involves correcting papers, planning lessons, helping students, and attending meetings--yuck.  

7.  What do you like and dislike about your job? I like teaching a subject that I truly enjoy.  I like working with young people.  I dislike all the meetings and the more I teach, the more I hate correcting papers!

8.  How long have you taught in Spencer?  9 years

9.  What brought you to Spencer?  I was brought up in Spencer and when I was offered a job in Spencer I gladly said "yes"!  

10.  How long have you lived in Spencer?  I have lived in Spencer for 23 years. 

11.  What do you like and dislike about Spencer?  I like the small town atmosphere but dislike being so far from the cultural things a major city would have.

12.  If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?  I would wish for a healthy and long life for myself and my family, I'd wish for a million dollars, and I'd wish that all the hunger would be abolished throughout the world.  

13.  If you had one million dollars, what would you do with it?  I would invest most and use the rest to take my family on an unforgettable vacation.  

It's fun for me to read the answers that my dad gave me back then.  If I had to answer these questions about him today-- I think I would have guessed correctly.  So has my dad changed much in the past....  24 (or so) years since this interview was given?  Well, he still is a huge baseball fan, loves reading books (and the newspaper, and magazines, and articles....), and enjoys hanging out with his friends.  He still teaches Government, though he has been a School Counselor (like his daughter!!) and he has taught other classes such as American Experience, Community Volunteers, and AP Government.  I'm pretty sure that he has also taught classes at ILCC.  I think he still hates grading papers.  I think he has lived in Spencer for around 47 years if you count his childhood years spent there.  I'm pretty sure he still loves his town but enjoys visiting other cultural areas....provided that he can still be home in time to grade some papers on Sunday night.  So far, world hunger has not been abolished but he has had a pretty long and healthy life.  And in the summer of 2009, he and my mom took my sister and me (and our dear husbands) on a wonderful "unforgettable vacation" to Washington DC.  Looks like things are goin' pretty good!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bernard Keninger; An interview from 1988

In an effort to organize my entire life, I have been doing a ton of cleaning, sorting, organizing, donating, and tossing.  And in doing so, I've uncovered some "gems" that I didn't even know existed in this house.  A few days ago, I found an interview that I had given my grandpa Bernie in the spring on 1988.  It was taken during "Grandparent's Day"--one of my favorite days of elementary school-- where Fairview Elementary invited grandparents in to spend the afternoon with their grandkids.  We always did fun activities, shared stories, and did some kind of project.  (And I think there was a snack of some kind too) Perhaps the coolest part of finding this interview is that every question is answered in his own distinct handwriting.  (He was an Architect--thus, the beautiful printing!)  Take a look:

My grandpa passed away almost a year ago in June and he had suffered from dementia the last few years of his life.  Because of his disease, his passing was a blessing in many ways.  But uncovering memorabilia from years ago--such as this little interview-- made the memories of my grandpa come flooding back.  I was fortunate to grow up with my maternal grandparents living right across town-- so they really were a part of my childhood.  When I think about who my grandfather was, it's hard for me to miss the frail and tired old man who vaguely remembered me when I visited, but I do miss my grandpa, the one I grew up with-- who was smart and witty and full of energy.  So when I found this piece of paper, it reminded me of who he really was.  Here's a little interview with Grandpa Bernie from 1988.

1.  Where did you go to school?  Saint Marys School, Ackley, IA

2.  How did you get to school?  Ran behind 3 neighbor houses

3.  What subjects did you like in school?  Geography & Drawing

4.  What was school like when you were my age?  Two grades were taught by one teacher.  Desks & seats were wider and two students sat in each seat.  Rest room was a small shed outside.  Coats and overshoes were kept in entry where large crock with spigot and tin cup served as a fountain.

5.  What games did you like to play?  Marbles, Baseball, Hide & Seek

6.  What was your favorite book? "Black Beauty"

7.  Who was your best friend?  Art Hofman
     What did you do together?  Go fishing, play with home made airplanes & cars, go sledding in the winter

8.  What were your hobbies?  Drawing and stamps

9.  What important even tin history happened during your childhood?  In 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh flew his single engine airplane "The Spirit of St. Louis" from New York to Paris in 33 hours & 27 minutes.  

What do you remember about it?  People talking about how great an achievement this was. I have greater thoughts about attending my first World's Fair called "The Century of Progress" held in Chicago in 1933. 

10.  Who was the president when you were born? The president of the United States when I was born was Harding.  

I'm so thankful that I had actually chose to save this piece of paper.  (I think it's a little surprising that I saved something that wasn't sporting a scratch 'n sniff sticker or some reference to Care Bears) As a mother, I think that once again, I'm looking at things through a totally different lens.  Suddenly, sharing stories with younger generations is much more than just "talking about the olden days".  It's tending to our family tree-- keeping those who have passed on alive in the memories we have and stories we share.  I find myself thinking about the future-- when C can interview his grandparents and learn about "the olden days"... only this time they'll be referring to the 50's instead of the 30's.  He'll learn that milk came in bottles, cameras had film, and phones had cords.  He'll realize that homes did not have computers or video games or dvd players.  He'll probably think that is all just so weird.  But then maybe he'll hear about the games his grandpa played with his friends, and the tricks his great-uncles played on his grandma, and the trouble his daddy got into when he was a little boy.  And he'll realize that all these people have woven together a life---and created a family--his family.  And someday, it will hit him that "his family" is a huge part of who he is.  And hopefully, that part will be strong and important enough to tell his own grandchildren about... and keep the memories going on again and on again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy Easter 2012: Part 2

It dawned on me that since I titled a previous post about Easter "Part 1", I should actually follow up with a post about "Part 2".  So here it is folks!

I need to preface this post with a little back story.  About a week or two before Easter, C suddenly became obsessed with bikes.  He had always been interested in them, but suddenly, he just couldn't get enough of them.  And, being that it is spring & people are out and about more, there tend to be many bikes for him to obsess over.  He noticed every bike in every driveway and then would talk about it all night long.  One morning, when M was at Target, he found a great deal on a little trike/bike combo.  We agreed via text messaging that yes, we definitely needed to talk to The Bunny about bringing this bike for C.

Fast forward to a couple days before Easter.  We were on one of our many nightly strolls through the neighborhood when C noticed a bike across the street.  We went to look at it but my rule is that he can't sit on or touch bikes if the owner isn't around.  So C kept walking around the bike and saying adorable things like, "Mine bike?" "Where my bike?" "Me like green bike" "Arlie get a bike?" and since I knew M was going to have  chat with The Bunny, I told him, "Well, maybe The Easter Bunny will bring you a bike?"  (Question mark at the end because I was trying to keep it sounding like it was just a possibility.)  Unfortunately, C heard, "The Easter Bunny is going to bring you a bike.  And he's going to bring it to you RIGHT NOW."

C's little ears perked up and he said, (and I quote) "Me go home right now!?  Bunny bring me bike?"  And he began literally jumping (as much as a two year old can jump) around and clapping his hands.   And as much as I tried, I couldn't get him to understand that The Bunny might bring him a bike.... in a few days.  He talked about that dang bunny bringing him a bike to everyone we saw---everywhere we went.

So..... when Easter morning finally rolled around and I went in to get him up, it didn't really surprise me that his first words were "Bunny bringed me my bike!?"

Good thing The Bunny came through!!

Testing out the new bike complete with an Elmo helmet.  We are loving the fact that the bike has the little handle thing in the back and two little "pegs" to rest little feet on if pedaling becomes too tiring.  

After a good amount of bike riding, C noticed the Easter basket.  He was most impressed with the marshmallow bunnies-- imagine that.  
You didn't think we would leave out our good girl did you?  I need to keep this photo handy--to remind me that she is such a trooper living in this crazy Spahn world.  Poor thing.  

So after looking through all the goods that The Bunny brought, C noticed that there were eggs hiding in the living room too!  He had a blast picking them up and putting them in his bucket-- and we, being first time parents, thought the whole ordeal was just freaking adorable.  

After the eggs were found and most of the jelly beans had been eaten, we headed out to Fox Ridge for Easter brunch.  This is probably the 5th or 6th year we have done this so it's become a tradition in many ways.  It was delicious as always but C was much more interested in this..... 


What a big boy, right?  

A little help from Papa and the cart actually moves.  Super---Crazy---Fun.  

M's mom met us for brunch then headed back to Grundy with us to check out the infamous Bike.  Although the wind was gusting a million miles per hour, C was adamant that it was "no windy" "it sunny."  So, we worked more on the pedaling concept.  

Papa's turn to help out!  We have the perfect little hill--gravity seemed to help those little pedals move a bit easier.

Then it was time for Easter family photos.  I think they turned out pretty well--I love our budding trees and phlox in the background.  Ahhhhh, spring!!

(I love that Maddy happens to be walking by in this one)

Candy + eggs + flowers + trees + grandparents + bunnies + brunch + sunshine + jelly beans + plastic grass + golf carts and of course + a new bike = A Happy Easter

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter 2012: Part 1

So if you read this blog, you know that you won't find any "He is Risen" references to Easter here.  In Spahnville, Easter is all about preparation for The Bunny.  And as a result, we had a really busy (gorgeous) week!  Here's the recap:

Tuesday: Made "nests" out of tissue paper.  C loved this activity and it actually held his attention for more than two seconds.  He loved ripping the paper, dipping it in the glue mixture, and sticking it to the bowl.  (Sorry, no pix though!)

Wednesday: Attempted playing outside with C's water table but a lovely wasp family kept hanging out with us so we had to run to Norby's for some wasp killer.  While there, we almost picked up one of these:
OMG, they had just gotten 100 little chicks and they were sooooo stinking cute!  C was infatuated with them and kept saying, "peep peep peep!" They were selling them for $2.99 each.  I knew we had an empty Rubbermaid at home that would be perfect for it and I was pretty sure M could hook me up with some wood shavings.  Add some food and water and maybe a light for heat and you've got a perfect chick house!  But fortunately, I had the forethought to consider the fact that the chick will likely not remain a chick forever and I really have no idea what to do with a chicken. And by the time I thought that through, C was on to the tractor isle anyway.  Maybe next year....

Okay, so Thursday I decided to do old-fashioned, nothing natural, Easter egg dyeing with C.  Of course we used vinegar because I personally, feel that the smell of vinegar should trigger memories of dyeing Easter eggs forever.  So I must start instilling this with my own child.  Unfortunately, he had zero interest in the dyeing.  He was, however, interested in his new discovery that the egg shell could peel off.  That is what he spent his time doing-- while I dyed the eggs.

I had the brilliant idea to host a little toddler egg-hunt on Friday night.  And what's a party without cake? And did you know that you can check out cake pans at many libraries?  So I checked out this egg shaped pan from the Aplington Public Library.  I had no idea how it was going to work so I bought two cake mixes just in case...  

Good thing I bought two cake mixes because this is how the first cake turned out.  Plus, I had no idea how long to bake such a wonky shaped cake.  I kept checking it and it was brown on top and gooey in the middle.  

But the 2nd time was much better!  I sprayed the *$#& out of the pan and let it bake for a full 45 minutes before even checking it.  It was still a little mushy so I gave it another 10 min and it ended up being perfect.  

Now on to the decorating.  Here is where you will really get to see my skills.  (ha!)  I was excited to use my fancy decorating tool that I found at the Target dollar spot about a year ago.  (Unfortunately, the tip I used wound up in the garbage disposal already. Dang it.)

Next comes the good ol' frosting part.  And some "embellishments" that were also found in the dollar spot.

And the final result! (It was pretty hard to make the sprinkles stick to the sides--duh, right?) 

The little egg cartons had prizes for the guests-- 3 plastic filled eggs, and some other little toys and snacks.  All choking hazards and probably totally not appropriate.

And then the guests arrived!  We ate cake, jelly beans, and ice cream before heading outside to find some eggs.  And did I mention?  The eggs glowed in the dark!!!  SUPER COOL!  

The eggs were found in a matter of minutes and then the real fun came after venturing to the back yard where everyone played on "Charlie's Park".  I think the kids would have played out there for another hour if we would have let them!  

When our final guest left, C and I sat outside and waved goodbye saying, "Thanks for coming!"  It was crazy, it was chaotic, it was fun, and a total success.  Maybe we've "sparked" a new Easter tradition?!?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Property of...

One of my school counselor friends labels all of her books with a return address label.  It is a brilliant idea and one that I thought could be helpful with C's growing collection of books.

Whenever we are out and about, there is a 99% chance that we have one or several books with us.  Some people carry snacks, we carry books.  Lots of books.  So anyway, sometimes they get left places-- daycare, the library, strollers, bike carriers, other people's cars/houses, restaurants, etc.  I'm sure people would be more than happy to return them-- if they only knew where they belonged. And since we LOVE them so much, we hate to lose them!  (And I'm cheap and hate buying something that I've already bought.)

So..... enter C's new labels:  (I blurred out our phone number with my tech- savvy skills)

Aren't they cute?  I bought two packages of 210 from VistaPrint and think they turned really well.
I peeled and stuck them on all of C's books while he woke up from a nap one day (We went through about 3/4 of the labels-- omg, I knew we had a lot of books but wow, that's nuts).   I still need to do the handful of books in our basement, and the ones that are out in the vehicles and then we're set.  And maybe it's time to check out the library more----oh wait, we currently have 23 items checked out from there too.  Crazy book people.  Geesh.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Beautiful Mess

Don't you love this photo? I do!

Here's Why:

1.  The windows are open-- and the sun is STREAMING in-- love it!

2.  The three big Rubbermaid tubs are for winter coats and winter clothes.  Two of them are currently filled with spring/summer clothing.  Having them out implies that it's time for the big closet switch-a-roo!  Which implies that the weather is finally warm enough to really weed out the warm clothing from my closet.

3.  Notice the toddler in the bottom left-hand corner?  Notice what he's doing?  Playing by himself!!  (one of the many things I love about 'rotating toys'-- he totally forgot about his "puter" and thinks it's awesome again.)

4.  A year ago, and two years ago, I would have waited to do this task (the closet switch-a-roo) until C was napping.  I always felt like I could only do "chore" type stuff when he was sleeping.  (I'm not really sure what we did when he was awake-- look at each other maybe? Perhaps that's why I'm not a "baby person".)  But being able to sort clothes while he played in the same room felt liberating.  (Okay, I do admit that most of this mess was created by his "play" but that's okay with me.)

5.  Cleaning out closets means I'm being productive. Yay me.  :)

6.  I'm getting so comfortable taking pics without flash.  Seriously can't even remember the last time I used flash inside.  (Thank you f-stop and shutterspeed!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why I Need a Chiropractor

A story in photos: 

Step One: 

Step Two: 

Step Three: 

Step Four: 

Step Five: 

While the Chiro seems to be helping, my shoulder is still very painful.  It felt better during the five days that I didn't pick up C over spring break-- so maybe it's related to lifting/ holding a 35 pound child.  It felt better when I wasn't doing yoga--or at least avoided "Downward Dog" and "Plank Pose" so maybe it's from the pressure applied during Yoga.  It seems to be better when I sleep on my other side so maybe it's from poor sleep positioning.  Or maybe it's just part of getting older. Dang it.  Bring on the Aleve.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dandelion Bouquet

In my 34 years of life, I have been given plenty of "bouquets" of "flowers" that consist of dandelions and clover.  I've even had a few of these lovelies land on my desk and soak up water from an old yogurt container until the water itself looks like it could grow another type of weed.  And while I've always considered the gesture very sweet and endearing, I've never gotten a pang in my heart and a little lump in my throat like I did on Saturday night, when a sticky little hand reached up and handed me these:

(And let's not forget his words: Wowers.  For my mommy.  My mama like wowers.")

Why did this affect me?  Because although it was not my first dandelion bouquet, it was my first dandelion bouquet, given to me as MOM.  Wow.  People make such a big deal about missing and forgetting things like "first steps" and "first words"-- and go on about how important those milestones are.  But for me, those "big" things never phased me as much as these little toddler gestures do.  Every day, C is saying something or doing something that catches me off guard.  He's definitely becoming a little person.  His mind is forming his own ideas and I love it.  Sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's crazy, sometimes he's silly, or serious, or sad.  Or sometimes he's just super annoying.  But I love it.

So many of my friends gush about the lost baby days and groan and bemoan the "terrible twos".  But how many babies hand you flowers?  How many babies hug you and say, "I make mama happy!"  I'm soaking up these terrible twos-- and l-o-v-i-n-g them.