Archive for January, 2013

Ice skating!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 by Jen

This year we got more into ice skating, or rather Josie and Celia have, I’m sidelined with my sprained ankle and other physical issues currently. We’d take them to free skate and Josie would hang on Jordi or my dad and Celia would get the other one and they’d have aching backs by the end. But hanging out at the rink you can clearly see that other kids Josie’s size could skate by themselves and Josie’s a pretty physically capable girl so we decided this was a mental ‘hanging on’ thing. Here’s a pic of her hanging onto the wall for a rare time she let go of someone.

Josie at the ice rink on the wall

Right after this photo, I said ‘get off the wall!’ and she did, she actually skated herself for a few moments, but that was it. She had gotten her new ice skates for Hanukkah this year and they were fitting nicely. I looked around online and found a short set of 3 skating lessons to get Josie a quick start lesson. She was interested and agreed to them but the first class was later in the day after we had already gone skating in the morning. And of course in real ice skating classes, no one is there holding your hands, there’s only one teacher and a bunch of kids. But out she went, falling and falling, and falling again. I could see how upset she was and halfway through she came out for a hug before she went back in for more. It was a rough class and she was really really tired. She did not want to go back again, but by the end of the class they had her skate the whole width of the rink without falling even once! We had french fries afterwards to cheer her success.

The following weekend we did free skate the day before the lesson. She was able to only hold on with one hand to her helpers and even took off skating by herself at times. She was again dreading the class, but I made her go. She picked up more skills, had fewer falls and gained more confidence.

The last class she also didn’t want it to be Sunday again. This class she fell maybe 4 times total, and didn’t fall even when other kids who had fallen ran into her. She was going forwards, starting to glide and even made the effort to go backwards. After class we again had some french fries and she told me she wanted to go to one more class. Sadly the session was now over and the other sessions are 9 weeks long. This is the first class we’ve ever done on the weekend and we found it tough on the routine as it took over the whole afternoon, so we won’t be back for lessons, but she should be zipping around the local rink now that she can go on her own! It was a big challenge but she really rose to the occasion.

Celia also joined us for the free skates and she is determined to get moving on her own. She’ll let go and try it herself and isn’t too bothered by falling down, even though she refuses to wear mittens. She had been using rentals, and still wanted to be carried some of the time, so I bought her some double runners that attach to her boots and she loved those. She could walk across the ice, balance by herself, and be out there with the big people in general. She likes watching the silly flirty teenagers. I also picked up a pair of used real skates for her which she hasn’t tried out yet, but they’ll fit this year and next so we’ll see what she thinks of them.

Jordi ice skating with Celia

A morning in the life

Friday, January 25th, 2013 by Jen

Today was Friday, Josie went to school, Celia and I got to spend some time with just the two of us. Lately Celia has been telling me, and then later Josie, how much she misses Josie every time she goes to school. She says ‘Josie get’s lost at school’. I brought along my camera for our morning at the library to entertain myself. I’ll have to bring it into school next time and get some shots of Josie in there. We started off with a short photoshoot in the library staircase.

Celia peeking

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Then we moved down to the basement where the kids library is and she immediately ran for the water fountain. Once she got her fill, or perhaps I had mine, I brought her over to the books and she wanted toys instead. I brought her one set of circus toys and she declared that it was no good. We traded it in for the ‘farm’ play set and then she was happy. I took the opportunity to work on my lifestyle images which I don’t typically take. So I was the looney toon mom laying on the floor photographing my kid in public playing with some little toys. She made up a story with them. The little dog was sad. He was driving around in the tractor. He went on a long trip and then he felt better. After we played for a while, we had to jet to a doctors appointment for me, where I got some nice antibiotics because I’ve been coughing and sneezing for several weeks now. After the doc we went back to pick up Josie and brought us all home for lunch.

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Celia at 2.25

Sunday, January 20th, 2013 by Jen

Celia is now a quintessential two year old. From the “I can do it myself” to the “I want A”, give her A, “NOOOOO I DONT WANT A!!!!”. She’s a non-stop talking and moving machine. She’s a big girl now and she wants to do it herself and her own way. She rejects her high chair, and her bibs mostly. She has fallen to the floor a few times off the regular chairs but she seems to be getting the hang of it a bit better. She believes she can do anything that Josie can do and she’ll go right for it. She also reminds me on an almost daily basis that she’s getting bigger and going to be tall like me. It’s nice that someone thinks of me as tall. She loves her toys, loves the cats, loves Josie and all around has big big feelings and emotions towards everything.

She’s very energetic and always wants to keep up. We got her a pair of double blade clamp-on ice skates and she’s been enjoying chasing after everyone at the ice skating rink¬† and being able to do it herself. She rides her balance bike like a pro, and with the warm winter we’ve had we have had a few chances to use it recently. She loves her gymnastics class and insists on doing more challenging moves that she watches Josie do at her class, like wall hand-stands and rolls on the balance beam.

She likes to take off her clothes, put on her clothes and now uses the toilet when she feels like it. Although she has not stopped using her diaper in any way shape or form, nor does she keep underwear dry when she wears it, so we’re not holding our breath for this to happen particularly soon.

Other than gymnastics she spends her days with me doing the things we have to do, picking up and dropping off Josie, shopping for food and whatever else we happen to need. We play, we read and she likes to snuggle. She’s still taking about an hour nap most days, usually missing a day or two a week when she just won’t fall asleep. She’s gotten a lot pickier with eating and won’t eat eggs anymore or a number of other foods that she used to inhale. Often times she’ll change her mind on things from day to day which is particularly frustrating for this short order chef.

Her ability to communicate is such a joy though, she is quite polite and thoughtful about asking for things and permission. She’s not always one to listen to the answer though, that still requires quite a bit of physical reinforcement of my words. She’s very loud and can’t control her volume yet although she can whisper at times but it’s more of a fluke.

She loves to do self-directed art, she has no interest in what I might have had planned. She just prefers to have a pile of supplies and generally use lots of glue, glitter if available. She will try to copy Josie some, but she draws a lot of straight lines and some circles. The colors aren’t totally mushed together anymore either. She’s just started to get into library storytime and sing-a-longs which she hasn’t had as much exposure to thus far. This winter I’m definitely trying to take advantage of the free opportunities like that available to us for some easy out of the house enrichment.

She’s still sleeping right next to me, can’t convince her yet to go move out next to Josie. She loves her early morning cuddles and hopefully once her teeth are finished coming in (only 1.5 left to go!) she’ll sleep through the night more reliably. She doesn’t need anything at night, but sometimes she comes to cuddle and isn’t very subtle and wakes me up.

Celia loves to cook, measure, scoop and pour. Sand and snow are big hits right now for those activities and she’ll always come running to see what I’m doing in the kitchen.

She has recently learned her colors, has the shapes down pat and can count to twenty only missing a number or two. She’ll go higher as well but they get sketchier. I’m going to start working on letter identification with her soon.

  • Size/weight: 3T, dunno about the rest right now, sorry
  • Favorite foods: breastmilk, sour cream, avocado, cheese
  • Favorite toy: anything with lots of parts to leave all over the house and play pretend with
  • Favorite book: The umbrella, Maisy
  • Favorite activity: riding her bike, playing with Josie
  • Sleeping: bedtime ~8; one nap 1 hr at 1:30; gets up between 6 and 7
  • New skill: proclaiming her awesomeness
  • Teeth: at least 18 and more coming
  • Vocalizations: explaining her feelings and problems, loudly

Celia playing with her toys in the sun

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Snow! And my ExpoDisc

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 by Jen

Haven’t seen too much snow yet this winter, but we got a few inches this morning and the girls jumped right in.¬† Plus I watched some videos on how to appropriately use my ExpoDisc last night and wow did it make shooting these snow shots easier with color and exposure.

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Doing the December Holidays (part 2)

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 by Jen

One of my favorite things about the holidays are the little projects, which in our house aren’t so little, but are fun still. We do gingerbread houses and lots and lots of cookies. I make the gingerbread houses from scratch, using a pint cardboard cream container for interior support for the kids, it lets them come together quickly and not get smooshed down. My parents came over to help this year and we did a big project of putting them all together with lots of different candies. Celia mostly loved to unwrap and see all the different kinds of candy. Josie worked a bit more towards a design, also aware that she’d get to eat some of it later, she focused on her favorite kinds of candies (chocolates, not gummys). Josie had also made a little one in school that she liked too.

Everyone making the houses

Celia's gingerbread house

Jordi and I made our own semi-house that didn’t quite have enough walls to complete a whole house with whatever candy we could manage to separate from our children. Jordi did hide a kitkat in the bottom inside so he could find it and eat it later.

Then the following weekend it was cookie bake off weekend. Throughout December I made cookie dough with the girls and put it in the freezer, mostly the drop cookies. Then over one or two days I take it out and we shape and bake it all off. This entails a pretty big mess of flour but it’s generally pretty enjoyable. The girls did a fantastic job this year of working together to make the peanut butter blossom cookies, taking turns making the balls and rolling them in sugar. Then I got to re-roll the ‘balls’ to make them round again. This year I also focused on making a bunch of cookies that my mother could eat. I think I overwhelmed her with four different kinds that were non-dairy. Some were successful (like forgotten cookies with dark chocolate) but the peanut butter blossoms were not my favorite. Next year I need to use shortening instead of margarine, it gave them a funny unpleasant (to me) taste. Chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil and dark chocolate also came out well, but I’ve made those before. I didn’t have enough cookie tins to hold all the cookies.

Josie and Celia rolling out cookies

Between me and my cousins, we made at least 12 different kinds of cookies (I think I made 8+ myself). It may have been a bit much, but the variety was fun and we did a pretty good job on them even if it did take a few weeks.

The table of cookie tins

Doing the December Holidays (part 1)

Saturday, January 12th, 2013 by Jen

December is always a busy time celebrating multiple things, my birthday, Hanukah and Christmas all in a few short weeks plus all the decorating and such. We manage to cram it all in there but boy it is tiring to have so much to do every night after the kids finally go to sleep!

We started off with getting a tree but had a lot of trouble getting to decorate it as we had so many things going on like Hanukah parties and other kids birthday parties. So the tree stood there naked for a while. One day we got lights on. Every day we tried to get a little done and by the end of the week we had bejeweled it with ornaments and the star.

Celia putting the star on the tree

The lit up tree at night

The girls still cannot resist touching everything on the tree so the fragile stuff goes about 4 feet up and a number of ornaments just weren’t hung on the tree for our own sanity.

Also during the same time we were doing Hanukah. I tried to get an interesting picture of the candles and failed, somehow I just couldn’t make it dramatic or anything.

The candles on the third night
We were very diligent this year and lit them for every night but this combined with my birthday made Celia oh so very confused. Every time we lit up the candles she wanted to sing Happy Birthday. But then by the end of the week she was disappointed it was not ‘Hanukah time!’, as she called it, once we were done. Kids do latch onto those traditions quickly! And we were also doing our advent calendar simultaneously so that added to the confusion. Josie insisted that we only do the advent calendar once every two days so that both of them could do one at the same time. Since they were both amenable we went with it, but I think Celia will catch on that Josie got more of the ‘exciting’ things to put on the felt tree next year. Josie was very sweet and let Jordi and I do the last day’s item, the santa, in her stead.

We went to two Hanukah parties this year which was awesome because someone else got to stand there and do the frying and I got to enjoy multiple days of fried potatoes! Plus of course the people were fun to hang out with too.

The sunspot wars

Friday, January 11th, 2013 by Jen

The kids aren’t the only ones hanging out in the sun

Ezzy in the sun

Mio in the sun

And then there’s Fred, who wants nothing to do with the wars and hides behind the TV.

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Seriously who needs toys?

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by Jen

Didn’t we just have Christmas? Oh yes that’s why there are such big boxes around, like the ones from our new suitcases.

Celia peeking out from the box

Right after I took these pictures, Celia insisted I get her her camera and that I get in the box to have my picture taken. She doesn’t yet understand how to aim the camera though yet. Then Josie got on my lap for more Celia-taken pictures. Mostly she takes pictures of her feet so far.

The puzzle

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by Jen

Yesterday on our last day of winter break we had this intense light coming in through our front windows right only my nicely playing children. Celia was working on the puzzle. Josie was helping her. Josie offered to show her how it was done, and then take it apart so Celia could do it herself. It is a three layer wooden puzzle that tells the story of building a house. Celia has now found it easy enough that she does it upside-down so you can’t even see the pictures to help figure out where things go.

Josie and Celia work on a puzzle

Busy December, starting with gymnastics

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 by Jen

As it seems most every year, December gets really busy really quickly. We have my birthday, Hannukah, and then Christmas after barely recovering from Thanksgiving and we’re often traveling twice in that time. So while I’m still taking pictures I get behind in posting them and documenting our lives. I know you’ll forgive us. So let’s start at the beginning.

At the end of November, Josie dropped ballet and picked up a new gymnastics class at a fancy gymnasium. This is serious gymnastics and Josie’s jumped right in. In the beginning she couldn’t do a bridge at all, now she can get her head off the floor and is almost all the way up.

Josie doing a bridge

She’s inherited her dad’s flexibility I fear. She’s learned so much, although the cartwheels and handstands still stymie her, she’s gotten much braver on the high balance beams and makes a great effort in class. We’re signed up for more classes this month and I can’t wait to see how much progress she will continue to make. They do floor, vault, beam, and bars.

Josie doing a handstand on the beam with help

Josie on the low beam, tipping

Josie walking backwards on the beam