Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mia Sings

Amelia and William are so different. All the time we are noticing ways in which the two are different. William knows the words to a lot of songs. But, he rarely sings. Ever.

Mia loves to sing. She recently started singing along when we sing at night. She doesn't sing many actual words that you might recognize, but it is still very, very cute.

Here she is singing one of her favorites Old McDonald with Grandma Gerry when we were in Grand Forks.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Swimming Lessons

**I've been working on this post for a long time now. We have now used close to 99% of the storage Blogger allows for pictures, video, etc. I'm not sure what we need to do to get back on track, but time has been very short as of late. We do have more swimming pictures, video to share...check back soon. Or in December :)

We enjoyed two whirlwind weeks of swimming lessons here. We were at the pool every evening Monday through Thursday. Which was a lot of fun - but I think I ready to have some evenings left without rush, rush, rushing around. Both kids did really well with the lessons.

Amelia had her swimming lessons first. I usually got in with her because she is really truly a Mama's girl. Daddy got in with her twice and she spent a lot of her time trying to get to me instead of blowing bubbles. Plus, it was nicer to be in the pool when the temperature is 100 degrees (no exaggeration here, the temperature was at or over 100 for most of our swimming days - such a difference from last year!). Although the water is not exactly refreshing after baking in the heat all day. Most days it was like getting into a warm bath - yuck! It beat sitting on the hot concrete outside the pool though!

Amelia is totally fearless when it comes to the water and being around it. My heart may have permanently taken up residence in my throat after the last two weeks. She runs into the pool, dips her head in the water, and splashes herself without hesitation. She also jumps gleefully from the edge whether I am looking or not. Giggling. I will admit I harbored a jealous grudge towards the other mamas in our class. The other babies in the class were not mobile and were happy parked on their behinds in the shallow end with a water can for entertainment. Not our Amelia. She ran laps in, out and around the pool with me chasing her every which way. The other mamas sat and gabbed while their sweet babies played quietly at their feet. My sweet baby spent her time alternating between running away from me and then shrieking when I carried her back to her classmates at the shallow end of the pool. I got quite the workout! Skills wise, Amelia did some great kicking and perfected her bubble blowing skills. She jumped fearlessly to me until somehow I let her scrape her arm on the way into the pool one time. Then she spent her time trying to run away, giggling like crazy. All in all, I was exhausted every evening and she had a good time wearing me out.

We weren't able to find swimming lessons for both kids at the same time which meant William had to wait his turn.

Which really was hard for him when he really wanted to get in and play in the water with Amelia.
Amelia had to do some waiting too after her lesson. Oftentimes one of us would just take her home - she is SUCH a handful to watch in the pool area! If you take your eyes off her for a moment she would be climbing into the pool fully dressed with shoes on. Or digging in the garbage can. Or investigating the contents of another mom's diaper bag.

This is the first year William is actually old enough to get in without a parent. He was so excited and PROUD to be swimming with the other kids. Just look at his cute little face in the above picture. John and I attempted to calmly watch the lesson from the deck chairs. Each evening I, in particular, would resolve to sit back and watch so as not to put unneeded pressure on William. I wanted him to have fun and learn without me breathing down his neck. Without fail moments in to the lesson, we both transformed ourselves into Helicopter Parents and hovered close by for the entire lesson. We tried, honestly. But failed. We clapped, we cheered, we hissed at him to sit DOWN and LISTEN. We were excited, thrilled and disappointed all in a 25 minute lesson. I'm not sure if William even knew we were there.

He very much admired his teacher, Tori and was so EXCITED about swimming.

With some of our previous struggles with fear of water and resistance to swimming, this was a wonderful thing. He jumped, he splashed and he tried very hard to do what the teacher was asking. He had to work VERY hard to relax in the water in order to float on his back. My poor baby was so scared the first time. His body was stiff with fear and I could see him struggling - I just really wanted to jump in and rescue him. But, as if by magic, he allowed himself to relax in his teacher's arms until he was floating with assistance. With his HEAD in the WATER touching his EARS. This is Big News people. I had tears in my eyes because I knew how hard he was having to work and how afraid he was. But he did it and a LOT of other new things too.

Skill wise, William grew by leaps and bounds this year. Enough that I am considering signing him up again this fall for the same class to keep the positive feeling and cement some of his new skills. William allowed his face to get in the water, he jumped willingly into the pool, and tried just about everything the teacher asked him to do. He floated on his front and back with help. He kicked his feet on his front and back and reached for weighted eggs in deepish water. The only part he flat out refused to participate in was putting his whole head under water. He wouldn't be peer pressured, bribed, bullied or otherwise convinced that it was a good idea to put his whole head under water. No way, no how. Not even after two weeks of swimming classes (minus the two days he was sick, poor guy).

Funny William story:

The teacher had explained the crawl stroke to the kids as using your hands to reach out into the water and scoop it up toward yourself like spooning ice cream from a bowl into your mouth. Every night she would review the skill and remind them to scoop some ice cream with their hands. Because of the age of the students, the kids got individual turns with the teacher assisting them. It was William's turn and John was watching when he noticed on every stroke, William was opening his mouth and pushing water in. When William's turn was over and another student started, John asked William what he had been doing. William replied, "Eating my ice cream!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

William conversations v.2

One of the skills were are working with William on is counting. He and I were practicing while we were out shopping the other day and got all the way up to 49 when he was distracted by something.

Mama: What comes after 49?

William: 5-T*


Another skill** we are working on is identifying the beginning letter sounds of words. William thinks this is a really fun game. He especially likes to sing a song about each letter like this:

ex: "The A says ahhh the A says ahh! Every letter makes a sound, the A says ahhhh and aaaaa."***

Then we each take a few turns coming up with a word that starts with that letter.

The other day we got to the letter G, sang our song and I waited while William thought about a word that started with G. What did he come up with? Garlic. For some reason this was so unexpected to me, I had to ask him to repeat himself. Twice.

*I think this is because we talked about how forty is like the number 4. Maybe. Who knows what is going on inside his head.

**We're gearing up for preschool around here!

***Now that I think about it, I think this song is from a Leapfrog DVD we checked out from the library and watched once on the way to Grandma's house.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A conversation

The other day, I sat down to play duplos (interlocking blocks) with William.

Me: I am going to make a stack just using the blue [duplo] blocks (thinks to herself: look! counting, sorting, cooperative play. Mother of the Year Material here!)

William: I will make my stack out of the white blocks...short discussion ensues regarding the stacking method, etc.

Me: How many blocks are in my tower? (Smug. I am awesome at this parenting stuff.)

William: I made a ishinging stick!

Me: (What are you talking about? Must redirect.) How many blocks are in your tower?

William: I will turn you into something with my special ishinging stick!

Me: (Seriously, what are you talking about?) What are you going to do?

William: I will turn you into a beautiful OVEN with my special ishing* stick!! Are you ready?

Me: (Now I finally understand WHAT he is saying. But, what does one reply to something like this?) An oven?

W: YES! A beautiful OVEN! It will be FUN!

Me: (Imagining what pretend play potential there is with an oven. Not finding much there.) Really? An oven? Can I make cookie for you?

W: No. You will just sit and open the door on your belly.

Me: (Where did this go wrong? And how do I end this? Soon. Distraction. I will distract him.) I wonder what Daddy is doing now?


Thursday, July 22, 2010


William wrote his name (well, part of it) all by himself yesterday! This has been a LONG time coming and he has been very stubborn about it - I'm trying to keep my Mama zen about all things happening when he is ready. It's been hard on me to wait though! I think (hope?)we're going to see a lot more writing soon! Yay!
Also, he colored me this alligator, which tickled me pink (green?)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Missing Post: VBS

We did Vacation Bible School again this year at our church before we left to go on vacation. It was a whirlwind of fun, as always! Somehow it just didn't get put up here yet!

Mama teaching - it's what she doesSometime she dresses up to tell the story. Not that William listens any better (it was SO interesting for me to see William in a group and how his behavior was different)
Daddy carried Amelia on his back and was the official Photographer. The director of the program loved having a lot of pictures to pick from!Amelia also got to hang out with the high school helpers when they weren't busy. She LOVED music time!
William has talked someone else into reading him a book!
He listened (sometimes) to stories told by Mama
Tracing the kids shapes outside - William's super creative/fun/wonderful teacher had some pretty interesting shaped students (shape on the above right). The kids LOVED standing up to find themselves as a whale/alligator/monkey. PS She is an art student.
He drew with chalk
He did fun craftsHe ate delicious snacks Sang some songs (although, I will admit this is probably the part he liked the least)

William also got to play some games (I don't know what they were doing here..)
Made friends (and did A LOT of running)
Played with water balloons
And this picture shows why I am totally in love with his teacher. William had a water balloon and before he started playing a game, it popped all over his shirt. You could see the emotions playing across his face - he wasn't sure if he should cry or be mad or...when he looked up at Jessie (teacher), she laughed at him and said "That was SO silly!" William thought for a split second and laughed too. He continued to laugh about that silly balloon for the rest of the week. Which is why I will be taking her with me on every trip/vacation after I win the lottery. She was WONDERFUL with William and handled his poor tired, overstimulated self like a pro. We'll be sad when she goes back to school in a few short weeks! It sure does take some very special people to make a VBS run!Conned someone else into reading him a book!
He even got to color his own Tshirt
Mama and Mia on the last night - there wasn't any teaching responsibilities so I was free to enjoy myself!
The kids singing during their final night - William is in the front row, center with blue/green striped shorts
Amelia enjoyed the cookies with dinner on Friday night (we had a cookout at church)
She also enjoyed hanging out with a kiddo her age in the ball pool
William enjoyed the boat races
Sliding down the giant slide
Getting temporary tattoos
He also requested this cool white snake - painted by his very talented VBS teacher!
Those blue eyes! He was so sad when that snake washed off - I finally convinced him it had crawled into his ear to take a nap. Both kids were SO over tired by the end of the week the smallest thing would set them off.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Potato, Potato

The semi truck was in need of some cargo...
Precious potato cargo

Freight drop off/pick up point

And our smallest truck driver copying her brother

*Photos from 6/13/10

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rochester, o BOY

We have been busy, busy, busy running around in Rochester. We've filled up every day with all kinds of fun stuff for the kids (and grown ups!). When you are down by an adult away from home, I highly advise planning a LOT of activities to break up the days. We usually did something like this: breakfast, morning activity, lunch, naps, afternoon activity, dinner and evening activity. We got a LOT in that way!

On Monday we said goodbye to Daddy so he could go back and work the rest of the week. William went with Mama and Grandpa to the Rochester fireworks. Uncle Mike didn't stay for the fireworks.

On Tuesday, we went to Nana to the House of Bounce. It is an indoor inflatable play area. Very much fun - although it was a little hard to keep track of the two kids and take pictures.

Amelia loved the climbing part - although I was surprised to see her show a little fear of the bigger ladders - probably a good thing!
William scaled this climbing wall without any trouble - I was worried he would get scared so high up in the air, so I attempted to follow him. It took me several (read:at least 5) tries to get up there. When I reached the top? William was already behind me climbing up again. So much for him needing my help! William also attempted the biggest, baddest inflatable slide I've ever seen without any prompting from me. I don't have pictures, just video.

After dinner, we attempted to take the kids to yet another local park. When we got there, we found there was an All Comers Track meet going on. In short, the track meet is for anyone who shows up (I tried to find an article to link to without success). There were running races going on for kids of all ages and different field events going on as well. William REALLY wanted to run, but we just couldn't find a race for his age group. He was almost in tears every time a race started and he wasn't able to run. He was able to take a few turns at the long jump. He still wanted to run, but he was happy to have been able to play at all. While we were in line for the long jump, there was an all ages sprint - William and I could have run together*. We were on the verge of a meltdown when it was time to finally check out the park across the street (our original destination). Luckily, there was a huge sand pit with several dump truck toys to distract him away from his despair. I was hugely impressed with the concept and the number people who attended the event. The event organization was really confusing, but we would definitely try to go another evening of running!

On Wednesday, we went to a place called Lark Toys in Kellogg, Minnesota. It is perhaps one of the last family owned/operated toy stores left in the area. It was WONDERFUL. They had a lot of educational type games and toys you wouldn't find in a big chain toy store. I very much enjoyed.

Marbles anyone? I initially thought these were bouncy balls and so I didn't respond when Amelia grabbed as many as she could carry...until she banged the glass marbles against a glass display case. We had to finally leave this area because she would NOT leave the marbles alone!
They also have a hand carved carousel inside the kids got to ride on. I thought William would be interested in riding on a moving (up and down) animal, but he made a beeline for this cart pulled by the ostrich. To humor me, he walked around the carousel once, but in the end decided he wanted to be in the cart.

PS Yes, their shirts do match because I am a nerd. Also, I didn't buy the shirts to be matching. I bought William this shirt in two sizes because I thought it was cute. It just happens the big one now fits William and the smaller one fits Mia.
Amelia blows mama a kiss
They also sold pieces of heaven (fudge). This might be the best fudge I have ever eaten. It was called carmel pecan. I would call it heavenly.
Amelia enjoyed sharing her fudge with Nana (chocolate). Watch your fingers Nana!
After lunch and a nap, Jessica (my BFF from high school) and her daughter Cana came over to play. William and Cana liked to make the cars roll down the wagon handle. Interestingly, William did a great job sharing and being patient with Cana. Much more so than he would have done with Amelia. Somehow this reassures me.
Amelia decided it was time for some hugging. Cana wasn't so sure, but she played along.
More hugs.
I finally distracted both girls with stickers. The stickers were a hit.
After dinner, we played outside with some neighborhood kids. Amelia's favorite toy was this (now) empty bag from the toy store. Originally, it held her new stuffed animal. Clearly, she would have been just as happy with only a new bag from the store.
Although it was fun to peek inside of it.William got some more practice in on his bike. He was very excited when Grandpa got his bike out to ride too!

Thursday we got to spend some time with Grandpa Heidt in the morning. We read books, played and walked to a small neighborhood park together. After lunch and a nap, the kids were delighted to find this had pulled up in front of Grandma's house:
It didn't stay for long, but both kids were very VERY impressed.

Shortly after the digger drove away, Cana came over again to play in the sprinkler.

These two girls are SO cute!

We squeezed in dinner with Aunt Kaye and then more riding bikes again. No pictures of this - we were having so much fun!

On Friday, we went out to a little zoo/nature center called Oxbow Park with Grandpa Heidt. The kids really enjoyed looking at the animals and running around.

Amelia got bonus points for wearing her "I love Grandpa" shirt. The stroller is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Amelia is really only interested in riding in it if it is moving. If it stops for more than 15 seconds, she is wiggling out of the straps, standing up, and crawling out. Most of the time I don't even bother with it anymore as I usually end up having to carry Amelia AND push the stroller.Amelia and Grandpa at the zoo

Amelia and William check out the turkeys together. After the zoo, Grandpa treated us to lunch before I took the kids home for their naps.
After the naps, it was time to tire out the kiddos. William had been riding his bike and Amelia was riding on this toy when they had a better idea. This entertained them (and me) for a VERY long time.

The highlight of Friday was Daddy returning to Grandpa and Grandma's house! The kids were pretty excited to see him again. They were also excited when Aunt Megan rolled in for dinner.

A little Saturday morning yoga to wake up - notice William behind the brightly colored pants.

Saturday afternoon we ran through the sprinkler again - this time Megan joined the kids in the water! What a great Auntie!
Amelia liked the coke can better than the sprinkler.

After the sprinkler, William helped shuck the corn. I walked up to take his picture (wearing his 4th of July outfit again) and the following conversation took place:
William:Look Mama! I'm corning!
Mama: Wow! You are a great helper!
W: I am a GREAT corn-er!
Mama: (tries to hide laughter): Yes, yes you are sweetie!

Where did William go?
There he is! Our first success with hide n go seek (unprompted)

The most exciting event (and the reason we stayed for so long in Minnesota) was the arrival of my aunt/uncle from Massachusetts. We don't get to see them every year, so we always try to make it work when they are in town. We've been pretty lucky the last few years!

Amelia is much happier to see Bobby this year!
She showed him the flowersWilliam showed off his biking skills

Aunt Megan was there to make sure Amelia didn't injure herself on the huge bike she insisted on riding. ( I know you are thinking "Kelly, she is a BABY. Just tell her no or take it away." I say to you: You don't have any idea how DETERMINED this girl is. I'm already choosing my battles.)Game night Saturday night! Hurray!

Late Sunday morning we got back on the road to come home again. It was a LONG trip, but so much fun! Thanks for putting up with us for so long Grandpa and Grandma!

*Technically I am not running until my heels are better. They are not better. However, this would be an instance where I would run without thinking twice. There are just some occasions that do not get a do over in life. Running with your 3 year old? That would be one of them.