Saturday, March 27, 2010

Easter Party

So, pretty obvious who didn't like the Easter Bunny. I figured that we should have a picture taken anyway. This is a snapshot of how it was for TB at Easter. Justin, on the other hand, was a bit amused. He told me that it wasn't a real rabbit, just a person playing hide-and-seek in a costume. Luckily he didn't look for the person. That would have been a bit  awkward.    

Justin had a blast dying eggs. Next week we will be dying some at home. I am hoping that the novelty of egg dying has passed and he will be able to choose more colors than blue AND be able to keep his hands out of the dye. His hands remained quite blue today. Always lovely.

All the egg hunting, egg dying, and eating, must have worn him out because Justin took a nice nap.  Too bad his brother didn't follow his lead.  Too bad Justin didn't want to go to bed tonight because he had a nap.  Sigh.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Bunny's On Its Way

Tomorrow we are going to an Easter party.  We will see if the boys have a good time or are too freaked out by an Easter Bunny the size of an adult human.  Hopefully we will have some cute pictures to put up for tomorrow.  For today, here is a picture of the cookies Justin and I made.  How great is it to have a little kid?  Me making them with him is fun and cute.  A woman in her 30s who is not particularly talented in the area of cooking is a bit strange.  See, he makes what could be strange and turns it into fun and cute.
The bunny face cookie cutter was something that my mom sent us along with other Easter goodies.  Thanks, Mom!  We didn't use the flower cookie cutter yet though.  It is more of a spring kind of thing and I am afraid that fall is definitely on its way.  Still dark at 6:00 am and right now (6:30ish pm) I am watching a gorgeous sunset.  I know they will be fun to decorate in the spring though, and TB will be old enough to help!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Smarter than Mommy?

Ryan already thinks that he can outsmart Mommy.  Sadly enough, he often can.  He loves to torment his brother, so I try to keep him away from his big brother whenever Justin is in the bathroom or doing something quietly in his bedroom.

The bedroom area in our house consists of a long, narrow hallway with the master bedroom on one end, Justin's room on the other, and Ryan's room, the boy's bathroom, and the half bath on one side.  The half bath is in a bit deeper than the other rooms, and we have a linen closet and the dirty clothes hamper tucked inside that little nook.
When Ryan is annoying his brother, I yell at him, chase him, shoo him away, or something of the sort.  He has determined that the wisest course of action is to leave when asked, hide out in the little nook, and once I have walked past him, return to annoying his brother.  This plan worked only a couple of times (at least that I know of!) before I caught on.  See, he will probably have to be at least 18 months before he can fool me all of the time! 

One time when I chased him out of the bathroom and he hid in his clever little hiding spot, I continued past him just a little bit and then turned to wait to see what he did.  The look of smugness on his face was priceless, as was the look when he realized that he had been caught.  Sneaky little boy!  We both laughed!

A couple of times when I have been singing to him before a nap or bed, he has pretended to be asleep.  I don't know what the point of that is.  I put him in his crib and leave.  He gets ticked off and we begin the process again.  Guess he doesn't think all of his plans through yet.  That's okay, neither do I.

Ryan continues to amaze me with how much he understands.  He knows where things belong, he knows what he should and shouldn't be doing, and he knows how to at least try to be sneaky.  He is stubborn and fights to get what he wants.  He will intentionally injure himself for attention.  I can just see his little thought process. "Oh, Mommy isn't giving me undivided attention.  I will show her by flinging my body backwards into space and hitting my head and doing heaven only knows what else in the process.  My fake cry is lousy, but if I am hurt I can sure shriek.  Maybe there will even be blood or bruising..."

Justin Be Nimble!

Since the boys both continue to enjoy the nursery rhyme Jack Be Nimble, I decided to have Justin make his own little candlestick.  He painted a paper plate and a toilet paper tube.  You can see in the picture that we only had a leftover birthday paper plate.  I cut the center out, as the plate was so big, and used some of the outer edge as the holder for the candleholder.  After the paint dried, I cut the bottom of the toilet paper tube so I could staple it to the plate.  I also stapled on the handle.  I know, that means that Justin wasn't doing it himself, but who really wants to deal with a frustrated 3 year old?  We added some torn tissue paper as a flame.  Yay!  I wonder how many days hours it will last before one or both boys destroy it?  I kind of hope soon so I can throw it out before it becomes a sacred treasure.  We have a small pillar candle that we use to act out the rhyme so we don't need anymore clutter.  I just thought that Justin would enjoy painting a little bit and creating something.  I also printed out the words to the nursery rhyme and cut them out so he could try to put it in order.  Simple enough that he doesn't need to be able to read the words, just know the rhyme and use initial sounds to help him paste them in the right location.
Guess it is time to come up with another nursery rhyme.  I am getting sick of this one.  We did Baa, Baa Black Sheep awhile back ago, but it wasn't as much fun.  You ever try acting that one out?  Boooooooring!  Maybe Little Miss Muffet or something.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and...

TB enjoys singing (listening) and moving to songs like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" so I try to get Justin to sing along with me.  It is cute to watch Ryan try to imitate his brother.  Sometimes Justin gets tired with it before Ryan does.  When this happens, he has to find a way to liven up the song.  This usually means modifying a song, always in a way he finds silly.  This week the song became "Med, moulders, mees, and moes" until Justin decided that lacked the silliness he was aiming for.  I was so proud of myself for keeping a straight face when he started to sing "Head, shoulders, knees, and penis" with accompanying movements.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  I can only hope that the absence of a reaction on my part means we won't have to hear that version too often.

And, as you may note, Ryan has also taken to wearing Justin's underwear on his head.  Got to be just like his older brother.  Lovely.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mr Observant

Today one of my projects was to go through the bag of keys we got when we moved into our house.  Some were labeled, many were not.  I pulled out my handy dandy label maker (a gift a few years ago from my friend, Lisa) and got to work labeling the keys.

Our bedroom and bathroom doors have the old fashioned European keys.  Now I know most people just leave them in the lock, but not us.  Our first night here, Justin locked himself in the bathroom and couldn't figure out how to UNlock the door.  We removed the keys.  While I doubt he would repeat the incident, Ryan might.  Even if no one got locked in, keys would likely get removed and put in a special safe place never to be seen again.

Now believe it or not, there are times when we MIGHT want to keep the kids out of the bedroom or bathroom.  Since Ryan has now learned to open doors (stupid easy to open handles instead of knobs), it seemed wise to have keys reasonably accessible.  A hook on the back of our bedroom door is an ideal place.  Less than an hour after I had added the keys to the hook, Ryan came to me and took me to the door.  He pointed up to the keys and made unhappy grunting noises.  He doesn't miss a thing.  It makes it very hard to put anything past him.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tiny's Vocabulary at 15 Months

When Justin went  in for his 18 month check up, I was hard pressed to come up with 10 words that he could say.  I started carefully keeping a log to watch how his vocabulary was growing.  Before long, I could no longer keep track of everything he could say.  His vocabulary had expanded greatly and included being able to identify all uppercase letters and most lowercase letters (stupid b,d,p,q) before he was two years old. 

I don't know if TB (Tiny Baby) will be such a lover of the alphabet, but at 15 months he has a bigger vocab than his brother did.  I guess I won't have to worry when the 18 month check up rolls around.  Right now he can (meaningfully) say: 
  1. mama
  2. dada
  3. baba (bottle even though it is a sippy cup now)
  4. ball
  5. baby
  6. bye-bye
  7. go (and something that I think is  supposed to be "ready, set")
  8. bee-bo (The word used for belly button in the Sandra Boynton Belly Button book)
  9. there you go (In addition to obvious meaning it also means he wants something.  He will point and say it over and over until you give him what he wants and say it to him.)
  10. thank you (his response to you giving him something and saying there you go to him)
  11. peek-a-boo
  12. uh-oh
  13. moo (for cow and other cow like animals)
  14. woof (for dog and other dog like animals)
  15. roar (for dinosaurs, lions, and other roaring type animals)
  16. where are you
  17. light
  18. tickle
  19. goo goo (I think it is supposed to be choo choo since he says it when he plays with trains)
That's all I can think of.  He sure has pointing, grunting, fake crying, and screaming down too.


Okay, I know that I make lots of spelling and grammar mistakes.  As I type into my blog right now, I realize that I don't even know where the spell check function is located now that I have changed formats.  You are going to get a lot of mistakes.  That does not change one of my pet peeves.  I absolutely can't stand when people write (or even worse say) "viola" when "voila" is what they really mean.  I don't care if the voila has an accent mark or not, but people, the two words are very different.  A viola is an instrument in the violin family or a flower similar to a pansy.  Voila is an interjection that is defined by Merriam-Webster as "used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic" in their online dictionary.  Some may argue that it is an easy typo to make.  Perhaps sometimes it is indeed a typo, but I think far more often it is people not having a clue what the word really is.  Maybe I should clean the kitchen or take a zoloft instead of worrying about it. 

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Growing Like Weeds!

I just changed my poopy baby and he wanted new clothes too.  As I was looking for a shirt to go with the pants he pulled out, I realized that he is growing SO fast!  I put on an 18 months shirt and he is almost too big for it.  Now sizes are inconsistant and he even has a couple of shirts labeled as 9 months that he wears, but it looks like 24 months/2T is the new shirt size for him.  Of course in pants some of the 12 months are still a plenty big around the waist but getting short.  It looks like I will have a whole pile of winter size 12 months clothes that he will outgrow without ever wearing.  Thank you Southern Hemisphere for messing me up with that!  In theory, having boys both born in December should make hand-me-downs work perfectly.  Not really sure what the winter will be like here.  Not snow and ice, but we won't be running around outside in shorts either.  At least the clothes he won't ever wear are all hand-me-downs worn by at least one other child.  I am sure that there are PLENTY of charities here who can use whatever we have to pass along.

I looked for some pictures of the suburb of Windhoek called Katatura, but don't like to steal people's pictures.  Because I have not yet been, I don't have any of my own.  Here is a link to some that I found:


The pictures were uploaded on 1 February so they are recent.  Looks like the photographer went so some interesting places.  We haven't traveled much yet.  As you can see from the pictures, might be more enjoyable to do some touring without the children or with some additional adult assistance.  Come and visit and we can see some of the country and area together!

Practice Clock or Folding Clothes?

Okay, right now I am watching my boys and (obviously) typing away on my laptop.  I need to stay here or I am sure they will start fighting, become incredibly lonely for me, or something.  That's just the way it goes.  So I should be folding the mountain of clothes before me, and I am sure that I will, but I decided that first I would work on a clock for Justin.  Now Justin has a large Judy Clock and some smaller Judy Clocks so it isn't like he is without one to use, but I thought that if he had one with numbers he could put on that it might add a little something new and be something we could have him play with on the go.

I will print out the clock and the numbers sheets and then cut out pieces as necessary before laminating.  I will choose out a set of clock hands and then use a brad to attach them to the clock face.  I will choose a set of numbers to use as well and apply velcro to the backs of them and to the blanks on the clock.

Will he like it?  He will either love it so much he wants to sleep with it, or be completely indifferent.  You can never tell with that kid.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Potty Training

This week I was talking with my parents, my sister, my brother, and my sister-in-law.  It was almost 7 AM on Monday for me here in Namibia, around midnight for my sister in New York, and a little before 9 PM on Sunday night for everyone else.  Through the 'magic' of skype we were able to talk for free and spend a little time together as a family catching up.

Catching up included an update on Justin's potty training.  He is doing really well.  He wears a pull-up at night because he doesn't stay dry through the night.  I also make him wear one if we are going to be out  and about for an extended period of time.  In the US I would probably just drag him into store bathrooms when I thought it might be close to time for him to go, but here in Namibia... Well let's just say I am never really sure what facilities, if any, may exist.

I am crazy about charts and Justin seems to be the same way.  We have charts for when he says his prayers, when he reads a book, when he follows the rules, and, of course, when he uses the bathroom.  He loves getting to the end of the row or finishing a chart and moving on to a new one.  He counts to see how many spaces are left on a chart and comes up with a plan for how he will finish it.  My sister, Meredith, came up with an idea that I loved--a chart that lists number of days without an accident.  You know the signs you see up by construction sites, at the gates of military bases, along dangerous highways, and probably any other number of places.  How could I not love the idea?

This is what I came up with.  I used Mayer Johnson Boardmaker because I happen to own the program and it was already open in a window on my computer.  I found some construction related graphics at and and went a bit overboard with my creation.  I will print out the sign and some numbers, laminate them, and then change the numbers to reflect the number of days my boy has successfully used the toilet, night time excluded.  I have a feeling that he will love it!