Friday, January 31, 2014


Every year, the kindergarteners at Leah's school hold a pet show. For a few weeks prior, they have various pets as guests in their classroom to go along with a unit learning all about pets. 

However, for their pet show, each child has to create a pet made out of partly recycled materials - things you  just have around your house. Lucky for Leah, her mom (much to her dad's dismay) has a lot of craft stuff 'just lying around the house.' And we also had a water bottle, which is what Leah chose as the body.

I wanted to make this as much Leah's project as possible, so we started early (and had plenty of opportunities thanks to all those January snow/cold days!) and I asked a LOT of questions. Seriously, so many questions. But after all the questions, I feel confident knowing that this pet is, actually, what Leah had in mind, and that is a good feeling. 

I made Leah do the work that she could - she chose all colors, shapes and materials. She chose where to place everything. And she even finger painted the design onto the body of her animal (and she chose which paint colors went on different parts of the paper!). 

In the end, she chose a bird. She named him (her? I just realized we never asked!) feathers. She was adamant about the bird having square feet. She wanted purple wings - I drew probably 10 different wing designs and she chose her favorite. She wanted long legs and feathers on the top of the bird's head and googly eyes.

I was her hands, but this is Leah's creation!

Ironically, we got to school the day of her pet show and I realized that a majority of the pets had mom and dad written all over them. Leah's was definitely one of the most kindergarten-looking projects on the table. Ha!

All the children got up to introduce their pets. We recorded Leah's information on her switch. It said, "My name is Leah. This is my pet bird, feathers. It is the only bird known to have square feet." 

Each child received an award specific to their animal. Feathers obviously got the "Prettiest Feathers" award. I could not be prouder of Leah and her hard work!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

iowa legit

Kate and I spent the morning at the DMV so I could become a legit Iowan. 

Actually, we spent more time driving to and from the DMV as I ridiculously didn't think to bring proof of residence the first time. Seriously.

Kate entertained everyone in the waiting area with her innate beauty and charming antics. She actually was really well behaved (and was busy eating the snacks I made sure to bring). 

Our appointment seriously took less than 10 minutes, which I think might be a world record for amount of time waiting at a DMV??? But if you add in driving time, it was well over an hour. Ugh. 

I was sad to relinquish my New Hampshire license, but after six months, I figured I should claim our new territory in the Hawkeye State. That, and I'd really like to be able to renew our car registration next month. 

Here's to starting over...and probably not for the last time...

To Iowa! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

ktg: 18, no, 20 months

This post is two months late. I realize that.

And it's not late because I forgot or because I got too busy. It's late because I just wasn't sure how to write a post that is so full of emotion I don't really have words to do it justice.

A post that is overflowing with gratitude for the ho-hum statistics of a typically developing 18 month old.

Because that's what Kate is: a typically developing 18 (wait, 20) month old. And some days I still can't get over it. Yes, there are definitely challenges that come along with that. I've never mothered a typically developing 18 month old before. She can get into trouble that my former self wouldn't have believed. She can do things with her body and hands...on purpose. It's all new to me; and I love it.

I have mothered an 18 month old who wasn't even crawling yet, let alone walking, running and climbing. An 18 month old who had multiple doctor and therapy appointments each week and who screamed through the night. And I think - I know - I prefer the typical problems.

So, while I have let my emotions get the better of this blog post for two months, I won't let them win any longer. Here is Kate at 18 months (and 19, and 20).

Kate the great. She really, really is. She is my right hand man. My sidekick. My partner in crime. She is nuts and I seriously cannot get enough of her. From the second she wakes up until her eyes flutter closed at night, she keeps me on my tippiest of tippy toes.

I actually kept a little note folder on my phone of things she did/said from 15-18 months. Things like the words she was saying - fishy, bye bye, baby, backpack, Leah, dada, mama, Max (a friend), Layla (another friend), elmo (actually melmo), dude, kate (kay), bowl, yes, no, peekaboo, shirt, shoes, and nana. But two months later, her language has seriously exploded. She talks from sun up to sun down and can say nearly everything we want her to. Some words are more understandable than others, but we usually understand probably 95% of what she is saying, which I think is amazing. She has started to string words together and can put 3-4 in a sentence - usually something like "Kate Kate EAT NANA peese!" Ryan just taught her to say Hong Kong, which is his personal favorite. Some of my recent favorite words are: montey (for monkey AND for blanket), head band (oh I melt...), Kate Kate, Leah, buh-bye, hello, cracker, treat (teet!) and juice.

Speaking of juice, she will NOT say milk. She only says water (lotter) and juice. She also will NOT say tractor. She can, but she won't. She always calls it a bus. This doesn't bode well with Ryan. She also will NOT say I love you. She only says buh-bye. Our conversations go like this:

Mom/Dad: say I love you!
Kate: buh-bye
Mom/Dad: no, say I. LOVE. YOU.
Kate: buh-bye
Mom/Dad: say I
Kate: I
Mom/Dad: LOVE
Kate: buh-bye
Mom/Dad: you
Kate: you
Mom/Dad: say I love you!
Kate: buh-bye

It's actually pretty comical. I kind of love it.

Kate is my big helper around the house. She puts her diapers in the trash and now actually goes to get a diaper for me when she wants it changed. She unloads dishes from the dishwasher, picks up her toys and books, puts shoes away, gets bowls and silverware to set the table and helps with the laundry. If she hears Leah sneeze, she yells "tissue!" because she knows Leah needs help wiping her nose. She also tries to help feed Leah snacks sometimes and always wants to wear a brace (bace) on her arm like her big sister. Oh my.

She looooooooves her binky. I thought about getting rid of it for the new year, but wimped out. She only has it for bed and she's so good about it. She calls it her "binty" and she really hands it to me first thing when I walk in her room in the morning and then asks for it when she's going to bed again.

She loves accessorizing with various things around the house. Hats, necklaces, backpacks, shoes, and glasses are some of her favs.  She loves to dump out her toys from our little basket and sit in it. It's probably the only time she's still during the day for more than three seconds.

For awhile, when I asked her to say "please," she wouldn't say it, she'd just nod her head. I realized later that I always nodded my head when I asked her to say please! So I put a lot of effort into holding my head still when I asked and she eventually learned to say "peeeeeeese!" Now if you tell her she needs to ask for something nicely, she just says, "nicely!"

She knows so many parts of her body and loves to point them out at all times. If you are holding her, be prepared to get a finger in the eyes, ears or up the nose. Or she might choose to pinch your cheeks, pull your hair or swipe her finger on you bum. She can point to probably 30 different body parts including head, hair, eyes, ears, nose, forehead, cheeks, chin, mouth, lips, teeth, face, neck, armpit, shoulder, belly, bum, arms, elbows, hands, fingers, legs, knees, feet, toes and more.

However, she is not interested in the alphabet, colors or animals. I think she knows cat, monkey and horse and that's about it.

She is my little engineer and is constantly stacking, pushing, twisting, turning, analyzing and ordering things. She loves to figure out how everything works. 

She will not be bothered with a book for more than 20 seconds at a time. Unless she's locked in her crib.

Kate loves to eat. When she wakes up, she walks into the kitchen and yells, "EAT! EAT! NANA! EAT!" Once she has had her daily morning banana, she is ready to attack the day. She loves snacking much more than meals, but we've tried to be pretty consistent with only offering one meal and not giving her extra snacks if she didn't eat her meal. She's learning. She does love to sit in our laps when she's having a rough time eating and that usually gets a few more bites in. She eats what we eat, but loves cheese, yogurt, pepperoni, cheerios, bananas, apples, peas, popcorn, anything sweet, milk (especially chocolate), juice and water.

I realized that Ryan and I make a lot of sound effects during the day. And I only realized it because Kate always copies them. Also entertaining.

We attend a weekly music class where she is mostly off in la la land, trying to figure out a way to NOT sit still. But, there are a few songs she really loves. We call one the "garden snail" song; you use you finger to draw in the palm of her hand and it ends with tickling. She loves the whole thing and visibly tenses up as the song goes on because she knows the tickle is approaching. She also loves the song, "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" from our church's primary songbook - it always calms her down if she's upset. This Christmas season, she loved to sing the song "Little Drummer Boy" and I often heard her singing, "pum pum pum" as she walked around the house. She dances to the Big Band music I play at home sometimes and always busts a move when I put on Pandora. The girl can shake it. Her dancing always ends in spinning and she ALWAYS spins until she falls down from dizziness. 

Kate goes to the YMCA three times a week while I teach a few classes. The childcare employees always have good reports for me - that she is well behaved and happy. But, she NEVER plays with other kids! She finds a spot each day (the table, the kitchen, the middle of the room, a chair) and rarely moves from that spot. She laughs and is happy, but doesn't move. She's like the childcare outcast and she doesn't even know it! On the other hand, she also has two play dates each week and plays in nursery at church every week and I know she is not a loner in those situations. She plays well with most kids and has a darling best frienemy named Layla. They are a hoot together.

When fall came along, I started dressing her in long sleeve shirts, which she did not like at ALL. She was constantly trying to pull them off or push them up. After about a week, she gave in. Now she loves her coat, hat and boots and constantly asks for them. 

A highlight of her day is when the bus comes to our house. She presses her nose against the window as four buses drive by before Leah's bus arrives, saying "bus bus" each time. (And lately she also says "cold" because the glass is really cold!). 

If she has something to show me, she grabs my hand and drags me wherever it is (usually the pantry). She is constantly sneaking into our room and getting in our nightstands. Her favorite is the chapstick in Ryan's drawer. She's not a very good sneak, though. You can always tell what she has in her hand because her previous toy is laying right in front of where she picked up her current one. And when she knows she has been somewhere she shouldn't have been, she squeals and runs down the hallway as fast as her stubby legs will carry her. She colored on Ryan's desk the other day with pen (don't worry, it's a cheap, fold away desk from walmart...but she doesn't know that) and she got in some trouble. Today Ryan was holding her on his lap and she pointed to the pen mark and said, "naughty." 

She wants me to kiss her fingers when she is hurt and always asks for a tissue after she has cried. She is really interested in the potty and always wants to sit on it (help! I have never potty trained before!). She loves to climb and is always getting on the chairs in our kitchen or into small cubbies and spaces. She just started to climb on her crib. Yikes.

Kate is down to one nap a day, usually 12:30-3:30 or so. And she sleeps for about 11 hours at night. I think she'd sleep for longer in the morning, but Leah's incessant banging on the door at 6:00 often wakes her up. :)  She wears 18 month pants, 2T tops and size 5 shoes (um, Leah didn't wear size 5 shoes until she was almost three!!). She has 12 teeth (front four on top and bottom and four molars) and I think is getting one or two canines on bottom soon. Her stats (two months ago) are (were): 30 inches (28th percentile) and 21 lbs. 15 oz (28th percentile). Perfectly and petite-ly proportioned.

And that is my chubby, charming, determined, delicate, funny, feisty, happy, hilarious 20 month old Kate in a nutshell. I cannot get enough of her.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

december in an instant

December was full of magic and music, laughter and lights, good food and friends, phone calls to family, shoveling and sledding. It was cold, but not too cold (not sure I can say the same for the January forecast??); busy, but not too busy. For this December, I have no complaints.