Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Squeaky Clean

Now that my classes are finished for a few weeks I was able to come out of my literacy induced stupor and look around me. I was a bit disturbed by what I saw. Now, I know I'm not the best housekeeper, but - wow!

Today, I rolled up my proverbial sleeves and got to work. It would be easy to become overwhelmed, so I made sure to focus on one room - today I picked the kitchen. Now, I knew this would be easier if I didn't have to worry about Abby, but she so charmingly told me that she wanted to stay home today, so I kept her home and resolved to work around her.

While I cleaned under, around, above, (and a lot of other prepositions) everything in that kitchen, Abby danced, dressed-up, and pretend played her day away. Every so often she would come to find me and ask what I was doing. She loved the fact that I had the dining room chair in there, and insisted on sitting behind me as I stood on it to wash the walls. She joined in when I was steaming the floor, by grabbing "her" swiffer and getting to work. The best though, was when I was washing down the cabinets. She had come into the kitchen to tell me that she wanted to wear her bathing suit, more importantly, that she wanted me to get it for her. I was mid scrub, so I told her that I would help in a minute. She became inthralled that the cleaning was now at her level and wanted to join in. She found a rag and started "washing" a wall close to her. She made "shh-shh" sounds, like a spray bottle, and then stood back and told me to look at her work. That's when I really got a good look at her, the kid had been helping me clean totally naked.

Remember how she had wanted to wear her bathing suit? Well, apparently she was all ready to put it on - and I had been so distracted with the cabinets I hadn't noticed that the kid had been in the buff the whole time. I had to admire her moxie, because she was totally engrossed in what she was doing and was completely comfortable with the fact that she was au naturale.

I smiled a huge smile and let her think that it was because of the wonderful work she'd done on the door frame. At this point, I was almost done so I finished up and then we went looking for her suit, and got her clothed.

She was an absolute gem all day, and even let me spot clean around the lower level. As the week goes on we will be tackling the other rooms of the house, but for now, I'm happy with my clean kitchen.

Abby slipped off the chair this morning and
got a little boo-boo. She only wanted Pooh to
comfort her. Poor baby. 

She was fine though, and soon declared that
she was "all better now." Thanks Pooh.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More Abby-isms

A couple of nights ago I mentioned how much Abby is talking. Today she came up with some really funny things - I thought I would share them with you.

  • After picking Abby up from child care today we got to talking about her day, she told me something very interesting:
    • Abby: Mom, everyone was wearing clothes.
    • Me: Everyone at school had clothes on today?
    • Abby: Yes
    • Me: Well, that's good.
    • Abby: Yes, they had pants....with sparkles on it.
    • Me: Um....well we should always wear pants.
  • While out driving a nice lady let us out of a driveway in front of her. As I waved and said, "Thank you." I heard Abby say in the back, "Awwww, wasn't that so sweet of her?" After I was finished laughing I told her that yes, indeed that was very sweet of her. 
  • Abby and Bruiser have been thick as thieves lately. The other day, when he got in trouble for getting into some garbage, Abby got mad at Jason, and then sat with Bruiser for a bit - offering some comfort. Today, Bruiser was being a bit whiney. I was telling him to stop and Abby put her hand over my mouth, looked me straight in the eye, put her finger to her lips and said, "Shhhhh." When I pulled her hand off my mouth she then looked at me and said, "No, stop. No touches." I tell you, the kid has an answer for everything. 
I'm pretty positive that these episodes were much funnier in person, but hopefully you got a little simile out of them.

I can tell she had a great time today - notice
the dirt on her nose? That's a sure sign that
some good times went down on the playground.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Some Food For Thought

Tonight, for the second night in a row, Abby fell asleep watching a slideshow of her baby pictures. See, Jason wasn't home for bedtime and she wanted to see Dada. It was when we got to this picture that she became curious.

She pointed to the feeding tube and asked, "What's that?" I told her that it was how she got her food when she was first born. She was too weak to be able to drink the amount of formula that she needed, so they had to feed her through a feeding tube. 

Her response? "Ewww, gross!"

My response? Unbelievable.

Looking at that picture made me remember how difficult it was for her to eat. Literally, she would fall asleep while eating. For her, sucking down an ounce was like running a marathon. I still remember the day when she drank her first full bottle (a two ounce bottle, mind you) . She fell asleep quickly and I ran out to the waiting room to share the good news with Jason. I remembered that time like it was yesterday, how I would coax her into eating by rubbing her cheek, how I would talk to her and tell her how well she was doing, and how one day I came in and she'd finally gotten the feeding tube out.
It is unbelievable to me that she is the same kid - that the little one who struggled so to eat can now eat all day if I let her. This is the same kid who can now pack away pizza and hot dogs like a champ - the same kid who loves apples, oranges, and bananas - the kid who eats popsicles like they are going out of style, and requests "sauce" for her ice cream - the kid who now eats just like millions of other kids.

How wonderful to have that reminder, that even though she had a rough start, she has come so far. It was a happy thought to end our day.

It seemed like Abby either was eating or
chewing on "Bucko-Gun" today.

Abby wanted Bruiser in the picture too.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Too Cute!

Aren't her teeth cute? I mean really...they're
How many of you have ever read the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar? If you haven't (and you either hang out with a lot of 3rd - 5th graders - or just have their sense of humor) you should. It is a wonderfully crazy story about a school that was built on its side - a school that has thirty stories, with one classroom on each floor (the builder was very sorry for the mistake). The book tells about each of the kids who attends class on the 30th story. One of the stories is about a girl named Rondi. Now, Rondi is known for how adorable she is - everyone is always talking about it. What makes her so cute, you ask? Why, it's her teeth....well, actually it's because she has her two front teeth missing. Everyone always talks about how cute Rondi's teeth are (the teeth that are missing, mind you) and it drives her crazy.

Now, I know what you are thinking: Why is she going on and on about this book? Well, every time I look at Abby I think of Rondi, because I can't help but think of how cute she looks - with her two missing teeth. It really is hilarious. She will be going about her day as normal, and then she'll look at me and smile and.... Bam!, I'm blown away by how cute she is.

If her adorable little face weren't enough, when she talks she just gets cuter! She's been talking a mile a minute lately anyway, but with her two front teeth gone, she's got this charming little lisp - which puts me in mind of another favorite character: Bessie Higgenbottom - of The Mighty B! fame. As you can imagine her absent teeth have sparked a new interest in watching one of her favorite shows. This morning I couldn't help but want to see the comparison, so we pulled out all of her Bessie garb and dressed her up. I think there is quite a resemblance, don't you?

Tonight as we were going to bed, we were watching a favorite Mighty B! episode. Abby, of course was quoting the show right and left - and spraying me in the face in the process. It may sound gross, but at the time it took all of my willpower to not laugh - it was SO CUTE!

I've noticed that her permanent teeth are already peeking through, and although I know that's what is supposed to happen, I really would like for her to be toothless for a little while longer - because (you guessed it) she's so stinkin' cute!

I know her face is a bit blurry, but I really love
this picture of her - she looks very grown up to me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In a Nutshell

Since I've spent the day glued to my computer, writing a twelve page paper and doing a summative PowerPoint presentation, you will have to forgive me if tonight's post is a little "light". The fact of the matter is I've had enough screen time today to last at least a week. So I'm just going to sum up the day with a few bullet points.

  • Round about three or four a.m. Abby woke up and wanted to cuddle with Mom and Dad, so the three of us were smashed in our bed until about 7 a.m.
  • Upon waking Jason made the discovery that somewhere between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Abby had lost her other front tooth.
  • Mom trotted (more like plodded) up to Abby's room and discovered the lone tooth in the middle of her bed - just waiting for someone to come along. 
  • It was a work day for Mom, so Abby was off to child care - which she was all too happy about.
  • As soon as her feet were out of the car she was off to the playground - never looking back.
  • Apparently some time during the day her shirt got some milk on it. She proceeded to take it off and her skirt soon followed. The child care worker told her she couldn't run around in her underwear and Abby's response was she can at home. (of course!)
  • Mom came to pick her up and Abby didn't want to leave. 
  • The school was having a book sale and the lovely ladies manning the check-out table were a captive audience for Abby. While sitting on one of the lady's laps Abby told me, "Don't wanna Mama. Don't wanna home. Go!" as she pointed me toward the door. 
  • The trick of "Okay Abby, I'm leaving without you," has run it's course. She no longer believes the lie - I will now need to devise a new plan.
  • After a half an hour of trying to cajole her to the car I finally grabbed her and headed out. (Note to self: telling her to fly like a fairy and tickling her side as she is planking in my arms turns her mood from sour to sweet.)
  • She got pizza for dinner, and two popsicles for desert. 
  • She washed the grime away with a nice warm bath. Tonight's bath toys of choice? Balloons.
  • A manicure is what got her out of the tub and she requested blue and pink polish - so that's what she got, alternating blue and pink nails.
  • She spent a fair amount of time playing with a deck of cards, first laying them out in a straight line, and then practicing her shuffling skills. 
  • Finally it was off to bed where she got Mom laughing with one of her impressions, and then it was tough to settle her back down because she was now in "performance mode". 
  • Mom got mad - Abby got sad.
  • Abby apologized - Mom felt like a complete heel.
  • Hugs and snuggles were exchanged.
  • Abby fell asleep in Mom's arms.
So there you have it, Abby's day in a nutshell!

Abby has discovered that fun song "Call Me Maybe".
I was trying to teach her the "Harvard Arm Moves".
Here she is trying to follow along.

Here she is noticing herself on my phone.

And here is her grand finish!
What a nut!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I have sat with the computer on my lap for the last hour, trying to come up with something for tonight's post. I was kicking myself for not taking more pictures, because I could have relied on that, but alas I only took one. As I stared at that one picture I got to wondering what Abby was doing this time last year, and so I stared scrolling through my pictures. I was able to find at least one picture from all of Abby's years that are within a week of today, so that's what I'm going to share tonight.

July 29, 2005 - Dedication Weekend

I'm not sure where we had been, but where ever it was, she was tuckered out. I do know that this was the weekend of her dedication. Due to the fact that Abby's first few hours were so critical, we wanted her to be baptized right after she was born - before they even flew her out to Ann Arbor. I wasn't able to be there, and that still can make me cry. So, once she was home and better we had a nice big dedication service for her. It was a wonderful weekend.

 July 13, 2006 - PB & J

This was Abby's first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I remember that day well, because I was convinced she wouldn't be interested at all. Once again, she proved me wrong. She mangled that sandwich and got peanut butter everywhere

She was so covered that we went directly to the tub afterward. By the time she was done we both were laughing - me at her crazy hair and her....well, she was just having a great time!

 July 21, 2007 - Visiting

My sister and her three boys made their summer visit to our Mom's house, which is huge, considering that they live on the other side of the country. We don't get to see them very often and so we went out to spend the day with them. Abby loved playing with her cousins (and Grandma's measuring cups). She was fascinated with her youngest cousin - I think she just really liked that she wasn't the smallest one there.

 July 23, 2008 - A Spin Around the Lake

Abby took her first boat ride! Jason, Abby, and I had gone Up North for a weekend at the family cottage. We took some time to head out to one of the big lakes and even drove around to see some lighthouses. Finally, we got back to the cottage and took Abby out for her first ride on Papa's boat. She loved going fast and had a great time laughing at the wind in her face. 

 Mom on the other hand had a death-grip on her life jacket. I could just imagine her wanting to touch the water and falling right in.  I didn't let go of her until we were safe on dry land - and well away from the lake.

 July 26, 2009 - Fashionista 

 Abby has always been known for her unique fashion styling - but this one might just beat them all. She chose a scarf skirt (and another for an arm band), and is singing into a toy thermometer. Yep, she was in her element this day!

 July 26, 2010 - Mallows!

This was around the time that Abby discovered the wonderfulness of mini-marshmallows. Not only are they a super-yummy treat, but as this picture shows, they can be used as a lovely mustache in a minute. I would also like to provide you with the rest of the words on her shirt. As you can see, the top says, "being this cute", and the bottom finishes, "is exhausting." Amen.

The next day Abby continued her sugar marathon by eating some Oreos. I love this picture because she looks like a little waif from the coal mines - we had a bath after this meal as well.

 July 26, 2011 - "Clean" Dancing

I remember this day well - since I was actually doing some cleaning. Abby decided that she wanted to wear my gloves (it's okay, those are kitchen gloves - not toilet gloves). She began with just the gloves, and eventually graduated to the skirt. I'm sure I encouraged her to put the shirt on as well before I took the picture. My guess is that everything came off in reverse order - with the gloves coming off last. 

July 26, 2012 - B&B - Barbie and Breakfast

That brings us to today. Abby popped up out of bed this morning ready to don her pink garb. Next she wanted some breakfast and to watch a favorite program. Did you notice the mirror? She insisted that I position it so she could see herself. It is clear that not much has changed over the years. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Fabulous Day!

You know, there are some days when I sit down at my computer to write my nightly post and I have to really concentrate to think of something I can write about. It is in those moments that being a writing teacher really helps. I will often remind my students that you don't only have to write about the "big" things, that sometimes a moment is much more interesting. Today though, coming up with something is not going to be a problem - in fact, the problem may be that I have too much to write about.

It started as any ordinary day. It was a "stay home" day so jammies stayed on extra long, and Abby was able to enjoy a nice two course breakfast (French toast sticks and a popsicle - that's just like juice, right?) Then, since I had some work to do, I figured that Abby should be getting back into practice as well. I pulled out a dot-to-dot and we sat at the table working together. That didn't last long, because before long she decided it was time for a show, so she pulled out her guitar, her microphone, her stand, her mirror and a few chairs, and had herself a little jam session. When she'd played just enough to leave the audience wanting for more, the chairs turned into a bus that took her all over town. As I took a break, and Abby "arrived" back home, I noticed that her tooth was particularly wiggly. We've been working on that thing for a few days, but I haven't pushed it, even though I wanted to give the thing a good yank. Finally, she was in the mood to let me at it, she even told me, "I've an idea!" and ran to the kitchen. She came back with a spatula. I have no idea how she thought she would get her tooth out with a spatula, but I gave her points for trying.

It was while playing dentist that I finally got a good grip on it and as she pulled her head back, tired of my fingers in her mouth, the tooth came out. Oh, she was excited, and throughout the day I saw her wiggling her other front tooth - anticipating another "outage".

We took pictures and sent them to Dada - happy to share our news. This was a big one, especially since the first two teeth that came out she actually lost - as in, we have no idea what happened to them. We put her tooth safely in an envelope and took off for the toy store. See, around here the Tooth Fairy works on direct deposit, so we already had the "funds" that were due her for the tooth. She talked a good game about getting a Barbie, but she has so many of those, I tried to think of something else I could encourage. It was once we got there that I found it - a ballet dress and a beautiful pink wig. She could barely contain herself in the car and asked over-and-over again when she would get to put her dress and hair on.

She cheered when we pulled in the driveway and popped out of the car, with no battle at all. I have to say that her whole "get-up" was fabulous! She was glued to the mirror and kept telling me that she looked just "like a Barbie!" She topped off the outfit when she added her heeled "dancing shoes". I know she was wearing a crazy pink wig and plastic shoes, but I couldn't get over how old she looked. Luckily, Dada got home before the wig got too itchy, and she was able to strut around and show off her new duds. Jason was suitably impressed.

Eventually she moved on to something else and the wig came off. She told me that she would wear it tomorrow, "after sleep". Then the ballet dress was next, and soon she once again looked like our Abby. We capped off a great day by playing Barbies. Before long she turned to me and told me she was tired, and apparently she wasn't joking, because within minutes she was fast asleep. I suppose that losing a tooth and being a diva will do that to a girl.

Singing her heart out! By her shoes you can tell
 that she's a little bit country, and a little bit rock n roll.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that the wig
came complete with a sassy attitude - that was
free of charge. 

Oh yes, the heels really do complete the look.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Later Mom!

I had every intention of getting up and out early this morning. Being as it is the last week of my classes, I have several projects and papers due this weekend. I also had scheduled time with my knitting buddies, so I wanted to get Abby to child care early so I could get some homework done, before I gathered my needles and yarn for some much needed fun. The problem was that she woke up in a super bad mood this morning and was not up for a lot of cooperation. Along with that, every time I even mentioned school or getting ready she would loudly start complaining and make it known that if she had her way, she'd spend the day at home.

Now, I'm getting better, but I tend to feel guilty when I have days that are "just for me". I know that I need them, I know that Abby needs the time away from me, and I know that she has a great time at child care, but we both seem to forget that last bit, so I end up feeling bad and she ends up getting mad. So, instead of getting out early I let her ease into the idea and we had a slow morning, enjoying a nice breakfast at home, and some extra time to lounge in our jammies. Finally, I was able to get her excited about going in and seeing some of her friends, but in the car she started once again, telling me, "don't wanna go to school," and "don't wanna see friends."


All of that changed though when we pulled in and she saw everyone out on the playground. She couldn't get that seatbelt off fast enough. She did take the time though to say good-bye to her doll, Penelope, and then she was off. Yes, my "reluctant" kid was running off to play and not looking back. I yelled a good-bye and an "I love you!" after her and I guess I should be thankful that she at least acknowledged me. I heard her yell back that she loved me as she absently waved to me behind her, but she kept her face forward and ran on. I watched her until she ran up to the care givers and gave a big hug to one of her favorites. She was happy to be there and I immediately felt wonderful.

I got a bit of work done, and had a wonderful time with my friends, so as the afternoon wound down I headed out to get Abby. Now, usually she will see me coming and run to me - happy to have been there, but ready to see Mama and come home. Today though, things were different. I found her outside with the "big" kids. They were all sitting together in the shade, taking a break from the heat. Abby was in the middle of the group, sitting quietly between two older girls. When Abby noticed I was there she stayed where she was and simply turned toward me to say, "Hi, Mom." - and that was it. No hug. No happy greeting. No slow-motion movie run. Nothing but a "Hi, Mom." What?!? It seems that sometime between 10:30 and 3:30 my kid had morphed into a preteen.

She took it further by telling me that she wanted to stay. I chose the standard, "Okay, Abby. I'm leaving.....bye!" which will usually get her moving, but as I turned back around, I realized that she hadn't budged. At this point everyone else was trying to convince her that going with Mom would be fun. Finally she turned to me, said, "Bye, Mom," and turned back to her friends. If I wasn't so busy planning how I would get her home without a battle I might have been severely wounded.

Eventually it was the offer of a piggy-back ride from one of the older girls that got her to the car. I buckled her in, thanked the girls and we were off. The whole ride home she talked about how great her day was. Her lack of excitement upon seeing me is a small price to pay for that. I have no doubt that when the time comes Thursday morning for us to head out to school that she'll put up a bit of a fuss again, but I know that is all just bluster, that she will certainly have a great day.

Tonight she asked to watch, "a funny movie...the hurt one."
I finally realized she was talking about America's Funniest
Home Videos.

That's a whole lot of popcorn!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Tonight I thought I would just share with you a few "favorites" from the day.

Favorite Quote:

While brushing my hair Abby hit a snag and yanked my head back. I told her to be gentle and her response was, "I am being tentle [gentle]!" Well, alright then. I suppose she's heard that before.

Favorite Outfit:

Abby told me this morning that she wanted to wear my "blond" dress. I had no idea what she was talking about, since not only do I rarely wear dresses, but I certainly don't have a "blond" one. I went to the closet, trying to find something that might work, but nothing could satisfy her - until I came across a silky red slip of mine. She wore that all day, and is sleeping soundly - still wearing the slip. She was so proud of her "beautiful red dress" and made sure that Dada "Ooohed" and "Ahhhed" over it when he got home - which he promptly did. 

Favorite Dance Song:

This morning when we were watching "Jungle Book 2" Abby perked up when Baloo started singing about the "bare necessities". She shimmied and shook just like that big gray bear. It was hilarious to watch, so when she wanted to watch it a few more times, I was certainly game. I tell you, that kid has some really great moves.

Favorite "Stinker" Moment:

After having been told that she was not getting any other snack than the one I'd just given her - the one she had requested only moments earlier - she decided she wanted something else. When she thought I wasn't looking she slowly got up and headed to the door. I stopped her and asked her where she was going. She paused, and I swear I could hear the cogs in her head turning, wondering what answer she could give me that I would accept. Finally she says, "the kitchen." When I told her that she wasn't to get any other food, she looked at me with those big brown eyes and then slowly continued out the door to the kitchen. I heard some rustling and then she came back into the room with her hands behind her back and a mischievous smile on her face. That's when I asked her what she had. She looked at me innocently and held up a bag of tortilla chips saying, "Um...a bag of pippies." Not only did she use her "nickname" for chips, but she plastered on her cutest look. I tell you, the kid is a master.

We did have a very nice day, it was a great way to start our week.

Since I didn't get a picture of her in her box
yesterday, I thought I would do that today.
I actually think this looks pretty comfy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No Means No - Sort Of

If you could tally up the words I spent today, there is one that would certainly come out on top: "No!" In the past there have been times when I've resorted to saying no in a different language (even sign language) because I'm so tired of that one syllable word, but today I couldn't even grasp onto that - it was the good, old fashioned, American "No!" at every turn. The thing is, the kid is relentless. She will say, "Please...please, Mama....Mama, please..." over and over again until it just about drives me mad. I know it is all part of her plan. In my rational moments I know there will come a time when she lets it go if I don't acknowledge her pestering, and I know that she keeps it up because time has taught her that I will eventually give in, but when I'm in the moment all I want is for her to stop.

Today most of the "No" battles were fought on the field of food, like when she wanted more licorice, and when she wanted more to eat before bedtime, or when she wanted pizza for a morning "snack". On and on it seemed to go. Every time I turned around the kid was at the pantry and I was saying, "No!"I will say that we held out pretty well when it came to food, she certainly didn't get everything she pleaded for (I think that Jason secretly thinks the kid has a tapeworm), but there were other moments that I completely folded.

The perfect example of that would be the time this afternoon when Abby was happily sitting in her "box" with the iPad, what seemed to be a ream of paper, and her scissors. I loved this for several reasons, but mostly because the confetti she was creating was contained, I had, after all just spent time picking up itty-bitty pieces of paper off the floor in the sunroom, the dining room, and the living room, and I was not about to pick up another piece. As I zoomed around with my plastic bag, Abby would pop her head out and ask, "Close it, Mom....please!" She wanted me to close the top of the box so she was all shut in, just to open everything up the moment I turned my back. After about the fifth time of doing this, I began telling her to do it herself. "I can't," she would say, adding a, "Please, Mama....close it." This is when we entered the "this-is-the-last-time-I'm-doing-this" phase of the game. Game, set, and match went to her on this one. I probably said that about 10 times as I closed the box, again and again. It finally ended when I got up and left the room.

As a teacher I have had many a lesson on how to deal with arguing. There's that old saying that it takes two to argue. When students start arguing with me (and they do) the trick is not to engage. My word is the end and that's that. The thing is that doesn't always work for Elizabeth the Mom. So that's my lesson for today: Don't engage - Just walk away. Abby's pretty sharp though and I suspect she'll figure out a new way around that one too, but maybe I'll have a day, or two, respite from the dreaded, "No!"

Abby joined the band. She does play a pretty mean guitar!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's the Little Things

To some of you tonight's musings and thoughts might seem insignificant, but that is one of the things that happened when we had Abby, the little things became huge. We've learned to not take things for granted.

I've talked before how we are trying to give her a bit more independence - a little more freedom, but we are also trying to encourage her to learn to do things for herself. As many of you know, Abby isn't the most patient person. She also doesn't have much endurance when it comes to a task that she finds difficult. Too often she is quick to ask for help, sometimes without even giving it a go. Whether it is trying to find things, setting up her play area just the way she wants it, or even just getting the iPad to do what she wants, she often needs a helping hand. Today though, she did a great job of doing things for herself.

She has this toy that plugs into the TV and allows her to see herself on the screen while it plays music she can dance to. As you can imagine she loves "Abby TV", but to save battery life, after about 15 minutes the camera will turn off. This usually will illicit cries from Abby for help. Today I noticed that when it popped out she went up to the machine and pushed the red button all on her own - and got it working. That was huge, but it wasn't enough. She wanted to hear the music and so she called for help, but instead of coming to her rescue I simply told her to press the green button. With an, "Oh, okay, Mom," she turned around and found that lovely green button and magically produced music. She proudly exclaimed, "I did it, Mama!" and proceeded to grove and laugh at herself on the TV. I can't tell you how proud I was of her.

There were other moments during the day when she did for herself, like when she followed my directions and found her superhero mask all on her own, or when she was watching her iPad and she changed programs - without a peep.

I love watching her accomplish things all on her own because she's not only learning how to do things herself, she's learning that she can do things herself - and that is even better.

A big bowl of popcorn and coloring while wearing a bathing suit -
yep, it was a good day!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Somehow this afternoon, as Abby and I were enjoying some serious giggle time, we got to talking about things she did when she was a baby. It had started out as a ploy on my part to get her to sit still for a bit, but soon we both became involved in the stories. She laid next to me, with her chin propped up on her hands, waiting to hear story after story about what a funny baby she had been. Here are a few of the stories that really got her laughing.

Bath-time Baby - Like many little ones Abby has had her share of sink baths. At home here we had a baby tub that we would put in our bigger tub, but at Nana and Papa's there was just the sink - the small divided sink. There are times, even now, when I'm over there washing my hands or doing dishes and I marvel at the fact that Abby used to have baths in that sink. It just goes to show how little she was. When I told her that she would take baths in the sink she laughed like I was telling her a joke. She laughed even more when I told her how we would lay her out on the counter afterwards so we could dry her off and she could get tickles from Nana. 

Nommy-Nommy-Noses - There seemed to be something about the Valente Men's noses that Abby loved as a baby. I think she was just trying to give kisses, but in her enthusiasm she would latch on to Jason's and his dad's noses. I don't recall her doing this with anyone else - just them. It was always so funny. When I told Abby about it today I think she said something like, "Ewww, Gross!" and then tried to go after my nose while laughing. The stinker!

Privacy Please! - When we set up Abby's room we made sure to put her crib against an inside wall - thinking that it would be warmer when winter came. It was indeed warmer, but it also put her right next to the light switch - and the door. In the beginning this wasn't a problem, but as she grew, and got more curious I would often times find her playing with the light when she should have been taking a nap. There was one day, however when apparently the light was just too boring, because she moved on to playing with the door handle - the door handle that had a lock on it. As you've probably guessed, she ended up locking herself in her room. As I panicked on the outside, she was still enjoying whatever she was doing on the inside. Jason ran to get the screwdriver, but the way things were situated, we couldn't get the handle off. That's when he had a great idea - the windows. He was able to go to the room next to hers, climb out onto the roof of our sunroom (since Abby's room is on the second story) and climb through her room. God was looking out for us that day because Jason had recently been out on the roof cleaning it off and therefore Abby's window wasn't locked. I listened closely and heard Abby's surprise as Dada came climbing through her window. We promptly removed the lock on her doorknob - and since winter was over, moved her crib to the other wall - just to be safe!

Papa's Watching Abby, Right? - There have been times (usually when Nana and I are getting our hair done) when Papa has pulled "Solo Abby Duty". They have a wonderful time, and Abby loves to hang with Papa, but there have been a couple of times when Abby has pulled one on the poor guy when he was least expecting it. The first time was when she zipped into the bathroom and, once again, found the lock on the door. The poor guy was sweating bullets as Abby laughed uproariously on the other side. He could only imagine what she was getting into, and I can only imagine how he was hoping that this wasn't the moment that we chose to get home. I'm sure it felt much longer than it actually was, but soon enough Abby was able to turn the knob and come out. The other time that Abby got Papa into trouble was much funnier. I have to give him props. He was playing right along with her when they were upstairs and she told him that it was bedtime. She lovingly tucked him in, kissed his forehead, and said, "Good night, Papa." Now, when we play this game we usually start some obnoxious snoring and she tells us to wake up, but this time the kid had other plans. See, Papa ended up dozing off (an afternoon with Abby is exhausting - I totally get it), because suddenly a loud crash brought him wide awake. He looked over to see that Abby had gotten into Nana's jewelry box, and had inadvertently knocked it to the floor. She knew she was in for it, because she immediately turned on the charm, looked up at him with her big brown eyes, and said, "Sorry, Papa."
Sock It To Him - Before long Jason heard us laughing and he wanted to know what was going on. We reminded him of some of the stories and he laughed too. He also told Abby one that we are sure she never would remember. Each night, when I was pregnant with Abby, Jason would make sure that he talked to the baby. He wanted to be certain she knew his voice, as well as mine. One night we were laying down and he was talking away, with his head on my tummy. He then decided to get a reaction out of her, and so he gently pressed his finger to the baby. We waited a moment and that's when it happened - she socked him. We got a reaction all right. Abby either kicked him or sent him a nice big wallop to the side of the face, because he (and I) certainly felt it. It goes to show that she had her "frisky" personality right from the beginning. Abby thought this one was particularly funny.

Abby wanted to hear more and more stories of when she was a baby, and we had a great time reminiscing. It was fun to think back on all the mischief she got into - when she could barely get around. What a funny bunny!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper

As Abby gets older I often find my self thinking: This age is my favorite! Sure, there are times when I miss the baby that she was, but those feelings are fleeting. Today, once again, I thought about how much I love Abby at this age. I love the personality that keeps shining through. I love listening to her play with her Barbies and laughing at the conversations she makes them have. I love the fact that she is becoming more independent, and more helpful.

This morning I woke up and was feeling a bit like the weather - blah! Thursdays are the days when Abby will usually go out to child care for a bit, but she wanted to stay home, and I was even feeling too lazy to take her in. The problem was, we were in desperate need of some groceries. Abby had been super all morning, playing while I was finishing up an assignment, so I thought she might just be cooperative while we went to the store. She was thrilled that she would get to ride in those car/cart things, and since we were going to a big store I reminded her that the ones there actually had a TV she could watch while we shopped. She was all set, even wearing one of her favorite dresses for the outing.

The whole way there she talked about the blue car we she wanted to ride in, so when we walked in and didn't see them I ventured to ask where they might be hiding. As the employee told us that they didn't have them anymore I watched Abby's little face crumble. She didn't cry, but she looked so heart broken. I tried to lift her spirits and told her that we would have a blast anyway - that she could be my very special helper and push the cart. She finally agreed and off we went. She was super, as I kept reminding her that her hands were glued to the cart, and that she needed to wait for me to grab the stuff for the cart - not take off without me. There was one point where she seemed to think that another lady's cart looked better than ours, because she tried to take off with her cart. She was so good that the sucker that I am promised her a new friend to take home.

It was while we were leaving the store that an older gentleman stopped us and as he looked through the change he'd gotten out of his pocket, he asked if he could treat Abby to a ride on the pony. At first I was confused, but then I realized that he wanted to pay for Abby to ride the mechanical pony by the check-out. I put the question to Abby and she let out a loud, "Yeah!" As the gentleman handed over two pennies he told me that we'd just made his day. With a smile he was off to do his grocery shopping and we were off to ride the pony. Abby was all for it, until it started moving. She got scared quickly and wanted off. That's when we gave her new doll a go - "Avery" enjoyed it immensely.

The difference between this trip and others that we've taken was huge. She was so good, and I was so proud of how much of a help she was to me. Yep, I am loving this age!

Tonight Jason asked Abby to write her name
while she was drawing. She did a pretty quick
(and sloppy) job, so Jason told her that she'd
better start practicing, because summer was almost
over. Her response? "Not yet, Dada!" Right you are
Abby, right you are!

This look screams: I'm up to something!

Then again....maybe not.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Bathroom Battle

You know, I thought when Abby was finally potty trained all of the "potty troubles" would be behind us. That doesn't seem to be the case. I have to admit, she is getting better, and most of the time it isn't an issue, but there are sometimes when we have to cajole, urge, and even threaten her into going potty. Most of the time the problem is that she's having too much fun, and she doesn't want to stop what she's doing. I understand that, there are plenty of times when I feel the same way, but it still drives me a little batty that it is a battle.

Tonight she was having a snack when she announced that she had to go potty. Usually, if she announces it, it is time for a rush and run to the bathroom. So, I put down what I was doing and headed in help scoot her along. The problem was she didn't want to leave her snack behind - she wanted to bring the whole plate to the bathroom. I told her that she could bring some, but not all. This is when the arguing began. Worried that in the midst of a stubborn battle of wills, Abby would wait too long and have an accident, I picked her up and forged on. That's when she really got mad.

In retrospect I think she thought I had designs on her food, because in her anger she rushed to eat what she'd grabbed - and bit her finger in the process, and not just any ole' finger, The Finger, the one that only months ago endured surgery. Her anger quickly turned to tears and instead of fighting me, she now sought comfort. I certainly made all the appropriate sympathy sounds and gave her plenty of squeezes - as I continued up the stairs. It was once I got her situated on the potty that I could get a look at the finger and see that she really had a good set of, chompers, because she'd drawn blood.

Now, if you know Abby, you know that once she "knows" she's hurt she doesn't want anyone taking a peek at it. That isn't surprising, since many times those "peeks" have been accompanied by pain (and even a trip or two to the ER). So when Dada came up to find out what all the hollering was about, and upon hearing about the finger, offered the suggestion to look at it, Abby went into another round of hysterics. I finally was able to get her downstairs and calm - with the promise of a band-aid.

She soon declared that she was "all better now" and disposed of the band-aid, as she crawled back into her cardboard box (her "house") to finished up her snack. And so, what should have been a quick trip to the bathroom, literally became a bloody battle.

All truly is better now, as she is off to play a quick game of "catches" with Dada before bedtime. All I have to say, is that it's a good thing she's so cute - the little stinker!

I think Abby has the prettiest eyes - I wish you could see
them in person. The gold flecks in them tell the story of how
precious she is!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Today I felt immersed in Abby's sweetness. It began this morning when Jason asked me to run to the store for him. See, he's either had a nasty case of food poisoning, or a yucky flu bug. No matter which, he's been pretty sick between yesterday and today. So I got ready right away to head to the store for some "sick supplies". Abby wanted to go with me and so we both buckled up and headed out. The whole way there she talked about what we would get so that "Dada would feel better."

Lucky for us we went to a store that has those fun car-carts. She picked the fire truck and I maneuvered that big hulking beast through the store. She did make one request for herself - bacon. We got everything quickly since there aren't too many shoppers at 7 a.m., and Abby even got out of that cart with a minimal amount of arguing. As we went into the house she wanted help carry bags and take them right to Jason. As she proudly handed off what we'd bought to him she said, "Here, Dada! All better now!" Isn't that sweet?

Later in the evening Abby was quiet and keeping herself busy. I was working on a project and every once and a while I would go out of the room. That's when she would suddenly yell out, "Wait! Don't leave me!" and she would come running to find me. She just wanted me near. I didn't have to be entertaining her - I just needed to be in her sphere. Sweet.

There were other moments as well, like when she looked at me and told me she'd had "a great day" or when I overheard her tell Jason, "I love you too, Dada. I hope you feel better," as she gave him a big hug. Yes, it was a day when she really showed what a truly sweet-heart she has.

Look at that sweet little face (not the balloon under her shirt)!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Dinner Out

Usually when we are looking to treat ourselves to a meal out we get it to go. In fact, I can't remember the last time we actually went to a restaurant and stayed there to eat our meal. Part of this is because we are just a bit more comfortable at home. You can't (or at least you shouldn't) kick off your shoes in the middle of Applebee's, or wear your jammie pants to Olive Garden. The largest part of why we get it to go is because when you have a little one, who has a difficult time sitting still, it is just easier.

If you read yesterday's post you know that Nana and I went to the fabric store. I've been having some fun sewing some bags lately, and she was looking for something she could use for the gym. I found a great pattern and so all that was left was to find some fabric. She picked out a cute floral pattern and I was so excited, I got going on the bag this morning. Abby was wonderful today, and while she had a great time playing I was able to knock that bag out. All that was left was figuring out how to get the bag to Nana.

I had the bright idea to meet up with them halfway and have dinner out. I figured that I'd have a couple of reinforcements when it came to wrangling Abby, and I counted on the promise of dessert to help her behave. So, with my bag filled to the brim with books, Barbies, and puppets we forged ahead.

Actually, Abby didn't do so bad, the "problem" is that Abby is just too social. She wants to visit with everyone. When we all walked in she saw her chance and ran to join one of the servers who was enjoying a quiet break. Abby wanted to sit with her. Later, a young couple came in and sat a few booths behind us. Abby turned and waved excitedly to them....and then waved some more....and then wanted to know what they were doing....while pointing at them....and then, she just turned in her seat and watched them for a bit. Next, Abby decided that she didn't want to sit by Mama anymore, so she crawled under the table (ewww) and squeezed herself in between Nana and Papa. This not only made eating her fries and hot dog more fun (since Papa would play airplane with her food), but it also afforded her a wonderful view of what Morgan (our server) was doing behind the counter - Abby only needed to stand up on the bench and turn around to see.

As Nana would say: she wasn't bad, she was just busy. By the time we were heading out we were all ready - except for Abby. On our way to the door we had to stop for her to give Morgan a nice long hug - the kind where she wraps her arms around your neck and squeezes like she won't let go. We finally did make it out to the car, where she had a bit of a "fit", but finally settled down and let herself be buckled in.

The funny thing is that while I was in the moment - trying to distract her from chucking everything on the table to the booth behind us - I was doubting that there would ever be at time when I would take her to another restaurant, but now as I think about it, she wasn't too bad, and when she looked at me tonight, before she fell asleep, and told me what a great time she had - I realized that any irritation I may have felt was small in comparison to that.

"Here comes the airplane...open up the hanger!"

"Morgan? Morgan?....Where'd you go?"

And yet another picture of Abby and ice cream.
I will say that she only had about 3 teaspoons of
this sundae - there was too much going on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


You will have to forgive me tonight, but due to a lack of sleep I'm going to rely heavily on pictures for tonight's post, although if you were only going by pictures you would think that all we did today was eat - because those are the only pictures I took of Abby. (I have no idea what I found so fascinating about her eating habits, but as I scrolled through the day's photos that's what I found.) Granted, Abby is a bit of a "grazer" and would happily spend her days going from one snack to the next if we let her, but I guarantee that's not all we did today.

We stopped by to see Nana and Papa, and since a big plan was to go fabric hunting, we left the boys (Dada and Bruiser) at home. Luckily we got there on grocery shopping day, and Papa just happened to have picked up a wonderfully juicy watermelon. Abby pulled up a chair and situated herself perfectly for easy access to the great bowl. Finally, I had to cut her off - I think she could have easily eaten that whole thing - and at the rate she was going it wasn't going to take her long.

We hit a minor glitch when the power went out, for some reason, but that didn't stop Abby. She still got a lovely bath (in about 3 inches of water because the electric water pump wasn't working), and some book time with Papa. We all decided that it might be fun to take a trip out together. Papa and Abby drove around, while Nana and Mom popped into the fabric store for a quick (yeah, right) shopping trip. Even though it took a while, I think they still had fun. Papa was giving Abby a crash course in baseball, as they both listened to the Tiger's game on the radio. By the time we were finished Abby (and Papa) had earned that ice cream treat she'd been promised. 

Finally, we loaded up and got in the car to head home. It was getting late, and would be well past her bedtime by the time we got there, but that's one of the benefits of summer, right? I heard some suspicious yawning from the backseat during our drive, but each time I asked her if she was tired she let out an emphatic, "No!" We did have just enough time for a small snack (some pretzels) before bedtime, which took no time at all, after the busy day we had.