Saturday, June 28, 2014

How is my baby two already? Seriously.

I don't know how it happened, but my little baby is now two! He has grown so much. So, so much.

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In fact, he is now wearing size 3T, and he has the 4T hand-me-downs queued up in his closet.

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When I first became a parent, I was so confused about clothing size. I sort of panicked the first time I had to buy toddler clothes. Okay, so the numbers correlate to age. But what's up with the "T" at the end of 2T? Is it important? Was there something special about 2T compared to size 2? Why was there a T in the first place? Wouldn't the tiny shirt give away the fact that it was for a child? And what was the difference between size 24 months and 2T? Aren't those basically the same thing???

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Ha. No looking at tags much these days. Now I just put on whatever looks like it might fit, and completely forget about the clothes I sorted and saved from the other boys until it is too late to wear them again. Half of the tags are cut off anyway.

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My little guy is sitting in my lap right now, trying to get me to turn my phone on for him. He is a master of the 1 to 2 word sentence. "Mom. Mommy. Mommy. On. Mommy. On. On. (Finally hits the right key and holds the phone to his ear.) Oh. Okay. Buh bye." Cap that off with a big sneeze right on my phone.

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He is such a cheerful soul. He looks into your eyes, smiling, until you smile back. Then he turns and runs away, arms flailing and chubby cheeks and legs jiggling, until he finds a hiding spot from which to peer at you expectantly. Repeat. He wants to entertain and be funny. He wants to help. He wants to pile random toys on my bed, as an offering to the napping Mommy.

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My daughter made a drawing for him. He calls any monster/dragon/wild animal a "roar." Or, as he says it, "WOARRR!"

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What a kind soul she is, always making little things for those she loves.

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The two year old likes to chase down Pepper, chubby finger pointing, yelling "Te-dat!" (That's kitty-cat.) And Pepper is old and gentle enough to let him catch her now and then.

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He understands what I am asking him to do, even though he can't yet respond with actual sentences. One of two events will happen. Usually he will jump up and say "Oh!" in anticipation and do what I asked of him, silky blond curls bobbing has he bounds off to do the task. Or, he will awkwardly shake his over-sized head and wail "NooOOoo!" He says what he wants by varying the intensity of those two reactions.

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By far, the most exciting part of his day is when we go in the car. He loves the car! Any time someone uses the phrase "time to go" he frantically finds his shoes, shoves them as close as he can get to my face, and says "Mommy! Shoes! On!." He gets me my shoes, or at least, what he assumes are my shoes, and says "Mommy! Shoes! On!" His heart breaks a little when it is not his turn to go and Dad walks out the door, leaving him holding his little Thomas the Train shoes. He uses the extra inch of tippy toes to pitifully peer out the window and watch the car drive away.

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But his sadness is short-lived. All I have to do is mention Caillou and he bounds into the tv room. What is it with Caillou? Is there some sort of toddler subliminal message hidden in there? All my children have loved Caillou.

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He carries his little Caillou around with him. Caillou is the only figurine he calls by name rather than the term "guy," which he uses for all other toy people.

By the way, public service announcement, playing peek-a-boo with frosting slathered hands is a bad idea.

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Happy birthday, little oogity boogity boo. I love you!

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(Don't ask me how he came to have that nickname. I have no clue. These things just seem to happen, no matter how strange or cliche the nickname may be. Other nicknames for him include Mr. Chubbles, Cuteness Patootness, and Ethan bo Bethan. My apologies, little dude!)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Back in the saddle again...

Hi guys! I have been away for a few months, working on something big in my life. I have been painting again! And dieting/exercising. Between those two things, my energy and spare time has been drained away. I needed to make those things a priority for a bit. But now that I am up and running (literally and figuratively), I am starting to add back in other activities to my life — like blogging. Life has gone on as I have taken my time out, so here's a visual recap of Easter, since that's where I left off.

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I take away two things from this few months of self-improvement. First: you know what sucks about dieting and exercising? Everything. Everything sucks about dieting and exercising. But it is nice to finally make some serious progress on the baby weight. It's been 2 years, it was time.

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The second thing I take away from this period of focusing on me: I love creating. I love making paintings. I love the process, and the outcome.

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I need to schedule time to focus on this aspect of my life on a regular basis. With four children, it is so very easy to put the artist aside and focus on being the mom -- which is very, very important to me.

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But the truth is, there is room for both. I can be a present, good, involved parent, and I can also take time to paint.

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The trick seems to be to break up the painting process into chunks of time that I can do at night after the kids go to bed, and spend longer stretches of time in the studio on the days when my husband is home from work.

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Also, it helps if I set up the studio like an assembly line. I try to work on three paintings at once, staggered so that I have a variety of tasks to choose from that will fit the amount of time I have available. If I do just one painting, the next step in the process may require 6 hours so I put it off until I can secure those hours for myself. But if I have several paintings in different stages, there's usually something to do that fits the time slot I have available.

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To sum up, self-improvement can be all-consuming. And Easter was great, I love this holiday for all it represents.

Also, the forced perspective in this picture cracks me up:

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hunters and Hunted

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Last week we went to an Easter egg hunt.

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It was such a beautiful morning!! Perfect for celebrating Easter.

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The kids were at the beginning of the sugar/activity/anticipation overload that comes with the holiday, so they were pretty perfect, too.

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Oh the cuteness!

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There was a whole truckload of cuteness going on that morning. There was brotherly affection...

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There was family togetherness,

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There was hand-holding,

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(Did you notice the cute little tongue sticking out? Here it is again.)

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(And again.)

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There was a lot of jumping practice going on,

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(Keep tryin', buddy.)

There was lots of cute hunting/gathering/counting/squatting,

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And there was a nice breeze. The baby thought the wind felt silly as it swirled through his hair.

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That last one cracks me up!!

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And now, all those hunted eggs are hatched, laying scattered all over my family room floor. A very small price to pay for a morning like this.

Did I mention the cuteness?

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Sometimes life really is charming. Except for the part where I lost my small black lens cap somewhere in that vast yard. But then a little girl found it for me! So yeah, we'll go with pretty much idyllic.

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