“When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.” ~ET Sullivan

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nostalgia

Last month while visiting my parents, I had a strange sense of familiarity as I watched my daughter play and learn inside the very walls where I had done the same as a small child. She played in the same room of my parent's basement with the very same toys I played with when I was her age. She went to Sacrament Meeting and nursery in the same rooms of the same church building where I attended them as a child (In fact, nearly two years ago, she was also blessed in the same chapel that I had been blessed in 22 years earlier, and in the presence of many of the same people). I sang her the same goofy bathtub song while she took a bath in the same tub where I learned the song myself so many years ago. Very nostalgic, no?

Here she is singing along to "The Bathtub Song"
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Monday, December 10, 2007

Teaching and Learning






What a fun age Leah is right now! Everything we teach her is new and exciting. We got her a play kitchen with her birthday money from Lola. It is so fun to see her explore and make believe! Thanks Lola!






Leah doesn't remember her last birthday, last Christmas, or last winter, so for everything we teach her, it's like she's learning it for the first time. I imagine it will feel this way again next year. How exciting is it to teach your little one about the birth of Christ and what snow is and to see the comprehension on her face several years in a row! She's learning so much...new traditions, new songs, new stories.


Here's a list of some recent things she's learned for the "first time":


Snow (and cold)
The Christmas tree and its twinkly lights
Blowing out birthday candles and opening presents
Not opening the presents under the tree
"Ring around the rosie"
Baby Jesus
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
Make-believe with her play kitchen
Winnie the Pooh (and his friends, of course!)
The bathtub song
...and so many more.

She always likes to sing along to songs she's heard. At 6:00 yesterday morning I heard her shout "Let's go fly a kite" and in the car she sang "You've got a friend in me!" This morning I heard her chanting something about Jesus, then I realized she was signing "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam," which she had to have learned at nursery, because I don't remember singing it to her. What a great feeling it is to realize that she is learning things at home and away. She is a very perceptive little girl.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Highs and Lows of Being Two

Leah had a relatively tear-free birthday; no major owies, no time-outs or spankings. We were busy partying, so she didn't get to bed until 10:00 last night, which made for a not so happy toddler today. The poor girl was under-rested from the start, and thanks to two different doctor's visits and an afternoon in the car, didn't get more than 1 hour of nap time. Chris came home at lunch time and was witness to Leah getting knocked in the head as she stepped in front of a door as it opened. Then when he came home from work, within an hour she pulled a chair over onto herself, getting a nasty forehead bruise, and in her traumatized state wouldn't eat dinner. By this point in time, we couldn't yet tell what part was hurt, so in case it was her mouth that hurt, I gave her ice to munch on...and she choked on it. I did a finger sweep and made her gag and it was actually quite scary. Yeah, it wasn't such a great day.

We were all a little traumatized by the time bed time rolled around. We are glad for the perspective that life is fragile and are appreciating our little girl so much right now despite the grumpy moments, or should I say days (we just don't want to be reminded of that fragility every day...).


On a good note,
the Dynamic Duo has been reunited!
Leah and Ophie are together again at last! Our friend at the Conoco in Laramie followed through on his promise to mail Ophie to us, and she arrived today! Here is Leah beaming as Ophie's return was revealed! Any ideas what to send this guy as a token of our appreciation?


2nd Thanksgiving and Birthday Pie

Leah was so happy on her birthday yesterday! She somehow knew that it was a special day because we were so happy and kept singing "Happy Birthday" to her. At first when I asked her what day it was and how old she was, she responded with "Elephants" and "Monkeys." Hmmm...obviously, we've programmed certain answers into her.

After church, she took a four hour nap during which the proud parents created a Thanksgiving dinner. We had some of our good friends and neighbors over to share it with us. Kudos to David for being willing to share a birthday bash with Leah. Dinner was followed by presents and a dessert buffet, then a rambunctious game of Balderdash. (Picture of candle-blowing coming soon...)

She really enjoyed opening her presents:

"Where the Wild Things Are" and a giant picture frame for her Pachyderm Painting from Grandma and Grandpa
A portable booster seat from David & Michal (we can take it to their house!)
From Mommy and Daddy: a plush Nemo (should have opened this one last), "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?," a Winnie the Pooh video, and a new shirt.

She also got cards with Target gift cards from Lola, and cash from Aunt Joy and Great-Grandma & Grandpa Fosdick in Savanna. Thanks everyone!

Here she is with her spoils (click on a picture to see it bigger):

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Circus Souvenir

While in Chicago last week, Uncle Carl treated us to something very special: a night at the circus! I don't think Leah quite knew what to expect, aside from elephants which we programmed into her. We arrived early for the pre-show in which you can get really close to the animals and performers. There was a lady who did a hula-hoop act, and her finale was to hula 16 hoops at once--that was pretty cool. We saw the poodles dance on their hind legs and do other tricks, acrobatics up close, and watched while Asia the elephant painted a picture by holding a paintbrush in her trunk. We entered to win the painting.

Well, the show was awesome. Leah was a little sleepy at first so it took her awhile to get into it, but eventually she was clapping and announcing whenever a new animal came out onto the stage (at least, when she wasn't concernedly plugging her ears because of all the noise!). During the show they announced the winner of the Pachyderm Painting, and it was our very own Leah!!!! This is the painting, complete with a frame from Grandma. What a treasure!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

Leah is learning so much. She is really good at relating things that she has experienced (but with some coaching). On her own, she has identified that the circus was noisy and fun and that the elephants danced. Although she can't identify a circle from a square or triangle, she did voluntarily identify the set as "shapes" which was a big surprise to me! She is learning her colors, she sings along to the alphabet song, and can count to ten all by herself. She knows where baby brother is and calls him Sammy, gives my belly a kiss, and can re-create the hearbeat sound we heard at the doctor's office. She knows a boy from a girl since she's watched me change diapers. She is learning to use words instead of whines, much at my encouragement since I have zero tolerance or patience for whining. She can make two and three word sentances including "Baby sad," "Big truck," "Daddy's book," "I like bubbles," and "I love you". She knows how to ask for help, can answer when asked what her name is (E-ah), and can ask for things she wants such as food, a binky, to go swimming, or for a toy. She's recently decided she doesn't like having dirty hands and insists I clean them for her mid-meal. Leah can identify people in pictures, and even said that Uncle Carl, who wears a beard, was Jesus. She liberally gives smiles, hugs, and kisses. She is the queen of imitating. She's recently decided to start snuggling again. How we love our little girl. I'm so glad we didn't leave her at a gas station in Laramie, Wyoming!

The Lost may be Found!

Perhaps my last post was premature, because Ophie may not be gone at all! I desperately and without hope called the Conoco in Laramie, Wyoming where Ophie was suspected to have been last seen. The attendant (unforgettable with a nose-ring, 1cm diameter earrings, and a tongue-ring) remembered us and kept Ophie safely under the counter should we return! He said he is going to mail her to us, which is quite believable considering there is a post-office station inside that very Conoco! Hooray! This emotional pregnant woman cried tears of joy! Leah has asked for Ophie in the meantime, and I usually just changed the subject or replaced Ophie with another stuffed animal, but on the one occasion that I told her Ophie was "all gone" and lost, I think we were both near tears! She saw the picture of Ophie on the post, and very dejectedly remarked "Ophie, lost!" and kissed the screen. I am very hopeful now that we may be able to reunite the two friends. I will undoubtedly keep you updated as more breaking news develops.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Farewell, Dear Friend

We've kept track of her and her precious Joey for almost a year. She's traveled with us to Illinois, Washington, Texas, and all places in between. She's gone through the washing machine many a-time, she has been retreived from multiple lost-and-founds, and she has absorbed pancake syrup, vomit, spaghetti sauce, orange juice, tears, and countless other substances, may they remain unknown to us. She was greatly loved, her fabric becoming threadbare and her stuffing lumpy. Leah has enjoyed parenting her favorite kangaroo, diapering her, feeding her, giving her a bath, brushing her teeth. Oh, how we will miss our dear Ophie. May the finder at that gas station in Wyoming enjoy her soft lumpiness for years to come.


I think I was perhaps more attached to Ophie than anyone else, for I actually shed tears at the realization that we left her behind, and Leah has yet to ask for Ophie (but I am also 7 months pregnant...), and I continue to mourn. Ikea unfortunately no longer sells the Klappar stuffed animal series, and the only one on ebay is somewhat overpriced...should that matter? We are prepared to present a stuffed Nemo to Leah on her birthday...but can that really take the place? Here is our family picture from our vacation, the last picture of our whole family, before Ophie was lost. May she rest in peace. *sniffle*

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zoo Talk...Still

It's been a month since our trip to the Zoo, but Leah still remembers what we saw and still talks about the animals all the time. We're looking forward to taking her to the circus next week and seeing more elephants!

video

Singing, Singing

Here's Leah singing at the dinner table. Can you decipher what the words are? Because we sure can't...

video

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All about imitating

Leah is quite good at imitating. She is very perceptive. Things that we say and that she hears, although she may not indicate that she's learned it, sometimes re-surface in her memory much later.

For example, she really likes Finding Nemo. She knows the chanting from the fish-tank initiation scene. Little did we know that she has the entire scene committed to memory. One day I did the chant and she responded with "Sharkbate, Ha Ha!" which is the next line! We never taught her that! She also likes to speak "whale" and gets a good laugh when we speak whale back. It took us a few times to figure out what she was saying, but then it was like a light-bulb turning on, and she was thrilled! She is always anxious to watch her favorite movies and excitedly waits to sing and dance along.

She can count to 10 but usually skips 5 and can do the alphabet in pieces with 9 coming after H. She's learning the song and I think that has helped. Somehow she picked up "No Way!" and says it all the time. She also "prays" while we are blessing the food, and we hear her saying all sorts of words that are just identifying the things around us, "Mommy, Daddy, water, Ophie, Dinosaur" etc. She encourages herself while she works a wooden puzzle by saying "turn it, turn it, good girl" and says "careful" as she goes down the stairs by herself.

Yesterday, Leah was "coloring" while I was reading and after a while I looked up to see what she was doing. She had torn a page out of her coloring book and was ripping it to shreds while saying "Sing songs, ...treats". After a puzzled moment, we realized she was recreating a scene from Mary Poppins where Mr. Banks tears up a peice of paper in the fireplace while grumbling about what the children wanted in their nanny. See for yourself:

video

What a copycat! (We may need to get some more coloring books)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fairy again

Mommy is proud of her work and of Leah for not destroying her costume today. Leah even liked to wear the headband, which was a surprise!

Interestingly enough, we got more compliments on last year's monkey costume that a neighbor kid was wearing than on the delicate and frilly costume Leah was wearing. I personally think Leah had the best costume and was the cutest two year old and should have won the costume contest--for what it's worth.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Consequences

Leah doesn't really understand the concept of consequences. In the two hotels we stayed in last week, her favorite amenity in each was the closet door, which she could close on herself and which provided a terrific bite-sized place to hide. However, just every about closet door provides a method for pinching fingers somehow. We experienced pinched fingers over and over and over again. You'd think that sliding the door on fingers or getting them pinched in the hinges would compel her to no longer play with the closet door, but in reality this consequence did not in the least deter our little one from continuing said activity. It is obviously an immediate and guaranteed consequence for a specific activity, and she continually brings it upon herself. Aren't kids supposed to learn that if they touch the hot stove and get burned they never try it again? I really do believe that if my little Leah were to ever touch the hot stove, she would probably still do it again! (I hope never to find out.)

Here's another example. The time out. When I ask her to do something and she simply ignores me, I warn her of a coming time out. I count (very slowly, too) one, two, three. On occasion, she jumps into action at two and does what I've asked her to do or cease doing (stop throwing things in the toilet, come here, don't hit, etc). But more often than not, she earns herself a timeout, which right now consists of being strong-armed on my lap for about a minute and a half. She thinks this activity is miserable, but continues to earn herself time-outs on a regular basis.

Other behaviors such as touching the computer or stereo or putting things in a socket earn her a slap on the hand, which makes her cry. So why does she continue to do it again and again and again? Didn't she learn?

When the misbehavior is a dangerous one, such as running out into the street, there is no grace period and I run after her and give her an on-the-spot spanking. Yes, I spank my child. (She wears a diaper, okay!) Sometimes she cries, but sometimes she laughs! Then I put her back down and she pulls free of my tight hand-hold and runs straight back into the street. I don't understand.

Lately she's been really clumsy, standing on things and falling off of them and biting her lip on the way down. This has happened twice in two days. Once she gets over the trauma aspect of an actual blood injury, she is usually really cuddly and pouty, which is really sweet. But it still doesn't explain why she continues to do the very same activities that get her hurt or in trouble!

Cuddly, pouty Leah after she bit her lip:


So this makes me wonder: If she doesn't understand the consequences of misbehaving or getting hurt, does she understand the consequences of positive behavior? She gets candy when she tells me she went poopy and when she sits on the potty. Does she get it? She gets cheering and a round of applause and attention when she succeeds at an activity or does something cute. Does she get it? Am I to conclude that since she does cute things more often than mischeivous things she already recognizes the value of positive attention and prefers it to the negative consequences of bad behavior?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fairy Leah

Fairy Leah all decked out:



Attacking the Frankenstein pinata:


Mother and Daughter together:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Latest Adventures

While we've been on vacation in the exotic and far-away land of northern Utah, we had the opportunity to go on several exciting adventures. (Click on any picture to see it enlarged)
She liked the huge pillowy beds in our hotel room. That's the right way to watch Nemo.

Thursday, we visited the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. It was very cold. Once we went inside, Leah was frightened by the realistic mechanical dinosaurs that kept growling at her. I just told her to growl back.

On Friday, we visited the Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base. It was free! Leah occasionally noticed the airplanes and was temporarily amazed, then continued to play with the exhibit ropes and look at her reflection in the floor.

On Saturday, we visited the Treehouse Museum in Ogden with the Lewises and the Rowberrys. There, kids can dress up like knights and put on a show, make noise on drums and marimbas, play with trains, dive into all of the greatest story-book scenes, and much more. Of course, we forgot the camera, but it was a blast for young and old!

Leah got to experience what it's like to be a guitar hero!








Gramma sent a new dress which Leah wore to church on Sunday. She likes that her new Mary Janes are so tappy on hard floors, so she doesn't want to take them off!

Monday we took Leah to the Hogle Zoo for the first time. She especially liked the monkeys, the elephants, the "teddy" bears, the penguins, chasing turkeys, growling at the growling tiger, the drinking fountains that look like lions, the slide that's shaped like a snake, the stray sparrows that aren't really part of the zoo, the train, and the waterfall inside the aligator house. It was really funny to hear her try to repeat "Rhinocerous" and "Alligator." Here are some highlights:

Chasing a turkey.








She was so awestruck at the sight of a real elephant that she wouldn't look at the camera. I guess that's the whole point.






Climbing on the Tiger statue. We couldn't exactly let her cuddle with a real tiger, could we?






Riding the Zoofari Express.








Sitting on the statue elephant's trunk.








At the wrong end of a gorilla.








All tuckered out at the end of the day. Whew! Mission: Accomplished.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fun times with Lola

Lola and Russ came through this past week for a few days, and I've since sorted through over 300 pictures to bring you a select few. Enjoy!

Playtime!


















Showing off tricks for Lola and Russ


















At Thanksgiving Point's Scarecrow Festival. She had to hug each and every pumpkin.


















Yes, there was a certain amount of climbing before she could come down! She was fearless even though the other kids could have easily trampled her.



















Playing in the water and sand at the Dinosaur Museum. I think she looks like Mommy when she was a little girl.



















Check out my giant dinosaur that Lola got me!



















Story time with Lola

Favorite activities

Leah's favorite activity is jumping. Here she is playing in a pool full of balls at the Scarecrow festival (we mostly stayed in the toddler tent). We were so inspired that we came home and recreated the ball pit in our very own basement. She loves it!





























Friday, October 12, 2007

Why kids are so stinkin' expensive

First of all, they cost a lot to get here. From the initial pregnancy test (I get mine from the dollar store) to months of maternity clothes and outrageous pregnancy cravings, it is an expensive process, not to mention the hospital and doctor's bills. Then there's the nursery to outfit and stock, including a crib, a rocking chair, other furniture for baby's room, clothes and diapers for a newborn, all the accessories needed for nursing and travelling with convenience and safety-the carseat, stroller, diaper bag, etc.

Once the baby is born, you have to constantly supply diapers for a minimum of 2-3 years. Right now, Leah wears 5 or 6 diapers a day, and at approximately $.25 each, that's over a dollar a day! You have to provide food and clothing for the child, who is constantly growing and therefore requiring a progressively increasing amount of food and continually needing new clothes and shoes each season.

Then of course are the developmental expenses that creep in along the way: she's crawling, so you need to buy a gate to keep her from tumbling down the stairs. She's teething, so you need to buy teething gel, tylenol, and cough syrup. She's imitating everything you do, so you buy her a play camera, a play phone, a play set of keys, and of course you have to document it with a real camera for the grandparents to see. She's graduated from a bottle and you need to outfit the cupboards with sippy cups, but it takes 10 tries to find the right kind. She needs age-appropriate toys to help her development, so you buy new toys every six months, and all manner of devices to provide entertainment for the child so you can do something else. She wants to feed herself, so you need to buy kid forks and spoons and bibs. She's old enough to start sitting on the potty, so you buy a training potty and start buying more expensive, less effective diapers (we haven't gotten here yet). Then there's the painful expense of replacing things that your dear little one has broken, something we have yet to experience the joy of, but that I know is coming.

We haven't even gotten to the school-age stage of music lessons and sports teams, school fees, field trips, 11pm sugar-cube igloos. I don't even know what I'm missing!

Granted, it is not as expensive to have a second kid as it is to have the first, since you can use the same nursery furniture, clothes, carseat, toys, teething gel, etc. But it's dang expensive! First of all, why would anyone have children at all, and secondly, why wouldn't you have a second based on the decreasing relative price!?!?
But, oh the joy!