“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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The second 3rd Birthday Bash

Dec 2, 2008

Happy Birthday again!...on the real day!

Here we are having another party with the little kids in the neighborhood. Little did Mom know that the parents would drop their kids off and come back an hour later--leaving me alone with seven two and three year olds all at once. (Chock one up to anti-anxiety medication that I didn't throw the kids in a room full of toys and lock myself in the bathroom to wait it out in fear)

While the menu may have been less sophisticated at this party than the first (apple slices and crackers as opposed to deli sandwhich wraps and fruit with fondue), it was no less fun. Leah enjoyed playing with her friends and showing off her rocket (which I think we had to put away in order to avoid a mutiny). We got to visit the cupcakes with birthday candles outlet again, and it was a blast for all the kids.

Here is Leah opening up some of her presents. She got story books, coloring books, and a princess tiara with bling! She also got a cookie decorating kit which we made the next day (pictures to come!)

I did surprisingly well managing all the kids solo. Thank goodness it was only an hour! I busted out the bubbles and a dollar-store game that turned out to be quite a hit. Whew!

Samuel was not left out of the fun!

Leah's Birthday Bash

Nov 28, 2008

Happy Third Birthday, Leah!

Ever since her Mom and Dad had birthdays in the summer, Leah has been asking if her birthday was ready yet. Well, it's finally ready! Here's Leah's Little Einsteins birthday party with Aunt Rebecca and Great-Grandma Benac.

Leah was very happy to have special visitors at her birthday party and was treated as a princess. We even let her have chocolate for lunch followed by several cupcakes.

Grandma Benac gave Leah a 25th anniversary Cabbage Patch Kid, who we named Belle (contrary to Sorenson family tradition, which would have dictated that the doll be named Leah CP. CP for Cabbage Patch).

Aunt Rebecca's present to Leah is a trip to the DuPage Children's museum, which we will go to when we are in Naperville at Christmastime.

And of course, what would a Little Einsteins party be without Leo, Quincy, Annie, June and a red Rocket? Leah is inseparable from her new Rocket, which plays music and responds to each character as they sit in their respective seats, and only takes about 5 minutes to get really annoying. She brings it with her in the bathroom, to bed, and even tried to bring it to church.

Here is the birthday girl with her special visitors:

Monday, December 1, 2008

What they are saying

Samuel: dog

Leah: I want pickles. With a hamburger on top.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bad Dream

Mom: Did you have a bad dream?

Leah: Yeah.

Mom: What happened in your dream that was scary?

Leah: A pumpkin.

Mom: What was the pumpkin doing?

Leah: It was growling at me.

Mom: Awwww. Did you growl back? You should make him smile. Sing "When you chance to see a frown..."


Mom: You should just run away from the scary pumpkin.

Leah: (with comprehension, her face lightens in joy) Yeah, because he doesn't have any legs!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rude Awakenings

We are trying to get Leah to stay in her bed a little later. Since moving the start of our bedtime ritual from 8:30 to 7:00, or right after dinner (I said start time, mind you), she has been waking up before 7:00am. Just ask my Dad, I am not a morning person. (Of course, I am writing this at 11:00 pm). 8:00 is much more preferred than 7, and you'd think that with the shortening days, our potential sleep time would be increasing. This is not so.

At least she can stay in bed until the sun rises, right?

We've tried encouraging her to look out her window to see if the sun has "woken up" yet. We've tried setting her up with a bowl of cereal, a sippy cup in the fridge, and the Disney channel just a button away. We've tried encouraging her to go potty all by herself in the morning. But not only can we not train her to let us sleep just a little bit later, but she wakes up the baby with her loudness and then there is no going back to sleep for anyone.

Here are some of the things we've heard her shout--repeatedly--first thing in the morning when we're trying to get a few extra minutes of shut-eye:

IS IT MY BIRTHDAY? CAN I HAVE MY BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES? (no, her birthday is "not ready yet")

And on the off-chance that she's downstairs, hopefully watching TV:

MOM! MOM! WHAT'S IN YOUR PUMPKIN? (the candy jar--it's candy corn)
WHAT'S NEXT? (Handy Manny)
WHAT HAPPENED TO WOODY? (his arm ripped)

Of course, there are those rare mornings that she trots into my room and climbs into bed with me and we snuggle and make faces at each other for a few minutes before going down to breakfast.

Ah, the joys of parenthood!

Miss Independent

Leah wants to do everything herself.

If I open the fridge to take out a sippy cup, a cheese stick, the milk jug...anything, Leah will most likely replace said item, close the fridge, and start over, doing it herself.

Opening doors, turning on light switches, putting her potty seat on the toilet, turing on or off the TV, turning on the faucet, zipping up her pj's-you name it, she wants to do it herself. For every one of these activities, she will un-do whatever it is that I've done so that she can do it herself.

Here's the best one yet: we were at a store when she had to go. It was a really nasty public bathroom and I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. She went. I flushed and proceeded to the sink. She immediately started crying "No, I want to flush!" She then proceeded to remove her pants again and start the entire process over. And going through the motions was not good enough. She had to sit there and wait for more pee to come out before she could be done and do the "flushing" herself. Yeah, makes a lot of sense.

Now why can't I get her to dress herself?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The point of no return

If only she had known the true significance of my offer, she might not have so willingly collected all of her binkies and ceremoniously thrown them all away in exchange for this balloon. Leah was very excited to finally get to play with this balloon that has been hiding in the bathroom for several days, but when bedtime came around...not so much. (can you see how jealous the baby is of the mysterious new entity in the room?)

Of course, I waited until after our traditional Sunday nap. After the bathroom routine (where she is fully potty trained and finally starting to let me brush her teeth), we adjourned to the bedroom for story time, and she immediately recognized that her binky was in the garbage can, a permanent resting place. Oh, the tears and decibels of sorrow! I continued our normal routine, reading normally despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, had a bedtime prayer, and I blew out the light. I locked the door behind me.

After 15 minutes of feeding the baby and breathing deeply, my guilt had truly gotten the better of me. From behind her door, I heard such things as "I don't want a balloon!" and "I don't want to be a big girl!" How pitiful! Did she think she was being punished? Would this be the end of peaceful nights and afternoon naps? Will she resort to thumb-sucking? Would she ever trust me again? After consulting with Chris and receiving some encouragement not to give in, I went back in to Leah's room.

I comforted her and assured her that she was not being punished and I was not mad at her. I told her that it is hard to give up something we love and it is okay to be sad. I'm not sure how much of my pep talk was understood, but after signing and rocking quietly for 15 minutes, the thunder died down. I told her stories and we talked about the upcoming holidays. She is excited to be Jesse (from Toy Story 2) for Halloween, to have a birthday, and to "be nice to Daniel" after we go on an airplane at Christmastime. We looked out the window and talked about the seasons and how the leaves would soon turn colors, fall off and dry up. "We better wear shoes," she decided, so that we can crunch around on the leaves and not have our feet get cold. She was a little sweetheart and I could tell that she had already forgiven me.

Then I laid in bed with her for a few minutes hoping she would fall asleep. When it was finally time for me to leave, she was still awake, but I could tell that she had come to terms with this new development, at least for the time being. I'm hoping that in the morning, she will know to be proud of herself for going a night without a binky. I'm sure she'll parrot back to me that she got a balloon and we said bye-bye to her binky, and then she cried a lot.

I'm beginning to understand why so many people call the two's terrible: we expect so much of such a small creature. Since she turned two not even a year ago, Leah got a baby brother, transitioned from a crib to a big-girl bed and from diapers to panties. She talks in complete sentences but doesn't quite know enough words or have the emotional capacity to understand and fully communicate. It's no wonder they have a hard time.

Here's to my super-daughter and the opportunity to grow up a little. How I love my little girl!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Practice makes perfect

I have started practicing french braids on Leah's hair when she's freshly out of the bathtub and fully entertained by a movie. I did it a couple weeks ago for church, but it was pretty loose. Last night was a good opportunity to practice again. I think I'm getting better--I just can't get them very tight or even. Now, if only she'd leave them in for more than 3 minutes!

Motherly Sisterhood

Leah likes to play mom to anything and everything. She feeds her dolls and toys a toy bottle, then rocks them to sleep in a blanket. "Shhh mom, baby frog is sleeping!" I've even seen her put Buzz Lightyear under her shirt to nurse. (embarrassed grin)

In the rare event that mom wakes up before the baby, I pump a bottle for him. Leah was excitedly willing to be the one to feed a real baby a real bottle!

I think these kids like each other, what do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2008


The latest installment of Leah-speak.

puger (computer)
scoofdiver (screwdriver)
scratch-back (back scratch)
Mom, I don't have any dressed (Mom, I'm not dressed)
I'm hungry some for luntz (I'm hungry for some breakfast, lunch, or dinner--this is usually the first thing I hear in the morning)
Mom, how was my nap? (Mom, ask me how my nap was--it was good)

Today Leah opened up an empty notebook and started reading to me. She said:
"Once upon a time there was a little girl named Leah. Loooong hair. And Samuel was crying and crawling."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Daddy Daughter Date

Leah and Daddy had a Daddy-daughter date last month while I was visiting my Grandma in Texas. They went to Thanksgiving Point and had a blast. It was a hot day. Leah got to go on a pony ride and a horse-drawn carriage ride. She saw the animals in the petting zoo--ducks, goats, donkeys, llamas, baby chicks, and horses. Her favorite thing by far was the pony ride!

After spending some time at Farm Country, Chris and Leah went inside to the dinosaur museum and looked around while they waited for their movie: Wall-E. This was Leah's first ever movie theater experience, and she is still talking about it a month later!

Of spending the day with Leah, Chris said "I kept looking at her thinking 'she's not always going to be like this.' I took a mental picture while she was riding the horse so that I would always have that moment in my mind. I always want to remember what she was like as a little girl."

I think Daddy-daughter day was a big hit!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Samuel's Latest Hits: Addendum

Okay, here are a few things I failed to add last time.

Samuel is pulling himself up to a standing position on everything. He is very proud of himself for this.

Samuel loves to play and splash in the bath! I just graduated him from the bath seat in favor of bare-bottom on the bottom of the tub. I had to bust out the old non-slip mat or he would just slip and slide all over, but he loves the freedom!

Object permanence: Samuel looks for whatever it was that you just took away from him or that he dropped. Also, it is so cute, but when he drops a cheerio, he looks down after it and reaches for it. If it is just on the chair or in his lap, he very determinedly reaches and pinches is up and eats it.

Did I mention this kid is determined?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Samuel's latest hits

He's growing so fast that I can't keep up informing you of what is going on!

Samuel is teething. He has one bottom tooth with its next door neighbor coming in. He's never inconsolably cried quite like when he was getting his first tooth. Poor guy! I'm sure thankful for Orajel!
Samuel is eating solids and loves it! He is a hungry boy!

Samuel is sitting up on his own, crawling, grabbing, and putting everything in his mouth. He is very determined. Leah never could get herself from crawling to a sitting position or from sitting to crawling, and she could hardly sit up unassisted until nine months or so. Samuel had it mastered at 7 months.

Samuel is already trying to pull himself up on stuff. He does this crawling "move" where he sticks his bum up in the air with his legs extended below him, like he's a camel, and it looks like he's trying to stand up. He has already tried lifting himself up into a cabinet or onto a toy. I can see the wheels turning--he keeps lifting one leg hesitantly trying to figure out how to get it over the edge of the cabinet, and then he chickens out and does something else. It is so cute, because he's not quite there yet, but I can tell that he really wants to be.

Here's some more evidence that Samuel is more of an independent thinker and a problem solver than Leah. Leah never held her own bottle--she made me hold it for her, and Samuel figured out how to hold a bottle the very first time I handed him one. Nowadays, Leah will complain that she is stuck on something, or she'll climb into his crib and not be able to get herself out, and she'll whine and wait for me to come rescue her. I show her how to get herself unstuck, like "put your leg over the edge and reach down," or "push the chair away from the table and you'll be able to get out." She still doesn't get it. I can already tell that Samuel will be the kid who gets himself unstuck on his own. He also recovers faster after bonking his head. Maybe it only takes a few months of minor older-sibling "abuse" to toughen up a younger sibling. It is so increasingly amazing to me how different my children's personalities are at such young ages. And it is so much fun!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Samuel Meets Great-Grandma Helen

Here is documentation of our weekend hiatus to visit Grandma Helen in Texas. Samuel is among 40-something other great-grandchildren, but that doesn't make his any less special!

Grandma was thrilled to meet our little guy, and they hit it off great! Please pardon the poor quality of these camera-phone pictures.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm a big kid now!

Leah is such a big girl! She is mostly potty trained (how do you really know when you are completely done potty-training, anyway?). This would have been a week and a half since her last accident if she hadn024't has so many blueberries yesterday... She also has a big girl bed! No more crib for this girl, c0heck out her latest tent bed setup:

Today we videotaped her making a commercial. Okay, so she may not be the most articulate, but don't you think she is just the most beautiful, intelligent, sweet little girl ever? Is this how every parent feels about their own children?

Laughing and crawling

Here are two videos that are quite possibly only appreciated by grandparents.

Samuel (army) crawling, with Leah providing the commentary:

(He is actually quite a determined little mover!)

Leah spinning in circles and causing uproarious laughter--at least they are entertaining each other!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where has our cousin gone?

Someone is missing from this picture. Here are four out of five Sorenson cousins in the same place at the same time. PAUL--WHERE ARE YOU? WE NEED YOU!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Crawling or not?

Yes, dear sister, I am copying you and asking for votes on whether or no you all think this is genuine crawling or not. 50 bonus points if you can name the movie that is playing in the background.

Faceoff and a new Friend

Faceoff between the two kids. Sometimes I will come into the room and discover that they are just sitting there laughing at each other! It is the earliest form of them playing together or entertaining each other, and I love it!

Leah meets a grasshopper for the first time. This little discovery engrossed her for at least half and hour.

And here is a video of Leah spinning in Samuel's exersaucer. She thinks it's hers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Latest Developments

Samuel can roll over and "scoot" across the room. I laid there on the floor recording him for half an hour trying to catch the latter on video, so as soon as I got up to transfer laundry for 2 minutes, he got himself all the way across the room. Figures.

Leah has mastered the alphabet!