Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Petsmart Playdates

One of our favorite activities is going to the "free zoo" most people call Petsmart. We end up there about once a week. This habit started when we lived across the street from one in our last apartment. Now it has continued as they seem to be in many of the shopping centers I need to stop in. We love to look at the fish, birds, monsters (hamsters), cats, and especially the "Doggy Day Care." The doggy daycare is a glass walled room where people bring their beloved pets during the day. There are probably about 25-30 dogs in there providing us with quite the exhibit. I think we spent about forty-five minutes watching them on Monday. The kids LOVE it! We describe the dogs, compare the dogs' sizes, give them names, talk about their colors, and discuss which one we would like to have.

Yesterday, T decided that he should share his snack with one of them. It was pretty hilarious to watch him throw his cracker at the window only to have it ricochet back. He wasn't too bothered. All he could do was try to share, right? A few minutes later, a precocious little girl noticed how long we had been standing there, and suggested we buy one. I told her that then I would have to take care of it. Then B told her that, "We already have my grandma's dog." And I thought, that's right, sweetheart! It doesn't even matter that the dog is a state away, and you see it semi-annually, and it is small and pretty scared of you except for when you have food to drop. That is your dog. Good answer to that little girl!

The kids would love a pet, and J was almost convinced, by their giggles and smiles and happiness while looking at them the other day, to get a hamster. I am not really interested in getting a pet because I am already flexing my "Taking Care of Things" muscles quite enough with the two toddlers. J said he would take care of the cage with the kids, but I know that all of the his childhood pet hamsters' lives came to tragic ends. So, basically, I am not sure we are responsible enough for a pet right now, and our kids are still too young to even pretend like they are going to be. So, in the meantime we will just keep going to Petsmart. And we will continue telling the sales associates, "No thank you, we don't need any help. We're just looking. "

Saturday, February 21, 2009

First Year with Us!

It has been one year since this amazing little man joined our family. We cannot imagine life without his laugh, fun-loving spirit, and snuggles! When he came as a 9 month old, he was very sick with a parasite, skin infection, and a nasty little cough. He couldn't bear weight on his legs, eat solid food, or hold his head up. He would smile some and would wave in front of his face to give himself something to look at. A year later he is the most active and happy "almost two year old" boy. Let us tell you a little about him now...

T loves life and happily gallops wherever he goes! He adores laughing and making others laugh, too. He loves his sister so much that he asks for her and cries for her if she is not around. They are surely best friends. This also means he wants everything she has - not just something identical to what she has - that exact object! He most certainly let's you know, if he hasn't already taken it.

He is talking all of the time (and saying some pretty cute things, mind you!) All of a sudden his vocabulary quadrupled and surprised us, like when he turned around when we left the park the other day and said, "Bye-bye, Playground! See you later!" First thing when he woke up the other morning, he grabbed J's glasses off of the nightstand and stuck them on his face before saying, "Let's Go!" He still prefers to sleep on one of our chests though he will occasionally sleep through the night rather than joining us in bed.

He is adventurous and loves to play on jungle gyms (especially giant ones designed for older kids - much to his mother's terror!) He also likes playing and chasing with friends. He tried to dive into the touch tank at the aquarium, but then when a fish got too close to where he was sticking his hand, he ran for a hug from mom and said, "I scared fishy!"

He loves his family and talks about his parents, sister, grandparents, aunt, and uncles all of the time. He still loves to sing to himself and just discovered how fun walking backwards is. He is very caring and always tries to make sissy feel better by patting her back or giving her a cup of milk if she is sad. He also likes to pray and yell "Amen!" He is most thankful for "Baths!" when we are praying. We are most thankful that Jesus blessed us with such a precious little boy (to join his precious big sister) just one year ago.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

“Some people are so special that once they enter your life, it becomes richer and fuller and more wonderful than you ever thought it could be.” – Anonymous

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla

I recently finished reading the book, I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Bi-racial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite Wright. This book has been very encouraging for me in that the author is very positive about the outcomes of thoughtfully and lovingly raising children of all races in transracial homes, as well as natural homes. It has caused me to think about a lot of what I want both of our children to learn from us about life and others and themselves. I would highly recommend it to any parent who wants to be sure their children grow up with healthy self-images and opinions of others.

One thing which has struck me is the author’s emphasis on how much children learn from our reactions to others and to situations even at a very young age. Basically, we need to be careful of what we say to our children, about our children, and about others. When we display it with our actions and words, it helps our children to know we really do believe that character is more important than outward appearance. I am so thankful that J and I both came from families where this was the case. I just hope we are able to express to our children the incredible value we have for all human life. Our kids definitely deserve to know exactly how amazing they are.

Here are some of the other points I want to remember:

*Be sure to positively respond to comments made about your family.

*Teach your children that diversity is an asset and provide early contact with people of all races.

*Shield your children as long as possible from racial issues – they aren’t able to process the experiences early on. Have zero tolerance for racism.

*Tell your children how wonderful they are and tell others great things about them, too.

*Make sure your child has role models of similar race as them (what a blessing to have T see our current president as he grows up). This counteracts the negative influence that racism still has in this country.

In our house chocolate and vanilla taste pretty sweet together! Here you can see our two little cuties last weekend.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the Driver's Seat

So, I made a beautiful discovery. It isn’t the most earth friendly thing, but I feel like the personal pay-off for my sanity is worth the carbon footprint. If I keep my children up with activities and fun, and then subsequently drive around at 2 p.m. in the afternoon for around 10 minutes, they will fall asleep for two hours. Yes, two solid hours. Since the weather is nice, I can park and roll down a window and crack open a good book. I just get to take a break from the day and read. As of late I have read about the orphan crisis in Ethiopia, raising African American children with healthy self-images, potty training in a day, and Jesus of Suburbia. I have so enjoyed the reading and thinking that has resulted from this little pocket of time. Today I was contemplating the extravagant grace and inclusivity of Jesus and the radical life he calls us to, while parked in front of someone’s house a street away from my own. It sounds strange, but it is really nice. And, though I adore my children all of the time, I find that I enjoy them even more after a good rest for all of us. Furthermore, I am rejuvenated just in time for the impromptu toddler dance party to the Cars soundtrack which I will be participating in later that afternoon.
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Birthday Girl, Her Brother, and Her Minnie Cake

Here are some pictures from B’s birthday and a picture of the cake! B loved it, and we have my dear friend Anna to thank for it. Instead of being a pile of frosting if I had done it alone, Anna coached me and it turned out darling! What a special birthday memory! I hope I didn’t set the bar too high for myself for next time though…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Little Princess Turns Two!

It is quite hard for me to believe that this week she turns two. However, then I look at her and realize what a beautiful and caring little girl she has become, and I see how she is no longer a baby. She is such an absolute sweetheart. We are so very in love with this little girl, and we seem to fall more and more in love with her at every next stage. She says the most kind and thoughtful (and not to mention, hilarious) things, as she is incredibly observant and picks up on everything. Here are a few other words we use to describe her:

Fun-Loving - After we finish almost any activity she will tell me, "That was way fun, Mom!"

Caring - She is always trying to make others feel happy with pats on the back, sharing her toys, or with kind words. She adores her brother and her friends.

Bright - She makes great connections for everything and always says "Oh! That's just like when..." and she doesn't forget a thing.

Encouraging - When I get off the phone she tells me "Good talking, mom!" or she thanks daddy for cleaning up. When T was sick she said, "It's okay T. Sissy's here, T." and she gave him repeated hugs. She also makes sure to tell him, "It's okay, Sissy's back, T!" whenever she returns.

Shy - Around strangers or when she gets embarrassed she will tell us, "I'm too shy!" or she will draw attention to or talk about T to take off some of the pressure.

Talkative - She talks constantly and says the cutest things. It’s our favorite! And if she isn't talking to us, she is talking to Minnie on her Minnie Mouse cell phone.

Snuggly - She still loves for mommy and daddy to hug her. Yay for that!

Other notables for this month:

She loves "monsters" (hamsters), loves hot chocolate and candy hearts, loves books and reads stories to herself (and us) that she has memorized, taps her finger on her chin when she is thinking, and says "hmmm...what else should I say?" She loves all things girly and requested two things for her birthday: Tinkerbell Shoes and a Minnie Mouse cake (watch for pictures of my attempt in the next few days! Should be humorous!)

What joy she has brought us! We are so thankful for God’s blessing of her! Happy Birthday, Sweet girl!