Friday, March 26, 2010

The Huntington

A friend recently generously gave us a membership to The Huntington. Yesterday we went and spent a wonderful afternoon there.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Sugars

We have a model for solving problems with Eleanor that I got from this book. One of us will state the problem and then we work together to come up with possible solutions. We talk over what each solution would look like and if they are viable or not and try to come to a solution that works for all parties involved.

Recently we were having a problem with sugar. Kids are sugar magnets. Every one wants to give them treats because it makes them so happy. I end up becoming the sugar police, a role I do not enjoy and Eleanor was prone to sugar wanting meltdowns. So after a particularly sugary day, I sat Eleanor down and we had a conversation about the sugar problem. We decided that Eleanor would be allowed a certain number of sugary treats every day and that she could decide when and what they would be. After a bit of haggling, we compromised on three sugars per day and that big things (cupcakes, ice cream cones, etc) would count as two.

This was the end of sugar induced tantrums. For the first week, she would meet her quota by noon. Then she learned to say, "No, I don't want that candy because I want dessert after dinner." She's learning self-control, budgeting, moderation...I couldn't be more proud. The strange part is if she meets her sugar quota and then is offered another candy, she takes it and almost forces it upon someone else so she can enjoy it vicariously. We're still working on that.

Tonight we had all three sugars at once. We had dessert at a soda shop. Eleanor and I split a hot fudge sundae. It was fantastic--hot fudge under and covering the ice cream, served on a plate to catch the overflow, fresh whipped creme with two cherries on top. Here it was beginningish.

Eleanor, a true girl, liked the chocolate the best.

I took this picture thinking we were finished. It was my "after" shot.

But Eleanor had other plans: "I want to make it where they don't have to clean it."

Unfortunately that made it where I had to clean her. She's such a fun child.

As we walked into the soda shop, Eleanor was singing an original tune with the lyrics, "I didn't make a mess." She changed it after we had our ice cream.
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Beach Day

Our neighbors and good friends recently moved away. Luckily, they didn't move too far and they moved closer to the beach. We went to see them and take Charlotte to meet the sand and sea. I like this picture of Sarann and all the colors.
Eleanor has been asking for a kite for a very long time. I bought a cheap kite at Target last week and hoped that it would work well enough to appease her desire. It worked beautifully. I literally put it together and then held it up while I let out string. No effort whatsoever and it flew great. Eleanor had no trouble navigating it herself, but lost interest fairly quickly.

Eleanor thought it would be fun to be buried in the sand. She didn't like sandy results.
Charlotte enjoyed the beach. She didn't eat any sand, but was very interested in everything (and very sleepy).
Somehow I stepped in tar. Matt helped me scrape most of it off with a shell. I was able to get the rest completely off with a oily sugar scrub (from Bath and Body Works).
Dan and Sarann were discussing the Tea Party.
Charlotte was playing E.T.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Half Birthday Little Charlotte Rose!

Charlotte is now six months old. To commemorate this, we spent some time on the grass today. I tried to get some pictures, but no one would cooperate. First Charlotte showed immense attention to everything except for me.

Then she tired to steal Eleanor's gummy bears.

Then the sun was hitting Eleanor just right and Charlotte was in the shadows.

Then Eleanor got the camera.

We tried. I'll try again soon.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Caterpillar Adoption Night

It's finals week here. It's almost over, which means we get Matt back soon. I try to find things during finals week to keep the girls and me busy. Tuesday night Kidspace had their annual Caterpillar Adoption Night, an event with caterpillar/butterfly themed crafts, songs and activities. Eleanor had a blast. Charlotte had a nap, but liked the parts she saw.

Eleanor's favorite part of Kidspace is the tricycle track. She's getting very good at following the arrows and stopping at the stop sign. Okay, this picture shows her not on the track at all, but most of the time she was.

Charlotte and I watched.

Eleanor was in craft heaven. They had most of her favorite activities: painting, beads, decorating cookies, gluing and more. First she made a caterpillar.

Then we looked at all the insects. This is a scorpion, or as Eleanor said, "Look at this crab!"

Eleanor was so excited to decorate her own cookie. She put huge globs of this red decorating gel on the butterfly cookie.
After eating it she looked a bit like a vampire after a feast or a geisha.
We went on to make antenna and wings for Eleanor to wear when she wanted to be a butterfly.
We came home with our newest pet, a little caterpillar. It's tiny, but is already growing. In about a week, it should make a cocoon. Eleanor thought that the caterpillar should live with Hermit (the snail), but I convinced her to keep them separate.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Sugar cookies are very much part of my family tradition. Not just normal sugar sprinkled on top cookies, but detailed, extravagantly iced cookies. I know everyone says their grandma made the best cookies, but mine really did. I have memories of decorating cookies with her. This was not a fast process. It involved icing in multiple colors, candy and sprinkles for accents, toothpicks for detailing and a lot of patience. My favorites were the camels in the Christmas cookies. They had tiny silver balls that would almost break your teeth, but were pretty to look at.

When Matt and I got married, Grandma gave me a sample of her cookie cutters--some for every holiday. Coupled with all the cookie cutters my mom gave me, we have a cookie cutter for almost any occasion: Christmas, Easter, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, robot parade, school themed, and animals of all kinds. All that being said, I don't think I've ever used most of the cookie cutters.

While digging through a cabinet the other night, I found a set of letter cookie cutters that my mom gave Eleanor a long time ago. I decided that Eleanor was old enough to help make some cookies. The next morning, while Charlotte was napping, we mixed up the dough. Charlotte woke up in time to watch us cut them out (poor second child).

Eleanor's favorite part was decorating them. She said it's her new favorite thing to do. (I think all the sugar involved may have something to do with that.)

I let Eleanor use the scraps to make her own creation. She sculpted it into a little girl holding a flower and layered the icing on pretty heavily.

I think it's fitting that Eleanor's first cookie making experience was with my grandma. Coincidentally, it was Grandma's last.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zoo Day

I finally renewed our zoo membership last night so the girls and I could have a zoo day!

We went with a group of friends.

We saw the tiger playing with his ball.

But Charlotte preferred the lions.

Eleanor had a lot of fun with her friend Abagail.

She also tried to pose like the meercats.

Eleanor posed by the condor.

Then Eleanor took Charlotte's picture with the condor. She didn't want me in the picture, so she tried to crop me out.

Then she took my picture. Some days her photography skills are better than others.

And from our first trip to the zoo, fall 2007:

Monday, March 08, 2010

A Trip to the Mall

We went to the mall today. Of course, we did the normal things like ride the carousel and get ice cream. We also found some very cute skirts for the girls (pictures soon).

As we were leaving Eleanor and I spotted this:

Not the best picture, but this is our new pet Pinky-bluey the snail.

We walked on to our car. As I started to get Charlotte out of the wrap, I noticed it was wet. I looked down and saw

poop. Everywhere. Disgusting.

It probably took 15 minutes to get Charlotte cleaned up, the girls buckled in, and find a proper receptacle for our newly acquired pet's ride home. At least three cars stopped to wait for my space, but they all gave up hope of me ever leaving and moved on.

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Friday, March 05, 2010


I let Eleanor feed Charlotte some sweet potatoes tonight.

Charlotte may have orange snot for a while.

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Everyone Loves Boba

Even Charlotte.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Breaking the Rules

I like following rules. Most of the time. Well, some of the time. Okay, I like following some rules some of the time. Anyway, I broke a lot of rules this evening. According to the baby rule makers, solids are supposed to be introduced at six months. Rice cereal should be introduced first in a very watered down consistency, then vegetables, then fruits. These rules change often depending on current studies or how much Gerber is paying the rule makers.

Tonight I gave Charlotte sweet potato puree. She is 18 days from her half birthday, so I guess I'm not that much of a rule breaker. For about a month she has been watching us eat with such envy and intensity (sometimes even making chewing motions with us). Finally tonight I gave in and gave her something to eat. She sat with us at the table. I gave her a spoon with a little sweet potato in it and she ate away. She would complain when the spoon stopped producing sweet potato, but wouldn't let go of it to let me refill it. She ate one ice cube of sweet potato (about an ounce) before she threw the spoon on the floor and would have nothing more to do with this whole eating thing.

Eleanor was not happy with this plan. When I first gave Charlotte the spoon, Eleanor said, "No, you do it like this." She then proceeded to take the spoon away from Charlotte and feed her. Charlotte didn't mind too much as long as she was getting the good stuff.

This was not my plan for how to feed Charlotte, but I'm learning that babies often have their own plans.