Wednesday, November 27, 2013

thankful for you! {free printable}

We're pretty big fans of crafting around here. I'm constantly dreaming up random things to do or color or paint. Especially since preschool started and suddenly Annabelle is much more aware of her artistic mediums and real glue. I'd previously shielded her from the gooey kinds of glue, and we've been a strictly gluestick household. Until now. Now we have glue everywhere. Because Lou.

Anyhow, this morning, as I sat dreaming up something for the girls, I decided we should do something to celebrate Thanksgiving. So I whipped these up. I explained to the girls that they could color these little cards (little=cute and awesome in their worlds) and give them to the people they love to tell them they're thankful for them. They were so excited and got right to work.

What surprised me was how tender they became about it. They colored one for me, and they colored one for each other. Each sister was so very pleased to have a gift from the other. All day long, they've each been so proud of the tiny little card their sister gave them, exchanging hugs and telling each other how much they love their card.

They're really nothing fancy, but I wanted to share. If you're in need of a last minute Thanksgiving activity, click here or on the copy below. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


So I have really mixed feelings about this whole Santa Claus business. I love the magic. But I hate the lie. My mom did a great job of transitioning us and leaving clues so we could deduce it on our own. And I've already started doing the same. Because gosh dang it, I hate lying to my kids. 

But this morning Annabelle decided it was time to write a letter to Santa. She was so proud and excited she practically had glitter in her eyes and sparkles coming out of her fingers. And there really is so much fun in believing. Isn't there?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

books books books

So is anyone else Christmas shopping? I've got a few boxes full of goodness downstairs. And I maybe go downstairs at least a few times a week just to look at the Christmas that awaits. I'm kind of giddy already. I love Christmas with babies around. So magical. :) 

One gift Santa always givesour girls is a book. Or two. Or maybe five. I use Christmas as an epic excuse to buy books. I customarily get each girl a book she's grown to love over the year (from library visits) and then one book that I think she will love. And then sometimes a few more. Because books. That's why. I have two reading obsessed kids, including Lou. Does anyone remember when she was still barely big enough to crawl and she'd lug books around with her all day? The best. And Miss Annabelle just received her early reading certificate from preschool (she was sooo proud, as were her parents).

So I thought I'd share a few of our favorites. For each book I'll give you an idea of content so you can have an idea of whether or not your kids would sit through it. I know mine have a book reading age threshold - before they cross it, they can barely sit through a short board book. Then suddenly they cross the threshold and can sit for hours while I read. Books, books, books. I'm raising nerds. And I love it. :)

So here it goes (click the book for a link to Amazon):

Extra Yarn (written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen)
+ Probably too long for little babies, but for super readers (listeners) it would work.
+ Charming story, amazing illustrations. About a girl named Annabelle with a magic box of yarn. So duh. :)

Bear Has a Story to Tell (written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead)
+ Longer than a board book, but not terribly. 
+ Darling story with literary panache. Incredible illustrations that make the animals seem alive. Lovely circle of events. Must read.

I Like It When (written and illustrated by Mary Murphy)
+ Great for any age, including tiny. 
+ Simple board book with "I like it when" phrases on each spread. We like to act out each phrase ("I like it when you hug me tight.")
+ I often give this book for a gift. It's always a winner.

Roadwork (written by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock)
+ Great for any age. (We have the board book - much more...loveable.)
+ Rhyming scheme is epic and catchy. Onomatopoeia is kind of amazing. Super fun read.

Who Wants An Old Teddy Bear? (written and illustrated by Ginnie Hofmann)
+ Probably wouldn't entertain a newborn, but it's fairly short.
+ I bought this last year and had to track down a used version. It appears that there has been a reprint though (this cover is slightly different than the original, and Amazon is offering it). That said, a used version will probably be cheaper (mine was like a dollar).
+ I had this book as a child (it was published in 1978). But I find it's message timeless and so incredibly cute.

Bears on Chairs (written by Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker)
+ Great for any age. 
+ This book is so cute it's practically perfect. Addicting rhyme scheme, darling illustrations, and the cutest little lesson.
+ Grab the board book version for indestructability. 

Chrysanthemum (written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes)
+ Definitely for bigger babies. Lou loves it, but she's really good at sitting for long stories.
+ If you're hormonal or an emotional momma, this might make you tear up. It's the most tender book ever.

And just for kicks, here are our Christmas lists - this and last year.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (sliding board book version)


Sunday, November 10, 2013

oh croup

So I'm hearing that croup is EVERYWHERE. And by everywhere I mean I HAVE IT TOO. What the? The good news is croup in an adult just looks like a very horrendous cold. I suppose I could just have a horrendous cold. But considering the fact that I had children sneezing and coughing directly in my face for four days, I'd say odds are croup.

Croup is an infection of the respiratory system that is particularly uncool in that the windpipe gets all swollen. Kids have already small windpipes to begin with, so in addition to sneezing and runny noses and essentially wallowing in misery, they can't breathe and will likely wheeze or "bark." (It sounds kind of frightening sometimes, like they can't get air, because, well...they can't.) In tough, big kids, it's generally okay. In tiny or delicate kids, it can be serious. The older the kid, the quicker the recovery. Annabelle was done in like two days. Lou's going on four miserable days. So I thought I'd compile a handy list on what we've learned from croup this past week:

1. Just accept that you're all going to wallow for a while. Movies are acceptable. Sometimes all day. When that poor baby is just moaning in sickness, movies that make her happy win every time. 

2. Just accept you won't sleep. Maybe ever again. Oh. My. Gosh.

3. So here's what I learned about fevers and medications for kids (from my pediatrician, who is 36 and his wife is pregnant with their EIGHTH CHILD, I know). Best two pieces of advice I've had in a long time. Take it or leave it. I'm actually taking and running with it.

- There isn't a magic temperature that should send you to the ER. When your baby is really hot, but you're medicating, you're probably safe to stay home. When your baby is really hot, you're medicating, and they're like glazed over or not responsive, get to the ER. 
- Tylenol is basically only good for fevers. That said, don't rely on it for fevers. Use Ibuprofen first. Ibuprofen is way more effective AND it relieves pain, which your baby is likely experiencing a fair amount of as well. If your baby has a fever, start them on Ibuprofen every six hours. If they start to spike towards the end of that six hours, give them a dose of Tylenol too. The drugs don't co-mingle. You don't need to create a chart and a whacked out schedule to medicate (I totally did this). They can even be given simultaneously if you need to. (If your baby is under six months, don't use Ibuprofen. If your baby is under six months and has croup, go to the doc now.)

4. Humidifiers are awesome. Every croupy kid needs one. Cold, humid air. Win-win. I also tracked down a VapoRub Pediatric plug-in thing that warms up Vapo fumes in the room. Also awesome.

5. If in the middle of night, your kid starts to wheeze so bad, it becomes frightening, take them out in the cold air. It opens that windpipe right up. Just be sure to bundle them up otherwise. 

Mostly, I think croup is the most awful cold and flu season disease ever. The flu is even easier as it comes and goes. Croup lingers longer. 

So to anyone welcoming croup to their family, I hope some or any of this helps. And let's all just believe that we will someday sleep again? Right?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

crazy sick, part two

To be fair, our crazy sick girl was literally crazy sick all night. I even resorted to the stand-outside-in-the-freezing-air-to-open-the-windpipes trick. (Which is almost magic, the way it works.) By the way, I didn't know how visible the stars were from my backyard. Quite beautiful really, to have such perfect quiet everywhere while my baby's breaths become less shallow and thick by the second.

During our second round of outdoor air, in true form, Lou started babbling. She peeked out of her blanket, looked into the parking lot that's behind our house and said, with a silly face and a whisper, "I see a fox." "Oh, a fox, really?" "Yeah, da fox is hun-gee. Is coming!"

After drinking too much water too fast, she of course threw up (during a barky fit of coughs), and as she finished, she said, "I oh-kay. I oh-kay," and smiled up at me through watery, sick eyes. And she patiently waited for me to disrobe her and clean up the throw up, then calmly snuggled up on my chest again, an intermittent bark here and there.

I think it's fairly extraordinary, the way she's able to keep her spirit of joy about her, even when she hurts and is plainly quite ill. It makes the crazy worth it. Because for all the crazy we put up with, she dishes out an equal amount of joy and love. And it is oh so worth it.

I took these photos this morning. As you can see, she can't help the happy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

crazy sick

So the girls got croup this week. Croup? I don't even know how to spell that garbage. And garbage it is. The "bark" cough, raging fever, runny nose. Annabelle came down with the disease first. She did the typical sick thing - sad, crying, miserable. It was the saddest thing in the world. I had her doped up on both ibuprofen and Tylenol just to keep her temperature barely acceptable. We took her to the pediatrician and they gave her some steroids to open up her wind pipe. Lou got it second. When her high temperature showed up, I geared up for a feverish, sad baby. I geared up for the misery of no sleep and an achy baby. I was ready for the misery. Instead? 

So Lou's crazy. It's just how it is. She's full of energy. Full of laughter. Full of mischief. She lies. She throws fits. And she loves with every ounce of her little being. And get this. Lou with croup is TEN TIMES WORSE....SO MUCH WORSE.

She's bouncing off the freaking walls. Like LITERALLY. She's jibbering at ten million miles per hour. She asks, "Why?' after every little thing we do. Why? Why? But why? She's running around, usually unclothed. Rolling her eyes. Talking back. Stealing stuff and giggling about it. Devouring food. Stealing food from others' plates. Singing every song in her repertoire, loudly. She's telling fairy tales, one after another. Talk talk talk. And all of this with a "bark" cough and a mild fever (even medicated).

Sometimes I go to bed without a single ounce of energy left. Not even a bit left in my tiniest toes. And that's because Lou.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

autumn apparel

This morning we woke up to tiny snowflakes making their merry way to the ground below our bedrooms. They didn't stick by any means, but they sure were pretty little things. And such a stark difference to our Saturday, spent mostly outdoors, the girls running in and out as they pleased, the windows open and replacing the old indoor air with the smell of crunchy fallen leaves and sunshine.

I made the girls some lunch and forced them to sit down for five minutes and get something in their bellies. It was torture for Lou, and when I ran upstairs to grab something, I came back to only one child. I asked where Lou went, and both Jess and Annabelle shrugged their shoulders. She had dissipated? I peeked outside to see our "back garden" baby, lounging in the sunshine. Clad in just a shirt, underwear, and...gloves?

I sure love this little family of mine. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

snip snip!

Well, I did it. I finally took Annabelle to get her hair trimmed. It took a lot of courage - on my and Annabelle's part - and complete denial from her father. But her hair had grown to straggliness. Those beautiful curls were in some places inches longer than others, and it was just time. 

Lucky for me, I have a friend who cuts hair. And her daughter is one of Annabelle's best friends. ​So it wasn't as scary as it could've been. I promised her that we'd only cut a little, and Ashley told her how healthy hair can grow longer quicker, like Rapunzel's even.

She opted to not wear the shield, but she sat bravely through the whole thing. And truly, her hair looks AMAZING. So soft and shiny and pretty now. Her hair is a little bit of a mystery. The new growth at the front of her face is full of tight curls, , but the long hair in the back is a mix of wavy and curly. I think if we layer it up, most of the curls will bounce up. But if we layer it, she can't do all the fancy up dos and braids she requests these days.

These are all pictures of her hair wet, but scroll down to the earthworm pictures. That's her hair trimmed and pretty and down (and not at all styled, my favorite thing about naturally curly hair).

All in all, a brave success.


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