What a great option for freezing frosty days! A morning at the play gym + chatting with other moms = wonderful naps and a happy mama!
The best activities for Miss A are the ones in which she can make a big mess! Evidence:
We are involved with a program called Parents as Teachers, which I love. Our consultant comes over once a month with age appropriate ideas and activities just to play with my girls. Aviana, obviously, loves the undivided attention and eagerly awaits every visit. They also do a fantastic story hour once a month at a local school which is the best story hour we’ve been to. Today we played with shaving cream because it’s great for sensory development, and plain fun! We also did some color sorting and I Spy! books.
She has been army crawling for a while. She is up on her hands and knees some of the time, and even gets up on her hands and toes. She can stand up aided for balance. She can also sit, which is a new development, but she isn’t too interested in that, since that requires staying in one place. One of the things I like best is her sense of anticipation: There are several little rhymes I do with her that end with tickles or kisses, and when I start one, she knows what’s coming next and joyously grins and wriggles her whole body in excitment.
We had company tonight for dinner. Fellow parents-fortunately. We got our girls (they have two as well) settled for eating, which as you may know, generally requires several trips up from the table by the mamas. We were all seated around the table while Brielle was doing an excellent job of entertaining herself in the exersaucer. We sang our prayer, and began serving, when, just as expected according to Murphy’s Law of Parenting, Brielle began to fuss in high gear. Kevin went to rescue her, pulled her up out of the exersaucer, and I, in great surprise, hollered across the table where our so understanding friends were beginning to eat, “WHAT does she have on her feet?”
The soles of her feet were yellow! It was poo! She had filled her socks with poo! How in the world?
This morning dawned bitterly cold once again, and since Kevin was doing tech, and had to be at church super early and for both services, I decided not to take the girls to church by myself. We cleaned house as we were expecting company (and that’s about the only good reason to clean, if then :-)) and had a cozy morning. Aviana was a fantastic little helper.
We enjoyed our company immensely (and they brought yummy desserts to boot). Aviana loved having some little friends over. She is always asking me, “Who’s coming over today?”
We tried to play Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition, but it’s nearly impossible with four under three helping. Not to mention that because we have four under three, we aren’t at all aware of what is happening in Pop Culture.
I couldn’t figure out how to spell “idnt” –you know, the fast way we say “isn’t”.
Anyway, I was just lying in the other room nursing Brielle to sleep and fretting about all this information Kevin had just told me. All this information that I could do nothing about. I was just twiddling it and picking at it in my brain, much like I do with a dry cuticle. I just can’t seem to leave it alone, until I’ve pulled on it and twisted it enough that it hurts. That’s what I was doing in my thoughts. Finally, I got smart enough to give this problem to the only One who can do something about it. The One who will.
IMMEDIATELY came my response: Matthew 7:9 You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him? And as I kept praying then these verses came to me: Luke 12:22 Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23 For life consists of far more than food and clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! 26 And if worry can’t do little things like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? 29 And don’t worry about food – what to eat and drink. Don’t worry whether God will provide it for you. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. 32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
What reassurance. What peace. What rest. What an amazing God we have.
To be sure, I don’t have those passages perfectly memorized word for word. I looked them up on Crosswalk for you, so the whole meaning would be clearer. I know them well enough that God used them to speak directly to my heart. He talks to me through the Bible, and the better I know it, the better I know Him. And the better I know Him, the less I have to be afraid of, or angry about, and the more I can go on my merry way and have true joy for this life I live.
I had an appointment this morning with both the psychiatrist and my counselor. I found out though that I would have to take both bambini with me, and as precious as the toddler is, she is too distracting to make a visit with the counselor worthwhile. I cancelled that appointment.
The psycho is in the same town as my sister, so I planned to stop by her house. I bustled around, cheerfully getting everyone ready to be gone half the day and make a casserole to take over to Leah’s for lunch. We got out the door in plenty of time, Aviana was a fantastic listener, and got her coat and boots on all by herself–Huge Help! We’re having a dandy time in the car, listening to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! on tape, when I got a call from an unfamiliar cell number. I couldn’t get to the phone in time, since I was driving and I never answer the phone while driving *crosses fingers behind her back*, not to mention it was on the passenger side floor in the diaper bag. I called back, didn’t recognize the name or the voice and hung up. Then I realized that Leah had mentioned she would be with a friend this morning, thought it might be Kate’s number so I called again and this time left a message. I still didn’t think much about it. Another ten minutes go by, when the same number calls back. It is Leah. I thought she would just be calling to tell me to pick up something, or to come later; something simple.
But no, she is calling because she, all the babies (3, 22 months, and 1 month), and her friend are locked out of her house and van, so they can’t even go anywhere. Thank GOD Kate was with her, so they could wait in the warmth of her car. Thank GOD her friend had a cell phone. Thank GOD that it was even halfway convenient to help them. It’s never fun to be locked out (speaking from experience), but especially not with three small children, a pregnant friend, a 15º day, and snow all around.
I turned right around and went to my brother-in-law’s work to pick up the house keys and take them over to her. Of course, it didn’t go all that smoothly, (I went to the wrong entrance at first, Tony was in another building altogether, Aviana needed a potty break while we were waiting), but I still thought I would manage to get to the psycho on time. I didn’t. I had called to let them know I would be coming, but tardy, to no avail, they wouldn’t let me have my appointment today because I was so late.
Leah still had an errand to run, and I wanted to wait for her to get back home. With my found time, I browsed a children’s store with Aviana while Brielle slept blissfully in her carrier (which, incidentally, I can hardly carry!).
We got to Leah’s at the same time they arrived home. It was heart-meltingly sweet to see Cora and Aviana take these giant steps carefully though the snow toward one another, rapturously join hands and tromp up the porch steps together. Aviana loves her cousins and they did an amazing job of sharing today. Cora and Ella love her too, but they really love Brielle. Kind of like the Abominable Snowman loves Bugs Bunny. To the smooshing point.
We had an amiable time chatting, playing, holding the babies, playing ring-around-the-baby (pictured above), eating the yummy casserole I made. We all had seconds and Kate and Leah both asked for the recipe, so I’ll share it with you too:
1 pound ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) Italian seasoned chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tubes (12 ounces each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
You can be as creative as you want with other pizza toppings.
In a skillet, brown the beef; drain. Stir in tomatoes and sauce. Quarter the biscuits; place in a greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with the beef mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.
It’s a good thing our visit was so mellow and restorative, since the whole reason I had for driving over there in the first place got cancelled, and because the next part of the day definitely wasn’t.
Brielle hates to be restrained in her car seat. And when I say hates, I mean ab-so-lute-ly abhors it! Almost every time we put her in it, she arches her back, screams, fusses, flails, tries to roll over out of it, and generally carries on as if she’s being filleted alive. (Just so you know, we’ve had both her and the seat checked out by professionals, and the professional opinion is she hates it.) Usually, however, the tantrum is short lived and she calms down and is distracted by a toy.
Today was the exception to the rule. After driving for about 15 minutes, I thought maybe she was hungry. I didn’t want to sit in the car in some parking lot to nurse, had to return some books to the library anyway, we were close to one of the branches, so I decided to go there to feed her. I parked, only after narrowly escaping being hit by an inattentive Miata, fed the meter, got Aviana up onto the sidewalk, out of danger of the extremely busy street, then lugged the books, toted the diaper bag, hefted the baby and had the toddler in hand, had help from the total stranger when the blanket fell off Brielle (whose screaming bloody murder has not tapered off one iota), trekked across the street, through the doors, and the little turnstile thingies that stymied the toddler to the point of having to hold up the line while I talked her through how they worked, and all the way to the back of the library where the children’s room is.
My plan was two-fold. I would nurse Brielle to a contented stupor, and Aviana would serenely play in the little reading gazebo simultaneously feeding her brain with the plethora of books.
Ask me if that worked. Go ahead. Ask me.
As soon as I took Brielle out of the accursed car seat, it was as if I had corked her. Seriously. She obligingly nursed, but only for a few minutes.
And Aviana. Dear sweet Aviana.
She’s crossing the bridge into the reading hut, and I glanced over to see blue Grover-like puppet fur sticking up out of the gazebo. I brightly called out, in a light sing-song voice, “Watch out! It looks like there might be a monster in there!”
Poor little darlin’!
I could only watch as her eyes got big, her mouth opened slightly, her forehead puckered; her entire countenance changed from eager anticipation to fearful trepidation. She began to wail, and was so frightened, she was literally petrified. I had to pull Brielle off the boob and go over and rescue Aviana, all the while trying to explain it was just a puppet and there was nothing to be afraid of.
And let me tell you, it was no help at all when the librarian said to me, in a finger wagging tone, “Well, you told her there was a monster in there!”
Now it’s nap time. Halftime. Minus the marching band and dancing girls.
These are just some of the many and varied activities we have had going on! I haven’t had time to blog- can you believe it? It seems like I am giving a lot more time to the girls these days, so when I finally get some ME time, I have been doing a scrapbook layout instead of getting on here. I promise to make a bunch of back dated posts as soon as I make the time. I know you just can’t sleep well without knowing what we’ve been up to **sarcasm**
**I said “I love you from head to toe. I’m going to eat you up, I love you so!” She said, “No, no Mama, don’t eat me from head to toe. Just eat my nose and my face.”
**We were coloring her snowman this morning. She’s narrating to me as she’s coloring. “Here are some mittens, here is a scarf. Here are some boots. Here is a ‘gina.”
I just said, “uh-huh” and hid my grin.
We have had a snowman week. It was completely a coincidence, but still I feel so cool, like a pre-school teacher with a themed plan. We made snowmen today from paper plates, and decorated snowmen at story hour. We did snowman songs, some of which Aviana already knew because we’d been doing them here at home this week. And we heard some snowman stories-one of which we’d already read, Snowmen at Night. Check it out if you get the chance. The other day we made snowman snacks. It was really special for me when we walked into story hour and the had a snowman theme too!
Speaking of special, my grandma has been staying with us. She is an amazing woman. It is wonderful to see her and Aviana playing with blocks or reading stories or making meatballs together. I think we really miss out on a lot when our social circles don’t span the generations.
Speaking of social circles, K and I are expanding ours. We started a marriage class last night that was gobs of fun! First we played a version of the Newlywed Game (and I won’t admit that we tied for last) which I LOVE! WE got it for our wedding and play it every chance we get. Then we got into the meat of the class- Love and Respect. Our marriage has grown SO much over the past four years, and we can honestly say we love being married–but (you knew that was coming)it is hard work. HARD. WORK. God created men and women to be so different, and yet, He created us for each other. It’s rather an odd paradox. The author of Love and Respect, that our class is built on, talks about it as men see things through a blue filter and women through pink. It’s an analogy that really works for me, as this is incredibly common in our relationship, in any given relationship. If a couple doesn’t realize this is happening however, and doesn’t realize that each of them genuinely is well intentioned and loving, just viewing life through completely different lenses. It causes a lot of conflict because we don’t understand or sometimes even come close to comprehending, the other one. Anyway, I’m glad we are taking the class. We already know one couple in it and we’ll get to know some others well I think. Brielle didn’t stay in the nursery very long, so she hung out with us too. She was amazingly well behaved. The woman half of the leader couple told us that Brielle is the cutest baby. Ever! I quite agree. Well, probably she and Aviana vie for the cutest title.
Speaking of Brielle, have I mentioned she is fat, fat, fat? I love her pudge! I am also oddly proud of how gloriously chubby she is. I look at her and say to myself, (not out loud) (at least not usually) “Look at that! Mama’s milk did that! I did that!” I’m so proud of my God given milk making abilities. She is at the top of the percentile range for both weight and height. She is also starting to get up on her hands and knees. As you know, she’s been creeping for weeks now, and soon she’s going to be actually crawling. She’s going to be dedicated this weekend, and as many as can come of my dad’s side of the family will be coming up for the H__________ Holiday Happening. I’m SO looking forward to it. I don’t think any of them have been to our house before. Snow is predicted for Sunday; I hope it doesn’t interfere with any of their travel plans.
Speaking of snow, we have had a snowman week. 🙂