Sunday, May 31, 2015

14 Months Old Today!

Our baby girl turned 14 months old today!  She has continued to really grow and change this past month.  She is such a little, busy body.  Her latest discovery is Lia's old baby stroller that she now loves to push all over the main floor of our house.  It's just the cutest thing.  She also loves to play outside and constantly hangs out on one of the children's chairs on our little side deck outside our kitchen door.  Also, whenever one of us is leaving, Ella now follows us to the back door with her shoes in her hands.  We were so surprised the first time she did this.  Ella still just says the word, "Uh oh," and usually can be found saying this over and over again after dropping her pacifiers out of her crib whenever I come into her bedroom to pick her up after a nap.  Ella loves books and points to pictures on every single page I read to her.  Ella has also officially fallen in love with one of her pink, soft blankets and insists on taking it out of her crib whenever we take her out.  She loves to cuddle with it in bed, in our arms, and while she walks around the house.  Ella is a really giggly baby and loves attention from her parents and siblings.  It's so fun to watch her personality develop!  She still takes two naps a day, eats three meals really well, and sleeps around 11 hours at night.  Overall, Ella is still a really good baby and we love her to pieces!

I tried to get one decent picture of Ella posing with her baby stroller, but she was nonstop this is as good as it got!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Second Installment of Loganisms...

It's time for the second installment of Loganisms.  He's been saying some of the funniest things lately that I have tried to remember.  So, in no particular order, here they are:
1.  While watching Ella raid his train/car/truck bin the other night while we were all hanging out in the family room, Logan declared, "Will you look at this child?!"
2.  While eating the other day, Logan said to Lia and me, "I got a piece of slimy in my mouth."  Well, that sounds delicious!
3.  While watching a train drive by us the other day when we were driving down town, Logan announced, "My grandpa has one of those!"  Well, not exactly, as I don't think that grandpa could fit a life-sized train in his basement!  :-)
4.  While I was working in the kitchen the other day, Logan casually asked me, "Do you get the feeling that you are being watched, Mama?"  After totally laughing, I asked Logan where on earth he learned how to say such a thing to which he admitted that he heard it from the movie, Horton Hears a Who!  
5.  After hurting his mouth the other day, Logan came up to me all sad and said, "I want a band-aid on my mouth."  I didn't think he would really like the feeling of it on his mouth, so I convinced him otherwise.  
6.  After looking for something to eat in the fridge and getting cold hands from the refrigerator air, Logan stated, "My hands are very cold and hot."  Well, that makes a ton of sense!
7.  Logan already knows how to spell his name because it hangs on the wall above his bed.  As a result, he likes to randomly spell it out loud, but usually puts the letter "e" in front (I have no idea why).  The other day we were eating lunch at the table together, and he proudly spelled it for me.  Then he said, "I spelled my word!"  I thought that was such a cute way to say "name."  He then went on to ask me how we spell "Lia's word," "Papa's word," "Ella's word," and "Mama's word."  So cute.
8.  Logan has a tendency to disagree with me a lot and often times comes up with reasons why he can't do the things that I ask him to do.  The other day, I asked him to wash his hands after coming into the house from being outside to which he told me, "NO!"  Big surprise.  He then followed it up with this explanation:  "My hands are too big to wash!"
Oh, that boy...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Boy at Play!

On the night that Lia has gymnastics, Logan, Ella, and I normally watch her for about 30 to 45 minutes before returning home to make and eat dinner.  Ron then picks her up on his way home from work at 6:30 and the two of them come home for a later dinner that they eat by themselves.  However, since Logan recently developed an aversion to all things meat and vegetable, he now chooses to wait until "Papa and Wee-uh" get home from gymnastics to eat dinner with them.  Today, after we got home, I immediately started cooking and Logan went into the family room and started playing.  Although he has been playing alone for many months now, it normally involves banging on things with hammers or scattering an entire bin of toys on the floor or knocking down a tower he has just built.  His independent play has not quite graduated to the more sophisticated style of his older sister as he doesn't quite have the maturity to sit down and act out a story with a plot line and conversation.  Since I was so busy making dinner, I didn't notice what Logan was doing in the other room until I sat down with Ella to eat and noticed that he was quietly talking to himself (which is unusual).  I looked up and found him standing by the book shelf where he had lined up several of his trains and cars both on the second shelf and on the floor.  He was then picking up one at a time and driving it down my yard stick that he was using as a pretend bridge while quietly talking the entire time.  This entire thing just caught me off guard as I have never seen Logan play like this.  As I previously mentioned, this type of play is just too sophisticated and mature for him.  I just had to take a moment to pause and watch my boy as it was the cutest thing to see him play like this.  It gave me some hope that one day he WILL out grow this wild, destructive, and temperamental toddler stage that he has been reveling in for over a year now.  Only time will tell...

Logan putting another train on the "track."

And driving it down the bridge.

Logan finishing if off and discovering the camera and me!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Girls at Play!

Tonight was Recess Night at Lia's school where students' families are invited to come and play on the playground and the field for the evening.  We were unable to go last year due to a conflict with Lia's last Girl Scout Meeting of the school year; however, this year I was able to go with Lia and Logan while Ron stayed home with the baby.  It was a beautiful, Spring night and I had such a fun time running around with my two kiddos.  We tried out the pogo sticks and hula hoops, played basket ball and tether ball, and ran around the play structure.  A good time was had by all.  We enjoyed spending a lot of the time with two of Lia's good buddies, Addy and Mollie, and their families.  And here is the darling picture that Addy's mom snapped of these three girls who have known each other since preschool.  Just precious.  :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Farewell Caroline!

I will be the first to admit that I love all things American Girl Doll--almost as much as my seven-year old daughter.  Since the arrival of her first doll over two years ago, Lia and I have totally fallen in love with this doll brand.  I blame it entirely on my "inner girl" that has completely been resurrected which I guess should come as no surprise since I played with Barbies in secret until my 9th grade year of high school.  I know, I know.  And if American Girl Dolls had been around when I was a child, I would have eaten them up, too!  But, they came out just a few years too late for me which was super lucky for my parents since everything is SO expensive from the dolls to their clothes to their accessories.  Every item is so unbelievably adorable and so well made that it's hard to say 'no' to Lia...but I do all the time since I have a hard time spending more on a doll's outfit than I would on one for myself or my children.  No joke.  But, I digress...
Anyways, after Lia got her first doll (a look-alike one) from her Aunt Austin and Uncle Robbie, we started receiving the catalogues in the mail.  Lia immediately fell in love with Caroline Abbott--the historical doll from 1812.  Although Lia swooned over her on a regular basis, I told her that she would never get another American Girl Doll since they are just too expensive.  I reminded Lia on a regular basis that she was lucky to just have one!  However, through a series of fortunate events, we were able to actually buy Caroline Abbot a little over a year later and give it to Lia for her sixth birthday.  At that point, I really started to get into American Girl Dolls with Lia.  We drooled over every catalogue that came in the mail, started trying to figure out how we could collect all of the outfits in her collection, and began reading Caroline Abbott's entire series of six books.  We grew to love everything about this doll--her beautiful blond, curly hair and blue eyes, her clothes, her boat, her gorgeous bed and furniture, and her stories.  Every time we visited the American Girl Doll store in Lynnwood, Caroline Abbott's display was always our first stop in the entire store.  We loved looking at all of the clothing and pieces that Lia did not have.  Caroline was hand's down our favorite American Girl Doll and I was just so grateful that Lia could call this doll her own.
And so my jaw absolutely dropped last week when I opened up the email from American Girl Doll announcing that Caroline is going to be retired soon.  What?!  She has only been out for three years which made no sense since all of the other historical doll have been out longer than her!  It was pretty heartbreaking to share this news with Lia when she got home from school that day and, several days later, it still makes the two of us so sad.  Although we already had a visit to the store planned for the end of July when Lola is in town, I had a hunch that I should call the company to find out if they are still making Caroline Abbott dolls and accessories since there are a few pieces that Lia still wants to add to her collection.  I finally got around to making this call Friday morning and, to my surprise, learned that all production on this doll and her collection has already stopped.  Yes, that's right.  American Girl Doll is done making all things Caroline and there is no guarantee that anything will even be in the store when we visit in July.
So, before I knew it, I was planning an impromptu run to the store with Lia for Saturday evening after what was already going to be a very busy day of working in our rental property's yard for several hours!  Talk about a nice mom.  After breaking this happy news to Lia Friday when she got home from school, we planned on making the long drive up to the store after Ron and I were done with this big clean-up project in our old yard.  But after Ron, my parents, and I started working Saturday morning, I quickly realized that we had bit off more than we could chew due to how much work needed to be done.  So, although I would be home by Saturday afternoon (since our babysitter needed to go home), Ron would not....which meant that I would now be taking ALL three children up to the American Girl Doll store.  Not a very fun idea since it meant that I would now be juggling a very active baby and a very temperamental toddler during our time in the store, the restaurant, and the two long car rides.
After getting everyone ready and loaded in the car after Logan's and Ella's afternoon naps, we headed up to Lynnwood for what would be an absolutely perfect evening.  It was unbelievable!  Logan was an absolute angel and didn't throw a single tantrum the entire four hours we were gone.  Ella did great in the car both directions and happily stayed in her stroller the entire two hours we were in the store and in the restaurant.  Lia and Logan happily played with all of the amazing displays in the store while I did my secret shopping and purchasing.  They were so well behaved and so cute together!  Like I had suspected, Logan especially loved Julie's amazing, VW Bug and spent many minutes playing with it.  I was so grateful for how well he behaved which truly was a miracle considering how much time we were in the store, how late we ate dinner, and how many transitions we made between activities which is something that always sets him off.  We were also able to slip over to the salon and take advantage of the promotion ending the next day which was to get Caroline's ears pierced for free!  We even finished off the evening with a quick stop at the amazing Lego store before heading back to the car at 8 p.m.  Although Logan kept on asking for ice cream, I managed to get him all the way out to the car and buckled into his car seat before breaking the news that we would not be going Cold Stone like he thought.  However, a promised bowl of ice cream at home actually prevented him from a full blown breakdown which was a total miracle.  So, after an hour drive back to Puyallup, I breathed a sigh of relief after we made it home safe and sound with our final Caroline Abbott purchases, a happy Lia, and some very tired babies.  Thank heavens.

The large picture of Caroline that hangs above her display.

Lia standing with Caroline and Ink Pot next to our favorite display.  This may be the last time we ever get to see it.  Sniff.

Both Lia and Logan loved looking at Grace's fancy display and playing with her amazing bakery.  Here is Lia posing with Grace in front of the faux bakery.

Logan immediately wanted to have his picture taken and jumped at the photo opportunity.

Here is Logan working hard at stirring the cupcakes in the bowl that he stole from Grace's bakery.  Don't worry--he returned them at my request...without a tantrum.  Also amazing.

I decided that eating in the bistro would be the quickest and easiest place to eat since I knew that we would be in the store during dinnertime.  Our reservations were for 6:45 and we had our food on the table by 7 p.m. which was a relief since the kids were starving.  Lia and Logan split a grilled cheese sandwich and fries and loved drinking the pink lemonade.  Here is Lia with Caroline and Ink Pot.

Once again, Logan insisted on having his picture taken after I took Lia's.  Here is my funny boy and his funny, picture smile.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Twin Day!

For the second year in a row, Lia has participated in Twin Day by wearing a matching outfit with another friend.  This year she matched her friend, Mollie, who we carpool with every day so I was able to get a few pictures of them before we headed off to school this morning.  Last week, Lia went shopping with me to JC Penney to find something to spend a $10 off coupon on.  We stumbled across this darling, Frozen dress on a clearance rack that was originally $40, but was marked down to $13.  After using the coupon, we only paid $3 for it!  How's that for a bargain?  Since there was one other dress left in that size, we told Mollie's mom about it and they went and bought it two days later.  So, the girls quickly came up with the plan to be twins the following week on Twins Day.  They were so excited!  Both of the girls wore their matching Elsa bows that Mollie's mom previously made them and brought their Frozen wands with them to school that they got at another friend's birthday party in April.  They looked so adorable today after I dropped them off at school.  They literally bounced away as they walked towards their class lines.  I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again....little girls are just the cutest things!

Lia and Mollie striking a pose while using their ice powers with the help of their Frozen wands.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

High Chair Row

I have been explaining to people for the past several months that Logan just does well in cages.  No joke.  This energetic, high-strung toddler responds well to boundaries.  As a result, I have kept him in a high chair and a crib well beyond the age of most children.  When Ella started eating solid foods this past fall, the logical thing would have been to move my 2 and 1/2 year old Logan out of his high chair and into a "big boy chair," freeing up his high chair for Ella to use.  But, I knew that both he and I were not ready for this change and so I asked my parents to bring back the high chair (that they keep at their cabin) for us to borrow for the next few months.  And so since the beginning of October, Logan and Ella have been eating next to each other for every meal of the day.  I call it my little, high chair row.  It really has been the cutest thing to watch these two eating side by side for so many months.  And, although I know that most mothers would think that I am crazy to keep this large, rambunctious boy in a high chair for so long, it has worked well for the two of us.  However, this past week, Logan started requesting to eat at the big person table for almost every meal of the day which I did not resist since this change is way overdue in his life.  He has actually done a pretty decent job and so we have finally closed a chapter on his baby and toddler years. But since I have always meant to take a picture of these two eating side by side, I jumped at his request to eat lunch in his high chair today just so I could capture this Kodak moment before I returned Ella's high chair to my parents for good.  And, so we are now down to one baby eating in a high chair and a have little more wiggle room in our kitchen.  Now if I could just get this boy to be interested in potty training...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

3 and 1/4 Years Old Today!

Oh this boy.  Mr. Logan Cruz turned 3 years and 3 months old today.  I wish that I could report that he is steadily out growing his terrible twos and becoming a more pleasant, agreeable, and obedient three-year old, but that would be lying.  Logan's terrible twos are still going strong.  He can throw a tantrum like no body's business, his good mood can turn into a bad mood without a moment's notice, he still prefers to disagree with most things asked of him throughout the day, and he does NOT like most transitions whether it's leaving the house to take Lia to school or getting out of the bathtub at bedtime.  Most of these transitions end in a wicked tantrum.  Sacrament Meeting at church has become an absolute joke with him and he loves to get into punching fights with his older sister.  He refuses to potty train and has started to become a picky eater for the first time in his life (which was one of the few good things this boy had going about him)!  At the same time, Logan can be the cutest, sweetest, little boy on the planet.  He can be so adorable and so funny.  He says the silliest things that just crack us all up.  He loves being read to and would stay in my lap for over an hour listening to me read him books if I gave him the option.  Logan also will happily sit down and play on the floor with Ron or me whenever we have the chance.  He loves playing outdoors--especially riding his bike on the sport's court of throwing a ball back and forth.  Logan also is a total hoarder and hides his favorites toys (which changes from day to day) under the pillows of "his couch" in the family room and he also takes these same toys to bed with him every day for his nap and bedtime.  He also still takes a 3-hour nap like a champ every afternoon and still agrees to sleep in a crib.  In fact, I have decided that I am going to try to keep him in a crib until he outgrows his afternoon nap--even if it means that he is still sleeping in it when he is four years old!  He really does love his sisters and can be sweet with both of them when he is in the mood.  We love you, Logan Cruz, but I can't wait until you outgrow your terrible twos!

My Day and Mother's Day

We wrapped up a whirlwind weekend tonight celebrating both my birthday and Mother's Day.  We were blessed with some glorious, spring weather and had a grand time celebrating outside more than once!  For the fourth birthday in a row, my mom (and dad this year) came down from Issy to take the kiddos and me out for a picnic lunch that she packed.  I always love this as it helps break up the day of being home with little ones who really don't even know that there is anything special or different about the day.  We went to DeCoursey Park and enjoyed eating my mom's delicious lunch before going on a walk along the duck pond and the river and stopping at the new playground to give Logan and Lia a chance to check it out for the first time!

Here are my kiddos and me getting ready to blow out the candles on the strawberry shortcake provided by my wonderful mom.

Logan, Ella, and Grandma checking out the pond.

Lia pointing out some ducks.

Getting ready to leave the pond and begin our walk.

Logan enjoyed throwing rocks into the river and was not happy to leave!  Yes, he even treated me to a birthday tantrum.  Lucky me.

My darling Lia in her new Frozen dress!

Grandma helping Ella walk along the gravel path.

My precious girls.

The kids and me on the bridge.

Lia and Logan breaking in the new play structure.

Lia flying down the slide!

And Logan, too!

Lia climbing around in the giant net.

That night, Ron brought home Thai food par my request and a beautiful cake covered in spring flowers.  Here are the kids getting ready to sing "Happy Birthday" to me for the second time that day.

And blowing the candles out.  Thank heavens there were only eight candles instead of 39!!!

Ron and Lia cutting into this massive cake!  And just a side note, I forgot to take any pictures of our birthday festivities that continued on to Saturday night.  Ron and I invited five other couples from church to join us for sushi at a local restaurant.  We left Ella behind with a teenage babysitter for the first time and went out to eat for an evening of delicious food and hilarious conversation WITHOUT wrestling a wriggly, wiggly baby.  It was heaven.

On Mother's Day, Ron and I hosted my family for dinner and some gift opening.  Although it had cooled off a little bit by Sunday, we still were able to barbecue and eat outside.  It was so much fun to have everyone over for the first time in a while.  Here is Logan eating his dessert on the tire swing with cousins, Riley and Garrett.

Lia swinging away and eating dessert with cousins, Callie and Vivi.

The adults and Ella hanging out on the deck.

Kids at play.

More kids at play with grandpa pushing Ella around on Lia's old, balance bike.

Grandma and Ella.  So cute.

Of all of the balls we have in our backyard, Logan and Trenton decided to fight over the dirtiest, oldest one of the group.  It was so funny to see them chasing each other around the backyard fighting over this silly ball.  Here is a picture I took with Logan in possession of the ball, running away from a determined Trenton.

Logan then ran up onto the deck and proceeded to hide the ball and him under one of our benches.

After much persuading from the adults, we finally convinced these boys to throw the ball back and forth.  They actually had a good time once they started doing this!

Trenton tossing the ball to Logan.

And Logan getting ready for another toss!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Growing Up in the Backyard

We just continue to marvel at how busy and active little Ella is.  And now that she is walking, she just looks so much more grown up to us--even though she is still so tiny.  Since it was beautiful today, we headed outside after lunch for some backyard time before afternoon naps.  Ella immediately walked over to Logan's little table (where he had eaten lunch and left his plate, fork, and a few pieces of quesadilla), sat down, and tried to feed herself with a fork for the first time.  It was so cute to watch her try to do something so grown up!  Ella then left the deck and walked over to the play area where the other kids were playing and immediately started climbing the ladder.  She is so crazy daring.  Ron immediately put a stop to this and helped her go down the slide numerous times in Lia's AND Logan's laps (I know, high risk).    After some sliding time, we ventured over to the sport's court for some bike time.  Ella immediately took to Logan's tiny, balance bike and LOVED cruising around and around on it.  She even threw such a bad tantrum when we took it off her that she banged her head on the cement court!  Oh dear.  What a fun afternoon and what a grown-up girl!

Ella trying out Logan's bench.

Wielding Logan's fork in the air like a sword!

Ella trying to pick up food with a fork.

Lia and Ella getting ready to go.

And there they go!

Logan and Ella trying it out.

Baby Ella on the balance bike.

Cruising around the corner.

She is so grown up all of the sudden!  What happened to my baby?