Saturday, January 26, 2013

This Is What We Are Up Against

This is what we are up against. Alemitu is 25 pounds of attitude. We love it, and we are absolutely terrified of it. She makes our lives interesting, and I couldn't imagine having her in our lives without the attitude . . . but I am so terrified of what's to come.

Alemitu never misses a beat. She is so quick to pick up on things, and she has no problem shaking that finger at you and letting you know who is in charge and how things are going to work. (I blame her brothers because they give her anything she wants.) Recently, she has taken a break from finger shaking and decided to start staring us down. When she doesn't like what you have to say, she will slowly begin to cross her arms, lower her head, look up at you with her eyes, and glare. She will stand that way for the longest time. It is so hard not to laugh.

She began doing it a few times each day so I kept my camera handy in hopes of getting a picture. The one above was after I told her it was time for bed. Glare. After a few days, I told her that she didn't scare me. She thought that was hilarious and began laughing and saying "Alemitu scare mommy! Alemitu scare mommy!" The next day, I just glared back at her. She broke out in laughter after that too. She then decided that her scary glare wasn't very scary and thus not effective. So she went back to the finger shaking. Every once in a while we still get that look.

Because Alemitu has so much attitude, sometimes we have to be tough on her when she doesn't want to follow our rules. She doesn't scream and throw fits or anything like that. She just simply says things like "Um . . . . no" when we ask her to do things. She weighs her options to decide if she wants to do what she is told . . . she is her mother's child if I am to believe the stories told about me. (Surely not.) Time out doesn't seem to faze her. She finds a place to sit, and then she plays with the carpet, her hands, or the wall. No big deal. I mentioned to Adam that we might want to introduce the corner (an idea I got from my sister). Adam at first couldn't imagine doing that. He felt it was way too archaic. Well  . . . a few days after he returned home from a business trip, I got the following picture when I was away at work. She was not happy, but it worked. 

While I may be slightly terrified of her attitude, I am thankful that she does listen most of the time. And I'm even more thankful that she puts more energy into having a good, hyper, loving, silly, singing, dancing, super loud talking attitude. She may be 25 pounds of attitude, but most of it is a kind of attitude that will brighten anyone's day.

As a funny sidenote, about an hour after I received the "standing in the corner" picture from Adam, I also received the following pictures. Poor Adam. It was kind of a rough daddy/daughter day. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bad luck with fish!

Adam and I have a pretty bad history with having fish for pets. We always think it is a great idea, but it isn't. It is a horrible idea! And our stupidity (i.e. not realizing you can put fish in a cold bowl of new water while you clean their tank) always kills the fish. For the past 10 years, I have had a very strict rule -- NO FISH!

Well it was my idea to get Alemitu her fish. But this time we were going to keep it simple. Just one little goldfish in one little tank of water. Seems simple right? Wrong.

On Christmas morning, Alemitu was super excited to discover her fish. She kept wanting to touch the fish and play with it. We were so excited that she loved the goldfish ("Goldie"), and we were even more thrilled that we had picked out a tank with a lid so she couldn't touch the fish on her own. 

Alemitu touching Goldie while we cleaned the tank.
My cat checking out his dinner, I mean the fish.

The fish had a great few weeks, but one night Adam told me that Alemitu may have overfed Goldie a little. We joked about how it would be our luck to find the fish dead in the morning. Turns out -- if you overfeed a fish, the fish food takes the oxygen out of the water and kills the fish. Crap.

So after work the next day, I head to the pet store to get a new fish. Instead of a boring old goldfish, I buy a pretty fish with orange and white stripes. I think this is a great idea until Adam asks me how I'm going to explain the change of color to Alemitu. Simple. We got a new fish and the other one went bye bye. She's 2. I showed Alemitu her new fish and immediately she began asking for her old one. Crap. 

After explaining that the old fish went bye bye so that the new fish could live with us, Alemitu was once again excited. We had to clean the fish tank before we could put the new fish in it. Alemitu was so upset that she had to take a nap without the fish in the tank. We had the fish in a bowl in the kitchen while the tank (in Alemitu's room) was warming up. When Alemitu wakes up from her nap, the first thing she wants to do is check on the fish and put it in her tank. So we run to the kitchen to see the fish, but there is no fish in the bowl!!! The fish was on the kitchen floor after jumping out of the bowl to its death. This is an all too familiar scenario for Adam and I. Crap.

I was able to distract Alemitu (who hadn't noticed the dead fish on the floor) by telling her the fish wasn't ready just yet. Adam booked it over to the pet store and bought a third fish that looked exactly like the second. Problem solved. New fish went into the tank, and so far, so good. I am sure that it will only be a matter of time though.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Calvin's First Girlfriend (I think)

One of the main reasons I write this blog is so that when I am doing the kids' photobooks for each year, I can look back at this blog and remember the little moments. I need to document this one.

Calvin talks a lot about a girl named Julia at school. They are the only two in the class that go to a reading program, and they have become good friends. I know that for most of the school year, Julia has been the one person he has played with on the playground at recess. As a worry wart, sometimes I worry that maybe the other boys don't want him to play with them. Calvin is extremely well liked at school (so I'm told), and I believe it. He is incredibly caring, generous, and is extremely, extremely laid back. He gets along with everyone. So I know it was silly of me to worry that none of the boys wanted to play with him, but it was still on my list of worries.

Today Calvin and I spent some quality time together. Wes is really sick with the flu (sicker than I've ever seen him), and he didn't get up from the couch all day. Calvin didn't know what to do with himself. I offered to play with him, but he just wanted his brother. Calvin told me that he used to like to play alone sometimes, but now he knows he was wrong -- he never wants to play alone again. Ha! I explained that normal kids have to do that every day -- they don't have a twin that lives with them. He couldn't believe it.

Anyway, while we were hanging out I told him that he was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his class. He said that he wasn't friends with this girl, but she was nice. He then specified that his best friend was Julia. I asked if he had other friends at school. He said he did, and listed a few, but he said that he liked to play with Julia the most and they play together every day. He then told me that one time Julia wanted to play freeze tag and he didn't want to. She thought he was mad at her, and so later in the day at library she asked if they could still be friends even though he didn't play freeze tag with her. He said "yes".

That conversation made me feel so much better knowing that he chooses to play with Julia, and not the boys. And it also made me smile because I think he may have his first girlfriend, and they almost had a break up over freeze tag. I encouraged him to keep playing with Julia because she seems like a nice girl.

Calvin is such a cool kid. He is just so easy going, and he has no problem doing what he wants and not what is expected. Recently, I got an e-mail from his former teacher for kindergarten and first grade, and she wrote:

Your family makes me smile. I hope I can have boys who are so well behaved and have their own personalities that they aren't afraid to share with others, like yours. I think that's what I always liked best about Calvin. He was his own person no matter what. Peer pressure meant nothing to him. I hope he stays that way.

 Me too, Mrs. V. Me too.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Christmas

We had a great Christmas this year. This Christmas was a little different. With my sister living in Texas, we were left to celebrate by ourselves. Even though I missed my sister, our Christmas was still a great one. The kids are just at the perfect age.
Allie looked at these pictures of Chloe, and took them straight to her room. 

On Christmas Eve morning, we went to our good friends' house for breakfast. We had normal breakfast food, plus tamales, crepes, and a lot of dessert. Just like we did last year, we showed up in our pajamas/lounge wear and slippers. The kids had a gift exchange, and the adults had a white elephant gift exchange with the rule being that the gift had to come from your house. It was a lot of fun.

I know I have said this before, but we are so blessed to have these friends. There are a total of 4 families, and we are super close. Our relationships are real, and we share in both the good and bad. Everytime we are together, and often when we are apart, we make sure to tell each other we love each other. (Men included.) One of the husbands told us Merry Christmas, and that home was where his bunch of crazies are. We are a group of crazies. Very different personalities, often chaotic with the kids running everywhere and the adults being loud -- but we love each other dearly. We are blessed.

After we left our friends' house, we did some last minute shopping with our boys and then headed home for a quiet evening and prime rib dinner. We drank our sodas out of wine glasses (even Allie), had the lights dimmed, and the boys were allowed to have Mountain Dew. I later regretted that decision as I was patiently waiting for them to fall asleep.

On Christmas morning, the kids were so excited to open their presents. Santa had brought Allie a little couch, and she headed straight there. She didn't want to get off that couch, but she did order her brothers around and made them open her presents for her -- in front of her on the couch, of course. The boys are so good with her, and they loved doing it and showing excitement for all the toys she received. We were once again spoiled by so many generous people, and we are so thankful for the wonderful gifts.
Calvin opening another present for Queen Alemitu

After we opened our presents, we spent the afternoon/evening just relaxing and playing with our new toys. The boys played outside quite a bit with their new remote control vehicles. Wes told us "Why would we ever play inside again when we have these cool remote control sharks?" Unfortunately, a piece needs to be fixed on one so they haven't been able to play with them since. After putting away some of my new cookware that Adam surprised me with, I walked into the family room to see the following picture. This was my favorite picture on Christmas day as it summed up what we did. Adam and Alemitu still in pajamas jamming on the new microphones and guitars. There were no phones buzzing, work to do, a house to clean -- we were being in the moment with our family. It was perfect.
A couple of days later, my parents arrived to visit for a little over a week. The kids always have so much fun with them. They rode bikes, played at parks, played the Wii U, built legos, and played lots of games. My mom had bought the game "spoons" for Wes. He told me it was the best Christmas ever because he got a game he didn't think he would like, and now it is his favorite game. We had a lot of fun playing spoons.

The boys, once again, made my parents play the Wii U with them and they trash talked my parents the entire time. By the end of the trip, my boys were trash talking my dad constantly, and my dad kept yelling "OH BOLOGNA!" over and over. He was really getting into the game, and almost beat them at one point. Within 2 hours of getting back to Indiana, my dad told my mom that he was going to get that game for their Wii and practice for his next visit. Wes and Calvin simply said it won't help, he'll still lose.
Wes playing the Wii U with my parents ....
... while Calvin built legos with Adam. Calvin asked Adam to stay home one more day to help with the legos. Adam couldn't refuse that request, so he made arrangements to work from home. The boys bought these TMNT legos with money from their Great-Grandma Allen (aka High Five Grandma). The legos took days to build, and both boys worked so hard.

My favorite part of the visit was our Arizona snowball fight. My mom purchased some fake, soft snowballs and brought them with her. We started a big fight in our front yard, and then moved it to an open space at the park where we had a picnic. This was so much fun. We played it dodgeball style and it was me and my parents against Adam and all of the kids. We were all really enjoying it.

As usual, Alemitu joined right in.
We rang in the new year with my parents and some illegal fireworks. And yes, we live across the street from a fire department. Adam and I had many disagreements over this issue, but he won, and we never got a knock at our door.

It was a great winter break, and I'm sad to see the kids go back to school. I was also sad to see my parents leave. Alemitu had a tough time when my dad left, and her preschool teacher told me she kept saying "Papa went bye bye". I'm blessed to get to see my parents as much as I do, and I'm looking forward to the next time. All in all, we had a really good time this Christmas.
One of Adam's presents
Alemitu and her big dog that she got for Christmas. She has to sleep with the dog now.

Grandma's Here!!

Christmas day hug

Thanks to her grandma, Alemitu now likes to take "picture of us". She likes to cuddle up and get her photo taken with someone.

My aunt Karen gave this to Alemitu, and at first she thought it was for her. Now it is for her dogs.

Alemitu reading her new Strawberry Shortcake books

More costumes

Alemitu's new art desk