26 December 2015

The THREE Musketeers

Calista and Craig had something they would like to say:
That's right, as of June 2016, two kiddos will become three. They will outnumber the adults. Our lives will change forever.

It's been a harder road than we expected, but we are excited for what the future will hold!

PS, we asked Calista what we should name the Babe: "Um, if it's a girl, it should be named... Shell. And if it's a boy... Grrr." We asked Craig, and he said, "Zuma."

09 December 2015

Just Dance!

We signed Calista up for a dance class this fall, after first asking her if she wanted to take it. She was slightly hesitant, but the prospect of dancing definitely intrigued her, so we forged ahead.
My main goals for this class for her was that she would have fun and be a little active for a little bit on Saturday mornings. I am pleased to say mission accomplished!
She loved it, and even improved her dancing a little bit!
After the first week when there were some little girls in tutus, she informed me she needed one.
I said, uh... how about the dress up skirts you already own over some leggings with a shirt? She found this acceptable.
They got to use silly props on occasion, like wands, scarves, crowns, and butterfly wings. The props were always a hit.
Sometimes she even smiled for my pictures as I took them.
Her teacher was really good with all the little girls.
She listened to them and used fun, silly ways to teach things so they'd understand.

She even let them wear their costumes to dance on the Saturday that it was Halloween.
So, of course we had The Princess in Black in dance class that day.

The only bad part of the class was the week that while they were dancing like animals, Calista managed to fall down... on her ear. Who does that? But she survived, and was happy to go back the next week.
She loved it!

And, yes, because this post would not be complete without an actual video of dance class...
This is their last day, the last dance, that they performed for all their parents and everyone. What a bunch of silly girls!

24 November 2015

Thirty brings the party!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a birthday. I turned 30, which on the one hand feels like any other number, and on the other hand, feels a little surreal. That's basically life, though, right?
But really, the point of this post was to mention some things that my family did for me, because they are cute.

A couple of days before my birthday, Calista starting counting down for me. "Is it the next day? The next next day?" So almost as soon as she woke up on my birthday and I confirmed it was indeed this day, she excitedly told me "happy birthday," and also made me a giraffe for my present.
What a thoughtful girl.

Kyler felt bad that he had to be gone all day (and in the evening after dinner, too) on my birthday, so he ordered a pizza to be delivered to our house for lunch. Which was yummy, and the kiddos loved, too. He told me he considered sending flowers instead, but thought the pizza would be more appreciated. Ha, I love him.

Kyler also bought me some fun presents, including a doughnut pan and The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. And while I love them, I think the person who has been appreciating the latter the most has been Calista. Because dancing.
She turned off all the lights except a lantern (we'd had a short loss of power earlier in the day) so she could dance in the dark.

Yeah, that was basically my thirtieth birthday. Well, plus some Vietnamese food and cupcakes. Because food and family is how I like to celebrate.

02 November 2015

Twinkle, twinkle little SMASH!

It was that time of year again, the time of costumes, pumpkins, and candy: Halloween! We had a blast this Halloween, and of course we have pictures to prove it!

First up, from my date with Calista to the pumpkin patch. She went through and tried to pick up every single pumpkin, and if she couldn't, she said, "Not this one! It's too heavy!" and moved on to the next one.
Eventually she found a pumpkin that should could pick up, at least mostly. Then I carried it all over while we did the rest of the things at the pumpkin patch.
Note to self: maybe pick up the pumpkin last so I'm not carrying it every where? Of course, I'm not sure the excited four-year-old would've been able to handle waiting until the end!

Also part of the pre-Halloween festivities: matching skeleton pajamas. And struggles to get a couple of children to sit still and look normal for pictures.
This struggle will continue throughout this post...
Craig especially loved the "pider" on their pajamas. He loved to point it out multiple times, every time he wore them.

Per Rasmussen tradition, we carved a watermelon instead of a pumpkin (the one Calista got at the pumpkin patch got decorated at preschool - it became an alien).
Kyler, as usual, was the main artist,
But both kiddos got in on the act.
Calista also decided on what face we would carve.
Craig thought it was awesome to help with the carving.
Of course, even better was the eating! He sure loves watermelon!
When all was said and done, we had a happy little "pumpkin,"
Or two...
Or three!

We also went down to the mall and decorated pumpkins there, too, and met up with some of Calista's old preschool friends.
Craig helping put the face on his pumpkin.

He had a lot of fun (with some help from Kyler).
Calista put the face on hers all by herself. She's getting so grown up!
We had another attempt at a picture of them together...
The struggle is real, folks.
And then we took a couple of pictures of the preschool friends.
 Just the "big" kids, and then one with all the little siblings.
Craig got glitter glue from his pumpkin on his hands. He did NOT approve.

After we wiped Craig's hands and put him down for a nap, it was time for Calista's preschool party.
 They had a costume parade, with all the little kids.
They were all so cute!

And finally, we are at Halloween day proper!
While we've already had some peeks at Calista and Craig's costumes, we will post the complete pictures now.
Calista was the main character from one of her favorite books, The Princess in Black. She decided on this back in August, after she got the book for her birthday in July. (She has actually already planned the next, like, six Halloweens: Sleeping Beauty, dinosaur, orca whale, witch, Elsa, and then Anna. Seriously, I would not be surprised if these ended up happening, even. She's committed.)
Anyway, so I made her a cape, flower, and mask, bought some gloves and boots, and compiled her costume.
She loved it, even if almost no one knew who she was. "I'm the Princess in Black!"  "The Black Princess?"  "No, the Princess IN Black!"  "Uh...." (And then I'd usually interject, "It's a character from a book... she's basically a monster-fighting ninja-princess.")
And, just for funsies, we decided to have Craig's costume match her theme, so he was the Big Blue Monster, from the book as well.
At first, he hated it. He didn't want to wear the costume, especially the hood. He didn't want to be the Big Blue Monster, he wanted to be the Princess in Black...
But then I showed him his horns in the mirror,
and he decided they were pretty cool.
The next task was a picture of the kiddos together...
 That was easier said than done, but we got a couple...
I think the Princess in Black is fighting the Big Blue Monster in this one? Twinkle, twinkle little SMASH!
After a nice dance class (in costume, of course), we headed to do some trick or treating.
Craig loved it, though he walked so incredibly slow (especially as his bucket got more full)... he was just so fascinated with so many things!
Calista did great, mostly even remembering to say "thank you."
And, of course, they got quite the haul.

Happy Halloween!

07 October 2015

Why not marshmallows and the TV?

Some days, I wonder why I should even try. Why did I bother to get myself and my children dressed? Why did I not just stick them in front of the TV with marshmallows and ignore them? They would probably have more fun that way. Why did I try to have fun, teach them, or do anything at all?

After all, it's just going to lead to Calista screaming at me because she's not cutting things out perfectly, or gluing the papers together just so, or the markers aren't coloring the way she wants.
It's just going to lead to Craig freaking out because I won't let him use all the glue on all the things, or let him throw crayons and scissors.
And, of course, them both freaking out will lead me to just break. I'll start to cry and when Calista asks what's wrong, I'll tell her, "I'm just trying to be the best mother I can be for you, but it's not working. It's not enough. I can't do it."

And then she will give me a hug and say, "Mom, I love you just how you are. You're a good mom."
And my tears won't stop, but they will change. My heart will change, moving closer to where it should be.

The goal isn't to have my children be happy. Not really. The goal is to have them be better people in the end.
And with her words, Calista is showing me that maybe, just maybe, it's working. And so I will try again.

04 October 2015

Craig Year Two Retrospective

Craig is one of the sweetest little kids I've ever known. When we took him to meet my sister over Christmas, she was worried that he'd be too active to snuggle. While, yes, he is very active and often on the move, he loves to sit in someone's lap and read or hug or just cuddle.
I love it.

He plays by himself pretty well for a 2-year-old, I think. Sometimes he will leave the room, and then I'll realize I haven't seen him in a while.
I go investigate, and he is playing trains or blocks or with the farm or something by himself, happy as can be.

Craig talks, a lot. He repeats things often, though never when you ask him to. My favorite thing (for obvious reasons) he says is, "I love you, too, Momma."

Most of the time, he will walk around with a little toy in each hand. His favorites seem to be a couple of sheep toys (like, Fisher Price), wooden trains, cars, or chunky puzzle pieces.

When he tantrums, Craig has a tendency to throw himself of the floor/ground, no matter where he is.
Pavement and carpet all the same. He lays on his tummy crying (screaming?), and resists any move to pick him up, hug him, or talk to him.
It's actually kind of funny. I usually just ignore him until he's done, and then we continue our day.

We experimented with taking the side off of his crib, which he and Calista mostly loved... a little too much.
It got to the point that they were taking two hours to fall asleep each night, mostly due to them crawling into bed together and sitting on each others face and/or pillow. So, sadly, we put the side back on the crib and all is usually quiet within 30 minutes of bedtime.
This just goes to show how different Craig and Calista are in so many little ways. Calista didn't have a temptation of an older sibling, but she also just didn't get out of bed. When she woke up for the day, she'd call out to us and we'd go into her room to find her still in her bed, as if she was in a crib. Craig definitely didn't do that...

Craig usually is a really sweet, funny kid. Sometimes he bites, hits, or throws. Sometimes he has tantrums. Sometimes I kind of want to strangle him a little... but only sometimes. Most of the time, he makes me very happy. He is my sunshine, making me happy when skies are gray.

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

July 2015

August 2015

September 2015

I am so very glad you came into our lives two years ago, Craig-O.
You have learned and grown so much this last year. I am so proud and I love being your mother.
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