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Friday, March 28, 2008

4 Months Old

We took Shaylee to Dr Z yesterday for her four month check-up. It absolutley astounds me to think that she's 4 months already. Didn't I just have her??? At any rate, the diagnosis is that she is healthy and developing exactly as she should. Her head is 16 inches around, which puts her in the 50th percentile for her age, which is just great by me--none of this crazy 99th percentile like her sister Bryn! Shay is measuring 25 inches long (which puts her in the 90th percentile) and weighs in at 12 pounds 10 ounces (which puts her in the 45th percentile). Looks like this one is on track to become tall and skinny! Maybe this strategy of Shay just wearing all of Bryn's old clothing won't work long term! We got the green light to go ahead and start rice cereal with Shay, so we will probably do that next week.

As always, the doctor and nurses all commented on what a sweet, smily, happy baby Shay is. Bryn was that way as a baby too, but she got much more shy as she got older, culminating in her current 2-year-old clinginess. I hope Shay just stays smily and sweet!!

We did portraits of Shay with our friend Kathy last week, and they turned out amazingly well. I'd encourage you all to check them out on Kathy and Ryan's blog (link in lefthand bar), as well as admiring the rest of her photos.

And a funny story before I go.... as you may remember from several posts back ("Conversations with My Two-Year-Old" and "Update in Photos"), Bryn has been mastering the concept of Ben going to work. A few nights ago, I needed to rush out the door shortly after Ben got home in order to make it out to Zionsville to do some tutoring. As I was getting my things together, Bryn asked, "Where Mommy go?" Ben told her, "Mommy is going to work." Bryn gave him this skeptical little smirk that clearly indicated how dumb she thought he was being, and informed him,"No, Daddy work. Mommy home." She thinks she's got us all figured out! She may have a rude awakening coming if I go back to teaching next year! :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
from our bunnies to yours

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Concerned Parent Questions Care Bears

I have been exposed to a lot of Care Bears over the last week of babysitting, and I have to say that I am a bit concerned about what kind of message they are sending our children.

Now let me be clear. I loved the Care Bears growing up. Their cool Cloudmobiles, the Care Bear Stare, their quest to defeat the bad guys and achieve good in the world, all through the power of caring. Good stuff. If you recall, the original bears were Bedtime, Birthday, Cheer, Friend, Funshine, Good Luck (my personal favorite), Grumpy, Love-A-Lot, Tenderheart, and Wish. They had a tv series, some tv specials (personal favorite: The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine), and even a few movies. Over time, more bears were added, and eventually the Care Bear Cousins (animals of other sorts that also had cool symbols on their bellies) were created. In my humble opinion, the Cousins eventually led to the declining popularity of the Care Bears. Or it might have been the onset of that uncool time known as the 1990s. Anyway....

Today's primary Care Bears are Share, Cheer, Funshine, Grumpy, and Oopsy, and they are accompanied by a cast of somewhat lesser bears. However, their signature song, rather than featuring the "Care Bear Countdown," now features some trendy teenage chickie playing (or more accurately, pretending to play) various guitars designed with Care Bear symbols while modeling a variety of coordinating clothing. For further information regarding the Care Bear evoltion, I would suggest Wikipedia. Yes, I have looked up Care Bear information online. Don't judge.

Anyway, every single morning this week has started with Bekah saying, "I want to watch my Care Bears movie!" Before the actual video, though, there are previews for two movies about the "new" Care Bears. It is the songs that the characters sing about these videos that gives me some parental concerns. Consider:

from "Journey to Joke-A-Lot":
In the land of Joke-A-Lot
Everybody laughs a lot
Don't have to work all day
Just have to joke and play
We laugh the whole day through
As long as the joke's on you

Now really, what is that teaching today's children? Poor work ethic. Jokes at others' expense. Worrisome stuff. As if that wasn't bad enough, consider their other feature film:

from "The Big Wish Movie":
A wish is the best
No disappointment or tears
If something bad happens
I make it disappear
If there's something I want
There's no need to fret
There's no wish limit on
All the things I can get
I wish all my troubles away
All my dreams come true
I wish for the sky everyday
And I can wish it for you
Why would I wait
For what a wish can create
Why should I work so hard
I wish...... 'cause wishing is great.

For starters: I hear you, brother bear. It would certainly be wonderful to have a life with no problems, where I get whatever I want immediately and never have to work. However, my life seems to be rather opposite of what the song portrays. Now maybe I'm just jealous of Wish Bear, but I'm thinking that he is giving children a false perception of what their lives can be like. And we wonder why kids grow up completely spoiled, thinking they can have whatever they want and never have to work for anything.

A disclaimer: I have not actually seen either movie, so perhaps the Care Bears learn valuable lessons during the films that show them the error of their musical ways. We can hope, anyway.

Ben thinks I have lost it because rather than discussing politics, current news, or any sort of "important" issue, I have been delivering dinnertime diatribes on the evil values that the Care Bears are teaching our youth. It's hard not to notice, though, when Bekah and Bryn run around the house singing the songs (Bekah with a lot more clarity than Bryn).

Okay, so I'm only partially serious about this, but I have to have something to contemplate during the day, right? I think the kids need to come up with a new hobby. Finding Nemo, anyone?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting

Last Thursday, I started babysitting two kids during the day for a friend from church (Jamie, and husband Luke) who has just gone back to work. She's working at a school, so this is only until the end of the school year. The kids are very cute and as well-behaved as toddlers can be. :) Bekah will be 3 at the end of next month, and Levi is 16 months, born in November of 2006 (Bryn was November of 2005, and Shay was November of 2007). Yes, this means that I now spend my days with 4 children under the age of 3. We've had three pretty crazy days so far!

Bekah is ridiculously advanced with her language skills, and sometimes it's hard to remember that I'm only talking to a 2-year-old instead of someone much older. She will say things like, "Thank you, Bryn, for sharing your Care Bear with me" and "I am feeling sad because I am so tired." She is also fully potty trained, which is a huge plus, as I am already up to my elbows in diapers with the other three!

Levi is the sweetest, smiliest little boy ever. He just toddles around with this huge grin on his face. He doesn't really talk yet, although he did say "bye" today when he left, which was pretty much a big deal. He knows what all of Bekah and Bryn's favorite toys are, and whenever either of them is sad or tantruming, he will get the favorite toys and bring them to the girl in question to make her feel better.

As one might imagine, there have been plenty of funny moments with the kids; I'll just list a few here before I toddle off to bed at a pathetically early hour.

(during a playdate last Monday, during which Jamie and I were getting her kids used to our house)
Bekah: Look, Mommy, Bryn has a princess bed!
Bryn: MY bed!! (we have quickly learned that our daughter is absolutely terrible at sharing)
Bekah: Let's play with all the animals!
(Bekah pulls all stuffed animals out of Bryn's closet and arranges them on the bed, while Bryn watches suspiciously; Levi smiles and toddles toward the bed)
* THUD * (Levi falls off the bed)
Levi: Waaaaahhhhhh!!!
(Jamie and I race to pick him up)
Jamie: Don't worry if this happens again. When Levi gets older, we will legitimately be able to say, "Well, you did fall on your head a lot when you were younger."
Bekah: Mommy, are you going to spank me on the bottom?
Jamie: No, sweetie, why would I? Wait.... WHY WOULD I, BEKAH??
Bekah: Because I pushed my brother off the bed.
(timeout commences with much crying)

********

(Thursday afternoon: Shay is peacefully enjoying her swing while the other kids play)
Bekah: Whee! (pushing swing)
Shay: (look of terror)
Me: Bekah, don't push the baby.
Bekah: But why?
Me: She doesn't like it. Can you please obey me?
Bekah: Yes.
(five minutes later, Amy turns around and sees Bekah pushing the swing)
Me: Bekah! I told you not to push her!
Bekah: You told me not to push the baby. I'm just pushing the swing.
Me: (sighs at being outwitted by a 2-year-old) Okay, well don't push that either.

*******

(naptime on Thursday: I have tucked Shay and Bryn into their cribs, Levi into his Pack 'n' Play, and Bekah into her big bed, taken 2 minutes to go to the bathroom, and am now crawling into my own bed for a rest when I hear a musical toy being played downstairs)
Me (rushing to the top of the stairs): Bekah, why are you downstairs?
Bekah (tearfully): I couldn't come back up because Bryn closed the gate at the top of the stairs.
Me: No, I did that, after I put you in bed. Why did you get up?
Bekah: Because.... because.... I don't know.
(I tuck Bekah into bed again. Approximately three minutes elapse before I hear Bekah's footsteps in the playroom)
Me: Bekah, why are you up again?
Bekah: (pointing at the object she is dragging) I wanted to know what this was.
Me: It's a pillow.
Bekah: Oh. I don't want it.
(I tuck Bekah into bed again. Two minutes later.....)
Me: Bekah, what's the matter?
Bekah: I don't like that picture! (pointing to a painting in the guest room where she is supposed to be napping)
Me: Why not?
Bekah: Because it's scary!
Me: It's scary? (note: the picture consists of nothing more than yellow lines on a blue background)
Bekah: Yes. I can't sleep with it in here.
(I remove the offensive picture, tuck her in again, and return to my own room. Five minutes later....)
Bekah: What's that noise?
Me: (listening hard) What noise? I don't hear anything.
Bekah: That noise!
Me: Um, a car maybe? It's nothing to worry about. I know it's hard to sleep in a new place, but I need you to try. Can you do that for me?
Bekah: Yes.
Me: Okay. Bekah, I do not want you to get up again until the end of your nap. Do you understand? Can you obey?
Bekah: Yes. (goes to sleep)

*******

(upon arrival on Thursday morning)
Bekah: Can I play with Bryn's purple Care Bear now?
Me: No, sweetie, Bryn is still asleep, and it's in bed with her.
Bekah: Oh.....
(two minutes later)
Bekah: Can I play with Bryn's purple Care Bear now?
Me: No, not until Bryn wakes up.
Bekah: Okay......
(two minutes later)
Bekah: Can I play with Bryn's purple Care Bear now?
Me: No. Not until Bryn gets up. Do you understand?
Bekah: Yes...... Can we go get Bryn up?

As you may have guessed from the earlier conversation, Bekah has developed a bit of an obsession with Care Bears. It's so funny how kids at this age get fixated on one thing and then want it over and over again. The very first time that she came over (two weeks ago, when we were introducing all the kids), she saw Bryn's purple Care Bear(which she got from Andrea and Hannah for Christmas) and played with it. Ever since then, I think Bekah has viewed us as The Care Bear House. First thing every morning, she wants to watch a Care Bears video. Luckily, we have one which came with Bryn's Care Bear. She asks for the purple Care Bear every two minutes until Bryn gets up and I can get it for her. Under normal circumstances, Bryn likes her CB, occassionally sleeps with it, but isn't overly attached. While Bekah is here, Bryn holds it in a vice grip and screams "MY bear!" every time Bekah so much as looks at her. This is actually somewhat justified, since Bekah grabs up the bear every time Bryn sets it down. Those two girls are quite a pair!

On Thursday, I attempted to placate the girls by offering them various other toys in purple and bear forms, but they weren't buying. On Friday, in order to alleviate the fighting, Jamie brought Bekah's pink and green CBs when she dropped the kids off. I figured that Bekah might then want to play with her own CBs rather than Bryn's, or at the very least, Bryn would play with one of Bekah's instead of her own. Nope. Both girls spent the day vying for the purple CB. Both girls had timeouts--Bekah for hitting Bryn over the head the CB in an attempt to gain possession, and Bryn for screaming hysterically and having a tantrum when it was Bekah's turn to play with it. Eventually, the poor innocent CB had to go into timeout just to prevent me from having a mental breakdown. Over the weekend, Ben and I decided to give in, so we made a superstore trip and purchased an identical purple CB. I decided to keep it in the box until I absolutely could not make it any longer without breaking it out, as I was hoping that the girls would have forgotten their CB obsessions over the weekend. No such luck. That thing was out of the box my 9:30 this morning. It cost $12, but I don't care; that bear is worth its weight in gold. The girls played beautifully together today, both toting their purple Care Bears around with them all day long, creating many cute photo opps.

This blog is now about 10 times longer than I intended, but every time I thought I was done, Ben said, "But you have to tell the story about....." I really am off to bed now, or at least in the near future. I'll keep you appraised of the antics!

P.S. To all of those of you who are thinking, "Oh, thank goodness, this experience will cure Amy of her insanity and she will finally quit with the crazy talk about wanting to have tons more kids," I would like to point out that not all of my children will be the same age, so it will not be quite like this, and besides, frustrating as they can be at times, these kids are awfully cute. So you can just keep that particular comment to yourselves. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Her Grace

I've lately been trying to find time to sit down and do a "Shay only" blog, and since this request has recently been echoed by the grandmas, I'm giving up valuable nap time to do it. :) So here it is, an entire post dedicated just to her "Her Grace," which is what Ben and I have taken to calling our little princess.

Last week, Andrea and I packed up the girls and took them all to the Children's Museum. We went in the morning, instead of our usual afternoon outing, and were shocked at the amount of rowdy school groups that were there, running over our (much smaller) children. Shay, however, took it all in stride. This was the first outing in which I have carried her in the Baby Bjorn instead of just using the double stroller. While the Bjorn did do a number on my back (which is why I had avoided using it until now), Shay loved it. She thought it was great to be able to cuddle Mommy while looking around at all the people. Eventually, she got tired out from all the excitement and just snoozed as we walked around. Here, you see us taking a time-out for the all-important bottle. Check out those little chicken legs sticking out of her pajamas! (note to grandmothers: yes, I had both socks and booties on her this day, so there was no danger of her catching cold--they just fell off shortly before this picture was taken)

Shaylee has also really started enjoying her play mat in the last few weeks. She especially likes to lie on her back and grab for the animals, which she has become quite good at. She seems especially intrigued by the elephant, which is, unfortunately, the one that hangs down the least, but she has made several very valiant efforts at grabbing it. The monkey and the parrot are old friends, as she can get them almost every time. I also laid her on the mat for tummy time the other day. Normally she cannot stand laying on her stomach, unless I lay flat on the ground and lay her on my belly and make funny faces at her for the duration. But on the day in question, she was really interested in the pink flowers on the mat, which light up when you set it to play music. She kept grabbing at them, then accidentally rolling onto her back and looking around like, "how did I get here? I don't want the animals--I want the flower!" So I'd flip her back onto her belly, she'd reach for the flowers again, repeat process. Pretty cute. :)

This is my personal favorite picture, taken just last night. We've got cabin fever now that the sun has started to come out more, so even though it was still pretty chilly last night, the four of us bundled up and went for a family walk around the neighborhood. I just love how adorable Shay looks in her little hat and gloves. She is now agile enough that she can push aside the Bundle Me when we have it pulled all the way up to keep her face warm. As often as I pull it up to try to keep her warm, she shoves it aside so she can see the world, then grins like she's incredibly proud of herself. Quite the clever little girl!

This attractive shot was taken last night after Shay's bath. Ben was in a musical sort of mood, and he paraded her up and down the countertop while singing "walk like a little baby" to the tune of "Walk Like an Egyptian." Shay and I both think her daddy is pretty funny. :) At any rate, Her Grace has awoken from her nap as I have been writing this, and it's pretty hard to type one-handed while administering a bottle, so I'll sign off.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cuteness

This week has really held a lot of cuteness at the MeyPfan house, particularly in the form of our ever-tempermental two-year-old. A few examples:

Bryn and I have been taking swim lessons at a local park. It's not like she's actually learning how to swim; it's more about getting her comfortable in the water and giving her some one-on-one time without Shay around (although this has proved to be not all that effective, since she typically cries "want Shay!" all the way there and all the way back from lessons). She definitely loves the water, and I have been the recipient of many enthusiastic splashes.

We also got out Bryn's training potty for the first time this week. I don't think she's actually ready for potty-training yet, as evidenced by the fact that she wet through her pants in the first five minutes she was in the church nursery this weekend and was absolutely unfazed by that. Bryn has no problem with continuing to play in soaking wet pants and sometimes even yells at me when I try to change her. But we wanted to get the potty out to start getting her used to the idea, so that when she is ready to learn, she'll be comfortable with it. You can see that she is quite the multi-tasking lady already, as she is talking on the phone here while sitting on the potty.

Speaking of multi-tasking, here's our little helper in action. While enjoying her own sippy cup, Bryn decided that her sister needed to partake in some refreshment as well, so she started giving Shay her bottle. Very efficient. The girls were happy, and Mommy and Daddy enjoyed the break.



We babysat our friend Christopher on Thursday and Friday while Eric was at work and Cathy was on a retreat. On Friday afternoon, Bryn and Chris did pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen. Lately, Bryn has taken to carrying around this little pink Bible that my friend Maria gave her when she was born. She has done this all on her own, with absolutely no coercion from me or Ben, although I do think the fact that the kids get to hold their own little Bibles during the lesson time in Sunday school helps. She loves to sit and "read" it, turning the pages and looking at the pictures of Jesus in the front and back. Well, Chris decided that he wanted to read the Bible too, so I got him another little one off our bookshelf. Here are our two little scholars in action. I hope they always keep this childlike faith and love for God!

Finally, here's my little cutie, reclining in her doll's crib while reading her Bible. This picture just cracks me up--she looks so comfy and happy! It makes me want to curl up with a good book too. :)


Last weekend held a visit from my mom and sister, which basically involved eating ourselves silly on a variety of yummy local restaurants. After returning to Illinois, my sister turned around and drove back here Tuesday night (through a huge snowstorm) in order to go to two job interviews in Indy on Wednesday. Then today, Ben and I and the the girls drove up to Kokomo to meet his parents (who had driven down from Elkhart) in order to trade cars. For the next few months, Helen will be driving my Jeep and has graciously loaned me her van. This is because starting next Thursday, I'll be watching two more kiddos during the day. One of my friends from church is going back to work, so I'm going to babysitting her kids until the end of the school year. The little girl, Bekah, will be 3 next month, and the little boy, Levi, is 16 months (born the November between Bryn and Shay). Well, four carseats won't fit in my beloved Jeep, so for the next few months, anyway, I will be joining the ranks of mini-van moms. Scary!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

February in Review

I've sort of been slacking on the blog this month, so I thought you could all use an update. With the first of the year, I started keeping calendars for the girls. Basically, I fill in the square for that day at night before I go to bed, just making a note about something they did that day. I figure they'll really like having them when they get older. Plus, bonus, it will make it easier for me to fill in the baby book whenever I get around to that..... probably when Shay is like five years old.... lol.

Anyway, in lieu of my slight blogging hiatus, here's what happened this month:

SHAYLEE
1- Bryn loves to sit next to Shay at pat her on the head
2 - Shay is very smily and friendly
3 - first time in the nursery at church
4 - baby's first illness--cough and cold
5 - Jennie M babysits Shay while Mommy takes Bryn for a swim lesson
6 - up coughing in the night
7 - Dr. Z sends Shay to the St. Vincent pediatric ER; she is admitted to the hospital with RSV
8 - in the hospital, all the nurses rave about how Shay is so well-behaved and so beautiful
9 - at home; still coughing but seems to feel better
10 - Daddy's 27th birthday
11 - non-stop bottles!
12 - laughs when tickled
13 - rolls from stomach to back
14 - enjoys laying on animal play mat and grasping at toys
15 - held by many adoring fans at Girls' Awakening opening
16 - Nana, Papa, and Ginger visit
17 - still a little wheezy
18 - out for coffee with Mr. Zionsville girls, who all fight over turns to hold her
19 - gurgles and coos in response, like making conversation
20 - attends first church community group with Mommy and Daddy
21 - out to lunch with Ben W; very smily and likes to watch ceiling fans
22 - eyes leaking sticky fluid
23- Bryn loves to kiss Shay
24 - amuses herself on play mat; Bryn tries to share toys with Shay
25 - too long for almost all 0-3 month clothes
26- cradle cap treated with baby oil--what a greasy mess!
27 - 3 months old; rides around Children's Museum in Baby Bjorn
28- laughs out loud when Daddy shakes a rattle toy for her
29- doesn't like mini-Boppy for tummy time

BRYN
1- likes to sit next to Shay and pat her on the head
2- likes to read "I'd Be Your Princess"
3- tells Daddy "want night-night" when tired
4- likes to read "Fox in Socks" by Dr. Seuss
5- Bryn's first swim lesson at Krannert Park indoor pool--loves it! "want more water"
6- "want fun!"
7- Shay sick with RSV and in the hospital; Bryn gets motion sickness and throws up in the car on the way home from taking Shay to the ER
8- watchs "Monsters Inc" with Mommy and Daddy and wants "more Boo;" meets Pacers players and cheerleaders at hospital
9- likes to "share" toys with Shay to show her how they work
10- enjoys having Daddy work in the Turtles classroom with her at church; Daddy's 27th birthday
11- "Where Daddy?" "Oh.... work." --first two sentences of the morning
12- watches "Sesame Street" to see Elmo
13- calls poo "pee-pee"
14- "I want pick!" --when asking to select her own socks in the morning
15- goes with Mommy to Girls' Awakening opening; tries to follow big girls into retreat and cries when Mommy won't let her go
16- Nana, Papa, and Ginger visit
17- wears her pink silky Easter dress over her footie pajamas and twirls around to show it off
18- refers to herself as "self," as in "no, do self!" --very independent
19- wakes up early enough that Daddy goes in to het her up before he leaves. Bryn looks confused and immediately asks, "No work?"
20- first full ponytail! Also, first community group; enjoys playing with other kids
21- out to lunch with Ben W; loves the balloon she gets at Red Robin (calls it "boon")
22- "I love my daddy."
23- "now"
24- "I love my mommy."
25- refers to herself as "big girl"
26- cries all the way to swimming--"want Shay!" Sad after we dropped Shay off with the Ms.
27- Children's Museum with Hannah E
28- cries, cuddles, and watches movies all day while drinking jice and eating ice chips--2 year molars coming in
29- counts to 3