Wednesday, August 10, 2016

(mostly-olympics-themed) musings

To start with- thank you for all of the well wishes and happy birthdays you sent Millie's way on Friday! She doesn't yet have a concept of "blog friends," but I'm sure that on some level she felt the love. Hahaha. We had a wonderful 'family day' and did all of her favorite things.

Lucky for me, most of her favorite things involve food, so it was a pretty great day to be Millie's mommy. She had her two-year check-up today, and I discovered that she actually HASN'T gained a lot of weight...apparently I've just gotten weaker. Womp. Millie is hanging out at 29 lb 12 oz (84th percentile) and 35.6 inches long (91st percentile). So at least I was correct about one thing- she's super tall...more than 3 inches (and about a pound) gained since her last visit (in February).

Anyway, we (using the word "we" really generously here) did get Millie's playground built this weekend! Insert all the praise hands emoji right here.

It took Matt, his dad, his brother, and our friend the entire Saturday (about ten hours) (plus Matt and I worked on organizing the pieces for probably 3 hours the day before), but they did it! And then I generously screwed those two flags to the front, hence the reason I can say "we" built it with a semi-clear conscience. Obviously we've only had it for like five days, but so far I will give the swing set my stamp of approval. I mean, my #1 recommendation would be to get one from a company that will come to your house and assemble it for you...but if you're on a budget and can wrangle some helpers, this one turned out pretty great. And as you can see, Millie definitely approves!

And that leads us to our next important topic: the Olympics.

Without her swing set, how would Millie ever properly prepare for the 2020 games? She'll be six-ish then, right? Based on my observations, that seems to be about the average age of female gymnasts, so that's what we're aiming for.

No, in all seriousness, I've spent a lot of time thinking about which sport I would most want Millie to go to the Olympics for. I mean, obviously she is extremely gifted at probably every sport, so it's really up to me to just choose the one to really focus on. Gymnastics is most definitely my favorite one to watch, but over the last few Olympics (Olympicses?? haha), the diving events have crept up and are now rivaling gymnastics pretty hardcore. I get tired of the swimming events pretty fast, because...they just go on forever, they're not terribly interesting to me, blah blah blah. But synchronized diving? LOVE IT. Probably because it moves SO fast. Probably because jumping from a board or platform into a pool only takes about 2 seconds, even if you're doing 14 flips and twists on your way down. I just love the way that diving is as intricate and athletic and artistic as gymnastics, PLUS it's super fast, MINUS (I'm assuming) the humongous risk of debilitating injuries. It just seems like a win all the way around.

Oh yeah, PLUS...Millie really loves it. So I guess I can let her opinion count for something.

It's hard to see, but Millie is copying the (paused for instant replay) divers. When they show the slow-mo dive, she jumps up and spins around. Gifted.

But actually, I don't even think the diving is her favorite part of the Olympics. The water is.
And lest you wrongly assume, as I did, that when she excitedly screams "wah wah!!!" that she is referring to the (unbelievably gorgeous) Brazilian beach/ocean, or perhaps the pool...well, she's not. It took awhile to figure it out, but what she is ACTUALLY excited about is athletes drinking water on the sidelines. From water bottles. Every time they pan to someone on the sideline drinking water, Millie just can't even handle it. "WAH WAH!!!!!!!!" The thrill! Olympians! They're just like us!

Speaking of non-athletic-but-slightly-Olympics-related things...possibly one of my favorite parts of the Games is the previews they keep showing for the show This is Us. They piqued my interest with Milo Ventimiglia, but after a few days of seeing dozens of different trailers...I actually found myself tearing up at one of the previews last night. For a show I've never even seen! I don't even know the premise! I just know enough to know I'm already emotionally committed. So anyway, I'm excited about that.

I'm also EXTREMELY FREAKING EXCITED about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life being released on Black Friday!!!!! I mean, it goes without saying...but I just felt like I needed to say it. Finally...something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. ;)

And on a final, unrelated note, I want to go on a cruise to Alaska. Anyone done this before? More specifically...anyone done this with a two-year-old before? I've been on several cruises and thought I would swear them off for life because of my seasickness. Plus, I discovered all-inclusive resorts, so like...who would want to cruise when you could have all the benefits with none of the drawbacks (like seasickness...or your ship losing power and floating aimlessly at sea while people poop in bags and what not)? But now I've got a hankerin' to check out Alaska (I don't know, maybe it's the 4,000 days of 100 degree weather that has me thinking crazy thoughts), and you can't really "check out Alaska" while sitting in an all-inclusive resort (or can you?). Cruising is supposedly one of the best ways to get to experience Alaska. And so I find myself researching and dreaming and scheming...but maybe this is the worst idea ever. Anyway, thoughts or experiences (good OR bad- just honest!) are welcome! 

And with that, I return to...oh wait, shocking...more swimming events!! Oooh wait, I forgot that there is one thing I particularly like about swimming events: Michael Phelps's baby. HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY??! Also, I love the Tula his mom wears him in. Major baby-carrier envy. So anyway. Look at me, finding the silver-ish lining. Ha. I guess Millie and I have that in common: an unconventional appreciation for things at the Olympics. Water bottles and Tulas. Good times!

Friday, August 5, 2016

two years!

And just like that...twenty-four months have flown by. My sweet girl is TWO today!

The cutest two you've ever seen, though.
Our monthly updates were mostly nonexistent during her second year of life, but I think I can pull one together for this important milestone of a day. And also, you know, make up for the month it's been since the last time I blogged. Oops.

Aliases: I would have to say we call her Mill-mill and Mills about 80% of the time, and Nuggie/Nugs the other 20%. At school they mostly call her "Mimmy" (rhymes with Timmy), apparently because that's what it sounds like when Millie or the other toddlers say her name. So now the adults call her that. I think that's pretty cute too, so I throw that in there sometimes. 

But let's be honest: now that she's grown and sassy, she hears CAMILLA ANN!!!! every now and then, and she knows we mean business. So while we don't call her Camilla on the least she recognizes it? Haha.

Me? Sassy? Why, I never...
Stats: Well PRAISE JESUS, she hasn't been to the doctor in literally MONTHS. I think not since May?? It's amazing. But that means I have no idea how much she weighs or how tall she is. I will estimate that she probably weighs 31-33 pounds. My niece is 34 pounds and Millie feels super light compared to her, but she feels heavier than babies I know that weigh 30 pounds, so there you have it. She has her two-year check-up next week, so I'll find out then. As for height, she has grown really tall this summer- dresses that were below her knee in the spring are barely covering her bottom now!! She can still wear a 2T comfortably, though, although I'm not sure how pants would be length-wise...she has no use for pants in this long, hot Georgia summer. I anticipate buying a mix of 2T and 3T for her fall/winter clothes at the consignment sales the next few weeks. (Update 8-10-16: She is 29 lb 12.5 oz and 35.5 inches!)

Her feet, though...certifiably tiny. She can still wear her favorite size 4 sandals, and her other 2 pair of summer shoes are 5s. We have several cold-weather shoes in size 6 & 7 (hand-me-downs from my niece who is otherwise almost the exact same size as Millie...only her feet are twice as long, ha!), but they are gigantic clown shoes on her. It's hilarious. So my baby is practically all grown up, but at least her feet are staying baby sized?

Well, I love my tiny feet. They are precious and easy to trace!
She has all of her teeth except one top two-year molar. Annnnnd she also managed to get her first dental injury in July (fell on a toy car), and now one of her precious top front teeth is turning gray. Waaah. More importantly, there isn't any damage to the root, there was just bruising and the tooth got loose and now it's turning gray. But that was a fun first emergency trip to the dentist! There's a chance it may turn back white, but who knows. At any rate, the way she normally smiles, you can't even see her top teeth, so it's not really noticeable unless you pull on her lip or are brushing her teeth...which most people aren't, as it turns out.

I'd be adorable even if my teeth were purple, Mommy!
She's on her way to being potty trained. We haven't put a whole lot of effort towards it, but she definitely knows when she needs to go to the bathroom, and most of the time she tells us and will go in the potty. She wears undies around the house sometimes, but still has to wear diapers at school (she is moving up to the next classroom, where they have a bathroom, next week), so we haven't really pushed it too much yet. I don't really have a plan or philosophy for potty training...I think we'll just keep playing it by ear and see how it goes. I figure, if she can go a few hours in undies at home with successfully using the shouldn't be that bad, right? And then I also console myself with the fact that I don't really care if she potty trains or not right now. Since her cloth diapers don't cost us anything, I have basically no incentive to stop using them. So if she doesn't seem ready, we'll put it off.

Eating: This doesn't even really need a section anymore. She is a totally accomplished eater. She eats everything we do and isn't picky at all. This can best be illustrated by what our friends witnessed when we were out to eat the other day- we were mostly done eating, but Millie was sitting in my lap while we were chatting after the meal. There was still salad on my plate, and Millie was eating the cookie that came with her meal. She had the cookie in one hand, and in the other hand she was picking the raw onions out of my salad and eating those alternately with the cookie. Cookies,'s all good to Millie.

One of my co-workers has fig trees that are currently producing a lot of figs. As it turns out, fresh figs taste nothing like Fig Newtons, so I'm not terribly interested in them myself, but Millie is the #1 Fig Fan and will polish off a whole carton of them in a single afternoon!

MY "fihh," Mama! MINE! (yep, you can have them.)
But don't worry, we haven't totally brainwashed her. She likes ice cream as much as any other toddler/human!

Tweet ('treat'), Mama? My tweet??!
Communication: Her language has exploded in the last few months. I can no longer count all the words she can say, and she understands almost everything we say. She makes mental connections that amaze me sometimes! The other day we were outside playing and it was really hot and humid (see also: Georgia in July), and I commented offhand that "Mills, your hair is getting wavy!" She turned around and looked at me and then waved her hands. Little smarty pants! I love listening to her talk- she has the sweetest little voice and accompanies her talking with adorable facial expressions and emphatic hand motions. About a month ago she started this thing where if I'm holding her or she's sitting on/near me, she will grab my face and turn it toward her as she says "Mama!!" every time she needs to say something. And even if I say "yes, Millie?" the first time, she usually does it about 10 times or so, just to really drive home the point that she needs my undivided attention. I think it is adorable.

MAMA! Mama? Mama. MAMA!
Here's my other favorite example of how awesomely (and hilariously) she puts things together these days. So every time we sit down to eat, we first say our prayer. Then we give her her food, but often times it is "hot-hot," so we/she blows on it and/or waits a little while for it to cool down. She will usually eat some fruit or something else room temperature while she waits. BUT- if time has passed, and she decides that her food is still too hot to eat, she will make everyone stop eating and pray again ("Mama!! Hot! AaaMEEN!"). Because I guess to her, praying is what makes the food okay to eat?? Ha!! And she prays with real passion, too, on these follow-up-food-temperature prayers. 

It is beyond adorable, but sometimes her food is apparently hot for like 20 minutes, and MY food is downright cold by the time we finish all this praying. So sometimes I have to play the ultimate heathen card and say "Millie, no more praying. All done."...words I never thought I'd say, ha!
Likes: Her main passion is still playing outside. Whether she's in a pool (kiddie pool, real pool, ocean...all 'wah wah' is fine by her!) or just playing with her toys, she's always happy to be outside. She particularly loves going on "woks"around the neighborhood. She is a huge fan of playing with her dolls right now. She loves to take off their clothes, put on/off diapers, help them go night-night, and push them in the stroller.

When my babies outnumber me, I wear them- just like Mommy does!
And yes, I still regularly wear her in the Ergo. Normally in a front carry, because you just can't beat those cuddles.
She loves reading books and we'll often find her "reading" them by herself (or to her babies). She points to the pictures and names things in the book, and it's really just the cutest thing I've ever seen.

She loves sorting things. That generally involves making a big mess first (like by pulling out all of the play dishes, or all of her cloth diapers, or all of her shoes), but then she is really deliberate with how she organizes them- often by color, but sometimes by other attributes (like all of the plates, all of the forks, all of the boots). I find myself wishing I had some of the manipulatives I used to have in my pre-k classes so that I could see how many different ways she can sort items...but I guess I'll just have to wait, haha.

She really, really loves people. Her grandparents most especially (besides Mama and Daddy, of course). She is always asking about Pop-pop, Nannie, Mimi, and Papa. She was in heaven when we went to the beach with my parents and she had a week of undivided grandparent attention!
(She understands what "happy" means, and will often just shout "HAPPY!!!" when she is happy or excited about something. It might be the cutest thing ever.) (She also uses the word "happy" to describe cupcakes, candles (any kind, including like scented pillar candles), and the Happy Birthday sometimes you have to use your context clues to figure out what she's talking about when she says "happy.")

Dislikes: Honestly, not too much. She definitely doesn't care for bugs and "bees" (anything small that flies but isn't a bird). She's a real grump when she's hungry, and a few times lately I've woken her up from a nap (I know, ridiculous...but sometimes she naps a long time and I GET BORED, okay? I need my Mill-mill!!) and she has been the angriest human alive for like an hour, so I've learned my lesson. Let sleeping babies sleep. Got it.

She gets very attached to routines, and sometimes she gets extremely displeased if you mess up the routine- especially if food is involved. Exhibit A: She's usually starving and can get super cranky on the car ride home, so after I picked her up from school one day, we sat on a bench outside and ate a snack. She loved it, I loved it (because I got to spend time with her before getting back in the car for the long drive home), and she fell right asleep in the car, since she wasn't starving. So I did it the next day, too. On the third day, I forgot a snack. When we walked by that bench and didn't stop, she LOST IT. "SIT, Mama!! Eat eat!! Sit!! Eat!!" And then she screamed for the half-hour drive home. You better believe I remember her snack every day now. HA.

I didn't know this would be such an exhaustingly long post, but there it is. My much-loved baby...I can't even believe that I've had the privilege of being her mother for two whole years. It seems like forever, and yet it's crazy to me that it's only a third of the time that we spent waiting for her. She will be going into first grade before we'll have had her for as many years as we waited for her! I remember how long the first two years of wanting a baby felt. These two years felt much, much, much faster.

Last night after I put Millie in bed, tears fell from my eyes as I rubbed her back. I cannot believe how incredibly fortunate I am. My baby is turning two, and part of me thinks it is awful because she is less and less a baby every day...but all of me knows how incredibly blessed I am that she is here, she is healthy, she is growing. I never, ever want to take that for granted- and truly, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Every day that we have together as a family is the best day. My hope is that as she grows and learns and understands more and more, she always knows how incredibly cherished and beloved she is. I tell her probably fifty times a day: "Millie, Mama loves you." And I think she understands what that means, because she's started giving me the tightest hugs when I say that. And sometimes a kiss. And- let's just be honest- sometimes she just licks a dog. I can only take that to mean "I love you too, Mama." 

I can't bring myself to post the progression of monthly pictures in the gray chair, because a) I haven't taken an official "two years old" one, and b) I would just melt into a puddle of tears and be useless for the rest of the day. We have an exciting day planned to celebrate her "happy," (including plenty of cupcakes, candles, and singing!) and with any luck, we'll have a super fun playground in our backyard by the end of the weekend! (If we DON'T have any luck, we'll just have some heavy, expensive boxes in our backyard. So maybe wish us luck. And/or send help.)

Happy birthday, my sweet, funny girl. You've made me the happiest person in the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

currently: long hot summer ed.

Currently, I'm... a lot of podcasts. I am convinced that this is the only reason I've been successful at getting up and working out consistently for the last two (ALMOST THREE!!! yay, go me!) months...a very robust and diverse podcast list. Here are my recommendations, in case you're hunting for new listens: Hidden Brain, Ask a Clean Person, Invisibilia, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Embedded, Freakonomics Radio, 99% Invisible, Planet Money, The Longest Shortest Time, and Gilmore Guys (although I'm finally starting to tire of them...but we're/they're so close to finishing the series, I'm trying to stick with 'em). Am I missing anything fabulous? Because I also have a few very long car trips in the upcoming weeks, so I'm trying to really beef up my list.

Eating...too much of everything, ha. Where I've been successful at exercising more lately, I've been a complete and total failure at eating less/better. Wah. Oh well. At least a lot of it is fruit?? Or something.

Drinking...well, THIS I have an answer for. And the answer is margaritas. Ha. This is apparently the summer of the margarita. Matt and I have embarked on a quest to learn to make the best margs ever at home, and it's been pretty great. And even the failures are...pretty great. Hahahaha. (P.S. We aren't doing anything special in our "quest to learn to make the best margs ever"...basically just vary the amount of lime/lemon juice and the 'parts' of triple sec and tequila is all. Nothing fancy. We're not very advanced bartenders.)

However, I CAN definitively say now that I prefer mine on the rocks with NO salt. So now you know. And so do I.

Wearing...nothing special right now, but I keep obsessively looking at pictures of our patriotic outfits from the weekend!

Nothing speaks to my heart quite like coordinating family outfits. Clearly.

Feeling...excited! We are going to the beach soon, and that is making me happppyyyy! Millie is the happiest, funniest little thing these days, and I can't wait to spend so much uninterrupted time with her (and Matt. And my parents. They are also all cool.). However, tonight when we were talking about what we were going to do on vacation, she let me and Matt know that she was going to sleep in Nannie & Pop-pop's bed and go on a walk with Pop-pop. So I guess she might have her own agenda, and it apparently doesn't involve me. Wah.

with her beloved Nannie & Pop-pop on Father's Day to be Friday at 5:00 already? I am normally not a wish-away-the-week person, but apparently the week before a vacation...I am. Ooh, but I also want someone to come and pack for me. That's the only bummer part about vacation. Well, and the unpacking later. One day when I'm filthy rich I'm just going to have a completely stocked second (and third, and fourth) house (in a fabulous destination, obviously) that already has all the clothes, toiletries, baby items, and everything I could possibly need already there. Then all I have to do is hop on my private jet and go! Things are going to be so much easier then. All I need are those winning lotto numbers!

Thinking...about how extremely hilarious Millie is right now. I cannot overstate it enough. She keeps us laughing from the minute she wakes up (yesterday the very first word out of her mouth was "BOW!!", accompanied by urgent pointing towards her hair accessories. We couldn't even leave the room until it was in her hair) until she finally falls asleep. And then I just spend the rest of the night laughing some more as I re-watch her videos and look at her pictures. It's a problem. But not really.


Dancing is one of her strongest skills right now:

She is really into "counting." And saying "GOOO!!!"

She likes to help Mommy and Daddy go night-night. And then "surprise" us with tickles!!

When she just really wanted to give the kitty a hug...but he wouldn't come out of the bushes.
Enjoying...summer. Even though Matt and I are both still working and nothing really changes (other than the TEMPERATURE, oh my gosh), I still feel like we're making it feel special and fun. I mean, just the option to spend all weekend in the pool makes the whole season worth it. Because how else could Millie and I perfect our cheerleading skills?

P.S. This baby has determination and focus many adults lack: she happily practiced doing this on two separate days for dozens of tries until she finally got it (including amazing arm placement)!! I am so proud of her!

P.P.S. The reason I know that it was HER who was determined and focused was because she so kindly kept swimming her feet back into my hands and counting me off so that I knew it was time for me to pick her up again: "Threeeeee...oonnnneee...TWOOOOO!!!! GOOOO!!!" I had no choice but to oblige!

Watching...well, besides home phone movies of Millie...not much. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for the last few nights. 

Reading...I just downloaded a bunch of new books for vacation, but I'm trying not to start them until we are on the road! We read The Kitchen House for book club last month and I really liked it. Excellent discussion, too. I picked up The Last Boy and Girl in the World on a whim at the library recently and read it last week. I felt like it had a really strong premise/set-up, but towards the end, I felt a little let down in how it all played out. To be honest, I just think it could have been a lot...I don't know...creepier? Darker? That seems weird, but I think that's how I thought it was going to be in the beginning, and then it just really wasn't? Ha. Who knows. Anyway, I picked it because the cover art was fantastic and I was in the mood for YA, and I really wasn't just wasn't as deep, maybe, as I thought it could be. Which is truly shocking, considering it is YA. Haha.

In case your taste in literature is a bit more toddler-esque, Millie would like to recommend anything penned by Leslie Patricelli. She is particularly enjoying Tubby and Potty right now, and she did enjoy No No Yes Yes, until her mean parents took it away because they were pretty sure it was giving her new ideas about "no no" things she could be maybe don't go for that one. Unless your kid has already dreamed up all the "no no" things that can possibly be done (writing on walls, pulling the dog's tail, unrolling all of the toilet name a few of her excellent suggestions).

And that about wraps it up for life lately! I'll gladly accept any podcast or book recommendations, along with any tips for surviving long car trips with an energetic toddler (and we don't have an iPad...or let her eat in her car take those extenuating circumstances into account!!)! Hope you are having a happy week! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

millie-isms: part III


She is just beyond hilarious to me these days. Her language development and opinions?? TOO MUCH. I never want to forget this stuff.

1. She is a lover of all plants, animals, and nature...except bugs. And bees. When she's outside (which is 100% of the time if she has it her way), she likes to inspect every flower, touch every tree, and pet every animal. When she sees spent flower petals on the grass, she frantically cries "OH NO!!!" and picks them up and tries to replace them on the flower/tree they fell from. 

But when she sees any type of bug...or a speck of dirt or bark that vaguely resembles a bug...she sneers her nose and yells "WAY, BUG!!" while frantically waving her arms...go away, bug. If the bug doesn't immediately obey, she summons the nearest parent to go take care of the situation for her. "Mama!!! Bug!! Way!!"

Kitty cats do not need to "way." 

2. She loves her grandparents almost as much as flowers and animals, and possibly even more than her mommy and daddy. 

I know this because when my parents were here last weekend, my mom and I were giving Millie a bath. And after a few minutes of noticing that both Mommy AND Nannie were in the bathroom with her, she narrowed her eyes at me and decisively said "Mama. WAY."

And then she shooed me.

And I said "what?? Mills, you want Mommy to go away? You want Nannie to give you your bath?"

She nods.

"Mama. Way. Bye-bye."

Okay then. (P.S. I don't think my mom was nearly as broken up over this turn of events as I was. Ha!)

3. We had a birthday celebration for my dad while he was here, and we've had a little "Happy Birthday" sign thingy and the leftover party blowers sitting in our dining room ever since. Ever since then, approximately 3,928 times per meal, Millie will suddenly exclaim "Happy, happy!!" and make this big smile and move her head from side to side (which generally means she is "singing"). If Matt and I don't immediately begin singing the Happy Birthday song, she will yell "HAPPY!! HAPPY!!!" even more frantically while signing "more" we better snap to and start singing!

Happy girl.
4. I started rubbing Millie's back when I lay her down to sleep recently, and she immediately decided it was an integral part of her evening (or nap) routine. As soon as we finish saying our prayers, she says "back? back?" until I promise that I'll rub her back when she lays down. I rub it for a minute, and then she's calm and/or asleep, and I leave her room. If she happens to wake up in the middle of the night (once every week or 2), she will now accept a rubbed back in lieu of being held and/or insisting on sleeping in Mommy & Daddy's bed. So it's pretty nice.

But the other night, she was not tired (or way too tired) and just couldn't settle down at bedtime. I rubbed her back, she'd lay quietly for 2 minutes and then pop up and start screaming...I'd return and rub her back again, she'd repeat the whole thing again. We did a few rotations of this, and then I told her that this was the last time and that Mama wasn't going to come back in until she was asleep. I stuck to my word, but I was watching her on the video monitor as she stood in her crib yelling for me. After a few minutes of fruitless yelling, she laid back down...and then contorted her little arms backwards and attempted to rub her own back. YALLLLLLL. It was the sweetest, saddest thing I've ever seen. Poor Millsie, rubbing her own back. 

Luckily for her, it worked and she finally fell asleep. HA!

5. She can do three "chores" that are actually semi-helpful now! She unloads the silverware from the dishwasher, she feeds Lola (and screams "EAT EAT, NONAH!! EAT EAT, NONAH!!!" until the terrified dog finally gives in), and she can sort diaper laundry! She can separate the liners from the covers, which means all Matt and I have to do is stack the liners/covers before we put them away. I showed her how to do it a week or two ago, but a few nights ago I was surprised to find her doing it all by herself (without me asking/showing), AND she was stacking up the liners! 

Child labor for the win!
I think maybe she just really likes sorting things in general right now, because she also loves sorting all of her play dishes/silverware (putting all of the red ones together, the blue together, etc.) and also sorting her farm animals. It's precious.

But the cows cannot be sorted until she kisses their "boo boos"...aka udders. Ha. I told her that that is where the milk comes from, and she looked at me very seriously and then shook her head and said "BOO BOO" as she kissed it. So now I know.