Friday, August 26, 2016

life lately

Well, the Olympics have ended, and with it my reason for living. Or not, I guess, but it is really sad. But I do like going to bed at a decent hour and not having to wait until 11:48 p.m. to watch the ONE WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS EVENT THEY'VE BEEN TEASING ALL EVENING, so I'll focus on that. But seriously, NBC. That's frustrating. Do better in 2020.

I filled the Olympics-shaped void in my heart with Stranger Things last week. I highly recommend it. The first couple of episodes were super stressful to me, but I still loved it, and I think the ending was fantastic. And now I'm obsessed (and I don't use that word lightly) with Gaten Matarazzo, the kid that played Dustin. If you hear that I've been arrested and thrown into prison, you can 100% trust that it's because I tried to kidnap Gaten. I just can't help it. He is the funniest, most adorable non-Millie kid I've ever seen. He gives me hope for the future of our world. But the main thing you need to know is that he sang Bring Him Home from Les Mis (and P.S.- he used to BE in Les Mis on Broadway!!!) at a karaoke birthday party and it is the greatest video on the internet. So go watch it.

In less creepy news, Millie is as sassy and hilarious as ever.

She has buckets of opinions and personality and she keeps us in stitches most of the time. A few times recently, when I've gone into her room in the morning to wake/get her up, she jumps up in her crib and yells "I AWAKE!!!!!" as soon as I enter the room. And she has that same happy enthusiasm for pretty much all of life.

Well, except for the things that she doesn't like or doesn't want to do, including but not limited to: being offered a sippy cup that offends her. Being offered a different cup that is also terrible. Not being offered any more cups. Being thirsty, but not finding any acceptable drinking vessels in the whole world. Going outside (because of bees). Not going outside (want outside!!). Wanting milk, but only from Mommy's Yeti, which IS NEVER AN OPTION BUT IT IS THE ONLY THING IN THE WORLD THAT MIGHT MAKE HER HAPPY. And um...some more things. You know. It's tough being two.

If we can navigate those tricky scenarios properly, though, she really is just the happiest kid. And right now she LOVES her babies. She is quite a little mama, and it makes me so happy to see her model what I can only assume are the amazing parental models she sees at home. ;) Although I don't feel like Matt and I run over Millie with huge dump trucks quite as often as she seems to with her babies, but I'm sure she'll grow out of that some day.

I've been busy hitting up all of the local "fall" (hahaha lol Georgia) consignment sales lately, and I got this building set thing because it seemed STEM-y and smart and what-not. It was super fun and all but maybe I'm not quite ready for toys like this because a) I almost had a heart attack at all of the PIECES all over the floor, and b) I couldn't actually let Millie help or touch it because the whole thing was very fragile and everything had to be just so in order for it to stay together, and her bulldozer approach to life didn't really work with that. But she was nice enough to smile for a picture inside my finished product, moments before I put the whole thing away and said "maybe we can get it out again in five years."

She's doing really well with potty training. She's wearing pull-ups most of the time during the day at school and is successful on the potty probably 75% of the time, maybe? At home she mostly wears undies and I'd also say she's maybe 75% successful. I told her that when she doesn't wear any more diapers or pull-ups and wears her undies ALL of the time (well, not at night), she will be a Big Girl and she can get her ears pierced. This is a big deal- she LOVES my earrings and is always putting things on her ears, pretending she has earrings, so I figured it would be a good incentive. So far it is, because I hear "no dipe-dipe. EARRINGS!!" and "yay undies. EARRINGS!" many times a day. 

The swing set is still a big hit and also the biggest hurdle to potty-training, ha. Most of her accidents occur out there because she can't be bothered to go inside to take care of business. So I guess we need to get a porta-potty installed or something. Gotta set her up for a win so she can get those earrings, right??! (P.S. Browsing the toddler earrings on Amazon is way more fun than it should be. I'm as excited about this as she is! But I can't decide if we should get her ears done at like Claire's or at a tattoo/piercing place. Our peds office doesn't do them. I've heard good arguments for both options...any opinions or experience with that?)

We had a scary day last week- when Millie woke up on Wednesday morning, she couldn't walk. Like her right knee buckled out and she screamed in pain any time she tried to put weight on it. It was horrible. I have videos and they will make you cry. She was slithering on her belly to get around. I was scared to death because she was totally fine the day and night before, hadn't had any unusual falls or injuries- how on earth did she hurt herself badly enough to be unable to walk overnight??! We took her to the pediatrician, and he wasn't able to figure it out, so he sent us to an orthopedist. They did several knee, leg, and hip x-rays, but also couldn't find anything amiss. Through the course of the day, though, she'd gradually gotten better and was walking again- first with a severe limp, and later on with hardly a limp at all. By the next day, she wasn't even limping. It was the weirdest thing. We had a follow-up with the orthopedist two days later, and she was still completely fine. So he said it was probably toxic synovitis (scary name, not scary condition) or (my theory, which he said was also plausible) she may have slept with her leg caught in her crib slat and had a severe 'crick' in her hip or knee that took awhile to wear off. I don't know. But I sure am glad she recovered quickly, and I am so thankful for her good health in general. 

And that's all the news from here. I'm looking forward to the weekend and "moving in" to our new attic that Matt recently finished building- now all the junk important, save-worthy items taking up space in our closets and garage can be relocated to a toasty, out-of-the way location! High five for hoarding. And also- it is the last weekend before college football starts back!! Hoooorray!! 

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.