Friday, May 30, 2008

Dig It

Aahh... summer is finally here! And we are enjoying it, I tell you what. Yesterday Roan and I met up with some of our neighborhood friends at the zoo, and it was such a great time. This was her third trip to to the zoo, but the first time she really seemed "into" the animals. She laughed out loud, squealed, pointed and said "oooh" at the polar bears, giant turtles, giraffes, komodo dragons, fish and geese. She chased a peacock halfway around the park and darn near caught it too. She ran all over the place, played with her friends and got her first taste of ice cream.

She would take a little nibble, think on it a moment and then grunt enthusiastically as if to say, "hey, bring the good stuff back over here!" It was one of those perfect sunny but not hot Denver days, and all us moms had such fun with the kids and also just hanging out jabbering with each other. All in all, it was a great day.

Last weekend we broke ground on a massive backyard landscaping project. We must've gotten confused and thought it was "Labor Day" instead of "Memorial Day," because we labored like crazy. We had a little help from a hired hand, and thank goodness. We never could have gotten as far as we did on our own. We took out all the trash trees on the south side of the lot (where Arwen is), removed the sod, rototilled, levelled the dirt, and put in new grass and border.

We moved *so* *much* *dirt*. It was astonishing. Behind those limbs to the left there, the whole back of our lot is filled with the excess dirt. It's amazing what backbreaking work it is just to get a blank slate!

Roan got into the action, of course. She loves to "help." This usually involved standing in the way of the rototiller/ shoveling dudes/ wheelbarrow and scooping one tiny toy shovelful of dirt onto the pile. It was adorable, I gotta give her that. And naturally she has added a new word to her growing vocabulary: "dirt"!

Here she is trying on Daddy's gloves. Dad had to shovel one-gloved till he could sweet talk her into giving it back to him.

And here is the fruit of our labor: one little patch of new green grass. All the area around it that is currently dirt will be landscaped with bird and butterfly attracting plants, trees and mulch. Oh and we plan to put in a privacy fence to screen our neighbors' disasterous yards from view. We still have a ton of work ahead of us!

But that will have to wait at least until next weekend. This weekend we're going camping in our Little Guy trailer. I'm so excited! We seriously have not been camping since 2005!!! That is just plain wrong! I'm excited to see what Roan will think of it. I pray she sleeps, and lets us sleep. We are bringing a tent as a backup, in case we can't sleep all together as one big happy family. Wish us luck...

Oh, before I go here's a quick clip from last weekend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A long winded recap

We had a great time in Dallas visiting Uncle Johnny, Aunt Angela, Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Ronnie as well as all the other folks there to celebrate John's graduation from SMU. Roan did her best to behave through the ceremony, but she and I spent most of the time at the back of the room with her running around making new friends with the other spectators. She helped cheer Uncle John's triumphant walk across that stage. We got to see John's fantastic new house, and even take Roan for a swim in the pool. Mommy Too threw John an incredible party to celebrate, and (unfortunately for my head the next morning) there was a non-stop margarita machine. It was a great time.

If only the trip home could have been as nice as our stay out there. Roan put us through our paces. I have never heard her cry and scream so inexplicably and for such long stretches. Naturally, the 3 hour flight was packed and she didn't sleep a wink. We were all exhausted by the time we got home, but the up side was that that experience was over!

If Roan could speak more eloquently, she might have pointed out that she is cutting molars on both sides of her mouth, and at the time of the flight was suffering a terrible diaper rash. Maybe that had something to do with it.

She is also continuing to exhibit more toddler-like, authority-challenging behavior. We've been on a reading binge lately trying to get our strategies caught up to her behavior. The last book I read, "Redirecting Children's Behavior" worked great for a while, and I think we may be able to return to it at some point in the future. But for the moment we've turned to "Love and Logic" which is all about giving kids choices and consequences, delivering discipline without breaking a sweat.

That last part is key, they say. As soon as you get mad, your kid realizes the inherent fun in pushing your buttons and then you're lost. As Arwen's mom once wisely said, "The key to kids is, you gotta trick 'em!" Now we finally know what she meant. Once Roan becomes more verbal, the options abound. Until then it's pretty basic. Try and have as much fun with her while she's not misbehaving, and when she is put her in her crib until she calms down and becomes sweet again. There's no screaming and yelling, just the simple idea that it's more fun to behave well and have good times with Mom and Dad.

I like this philosphy because I find myself prioritizing having fun with Roan, and when she misbehaves I don't view it as an exasperating affront to my authority. I just whisk her off to her crib for a little "bedroom time" to readjust herself. I also feel good about having a framework within which to deliver fair and compassionate discipline, and provider her with the limits we all need to get along in the world.

In the couple of weeks since we've been home, we've been busy. We picked up a new toy. It's a small trailer, not much more than a queen sized bed on wheels, called a Little Guy. This is not our actual unit, but here's a sample of what they look like. We haven't taken it out yet, but we hope to soon!

In our next episode, photos of the enormous landscaping project we've taken on in the backyard...

A video clip from tonight

Roan and her Daddy playing "monsters" before bedtime.

A quick word...

to say a lengthier post is coming soon. It's been a fun & busy couple of weeks. We traveled to Dallas to see my brother John the college graduate! We're all so proud of you John!! But I am such a loser I didn't break out my camera even ONCE. Doh! I will have to steal some pictures from Karen & Jen.

We also have been working our tails off in the backyard. This I do have pictures of, just got to get them uploaded. Stay tuned, updates coming soon!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I hope yours was a happy one; mine was. I got lots of sweet cards in the mail. Jen and Micah watched Roan on Saturday night so Arwen and I could go out to a nice meal and have some drinks with friends. We had such a good time that when we got to Jen's to pick her up we decided to make a night of it and have a sleepover in their basement.

On Sunday Jen and Micah looked after Roan again for a couple of hours so we could go pick out a new TV for the basement! It's kind of embarrasing how excited I am about it. But we haven't been able to watch a movie on anything other than a laptop since Jen & Micah moved out. Then we went to the zoo in the afternoon, and Roan got to ride the carosel and the train for her first time. I would say she is reserving judgement on the zoo as a whole, but she was a big fan of the monkeys and of the geese, who she chased all over the place. Then Sunday night Jen and Micah came back over (you'd think they'd be sick of us by now) and cooked us a fantastic dinner and helped us hook up the TV. All in all it was a great weekend.

Which was nice, because we had a couple of rough nights last week. On Wednesday night I put Roan to bed as normal, and two hours later BLAMMO she wakes up crying with what turned out to be croup. Her breathing was so wheezy and strained we called the urgent care nurse for help. We opted not to rush her into the emergency room right away (not big fans of the ER since her first appearance there), and instead kept an eye on her for a few hours by putting her in the pack n play in our room. At 2 am she was wheezing so badly we almost packed her into the car, but we tried one last thing - cranking up the humidifier - and that did the trick. The wheezing went away and she slept 5 hours interrupted.

The next day we got her in to see the doctor who identified her barking cough as a textbook case of croup and explained what that is - a cold-like virus that attacks the throat instead of the sinuses - and what they do to treat it - not much, mostly let it run its course. After those first couple of bad nights she's much better, now with just sniffles and an occasional cough. Bless her heart, I felt bad for her this last week. First she got the sniffles, then she got croup, and on top of it is teething molars. Ouch! Yet despite it all she really tried to keep her chin up. She's been a little more testy lately (I hear the word "no" a lot!) but that's understandable.

Oh one other Roan development: she "named" some one for the first time besides Mama and Dada - Uncle Micah. She calls him "ga ga". It is so cute; whenever she stays over at their house she always has to have "Ga ga" put her down to sleep. She has also added a lot of other words to her vocabulary in the last month. These are all things she says regularly:
  • please (peas) - she also signs this one
  • more (mo) - she signs this one too
  • Sasha
  • house
  • outside
  • open
  • eye
  • bird
  • bottle (ba ba)
  • bunny (ba ba)
  • broccoli (ba ba)
  • ball (ba)
  • brush (bsh)
  • no! (her favorite word, which she says with much enthusiasm)
  • juice
  • cup (bup)
  • yogurt (guk)
  • milk (lk)
  • jacket
  • cracker (see below)
  • uh oh
  • help (elp)
  • banana (na na)

New words just starting to make an appearance:

  • apple
  • diaper
  • thank you
  • teeth
  • yes (I would *love* to hear more of this one)

Regarding her pronunciation of "cracker." Yes. Well a few months back her good friend Audrey started saying "cracker." Arwen and I secretly thought it was hysterical that 1) Audrey pronounced it "caca" and 2) it was such a favorite word for her that she said it all the time in public to the point that perfect strangers would be compelled to ask her parents "Is she saying caca?"

Well I guess the karma wheel came around on us. Roan has her own twist on the pronunciation. She has shortened Audrey's version to just the first syllable, so it has an unfortunate and very striking resemblance to a profane name for the male member. And of course she loves crackers and asks for them all the time. Between that and her pronunciation of the word "ice" which sounds *exactly* like "ass" this girl is working on a sailor mouth like her good ol Aunt Jen. :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ducks are cool

So are geese. That's what Roan thinks. We went to the park today and she spotted a mallard and his lovely mate from across the way. She went chasing after them saying "duck duck quack" etc. And then she spotted some geese hanging out by the water. I had to go scoop her up before she jumped in.

It was hard to tear her away from all the excitement.

When we did finally go she kept saying "bye bye" and waving to the ducks and geese over and over.

So cute.

Here is a video of her with the geese. Apparrently geese say "quack" in her mind.

And here's one last picture, from first thing in the morning.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A quick video

Roan on the slide in Houston

Friday, May 02, 2008

Link to birthday photos

Looks like there was a problem with the link I included in my last post. Try clicking here. You shouldn't have to login.