Thursday, July 19, 2012

I have made a few day trips to Houston with the kids on Thursdays. The Children's Museum there is free on Thursday evenings with reduced parking rates as well.  We have gone in the afternoon and played with friends who moved there and found a fun play area at the Memorial Mall.  They love that mall as it has huge hallways. Cole calls it the airport mall.  It is sort of open like an airport.  The play area is made out of the same material as a Bumbo baby chair so it is soft and bouncy and a little slippery - great fun for sliding down and jumping on.  Lyla is always hesitant to play on it though.

The second time we went she didn't play at all. She just sat on my lap.  I enjoyed the cuddles.  She was definitely nervous. Those fingers were in her mouth the entire time with the other hand grasping her blanket. Speaking of those fingers...she started sucking them so much that she got blisters on her fingers.  I wrapped them up in band-aids to try to let them heal. The first night she cried a few times and whimpered a little in the middle of the night.  But she didn't want me to take them off the next day. In fact, we kept them on for three days.  She started to suck them again after that and I would remind her of how much they hurt when they got blistered and she would pull them out. I never told her again after day four and suddenly I realized she never did it again. Now the thought even seems silly to her! 

I already kind of miss these classic Lyla poses - going to put the fingers in her mouth.

When it was time to leave, I wanted to see the other parts of the mall before heading to the museum so we walked around. When we walked through Macy's and passed the lingerie section, little girl CAME TO LIFE!  Seriously!  She was all giggles and ran around picking out panties and telling me which ones I should get and try on. It was so funny.  That was the first time I had seen her "shop" and it hasn't stopped. This girl KNOWS what she likes and panties are definitely one of them.  Now why isn't she potty trained?  That's probably mom's fault. I'm still a little scarred from Cole and he isn't even done.  I think at this point I will wait and tackle them both at once.

(A little side note: we passed Victoria's Secret at the mall today and Cole told me that was a good store and I should like it.  I have never mentioned the store before and never gone in.  In fact, I signed a petition years and years ago that I would not shop there or their affiliate stores because of the runway show on local network TV during family hours.  It should be on a cable station.  And I haven't shopped them since...  Anyway, I asked him why I should like that store and he told me he really likes their "clothes".  Quote: "They are really nice. I like them mom!"  Should I be concerned?  Haha!  Boys.) 

Anyway, back to the mall - Cole loves it the play area and gets all sweaty from the craziness and running around.  He just can't get enough of it...until I tell him the museum is open!  Then he is super excited to go on to the next event.

The museum is quite large and we still haven't seen all of it.  The kids like to revisit the same places so we don't seem to have time to get to the other places.  But one of them is the baby section (which Lyla might still like, but it is always SUPER crowded) and the other I think is for older kids.  The outside exhibit is their favorite. It is all water and physics exhibits.  Who doesn't love to play with water!


The big attraction at the water section is this big bowl that the kids fill up until it dumps out on them. Cole gets soaked so now I know to bring extra clothes!  Here he is standing on the button to make the water spray. Loving. Every. Minute.

But he also enjoys shooting the water at these propellers to make them turn.

Near the baby section is a little outdoor patio filled with riding toys for toddlers.  They did NOT want to leave this area.  They even had Stop and Go signs and cones to avoid.

They also really like the Lego and indoor physics section. You can build a car and then send it down a ramp to race or see if they'll hold up - because ours never do.  We just build them again!

You can also shoot different object through these wind tunnels.

I don't even have pictures of every thing they enjoy because my phone will die or the lighting just isn't good for phone pics, but Lyla does enjoy this one. You stack the bean bags on these tiny shelves. When you push the big button it knocks all the bags off the shelves. Eventually, they will both realize you are supposed to match the bean bags by number or color to the correct position.

We also joined the local children's museum.  The Bryan/College Station museum is really just a place for the kids to be indoors in the heat.  They have lots of train tables, reading areas, a large chess set, a grocery store, and craft section.  Lyla and Cole enjoy painting on the easels and Lyla really wants to learn to cut and glue.  She tries and has fun but still can't really do it herself.  AKA - she gets upset.  She does that whenever she can't do something by herself but REALLY wants to.

We have been doing some fun museum stuff at home too thanks mostly to Pinterest ideas. Some favorites they ask to do at home repeatedly:
Painting Bread (milk and food coloring - you toast it and eat it!)

Sizzling Colors (food coloring & vinegar - dropped onto baking soda) Keeps Cole entertained as long as it lasts.  We could spend oodles on baking soda and vinegar for this activity!

Another science-y activity Cole has gotten very good at is building towers and mixing toys to do it.He tries to get it as high as he can and was VERY proud of this one.

Cole loves to count anything he can now and tries to pick out sight words. He also is pretty good at most letters and their sounds and recognizing what a word starts with.  "W" confuses him because, well, saying the letter doesn't match the sound it makes. He also just learned to play "Go Fish" and caught on after only one game. I enjoy that game so I'm glad he grasped it quickly. Yes, my babes are growing up.  

Wait! Not that grown up.  But he sure loves to do whatever daddy does!

Ahem. And Lyla too.  She got a kick out of herself trying to pee standing like daddy too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So much to catch up on!  So here goes...

Daddy took the kids for Earth day to a fair of sorts.  There were free lima bean plants for the kids, coffee grounds to fertilize your soil, tons of trinket freebees and such too.  The best part was the kids could play on the firetruck.  Cole was in heaven!

Lyla checking out her Lima bean plant

Cole on the fire truck
We have such a fun filled summer.  It started out pretty hot but has cooled somewhat.  We got a little plastic pool for our backyard for those days you don't want to pack up to go to the pool but just want to cool off.

Lyla playing Super Why and fishing in our pool.

Cole loves to fill it up mostly and after that he enjoys doing anything to annoy his little sister - splash her with water, take the toy he knows she wants, etc.  I assure you it is all done out of his fun loving heart.  So boy.

Hiding under the sheets with daddy's phone.  Great fun!

Oh yes, and see that lovely raised garden bed?  I built that this year trying to cover up the dead grass there.  We now have lovely tomato plants and peppers blossoming there.  Lyla eats the tomatoes right off the vine.  In fact, I can't believe how much she likes tomatoes. She steals them all out of our salads like they rightfully belong to her.

We went to the Blue Bell Factory twice this year, maybe three. I can't recall really.  The kids love it there.  Well, they love ice cream, so why wouldn't they?!  In fact, I think ice cream has become a staple in our household.  Cole even started asking for ice cream for breakfast.  That's when I thought maybe we had a problem.  But we do bride our kids with ice cream so they will sit still and quiet during family scripture time.

Speaking of scripture time...Lyla likes to take our scriptures and read. She is the cutest thing reading anything because her vocabulary is so huge and she makes all these crazy facial expressions while she is reading. It is ALWAYS like she is reading the best book of all time.  I love it.

We have had some fun weekends in Austin with grandma and papa Rees.  Oak trees shed their leaves in the spring and the kids had a blast getting dirty in those!

There is a lantern on the back porch of their house.  Cole and Lyla love to be sung happy birthday to and then blow out candles. We do it every time they eat cupcakes and really any time they see a candle.  This lantern was no exception.  I think we sung happy birthday to each of them 5 or 6 times.

Oh yes, and blowing bubbles is always fun too.

We play outside a lot.  Lyla got a tricycle from grandparents for Christmas but Cole loves it too. It makes lots of sounds with tons of buttons to push and really is a great size for him too.  It is a little big for her still but she does great pushing it along with her feet.

Cole is quite the truck driver too.  He rides it nearly every day. Lyla rode it at first but for some reason won't sit in it now unless Cole is nowhere around. Hmm...not sure why but we sure do have a lot of fun with it. I will push Lyla in the stroller and Cole will drive it to the park.  He loves having that kind of mobility and freedom.  Plus he looks cool, right?

We took the kids to Bryan lake here in town. We had never been there before and though it is pretty, there is not anything there really so I doubt we will be going back soon but the kids still had fun.

The kids liked splashing in the water...and were a bit disappointed we wouldn't let them jump in. haha!  Her anger fits totally crack me up sometimes

So, let's see, what else is going on...
Lyla enjoys digging through trash (our recycling bins) but she even got into the diaper pail outside once.  She sort of has a gross obsession with seeing her messy diapers when we take them off. I had no idea it would take her as far as to pull out diapers from the can and open them.  It. was. gross. (No picture needed, right?)

We still go to lots and lots of parks. They love going all over town and keep asking for new parks. So far we haven't run out of favorites and new ones. Thank you College Station!  Oh, and Lyla is still in love with polka dots, but she definitely has an affinity for PURPLE now. It was yellow (as seen here) but I had to go out and get her a bunch of purple clothes and shoes because she would see other girls with purple things and be down right determined to get one of her own too.  I really can't dress her AT ALL.  She won't even pick between two or three things. She knows what is in her closet and will pick it out or tell me what to get!

We have read the book "Higher, Higher" by Leslie Patricelli so many times and it has become Cole's favorite thing to do.  He wants to swing up to the sky just like the little girl in the book. He is starting to learn to pump to keep himself going.

Lyla actually used to be afraid of the swings at parks for a while. I'm not sure why. She used to cover her ears when Cole would swing so maybe the squeaky ones bothered her?  But one day I guess she changed her mind and I happened to have the camera handy.  And ever since this day she is back at loving swinging.

Our children think water puddles are their personal pools.  The park closest to our house gets a huge one after every rain.  But they run all around the neighborhood to get in the deep puddles. They know where they are and just drag me along.

They love anything with water. They enjoy watering our flowers and even love helping wash cars.  Had to wash theirs down too ya know!

Lyla is starting to reject naps.  I hate it mostly because she her tired attitude is an angry attitude most of the time.  But I understand that she wants to be in the action so fights the sleepiness. I am afraid by the end of summer with our other trip to NY planned, it will be the end of naps.  However, early bedtime is nice too!  She is still VERY attached to her blankie.  We can leave the house now without it but it is still a necessary item for comfort and sleep.

We tried potty training Cole by bribing him with a Cars 2 Airplane.  He was moderately successful and after 7 days I gave it to him.  After which he proceeded to pee on my floors so I took the plane away.  He endlessly moped for it but knew he could only get it if he wore undies and went to the bathroom and he told me flat out that he did not want to do that.  But, in the end, he was being good (I can't remember at what) so I rewarded him with the plane again.  This is the instant he got it back.  He played with it nonstop for about a week. It is still one of his favorite toys and definitely one all the his friends want when they come over.  

So potty training....if Cole is naked, he will always go to the bathroom or ask to put a diaper on to go poop (does NOT want to do that in the potty).  SOoooo this boy knows how to do it and we are just waiting for when he decides he is done with being lazy and wearing diapers.  Tick. tock. tick. tock.  Lyla may just beat him to it.  

OH! And another big step for Lyla....she is actually letting me play with her hair! Bows are kind of out now but she likes braids and pigtails. YAY!!  Maybe she will let me go back to bows in a few months. Please, Lyla?

I can occasionally get Cole to take a nap, but I have to wake him after a half hour or so otherwise he can't fall asleep at night and is wandering around his room or coming downstairs until 10 at night or later.  Getting him to wake from a short nap is definitely a challenge.  Hanging him from his feet seems to get giggles instead of anger so far.

We had a rough beginning to summer and sunscreen. Turns out both of my kids have allergic reactions.  Cole's is far worse, but I have to be really careful with them. I steer clear of spray sunscreens. They seem to be the worst offenders.  These bumps and redness (and itchiness) stay until that top layer of skin exfoliates.  Ouch!

Lyla thinks swim suits are for every day wear.  She loves accessories too.  Sunglasses, bracelets, watches, necklaces,

and nail polish!!!  She asks to change it frequently and needs to have at least SOME color on each finger and toe at all times.  Silly girl.

Oh, and did I mention this is how Lyla eats a burger?  She really only likes the cheese and only recently started finding eating the bun acceptable to her palate.

Cole still loves trains.  He really enjoys this take and play set he got for Christmas.  It is the most requested to be taken outside too.  He creates his own little town and I get to be Sir Topham Hatt and send the trains on various errands.  For the longest time, it was his favorite playtime activity to do while Lyla napped.

We have had many adventures watching the swallows build a nest above our back door and then dive at us like REAL ANGRY BIRDS!  I let them stay until their babies left the nest, but then I realized something was wrong - they were not leaving!  They all lived there and laid MORE EGGS and we had double the birds diving at us.  So we had a friend come by and take it down - especially after I found out all the gross things that can happen from having a birds nest by your house. I won't go into detail.  I had to knock their rebuilding down a few times but so far they are gone.  We expect them to come back next year and try again.  They leave a scent so they know where to build every year.  Fun. Fun.

We have had a lot of friends come over to play too. They are entertained and for the most part things go pretty smoothly. It is a welcome break for mom and kids.  The boys all enjoy cars and trains and we certainly have plenty of those!  This was just too cute when he and his friend, Seth, plopped into our two tiny rocking chairs to watch Cars 2.

Here are a few more videos of the kids having a good time. They love their cousin Jacob. He is just loads of fun and keeps Lyla giggling.

They also love to go to our two adjacent neighbors homes.  They are older couples so they enjoy the kids too.  Here they are playing in the rocks outside one of our neighbors homes.  Cole was sure she would thank him SOoooo much for picking up the rocks Lyla threw out of the garden bed. Such a good-hearted boy.