Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More fun with family

It's been a few days since the last update - I'll see what I can remember.  Beth got to go shopping with my aunts and grandma while Anna and Cara stayed with me, Lelo, and Uncle Curt.  She had a really fun time. The guys pretty much played with the girls and watched videos with them that day.  Lelo fell asleep on the couch, and Uncle Curt & I failed to get Anna and Cara to take naps.  And I guess we forgot to change Cara's diaper all day.  Oops. The next day I got to come back and play some ping pong and pool with my dad, aunts & uncle while the girls took naps at the villa. I beat my uncle & dad at ping pong, lost at pool, and we had a pretty good matchup at 4-player ping pong with me and Titi Toni against dad and Titi Edna.

We had a lot of fun with everyone including Christopher and Nicky playing the game Apples to Apples, with ice cream, Nilla wafers, chips, etc.  Plus a couple more games of blitz - which Titi Edna would like to point out she won. Last night we took several 4-generation pictures that included Anna & Cara, me & Beth, dad, and Abuela (the girls' great grandmother).  Beth had lots of fun helping Christopher with his algebra - I'm sure a lot more fun than he had. They were working at it pretty much all evening, but I think she helped him understand some things that were giving him trouble.  He hopes music majors don't have to take many math classes! I think Beth really enjoyed the part of teaching where she got to help the kids learn, but the hours and pay and politics were terrible enough that she won't be going back to that profession.

Anyway, Lelo left this morning to go home - I'm really glad he was able to see the girls and meet Cara.  Beth was glad that everyone got to see how hard it is to feed Anna firsthand, so that it sort of "proved" that it's not just us being lazy about it.  Dad recommended a few things to supplement what Anna does eat. She misses him already - I forget what she asked today, but it was something about seeing Lelo, and we had to tell her that he had to go home, which made her a little sad.

Abuela got cabin fever and had enough sitting around the house, and Titi Edna had some things she wanted to get accomplished, so while they were off doing their thing, we went to Downtown Disney and walked around the stores and marina.  We stopped at a toy store and go a box full of Mr. Potato Head parts, and we also stopped to look around the Legoland Imagination Center.  There were some pretty cool things made out of legos there, including a lego dragon coming out of the lake, a shark, crab, dinosaur, dogs, people… but the thing the girls liked best was the little clubhouse and slide in the back of the store.  Cara thew a huge fit when we had to leave it because it started raining.

Tonight Abuela and the Hortons were having dinner and visiting with some good friends that came back from a 3-month trip to Canada and were going to see fireworks tonight.  We just stayed at our villa and swam in the pool to get the girls to bed on time since we're going to Sea World tomorrow and we got them to bed really late last night (close to 11).  We think they will really like it - one of their favorite things about Downtown Disney (besides the lego slide)was watching the fish swim in the tanks at the Rainforest Cafe.  They'll get to see lots more fish, plus pet/feed dolphins, see whales, sharks, penguins, manatees…

Titi Toni/Edna, and Abuela are going to Epcot on Friday instead of tomorrow while we're at Sea World because their friends got them an unbeatable deal to get in, but it had to be Friday.  So it looks like with everyone's schedules, between Wednesday morning and when we leave on Saturday, we'll only get to see everyone for a little bit tomorrow evening, and possibly Friday evening.  I would have enjoyed getting to spend more time visiting and playing games with my aunts, but I'm thankful for the time we did have. And I hope the girls really enjoy Sea World tomorrow.

Oh, I forgot to mention how much the girls wanted to swim today. Ever since Cara woke up from her nap today, about the only thing she would say to me was "bool," asking to go to the pool, even at Titi Toni's house while I was picking up our things. Anna squealed "Yes!" when I asked if she wanted to swim.  But the funniest part was when we went outside, I saw a frog in the pool area, tried to catch it (I eventually caught at the side of the pool), and had it in my hands.  I kept calling the girls - "Anna! Cara! Look - I have a frog in my hands - come see the frog!" They ran right by me, with not so much as a glance in my general direction, to get into the pool. Who cares about a frog, daddy - it's time to swim!  We swam until Anna said she was too cold, then I kept swimming with Cara until I figured it was late enough to stop - Cara would have gone all night long!

By the way, Anna loves the snowman PJs that Titi Edna and Abuela brought from PR. Especially the slippers.  And she also loves her fingernails that Titi Edna painted, and her toenails that Christine painted. And she was wiggling her behind this evening to the Spanish music we had playing in the villa, while sitting on the potty.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Playing and dancing

After naptime yesterday, we went back to the Hortons to visit some more.  Dad had some Spanish music playing - the girls have always loved Spanish music, since we played some of the Christmas Spanish music that my parents sent us.  They danced and danced and ran and shook their behinds.  I've linked just a couple of the pics and videos here - the rest will be included in our photo gallery once I post everything:

Not wanting the girls to get to bed too late, we took them back to the villa somewhere around 9:30 or so.  Beth was nice enough to let me drop them all off and go back to play with my family. At the community clubhouse, we played some ping pong and pool, then we headed back to the house where we taught dad to play some blitz, now a tradition at our reunions.

We ended up playing cards until well after midnight. The real competition was who, between dad and Titi Toni, was going to end up in last place - I pretty much wiped up the floor with all of them (I have to brag now because I will get an earful when my lucky streak ends and I lose big).

This morning several of us took a walk with the girls around the lake behind the house. It did me in (and Cara, too) - ok, so I'm way out of shape, and I didn't carry the girls that much, but it's Florida, and it was hot, and it was a long walk!  The girls are taking their naps now, and I'm sitting here in the nice A/C in the quiet, writing this up.  Anna has already said she wants to dance to music after her nap. [Update - Anna never went to sleep at all, so hopefully she won't be a little monster tonight!  Also, the lizard has now become a "giant lizard" in Anna's mind - and she looks for it every time we get out of the car at the villa.]

How many...

How many jungles do you see in this picture?  The answer, according to Anna, would be two - two jungles.  She hasn't seen palm trees before, but as we drive down the road, we've learned that each individual palm tree counts as one jungle.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Beth & I are back in the villa for a few hours with the girls after having spent the morning at the Hortons' place.  The girls are really tired, and we're trying to let them have a sense of keeping their usual schedule and get some rest.

We got to see Titi Edna, Titi Toni, and Abuela (the girls' great grandmother) for the first time in several years again.  Abuela kept apologizing for her appearance when we stopped in this morning - it really was ok, since their flight from Puerto Rico had gotten in around midnight, and they didn't get to bed until 2am.  I'm sure the girls were wondering who the creepy lady was, talking to us from behind a pillow - it was Titi Edna, afraid of her morning breath.  Both Titi Toni & Titi Edna have been hard at work trying to make the biggest impression on the girls.

We've been having a great time - lots of laughing, dancing around with the girls, and making music with Christopher and Nicky (I hope I'm spelling it right).  The girls have gotten to bang on a keyboard along with them, Anna has spelled her name for the microphone many times: A-n-n-n-a.  They even got to open Christmas presents - several nice sets of PJs from Abuela and Titi Edna, and some princess jewelry, a video and a book from Titi Toni.  Oh, and also a water jug that was a big hit.

I've included a few pictures from our visit so far.  This evening, the Hortons' church is having a fall festival, so we're planning to head over that way after naptime for some food and fun.  It wasn't too hard putting the kids down to sleep - in fact, Cara didn't even make it 5 minutes in the car from the Hortons' place to our villa.

The lizard

[Insert screechy horror music here]
When we pulled into our villa yesterday and I opened Anna's door, she noticed something on the driveway that has haunted her ever since.  Unfortunately, one of the neighborhood's friendly lizards met his demise under a car tire sometime recently, and Anna had to witness the gore firsthand.

Now every time we come back to the villa, as we're turning into the driveway, Anna says, "I'm scared of the lizard. I don't want to see the lizard!"

The lizards are everywhere here in Florida, and there were several crawling on the screens of Titi Toni's outside porch.  Anna pointed one out from inside the house and was scared.  I carried her outside to get an up close look so she would see that they're actually cute and friendly critters, and they're not all as horrific as the first lizard she saw.

Fotunately she warmed up to them (but not enough to hold the one that Uncle Curt caught) and doesn't mind seeing them running around outside anymore. However, she won't forget the first lizard she saw anytime soon - she still told us she didn't want to see the lizard when we pulled into our villa this afternoon for their naps.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Made it to Orlando

We arrived at our villa in Orlando around 4:45pm.  The girls were happy to be free of their car seats, and they went through their ritual of jumping up and down on mommy & daddy's bed.  After unloading, we headed over to Uncle Curt & Titi Toni's house to meet dad and Christine.  It's a very nice house right on a little lake at the end of a cul-de-sac - Sea World is only 1 mile away, and Disney only 5.

The girls got to meet Abuelo, and really enjoyed dancing with him to his oldie goldies, getting picked up and swung, and chased around and around the table.  After Christine gave us the grand tour, I got to chat a little bit with her as we went to the store to pick up some mac & cheese for the girls.  Later Curt, Christopher, and his friend Nicky (sp?) arrived - Christopher looks to me like a musician, no question. Apparently dad had said the same thing.  He and Nicky played some songs for us on his brand new keyboard and a drum set.  Very talented, I have to say.  I was impressed.

The girls had big fun playing with an ice cube in a cup (they are sometimes easily entertained), and I was happy to get some pictures of them with dad, Christine, Christopher, and Curt.  Titi Toni had to work and wasn't able to get home in time before we took the girls to bed, and Titi Edna and Abuela weren't arriving until late tonight, but we'll get to see them tomorrow.  The girls were REALLY tired (they haven't had a nap for 2 days now) and it was just a little difficult to get them to feel ok going to sleep.

I've got many pictures besides the one included in this post (and I'm sure will get many more during the week). I plan to post them in our photo gallery when we return to Maryland, and if I have time, maybe I'll post some of them earlier, but right now, time for bed!

Oh, one anecdote I forgot to jot down from our hotel stay is that Anna really liked pushing the buttons for us to ride the alligator (elevator) up to our room.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Heading to Orlando

It's 8:55pm, and we're all settled down in a hotel room in Santee, SC.  The girls are in their pack & plays, Beth is trying to fall asleep, and all the lights are out - it's just too early for me to be tired enough to fall asleep, so I have my laptop on in the dark with the brightness turned as far down as it will go.

The drive today went exceptionally well, I thought - there was hardly any crying or yelling, unlike our drive to Kansas City last Christmas where Cara yelled at the top of her lungs for literally an hour straight.  By playing music for the first 2 hours then turning on a Curious George DVD, we were able to drive almost 4 straight hours without stopping.  It also helped that Beth refrained from her coffee and didn't need to stop.  We were on the road 8.5 hours today, are staying overnight in South Carolina, and have 6 hours to go tomorrow.

Anna is excited to see everybody - she keeps repeating who is going to be there and asking who else will be there.  She always remembers to mention Titi Edna - maybe that smack in the head last time was more memorable than we thought.  And today's anecdote, which occurred after we ate dinner near the hotel and Cara was breaking down:
Cara: Bankee! Bankee! (crying for her blanket)
Anna: Your blanket is in the hot towel, Cara! (the hotel)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Simple pleasures

Today after naptime we took the girls to the store to pick up a few things, and afterwards I thought we'd stop at Dairy Queen for hot dogs and ice cream.  When I asked the girls if they wanted hot dogs, Cara nodded her head mechanically, and Anna said "Yes!" Then when I said that after we have hot dogs, we can have ice cream, Anna said "I don't want it!"

I knew she couldn't be talking about not wanting ice cream, so I asked what she didn't want.  She responded, "I don't want hot dog." So I told her she has to eat something for dinner - if she doesn't want a hot dog, what does she want?  And in the tiniest little voice ever, that I could barely hear, she whispered, "Ice cream."  The lesson for me here is not to even mention ice cream as an incentive to eat the real dinner.

Fortunately, they both behaved very well and ate their hot dogs & chips relatively well.  They didn't like the milk at Dairy Queen for some reason.  But boy, when it was time for the ice cream, you'd think we hadn't fed them for days.  Anna just wolfed hers down without any help, and Cara ate it so fast, she started crying - which we could only assume was an ice cream headache.  It reminded me of the time my friend Ryan said that he used to tell the kids at his church when they would get ice cream headaches that it was because they weren't eating it fast enough. A lot of it also ended up in her hair somehow…

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cara's turn

I thought I would give Cara a turn to have an entry all about her. I realize most of my entries are stories about Anna - but I guess more funny things tend to happen when the little one can talk and give you a window into their mind.

Cara says a few distinct words that we can understand now, but we sometimes still need to figure out what word she's saying.  For example, "bet" means she wants to go to bed.  "Choche" means "George," which refers to Curious George (she loves reading the very short Curious George books now, over and over). "Eenk" means "drink," "eelk" means "milk" specifically.  She can say "eat" and ask for a "bite" clearly.  "Bankeet" means she wants her blanket. A recent one is something like "ammmich", which we thought meant "sandwich," but learned by wild guessing it just meant jelly on bread, and not in sandwich form.

She still very much wants to do whatever Anna does, and wants you to "ook" (look) at something of hers frequently.  For example, Anna got her fingernails painted, and when Anna was showing me her fingernails after work one day, Cara had to come up and say, "Ook! Ook!!" while showing me her (unpainted) hand. Or she will come out and tell me to "ook" at her pigtails after mommy puts them in.  She's always very proud of the stamp she gets on her hand after visiting the library and makes sure I "ook" at it several times.

As far as playing, she likes to play with the Little People farm.  She still enjoys stealing Anna's kitty and running away with it while Anna chases her.  She likes to jump on my belly like Anna does, and she likes to be chased.  She enjoys the little plastic playhouse we have out in the backyard - she'll go inside and wave hi to everyone through the windows. She likes sitting on my lap and reading the 5-page little story books.  I think her obsession with the dishwasher is over.

She ditched her high chair long ago and really likes her booster seat at the main table.  I guess she just really wanted to sit with everyone else at the same table instead of in her own chair.  She's also the opposite of Anna as far as eating - she'll eat or at least try just about anything.  Oh, and she is really fond of another girl named Rachel.  She asked for her when we were going to the park last Saturday.  Interesting that Anna's best friend is also Rachael (only with an A).

So, Cara is growing just fine. I'm looking forward to when she can really start talking - I'm sure we'll have plenty more stories to write once the girls can actually talk with each other!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pig jammies

Anna has always loved her jammies. I can't remember how long ago it was - this was before Anna's conversation with Titi Toni about Buckey Mouse (which was early this year), so she must have been 2 still.  She was showing me her pig jammies - a big pig on her shirt, and lots of little pigs on her pants.  She was showing me all the pigs on her pants - "See, here's a pig, and here's a pig, and here's a pig…"  Only when she got to the bottom of her pants, she stopped, looked for a second, gasped, and said, "Oh, no! It's broken!"  She had found a pig that was cut in half by the end of her pant leg.  I reassured her that the pig was ok.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Anna Vanna White

We've noticed that whenever Anna wants to point something out to us, she doesn't point with her finger, like most kids do.  Instead, she uses her entire arm, and many times both of her arms, to gesture towards what she wants to point out to you.  It is almost exactly how Vanna White points to the puzzle board on Wheel of Fortune.

I tried to get a couple shots of it to illustrate. Her pointing in these pictures is close to what she usually does, but when we were taking the pictures she was probably confused why we kept asking her to point at something and then stay still for a picture.

For the longest time, we had no idea why she pointed like this. But Beth figured it out the other day - Anna loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show on TV, and Beth noticed that on the show, that's how Mickey "points" to everything. Mystery solved!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Preschool jobs

Until recently, all we could get out of Anna as far as what she did at preschool was, "I listened!"  Either it's the most boring preschool on earth, or they actually do more than sit and listen, and Anna was just holding back.

I was surprised to get a few more details when I asked her the other day what she did at preschool.  She said she fell down and cried.  We couldn't figure out what actually happened, but she said something about the kids running into her and making her fall… then she mentioned something about some boy named Jackson making her fall.  Or hitting her, or pushing her.  We never figured it out.

Then today, I sat down on the floor with the girls, and Anna said, "criss-cross applesauce."  I guess that's today's version of sitting "indian-style," according to Beth.  I wonder what the next version will be once applesauce enthusiasts become offended by that phrase.  Anyway, Anna then sat across from me and held up her hand, holding something imaginary, saying something I couldn't hear, then placing whatever it was into one of three apparent slots on the couch behind her.

After a few minutes, I figured out that she was holding up either a letter representing someone's name, or maybe it was a card with someone's full name.  I think it was supposed to be randomly picked from a jar or something. She would then ask, "Whose name is this?"  Then that card would be placed in one of three "job" positions for the day: line leader, snack helper, or doll holder.  Anna went through assigning me, mommy, and Cara jobs.  I had to be the doll holder.

…actually, now that I think about it some more, I wonder if it's really DOOR holder, even though Anna is clearly saying "doll…"

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What's missing?

We told Anna she could have a banana after she finished what was on her dinner plate. When she finished it:
Me: Good job, Anna. Would you like your banana now?
Anna: Yes, banana now!
Beth: What's missing, Anna? (Expecting the word "please" here)
Anna: The banana is missing!

No turbin, thanks

Papa Nick: Anna, would you like me to make you a turbin to go around and around your head?

Anna: No, I don't want turbin round and round my head. I already have pigtails!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Monday, Tuesday, Threedays, Fourdays...

Anna's first day of preschool was on a Tuesday. Since she only went once that first week, I told her after bedtime stories the following Thursday that she could go again in 5 days.  She replied that no, she would be going in two days.  When Beth tells her after school on Tuesday that she can go again in two days, Anna says, no, four days.  We think that she originally heard Tuesday as "TWO's day," and has named most days of the week using a number.  It probably didn't help that Monday can sound like "ONE day."

It's interesting she assigned "FOUR days" to be Thursday, two days after TWOsday. But I don't think she's that clever just yet… today I said she could go again on Thursday, and she said no, in six days.  Who knows what the logic is - but I'm sure it makes perfect sense to her!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Games children play

Ring around the rosie
I thought I'd write an entry about the games the girls like to play these days.  "Ring Around the Rosie" is a big favorite of Anna's.  If your inner ear could take it, she would play it with you forever and ever more.  I've managed to make it fun to "pretend" that you're really dizzy and fall to the ground.  Cara is old enough to join in now, as you can see from this picture.

Just laughing

I'm not sure what the game is, but in the car, the girls will just look at each other and then laugh themselves silly.  I assume somebody is doing something that must be funny.  They've been doing that since Cara was facing backwards next to Anna, who always faced forward since Cara was born (I think).


Something that used to be a big hit for Anna was jumping up and down on daddy's belly, especially right after dinner.  It started out as a simple up and down motion that was fun, but it eventually became Anna full-blown jumping up in the air, and kicking her feet downward into my stomach as she came down, exerting maximum downward force.  Big fun!  She doesn't do it as much anymore, although Cara is now starting to play that game.  Both of them love to stand on my belly and launch themselves over my head, the idea being that I have a hold of them and lift them up to "fly."  I have been ready for them to launch themselves most of the time, and so far no incidents have occurred if I wasn't.

Cracking heads

One day after dinner, we heard the sound of heads cracking against the dinner table.  But instead of the expected crying, there was lots of laughing, then more cracking of heads from under the table.  It didn't sound fun - it sounded painful, but what do we know?  It was big fun, apparently (until Cara cracked her head just a bit too enthusiastically).  This game carried over into the hotel room when we visited Sesame Place, when it became fun to crack your head against the headboard.

Here's some video of the girls playing, taken from our photo gallery: