Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Photo Favorites

How is our summer almost over???  I can't believe it's already the end of July.  I think the girls and I are going to do a lot in this last month of summer because not only is it one of the last months without Miranda, but it's also our last month before pre-school starts and we have less free time.

Anyways, before we move onto August, here are my favorite photos from the month of July.  Most have been posted on this blog or my 365 picture blog, but that's because they are my favorites! ;)

Meredith loves to dress up now.  I put this dress on her and she said, "I princess." (or however she actually said princess - picess, or something like that.)

I LOVE that Mackenzie was "teaching" Meredith with these flashcards.  Mackenzie would say the color and Meredith would repeat.  So cute!

Posing for "after haircut" picture...

NOT posing for her "after haircut" picture! ;)

Just relaxing during "school".  Basically she would do anything to get our attention since I didn't give her anything to do at the table.

Fun at the firestation!


Meredith's mad face that makes you laugh!

Now, bring on August!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I hate viruses!

From about 9 months of age to about 2 1/2 years, Mackenzie got sick about every 3 months. Four or five of those illnesses were strep, of which two or three started as a virus that led to strep throat.  Then for about a year we had no illnesses, which was great since Meredith was a baby in that time.  Then last summer Mackenzie got strep again.  At the time I thought, once a year illness isn't too bad - I can do this.  Apparently I spoke to soon!

Just after Easter both girls got sick with a virus that Brandon brought home first.  Everyone got over the fever in a two days, but then Mackenzie's popped back up with a vengeance.  Turns out she had an ear infection because of all the drainage.  Six weeks later Mackenzie had strep throat again, followed by Meredith getting strep 4 days later.  Now, 2 1/2 months later Mackenzie's sick again! :/

Thursday I thought she was just being whiny while we were running errands, but later in the afternoon I realized she had a 102 fever!  I gave her medicine and made an appointment with the pediatrician for the next morning.  At the doctor I got to hear the wonderful words, "it's just a virus."  I hate viruses!  The obvious reason is that they make my children feel bad, but more annoying is that all you can do is wait it out.  That means 5-7 days of meds and checking temperatures.  This particular virus has been the most annoying of all.  I had already planned to sleep in the guest room with Mackenzie since Brandon was planning to paint her room in preparation for the girls to share a room, so we were already in the same room/bed where I could monitor her temperature and give her medicine throughout the night.  That alone is tiresome, but add to it her congestion that appeared in the last couple of nights and it has made for some miserable, sleepless nights for me.  She can barely breath through her nose, but once she's asleep she doesn't open her mouth to breath, so it's like she's holding her breath for a second or two until her brain makes her open her lips to suck in air quickly through her teeth.  Between the scariness of hearing her breath and her constant movement because she's waking herself up over and over again, I've gotten about 4-5 hours of sleep on 4 of the 5 nights we've slept in the guest bed.  For some that's not too bad, but for this pregnant momma, it's NOT enough! 

Sunday the fever was back up to 102+ with medication in her system, so I knew something else was going on, since it had finally gone down that morning.  We had another doctor's appointment yesterday and they diagnosed her with sinus infection and gave her antibiotics.  She took her first dose yesterday at lunch and we continued to medicate the fever.  I'm happy to say that she hasn't had a fever since last night at 9:00pm.  She's actually still sleeping now as I type this (8:15am), which is very A-typical for her, but I know her body is taking some much needed recovery time.  I know my body needed some rest and I haven't been the sick one!  Last night, I finally got about 7 1/2 hours and it was sooooo nice!

So, now we on the mend and I'm so glad.  Now, if we can just keep Meredith from getting this stupid virus, all will be well! ;)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Meredith is almost 2!

One more month and Meredith will be 2 years old!  It's crazy how fast time flies!

She's got quite the personality - a lot like Mackenzie, but then also a little different.  She's much more social and friendlier than Mackenzie was at almost 2, but can still be bossy and stubborn just like Mackenzie.

She's really begun to make sentences with the words she knows.  Last weekend Brandon asked her if she wanted juice and I said she could have milk instead because she had had juice a couple of days ago.  (It's a special treat in our house.)  She instantly said, "no milk, I want juice".  It was very clear and I guess for being so clear, we let her have some juice. ;)  Another sentence that I thought was pretty good was when one of her friends was over here playing.  Meredith had been riding her stick pony and I guess she thought Autumn was coming to her to take the horse away.  She ran over to me and said, " first."  Basically, "Autumn's coming and I had the horse first."  I wonder where she learned that phrase from?!  As a second child, I guess she'll always have phrases that her older sister will teach her!

At 23 months, Meredith...
-talks a lot and about 50% of the time I can understand her.  But then there is that other time when it's complete gibberish to us, but oh so cute!
-still loves the water - swimming pool or bath tub, she loves to splash and have fun!  We've been working all summer on her waiting for us to say ok before she jumps to us in the pool.  Most of the time she listens but then other times she just wants to jump to us and we are left dashing over to her before she stays under water too long!
-has 16 teeth - now we wait for the 2 year molars.
- sleeps from 8pm to between 5 and 6 am every night and takes a 1-2 hour nap every day.  I wish I could push the sleep in time frame to 7, but since Brandon wakes up that early during the week, it's not too bad.  The weekend is when it's not so great! ;)
-wears 2T clothing and size 7 shoe.
-loves to dance and sing for us and usually she feels the need to stand in front of the fireplace to do it.  I guess it's her stage.
- loves to do anything Mackenzie is doing, especially when it comes to "school"
- makes the funniest face when she's mad
- gives us pretend food to eat all the time.  Sometimes it's "picked" straight out of the air.  She'll typically say, "apple?" and then reach around to a blanket or something nearby and pick it for you. ;)
- tattles on Mackenzie - "kiki push me" (Mackenzie pushed me), "kiki my dress" (Mackenzie touched my dress).  The push part is usually when they are on the couch and Meredith sits right next to Mackenzie and when Mackenzie moves a little, then Meredith says she's pushing her. ;)  We'll be working on "worrying only about yourself" this month! ;)
- favorite phrases: "watch me", "my turn", "don't want it"

One more month!  I can't wait to see what age 2 brings!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Rotation

I feel like I might have blogged about this before, but I don't remember exactly and I couldn't find the post, so here we go (possible, again!). ;)  When I redid the playroom 18 months ago, I decided to create a book rotation with all of the girls' books.  We have a TON of books and deciding on a book before bed was taking way tooo long, so I put about half of them up in boxes on top of the built-ins.

All of our Christmas books are stored in one box, which was great when it came time for "Tiny" to wrap all of them this past Christmas. 
I might need to get another box soon because I know we'll get more Christmas books this fall and winter.  We love them and all books, so that's ok! ;)  All of our other holiday books are in another box, so that I can quickly find them and pull them out as each holiday or season comes around.
The other two boxes (only one picture) contain half of our books.

This does not include board books as they are all on the bookshelf in Meredith's room.

About every 6 months I switch the books that are on the shelf with the two boxes of regular books.  I usually keep books that we've recently received still on the shelf.  For instance, most of the 20+ books we received at Christmas stayed on the shelf this time, but they'll go back in the box for 6 months in December.  A couple of weeks ago when we were stuck indoors because of A/C work in the house, I decided it was a good time to rotate.  The girls had fun looking at all of the books and I think we read about 20 books total that morning.

This is our main shelf of books:
And we keep our taller books on either side of the built-ins where there is more height.
Pop ups and other specialty books are kept higher and out of reach.  These require me to be present when reading them.

So, that's our book rotation.  I would love to rotate them more often, but at 6 months, the girls are usually pretty excited to see books they haven't seen in a while.  I love it because it helps to vary the bedtime story routine with "new" books.  I had thought about getting rid of about half of the board books once Meredith turned 2, but now that Miranda is coming, plans have changed.  We are on our way to quite the library of books and I couldn't be more excited!  I can't wait until we get more into chapter books and start "collecting" those! ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Goings on...

It's already been a week since I last blogged...oops!  I was trying to better this month, but I guess I might not do too much better than 10 posts in a month.  It's a drastic change from last year when I was doing 17-20 posts per month.  Maybe we were doing less last summer and I had more time...or maybe we were doing more and I had more to talk about!

Whatever the case, I'm blogging today.  The girls and I stay fairly busy most of the time.  Even on our "stay at home" days I still organize or clean up around the house.  Yesterday was our "pajama day" and I decided to clean out our "homeschool" bins that we have in our playroom.  One of the large bins had slowly become a catch all for tracing sheets, workbooks, flash cards, laminated activities and manipulatives.  I finally organized everything and moved some stuff elsewhere so that we are ready for the end of August.

Along the same lines, I have 4 weeks to make sure I have "school" planned for both girls for the month of September.  We will then take a break once Miranda arrives and hopefully I'll have some kind of time to plan the remainder of the fall semester.  Mackenzie will be going to preschool 2 days a week this year, but I'm still planning to do supplemental activities with her.  Since she liked the Raising Rock Stars Preschool curriculum we did when she was 3, I've downloaded the Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten packs for her this year.  We'll be reviewing the same memory verses, but adding other skills she may or may not know.  So, I have items to print, activities to plan, and a "bulletin board" and an artwork display to create.  I'm actually pretty excited, but that's just crazy me! ;)

Last week (Sunday through Tuesday) we went to another church's VBS.  Brandon and I had attended there years ago, but we still have good friends that are members at the church and they invited us to join them.  The girls had a blast and did great going to their own classes.  The first night I stayed in Meredith's class, but the second and third night she went on her own and they said she was great.  After singing and class/craft time, everyone came back to the auditorium for the play/musical.  They were great and so creative with their song choices.  The girls loved them and each night while we waited for the play to start, Meredith would look at the stage and say, "no work?, no work?", basically asking when it was going to start.

Last week we also took our first trip of the summer to our "Noah's Ark Pool/Splash park."  Mackenzie had a lot of fun going down the slides, but Meredith only enjoyed it a little bit.  She liked playing in the water, but didn't like the small slide.  I'm thinking next summer will be a little different for her.

And lastly, I've been working on the girls' birthday party.  The invitations go out today, party favors are almost complete (posts after the party), candy buttons in the making, and games are being made.

Next week, I'll probably make the cakes and freeze them so that they'll be ready to ice the day before the party.  Before that I need to attempt a new recipe for the cake pops.  How they turn out will determine how many layers I will need for the girls' cakes.  I also still have banners and display boards to make, along with a trip to the party supply store for tableware.  These next 4 weeks are going to FLY by!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Swimming at Moshi & Gapa's

Saturday we went swimming at my parents' house (aka: Moshi and Gapa's).  We got there a little early and went straight to the pool.  The girls were very excited about swimming with Brandon.  I guess they get tired of me! :/  We got out of the pool for lunch about the time my step sister showed up with her kids.  We had an indoor picnic lunch...
And then got back in the pool for some more fun!
As you can see, I forgot Meredith's swimsuit at the house, so she swam in just her swim diaper.  We coated her in sunscreen, but since she tans soooo easily, I wasn't too concerned.
Both girls LOVE to swim and Mackenzie especially loved swimming without the inner tube.
This is Mackenzie telling me EXACTLY where to stand and EXACTLY what to do so that she could swim to me.
My nephew took a while to warm up to the water, but once the big pool float came out and a ride was created, he had a blast!
Mackenzie swimming to me...
Meredith enjoying the pool float...
The girls are used to our neighborhood pool with a zero entry area where they have a larger play area, but they both did great in this pool too.  Here's to 6 more weeks of swimming this summer!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fire Station Tour

A new Fire Station was just built near our neighborhood and I've been wanting to take the girls for a visit, so I set up a group tour for our church playgroup.  We had about 10 kids and the fire fighters were great with the tour and let the kids do a lot of different things.

I wasn't sure how the tour was going to go for the girls when this was Mackenzie's first reaction to the fire truck being driven out of the garage.  It wasn't that loud (it was on the other side of the truck in the picture), but I guess she has sensitive ears.
Meredith didn't want to pose for any photos in front of the fire truck, but at least Mackenzie posed for me!

As I said before, the fire fighters were awesome and set up a small hose for all of the kids to spray water into a ditch.  I was surprised when Mackenzie wanted to be the second person to do it!

Even Meredith had a turn and liked it pretty well, until it sprayed her a little with a little breeze. ;)

Another shocker was Mackenzie constantly asking when she could get on the fire truck.  6 months ago, she didn't want to go near a fire truck when they had one at a neighborhood function, but now she was super excited.  They picked her up and let her push a button to raise up the lights.

Meredith also enjoyed looking up there, but I don't think she actually touched anything.

Mackenzie loved sitting inside the fire truck and actually got in there twice!

Meredith on the other hand, not so much.  She wimpered the minute they put her up there and instantly wanted down.  To be fair, it was lunch time and very hot outside.  She was very close to melt-down phase, but we survived. ;)

Afterwards, we went inside and one of the fire fighters put all his gear on and asked for the kids to come give him a hug or a high five.  Most of them did it, but not my girls.  I was ok with Mackenzie not doing it because she had already stepped out of her comfort zone several times that morning, including a trip to the dentist.  Overall, it was a fun "field trip" and the girls enjoyed going.  I can mark that off my summer bucket list.  Now to plan a trip to Blue Bell Creamery! ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lalaloopsy Invites

Mackenzie will be 5 years old in September, which means she will have her fifth birthday party coming up.  My mom has made all of her invitations, except this year!  At 33, I finally made my own invitation.  Actually, I think I sent out an e-vite for the 3rd birthday, but my mom has done all of the others. Most of the time if I make cards (even at Christmas), my mom has designed and cut all of the cards and I just assemble, but not this time.  I did everything - designed, printed, cut and assembled! Aren't you proud of me?! ;)

I even had all of the supplies and didn't have to order anything from my mom!  In order to accomplish this, I made all of the invitations a little different.  I bought some lalaloopsy images from an etsy shop and created the invite sheet in photoshop and then printed it on photo paper I've had for a while.  I made the background colors a little different to add even more variety.

Then I used all of striped paper I had to make the folded covers.  Polka dotted paper from the same Stampin' up paper pack for the wrappers and cut out flowers in coordinating cardstock.  I cut most of it out in one day and sorted it into the color combinations I wanted. 

Since I was on a roll, I was going to start assembling them that night, but then realized I was out of my glue tape.  So 10 days later I finally got my tape from Amazon and was able to assemble the invitations this past Saturday.

I only have pictures of these remaining 5 because I actually put the rest in envelopes and addressed them, so that they are ready to send out in a couple of weeks.  I did keep 2 invitations (one for each girl) as keepsakes.  One day I'll scrapbook! ;)
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