Monday, July 26, 2010

Keeping it Simple

I love my girls. Sometimes I forget that children don't need a big fuss to have fun. Luckily, my girls have been reminding me to find joy in the simple things this week. 

"When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the creative spirit. It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives." 
 Fred Rogers

Each morning after breakfast, we have been swinging and drawing on the sidewalk. Afton has gotten to be quite the artist. Can you guess what these are??

Afton and Maisy in chef hats! I was impressed that she did these all by herself. 

We have made our weekly trip to the library- Afton loves checking out books, playing at the puzzle table, and working on the computer. We didn't even make it to story time this week. Instead we moved at our pace, looking through books and putting on our own puppet shows. 

See Afton behind the tub? She puts on great shows!

On Tuesday, Afton said 'let's make sugar cookies, I want to use the rolling pin.'. I really enjoyed baking with her. Usually we only make rolled, homemade sugar cookies during the holiday season. So this seemed like a very special treat. I even let Afton do ALL the decorating. She has gotten much better with her 'sprinkle' skills- and Penny helped with clean-up. 

Here is the recipe we used, it is simple and makes a very good, moist cookie. 
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients first. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla in mixer on medium. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredient mixture. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in waxed paper and refrigerate at least one hour. Roll out dough and cut into shapes. The thicker the dough, the softer the cookie after baking. 

Bake at 375 for 9 to 10 minutes. Let cool, decorate and enjoy. (I prefer to use cream cheese frosting!)

We've had a few 'cool evenings'- you know when it is only 85 outside. I love those! So we went outside and played in the hose and helped Daddy water the plants.

 I had to take a few pictures of Maisy's legs. I adore these pudgy little stems. 

And having family nearby helps with summer fun. Afton loves playing the piano at Grammy's. Maisy likes to be next to her, bouncing to the beat of Afton's unique songs. 

Finally I have come to 'terms' with my Maisy's sleep habits. She is the best baby- but bless her heart- she does not really sleep soundly at night. Maybe twice a week, she will sleep all night.  But she is so adorable and naps so well during the day.... I feel like I can't complain. I know everyone has suggestions, but really they don't work. For whatever the reason, she wakes up at night. And she cannot cry-it-out, it just upsets her more. One night she sobbed and sobbed, we followed the 'Ferber' plan, but it just did not work. After two hours crying, I got her up. Look at her poor face! 

 Maisy is perfect in every way, but this is just her 'one flaw'.  Like Suess said-- "A person's a person, no matter how small" and I accept that right now my small person just can't sleep all night!

Oh and something to make your heart smile this week: Amanda's dear Preston came home from a year long deployment tonight. Reunited at last!!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maisy is 9 Months Old!

Our Maisy is now 9 months old and is such a joy!

Developmentally, she has learned so much this month. Maisy can now clap her hands, pull up to stand, and do some funny imitations (click her toungue and make a 'sniffy nose'- see photo later in post.) 

Her first tooth finally came in- one of the bottom ones. She rolls from front to back and back to front. She also can sit up from laying down on her own- it looks like she is doing a 'sit-up'. Her little body is so strong. At her 9 month check-up, her doctor even said she has "great muscle tone"- ha! 

Here are her stats: 
Height 26.75 inches (24th percentile)
Weight 18 lbs 4 oz. (40th percentile)
Head 44.5 cm (67th percentile) -- Yes my baby has a big beautiful melon!

We are beginning our "Baby Signing Time" videos. I used these to teach Afton sign language and she was able to sign about 30 words by 18 months. I think Maisy will learn quickly since she has both Afton and I signing to her. (Although Afton likes to make up her own signs... you should see how she 'signs' octopus- looks like she is being attacked by a swarm of bees!) 

This month Maisy is all about her feet. She now demands to be 'finger-walked' around the house. She will throw a little fit if she doesn't get her way. I think I *may* have spoiled her just a bit!

She is wearing her Robeez to walk outside. I love these shoes, next best thing to bare feet. And she can't pull them off!

The Many Faces of Maisy
The Talking Face

The Sniffy Nose (mentioned above)

The Little Straight Mouth

The Happy Girl

Maisy's hair is always a topic of discussion when we leave the house. I am literally stopped everywhere we go so that people can comment on her hair. "Look at that hair!" they say. Today a lady even asked if I styled her hair that way (uh No!) and then if she could touch it (uh Ok?).  I never knew baby hair was so interesting!

Maisy loves to be outside. Whenever we 'finger-walk' around the house, she leads me straight to the glass door and bangs on it. So, we have been spending time outside in the mornings. It seems the only time that the heat is bearable. This gives Afton lots of time to 'roly poly' hunt again. They are ALL still named "Bella"!

This is baby Bella, see how tiny she is?

Finally a shout-out to Diana. We were in Dallas last weekend to join in on her surprise birthday party and had so much fun. I know this is going to be a great year for you, Happy Birthday Diana! 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Princess and the Fireworks

My little princess has officially become 'Miss Twinkle Toes'. She took a one week ballet camp at "Studio A" and now she is hooked. She pirouettes, sashays, and does arabesques everywhere she goes. She will take ballet and tap once a week in the fall. Needless to say, she cannot wait!

Afton with her sweet friend Whitney- they were in the same class at Chapel Hill this year. 

On Saturday we ventured out to Southlake for fireworks. This is a big deal for us. Our princess Afton is deathly afraid of fireworks and loud noises in general.  (We've had her ears checked- and they are fine. It is just an Afton thing. But my friend Jennifer read somewhere that sensitive hearing is a trait found in gifted children- so I am going with that!)

Our neighbors- the Grassi Family

To get Afton on board, we bought fancy popcorn from "Le Popcorn" and then brought the portable dvd player with headphones. She played happily with Bryce until the show started and then there were a few tears.

But those lasted only a minute. She watched her movie and the fireworks while wearing headphones and plugging her ears. Maisy on the other hand, thought the whole thing was amusing. She kicked her legs and made little snorting noises in approval of the fireworks.

On Sunday we went to my mom's house for a big Fourth of July party. I didn't get to take many pictures, but we swam, played games, and ate a lot of yummy food. We all had a blast.

Afton was the official "Ball Girl" for the volleyball game. 
She fetched the ball whenever it bounced out of the pool. 

Playing bocci ball with Grammy

Jeff had Monday off, so we took the girls to the zoo. Afton hasn't been in a year and it was Maisy's first time. They were both very good and enjoyed all of the animals. It was probably one of my best zoo experiences.

She loved touching the snake-so brave sometimes.  

Maisy has decided that she needs to be 'finger-walked' everywhere. 

Flamingo Pose

Afton really wanted to see the alligator, but was afraid once we finally found him. She wouldn't take a picture with him until both Maisy and Daddy joined her.
"Come take a picture with Daddy" -- "NO!"

"Come take a picture with Maisy"--"NO!"

"Come take a picture with Daddy and Maisy"-- "Okay, but Maisy has to be by the alligator!"

We are thankful to have spent the holiday with our family and friends. Our thoughts are with all of the men and women who have serve to keep our country free. Our very own Preston is scheduled to come home from Iraq on July 24th!
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