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Cats and Kids

A few shots of The Babes with The Cats-

This one makes me happy. It’s after we came home from our February vacation and Kele De obviously missed her napping buddies!

Speaking of naps, or in this case, attempted naps-

I was desperate for a nap but River and Raven were not interested. And Kele De wasn’t helping!

I wish I was funny and could caption this photo in an icanhascheezburger fashion…

Shaylah is finally warming up to The Babes as long as they are asleep. The second she feels their breathing switch to awake mode she bolts but more and more I am catching her cuddling up to sleep. She must have finally got lonely sleeping alone at night so she braves the bed and the potential for being groped by a baby.

Kele De is much more tolerant of being groped. Which is good because River is in love with that cat…

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Babes Acting Tough…

It’s not all rainbows and tie dye around here…

Anarchy In The Pre-K…

Look out Kele De, River is coming for you!

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Jump Zone!

Canyon’s friend James has the best birthday parties. Last year was Gymboree and this year was at Jump Zone. Now many people have told us that Canyon would love these jumping places but we had never been organized enough to actually take him to one. Imagine a warehouse filled with giant inflatable slides, bouncy houses, castles etc. That’s all it is. A giant place where kids run and climb and bounce. Of course he loved it!

He loved that ball so much we totally want to steal it, just slip it in the stroller. But how embarrassing would it be to get caught stealing a ball at a birthday party?

James’s mom Wendy made sure to let us know that he twins were welcome too! Too little to bounce but they did like the toys and got to play with two other babies.

Yeah, River is wearing a silver shimmery tutu with an AC/DC shirt. I love that outfit so much I almost can’t handle it. This is why I always thought it would be fun to have a girl baby. Tutu’s.

You know what else? Grown ups can bounce too! John will try to downplay how much fun he had climbing through the mazes and sliding down the slides-he’ll say he was just watching Canyon-but he had a huge smile on his face the whole time. We tagged out a few times-he played with The Babes so I could bounce too. It was silly crazy fun. In the dinosaur play area it was insanely bouncy. I barely made it in then got all dizzy trying to navigate inside. I was laughing so hard and then a dad came in and was bouncing really hard and fast and I almost fell over. I finally staggered to the exit and then completely bit it trying to get out and ended up rolling down to the floor. It was hysterical and embarrassing all at the same time. I just hope no parent accidentally caught it on tape and put it on Youtube.

Then bouncy time was over and it was time for cupcakes and snacks. Such a nice way to spend a Sunday morning. Thank you Lundgren family for such a good time!

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256 Days Old!

256 days of twin babies! I feel like I should have something profound to say but I am tired and just happy to have had time to take some cute photos of The Babes…

I always admire those people who do the monthly photos in the t-shirts with the age on them, or the ones who take photos in the same chair on the same day each month, etc. But that’s a little more than I can handle right now!

As I try to write this post Raven is sitting on my lap and trying to bang on the keyboard with his rattle. Wild little monkey boy doesn’t want to lay in bed, doesn’t want to play in the bouncer or walker, doesn’t want to play on the floor but he totally wants to rip my portable hard drive out of the port and/or eat the photos I had printed. Life around here is getting more challenging the older they get. Less time sleeping, more time playing.

River can crawl now, sit up and has pulled herself up to a standing position at least twice-she immediately topples over but she does have the strength! Raven is a bit behind in his development track. He is still mastering the rolling over and is learning to stay sitting once you set him up. He can take his time as far as I am concerned. I will be chasing them all down soon enough.

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A Little More Swingin

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Perfect Saturday-April 14

Saturday morning John and I dared to take the whole troop out for brunch at Flat Top Grill. I am pleased to say that we made it through a relaxing, peaceful meal with no crying or complaints. Canyon is usually pretty great when it comes to restaurants but toward the end of the meal he wants to get up and explore. This time he was happy to play with the iPhone and people watch. Two tables over had two little girls about 4 and 2 and they also had a good meal. We happened to leave at the same time and I told the Dad we should high 5 over our good fortune!

We decided to reward Canyon with a trip to a playground. This time we chose a park down by Lake Michigan at Lawrence. Great playground, slightly crowded because it was Saturday and there were little kid soccer games happening. But we still were able to claim the swings!

Babes first time on the swings!

They both loved it!

Raven was true to his name and always wanted to fly higher and higher! I think if River could speak she would be reciting a deep and symbolic poem about the joys of swinging…

On our way home we filled the car with lilacs and stopped for coffee at Starbuck’s. The manager must have sensed my extreme sleep deprivation and sent me home with two free bags of coffee!

Perfect day!

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Seriously. Is My Whole Summer Going To Be About Balls?

I avoid taking all three kids out by myself at all costs. It takes so much planning and effort and coordination to make it happen that by the time I get them all in the car I just want to recline the seat and take a nap in the van. But on Friday we had the opportunity to take Canyon to see Blue Man Group for the third time and I didn’t want him to miss out on an experience he loves just because I didn’t want to deal with getting everyone packed, dressed and into the van. It was extremely stressful and even with all of my best intentions we still left the garage 20 minutes behind schedule. But traffic was my new best friend and the parking gods smiled down upon me and we arrived much earlier than usual.

Now the full show is about an hour and 40 minutes but Canyon had only seen the finale on his two previous visits. And oh my does he love it. So when we arrived a bit earlier than usual John took the twins up to his office and Canyon and I headed up to the balcony to watch the performance a good 15-20 minutes earlier than before. Canyon loved it! He saw the GiPads and to him they were big iPhones so he totally understood what was happening. He laughed at all the gags and imitated the noises he heard on stage. He was mesmerized by the PVC’s and the percussion. When jello head was revealed he jumped and giggled. Then of course comes the finale with its spinning tubes and giant light up balls. Bliss. Absolute bliss. When Canyon is super excited or super overwhelmed he covers his ears. And he started covering his ears about a mile away from the theatre when I told him where we were going and he didn’t uncover them until the curtain call where the Blue Man raise their hands to the audience. When the three performers looked up to Canyon in the balcony and raised their hands in salute Canyon took one hand off his ear and reached out to return the greeting. I may have teared up a little at that!

After the show we visited with John for a minute but Canyon was so wound up we couldn’t stay long so back into the van we went. I thought about driving straight home but it was so much work getting out of the house I felt that we shouldn’t rush back. So I decided to try something new and daring. Taking all three kids to the playground by myself!

Since we were down by the lake we decided to explore the playground at Margate Park.

Now the twins are still in the easy stage where they will hang out in the stroller…

But Canyon is fast and I am not the kind of mother who just sits on a bench and surfs the internet on her phone while her child runs off. I am not a hovering helicopter mom either, but I still stay close by at all times. Irresponsible people leave the playground gates open constantly and all it takes is a second for your kid to slip out and be off and running toward traffic. So basically I spent an hour and half following Canyon around a large playground while pushing a stroller. Fun!

Margate is a nice playground with lots of cool equipment and climbing areas combined with the spongey safety ground cover stuff. This makes it fun to run on, safe to fall on and comfortable to stand on which is nice when you are on your feet and moving or standing the whole time. There were a lot of older kids at this park-most with no supervision and a few that must have been with a park program and their supervisor wasn’t exactly the greatest. So that was a little stressful for me. Especially when Canyon wanted to play with the older boys and their soccer ball.

If you read my last post you know that playground balls can be a huge issue when it comes to sharing and here I was having to navigate the ball possession waters all over again but his time with older kids instead of adults. Canyon really wanted the soccer ball and kept trying to grab it while the boys basically played keep away with him. At times it seemed like they were ok with it but sometimes it seemed mean. I stepped in and explained it to the kids like this, “he thinks you’re really cool and likes your cool tricks. Please let me know if he is bothering you.” Then I could see that Canyon had kind of won them over so they continued to play with him, sometimes even letting him get the ball. When he did I would say, “thank you so much, he will bring it back in a minute!” And he did! And the game would start all over…

Then some even older boys showed up with a basketball and we went through the same thing, again they were kind of mean with teasing him but then they decided they liked him and were nicer about it. But when the boy with the basketball left he took off and left the gate open leaving me to tear after Canyon who is incredibly fast and I was slowed down by the stroller. A teenage girl came out of the building and she had this worried look on her face when she saw him running by and I could totally read her mind, “is this woman going to freak out if I touch her kid or should I stop him?” “Please!” I yelled and she snagged him by the arm. “Thank you!” When I turned back one of the now ball-less basketball boys was standing with the stroller. “Could we play with your ball?” he asked sheepishly, eyeing Canyon’s ignored playground ball. “Of course!” I said and he ran off with it. Because of course Canyon didn’t care about the toys he had brought, it was the soccer ball he returned too. But by now he was exhausted and two hours past nap time so keep away wasn’t fun anymore and he started to cry. It was time to go. I thanked the soccer ball boys again for being so sweet to Canyon. I picked him up and he collapsed into my arms and I had to carry him, push the stroller and ask for our ball back. “Sorry guys but this little man is tired and we have to go so we need the ball back.” The other boys looked at the boy who borrowed the ball from me in horror, “YOU TOOK HER BALL??!!” “Not like that” I said, “He asked very nicely! It was no problem but we just need to go home now!”

Again, ball politics is crazy! I am hoping that Canyon’s ball obsession fades soon because I take it all way too seriously. But we are going to start hunting for a used soccer ball at the thrift stores or rummage sales because he does seem to have an extreme fondness for them. I keep thinking maybe if I find the perfect ball it will be his precious ball to rule all other balls and we won’t have to worry about it. But of course if that happens it will just be a new game-teaching Canyon to share his precious ball with others!

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Playgrounds Rule & Playground Rules.

I have been making a concentrated effort to get out with Canyon to the playground at least 2 or 3 times a week. It’s good for him and good for me. We get fresh air, we have quality time together and we both work on our socialization skills.

I have mentioned before that we like to explore a variety of playgrounds in the area. This last week we have been a bit in love with Wells Park which is about 2 miles from our house. There are two seperate playgrounds-one I call the dirty, mulchy, unfenced park and then the fancy, new, secure park. We like both!

The dirty mulchy unfenced side has a fast metal slide, is less crowded and you can dig in the mulch. The fancy new secure side has new and fun equipment, more kids to play with and is nicely fenced in with great sight lines. It also has four sewers.

Canyon loves sewers. He likes to drop rocks and dandelion flowers down into the grate. He likes to look at the water.

I am fine with him checking out the sewer. As long as there are no creepy Stephen King clowns waving to him and saying “We all float down here” then I am cool with it. Not all the parents and nannies are though.

The third sewer at the park is in a hole full of dirt and rocks so Canyon loved sitting in the hole and having easy access to rocks and dirt that he could drop into the grate. I checked the area for safety-there was no way he could fall or hurt himself. And he was having a great time.

So I sat down under a tree and watched him have fun.

One Grandma-type Nanny was horrified that I was letting him sit in the dirt. Several moms looked alarmed that he was sitting in a hole. Some were grossed out that he was getting dirty. As far as I was concerned the dirt was definitely less germ infested than the playground equipment was. And getting dirty is good for you!

Canyon being happy makes me happy. Sitting under a tree breathing in fresh air makes me happy.

This is me being happy.

The next visit to the park was not as fun. I brought a ball and a bubble wand and we entered the park. The sewers were not as exciting as last time and Canyon wanted to climb and run around. I watched a woman play with two kids and she kept encouraging them to try harder and more challenging climbs. When the little boy asked for help she said, “You are a victim of over parenting. That’s why you are afraid to take risks. You need to learn how to be a risk taker!” I liked her.

I blew bubbles and Canyon and other little ones chased them all around the park. A little 18month old boy wanted to help and I let him have the wand and the mother kept apologizing that he was spilling bubbles. “It’s like a dollar for more bubbles! Who cares!” I laughed. Canyon left his ball out and another little girl picked it up to play with it. Her mom panicked-“who’s ball is that? Where did you get it?” I smiled-“It’s ours. Go ahead and play with it!” She looked at me, unsure. “Are you sure?” “yeah, have fun!” I ran after Canyon, leaving them the ball. Then Canyon saw an unattended stroller full of toys. Two little basketballs, bubbles, chalk, paddle ball, etc. He grabbed one of the mini balls and ran off to play with it. I saw a Dad give him an angry look and he came over to the stroller with a two year old. Owner/Dad got all snippy about it but his son didn’t care at all. I said, “sorry, you have lots of cool toys” and he said, “that’s by design.” I smile and say we brought toys too you just never know what they will want in the moment”.

I went and got our ball from the bench and tried to entice Canyon away from the new ball. Nope. I had to keep trying to pull this silly ball away from a crying, screaming Canyon while Dad stood there watching me get more and more stressed out. At one point he gave a half hearted “it’s OK” and I said, “I hope so because he really wants it.” I tried to relax and just let it go but it clearly wasn’t OK with that guy. I tried just taking it and putting it back in the stroller. Nope. The Dad saw how upsetting this was to both Canyon and I and didn’t have any empathy for us. None. So I finally pulled the ball away one last time and made Canyon leave the playground, crying.

Looking back on it I wish I had just said, “Sorry, I hope it’s OK that he plays with it for a few minutes. I will bring it back when he gets bored with it in a few minutes”. But I didn’t. It also made me understand why the first mom was so nervous when her daughter had our ball. She probably thought I was going to cut her over it! I posted on Facebook about it later and most parents agreed that if you don’t want to share your toys don’t bring them to a playground-especially one that is mainly full of kids 4 and under. Some parents seemed to think maybe he was afraid that we would steal it. Another good point was that sometimes kids shouldn’t have to share. Which I agree with it. But that’s a hard lesson to teach to a three year old on a playground, especially a non-verbal three year old. I wouldn’t expect Canyon to just hand over a toy to a stranger if he was playing with it but this ball was not being used and the little boy didn’t mind at all that Canyon wanted to play with it. Oh well. Time to let it go. Canyon did right away…

But next time I am bringing bubbles, a big ball AND a mini ball! I might even bring an extra one to share…

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