Ruthie is 18 months

On May 15th, Ruthie was officially 18 months old. This little girl seriously AMAZES me. When you ask her, "How old are you?" She quickly responds, "Two." Most days, I believe it. I tell people she is 18 months going on 3 years. Here are a few of the amazing things Ruthie can do:

(I wish I had pictures of everything. Perhaps I'll take some and retroactively add them).

  • At the park, she can climb from the ground to the top of the big slides and go down in a sitting positions - all by herself.
  • She can run - and she and brother love to play chase every day.
  • Every morning, she feeds herself a bowl of cereal and get 80% of it in her mouth. (I've gotten accustomed to the daily clean up of the other 20% ).
  • When we put on the "Oo and Ah" song in the car, Ruthie sings along. "Oo Oo, Oo Oo, Oo Oo, Ah Ah." It is so stinkin' cute.
  • To this day she's still not really a night-time cuddle-bug. If she'd let me, I'd hold her and sing to her for much longer stretches, but when reading time is done, she starts to cry and wriggle. Maybe I just haven't mastered the bed-time routine the way Anthony super-dad has.
  • That said, Ruthie is (and has always been) the easiest kid to put to bed. She actually asks for naps. No joke!
  • She has her routine. Every morning she greets me with, "I cererereal now." Immediately following breakfast she announces, "T B" (for tv). She and Austin watch one or two PBS kids shows while I get some things done. Then we're out of the house and playing. We come home in time for lunch about noon, at which point she announces, "nap." It's a tough life.
  • Ruthie is a very happy, pleasant girl. She's super easy and often does her own thing quite happily. The things that upset her, though, are 1) brother trying to bend her to his will with pushing, pulling, or sitting on her; 2) her morning routine thrown off; 3) waking up from naps early; 4) diaper changes.

  • She is definitely a girly-girl. When I let the kids wander through the toy aisles at the store, Austin heads toward the Toy Story, Batman, Leggos kind of stuff, while Ruthie heads for the babies, strollers and purses. I have not pushed this at all and her supply of girl toys is still severely under par. But it's amazing to me to see the natural gender differences in these two.

  • Ruthie definitely talks like a 2-year-old. She uses over a hundred words (I can't count them all) and frequently uses 2-word, sometimes 3-word sentences! Nursery leaders, the gym daycare workers and many other adults often comment on how well and how much she speaks. We never bothered teaching this little girl sign language because she's been communicating her needs since she was 1.
  • Some of my favorite funny words are:
    • "bank-bank" = blanket
    • "cuppy" = drink
    • "bop-bop" = grandpa
    • "ma-ma" = grandma (and I'm "mommy")
    • "cerleerreeal" = cereal
    • "weee" = swing
    • "tank oo" = thank you
  • Some of her clearest words are:
    • "Debbie"
    • "Tyce"
    • "shoes"
    • "socks"
    • "nap"
    • "car"
    • "hungry"
    • "ta-da"
    • "doggie"
    • "alright" (this was one of her earliest words too and it cracked us up every time!)
  • Some of her best word combinations are:
    • "play car"
    • "stop it"
    • "I did it"
    • "No, I do"
    • "Daddy, are you?" (where are you?)
    • "Daddy work"
    • "I oo oo mommy" (I love you mommy)

My precious daughter is a blond-haired, deep-brown-eyed, cherub. I'm so so glad she's in my family. What would life be without having both a boy and a girl to enjoy? Ruthie, your mommy and daddy love you fiercely - never forget that.

Gardening 102

Year 2 of gardening is underway! My gardening efforts actually began in February with a technique I learned 2 years ago called "winter sewing". Cut open a milk jug, fill it with dirt, plant your seeds, tape the jug shut, water well, leave the cap off, toss it out in the snow, and don't bother with it until May! The first 2 pictures below are our February gardening efforts. The next is the result in May: beets, onions/carrots, peppers, squash. Here's what I learned about winter sewing this year: 1) don't start until St. Patricks day - all my plants out grew their containers a month before planting time. 2) plant peppers indoors and start them in January - they just don't grow in the cold and they grow slow. 3) plant only one type of seed per jug - when they get big they're hard to separate. 4) for big items, like squash, only plant 1 or 2 per jug so they have plenty of room to grow. Winter sewing is a blast though. It's like having your own nursery starts for super cheap and very little effort.

The last photo (above) is the zucchini plant Austin started from a seed in preschool. When it got big enough, he planted it himself in our backyard. Today, it's got a few little zucchini's starting to grow (picture 4 below).

Here's how our garden looks today: Our new honey crisp apple tree, our new garden plot, our new lemon Elberta peach tree, Austin's zucchini, last year's expanding raspberries. This year our garden contains: watermelon, zucchini, rosemary, raspberries, winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, carrots, onions, beets, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. We've harvested all 10 of our miserable strawberry crop already (here's hoping I can do better next year). Everything else is just starting to bloom and I can't wait to start eating it!

First Preschool

This past year Austin was part of a little neighborhood playgroup/preschool. We met once a week, rotating turns between the moms. This was sooo great for Austin - to make good friends, and to be exposed to other "teachers" and "lessons". It was good for me too - to enjoy teaching and to see Austin in comparison to his peers. (Which is probably important to me because he's my first to go through everything).

Our adorable group of kids (L to R): David, Inza, Nate, Austin.

Austin writes

My little man is growing up in so many ways. In the past few months, his art work has changed drastically. He now draws recognizable faces and bodies and will tell me who is who in his art work.

He's also started writing his name! How do kids pick this stuff up? I never taught him how to write a single letter. Yet somehow, one day, he stumbled onto making an 'A'. A few months later, the other letters started to appear then suddenly - bam! - he was writing his whole name.

Supper Nanny to the Rescue!

Boys will be boys. Right? No way! Back in April I stumbled across an episode of Supernanny that changed our family. If you're a fan, this was the episode about The Johnson Family (fitting, eh?). In that family's 3 rowdy boys, I saw a reflection of my own adorable son. So after that show, I made Anthony watch it online, bought the book and cracked down on time-outs. It's helped A LOT. On the one hand, it has reduced Austin's physical lash-outs, which typically land on Ruthie or his cousins, by half or maybe even in fourth. The other big thing it has given me is a way to react to him calmly. I used to get so frazzled when he just wouldn't stop and wouldn't listen to me. But he responds to time-outs (if I use the Supernanny technique). It has cut my "loosing it" by a good 98% - and that is heaven sent! Thank you Supernanny!


So Easter was, what.... 3 months ago? Ni yah. Just a few fun photos from our celebrations. We got sooooo much candy, that we actually only just finished it off about 2 weeks ago! Go Easter Bunny!

Rex Lee and Susan G

Another Rex Lee in the books (end of March). Debbie was my buddy this go round. We had a great time - and I actually won something in the raffle for the first time in 8 years! I got $10 to Hogi Yogi - after donating $240 over the years. Remember kids - gambling is dumb.

Debbie and I walked the race this year (5K in just under 1 hour) because I'm still nursing a bum knee from an injury over a year ago.

A month later (May), Heather, Debbie and I all walked the Susan G. Komen "race" in SLC. That was some experience! It was curb-to-curb people for a solid mile. We couldn't have run, or even speed-walked, if we'd wanted to!


A Conversation Between Father and Son

Austin struck up the following conversation with me while lying in bed before bedtime.

Austin: Honey, wanna hear a joke?
Anthony: Sure.
Austin: What did the pineapples say before eating themselves and eating themselves again and then they go to bed?
Anthony: What did they say?
Austin (in a high-pitched three-year-old this-is-the-punch-line voice): We are going to eat ourselves and eat ourselves again and then go to bed.
Anthony: {Laughing to himself}
Austin: Honey, what's the funny part of that joke?
Anthony: {Laughing to himself some more}
Austin: Honey, what's the funny part of that joke?
Anthony: I don't know, you're the one who told it, what's the funny part?
Austin: I don't know... Wanna hear another joke...