Tag Archives: daughter

Emma Grace: 3.75 Years

9 Mar

Emma is quickly approaching her 4th birthday on April 7, so I better get this update in before it’s too late!15672976_1332807490082903_846264537335391369_nSize

Emma is in 4T and 5T clothing, and size 9 shoes. I’m excited to find out her weight and height at her next well-child checkup!

Eating

Emma is still a really good eater. Usually, we let her choose what she eats for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (by giving her a few different options), and we make her eat at least a few bites of whatever we made for dinner—which usually requires that she sit on our lap and we help her eat, though she is fully capable of feeding herself. She reverts to baby-like behaviors often, but I’m guessing that is fairly common with this age.

Her favorite foods are yogurt, clementines, mandarin oranges, peaches, baby carrots, cereal, baby cereal, waffles, peanut butter on a spoon, PB&Js, mac & cheese, cheese & crackers, strawberries, blueberries, and applesauce. She will also consistently eat broccoli, sweet bell peppers, black beans, and sweet potato fries. She still is not a fan of meat of really any kind, but she will occasionally eat a chicken sausage. Her favorite treats are candy, ice cream, cheesy dibbles (Cheetos), and caffeine-free pop (soda to all you non-Minnesotans).

15697791_1332807883416197_1671014031762530795_n15726473_1332807670082885_2760584912961896007_n15780738_1332807703416215_2116758220268045907_nSleeping

Emma is still napping during the day (because I need her to!) but she is able to skip her nap and not completely lose it before bedtime—so some days, we let her skip her nap, and apparently, she no longer naps at daycare (which isn’t that surprising). She can’t skip her naps too many days in a row, though, or she is a zombie. Because she is between needing a nap and not needing one, she won’t settle down unless I rock her to sleep in a chair. It usually takes 15-20 minutes, which isn’t so bad, but I end up stumbling out of her room wanting to just take a nap myself instead of getting stuff done. I rock myself to sleep sometimes! Emma usually naps from about 2:00 to 4:00.

At night, Emma usually goes to bed between 9:00 and 9:30. The days she skips her naps, she goes down at more like 7:00 or 8:00. She usually wakes up around 7:30 in the morning.

IMG_2506 (Large)IMG_2684 (Large)IMG_2584 (Large)Development

Potty training is still a battle with this one. She is completely in undies during the day and at night, and has only had a few accidents in the past 3-4 months, but she still wants to poop in a diaper about half the time. Little by little, she is more responsive to our encouragement to poop on the potty. She gets ice cream as her reward!

IMG_2749 (Large)IMG_2667 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)Things Emma has been loving lately:

  • Hide and Seek – We play this as a family after dinner and it is so fun. Emma loves it! Sometimes she yells to let us know where she is before we can find her, and she often hides where she had just found either me or Travis, but overall, Emma does really well at this game. Annabelle is too young to hide, but she is a good seeker! We complain that she always gives us away before Emma can find us.
  • Hiding from “the Bear” – Where Emma learned this, I have no idea, but she is frequently in a closet or under a blanket hiding from the Bear.
  • YouTube Kids – We put the YouTube kids app on their iPad and Emma discovered these videos of people playing with playdoh. It seriously is the weirdest thing—I’m surprised there are people out there making these videos, let alone people watching them. These people make faces, princess dresses, or cover plastic eggs in playdoh, then open them to reveal the prize toy inside. The other videos on YouTube Kids that Emma has been obsessed with lately are of the song “Daddy Finger,” PJ Masks, Peppa the Pig, and videos of nursery songs like Humpty Dumpty.
  • Playing in the snow—Though Emma doesn’t like wearing winter clothes, she does like playing outside in the snow. She often walks through the snow with just her shoes on (even though I tell her not to). She has enjoyed sledding, snowmobiling, and climbing on big snow piles this year. She also likes to help Daddy shovel the driveway.IMG_2566 (Large)15844768_10103166677744622_7747851522964179194_o
  • Baths—Emma’s love of water is going strong, and lately has manifested itself in the form of 2-3 baths a day. I have a love/hate relationship with baths. I like that the girls are contained in one spot and are usually pretty good at entertaining themselves in the bathtub, but I don’t like that I have to constantly remind them to not pour water outside the tub, or on each other’s heads (let’s be honest, Emma is the culprit of this most of the time). Annabelle usually ends up crying and wanting to get out early.
  • Painting and writing her name—Emma can write her first name (nice that it’s short!) and is learning the rest of the alphabet, though she gets easily discouraged when she tries a certain letter a few times and it doesn’t turn out. She also loves painting, and has recently gotten into puffy paints (covered in glitter of course) and watercolors. I like them too, because less mess!IMG_2568 (Large)15747611_1332807103416275_4427022023995455069_n
  • Doing makeup with Mommy—Anytime the girls catch me doing my makeup, they want to do some too. So I usually give them my powder compact and/or blush and that occupies them long enough for me to finish. Emma also enjoys putting sparkles on her face, and getting her nails painted.
  • Making messes—Emma frequently makes big piles of blankets, sheets, sleep sacks, toys, books, towels (pretty much whatever she can get her hands on) and when I lament that she made a giant mess, she says “I’m making a party.”IMG_2748 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)img_2280

Funny things Emma says:

  • When asked how she slept at night, Emma will usually say something like, “I slept for 6 minutes.”
  • Emma has started asking how things work. She has been particularly interested in the smoke alarms on the ceiling in her bedroom.
  • Emma likes to tell stories, both about things that really happened and things that she makes up. We can’t always understand what she’s talking about, but she is very animated, so it must be a pretty good story.
  • Emma has started to say the phrases Travis and I use, like “Coming in hot,” “Let’s do this,” “Fine,” and “Deal” with a thumbs up. It’s pretty much hilarious. The other day, she also presented me with two options for playing with the water table outside in the cold: “Mom, we have two options. We can either wash the water table or we can play with it.”
  • At Christmas this year, she called candy canes “candilions” (like dandelions). Last year, she called them candy pops.

Things Emma doesn’t like:

  • Wearing anything in her hair—Whenever I put her hair up in a ponytail, even at her request, she pulls it out after about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing winter clothes—She doesn’t like wearing dresses with long sleeves, pants, socks, etc. If she could, she’d wear summer dresses, tank tops, and skirts all year long. She should’ve been born in a tropical climate. This was her at Christmas:IMG_2410 (Large)IMG_2395 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3.75 years!

Emma Grace: 3 Years

23 Apr

Emma is THREE! Her birthday was back on April 7.20160407_074733 (Large)

At her 3-year well child check, she weighed 32 lbs (64%) and was 37.5 inches (65%) tall. Emma still takes one nap a day. For a while, she was consistently waking up at 8 am, taking a nap from 2 to 5 pm, and then going to bed around 9:30 pm. But for the past month or so, she has been getting up around 7 am, taking a nap from about 1/1:30 to 3:30 and going to bed at 9 pm. On the days she goes to daycare, she usually goes to bed around 8, since her nap there is shorter and the extra stimulation makes her more tired.

Emma’s general weekly schedule for the past year has been: MOPS on every other Monday, Daycare on Tuesdays, ECFE and Speech Therapy on Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Fridays open for playdates or outings.20160401_071757 (Large)

When she turned 3, Emma was re-evaluated by the Paul Bunyan Education Coop for her speech because she needed to re-qualify to continue receiving services (which was a weekly visit from a speech clinician). Like I expected, she is now in the average range for both expressive and receptive speech, so she no longer qualifies—which is great news! Her articulation is a little below average, but the speech clinician said she expected that to continue developing naturally as Emma gets older.

Here’s what Emma has been loving in January, February, and March:

  • Pink!–She is still obsessed with all things pink, so naturally we threw her and Annabelle a pink party for their birthdays. (Photos and details to come.)20160409_123042 (Large)
  • iPad—her favorite movies/shows right now are Tarzan, Tarzan II, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Mulan II, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Lilo & Stitch, Stitch the Movie, Sofia the First, Oscar’s Oasis, Secret of the Wings, Mickey’s Magical Christmas, The Pirate Fairy, and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. She has developed this annoying habit of fast forwarding or rewinding the movie every 30 seconds, instead of just watching it. Drives me crazy! She is also very adept at finding new shows on Netflix (90% of the movies above she discovered herself) so every once in a while, we find her watching something we end up turning off.20160420_083444 (Large)
  • Dresses – Emma still prefers wearing a dress over anything else. She’s starting to really enjoy picking out her own clothes to wear, and it’s often a t-shirt, pants and a dress—and sometimes a skirt too. (You didn’t know you could wear a skirt over a dress did you?) And she loves twirling in her dressed!20160407_092727 (Large)
  • Girly things—Necklaces, sparkles, ponytails, earrings… Emma loves them all. Though she will still only leave a ponytail in her hair for about 20 minutes. (So I put her hair in a ponytail most mornings, but she takes it out before we go anywhere.) She’ll frequently tell me in the morning “I need to get dressed” and pick out clothes to wear. Once dressed, she’ll say “I need a necklace” and then “I need a pony(tail).”20160401_153650 (Large)
  • Fishing—We (meaning Travis) got Emma a fishing rod for her birthday and she loves casting the rubber fish into the river off our dock. She’s still hit or miss but I’m impressed that she can do it at all!20160401_092955 (Large)20160415_163505 (Large)
  • Ice skating – though she only tried it once, she has requested to go again many times (unfortunately, the time of year for that is pretty much over)
  • Swimming Playing in the water—Emma cannot wait for beach season. We’ve taken her to the pool a few times this winter and she enjoys it, but doesn’t really want anything to do with being in the water if she can’t touch the bottom (she’s just like a leach). Funny story: we went to the waterpark at the Holiday Inn back in January and there’s this giant bucket that slowly fills up with water and then when it’s ready to tip, it starts dinging faster and faster, and pours a deluge of water onto the splash pad. I had never been there before, so I didn’t know that. Emma and I were standing on the splash pad waiting for Travis and Annabelle, and the dinging started. A group of people gathered on the splash pad next to us and the dinging was getting faster and faster. I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t know what (I couldn’t see the bucket from where I was). Before we knew it, we were getting dumped on with water. It freaked me out and my instinct was to run out of the water. I took a few steps before I remembered to turn around and grab Emma too. She seemed to handle it well in the moment, but it is an experience she has talked about a lot since, and she is now terrified of anything at a pool or waterpark that rains water. Travis was very amused by the whole thing and chuckles over how I started running away before I ran back to grab Emma. What can I say? My survival instinct is apparently stronger than my mommy instinct.20160401_104338 (Large)
  • Walking through the woods—This is probably Emma’s favorite thing to do outside right now. She can walk through the woods for hours, looking at all the different plants, trees, leaves, pine needles, acorns, pine cones, “pokeys” (bushes that have small thorns), and animal poop. But once everything greens up, the woods will most likely be too thick for us to walk through them, so we’re living it up right now.IMG_20160321_115402 (Large)IMG_20160321_121240 (Large)20160407_074744 (Large)
  • Bathtime—Emma never needs convincing to take a bath. Some days, she takes multiple baths. Her favorite things to do in the bath right now (much to my frustration) are pour water on Annabelle’s head, wash Annabelle’s hair, and blow bubbles in a cup of soap with a straw. We most often do bathtime after naptime, before Travis is done with work.20160206_181518 (Large)
  • Sugar—specifically pink (strawberry) ice cream, ice cream or fudge bars, suckers, gum, donuts and Starburst. She likes cupcakes too, but only for the frosting—she uses the cake for making a mess. Speaking of which…20160407_081231 (Large)20160415_160502 (Large)
  • Making messes—She has outgrown the whole “pull everything out of a cupboard or drawer and immediately move on to something else” phase for the most part, but now Annabelle is in that phase, so Emma frequently resorts back to that behavior—I guess because it looks fun? But Emma still loves making messes. Her most recent mess mediums have been applesauce, yogurt, chocolate milk, peach tea, paper, books, markers, toilet paper, and Q-tips. I have been trying to teach Emma that it’s ok to make a mess, but that part of making a mess is also cleaning it up. About half the time, she helps me clean the mess up without a fit or fight. The other half, I end up giving her a timeout in her room and cleaning it up myself. Ugh.20160405_171556 (Large)
  • Running away—This is hands-down The. Most. Frustrating. Thing. Emma does right now. It doesn’t matter where we are—at home, in a store, in a parking lot, at the library, at a park, at church, Emma takes off running. She doesn’t look back. She doesn’t listen. Most of the time, I’m holding Annabelle, my purse and a giant diaper bag, so running after her is hard! And the faster I run after her, the faster she runs away (because she thinks it’s a game). She does this with Travis too, so it’s not just me. I’ve tried not chasing her, and just waiting for her to come back. She doesn’t. I’ve tried telling her that it’s dangerous to run off and I want her to stay with me because I love her and don’t want her to get hurt or lost. Doesn’t faze her. I’ve tried bribing her with donuts and candy. I’ve tried spanking, arm twisting, anger, yelling, letting her walk on her own, forcing her to ride in the cart or hold my hand. Nothing has worked. (If you’re reading this and have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!) The most humbling thing is that I can totally see myself in her… she gets an idea in her head and refuses to be deterred by anything. I have been known to be like too… at times…20160415_110207 (Large)20160414_150150 (Large)20160414_151618 (Large)20160414_150535 (Large)
  • Being thoughtful—As a spirited child, Emma does everything big. She does anger and tantrums big, she does independence big, and she does love and thoughtfulness big. She is very observant and will bring Annabelle a toy, blanket or drink if she thinks Baby needs one. She loves feeding Annabelle with a spoon, or giving her bits of what she’s eating. Emma will also do thoughtful things for me and Travis, like bringing us our phone or sunglasses if she thinks we’ve misplaced them, getting us a tissue if we appear to need one, etc.20160421_100651 (Large)20160402_132348 (Large)
  • Hugs and kisses—At Emma’s Early Childhood (ECFE) class this year, the parents move to a separate room for the last 30 minutes while the kids eat a snack and have free play. The past 4-5 times, Emma has anticipated when snack time will start and tell me she needs a hug and kiss, and after she gets them, she says “Ok, bye!” It’s so cute. Also, on Tuesdays when I pick her up from daycare, she squeals with delight when she sees me, then runs and gives me a big hug. At the beginning of March, I spent 5 days, 4 nights down in Rochester with my dad and Annabelle, and ever since, Emma has said numerous times, “You came back! I missed you. I love you Mom.” It just melts my heart!
  • Arts & crafts–Emma loves painting, drawing, coloring, cutting, glueing, decorating, etc. Like her Nana Beth, she calls it her “business.” 20160123_134208 (Large)
  • Pulling/pushing Annabelle–Emma loves to help, especially when it comes to pushing Annabelle the stroller/trike or pulling the wagon/sled. But she also frequently pushes Annabelle over, and pulls her across the floor since she can’t walk yet.20160120_140233 (Large)20160401_163829 (Large)IMG_20160322_191514 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3 years!

Christmas Thoughts: On Memories

22 Dec

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Some of the best memories I have from my childhood are from the Christmas season.

I went to a Lutheran school through 8th grade and each year, the school put on a Christmas program. Each class spent hours rehearsing songs and a verse to recite. Finally, the big night arrived. It was exciting to see my classmates arrive in our classroom, outside the context of class, all dressed up in their Christmas outfits and dresses. We marched into the packed gym single file and each sat in the chair we had been assigned several weeks earlier. For the first time, we saw the whole program come together with lights, acting and music — and we each did our part to make it magical.

On Christmas Eve, my parents, three brothers and I ate a special dinner, the highlight of which was almost always meat fondue. We each had our two color-coded skewers and we drank “cold duck” (sparkling juice) in the wine glasses with the gold rims and berry garland that we had accumulated with copious trips to Arby’s.

After dinner, we opened presents in the living room by the Christmas tree decorated with white lights and handmade, memory-filled ornaments. A model train encircled the bottom of the tree, whirring quietly past the dimly lit ceramic houses of Dickens Village. I don’t remember the gifts, or even what I wanted, but I remember being together.

After presents, we went to the 10 o’clock candlelight service at church. The snow and cold at such a late hour made the trek brutal, but none of us ever questioned it — because it was just what we did. The hall of the Sunday school rooms was lined with winter jackets, their arms stuffed with hats and mittens, and small puddles of melting snow as the women and kids exchanged snow boots for dress shoes, and the men removed their rubbers.

Most years, at least a few of us couldn’t help dozing off during the service because of the late hour and comforting atmosphere, but once they started lighting our individual candles, row by row, in anticipation of the last song “O Holy Night”, we shrugged off our sleepiness and sat up straight. We lifted our voices with the words of the classic hymn as the glow of hundreds of candles flickered on the red brick walls and stained glass windows.

Christmas Day, we often got together with my mom’s brother and his family who lived in our town. Sometimes we went to a movie, sometimes we just hung out with us kids playing.

After that, we drove up to my grandparents’ house in Ada, Minnesota. We always arrived at night but we still stumbled out of our conversion van half-awake to sit at the kitchen table for cookies. Grandma Dee always had cookies — Captain Crunch cereal and marshmallows covered in almond bark and peanut butter, and “macaroons” (the no-bake cookies made with cocoa) were our favorites. And in the morning, oh man, we ate slices of homemade cinnamon bread and strawberry jam. There was nothing else quite like it.

Being the only girl, I was spoiled with my own bedroom while my brothers had to fight over a single couch and the floor of the living room. My room had a single twin bed and a fiber-optic flower that slowly faded from one color to another, working its way through the rainbow.

Many years, for the Christmas celebration with my dad’s parents, I put together a short Christmas program that included readings from the gospel of Luke and a handful of my favorite Christmas hymns. Together, we focused on the true meaning of Christmas before opening presents.

The rest of our stay at Grandma Dee and Grandpa Norman’s house was spent playing video games, Rook and 3-13, pool tournaments on the table they had in their basement (until they replaced it with a ping-pong table after the flood), and hide and seek with a wheeple. My grandma also had a box of old clip-on earrings that I loved to play with.
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At some point, we’d head over to my mom’s parents’ house in Hendrum to spend the day with them. My cousins from Rochester were often there and the minute we arrived, we’d race out of the van and bolt for “The Fort,” a small closet located in the wall on the second flight of stairs from the main level to upstairs. You could lock it from the inside, so whoever got there first could control who entered, and who didn’t. And you could only fit about 3 of us kids in there at a time so it was an elite group.

Those of us not in The Fort amused ourselves by playing card games and spying on the people down on the main level through a hole in the upstairs bedroom floor, meant for allowing heat to travel from there up into the room.

I don’t remember opening gifts there. That’s not to say we didn’t — I’m sure some gifts were exchanged. But it was never the focus — more of an afterthought. What mattered was being together.

All of my grandparents are gone now, and have been for several years. And with me and my brothers having spouses and our own children, Christmas looks quite a bit different than it used to. But we’re still making memories together, and I hope that my girls will look back one day and have just as many wonderful memories of Christmastime as I do.