Thursday, December 31, 2009

So, it's the end of 2009

And it's time for New Year's Resolutions. As a kid I hated them. I didn't want to think about the future and I definitely didn't want to make commitments! Now as an adult, I really do look at New Years Resolutions is a completely different way. I still am not very good at keeping them specifically, but I think every year I am growing and shaping who I want to be from them. This past year one of my resolutions was to have family meals 4-5 times a week. That specific goal probably wasn't met, but I did cook at home ALOT this last year and we had sit-around-the-table meals very frequently. I noticed that on The Frickin Chicken I posted my 100th recipe just the other day. That means I cooked at least 100 different recipes since I started the site in March. That doesn't include repeat meals. That is a lot of cooking! Another goal I had last year was to lose weight. That did not happen. I lost some weight throughout the year, but I pretty much gained it all back by the end. I guess that is why we get a fresh start each year.

Watching the girls go from 1 yr to 2 years has been a very exciting thing. They weren't even walking last January and now they are running, skipping and even sort of jumping. They weren't really talking last January, past the occasional Mama and Dadda. Heck they were still nursing last January! Still eating the occasional baby foods along with some finger foods. Now they are talking in 4-5 word sentences (when they want to!) They are really good at using their spoons and forks and they are developing a sense of independence. "No, I DO IT!" Is a sentence we hear around here frequently. I'm excited to see what 2010 has to bring us.

Here is our family's Year in Review...

January:
Maddie was the first one with a tooth at 13 months
We all got hit with a horrible tummy bug
Temper tantrums were introduced into the household by Izzie!

February:
We had our first Time Out.
We stopped nursing.

March:
Our first art project.
I took the girls to a restaurant by myself for the 1st time.

April:
Cousin Lucy was born!
Our first black eye (Izzie)

May:
We said goodbye to a loved family pet, Travis. He is missed.
I joined the PAMOM Board.
I got my wisdom tooth removed.

June:
First swim of the summer.
Got to visit Daddy at work.
I threw a huge paint party.

July:
First corn on the cob.
Took the girls out to eat with friends.

August:
First time to climb out of crib (and only time... this year!)
First time to hold sissy's hand without me asking.
Jake, my cat got sprayed by a skunk!
First time to bake cookies with Mom.

September:
First trip to library.
First trip to a lake.
Got invited to be a guest writer for a Dallas Morning News Blog.

October:
Zoo Trip for 2009.
Went on a Family Vacation to San Antonio

November:
Mastered the spoon well enough to eat soup.
Thanksgiving

December:
I turn 30!
Baking Christmas cookies with Grandma
Second Birthday

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ouchie!

I took the girls over to Allison's house for an impromptu playdate. Melanie came with her girls too. At first it was peaceful, all the kids were playing and then Maddie started pushing Ford when he wanted to play with the blocks she had. Then somehow Izzie got a block thrown at her and we had a big brawl. We thought we had everything and everybody calmed down when Ford decided to bite Maddie on the cheek. It happened so fast! I guess he was still mad about that push. Oh the joys of playgroup!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finger Painting


Izzie


Maddie


Since we were just hanging around the house and not going out I put them in their Halloween shirts. Their black pants were dirty, which didn't matter anyway since they wanted to wear purple and pink pants. I guess this could be a good blackmail photo one day. Izzie is wearing my shoes, which just sets the entire ensemble off.


This morning a little bit before naptime the girls asked to paint. They've never asked to paint before, but it was almost naptime. So I told them we could paint after naptime. I was crossing my fingers that this would not lead to a short nap due to the excitement of painting after said nap. But I don't think they are old enough to have figured that part out. Now that I've said that tomorrow they will prove me wrong.

Anyway, Maddie and Izzie have razor sharp memories, especially when it is something they really want to do. You can tell them something before bedtime and it will be the first thing out of their mouth in the morning. This should have been a clue. When they woke up from nap, I fully expected them to want to skip snack and go straight towards painting. Nope, they ate a leisurely snack and then they started playing with some puzzles. Instead of letting them remind me about painting, since I promised them they could paint after nap, I asked them if they wanted to paint. Yes. Sure Momma. For about 2 minutes, never mind it takes you 15 to get the paint supplies all set up. So they painted. It started snowing while we painted. That was fun. The paint, not so much. Oh well such is life.

2 Year Check Up


Maddie and Izzie waiting for the Doctor. They are reading a story to Bunny and Teddy.

The girls had their Two Year Appointment today. We got the first appointment of the day so I decided to let them go in their footsie night gowns AND they got to take Bunny and Teddy. Bunny and Teddy almost never leave their cribs so when I told them that they could take them to the doctors this morning they were so excited. They brought them downstairs and after breakfast and in the couple of minutes before we had to leave for the doctors they were showing Bunny and Teddy everything downstairs. They were reading them books and showing off their toys. It was so cute, Bunny and Teddy really are their best friends. I think the last doctors appointment (18 months) I let them take their downstairs Bunny and Teddy but I don't know that their crib friends have every gone anywhere with them now that I think about it. Izzie's eyes got really big this morning when I said that they could go to the Doctors. She said, "WHITE Teddy??" (Her downstairs Teddy is brown.)

At the doctors they did really good. For the last week or so I've been talking to them about the doctor. I bought a cheap little doctor kit at the dollar store and we've been practicing. I told them the doctor would check their eyes, their ears, their nose. Listen to their heart, etc. So they knew what to expect. I told them about the shot, but they didn't quite get that and they were pretty startled/upset when they got the shot. But their tears cleared up pretty quickly. I gave them a little doll that Nanny gave them at Christmas time and I'd put away as a prize for being brave. So now for the stats:

Isabelle Dawn:
25.5 lbs (25%)
2 feet 11 inches (75%)

Madeline Elizabeth:
26.75 lbs (50%)
2 feet 11 inches (75%)

Their iron levels are back to normal. They've been slightly anemic since birth so this was good news! Everything else checked out great too. Now no more shots until 4!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Project du jour


Daddy's hand is in brown, Momma's hand is in yellow and the girls' hands are in green. (Izzie's is on the left and Maddie's is on the right.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Feeling a bit better



Izzie and Maddie




Thank goodness the girls seem to be feeling a bit better today. They are still coughing and congested but not nearly as much as they were yesterday. That and their noses were running like faucets yesterday and today we've hardly had to wipe them at all. They've been pretty happy today. With all of the family and outings lately the girls have forgotten to play independently. This morning I instituted the 15 minute rule. I told them to go play for 15 minutes without Momma or Daddy and then we could do something together. They tried a few times to get me to come play with them but I stood firm and they played for almost the entire 15 minutes (Izzie had a bad coughing fit, so we had to end it early to help her out.)

At one point in the morning when I was playing with them, we got out their animal magnets. We put them on the magnet board one at a time and said what animal they were and what the sign was for each animal. Then with the magnetic letters I helped them put the letter the animal starts with next to each animal. (G for Goat, C for Cat, etc.) They were really getting into it, even though starting sounds are way over their head. They wanted to put the W with each animal! Also as far as reading skills go, last night after they went to bed, I finally started putting up some sight words. I only started out with a few: Desk, Table, Chair, Door, Gate, Wall and Library Books. They got a kick out of this and Maddie caught on super fast. I showed her Table and Chair and she went around the house finding other words and "reading" them. We talked about what letter the word started with too. They really liked pointing to the words and saying what it was.

On a side note... one of our favorite baby words has been replaced with the correct pronunciation. Ever since they learned their colors, Orange has sounded like O-zhon. Izzie now says Orange correctly every time and Maddie says it correctly most of the time. For some reason O-Zhon was always been one of my favorite baby words they had.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Colds


Maddie playing with the kitchen. She was feeding her new baby doll.


Izzie playing with the animal magnets she got for Christmas.


Izzie playing with her new doll and doll highchair, please excuse the "boogie" rag in the background!


Maddie loves her baby doll and was giving it a big hug!

The girls just can't seem to shake this cold that they have. Izzie got it first and then she gave it to Maddie. Just as we thought Maddie was getting better, Izzie got it again, and Maddie's got worse. I think the excitement of Christmas just didn't give them enough quiet time to get better. Today we've just been hanging out at home, playing with some of our Christmas toys and of course wiping boogies. It's a new vocabulary word around here and a new skill. They are getting good at wiping their own boogies if Momma and Daddy don't get to it fast enough!

Friday, December 25, 2009

And it was a White Christmas


Izzie and Maddie eating Christmas breakfast.


Lucy actually fit in the doll highchair that Uncle Larry made!


Sammy meticulously picked up all the wrapping paper as we were opening presents. He was a terrific helper!


All three toddler girls got little brooms and dustpans. They enjoyed sweeping Grandma's floor.


Chris and Sammy with their Texas Snowman.

Today was such a long day that I don't quite remember the morning. As soon as we woke up we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's house still in our pajamas. This is my 10th Christmas with John and every year that I've celebrated Christmas morning with him we either wake up at his parents house and stay in our 'jammies for most of the morning or we drive there in our 'jammies. Well aparently this year we didn't get the memo that tradition had been canceled since we were the only family to show up in our nightgowns. It was always a favorite part of the Dittlinger Christmas but I guess like all traditions they ebb and flow.

After everyone arrived we let the little kids see their toys. Jackie and Tom sealed off the toy room because they had lined the entire back wall with all the presents. Sammy's were all on the left, followed by Sabrina's, Lucy's, Maddie and then Izzie's. If Toy's R Us is looking for their inventory they should check out Grandma and Grandpa's address because that is where it went! All the kids got some terrific toys/clothes and games. Including handmade heirloom quality doll highchairs made by John's Great Uncle Larry. They are simply amazing! He made one for each of the grandgirls.

After toys we had a huge Christmas breakfast that was delicious followed by more presents. All the families exchanged gifts with each other. That was interrupted of course by all the kids and even pausing for a bit to put toddlers down for naps. Surprisingly enough at one point all the kids age 2 and under (that would be 4 kids) were asleep at the same time! Izzie and Maddie ended up taking a 2.5 hour nap which we thought was awesome because they don't usually nap very well any place other than their own crib. Well, Maddie woke up on the wrong side of the crib and the afternoon was spent listening to her cry about anything and everything. As soon as she would stop crying, she'd find something else to cry about. It was miserable. We finally decided to just head home.

All in all it was a great Christmas. Oh, did I mention the snow? It snowed last night so we awoke to a white Christmas. Sammy and Chris even managed to make a 3 foot tall snowman! I wish the girls could have played in it, but they are still coughing and have runny noses so I didn't want them out in the cold.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve


Maddie, Momma, Daddy and Izzie getting ready to go to Nanny's church.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.... and we got one! It is snowing like crazy here! It's unbelievable. It started snowing around 1pm but we didn't think it was going to stick. Well stick it did, we have quite a bit of snow in the back yard, an inch and half or so. That is just crazy talk for Texas!

Anyway, today started off with a visit from Santa last night.When Maddie woke up this morning the first word out of her mouth was, "Santa, HoHoHo!" Then Izzie popped up and said, "Toys!" They sorta got it. The only thing is I think when they came downstairs they thought Santa would actually be here. But they were happy with the toys he left behind. They spent the morning playing with their toys but they still aren't feeling very well (I think Izzie caught the cold again!) and at 11am Maddie had a horrible crying fit. To calm her down I took her upstairs to rock her. Izzie wanted upstairs too and we decided to put them down for a nap at 11:15. They have not napped that early in months and months and months. Since they normally eat lunch at 11:30 I was worried they would wake up early starving. But they ended up sleeping for 2 hours.

After they woke up we had a couple of hours to play before it was time to get dressed and head to St. Monica's Catholic Church where Nanny attends services. We went to the children's mass and I think both girls really enjoyed all the singing and the bells. After church we headed over to Nanny's house for a light supper and a few presents. Nanny got the girls baby Elmo's and they were super excited. Izzie turned toward me and said,"ELMO!" Like I would have said, "Oh my goodness it's a diamond necklace!!!" You get the drift... she was thrilled. Maddie was just as excited.

The drive home was a bit treacherous because of all the snow/ice/wind and it took us almost an hour and a half when normally it would take about 40-45 minutes. We saw one car spinout on the freeway and that was a bit scary! But we drove very slow and took a few back roads to avoid bridges and made it home safe and sound. The girls went down right away (although Izzie is coughing pretty badly!) and John and I got in warm clothes and we were going to try and make a snowman. Two problems, one we couldn't find our gloves. We have several pair, but haven't needed them in a while (I don't think we even got them out last year at all!) so we couldn't find them quickly enough. And the second problem was the snow was powdery and not sticking to itself. Nevertheless, we still had a bit of fun kicking the snow around and playing a bit in it. (Don't worry we took the monitor outside so we could hear the girls.) It was a nice end to a beautiful Christmas Eve!


Snow in our backyard.


Snowy footprints!


Kicking the snow into a pile.


Izzie with her Elmo


Our front yard. The snow didn't pile as high in the front yard as the backyard. Across the street got more snow in their front yards than we did, but like I said, our backyard was pretty fluffy!


Izzie and Madddie in their Christmas dresses.


Getting ready for church, there were snow flurries but it wasn't sticking at this point. Even so, it was cold! We had the girls all bundled up. Izzie said to me, "Winter!, BRR Cold!"


Izzie, maddie and Sabrina opening gifts.


Izzie and Maddie. Dana and Lucy are in the background.

Santa Came Last Night!


Toy room before the girls see it.


They come downstairs and see the kitchen. They are so super excited. (Maddie and Izzie)


A few minutes later... (Izzie & Maddie)



Opening the rest of the gifts under the tree.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Next Three Days

The next three days are going to be a craziness of fun and tradition. Santa Claus sent me a message and let me know he was going to stop by this evening to drop off Maddie and Izzie's gifts. This was a huge relief because I was worried they weren't going to have enough time to play with them on Christmas morning if he came on the traditional Christmas Eve. He assured me that sometimes he visits special families early so that he has time to deliver all the presents around the world. If he can spread it over two days, that makes things a bit easier for him!

I'm very anxious to see what Santa has brought for the girls. I know they have tried to be very good. Both Maddie and Izzie have asked for new colors and new toys. Izzie has asked for some applesauce too. I'm sure he will be able to fullfill those requests.

After opening presents in the morning I hope to squeeze in a breakfast and then play play play! Hopefully we will be super exhausted and go down for an early nap! Because after naptime we will get in our Christmas best and go to the Children's Mass with John's side of the family. After Mass we head over to Nanny's house for a light finger food dinner and usually exchange a couple of family gifts.

Christmas day we will wake up and head straight to the girls' Grandma and Grandpa's house for tons of celebration. We have more presents, more food and more family fun. This year, Christmas will be rounded out with a third celebration with John's Aunt and Uncle and some extended family. Let the marathon begin! I'll post pics when I get the chance between opening presents!

The Grand Lux Cafe at The Galleria


Melanie, Alison, Jessica and Amanda eating beignets at the Grand Lux Cafe.

Yesterday, a few girlfriends and I decided to get out in hustle and bustle of Christmas, take a few hours for ourselves and have lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe in the Dallas Galleria. It was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious lunch. Of course, to our husbands chagrin, while dining we created a whole list of restaurants we would like to try and decided we needed to get together for lunch (sans kids!) much more often!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Madeline and Isabelle, age 2


Madeline Elizabeth Dittlinger, age 2.

Maddie is a very independent, loving and passionate little girl. She likes to figure things out on her own and has learned the sentence, "No, I do it!" and she uses it very frequently. She likes to kiss and hug all of her babies and she has her toys hug and kiss each other. She also loves to play dress up. Maddie likes to put puzzles together and will congratulate herself after fitting a piece in with a, "Yay! Maddie!" and a clap. She is very determined and will take as long as she needs to figure something out. When she doesn't get her way she stands her ground until you at least figure out what she wanted and then explain to her why she can't have/do it. If the explanation suits her, then she'll go about her business. Her favorite foods are: "cheesy fruit" (cottage cheese, honey and peaches) and yogurt smoothies. Although most of the time she isn't a picky eater, she'll eat (or at least taste) almost anything.


Isabelle Dawn Dittlinger, age 2

Izzie is a spunky, fun loving and energetic individual. She loves coloring, writing and anything computers. Perhaps she'll be a graphic artist like her Momma! She loves to read books and is content to sit in her Elmo chair and read out loud to herself. She is always trying to sneak onto my computer and wants to write with "Momma's colors" (pens and pencils.) Izzie most of the time likes to go with the flow, and that usually means whatever Maddie decides, but when she has an opinion on something she will let you know fast. And if she doesn't get something she wants the waterworks can start instantaneously! The good thing is that they can usually turn off just as quickly once you figure out what her grievance is! Her favorite foods are: Cake-Cakes (my homemade pancakes), bananas and chicken. She can be a bit picky at times but overall is a good eater.

Both girls can count to about 13 by themselves. They know all of their capital letters and several lowercase letters. They mostly know their ABC song but they skip a few letters while singing it. They can identify several of the ABC's in sign language. They have a HUGE signing vocabulary and an even bigger spoken vocabulary. They talk in sentences a lot now and I can even have a complete conversation with them. They say yes and no to questions when asked, they will tell you Please, Thank You and No Thank You. They also will tell you if they "Like" or "Don't Like" something especially food. Izzie can hold a pencil correctly and likes to "write" letters (small scribbles.) They understand First, Second or First, Next, Then.

Both girls can put on their shoes by themselves, Maddie can take off her shirt with some assistance. Izzie has not been interested in dressing or undressing herself until about a week ago. They both can use a fork and spoon, they put their milk up in the refrigerator (with help opening the door) without being asked. They put their plates in the sink when asked to. They both know what time out means and will usually go sit in time out when I tell them to. Maddie and Izzie usually like to organize and they like knowing where everything goes. After playing with a toy, they will put it up before going to the next toy (with guidance from me!) It's hard to describe everything they know and can do because they amaze me with how much they've learned in their short life. Every day is a new and exciting day with them.


Maddie and Izzing playing Ring Around the Rosie together (with help from some stuffed friends.)


Maddie and Izzie


Izzie and Maddie (And we all Fall Down!)

(A thanks to Jessica Melker for reminding me to put together a "now we are 2" list! Her triplets are 1 day older than my girls and it has been so much fun seeing them grow up together.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Birthday Party Recap

I don't even really know where to begin. I had so much fun watching Maddie and Izzie at their second birthday party. I know that I invited family to come too, but my eyes were on my little two year olds all day. I am dealing with the fact that they are already two much better than I thought, but it is amazing the day came so quickly. It seems like the first three months of their lives was the longest amount of time in recorded history. After that everything has blurred by!

Maddie woke up from nap saying it was her "HappyDay!" Both girls would let you know they were "Two Ears" old if you asked them how old they were. On Saturday with the whole gift thing they had it down pat. On their birthday, not so much. I think it was much more chaotic at the party and their attention was too many places. Then once they opened the vtech Tote and Go Laptop, they wouldn't open any other presents. It was by far their favorite present of the bunch. And bunch there was! They got several baby dolls, an awesome Step 2 Art Easel from Grandma and Grandpa, cute mini books from Nanny, pots and pans, Little People and they've been playing with the Cozy Coupes that Mema and Pepaw gave them as an early birthday present for months now. I'm excited about the new influx of toys because some of their old ones were getting pretty darn boring.

Thank you to everyone for such wonderful gifts, and thank you to all that were able to come to Maddie and Izzie's second birthday, it means a ton to me that you took the time out of this super busy time of year to celebrate that they grew another year. For the family and friends that weren't with us yesterday, your well wishes meant a lot to me too, thanks for the calls and the cards! Now for some pictures (in no particular order)!


Maddie, Momma, Daddy and Izzie


Maddie's Panda cake.


Izzie got the lion cake.


Maddie, Mema and Izzie.


Maddie and Izzie playing with their chalkboard.


Maddie waiting for Izzie. We were just about to open presents when Izzie had to excuse herself for a diaper change! Maddie did pretty good considering she woke up with a cold, I know how bad it is to be sick on your birthday!


Izzie and Maddie were captivated by the laptop computers.


Yum! Birthday cake! (Izzie)


Chris and Sabrina at the Kiddie Table.


Maddie liked her cake too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Early Christmas


Izzie, Rhonda and Maddie pouring beans with the tea cups.


After all the toys were opened, Izzie went back to her old toy of the necklaces!


Maddie showing Mema she wanted the purse out of the package.


Izzie opening a package, Maddie trying to get someone to help her.


I love this "twin" picture of Izzie and Maddie.

More pictures another day...


How do you write about a Christmas experience and capture everything? It's too hard, I can't adequately describe the moments we had this afternoon.

I was a bit worried this morning of how the afternoon was going to be because Maddie woke up Cranky with a capital C. We put them down for an early nap and I went over to my Mom's house to help cook. Since my side of the family didn't get together for Thanksgiving this year, we decided to do the Turkey with all of the trimmings. It was fun cooking with Mema again. I carefully wrote down her cornbread recipe so hopefully I can recreate it next time! I also made her measure the chocolate pie ingredients but I think that made her mess up. We'll have to keep working on that one! I also learned a few tricks on why my dressing doesn't taste as good as hers, so next time I should be able to conquer it to perfection. About halfway through the cooking John called and said the girls were waking up from nap, so I headed back home to pick the three of them up. (Thank goodness Mom only lives 5 minutes away!)

Luckily the nap did wonders on Maddie and Izzie and they were in much better moods for the afternoon. We decided to open presents before dinner so that way we weren't rushed. It was so much fun watching the girls open presents. Izzie figured the game out pretty quickly and as soon as she tore the paper off one present she would turn around and say, "Nother one, Please." She was also very particular that ALL the paper went straight over to Mema and not on the floor! Maddie had a blast too. One of the first things she opened was a My Little Pony that had a little purse accessory. She wanted that purse! She kept pointing to the package saying, "Little Pink Purse." We finally opened it for her.

After a delicious dinner and the absolute best turkey I have ever had (even better than my own!) the girls played Tea with Rhonda. Mom filled the tea pot up with small beans and they worked on their pouring skills, pouring the beans from the pot to the cup. Then they had to transfer the beans with the spoon from the sugar bowl to the cup. Rhonda was super patient with them and they were loving it! Of course Mema got in on the Tea action too.

Too soon, it was time for bed so we shuttled back home and put the girls down to bed. John stayed home to listen in on them and watch the football game and I went back to mom's to visit and help with the clean up. We just left all of the girls presents there so I had to help package them up to bring home. It was a terrific Christmas.