You Know You're Raising A Boy When

Javi has an upset tummy today. I'm pretty sure it's from eating a Big Mac for dinner last night. He doesn't normally eat that type of burger, so I think it wreaked havoc on his little system.

However, he isn't too upset about his stomach problems. Want to know why? Because "WHOA!!! Cool mama!!! I filled up the whole toilet!!! THAT'S AWESOME!"

Yes, he is 100 percent boy.

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April 3 Can Get Here Fast Enough

Bella turns the big 0-2 on April 3 and we're counting down the days.

Why? Well, when she turns 2, she can move up to the preschool room at school. That's the room we have to walk through to get to the toddler room. It's also the room she screams and cries over because she loves being in there so much. She will wrench her hand out of mine and run as fast as she can across the room and start playing furiously in the hopes that we'll just let her stay.

But no. State guidelines insist that she stay in the toddler room until she's 2 years old. So we must carry her -- kicking and screaming -- to the toddler room. Where she lays in the floor and cries or throws herself at the half-door separating the rooms.

It's pitiful and breaks my heart. The preschool room has more options for pretend play, including a kitchen, dress-up closet, instrument corner, puppet area, and mini-library. Bella's eyes light up when she gets to go in the room, which is open to all the children on Fridays (when there are less children and so the ratios are different). She also gets to go in that room after lunch time when they do story and dance hour -- basically an hour of storytelling set to music where the kids dance around and sing.

On the one hand, I wish they'd never let her in the room because it feeds into her obsession with the room, but, on the other hand, I'm glad she gets a little fix every day.

Let's just all keep our fingers crossed that March flies by quickly so that Bella can hurry up and get into that preschool room. Let's also pray that once she's in there fulltime, she doesn't thrash around and cry to get back in the toddler room!!!

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Dora, Dora, Dora the Explorer...

We took the kids to see Dora at a local restaurant tonight. This is the same place we saw Mickey a few months back. This Dora was a big headed crazy looking thing, but most of the children loved her anyway. The others dissolved into pools of loud, frantic tears. You know it's always one or the other.

Bella was all smiles, again, but this time she was happy to pose with Dora. And even allowed Dora to touch her! This is a huge accomplishment for my girl who freaks out when strange people touch her. Actually, she loves our friend Angela, but one day Angela tickled her tummy unexpectedly and Bella lost her marbles. So, yeah. She's sensitive.

Surprisingly, even Javi posed with Dora. I'm not sure why, but he threw his hood up before taking the shot. I think he thinks it's cool. I promise you he did not eat his food that way.

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To share in the magic that is a toddler and big kid. I give you this video. Welcome to life in the Miller Mix:

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My daughter surprises me everyday. Today, I bought her a monkey bedrest/husband that came with a monkey blanket. It's supposed to be a birthday present and is meant for use in the pop-up camper we'll be using this summer at the lake.

Unfortunately, I forgot to put it away and she spotted it as soon as she walked through the door from daycare. Billy spun her around and distracted her while I whisked it away. That didn't phase her. She's spent the past 10 minutes pacing through the house calling for "muhn-keeeeeeeeeeeee!" and keeps coming up to me and Billy asking us "where monkey?" I was more shocked that she can say monkey than that she wanted the pillow so badly!

Guess it'll be a hit if a) she ever forgets it's here and b) she still loves it on her birthday!

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I'm Evil!

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Idea for parents of teenage girls!

Javi and I were loading groceries into the back of the car yesterday when I noticed this note:

It was taped to the back passenger window of a car in the parking lot. I want to give these parents a hug! I will totally steal this idea if men are oogling my daughter!!!

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Javi got a green light at school today after a string of yellows.

I was tired and lazy from a day of personal errands and activities.

Billy was worn out from a day of hard work.

Bella was yelling "eat eat!" and pointing at the kitchen.

So, I was the first to bust out our secret language for eating at a restaurant. "What's for dinner?" To which Billy piped up immediately. "I'm not making 15 stops so you can have Chinese." Because I always want Chinese - as in, I could eat it every day and not get tired.

But then Javi heard his favorite new word and started jumping up and down chanting "King's Chinese Buffet! King's Chinese Buffet!" Which is also his newest favorite restaurant, replacing Andy's Cheeseburgers and Cheesesteaks.

Billy rolled his eyes because a) he gets tired of Chinese and b) he got sick a few months back after woofing down a quart of chicken lo mein. To make him feel better, I offered to just pick up take out and stop by Arby's or McDonald's for him...

And that's when his son threw him to the wolves. "We can just drop Daddy out at McDonalds and then go to King's Chinese Buffet," he informed us. When we protested, he reminded us "So! McDonalds has a playplace he can hang out in!!!"

Yep. Forget family bonding or family table. Our son will drop-kick you for a sugar donut. Know that. :)

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Happy President's Day

Javi was a little keyed up this morning. He was supposed to have today off from school but the BOE is using it as a make-up day from the snow day back on Jan. 20.

So yesterday Javi was telling us all about his favorite president, Abraham Lincoln. Javi likes Lincoln because a) he wore a big hat and b) he was tall ... like Javi.

Later in the day, we were all dancing around singing "I Like to Dance" from Yo Gabba Gabba, which is Bella's favorite song right now. When it comes on, she has to break it down. We take turns spotlighting each dancer ("Go, go, go Bella!" and then "Go, go, go Javi!").

When it was Javi's turn, he made us stop calling him Javi and start calling him by his new name: Lincoln. "Go, go, go Lincoln! Go, go, go Lincoln!" Unfortunately I didn't have the camera so you can't see the high stepping, booty shaking dance of Lincoln. But I imagine Ol' Abe would be proud!

I found this video that is sort of like what we do, only we're in a circle and the kids are a little less coordinated. :)

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Fun with Manda & Ivy

Bella and I spent an inordinate amount of time in the McDonald's playplace this afternoon. As in, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm inordinate. Luckily, the time was spent in good company having fun conversation and reconnecting with an old friend.

I didn't know how well the playdate would go considering Bella Bird was so ready to go that she had to dramatically roll around on the floor when I wasn't ready to leave quickly enough.

She was extremely happy to be at McDonald's though and played well by herself until Manda and Ivy arrived.

The last time I saw baby Ivy, she was just learning to walk and not yet talking very much. Today she was like a three-year-old! She's three months older than Bella, but is a good two or three inches taller and ten pounds heavier. She also has a wonderful grasp of language. As can be expected, Bella was the daredevil monkey of the duo. So if there was a hostage situation, Ivy would talk her way out while Bella would ninja jump herself out of the room.

Aren't these the cutest little curly headed babies?

Bella's hours of intense play resulted in a new word: Ah-bee. I asked her this afternoon after her nap, "Baybird, what do you want to do?" because she seemed to be on the hunt for something. She answed, "I pway Ah-bee? Pweeese?" She also kissed Ah-bee night-night tonight before she went to sleep. Aw!

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Happy Valentine's Day

The Millers spent a fun and relaxing day enjoying each other and sharing in the love fest that is Valentine's Day.

All week, we took turns writing down Valentine's wishes on strips of paper and adding them to our wish jar. So, first thing this morning, we began pulling wishes. Despite this being my bright idea, Javi and Billy pulled all the best wishes.

Billy's first pull was "Pancakes and eggs" - which we threw by the wayside because no one wanted to leave the house for breakfast and a certain person (that would be me) hadn't really thought about going to the grocery store. He then pulled "back rub" and later in the day pulled "love notes." Can you guess who put that wish into the jar?

Javi pulled all the wishes he put in: "a feast" (which was how he summarized cheeseburgers, chili dogs, cheesecake, and pie - his version of a feast), "pizza and Mountain Dew" (the one drink we've never allowed him to have), chocolate chip cookie, and a kiss. I pulled "apples," "a magic trick," and "activity of choice." No fun! We'll be trying something different next year.

But we still had a fantastic day. Billy sent me flowers on Friday that are beautifying our living room and I granted him a dozen Sandra's donuts in assorted flavors. Sandra's donuts are one of the reasons people live in Sanford - so much better than Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts! Aren't my flowers beautiful? I was totally surprised by them.

Javi got his feast. We all went to Golden Corral so that he could affordably feast on his favorite foods. Of course, he only ate one plate of food and it was small. Then he moved on to feasting on desserts. But it was his wish, so we didn't argue with him over it. Because he finished so quickly, he listened to his iPod while the rest of us finished up - which is a rare treat because we never allow him to listen to the iPod in restaurants and other public places.

Bella wanted no part of anything on the buffets except a few grapes and peach slices. Well, that was until I brought in the gummy bears and M&Ms. She dogged those - as you can see by the chocolate all over her face.

When we got home, we played bandanas ... thanks to Javi's new obsession with wearing one. You don't want to know how much he argued with me about wearing one to dinner. Bella prefers wearing hers as a dress, but Billy did convince her to put one on her head. For half a second.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Valentine's day party at school

Bella's first Valentine's Day party is today and she went dressed for the occasion. However, her attitude didn't comply. I'm not sure why, but Ms Grumpy McGrumperton had nothing but grunts and "nooooooooooo!"s for me this morning. But she looked fantastic - and that's what counts!

Yes, she's crouched in the corner with a decidedly unhappy face. Nothing screams Sweetheart like child hiding from her mama. And then collapsing melodramatically on the couch.

She took scratch-n-sniff cupcake V-day cards for the other children, a flower garden kit for each of her teachers (thanks Grandma!), and carrots with ranch dip for the daycare party. I can't wait to hear how much she enjoyed the sweets and treats today!

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New hairstyle

My mother has been riding me about Bella's hair. Apparently I don't spend enough time coming up with new and unique ways to keep her muppet mane out of her face.

Well *somebody* hasn't visited lately because Bella has been rocking the cutest new 'do. Pigtails! I have to use gel and clips to keep the curls in the back from springing back into shape and creating a thicket in the back of her head - but I love the pigtails, even if they do come with extra work.

The ladies at daycare giggle every time I bring her in with her little pigtails because they, like me, know that her hair will be a curly mess in less than an hour. She never fails to come home at at the end of the day in a half ponytail because that's all they can manage. But when I'm around, the pigtails are perfect, bouncy, and the perfect way to showcase my Bella Bird's cutie patootie face. Behold:

In case you were too entranced by that huge bite of jello, here's another angle:

And this one's from yesterday's car ride with Ian when Bella decided to win him over with sweet peeks out of the corner of her eyes:

I think my favorite part of the pigtail era is that it's such a clean and well-kept look. Plus, doesn't she look like a big girl?

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One of those days

Bella loves her friends. Like, gets in their faces and hugs on them and tries to drag them around with her like she does her stuffed animals.

But one of her friends always needs a little warming up before he's ready for Bella's type of love. Meet Ian. See him in the background? He did NOT want to suffer through an entire car ride and hour or so alone with us while his mama did Mom stuff today. This picture sums up our car ride to drop Bella off for school. Ian was pissed he got stuck with us and Bella was broken hearted that he wasn't happy to see her:

I thought perhaps Mr. Ian would feel better as our short amount of time wore on. I was wrong. Here is on the way back to my house after dropping Bella off:

This was the same look I got for the next 20 minutes. We even had a stare-off when we got back to the house and he refused to talk to me. He just stood in the middle of the room and stared at me. Literally just stared. Every few stares he would quickly look at my laptop and then go right back to staring.

So I tried to win but I realized he would stand there until Abbey got back, so I finally just said it: Would you like to play Noggin?

And all of a sudden - there was my sweet, funny little Ian! "Yes!" he told me as he made a beeline to the laptop. I steered him to the desktop and got him up and running. He was a talkative little bugger until he got engrossed in Wow Wow Wubbzy.

When he got him, he reported to his mom that I "just laughed" at his sad face. So there is some triumph! I hope next time he has more fun with us. :)

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More snow!

January's snow wasn't the only coating of white stuff we've gotten so far this year. Despite my disbelief that it would actually happen, snow coated the ground again yesterday.

Unfortunately, neither child was as impressed this time around as the big snow back on the 20th. Javi's school was on a 2-hour delay so we got dressed and walked around a bit. Bella was more interested in the many cats milling around than she was the snow. Javi just wanted to get to school without his hair getting messed up. :)

Here are some photos from our mini-snow day:

Let's hope this whole snow thing doesn't become too common!

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Letter to Bella: month twenty-one

Dear Bella,

Did you know that twenty-one month old little girls act strangely similar to twelve year old little girls? Let's run through the list: Diva attitude? Check. Random grumpiness? Check. Fascination with nail polish? Check. Determination to annoy brother? Check. Love of jewelry? Check. Desire for a pet? Check. Refusal to take no for an answer? Oh checkity check!

But while you may sometimes make me wonder if there's a pre-teen trapped inside your tiny body, you still fill us all with joy as we enjoy each day from your perspective. For instance, you celebrated your second New Year's Eve last month. Last year, you were a wee babe who still couldn't walk and slept peacefully in your pack-n-play. This year, you were an unstoppable force who had her first sip of "wine" (bka sparkling cider) and stayed up into the wee hours of the night. You also refused to go to sleep until you were pinned between Javi and the wall. And even then you were up and ready to roll at 9 am the next morning.

This big-girl attitude pretty much sums up how your twenty first month. On the first Monday of January, you began a real daycare center that comes complete with many children your age, cots for you to nap on, a nutritious lunch menu, and a full playground. Only one of these things mean anything to your cold, cold heart: the playground. You want to spend every moment of every day outside. You refuse to eat their food and often hide from the other children, but when someone says the phrase "let's go outside," you are the first little muppet through the door.

But you do love going to school every morning. From the time you wake up in the morning until I'm buckling you into your seat, you are banging on the door and yelling "ready!" or "hi kids!" For a child who seems to see children in the same light as furniture, you can't wait to get to school each morning and say hi to each and every one of them. Your congeniality isn't limited to them either. You wave and yell "hi!" to everything we pass on the way: the cars parked in the neighborhood (hi cah!), the stoplights (hi gee! hi rah!), the Bs in BB&T (hi beesh!), the big trucks often zooming up and down the main streets (hi kuck!), and the slide featured prominently on the school playground (hi swigh!).

You know what I love about you moving to a real center? Your language has exploded! You went from barely talking to gabbing non-stop all the time. You'll even make sentences! I realized you'd turned into a talker about 2 weeks into daycare when you came up to me and said, "I want eat eat!" You asking for food is always a show-stopper because you are such a picky eater, but I almost fell out of my seat when you used full sentence structure to ask for something as mundane as sustenance. Of course, you then refused to eat anything I offered you until I gave up and handed you a banana. Then you giggled and said "tahhk ew!" Now you simply yell "me nana!" and things get accomplished much more quickly.

Along with your verbal explosion has come the sweet little habit of singing along to songs. You rarely know any words except the last ones of each line and you sing so softly that I wouldn't hear you if I weren't listening for you. But it's so cute! At the beginning of the month your favorite song was "The Monkey Song" by The Giggles and Wiggles. You would follow the instructions in the song ("you gotta reach up high, now reach down low, you gotta carry bananas, wherever you go"). There was an entire week during which you would scream and thrash around if we got out of the car before you were threw singing about monkeys.

But then you fell in love with Ralph's World and now all you want to listen to is Edward the Tap Dancing Elephant. Except every once in a while you'll sing "Buzz Buzz" along with Laurie Berkner, which sounds something like "buh buh? buh buh!!!" I love helping you explore different genres and learn new ways to sing and dance. Music plays a huge role in all of our lives, so it gives us warm fuzzies to know that you are a little music lover already. You even enjoy singing without music. Often you'll break out in "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"or the ABC song for no reason except that there's music in your soul and it must come out.

Music and playing create a well-rounded day for you, my sweet pea. But there was one day when your entire world shifted on its axis. And that mindblowing day was when you woke up to a world blanketed with SMOW! You almost lost your mind you were so excited about all the powdery white stuff. When it was finally warm enough for you to be outside, we bundled you in a snowsuit, hat, gloves, and boots fully expecting you to have a fit about being covered with so much material, but you just ran as fast as you could to the door.

Once you got outside, there was no stopping you. You stomped around, made snow balls, stood under the snow avalanche Javier created for you, and even laid down on your back and made a snow angel. Now, as soon as you realized that snow was cold - and especially when it touched your neck - you were finished with it. But that first 30 minutes was a glory to behold. We had another day of snow early this month but it wasn't as fascinating for you. You know, since you'd been there and done that already.

I have to wonder if God takes pity on the parents of young women by giving them these first few years to anticipate and prepare for what will surely be a deja vu adolescence. Just when I think I know what will fascinate and impress you, you change your mind and look at me like I'm crazy for spending what was surely hours of my time to produce something so ... lame. Snow Day #1 = amazing. Snow Day #2 = boring! 1st viewing of a new Elmo DVD = fantastic! 2nd viewing = so, do I have to watch the whole thing?

Luckily, we're as amazed by you as we are exhausted. Only God knows where you'll be the same saucy, sassy, smart little busy bee in ten years as you are today, but we'll relish every moment we spend finding out.

Love, Mama

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