Javi's Song

He composed this all by himself.

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There are many, many things Bella won't eat. Among them: meat, bread, and vegetables. That leaves fruit, cheese, peanut butter, and sweets as her main source of sustenance.

But daycare has finally started to expand her palette. Today I got these photo from her teacher:

Yes, that's my darling girl chowing down on Manwich aka sloppy joes. The accompanying text said "This is to make up for the day I forgot to snap a photo of her eating fish sticks."

So the moral of the story is my child is growing and changing every day. And every day she becomes more and more like her father. The less recognizable a food is, the more they want to eat it!

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Community Garden Night 2

Javi and I had our second night of Community Garden class ... and he was not happy about it. His class had a field trip during the day ... to a park ... in 90-degree weather ... without much water or shade. Needless to say, Javi wasn't really interested in doing anything once he got home.

But he tried his best. When we got to the garden, he helped me find our plants and sort through them so we could follow the sketch I made after the last class. We ordered 4 tomato, 2 zucchini, 2 eggplant, 6 cucumber, and 8 basil. Unfortunately, we had to stop our little progress for the class, which was on soils.

I don't think anyone in that room really cared about soils, but I did learn some interesting stuff. For instance, the numbers on fertilizer bags (eg., 10-15-20) correspond to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (respectively) in the bag. You add those numbers up to determine how many nutrients are in the bag. So, 10-15-20 is 45% nutrient ... and 55% sand. A bag of 10-10-10 has 30% nutrient and 70% sand. So you're getting a better deal buying the more expensive stuff because you can use less of it for the same effect. I never buy fertilizer, but that's really good to know!

We also got a sand sample kit that I can use to take samples of the soil in our yard. Once I know what our levels are, I can better plan a little garden right in our back yard ... especially after a summer of the community garden and associated classes.

So after the class, we headed back out to the beds. My mom had joined us by then, so the three of us made quick work of getting all the plants into the soil and well watered. Then we were off. But, I made another stop by this morning to water my beds again. The soil was so dry last night that I didn't want to risk waiting until tonight.

Basil, eggplant, and cucumbers:

All the community beds:

Bella was with me (thanks to pink eye). She LOVED being out there. She immediately started playing in a pile of leftover soil/compost mixture and helped me hold the hose to soak the beds. She also checked out everyone else's beds and then threw a major tantrum when it was time to go. I guess I need to let her come out with us on non-class nights!

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Who chooses to camp the weekend it's supposed to hit the mid-90s? More people than you'd probably guess if the jam-packed campground is any indication.

We got out to the lake in the still-early afternoon on Friday only to find that there were no water-front spots available and no side-by-side sites (we were camping with other people). But, Billy managed to find a somewhat shady spot to set up our pop-up camper for it's virgin outing.

Bella and I came out later after working the Jaycees' spaghetti supper. We did some socializing and then promptly went on to bed. Javi settled into camper sleeping without incident, but Bella is a different story. We thought everything would be fine once we got her to sleep, but that was only the beginning... the poor thing later FELL OUT of the camper!!! Apparently the flap on that side wasn't tight enough and our baby rolled right on out! Who does that happen to?

Luckily she barely had a scratch and we were able to comfort her enough to get her back to sleep in a new (safer) bed and we all went back to sleep. That wasn't the end of the night-time battles though because the next night, Bella was being silly and tried to throw herself back on her pillow ... only she hit the frame ... hard! A big ol' knot formed on the back of her head as we calmed down the hysterics. And then she did it again. Needless to say, night time in the camper is not our friend.

But daytime was okay. On Sunday after a super-early start and breakfast, we headed down to the beach area. I put the kids in bathing suits just so they wouldn't be too hot, but lo and behold they ran straight into the water and stayed there -- despite the temperature hovering in the freezing range! It was hot as all get out on the shore, though.

Shannon and Bill came to hang out with us for awhile, so when it was naptime, we dumped out the men and the girls drove around so Bella could get some sleep in the a/c. It was such a nice break from the heat! After the Shueys left, we headed over to Camp Gordon for dinner and s'mores.

Tons of bubbles, a bag of marshmellows, and a campfire later, we tucked back in for the night. Billy had rearranged our beds, so we were all much more comfortable on Night 2 than Night 1. Afer some good, good sleep, I was up and at 'em early in the morning so I went ahead and packed everything up. We actually had to wake the kids up around 9 am lest they sleep all day!

After breakfast, we went down to the waterfront and let them play for a couple hours while we just relaxed and enjoyed the day. Then it was time to head home -- for me an dkids at least. Billy stayed another night by himself to fish and play Thoreau. ;)

By 3 pm on Sunday, we were home, Bella was in her bed taking a nap and my car was unpacked. However, it's a day later and I'm still not recovered. I'm not sure when we'll brave the wilds again ... but we are planning to take the boat out of the day next weekend. It was the only thing (besides civilization) that we missed this weekend!

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Camping this weekend

We're camping this weekend. I cannot promise that my marriage won't end before it's over, but I do promise not to kill my husband. I may maim him slightly .... but I definitely won't kill him. Despite how frustrating he can be.

The kids will have fun regardless and that's the point, right?

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Happy Earth Day!

As a semi-environmentalist, I'd like to take the time to list out the ways I live greenly every day:

- I buy items in bulk rather individually packaged.
- I eat a meatless meal at least 2x per week. (Research shows that if everyone ate 20% less meat it would have the same effect on the environment as everyone switching to hybrid vehicles.)
- I work from home.
- I drive a fuel efficient vehicle.
- I walk instead of drive when possible. This was easier when I lived in a city.
- I carpool when possible.
- I recycle paper, plastics and aluminum.
- I reuse and repurpose everything I can (including my aluminum foil!).
- I compost everything I can.
- I bring my own bags when shopping. When I forget my bags, I go bag-less.
- I keep the temperature around 65 degrees year round. I add layers if I'm cold and remove layers if I'm hot rather than adjusting the temperature.
- I participate in a community garden.
- I support local growers when possible.
- I use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- I use energy efficient household appliances, namely the dish washer, washer and dryer.
- I only run the dish washer when full, which is usually every other day.
- I re-wear clothes as much as possible.
- I don't eat seafood. (See why.)
- I borrow books from the library instead of buying them.
- I make cleaning products from vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.
- I filter tap water and drink it from a BPA-free water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
- I turn off water when I'm not using it (such as when I'm brushing my teeth or shaving my legs).
- I turn off lights and fans in rooms I'm not using.
- I close the fridge door rather than leaving it open when making snacks or meals.
- I turn off the oven about 10 minutes before a recipe calls for. The heat will continue cooking the item until it's done.
- I collect rain water for watering our plants and the compost.
- I purchase recycled toilet paper.
- I limit paper towels and try to use cloth towels instead.
- I donate or re-sell all our used items rather than throwing anything away.
- I used BPA-free bottles for Bella rather than ones with disposable liners.
- I purchase carbon offsets when I buy travel or accomodations.

What I could do better:

- I don't buy locally grown meat and produce as often as I could or should. I plan to rectify this by shopping the Farmer's Market regularly and finding local sources for meat.
- I still eat more meat than I'd like. I would like to cut meat out of four meals each week.
- I sometimes take away plastic bags if I forgot mine and I'm in a rush, etc. However, I always recycle the bags I take.
- I don't eat organically. I can't afford to.
- I own two cars and a boat. That makes my carbon footprint much bigger than it should be. At least one is energy efficient and one only goes the 3 miles back and forth to Billy's work.
- I keep the tv on even when I'm not watching it. And the laptop is always running. I'm trying shut down the laptop when I'm not using it, though. So far, I've been doing well.

So! What are YOU doing to be more Earth-friendly? What do you suggest I add to my green lifestyle?

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Picture of the day: Bella's Self Portrait

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Community Garden: Night 1

I tried to use text-to-blog yesterday and this was what resulted: "Wt n???0? ??Att ?v?A?4 ???Aa? ?????? ???? ????v??o????????????? %??9H &???w?? ?? q DG?A??? j???? ??a?? ???e7}
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What I actually typed was this:

Why am I always the one without a spouse or partner at family-friendly stuff? It's bad enough to be the lone mom in a sea of parents and grandparents at gymnastics ... now I'm the lone mom at community garden. Le sigh.


It would've sucked to be one parent and one child at community garden except that all the big families pitched in to help us till, weed, and fill our planting beds. We have two beds that are 8'x4' each... and that would've been a lot of soil to haul, but two of the older dads took it upon themselves to help out everyone. Otherwise we would've been there all night!

Javi was uninterested when we got there, but they had a little "guess the tool" quiz that we were supposed to do as a team. He had a lot of fun with it and we came up with silly names for all the tools we didn't recognize. His favorite was "manure picker upper" and "manure digger." Can you spot the theme?

He also enjoyed working with the tools to get all the weeds out of our beds and then level out the soil. His favorite part, though, was using the garden rake to spread the compost/soil. He even directed a few of our soil deliveries to the areas he thought they should go. It was like watching little farmer Javi.

Of course, toward the end, the men were really annoyed by all the children around so I tried to keep Javi focused on stuff that would keep him out of the way. Which is sort of messed up. I mean, seriously? This is about teaching children and families to enjoy nature and learn where food comes from. So what letting them help takes longer. We're not on deadline here and you aren't a commercial farmer who needs to hurry up and get plants in the ground... So lighten up!

But other than that slight annoyance ... we are grateful for the help and created some fun memories. The whole way home, Javi went on and on about the grub worms he found, the other children, the manure tools, and what kind of gardening gloves he wants. So for Night 1, I call that Mission Accomplished.

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Lazy Sundays

Guess who brought home a Wii Bowling trophy last night? No, it's not me.... Billy! He won the trophy thanks to our friend Kevin's inability to knock down four whole pins. We had a great time though. Lots of crap talking, lots of rubbing it in, and lots of gut-busting laughter. Our next tournament will be Mario Kart. I think Billy's pretty confident that he'll win that one, too. His modesty is overwhelming.

Other good news: Bella spent the night with our friend Maxine and her husband Charles last night. It's the first time she's spent the night with someone who isn't my mom - and that was the first time going to Maxine and Charles' house. But she did remarkably well and loved being the center of attention.

Javi wound up staying, too, because our other arrangements for him fell through. He was a little over-sensitive about having to stay away from us for another night, but he got over it once he started playing with the neighbor kids. When we picked them up this afternoon around lunchtime, he was past ready to be home.

So now we're all just laying around enjoying this overcast, cool day. I'm actually looking forward to the week starting back because we'll be back to normal: No pressing deadlines, both kids in school, and no big projects coming up. It's so nice to have some breathing room!

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Their Way

We went to Broadway's "Our Way" festival this morning. The weather was beautiful, but the "festival" seemed to be a whole bunch of street vendors with some old timey cars on one end and a bouncy house on the other. I wasn't impressed ... and I didn't think to put sunscreen on the kids, so I was stressed the entire time about their sun exposure. We cut our visit short and left after about an hour.

Then it was back home for naps and getting ready for a Wii Bowling Tournament in Asheboro. Javi has been at his grandma's for the past few days, so he was really happy to finally be home. He's my little mama's boy ... and I've had to pry him off of me ever since we got to mom's today to get him for the festival. He wnats to hold my hand, lay across me, sit in my lap, ask me 800 questions, whisper in my ear, and never leave my side again.

It's so cute and pitiful that I can't be too annoyed. On the down side, we are planning to send him for a week of 4H sleep-away camp this summer. Now I'm not sure that he's ready. We might need to wait until next year. He's got a week of art camp (day only) and his standard Boys & Girls Club stuff. We may substitute 4H camp with two weeks of outdoor adventure camp (also day only)... We'll see.

Alright - off to practice my Wii swing!

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Javi is in love with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. So today when I was out being footloose and fancy free (lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, shopping at Michael's, Books A Million, and Sam's), I couldn't stop myself from picking up the three books he's missing from the series... even though they were hard cover and buying three books at once can be hard on the wallet.

I hope he is bowled over by the surprise. He's been wanting them for months. Of course, he'll probably tell me that he wishes they came to our house in a brown box delivered by the UPS guy like everything else we buy. But I'll get over it.

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My monkey

My monkey is getting bigger, slowly but surely!

At her doctor's appointment today she measured 24.5 pounds and 34.5 inches. I need to re-train myself to stop calling her a nugget and just refer to her as a girl. How crazy is that?

Also, her head is no longer 95th percentile. It's actually proportionate to her body for the first time in her life. However, I refuse to drop the affectionate nickname "Big Head Bella."


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Just set up mobile posts from my phone ... if it works, NaBloPoMo just got much easier!

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Usual night

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8 long years

I just realized I've been blogging somewhere on the 'Net since Javi was about 6 months old... which means 8 long years. How crazy is that? For fun, here's my very first blog post:

well hello there! this is my very first entry. i'd like to give a shout out to all those who helped me to get to where i am today. well, that can wait.

in the meantime, can i just say that it is the day after a holiday and no one showed up for work today except for me and the other new girl. yep, this is my first week on the job and i have nothing to do and if i did i wouldn't know how cause there's no one here to explain it!

you wanna know what i do? i'm a publications/graphics specialist for a company called InfoPro based in Maryland. i, however, work in North Carolina. i would tell you where i work, but that might be against the rules and it's easy to get fired around here. BIG BROTHER is always watching!

along with this new job comes all kinds of crazy stress and i'm always tired and my "boyfriend" though that's not his official title told me last night that he doesn't love me and i found out in the mail this morning that my health insurance isn't as extensive as it's supposed to be and my milk was sour so no honey nut cheerios this morning and my son was cranky so no good bye neck kisses and i'm exhausted and there's absolutely nothing to do at work.

Yes, I used no capitalization, had no life partner - much less a husband, and still worked in an office. I think this was my third day of work at said office. So productive!

I would link to my past blogs (there were four), but I doubt there's anyone who needs to know that much about me. :)

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The Little Vampire

Javi has a new favorite movie. And it's so not good ... especially now that we've seen it 8 million times.

The Little Vampire stars that big headed kid from Jerry Macguire as well as a cast of D-list actors. But my child thinks it's chock-full of wonderful acting and has watched it so much he can say the dialogue along with the movie.

But there have been other little nuggets of fun. Like when he came downstairs this morning and very somberly told me "I just awoke from my coffin."

Maybe I should've kept my mouth shut when he had George of the Jungle or Ghost Rider or Space Balls on repeat!

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My babies' daddy

I'm trying really hard not to cry too much after watching today's Oprah on DVR. But dude. DUUUUUUUDE!

I just wanted to pop in to say that I had a craptastic father, but I am so proud of the father I gave my children. He may be a pain the tushie some days, but he loves those two children with everything he has.

I look forward to the day when they're all grown up and they watch a stupid daytime talk show and they cry because those awesome dads remind them of their dad rather than because those awesome dads remind them yet again of what they never had.

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Egg Yeah!

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My Budding Entrepreneur

Ever since I suggested that Javi make and sell baked goods and lemonade at a yard sale a few years back, he has been focused on finding new and easy ways to make money. Usually he tries to sell off things he no longer wants, but now he's teamed up with two neighborhood kids to really make some cash.

They have a sweet business plan. Javi and his friends Jamison and Kendall are now selling bags of candy, which they market under the title "Bags O Candy - Yum Yum!" Jamison and Kendall fronted the start up goods by spending $12 on candy. Then they all sat down and bagged up the candy into small ziplocs and wrote the new name on the baggies. They made a little stand and stood outside selling their wares to folks passing by.

The profit? I'm not sure what they made total, but Javi's cut was $6. He is so proud of himself! They plan to sell again this coming weekend and want to add drinks to their empire. Also, they've all come into free candy thanks that friendly Easter bunny, so they'll be making pure profit this weekend.

One part of me wants to make him stop because I know he's taking advantage of the younger neighborhood kids, as well as those who aren't as smart/quick as he is. For instance, he sold 3 baggies ($1 each) to an older boy in our cul-de-sac who just doesn't know any better. That was probably part of his lunch money.

But the other part of me is proud of those little guys for thinking up such a no-fail scheme. There will always be children willing to beg a dollar off their parents for candy. Just look at the success of the ice cream truck! And the product name ("Bag O Candy - Yum Yum!") is so clear and unmistakable. I think Javi will easily bring home another $6 this weekend.

I've been thinking about making him do a little summer business to keep him busy once school is out. Many of our neighbors have dogs, so I thought he could do some poop scooping or dog walking for a few bucks a week. Then he'd have his own spending money and would get out of the house for a while. His new business definitely leads me to believe he's ready for the increased responsibility - and the boy now has a taste for money!

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Happy Easter!

Despite a still-high fever and a morning puke session, Bella had a fantastic third Easter. And Javi was the perfect big brother/gentleman with her.

Not only did he let her lay in his lap this morning before he remembered the Easter Bunny might've come, but he also allowed her free reign over his basket goodies. He may be a typical PITA eight-year-old boy most of the time, but he's also one of the sweetest little boys with a huge heart who really means well.

This was the first year I bought pre-made Easter baskets rather than piecing the baskets together - but I had to do it when I was at Sam's a few weeks back and saw not only a basketball-themed basket, but also a monkey-themed one. Hello, fate! In normal fashion, Bella was completely uninterested in her basket but fought with Javi for his all morning. And, of course, she won.

After they got tired of playing with the Easter goodies and taking naps, Grandma came over and helped me hide eggs for them. I thought I had 40 eggs, but then I sat down to stuff and count them. The total tally? 105 eggs ... for two kids! I figured it was overkill but I went with it anyway. I used the M&Ms and Skittles from their Easter baskets to stuff the plastic eggs, then added pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters to the ones that were left. I put a whole dollar in one, too.

The egg hunt lasted about 20 minutes and we never recovered 3 eggs, but the kids enjoyed it. I think Bella was just happy to be outside after being sick and cooped up all weekend. Javi was just ready to get back inside to count up his loot. He found the $1 egg as well as many of the other coin eggs. After taking Bella's change, he made $5 off the hunt and has a modest bowl of candy to snack on this week. The rest of the candy from their baskets is going to work with Billy tomorrow!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter. It's back to work tomorrow!

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Dying eggs

Easter is tomorrow so we spent our family time tonight letting our creative juices flow as we dyed Easter eggs. I have probably 30 plastic eggs that I plan to fill with pennies, nickels, and dimes for the kids to find tomorrow but we'll also hide our decorated eggs - which are Javi's favorites to find.

Bella dyed one egg, but then she realized she had a sucker so she stopped caring about those silly bowls of funky smelling color. :)

Even Daddy got in on the act. His egg was the prettiest of the bunch!

Javi loved using the hair dryer to shrink the egg wrappers.

I think if it were up to him, we would've used egg wrappers on all of the eggs. Instead, I'll be putting stickers on them after they've dried all the way. Grandma, Nana, and Poppie are coming over tomorrow to watch the kids find their eggs, so we have some time to get them ready.

I hope the Easter bunny is good to everyone!

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Poor baby

Seems like Bella's little immune system keeps taking heavy hits. I know it's because of daycare, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Yesterday she woke up with a 101 degree fever and we got it down to 100 but she stayed lethargic and sensitive all day. Today was the same. Luckily, my handsome husband took pity on me and got up with her when she woke up at 5:30 am for the day.

This was last night before Javi got jealous that we were fawning over her and decided to wake her up ... which she wasn't happy about it. I guess the "big brother" in him came out and he had to do a little torturing.

She survived, so it's all good. :)

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Need pockets?

Why? Why does my child insist on doing this? Pants aren't a deterrent, either. She'll force her hand down the back of her diaper no matter what she's wearing unless we put her in a onesie.

Luckily, she's never done it with a nasty diaper ... and she seems to like just sticking her hands down there to keep them warm or something ... but the odds are against us!

Any suggestions for putting it to a stop?

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My guys

They don't get enough attention here. So without further ado, here are my guys:

They clean up good!

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Toddler Word Play

Turning two must have switched on the language center of Bella's brain because she has become a chatty cathy almost overnight. For fun -- and to remember her little first words -- I thought I'd list out what she's saying (and singing) these days.


  • Social words: done, more, no, my, please, hi, bye bye, night night, thank you, oh man, oh boy, uh oh, oh no, ready
  • Prepositions and pronouns: in, off, on, up, down, right there, where, aboard, here, my, that, this, you, who
  • Animals: monkey, bee, bird, bug, kitty cat, dog, puppy, chicken, duck, fish, frog, horse, pig, goat, cow, llama, elephant, snake
  • Vehicles: bicycle, wagon, boat, bus, car, truck, motorcycle, airplane, choo choo, train, big truck
  • Food: apple, banana, burger, cake, candy, carrot, cereal, cheese, coke, cookie, cracker, egg, hot dog, fries, grapes, green beans, ice cream, mango, orange, pizza, peach, peanut, peanut butter, pepper, popcorn, potato, raisin, sandwich, strawberry, waffle, yogurt
  • Drink: milk, chocolate milk, juice, water, ice, Coke
  • Clothing: shirt, pants, diaper, socks, hairbow, coat, jacket, shoes, hat, hood, jammies, scarf
  • Body parts: nose, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, face, hair, belly, button, arm, leg, elbow, wrist, feet, finger, hand, knee, lips, shoulder, toes, tummy, china (our word for vagina)
  • Toys: barn, ball, balloon, blocks, book, bubbles, game, baby, toy, kitchen, pot, spoon, food, pencil, crayon, color
  • Characters: Blues Clues, Elmo, Diego, Dora, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, Pooh, Eyeore, Darby, Tigger, Piglet, George, Tasha, Pablo, Tyrone, Austin, Uniqua (at least, she tries), Mario (yes, we play a lot of Wii)
  • Household: bath, bed, blanket, brush, cup, dish, door, fork, spoon, plate, bowl, trash, glass, key, light, movie, picture, pillow, pillow case, potty, soap, table, telephone, toothbrush, window, straw
  • Outside: play, playground, snow, moon, rock, rain, school, slide, swing, stick, star, tree, wind, wood
  • People: mama, daddy, brother (bruddah), Javi, grandma, nana, poppie, girl, boy, Bella, man, you
  • Actions: bad, bite, breakfast, climb, cook, drink, eat, fall, fell, go, help, hide, hit, hug, hurt, jump, kick, kiss, look, love, nap, put, see, sing, sit, sleep, walk, wash, watch
  • Colors, numbers, letters: red, blue, black, orange, green, pink, white, purple, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and most of the ABCs
  • Qualities: all, big, booboo, clean, cold, cute, dark, dirty, happy, hot, old, ouch, pretty, stuck, wet, yucky


  • Happy Birthday (on heavy rotation these days)
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Wonder Pets theme (What's gonna work? Teamwork!)
  • Hot Dog! (Mickey Mouse)
  • Rock-a-bye Baby
  • Party In My Tummy (Yo Gabba Gabba)
  • Hot Potato (Wiggles)
  • Please and Thank You (Backyardigans)
  • Elmo's World
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider (along with hand motions)
  • Monkeys Jumping On The Bed (along with hand motions)
  • Where is Thumbkin? (along with hand motions)

Grand total: 280+ words and 13 songs. And we were worried about her language development!

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Music to make you happy

To stave off some of the sadness surrounding today, I've decided to list out the playlist I made for Bella's birthday. Originally I was going to burn the playlist to CDs for all the guests, but first my burner wouldn't work and then I realized the CDs were too big for the grab bags.

Without further ado, here are songs to make you (and your toddler) happy:

1. The Hoppity Song - John Ondrasik
2. Monkey song - The Giggles and Wiggles
3. Rhyming Circus - Ralph’s World
4. Wonder Pets!
5. Hot Potato - The Wiggles
6. Dora The Explorer Party Mix
7. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - They Might Be Giants
8. Party In My Tummy - Yo Gabba Gabba
9. I like to dance - Yo Gabba Gabba
10. Blue’s Clues theme song
11. Elmo’s song
12. Edward the Tap Dancing Elephant - Ralph’s World
13. I Like To Move It - The Party Cats
14. Pollywog In A Bog - Barenaked Ladies
15. Istanbul (not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants
16. Buddy boogie - Blues Clues
17. Bumblebee (buzz buzz) - The Laurie Berkner Band
18. Go, go, go - The Backyardigans
19. Pirate girls nine - They Might Be Giants
20. High five - They Might Be Giants
21. Raisins - Barenaked Ladies
22. Clap your hands - They Might Be Giants
23. Mahna mahna - Cake

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Saying goodbye

We're sad today. Bobby, Billy's stepfather's stepfather, was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning because he tore the lining in his stomach. He was having sharp pains when he first arrived, but after they laid him back in the bed, the lining tore further and they rused him into emergency surgery.

During the operation, the surgeons discovered that Bobby's liver is covered in cancer. They repaired his stomach and bowels, and informed the family (Billy's parents and Bobby's sisters) that they would give him time for his stomach to heal before tackling the liver cancer. However, they warned everyone that the cancer was so far advanced, the only real treatment is a transplant ... and Bobby isn't a viable candidate.

So we all prayed that his stomach would heal quickly and that Bobby would be strong enough to at least try chemo. Unfortunately, today his organs began shutting down. His kidneys aren't functioning and he's only breathing through life support. Billy went to the hospital earlier today and plans to be there for a little while longer to say his goodbyes as the doctors don't expect Bobby to make it through the night.

Bobby isn't biologically related to us, but he's been a great friend and "grandfather" to both us and our children. I think it's fascinating that Bobby stepped in to raise Phillip (Billy's stepfather) when Phillip was around 2 years old. Then Phillip stepped into the role of father figure when he married Billy's mom. Now Billy has stepped into the role of Daddy for Javi. Three generations of men who -- for all their faults -- loved the young people in their lives unconditionally.

He is a good man. Quiet and gruff, yet really witty when he decided to speak and always ready to help us if we needed it. He will be sorely missed.

Update: Bobby passed away around 4 am on Tuesday morning. May he rest peacefully with Iva, the love of his life.

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Easter Egg Hunt

Bella and Javi attended the Central Carolina Jaycees' 2nd annual Easter Egg Hunt today (an event that I planned - so exhausting!). We're all hot from the weather, and yellow from the pollen. After we got home, everyone fell out for long naps. I think we'll need a while to recover!

Unfortunately, my camera was being used for "Easter Puppy" pictures and no one I know took pictures of Javi's age group's hunt. But Billy and I plan to hold a mini egg hunt for the kids on Easter morning, so there will be pictures of my big kid. I love small-scale events like that now that my life is signed away to the Jaycees! :)

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Blowing Out Her Candle

Blowing out candles is anticlimactic when you've already filled up on stolen icing.

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Stealing Cake

Bella used her new utensils for her kitchen to steal icing from her Elmo cupcake cake. Clever!

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Afternoon Birthday Party

I took a dozen cupcakes and a tub of vanilla dibs to Bella's school this afternoon to celebrate her birthday with "the kids."

She loved her birthday treats so much that after she plowed through hers, she took advantage of Joey's unobservant self to slide his bowl over and plow through the rest of his dibs, too.

After she finished with her cupcake, she topped off with a hunk of cheddar cheese. I know, I don't understand it either. Then it was off for her new favorite activity: swinging in the big kid swing!

So far, I think she's loving this birthday thing. Here she is hamming it up as her little classmates sing Happy Birthday. I think being the only girl in a room full of boys is going to her head. ;)

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Good Morning Birthday Girl

I hope she has a fantastic birthday. We're doing cupcakes at 2 pm. She was very excited about her "budday."

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Happy Birthday Monkey!

At this exact time in 2007, I met my amazingly wonderful little girl for the first time. Our midwife, laid her on my chest and she just stared at me. When the nurses took her to clean her up, she didn't cry, she just observed everything quietly while sucking her little fist.

From those first quiet moments until today, she's barreled forth into the world without looking back. Her peaceful demeanor gave way to a little tornado of activity and sound. Our lives have been forever changed.

Happy birthday Isabella Emory!

April 3, 2007: 7 pounds 6 ounces, 20.5 inches

April 3, 2008: 20 pounds 2 ounces, 28 inches

April 3, 2009: 23 pounds 5 ounces, 31 inches

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The Last Night

We just put Bella to bed... and I teared up just a tiny bit because it hit me that this is the last time I'll tuck in a 1 year old. The last time I'll pull the string on her musical butterfly. The last time I'll kiss her warm little forehead before she'll turn 2.

And that will happen exactly at 5:56 am the clock will chime and my sweet baby will be a two year old - with all the demands and wishes of a two year old. Including to stay up just a little longer. We gave in tonight and let her ride on Daddy's back before going upstairs.

When I told her it was time to go night-night, she clamped her sweaty palm around my index finger, leaned into Daddy for a hug, and then led me upstairs. I laid her in the bed, tucked Elmo into her arm, pulled the covers up around her, and said "Night, night monkey." I turned to walk away but she sat straight up and said "Heese, Mama!!"

You know I pivoted right around and kissed that baby. What was I thinking? She then flounced back on the bed, snuggled her Elmo, and turned over to sleep. My sweet girl.

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Just hangin' out on the wall

Bella is such a little sponge these days.

A couple days ago, Billy decided to take her and Javi to the park for an hour or so while I finished up some work and made dinner. Javi stood against the wall waiting for everyone be ready ... but then Bella trotted herself over and put her back against the wall -- staring up at Javi the whole time.

So I told Javi to put his leg up. Bellabee tried to copy him, but her coordination was off. So little genius that she is, she turned around and plopped her foot right up. So cute! You can even tell how proud of herself she is for thinking of it.

These little moments make all the stress of parenthood worth it.

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Growing (Up) - NaBloPoMo

I've decided to comemorate Bella's 2nd birthday by participating in NaBloPoMo again this month. Hopefully I'll manage to stick with it and blog every day.

The theme for April is Growing (Up). The prompt reads, "The theme for April is GROWING (UP). Because NaBlo is all about th abuse of parentheses, as well as asking you to write about the things you grow and the experiences in your life that encourage (or, let's face it, force) you grow up."

I have many topics apropo to the prompt, including:
  • Bella's birthday (duh)
  • Javi in 4H
  • Landscaping our front yard
  • Community garden
  • Spring (!!!)
  • My compost pile
  • Billy's new healthy leaf
See? I shouldn't have a reason to skip my blogging responsbilities. Or so it seems today. :)

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