How Old is Hallie?

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

How Old is Lea?

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lea the Ham

Lea gives us this look (which is a sort of a cross between a smile and a smirk) about two hundred times a day.  She'll do something cute (or naughty), see if we are watching, then meet our eyes and smirk, and do it again, and again, and again.

Lea can definitely be a handful, but boy is she cute!

Clearly, next year we need to find a ham costume for this kid!  (Thanks, Nadia, for the great idea).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Halloween Pictures

This year, Hallie is all about holidays.  She's aware of the structure of the calendar for the first time (they are studying the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons, and their respective holidays in her pre-K class at preschool this year and Hallie appears to be following along with the lessons quite nicely).  Hallie loves costumes almost as much as she loves chocolate (plain, nothing mixed into it, please!), so Halloween, the first real holiday of the fall term, is naturally quite attractive to her.  And I cannot help but think that somehow she knows that this was the first holiday that she spent with us at home after being sprung from the NICU on October 10th.

Four years ago, Hallie went as a baby dragon:


We chose this costume because Hallie sounded an awful lot like a dragon when she made noise (which was not terribly often, truth be told.  Little did we know that this was one very good indication that her vocal cord was paralyzed).  Not to mention the fact that the costume, which was essentially a little green and purple robe into which we bundled Hallie, was easily compatible with the tubing that went with Hallie's oxygen canister. 

Needless to say, Hallie did not trick-or-treat at all that first year.  She hung out and napped in her stroller while I distributed candy to other kids.  That was activity enough for our not-quite-one-month-adjusted micropreemie who weighed in at about seven pounds, soaking wet.

Four years later, Hallie still loves dragons.  But she didn't want to be one for Halloween.  Instead, like a lot of girls her age, her choice was Tinkerbell.   Hallie had been looking forward to this event for weeks and somehow we managed to keep her dress clean (there was a last minute run in with some chocolate ice cream that fortunately ended well) and her light-up wings from getting bent out of shape.  

Here are a couple of shots of her at the annual school Halloween parade (which, sadly, I had to miss this year since I was teaching on the freakishly warm--with highs in the mid to upper 70s--Thursday afternoon on which it was held):


Here's a shot of Hallie with some of her school mates:

It was a bit harder to figure out what Lea wanted to be for Halloween.  At least in part this was related to the fact that Lea does not really enjoy donning costumes.  She grooves on trying on other people's shoes and she can get into wearing hats.  She's even eager to dress herself in whatever laundry (clean or dirty) might be awaiting transport down to the washer or up to the bedroom for folding and stashing away.  But costumes are not her thing. 

We did buy her two, and she did end up wearing both.  The first--a fairy butterfly outfit--was more suited to warm conditions, but did not make Lea very happy at all.  This was the best shot of her that we got:

Much more representative of Lea's response to the entire event are these pictures:

Lea was no more thrilled to wear the second costume which we bought her, which was more appropriate to the very cold weather that we had on Halloween proper.

Here's Lea not enjoying being the Cat in the Hat:

Hallie, in contrast, really enjoyed posing with her cousins, Red Devil Hannah and Adam ("Anakin") Skywalker in advance of heading out to collect candy:

Lea perked up a bit when she realized that we'd be heading to the development down the road from where the cousins live in Lea's trusty Radio Flyer wagon:

She also became markedly more enthusiastic when she realized that trick-or-treating involved being given vast quantities of chocolate, of which she is very fond.

Here's a picture of Lea in cousin Sarah's arms.  We are pretty certain that she got extra loot for being so cute:

By the end of the evening though, it had gotten seriously cold, and Hallie was shivering in spite of the fact that she was wearing leggings on top of tights and a long sleeve shirt underneath her costume.  She took refuge under the blanket that we had brought with us (on the urging of Aunt Laura, who was smart enough to realize to know how cold it was going to get once the sun went down) and all you could see of her were her light up wings:

The kids were completely tuckered out on the drive home (though they each demanded and ate a bit of their chocolate).   And they're still eating their way through their stash (and will be for a while).

Well, at least it's still not quite Thanksgiving, so perhaps I can be forgiven for posting these pics so belatedly!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(This post was begun on October 27th and not finished until November 10th.  I think that this says a lot about our lives right now!)

There are so many cute things that Lea says and does, and we don't want to forget any of them.  (What we do want to forget is the fact that she slept not at all last night, and instead kept popping her eyes open, calling out for one or another of us, and wreaked havoc with our already-fragile circadian rhythms.  But that is a [sob] story for some other time).

Anyway, Lea has been super cute lately.  Her vocabulary is phenomenal and she is speaking in complex sentences [most of them four to six words in length; she also follows multi-part directions really well.  At least when she wants to ;-)].

She is a huge tease.  When I come in to wake up Hallie in the morning, I often use Lea as my alarm clock.  I'll say to Lea, "Lea, tickle Hallie!"  And Lea will sidle over to Hallie (or leap frog over Sharon to get to Hallie) and start ticking her and will say "tickle tickle."  She'll do the same thing to Sharon and Zen (who, being a cat, is mostly perplexed by this creature that used to be his size and now can take him down in a wrestling match).

But Lea enjoys being teased as much as she loves teasing. Her latest shtick is to encourage me to smooch or tickle her. She'll offer me her neck and exclaim "moochie on the NE--CK". The second I start smooching her, she'll giggle and yell:  "Hey, stop it!"  If I stop bugging her, she'll present her neck or belly to me, and ask for tickling, and then once more yell "Hey, stop it!"  And if, ultimately, I comply with her request and cease and desist once and for all, she will start tickling herself and yell, "Hey, stop it!"  She is a very odd creature.

I don't have a picture of Lea smooching us, but I do have one of her smooching the Mama Bear at Three Bears Park, which is often where I take her after school on Fridays:

The other thing she's doing these days is letting us know that she's pooped by saying (logically enough): "I POOPED". She'll then lay herself down on her changing pad, sometimes after grabbing a diaper, and present herself for a change.

Once I open up her diaper, she'll look up at me and say, "P-U, I stink!" I asked one of her teachers, Miss R., whether she ever does this at school, but she never does. So I guess it's a cuteness she reserves for us.

Speaking of school, Sharon just met with Miss R. for parent/teacher conferences. Apparently, Lea is the most verbal kid in her class and is someone who is trying to get all the other kids to talk (with some success). She's consistently using two -to-three word sentences and her goal for the next few months is to begin using three-to-four word ones. [To put this into some perspective: this was Hallie's goal last year (when she was three turning four). So it startled us a bit that this would be a goal for a kid who was not yet two.]

Lea also initiates play with her peers and adults and is more social than her mates. That's another way in which she is decidedly un-Hallie like.

But our two girls are very similar in a lot of important ways:

•Both love music and both know the words to more songs that I can believe. Both like to sing and hum all day long and are very enamored of learning the proper choreography/hand motions to the songs that they sing.

•Both are really into letters and numbers and were early alphabet-reciters and counters. We have no idea whether Lea can recognize letters yet (Hallie could at 20 months corrected) and we don't really care. We know that they both love words and books and that this will translate on its own into loving reading (this is something that Hallie already is working on).

•Both of the girls are really into art these days.  Lea has taken the lead on this one:  she's always loved coloring with crayons and markers (and happily doesn't mind if these markers are the Color Wonder variety).  But lately Hallie is into real coloring, too.  I suspect that she is finding it easier to hold her crayons and markers and not nearly as painful to draw as it used to be.

Lea does have a bit of a disadvantage in terms of height, though.  This has not stopped her.  She devised a workaround:

Lea figured out that, if you move the puzzle cube out just a bit, you can create the most delightful step stool.  And if you get bored with your artwork, you can always dump those puzzle pieces all over the floor.

•Both kids are into jumping, a lot.  Lea has long been a bit jealous of Hallie because her older sister can actually clear the floor.  So Lea has been working on skill-building.  She can now clear the floor and jump in place a bit.  But that's not good enough for her; it's much more fun to jump off of something.  Here she's working on jumping off of the aforementioned Three Bear statue:

•Both are chronically cute. Incurably so, really.

To prove the point, I promise to (eventually) upload some Hallowe'en pictures to the blog and to do so before Thanksgiving!