Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just...a little...further....

IMG_8447, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Ethan couldn't quite reach the drinking fountain!

Lake Michigan 3

IMG_8446, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Norah loved the feel of the sand in her toes!

Lake Michigan 2

IMG_8440, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Francesca took this topsy-turvy photo of Ethan playing in the sand. Note the seagull (Norah called them eagles until corrected) waiting patiently nearby for a handout.

Lake Michigan

IMG_8431, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Francesca and I took Norah and Ethan to Lake Michigan last week. It was Norah's first time at the big lake (the Big Yake, as she calls it!), and she had a blast! The waves were a little rough, so she was a little apprehensive about swimming in the lake, but she let me take her in eventually.

If you didn't know, Lake Michigan's shoreline has the most beautiful sand--perfect for walking and building sand castles. Norah and Ethan both loved playing in the sand. We had a hard time getting them to pack up to go home, that's for sure!

The oldest bridge

IMG_8412, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Nonna and Jeri took Norah to Michigan for 2 whole weeks! Norah had so much fun playing with cousins, friends, and grandparents! James and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. I think 3 year old's are much more work than infants!

Every night, Nonna and Jeri go downtown to walk the River Walk along the Grand River. At one point, you have to cross the 6th Street Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Grand Rapids. Norah loves walking across the oldest bridge--the walkway is all wooden. Luke liked the bumpy ride, too!

Beautiful City

IMG_8409, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Chicago has always been one of my favorite American cities, and here's why: a beautiful skyline built on the shores of a beautiful lake.

Former Sears Tower

IMG_8401, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Luke and I went on an architectural boat tour one morning. The guide kept referring to the Sears Tower as the "Former Sears Tower" instead of its new name: "The Willis Tower." I guess it was her way of sticking it to the Willis Group for stealing the Sears tower from Sears.

The tour was really fun, and it was neat to get out onto the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan. Luke loved the cool breezes on the lake, but otherwise, he slept the whole time!


IMG_8392, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Here I am in front of the Tribune building. We spent about half an hour just walking around it to see all the cool places they had represented in the walls.


IMG_8394, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

James had a conference in Chicago so Luke and I joined him there. In the evenings, we were able to walk around downtown Chicago (Magnificent Mile) with James. Here's James in front of the Tribune building, which has pieces of buildings and monuments from around the world built into its walls. There were pieces of the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Temple wall in Jerusalem, and so many more. It was really cool.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Backpack = hands free holding!

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Sometimes Luke just wants to be held. It is hard to get anything done when he is in that mood, so we strap him into this backpack, and he usually falls asleep. Here's James on his lunch break relaxin' with Luke.

The tiny pool

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Norah has a tiny kiddie pool that I fill up on hot days. Uncle Adam was kind enough to play with Norah while she splashed around in the pool.

Norah loved visiting with both Adam and Cassie. It took her a while to warm up to Adam, but once she did, they had a lot of fun!

4th of July

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Cassie took some more photos of Norah and Luke on the 4th of July. Again, Luke fell asleep for the photo!

Photo Shoot 3

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Now he's dreaming of something not-so-nice!

Photo Shoot 2

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Cassie really has a way with a camera. It seems our photos never turn out this well!

Thanks, Cassie!

Photo Shoot 1

Early July, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Adam and Cassie came to visit us in early July, and it was great to see them! Cassie is a skilled photographer, and she and I took Luke out for a photo shoot one afternoon. The minute we got outside, he fell asleep, so in all the photos, his eyes are closed!

Here he is dreaming of something wonderful, hence the smile!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things never to say to a 3-year-old

Warning: This post will make reference to (actually, it's 100% about) pee and poo. I figure that most people who read this blog are parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, so reference to pee and poo are no big deal. In fact, if you are parents of an infant or small child, you might find yourself and your spouse talking and thinking about pee and poo much more than you ever thought possible or within the realm of sanity. But, for the sake of our other readers (I have NO idea who else might read this blog!) who might be offended or disgusted by the reference to pee and poo, we apologize in advance.

Things never to say to a 3-year-old
We have been having some fun times here at the Hemsley house regarding potty training. Potty training for pee was really no problem, once she was motivated. We used a sticker chart, and I would say within about 2 weeks, she had it down! She doesn't even wet herself at night anymore!

Ah, but the poo...that is SUCH a different (and LONG) story. It involves Norah's stubbornness, 5-day marathons of not pooping, suppositories(!), emotional distress (mostly on my part--I hate thinking about Norah not pooping), pooping in underwear (and then screaming about it!) and more. But that is not the story I want to tell today.

We have almost got the pooing on the potty thing down. Yesterday, we were playing a game, and she said, hurriedly, "I have to go poo, I'll be right back!" and she ran off to the potty. Then, she shouted from the bathroom, "I'm doing both! [pee and poo]" I said, "Good, call me when you are done!" Then, she got desperate, and needed help pulling her shorts down (they were a little tight), so I ran in there and helped her. She decided to use her small potty. So, when I left the room, she was on the small potty. About 20 seconds later, she called me and said, "I'm all done!" So, I returned and there she was perched on the BIG potty. There was pee in the small potty and poo in the big potty! I looked past this oddity, and praised her for doing poo in the potty, and she started her normal finagling for rewards. ("I get to watch a movie now, because I am a big girl, and I did poo on the potty!") I wiped her, and said, "Do you want to flush?" I knew she would, so I let her go at it, and then I realized that the pee was still in the little potty. There were two reasonable things I could have done at this point: I could have ignored it, and just poured it into the toilet after she left, or, I could have picked it up myself and poured it into the toilet as it was flushing, but no, I didn't do either of those things. I said something you should never say to a 3-year-old: "Quick! We forgot the pee! Pick it up and pour it into the toilet before it flushes!"

She twisted around, scooped up the potty with one hand, twisted back around, and poured it into the toilet. It was like the world was suddenly in slow-motion. I couldn't stop her from doing this; all I could do was watch in horror as the pee swirled ever-so-precariously close to the edge of her potty! But, by some miracle of physics, she didn't spill a drop of it! The toilet flushed, the pee and the poo went bye bye, my blood pressure returned to normal, and Norah and I returned to our game.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pulling out all the stops

Here's another story, which I will write down for you, but really it is so James and I can remember all the funny things Norah did when we are old and our memories begin to fail us (wait, that is happening to me NOW....).

The past few nights, Norah has been resisting bedtime because she sees that James and I and Luke are still downstairs, and she is upstairs all by herself. So, the other night, she really put up a fight--no holds barred--and it was quite a show.

We watched "The Little Mermaid" and then it was bedtime. So, I brought her upstairs, we brushed teeth, read a (short) book, I tucked her in, put her music on, and said, "Good Night." She said, "What are you going to do now?" and I said, "Oh, I have to clean up some of your toys, do the dishes, and relax a little before bed." (I try not to say: "I am going to watch some good shows on TV" because then she will REALLY give me a hard time). That wasn't good enough (she wanted me, James, and Luke to be going to bed too). So, as I went downstairs, she started whining and crying. I ignored it, and she just didn't give up. She got louder, and louder, and louder. Then, when her cries were met with silence, she moved to the top of the stairs so we could hear her better, and she cried LOUDER. Then, she tried another tactic: "Mommy! I have to do peepee on the potty!" So, James went up and waited while she "tried," then put her back in bed. She started crying again. Then, she said, "Mommy! I am scared of the big mean birds" and I went up and talked to her about being scared, and how she can say a prayer to keep her safe, etc. By now, about 40 minutes had gone by, and James and I had been able to hear about 5 minutes of our show. Finally, it was quiet.

Then, this: "Mommy! I need shbfh sghais flald...." "What, Norah? I didn't hear you?" "I need shgkjdhf skjhg...." "What? Can you talk louder? I didn't hear what you need..." I said I need shkayr agkjhkh..." We realized what she was doing: she was just making something up so we would go up there. She resorted back to crying (loudly) so we would just give in and go up there. While she was crying, James gave her a taste of her own medicine. He said, "Norah, sklfjakjh akjhfkjhda akjfhdgah." She stopped crying, as if listening. Then she started crying again, and James said, "Norah, lkajdjhgakh akjdhfh akjghfd." She stopped, listening intently, and then said, "Yes," and went to bed.

We didn't hear another peep.

A wish

Norah was having a rough morning today. She was in her pj's and her princess dress and we needed to get going, so I said, "Let's do you hair and get ready to go; please take off the princess dress." Norah responded, "No! Hair first, then I take off the dress!" I didn't want to do it that way, because then her hair would get all messed up before we even left the house, so I repeated my request, and was met by an even more defiant "No!" I gave my typical warning, which she ignored, and then sentenced her to 3 minutes of naughty time on the step. After 3 minutes, I asked her to come take off the dress, and she did so, wailing loudly so I would know how upset she was. As I was doing her hair, I heard her whisper to herself longingly and with a hint of sadness: "I just WISH I was a princess!"

Of course, I can see why she would want to be a princess: no one telling you what to do all day, the pretty dresses and crowns, etc. I think Norah is beginning to have the typical American view: The grass is always greener on the other side!