Friday, December 11, 2009

Doing the Funky Chicken?

Steve told Gretchen to dance last weekend and she started moving her thumbs and making cute little poses.  I have seen her dance before but it was more of a bounce or shuffle.  This time is was a full on Elaine (from Seinfeld)....  Still the pictures were pretty cute...

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Child's Anguish

Sounds dramatic I know but we lost a cat this weekend (my dear little Pepa) to illness and old age.  While Steve and I knew she was not well, we didn't know how long she had left.  We found her Sunday morning on the bottom of the stairs.  Gretchen was so upset - she just wailed and wailed.  Her mind kept jumping around - first she thought we should get a new cat then she decided she didn't want a new cat.  After about an hour, she calmed down.  Periodically through the day she would tell us she missed Pepa.  We told her we did too. 

Friday, August 21, 2009

All Grown Up!

Today is Gretchen's last day at her current daycare.  On Monday she starts a different place that has a preschool curriculum.  We hate leaving but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  Gretchen loves her current teacher so I think the transition might be hard but she would have moved to a new room next week regardless of what school or daycare we're going to.  I was always worried that I would envy the people who my child bonded with at daycare but instead I'm relieved.  I feel good that there is someone at school that she trusts and cherishes (and I'm not overdoing it when I say cherish....  she loves her teacher).  We met the new teachers a few weeks ago and one of them said something that I can really relate to...  She said kids want to please their teachers...almost even more than there parents so they are in a very meaningful position to teach respect, discipline, kindness, etc. to our young ones.  I just hope every year we get someone who understand this and takes it seriously and respectfully.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's the little things

Gretchen never ceases to amaze me.... It truly is the little things in life for a four year old! Even though we had a busy weekend with birthday parties, parades, carnivals and swimming, Gretchen was the most happy about two things. Lenore, her grandmother, bought her an accordion which she loved the moment we handed it to her. She played it on and off all weekend. Then last night, I gave her a Scooby Doo nightgown to wear that Steve's sister made from a t-shirt. She told me she wanted to wear it every night! When Steve came in to say goodnight, she yelled "look what Auntie Sharon made me!" I can't predict it but boy when it happens, she is like a light bulb shining bright!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Camping Trip

I already blogged about the camping trip we just took this week but I didn't mention my little Gretchen much. The truth is, she was pretty good - a little ornery but nothing you wouldn't expect from a 4 year old who is battling for attention with two baby brothers. I thought she might freak out in the tent about bugs or critters at least in the dark but she was pretty tired most of the time. While she has a big imagination it did not take her down that scary road that sleeping in the outdoors might lead (to my relief). Steve's sister brought bandannas for all of us so we were "camp girls" as Gretchen liked to say. While I think she was bored some of the time at the camp site (we spent the first evening getting camp set up), she did amuse herself and us with songs. She found a big flat rock near our site that she called a stage which she stood on and sang at the top of her lungs. I'm sure everyone else enjoyed it! (maybe?) Steve wanted to take the girls fishing but with two babies with us we were lucky to get in a hike. There is always next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Little Kids Party

Gretchen had a nice kids party on July 11th. The theme was bugs so that the little boys in her class would be interested too. Almost all of the kids were shy coming into the party, gripping their parents' hands or legs but after awhile they warmed up. We had pizza, fruit salad and cake which was enjoyed by all. The kids did a craft where they painted a flower pot and then they colored butterflies. After that, the kids ate and sat for a rendition of the Hungry Caterpillar. Finally, they did a few games: one was find the bugs in the grass and the other was pin the bug on the flower. We ate cake and everyone went home. It was a quick and chaotic one and a half but I think the kids enjoyed themselves. Corralling Gretchen was difficult so I went to each child and passed out their goody bags. I love the big eyes widening as they realize you are giving them something (at least while it's innocent!). This weekend is the boys birthday party at home. We're not doing a "theme" or anything but I hope the weather is warm for swimming! Pictures of Chuck E Cheese and the bug party are posted here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

She's 4 today

Our little girl is four years old. I can hardly believe it.... Where did the time go? It took all year to train her fingers to show three and now she's gotta learn 4 (it should be easier). For her birthday, we got snacks for her class at school. Tonight we're going to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate her birthday and then Saturday she's having a kids party at the park district (the theme is "bug party"). Since we're a party at the house for the boys, I wanted her to feel special today for her birthday.... I think she will!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

A few weeks ago I took Gretchen to Six Flags' water park since we had not yet seen it. I have to say I was impressed. As a kid, water parks were one of my favorite things to do. My mother was a sun worshiper so we visited water parks in WI, FL, etc. or wherever we were on vacation. So... as water parks go, I think Six Flags did a nice job. The layout and maps showing what age each area is appropriate for was very useful. Gretchen and I stayed mainly at Skull Island though some of the slides I thought we a bit much for her. Before we left to visit Wiggles, we took a trip on the lazy river. Gretchen and I have done the lazy river at an indoor water park in WI so she wanted to do this one. I think the lack of moving made her cold because she was shivering after that. Overall Gretchen enjoyed it immensely. Every day this week (because it is hot out now) she has asked me when can we go back to Skull Island? The only down side was $11 a day lockers (Yikes!). While I didn't take any pictures that day, I posted some pictures from Father's Day online.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Steve took Gretchen to see Up! last weekend but it was during her nap time and see fell asleep. We went again this weekend with some friends and she was able to stay awake for the whole thing. I don't know who liked it more - me or her. Whenever I would look over at her she would have that goofy grin she gets when she watches TV on her face. I think Pixar is really smart. I believe we own every one of their movies and I'll end up buying this one when it comes out. I thought it was a delightful little movie (especially Russell, Kevin and Doug......).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Are you going to die?

Gretchen has been asking this question a lot lately - and I think it's my fault. She has started to be interested in fairy tales so I got some books from the library. One of them was Hansel and Gretel where the step mother gets sick and dies while Hansel and Gretel are outfoxing the old witch lady and pushing her into the oven. Ever since we got this book, she has been asking me if I am going to die. Is daddy going to die? Is grandma going to die? Is the house going to die? Of course I tell her yes but probably not for a long time from now so she shouldn't worry about it. I don't know if she was sold on that - I don't want to tell her how my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother all died around age 40 (due their own destructive natures). I plan on living longer than them.... This is not the first time we have discussed death. When Gretchen could understand relationships like mother, father, sister, brother, she quickly realized that mommy doesn't have a mother or father. And then she realized Steve's dad was no longer with us. She asked about them and I told her the truth: that they had died and were no longer living. I am not sure she completely understands but it seems like she understands that we will never see them again. I have shown her pictures of my parents that we have in the basement. She seems so fascinated by them. I know Steve's mom has shown her pictures of her grandpa so I think it's okay. I know this conversation isn't over - it will rear it's ugly head again but I think I am the one who is sad by it, not her. I am glad we had it though.... I am glad she is curious....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gretchen's First Show

On Mother's Day this year, I got tickets to Elmo Grows Up and took Gretchen as a surprise. I didn't tell her until we got to the theater. Big Bird talked to the audience overhead and she got really excited about the show. I guess hearing Big Bird talk made her realize that we were really going to see the puppets. The usher told her Elmo was taking a nap before the show and would be up soon. She told everyone around us about that..... I am so relieved we waited to take her. It seems like every year there is a Sesame Street show and we have resisted the urge to take her until she could handle it. There were a lot of kids younger than her there AND there was a lot of crying, fussing, and general unhappiness around us. I suspect some of those kids were too young to sit still for an hour or so. However not Gretchen - she was engaged and paid close attention. I bought the CD to the show and we listened on the way home. She was singing along - I am hoping the CD helps keep the memory in her head. We also got a $10 mylar Elmo balloon (sheesh!) because I am a sucker. She loved it though and has been carrying it room to room since we got home. I declare it was worth it!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chuck E Cheese

I admit it - I have never ever been to Chuck E Cheese before until yesterday.... Gretchen went to her first class/school birthday party. I am not sure how much she even plays with the boy who invited her but we went for the experience. She really liked it though we hardly made a dent in the tokens because all she wanted to do was climb through the tunnel thing they have. She really enjoyed herself and then promptly got sick with a fever and a really grumpy mood. Poor thing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Patricks Day

If you know me well, you know that I have no love for St. Patrick's day. At least not the excuse to drink holiday that March 17th is famous for.... However tonight Gretchen was telling me how she has to wear green tomorrow for "Patricks Day" as she called it. Well, I don't want to pass on my petty prejudice to her so I found her a green shirt. It wasn't Kelly green but lime green was good enough for her!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My little T-Rex Gretchen

I have decided for now to keep Gretchen and the twins’ on separate blogs. I reserve the right to change my mind but for now, it makes sense to write about them separately.

Gretchen’s day care was closed on President’s day so we went to the Field Museum to see Sue the dinosaur. Gretchen had a unit on dinosaurs a few weeks before so it made sense to go see some dinosaur skeletons. She really enjoyed it, more than the Museum of Science and Industry. I was surprised that she really liked looking at the stuffed animals and skeletons. She was especially fascinated with the whale skeleton on the ceiling. Whenever we have an outing with just the two of us, I always let her pick a souvenir (with price limits of course!). Every time, she picks a cup, which ends up being a piece of junky plastic (I’m looking at you Disney world!) that leaks or spills. Thankfully, this time she picked a Sue T-Rex mask. We have had fun with it with all five of us wearing it though Sean and Evan did not enjoy it as much as the rest of us!

In other news, we finally have Gretchen potty trained more or less. We haven't had an accident in over a week. December and January were challenging in this area. I have never done so much laundry but we made it! We still have to cajole her into sitting on the potty but that's better than cleaning up accidents!

Gretchen is already planning her next birthday party... It sounds like the motif will be "ladybug". I guess I better get to work on that now.....

We took a lot of pictures. Go check them out on my Flickr page.