I recently made a “Decision Die” to settle disputes between Harper and Roman. For the most part they get along great, but now that Roman is expressing an opinion about things (which movie to watch, mostly), we’ve had a few screaming matches. The Decision Die, or as Harper calls it the “dizi-shun ball,” is just an oversized die that I ordered on Amazon. I wrote Harper’s name on two sides, Roman’s on two sides, and “Mom and Dad” on the remaining two sides. Whenever there is an argument about what to watch, we just roll the die and “whoever is the luckiest” (says Harper) gets to make the “dizi-shun.” So far we’ve had a 100% success rate with ending arguments – a win for everyone!
On Tuesday I picked the big kids up from school and we headed into DC to see the Cherry Blossoms. We do this every year and it never seems to get old. The trees are so beautiful, and I’m just reminded of how lucky we are to live here! We picked Daddy up at work and parked closer to the Tidal Basin. Portman and I couldn’t help but remember how much easier this was when we only had one baby and one stroller! Pushing a double stroller, a single stroller, and dragging the kids’ dinner and diaper bag with us definitely made it more of a challenge.
Harper and Roman found some ducks to chase, and quickly resorted to throwing their snacks into the Potomac to feed the ducks:
Ada was so good the whole time. She occupied herself with a part-empty water bottle, and thought Peter’s dog, Banjo was hysterical. Harper apparently took her b-u-t-t-h-e-a-d pills and her behavior quickly deteriorated!
I’m trying to get into the habit of going for an after-dinner bike ride now that it is getting dark later. Harper is under the impression that wearing a full Tinkerbell outfit to ride bikes is absolutely necessary. The past few rides have involved a Tink dress and wings. I did finally convince her (force her) to wear a helmet with the getup – she was worried that it would ruin the whole look. (photos courtesy of my phone since I can’t find the card for my camera):
Lately Roman has been wearing a Snow White dress pretty regularly. Today he paired it with his Thomas boots for our bike ride. He and Ada rode in the trailer and he insisted on bringing a baby doll that he has named “Mr. Prickle Pants,” or simply “Prickle Pants.” Portman and I make a point not to say anything like “you know you’re dressed like a girl, right?” Let’s face it, even in a dress he just looks like a boy wearing a dress. There is nothing feminine about him!
In other news, Ada was walking like crazy this afternoon. I’m going to try to catch her on video tomorrow to share. It is SO adorable!
The kids love to do PlayDoh, but I restrict that activity to the porch since it inevitably ends up crumbled all over the floor. Lately Harper has been making “cookies” out of PlayDoh, which she bakes in the “oven” (a corner of the porch that Ada can’t get to.) This means we’ve been going through a lot of PlayDoh since it actually does bake out there in the sun! Harper goes through a very dramatic act of opening and closing the imaginary oven door each time she checks on the cookies, and is very careful not to let Ada near the “hot” oven.
Ada likes to empty and refill the PlayDoh bin:
I asked Harper to smile. This is what I got instead:
Roman was so tired towards the end of our trip, that he was constantly getting slap-happy. He would pipe up from the back with exclamations such as “I LOVE my shoes!” Our favorite was when he spent about 10 minutes enumerating all the things that he is scared and not-scared of, using his fingers to count them off. Harper, of course, was jealous that someone was stealing her camera time and wouldn’t shut up from the back seat!
Harper is really happiest in front of a camera. I’m feeling pretty good about the money I just shelled out for a week at theater camp this summer! Don’t get dizzy watching this – there is a lot of spinning.
When I got bored and turned the iPod camera off, she yelled “hey! turn that back on, I’m not done dancing!”
Last week we headed to sunny Orlando for a family Spring Break “vacation.” To say that the kids were excited was a huge understatement. I don’t think they really had any idea what “Da Disney,” as Roman calls it, really entailed, but they knew that it would be fun and had something to do with “Mickey the Mouse” and Buzz Lightyear.
The flight down was exhausting, to say the least. Roman and Harper were so excited and bouncing off the walls, and Ada was extremely tired but wouldn’t fall asleep on the plane. I felt so bad for the people sitting around us! Luckily most of the plane was full of families headed to the same place, so it was a very loud flight in general. By the time we got to our hotel room, it was almost 3 o’clock and naps were a lost cause. We went straight to the resort pool and within a few minutes Ada took her first steps ever! She continued to take one or two steps throughout our trip, but still isn’t really walking.
We spent our first full day at Epcot. It was crowded and the kids were already exhausted, but they still had a blast. The highlight for them was definitely the Finding Nemo ride. Roman is still waking up every morning saying “I want to ride dat Nemo ride again,” and this morning at school he rushed into his classroom and shouted “I went to Da Disney and rode on Nemo!” Ada made it very clear that she did not want to be at Epcot! She was SO tired but wouldn’t fall asleep in the stroller, so she spent a lot of the day just yelling. The one place where everyone was happy was the aquarium at the Nemo ride. Ada was happy to just stand and watch the fish, and Roman was absolutely fascinated by them. We definitely decided that Roman needs a fish tank for his third birthday – it’s the perfect Wills Family pet!
Portman and I made it through the day thanks to the margarita stand at the Mexico pavilion. I maintain that those are the best margaritas I’ve ever had!
We spent the next day (Monday) at the Magic Kingdom. One of Roman’s favorite movies is “Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom.” It has a song in it that goes “the crystals are for EVERYone! Share, share share…” So, when we told Roman that we were going to the Magic Kingdom, he immediately asked “you mean like ‘da magic is for EVERYone!’” I love him. For the Wills Family, however, the magic pretty much ended right there.
Our biggest mistake was going on a Monday – apparently the most crowded day at the MK. The shortest line that we waited in was 45 minutes (Pirates of the Caribbean), and the longest was Dumbo (90 minutes, and the ride was less than a minute long). Overall it was very disappointing. The lines were insane, you couldn’t walk without bumping into someone, it was incredibly loud, and our kids just don’t know a lot of the rides or characters. They have no idea who Dumbo is or what the Teacups are, they’ve never seen Pirates of the Caribbean, and they only know Minnie and Mickey from the Disney commercials. Don’t get me wrong, they had fun, but we just didn’t think it was worth it. Ada was miserable, and frankly so were Mommy and Daddy! We found out halfway through the day that the Magic Kingdom is a DRY Kingdom. Seriously!? How do they expect parents to handle it! The kids did enjoy the 2 parades that we caught and the princess show on the steps of the castle.
Ada getting a much-needed break from the stroller while the big kids went on Pirates of the Caribbean with Daddy:
We all needed a break after the MK, so we spent a day hanging out at the hotel and napping! Dad took the kids on a lazy-man’s boat ride:
After Ada made it clear that Disney was not so magical for her, we decided not to take her to any more parks. Instead, Daddy took the big kids to Animal Kingdom and Mommy and Ada hit the outlets between some looooong naps. Harper and Roman had an absolute blast at Animal Kingdom! It was much less crowded than the other parks, and much more age-appropriate. Portman said that the staff to kid ratio in some parts of the park was almost 1:1! They had an almost perfect safari, got to pet lots of different animals, dig for dino bones and ride on a triceratops. They had a great day!
Hollywood Studios was also a big hit. We only went for a few hours and caught the afternoon parade, which featured all of their favorites – Buzz, Woody, Sully, Mike Wawowski and the characters from Up and Ratatouille.Their faces were priceless!
They also got to meet June and Quincy from The Little Einsteins and Handy Manny (“Handy Mandy,”according to Roman), see the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast shows and the Little Einsteins show. Harper is still talking about The Little Mermaid show and is constantly performing the songs for us! The Little Einsteins show introduced us to Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Since we don’t have cable, we don’t know about the new Disney shows. Roman was captivated by Jake, and we’ve since downloaded a few episodes for him. He loves it!
We did one more shorter day at Animal Kingdom with all the kids and Ada did much better (we didn’t stay long), and then we hit Downtown Disney for some drinkin’ and shoppin’. It turns out we could have skipped the parks and just done Downtown Disney – I’m pretty sure Harper was happier climbing on the plastic princesses than she was seeing the real ones at MK!
And finally, a little note on how awesome our kids are. We love them so much, and it just makes us melt to see how much they love each other. Harper and Roman shared a bed at the hotel, and did really well. We had to separate them a few times to fall asleep, but they didn’t wake each other up at night or in the mornings, and they would lie there and wait for the other one to wake up. It was just the sweetest thing ever. We talked about having them share a room at home, but with our furniture situation they would have to share a bed. They would probably go for it!
All in all, we had fun and got some much-needed sunshine, but we are definitely done with Disney for several years! We told Harper that we can go back when she is eight. I could frankly wait a little longer, but we will have to see how convincing the kids are!
We rang in March with a family trip to Disney World, but before I get to that, here’s how we spent the week leading up to our big vacation. It’s starting to warm up a little bit, so we get outside whenever we can. Harper and Abigail climbed our favorite tree, then Abigail spent some time sitting in a bush:
Harper finally is excited to ride her big girl bike. I think the addition of a seat for Abigail helped! Roman and Ada LOVE wagon time while Harper rides. Roman gives Ada a running commentary of what is going on: “and now we are going to stop at the RED stop sign, Ada! Look, see those flowers? They are purple. Harper likes purple.” And yes, Harper is still wearing her PJ’s in this photo. She calls it “having a lazy day;” I call it “Mommy was too busy to get to that part yet!”
Roman has been building some awesome houses/zoos/castles/towers with the magna blocks. These things are seriously the best investment ever (gift, in our case). The kids play with them at least twice as much as they do with any other toy, and they get really creative with them!
Harper and I played a game where I made a pattern out of the tangram tiles, and she had to copy it, then she made one and I had to copy it. She thought this was the greatest game ever! Afterwards, she organized all of the tiles into categories (colors, shapes) using a cupcake pan (thanks, Erin for the idea!)
Ada is a handful, but she is super cute!
Some recent toddler misnomers:
Harper, singing “Do You Hear the People Sing:”
“Beyond the bear cave, is there a world you long to see?” (it’s supposed to be “barricade”)
Roman, discussing Peter Pan:
“I want to watch Captain Hook and Mr. Sneeze.”
Yesterday I had parent-teacher conferences with Harper and Roman’s teachers. I love hearing about how they are doing in preschool, especially since I can’t be there to watch them all day! Harper’s report was no surprise – she’s a leader, loves to dance and sing, participates in class with great enthusiasm, and has an impressive vocabulary (which I can only assume means that she talks incessantly!) I didn’t really learn much from her conference – she’s a loud, outgoing kid who loves life and probably doesn’t act too differently in the classroom.
I was much more curious about how Roman is doing in school, since he refuses to tell me anything about what goes on in his classroom. His teacher said he likes to keep to himself and doesn’t “need” to do what the group is doing. He is happy at school, he just doesn’t go out of his way to be part of the group. BUT, she said that when they go out to the playground and he sees Harper “the sun comes out and birds start chirping and he runs off to play with her shrieking with delight.” Harper’s teacher told me basically the same thing – that Harper really looks out for “Ro,” as she calls him, and that they are always so excited to see each other at school. I can’t wait for them to read this when they are 13 and 14 and can’t stand to be in the same room!
The “big kids” really are getting so big. By the end of the day my ears are positively aching from the constant talking. Both Harper and Roman do not ever stop talking, asking questions about absolutely everything and having very elaborate conversations with each other. They still play so well with each other and really are best friends. They are also getting much more helpful, especially Harper. She embraces her role as a big sister and really tries to do the right/helpful thing, although sometimes it’s very hard to make the right choice when you are four!
We’ve had a few warmer days lately and the big kids have gotten to play outside (yaaaaay!) The countdown to the kids eating all of their meals outside has begun!
There is a grove of trees next to the kids’ playhouse that Portman and I call “Narnia” since they spend most of their outside time playing pretend in there. We don’t know what really goes on in there, and they usually glare at us and tell us to get out if we intrude!
A few weekends ago I took Ada down to Raleigh to visit great-grandma Abie. Portman stayed home with the big kids. He took a few photos of their playroom before he cleaned it up (anticipating my return home!)
Ada is almost 10 and a half months old now, and has become such a handful! We probably have selective memory, but Portman and I cannot remember Harper and Roman being into so much at only 10 months. Ada keeps us constantly on our toes making sure she’s not getting into trash cans or the potty (her favorite), emptying laundry baskets and cabinets, and climbing into dangerous places. She’s been known to empty a kitchen cabinet and climb into it, and climb onto the dishwasher in order to get into the silverware basket:
In addition to tearing our house apart, she is starting to babble very loudly. She mostly says “dada,” but says “mama” on occasion. She is the pickiest eater that we have had yet. She downright refuses food and won’t let me spoon feed her anything other than yogurt. She pretty much survives on bottles, cheerios, yogurt and spinach pie. Everything else is tossed directly onto the floor. She’s the first of our kids who would rather go hungry than eat what I put in front of her – clearly I’ve got my work cut out for me! She is starting to sleep through the night on a regular basis. Normally she is in bed before 6pm; she will wake up around 6am and often go back to sleep for another hour or so after having a bottle.
Ada is getting so close to walking. She can get into a standing position without holding on to anything, and can balance standing up for 20 or 30 seconds. She usually looks at us and starts clapping once she gets into a standing position – who can blame her? She cruises at top speed while holding on to furniture, and can move from one piece of furniture to the next by taking a step.
Here are a few recent shots of Ada around the house: