Last night we had a visit from Super Ging.  

Who?
He is about 3 feet tall, with eternally messy blondish hair.
He wears Crocs or Cars rain boots.
He gets “creative” while his mother is cooking dinner.
Sometimes he turns his pop-up tunnels into “doors” that prevent entry and exit from the kitchen unless you are willing to go through a tunnel.  
His costume, then, is the middle piece of the tunnels, which he can put over his head and “wear.”  
He superpower is antagonizing the dog, who doesn’t appear to like being chased by small boys draped in large pieces of plastic.
And when you ask him what his name is, he says, “Super Ging.”  I’m not sure if I’m spelling it correctly, but the first ‘G’ is hard, like when you pronounce the word gold.  However, I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to ever spell it, so it must be correct. 
It is a riot and I only wish I had pictures of this because I can’t quite find the words to describe the costume, or my total amusement when he told me what his name was.  It is amazing to see the imagination of a 2 1/2 year old come to life.
 
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Milk & Shoes

Casey is quickly becoming a big girl, or as Jack likes to say, “Casey is big now!”  A couple of days ago I gave her her first cup of whole milk and she drank it down.  Obviously she likes it much better than formula since she would just take sips at that.  I guess I should have gotten a whole gallon of milk instead of just a 1/2 gallon…I had no idea how quickly she would drink it.
I also went through her shoe and sock drawer and found some cute little shoes that are just fitting her now.  (Thanks Jenn.)  I was worried that she wouldn’t walk as well in them but she figured it out quickly.  Speaking of walking, she is doing pretty well but is still pretty wobbly.  She loves to totter across short distances and is so proud of herself when she does.  
Unfortunately, Casey is starting to pick up on a few of Jack’s bad habits.  Most notably is the torture of poor Tugger.  The fine art of petting the dog is still a little unrefined for Casey and mostly she just holds her hand out and swats at Tugger.  Tugger is a little defensive about this since Jack has been known to hit Tugger with more than just his hand (ie golf clubs & hockey sticks).   I think Jack is out of this phase but Tugger is still wary.  Now when Jack tries to properly pet her, she flinches because she thinks he is going to hit her.  On the other hand, I have never heard Jack laugh so much as he does when he is playing with Tugger.  Tugger likes to nibble on Jack’s hands and feet and the more Jack wiggles around and moves his hands and feet, the more Tugger plays with him.  Tugger is very gentle with him, always, and mostly what she does is like tickling him.  It is so much fun to listen to him laugh that way.

Morning Wakeup

Normally I wake up to the sounds of “Mommy!  Mommy!” coming from Jack’s room.  Occasionally I wake up before the kids and lay in bed until I hear them.  Pat is usually up really early and I don’t even hear his alarm clock anymore.  This morning, I started waking up out of the 24-induced weird dream that I have on Monday nights/mornings, and started to wonder why.  In my dream, we were finally taking care of the bad guys, strangely one was Nancy Pelosi.  But apparently I wasn’t going to finish that dream. 

– Actual thoughts – 
Are you serious?  It’s not even 6 o’clock yet?  That better not be Jack yelling from his room.  It kind of sounds like an alarm clock.  Oh, maybe it’s the one in the guest room.  Maybe Jack pushed the buttons and turned it on somehow.  It’ll stop in a minute I think.  
– 2 minutes later –
Why hasn’t that alarm stopped yet?  I don’t even know where there is another alarm in the house.  Maybe our bathroom?  No, it’s not loud enough to be in our bathroom.  
– I get out of bed and head into the hallway –
Is it coming from Jack’s room?  Wouldn’t he wake up if there was an alarm clock going off in his room?  Should I go in there?  No, I’ll check the guest room first although it doesn’t sound like it’s in there.  Why would I think it was in Jack’s room?  He doesn’t even have a clock in there.
I head downstairs and grope around in the dark on the counter since it is obviously coming from there.  It turns out to be an alarm clock that Pat bought this weekend, primarily because it docks his iPod.  However, he told me it didn’t work and wanted me to take it back.  The alarm clock definitely works.  I push every button on this thing.  I have the exact same one in our bedroom so I know how it’s supposed to turn off.  Nothing is working.  Maybe Pat left the batteries in it.  Nope, there are no batteries in it.  No batteries to take out and no way to turn the alarm off?  You have to be kidding me.  Where can I put this so I no longer have to hear it?  Finally I put it in the garage.  The beeping gets quieter and quieter as I head up the stairs.  
Unfortunately I couldn’t fall back asleep until 7, but at least the kids waited until 7:45 to wake me up.
 

Winnie the Who?

When I was nursing Jack and Casey in the middle of the night in the months after they were born, a lot of random thoughts ran through my head.  Often it was hard to fall asleep again because once awake, my mind turned on and it was hard to turn it off.  One night, I somehow started thinking about the name Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh Bear.  Who named this poor creature?  What is a Pooh?  I had never really thought about it before but it all of a sudden seemed an absurd name.  

A little internet research and I have found some answers.  There was an actual bear named Winnie, a black bear.  She was purchased by a Lieutenant in the Canadian military prior to shipping overseas to Europe during World War I.  The man named the bear “Winnie” after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Winnie was a pet and Brigade mascot until the troops actually had to start fighting, upon which he was donated to the London Zoo.
The author of the Winnie the Pooh books, A. A. Milne, had a son named Christopher Robin who was enamored of the bear at the zoo and named his own teddy bear after Winnie.  The name Pooh comes from a swan that A. A. Milne had previously written about.  A. A. Milne was inspired by his son’s relationship with his stuffed animals, and so he started writing his Winnie the Pooh books.   
So really, I still don’t know why anything, swan or bear, would be named Pooh.  But it’s a pretty interesting little story that I knew nothing about until tonight.  I have a lot more respect for the little bear.  And don’t worry, I didn’t spent that much time researching this.

Pizza and a Movie

Friday night is usually pizza and a movie night, especially when Pat has duty.  I throw a pizza in the oven and Jack picks a movie…Cars every week.  Occasionally I can get him to watch Finding Nemo, but it’s on the DVR and I have to be ready to fast forward through the commercials which is not as relaxing to me.

You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to coordinate a pizza and movie night, but it’s taken a little bit of trial and error to get the timing right.  We put Jack’s chair in the living room and put his tray on it and he hops in.  The nice thing is that it doesn’t matter if the pizza is ready…he sits in that chair and is mesmerized for a good hour.  Casey, on the other hand, does not wait patiently for her pizza.  I have to have “hors d’oeuvres” ready for her while the pizza cools.  I have tried taking Casey’s high chair into the living room but it was too much work and too much stress for the poor carpet.  So Casey and I sit in the kitchen and eat while Jack eats his pizza and watches Lightning tear up Radiator Springs.
In the past couple of months, I have convinced him to watch The Lion King and Shrek on two different nights.  Both evenings have then become chaotic.  For some reason, we can’t hear the voices on these movies.  I have pushed every audio button there is, on the tv, on the DVD player/sound system and through a menu on the actual DVD, and I can’t get the voices to be audible.  I even pulled the sound system out and played with the wires.  No luck.  As I am pushing all these buttons and trying to get audio menus to work, Jack is whining, “No like this.  No Lion King.  No Lion King,” and on and on.  The menus then seem to take a freakishly slow amount of time in coming up and allowing me to select things.  Casey then chimes in and starts crying for more food.  Finally I give up and we go back to Cars.  So, despite the fact that we watch it almost every week, I’m okay with that because I know we can hear Lightning say “Ka-chow” and that makes Jack happy.
Bath time is usually optional for Jack on pizza night but Casey is so covered in pizza that she definitely needs one.  Sometimes Jack stays and watches more movie or plays with his toys.  Tonight he brought his new planes up to the bathroom and flew them around while Casey played in the tub.  
And that’s an exciting Friday night with a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old!  Soon enough, we’ll probably have to alternate between Cars and Cinderella.  As long as we can hear it that is.
 

Picking Out a Book

The process of Jack picking out a book for story time amazes me sometimes, and is completely frustrating at other times.  There are several favorites which are usually sitting out on the floor already.  Sometimes we read the same books day after day after day.  Other times, he goes over to his bookshelves and just stares at them, occasionally pulling a book out a little bit to see if he’s found a good one.  Finally he finds the perfect book and I have no idea how he has come to pick it.  It’s so cute watching him look at them and wondering what thought process is going on in his head.  

As I mentioned, there are several favorites…these are books which Jack enjoys quite often, but with which I am completely bored.  But to be honest, I’m kind of bored with all of his books.  And Casey’s books aren’t much better because they’re Jack’s old books.  At least I can still pick them out for her. 

Jack has a book called 100 1st words and he has really enjoyed it ever since he got it about a year and a half ago.  I’d say he’s probably getting too old for it right now but every once in a while he pulls it out of the pile.  There is no story, just pictures and the corresponding words to go with them and he knows all the words now.  I have had to get creative with it over the past few months to try to make it “fresh.”  One day I read all the words really fast and he thought that was pretty funny.  I’ve done that several times.  I’ve also tried to make up a little story about all the objects on the page.  There is a bathtime page, so we talk about all the different things that we did at bath time, just like in the book.  Today though, Jack took matters into his own hands (literally), and started to act like the different objects on the page.  It was really cute, especially at first, when he was zooming around on the floor like a car and I realized what he was doing.  He also does a pretty good elephant impression.  
Then there are the Lift the Flap books.  These books don’t even have any words.  Well, I guess there are a few.  But mostly there are just flaps to lift up and look under.  There is a whole page of shoes.   And there is only so much one can say about shoes.  But in January, while Pat was underway, we read these two Lift the Flap books every day before naptime and bedtime.  That’s when I decided it was time to go to the library.  
I really do enjoy reading to him, especially now that it’s a little more interactive.  Sometimes lately, he’s talking about the pages before I can even get all the words out.  And I guess I’m lucky in that so far I’ve been able to get away with skipping pages and he doesn’t notice.  I’ve heard that’s not the case with a lot of toddlers.  I’ll just have to keep getting creative when that 100 1st Words book comes out again.  And be grateful that he loves books so much!

Casey’s Birthday

Today is Casey’s 1st birthday!  

We had a pretty low key celebration.  Just us at home, with her favorite dinner – pumpkin pancakes, and a carrot cake.  They were delicious and somehow I snuck 2 veggies in there.  And, I’m proud that her first cake was here with us and we didn’t crash another birthday party like we did for Jack’s.  I made the cake from scratch although it has nothing on some of the cakes I’ve seen my friends make.  I’ll try to get more creative when she can appreciate it.  Jack just appreciates that there is cake of any sort.  He knew that I was making the cake while he was sleeping and the first words out of his mouth this 

morning were, “Is there cake now?”  He wanted to come right down to the kitchen and look at it.  I gave him a taste of the frosting as I was making it today and he tasted it like he was a judge on Top Chef and finally, after much deliberation, he said, “This is really good.”  
A little more about the birthday girl…  Casey is a very happy little girl.  She is just learning to walk…taking about 7 or 8 steps at a time, as long as her balance is good at the beginning.  And when she crawls, she is fast!  She loves to be outdoors ever since we started venturing out again in the warmer weather we had last week.  She figured out how to get out the doggy door so unless I’m paying attention, she will be in the backyard before you know it.  She loves to push toys around the driveway, practically running down the driveway to keep up with them.  She will follow Jack just about anywhere he goes, but really enjoys it if she gets a few minutes to play while he is still napping.  
I think we’ll probably have some more birthday celebration tomorrow as a few boxes didn’t make it in the mail for today.  And we’ll probably have some more cake!