Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bix Weekend

Just wanted to report to those who might be interested...Aaron and I both ran the Bix 7 race in Davenport, IA last weekend. It is an annual, extremely hilly 7-mile race in Davenport that Aaron and other members of his family have been running for years.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am really, really not a runner:) But the Bix always seemed like such a fun race with so many dedicated and cheering fans (I am usually included in this happy group), so I decided that I wanted to see it from the course at least once. And choosing to run it this year also gave me a good goal for healthy living this summer.

So, I am happy to report that it went very well. I survived the whole 7 miles, and even ran it in a couple of minutes under my goal time (thanks to a dedicated friend who pushed me along when I needed pushing:). And Aaron equaled his previous best time.

It was an truly an amazing weekend...full of great times with wonderful family and amazing friends. And I can't wait to do it all again! Though by doing it again, I mean Bix weekend...not running 7 miles:) I think next year, I will go back to the hard work of cheering on all those runners!

Oh yeah, about the pics:
1: We did run in those grass skirts:) It was actually a lot of fun. We got a lot more cheers from the crowd!

2: I think we may have a budding runner on our hands. Molly spent a good 10 minutes trying on our friend Braeden's running shoes. She seemed to really love wearing them. Maybe she will follow in the footsteps of her Papa, Aunt RiRi, and Daddy to be a runner someday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

These days...

Some of our days can seem endless parade of guiding, redirecting, helping, encouraging, praising, reprimanding, and generally keeping kids out of the toilet:)

But I have noticed a general trend lately...things have been getting MUCH EASIER!

Now, of course, I still have 2 kids to feed, wash, dress, brush, hold hands while walking near a street, buckle in car seats, and a thousand other small, yet surprisingly physically demanding tasks each day. But lately, in the little time that is left in each day after all those things are done we are generally just having fun. Lots of splashing in our kiddie pool, reading books, taking long and aimless walks to just see what we can see, to just explore the world around us.

One thing that has particularly helped to shift the balance here from work to fun has been Molly's recent growth and development.

She is still a teeny little thing, but suddenly she is definitely a toddler, with no hint of baby left.

She and Ben have been playing together so much more all of the sudden. I can see why some parents opt to try to have more and more babies when they start seeing the ones they already have play together, and truly become friends with each other. (Though Aaron and I are thankfully immune to such mental pitfalls:).

She will play kitchen with him, or sit and play trains next to him. We can sit on the couch and really look at books together. They play in the rice bucket together for 20 minutes straight. And when he rides the tricycle with a back seat at Granny's house, he insists that she ride in the back, and she insists on being there, so it is perfect. He is amazingly patient with her, and she thankfully doesn't test him too much, so generally they get along pretty well. They have started hugging each other a lot more, too, all of the sudden. Every now and then, with no rhyme or reason, one of them will just come up to the other one for some hugs or snuggles, and the other one generally reciprocates. They are really kind to each other.

One super cute story between the two of them is this: Ben has been helping Molly learn to talk! It is so stinking cute that I had to make sure to not forget.

Here's how it goes...somehow, Ben has realized that Molly won't be able to pronounce most "adult" words. But he has also caught on to the fact that she will try most any word, if she is just given a simple approximation of the word. (Can you tell this boy's mom is a speech therapist, or what??!)

So he will help her "talk" all day long like this:

B: "Molly, do you want the triangle? Say 'duh duh duh'".
M: "Duh duh duh."

B: "Molly, do you hear that? That's a cricket. Say 'kuh kee'".
M: "Kuh kee."

B: "See the sweet gum ball? Say 'dee dum dah'".
M: "Dee dum dah."

The best part about it is that he generally is able to choose an age- and sound-appropriate approximation of the word. It's as if he just KNOWS how to be a speech therapist!!

Her speech and communication in general is really taking off lately, and I really think that he is helping her along:)

And another thought I had is always so that things are finally getting easier and a lot more fun around here, it's all about to end! Well, not all of it...but Ben is three-and-a-half now, and he is going to be starting preschool in the fall. He is totally ready for it, and has already been going to Ms. Robin's house for a semi-preschool morning one day a week, so two half-mornings of preschool is really not much of a big deal. But as a mother, I am shocked at how quickly it has arrived, and a little bummed that we finally have a lot of fun things to do together, and now he will be off with his preschool teachers 2 days a week, and I will work a 3rd day, so that just leaves 2 days now that are just regular, old days. (Days that, yes I will honestly admit, once seemed like an endless prison of time...anyone remember the colic months? Now here I am whining about not having enough time in the day with these kids!)

One of the things that has helped with the fun factor has been a change in Ben's play skills. Let me explain. Now, I like trains as much as the next person...but this kid has been addicted to trains for almost 2 years now. I have played train tracks more than I could possibly care to remember, and much less even than he would have liked.

For 3 years now, all my super-mom attempts at fun pretend-play with tents in the living room, crazy art on the kitchen floor, nature walks to gather cool sticks and leaves, and reading awesome books have been, at best, worst, completely rejected or ignored. I actually found myself in quite a rut this spring, just totally sick of trying things that he cared nothing for, and also totally sick of car/train play.

But all of the sudden...this kid is FUN. Fun digging in the yard outside, fun gathering everything that is unusual on a walk, fun painting all sorts of things, and most wonderfully at reading books!!

So now that we are finally having the fun that I was hoping for these past few years, he's going to go and do all these fun things with the preschool teachers:( Boo hoo hoo!! I am REALLY bummed about it.

The flip side is that I think he will love preschool, and I am also really looking forward to time with Molly one-on-one. She is such a good sport and side-kick to her big brother, but she really doesn't call too many of the shots around here, and I think some of my super-mom attempts will be better received by my little mama's girl.

It's going to be an interesting fall!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Banker shoes

Yikes, I've been quiet this month! With Ben not napping anymore, there just isn't a lot of free time in the day, and with evenings spent running (I've been training for the Bix race in Davenport that is this weekend), I haven't been able to tell any of the millions of stories that I want to share.

But since I found a free second, here is one story that I want to make sure I don't forget.

Ben has taken to wearing a special pair of They are his "banker" shoes.

The shoes are black dress shoes that we got for him to wear to Aunt GiGi's wedding back in March. He wore them then, and then also for Easter, and that was about it. I had actually forgotten about them for a while.

But then, one day out of the blue, he brought them to me in the morning and asked me, "Can I wear my banker shoes today?"

I said, "Sure!" That was about three weeks ago. He has been wearing them every day since. Rain or shine, it's got to be the banker shoes. The funny thing is that I have no idea where he got the term "banker" from in the first place. We never take him into the bank, and we have never used that term. But he came up with it from somewhere, and it has stuck.

My favorite thing about the banker shoes is that he is truly expressing himself, without any apparent concern for clothing coordination, as you will be able to see in the picture I have included. This was taken on a HOT summer day at the Museum of Transportation. He built the train track, and then greatly enjoyed playing trains. Enjoy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, USA

We went to Jefferson City last weekend to celebrate the 4th of July. We were able to spend lots of good, quality time with Aunt Maria, Uncle Curt, and cousin Anna. It was a wonderful weekend with all of the Sides family in attendance!

The morning of the 4th, we marched in a little neighborhood parade with some friends of Maria's. The whole Sides family participated, and here is a pic of us with our "float".

This picture proves that with kids this age, you don't need fancy toys, expensive play equipment, or an elaborate plan to have just need one Uncle Russell!

This is a picture of the kids seeing their first sparkler. As you can tell from their expressions, they were slightly dumbfounded. Both kids quickly warmed up to the idea of fireworks, though, and really enjoyed the fireworks all evening.

Here is a picture of Molly (16 mos), Ben (3.5 years) and cousin Anna (19 months). Can you tell they are family or what!!?