I might have a problem

Books. More specifically, children’s books. I can’t stop buying them. Our bookshelves are getting full, although there is still room. I just can’t help myself when I go to the library book sales around here. So many great books for so cheap. Although I think buying books is a better problem to have than buying toys or clothes. I rarely buy clothes since we get so many wonderful hand-me-downs from the cousins. Luckily the cousins just above Greta are both girls, so we have oodles of clothes. Plus my mom loves to buy the girls new clothes since they are her only grandchildren and well she loves to buy cute girl clothes. So I’m left with no clothes to buy, which is great, but I need to fill my need to buy with something! And what is better than books. So we have a lot of books considering Greta is not yet 3. We never get bored though! Here are our full shelves:

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When I go to the library book sales I put most of the books away in the closet and we gradually pull them out on rainy/snowy days or when I am desperate to read a new book.

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If you are looking for good quality books, check our your local library book sale. The prices at our sale vary. Children’s book prices are usually between 10 cents and a dollar.

mount laundry

I don’t mind the sorting and actually washing clothes, and in fact don’t really mind the folding. The folding just gets put on the back burner very often around here. The other week I had something like 8 loads of laundry to fold (about two weeks worth of laundry). I piled it all up and the girls thought it was great fun to climb to the top of the mountain.

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And one picture from an earlier mountain climb.

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34 months

Where do I begin? Greta is quite a unique child. She is very happy, very sensitive, very loving, very energetic, very full of life, very inquisitive, very persistent, pretty much very everything wonderful.

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Greta is learning so much these days. She knows which state we live in and which state daddy works in. She knows everyones full names, including Albert’s. She knows her birthday and how old she will be. She remembers nearly everything. She knows almost all of her uppercase letters by sight. One of her new favorite games to play is find the letters. We will be driving down the road and she is scream “I SEE A G FOR GRETA, and AN A FOR ALBERT AND APPLE” and on and on. Greta is starting to take an interest in learning how to write her letters. She can mostly make an upper case A, but that’s about it so far. She knows her way around town a bit and knows when we pull into certain places where we are. She notices if we take a different way somewhere. She talks non-stop about everything. She is very firmly into the “why” and “what’s that called” stage. She is super curious about everything. I do try and encourage her to think of the reason since often she just fires off a why without thinking or asks again and again.

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Greta is so sweet. When daddy comes home from work she always asks him how work was and if he mentioned he has a meeting she asks about the meeting and wants to know all the details of the meeting, who was there, what was the meeting called, was it good, what time was it at. She often plans her own ‘meetings’ when daddy has meetings. Her meetings consist of sitting at the dining room table and coloring or doing puzzles or something along those lines.

Greta wants to learn to write, but hasn’t quite got the fine motor control to do it just yet. She ‘writes’ little shapes and spaces them apart and calls it writing. The other day I did some doodling and she nearly copied exactly what I did, so maybe she is getting closer to being able to write some more letters. Her coloring is quite good. She stays in the lines pretty well and plans out what color everything is going to be. She can also make a sun, which I showed her how to make and now she likes to make them all the time. She makes other random things, but mostly they are unidentifiable so far. She loves to use her magna-doodle and I love it to since it doesn’t waste any paper!

Greta is a puzzle master. She loves to do puzzles. She often asks for help, but mostly she doesn’t need it, she just wants it. I bought some new puzzles at a consignment sale and she did them on the first try. Guess I should have bought a little bit harder of puzzles.

Some things that Greta loves are Big Bird, Berenstain Bears, Pooh, coloring, play doh, playing outside, reading. Greta most recent obsession is Big Bird. She has a stuffed Big Bird that now goes everywhere with us. This is the first real object that she has attached to. She has never been one to have a favorite blanket or doll or animal. Big Bird has a whole life that is very, very similar to Greta’s. Big Bird is a girl who has a sister named Eloise, a mama named Lucy, a dad named Matt, a cat named Albert. Big Bird lives in a new white house, just like ours. The main difference between Greta and Big Bird is Big Bird lives in New Jersey. Now I’m not sure how this is possible since Big Bird lives in our house, but who am I to question it. Greta’s imagination has really taken off with Big Bird. Big Bird has imaginary everything, which is nice in that we don’t have to search high and low for a specific outfit or something for Big Bird. We have to pretend to change Big Bird’s diaper and get her dressed every day. Big Bird is starting to get a big dirty after all her adventures lately. (Big Bird’s life continues to change, now apparently he doesn’t live in NJ, but in PA. The condo he lived in was in NJ. He is now a boy, but sometimes a girl. He grew in Greta’s belly button and then came out. Greta regularly nurses and puts Big Bird to bed.)

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Greta uses her imagination for all sorts of things. The other day she planted ‘bulbs’ in the backyard. Her dollhouse people routinely go pick up pizza or go to the grocery store or the zoo or any other place we may have gone to lately. Her imagination is spreading into her block building design.

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Greta continues to be obsessed with reading. She loves to be read to all day long. She has a zillion books memorized. Anytime we get a new book she must have it read to her enough times so that she knows the whole story and can nearly recite it.

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Greta has recently gotten into a picky eater phase. Once Greta started eating food she wasn’t really picky. I’m pretty sure her eating is all about control at this point. I ask her what we should make for dinner and she offers no suggestions. I suggest several things I KNOW she likes, to which she responds she doesn’t like them. If she doesn’t like what I make she usually just eats a yogurt and some fruit. Then she will often happily eat last night’s dinner for lunch the next day. Nearly everything I ever offer she says she doesn’t like. Frustrating, but I’m not fighting food battles. She still eats plenty of fruit, veggies and yogurt, and well that isn’t such a terrible diet. It isn’t like she will only eat potato chips and cookies.

Greta has just gone through a big growth spurt. At Christmas her feet didn’t touch the ground when she was riding her balance bike. The other day we took it outside for the first time and we needed to raise the seat up at least an inch and her feet are touching much more than at Christmas. Her belly is totally gone and she is turning into a skinny little girl. Her hair is darkening up a bit. Not sure if that is because of winter or if it will continue to get darker.

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Speaking of her bike, Greta has gotten quite good at riding her balance bike. She can’t quite run, but she enjoys riding it outside.

Greta listens in and repeats everything. We think she has a pretty big vocabulary for her age, probably because of all the reading and listening in she does. Lately she has been telling us “I slept terrible last night” or “I am capable”. The other day Matt was on the phone in the other room (pretty much the other side of the 1st floor) and he said something (we can’t remember what) and Greta immediately repeated it. You just never know when she might be listening, so you better watch your mouth around her. So far the only bad word she has said is ‘crap’. Thankfully Matt has cleaned up his mouth a great deal and I don’t really curse to begin with. Greta pronunciation is getting much, much better, although sometimes it is still hard to understand her. Often it is because she talks too fast and doesn’t annunciate very well. If you get her to slow down and try to say the words correctly she can do it just fine. She still has a bit of trouble with G words, which means no one knows what her name is when they ask her.

Greta is very excited to be celebrating her birthday in St. Louis. She keeps coming up with ideas of some party she is having there. While we will be in St. Louis for her birthday, we aren’t planning a party. We will likely get a cake and do something fun though. The day before her birthday Greta is going to be a flower girl in our college friends’ wedding. She is excited about wearing a fancy dress and throwing flowers.

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Greta is still in diapers. I’m sure potty training could be a whole post on its own, but I’ll just go into a few details her. Greta knows when she is going to the bathroom, and goes through phases of telling us and not telling us. We tried the just put undies on her method for a few days. She did pretty well, but every night she was screaming for about 45 minutes (nothing would calm her down) at about 10:30 pm. We figured it was due to her loss of control (us making her use the potty, when she doesn’t want to), and so stopped and immediately the middle of the night tantrums went away. So we are holding out for her to decide, while trying to encourage her when she wants. She claims she is going to use the potty next week when CeCe and Granddaddy come, so we shall see if that pans out. She also recently told me that she is going to wear her “fancy nancy” undies with her fancy dress for the wedding, so again we shall see. I keep telling her the diapers are almost too small, and really they are, but that doesn’t seem to change her mind. If we have learned anything about Greta, it is that you can’t force her to do something until she is ready. Several times when I asked her about undies she has responded with “I love to pee and poop in my diaper.” So uh yeah. Not sure what to do about that.

I weaned Greta from her last nursing session when she was about 2.5. She definitely could have kept nursing and would have if it were up to her. She was only nursing for about 2-3 minutes before bed every night. She was ok with it ending. I asked her how many more times she wanted to nurse and she told me three. The next night I asked again and she said one and then that was it. However, she still tries to stick her hands down my shirt, she always wants to touch my boobs and she even asks at least a few times a week for milk. So, she clearly hasn’t forgotten or moved completely on, as that was almost 4 months ago.

Greta knows the sign of the cross, our dinner prayer, the hail mary, most of the our father, and the glory be. We say prayers every night before bed and she has quite easily learned them all. She usually has a laundry list of everyone we know to pray for. If we are praying for someone who is sick she always asks if they are getting better. She is very sensitive and cares deeply about our friends and family.

Greta is very encouraged by Eloise. Oh boy, those two little ones. Eloise usually starts the trouble, but Greta just joins right in and usually starts giggling to give away what they are doing.

Greta is starting to get along much better with Albert. She picks him and carries him around sometimes (I still haven’t gotten a picture of this). Albert is warming up to this positive attention that both girls are giving him.

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Greta has kind of learned how to gallop! Although she calls it hopping like Christopher Robin. Oh I forgot about her crush on Christopher Robin. Anytime she sees him or his name is mentioned she gets very shy and runs around like crazy. Too cute.

Greta of course loves to be outside, except not so much in the snow.

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I’m sure I’m forgetting a zillion things, but this is long enough and should be good for now. I’ll end with a few funny Greta stories from lately.

Greta wakes up screaming around 11:00 pm one night. Matt goes in and Greta asks for water. We have forgotten to bring water up, so Matt goes and gets it and puts it on the bedside table. Greta starts screaming about how Matt knocked over Big Birds water (invisible water) and Matt needs to clean it up. Matt cleans it up with an invisible towel, but that isn’t good enough. She insists he get a real towel to clean up the invisible spilled water.

Matt says prayers with Greta and she only wants to pray for herself. Matt doesn’t mention anything else and just says a prayer for her. Matt leaves and I go in for my snuggles. When I open the door, Greta is in near tears saying “I need to pray for someone else.” and starts listing the people she wants to pray for. Nothing like a little Catholic guilt.

Last night Greta told Matt what she wanted for her birthday: “a drill (a real one like daddy’s), a camera, and a computer, to put on the desk”.

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Edited to add: Swimming. How could I forget about swimming. Greta has turned into a superstar swimmer. She jumped up two levels of classes at swimming and is in the last parent/child class. Greta can swim independently (with her bubbles on). In her current class they basically just swim back and forth (sometimes with the barbell, sometimes not) the entire class, so that is 30 minutes of solid swimming every week! She doesn’t like to put her head in, but other than that she loves swimming. We are very proud of how well she is doing in swimming these days.

hike in the woods

Today Matt took the day off since the weather was supposed to be wonderful (and it was). We went to the park this morning and then this afternoon decided to check out a local nature area with trails. We walked for a long while through the woods. There is a lovely creek buried in the woods. We had fun looking for waterfalls and fallen trees. There was quite a lot of mud so Greta only got to walk for a little bit, plus she is a bit slow and we wouldn’t have walked nearly as far. At the very end of our walk we saw FIVE deer! They didn’t run from us, so we were able to get some pictures. I’ll be excited to go back when the leaves are on the trees and I’m sure it will be beautiful in the fall as well.

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floods

The river near us has flooded twice in the past week. Don’t worry our house isn’t in any danger. We purposefully did not buy a house anywhere close to the flood plain. We have gone down to see the river twice to see how high the water is.

The first few pictures are from this past Tuesday. I didn’t venture to the parts of the road that were closed and covered with water since I was trying to get the girls to fall asleep in the car.

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Yesterday while Eloise and I were at swim lessons (Greta’s lesson is at a different time now), Matt and Greta went out to look at the river as it crested just a few hours before. Matt parked the car and they walked past the barricades to get a better look at the water. You can see how the river was covering the road in this part.

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100!

Today, Grandma would be 100 years old. Oh how I miss my Grandma. I wish Grandma was here to meet these two adorable little girls we have. She would have loved them so.

A few things Grandma LOVED

1. Being active
dancing

2. The Beach
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3. Teaching (she graduated from college in 1930-something, when very few women went to college)
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3. Her Husband
Honeymoon

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on the beach

5. Her Children and Grandchildren (especially me :))
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generations

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Grandma on her 95th and last birthday:
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baby orangutan

Here is a video from our last zoo trip. The baby orangutan is really starting to venture out on his one. It was quite exciting to see. Sorry for the shaky video, I was holding Eloise and trying to get Greta’s attention so she would watch. And yes, he did eventually stop swinging. For a while I thought he was stuck.

ergo hip scoot back carry

Just wanted to post this video here for any one who isn’t a friend of mine on facebook.

Back carries can be a little bit difficult to figure out. There are several methods for getting the baby on your back, but I think this is the best way for a younger baby who can’t understand the “hold on to mommy so you don’t fall” idea. I used my Ergo, but you can easily do it with any structured carrier.

This is also an entry to a contest by Heavenly Hold.