Sunday, December 4, 2011


Kailey is 3 going on 13, I think. Take this week at daycare -- I had agreed to babysit her best friend after school, so I was picking up both girls. We got out to the curb and I told Ava to stay on the curb while I buckled Kailey into her carseat (since her carseat was curbside).

I said, "now Ava. Stay right there. Don't move. I have to get Kai in her carseat and then we'll hold hands and go to the other door so you can get into your carseat. But, don't go into the street until you are holding my hand."

Kai turned to Ava and said, "I don't know why my mom is so weird."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Kid Haircut

Kai has gotten a couple of haircuts in her 3.5 years -- but, prior to the last one, they were just trims. The guy didn't even charge me the first time, he cut so little of her hair. And the second time, we freaked at the last minute and told them to just trim it. So, really, Kai has been growing her hair for 3.5 years. It hadn't gotten that long, considering, but was at her shoulders.

This time, the cut it back to her chin. She looks so grown up now!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let the Games Begin

I come from a games-loving family. Growing up we played lots of cards -- both the kind with a standard deck of cards (hearts, spades, etc) as well as specialized card games (Uno, Skip-Bo). We played Tripoli, board games (Sorry, Risk, Scattergories), and word games (Boggle, Scrabble). I love playing games. And, in our early years together, Eric and I played a lot of games together. But, most games are better with more then 2 players (except a few like Rummy... but, I never liked that game much).

Over the last year, Kai has gotten more into games. It started with Candy Land (boring!), Zingo (better.. but still not too exciting), simplified card games (like Go Fish -- with cards designed for the younger set with pictures to match), and Memory (which is OK -- but makes one feel old and wistful for the memory you possessed as a child). Given these choices, we didn't suggest playing games that often -- but would pull out a game in a pinch.

Over the last couple of months, though - it seems the world of game playing is beginning to open up. It started with Uno, which Kai is pretty good at (she gets the concept -- has trouble holding all the cards in her hand, so it's hard not to cheat when playing with her). Still, it's a fun game to play and we've been having fun playing. Whenever someone plays the "skip" card she says it's the "no for you" card. As in, no turn for you.

Tonight we expanded to Go Fish with a standard deck of cards. She did great! She is so funny -- she clucks her tongue against the roof of her mouth as she ponders what to ask for and leans way back.... and then, finally, will make her selection, " you... have.... a KING?" And she totally got that she was trying to collect the sets of four -- and would holler, "THAT'S FOUR" anytime she got the fourth card in a set. And, she got that the J is for Jack, the K for King and the Q... well, the Q was a little tricky. Sometimes the Q was a King too. But, still. Pretty good! She kept the sets she was working on in little piles, face down, in front of her and would peek at each pile while trying to decide what to ask for. The only thing she didn't really get is that she wasn't supposed to announce what card she had fished from the pile when drawing a new card. But, her enthusiasm for her new card was always amusing... and it was a good opportunity to teach her some of the strategies of the game.

Tonight, while we were playing Go Fish, she said, "Next I want to play the NO game." We tried to clarify, "do you mean you want to play a NEW game?" "I want to play the new NO game", she repeated. We didn't understand what she was saying... what "no" game? I asked her, "what is a "no" game... how do you play it?" She looked exasperated, "I don't know. YOU have to tell me how. The NO game you got. At the store." I realized what she was talking about and asked, "do you mean the game SORRY?" (I had mentioned to Eric a couple days ago that I thought we should buy SORRY). A flash of recognition came over her face, "Oh, yeah. SORRY. That game."

Of course, most every time we say "no" to her we make her say "sorry" to us... so, I suppose it was a good guess!

Whatever they're called -- let the games begin!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Betty Crocker

Before Kai came along, I don't know if I had ever made cookies, cupcakes, cakes or muffins from scratch. In the last month? I've made all of those things. Kai is obsessed with cooking videos -- she likes to watch people make and decorate cakes, cookies and cupcakes. I've written about this before -- in posts debuting her first ever creation, the butterfly cake. But, that was from a mix. I can bake from a mix.

But, since the butterfly cake and the flip-flop cake, I've gotten a bit more adventurous, and now Kai and I tackle recipes from scratch. Over the last month, we've made banana muffins, blueberry muffins, cupcakes that we frosted with an orange frosting and decorated for Halloween, and chocolate chip cookies. Kai likes to help mix the ingredients together, although, she needs constant reminding that it is not mix, lick, mix. Just mix. No licking. She really likes the licking more then the mixing.

And, she tends to think she knows the recipes, so if I turn my back on her, she's likely to have attempted to stir in a new ingredient.

But, despite those setbacks, Kai is a good helper in the kitchen. And, she loves to help bake and cook. And, these days, I like baking and cooking too!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Kai had a great time at her school party today and is hoarding her candy as I type this. She was so excited to wear her ladybug costume. She previewed it a few times leading up to the big day (when friends would come over) and kept exclaiming, "Halloween is starting." We had a mechanical ghost that we strung up outside over the public staircase that runs alongside our house, and Kai now pop her heads outside and screams at the ghost every time she notices that he has stopped howling (it's a noise-activated toy that "flies" and makes a scary sound when there is a loud enough noise). But, the best part was trick or treating with her classmates -- they are such a cute set!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Preview - Part II

Kai is getting even more excited about Halloween. She made a Halloween mask at school yesterday and this evening we carved her pumpkin! Next up -- Ladybug Girl costume.

The Ultimate Bribe

Dinner with a three year old is a bit unpredictable, I've learned. Kai is generally a good eater. Meaning she eats all variety of things if you add up everything she has tried over her lifetime. And she doesn't have any foods that she refuses to eat as a rule -- except spicy food. She hates things with too much heat.

But, Kai is also a stubborn child who likes to be in charge. Which makes many dinners into a bit of a battle because she will declare she doesn't want to eat something we make just because she wants to dig her heels in. Even when she loves the food in question. Take mangoes, for instance. She loves them. What's not to love?

The other night when I made meatball sandwiches with a mango/strawberry fruit salad, Kai decided she wanted nothing to do with it. We learned long ago not to let Kai win her "stubborn wars" (as I like to call them) and have had a rule for awhile that she has to try at least one bite of everything we make for dinner (and more then one bite if she wants any sort of treat after dinner). I think because we are fairly consistent enforcers of this rule, Kai doesn't engage in battle too often anymore. Most nights, she will say "I don't WANT this. I don't LIKE it." And we will remind her that she needs to try one bite and she does. Easy peasy.

Not on meatball/mango/strawberry night this week. She was in a mood and decided she felt like seeing how far we would take the one bite rule. We told her she needed to eat one bite and she clamped her hand over her mouth and started gagging (Kai has drama queen down). We told her that if she wanted to watch the rest of her video after dinner (the one she was watching while we made dinner), she needed to eat her bites. She shook her head. We reminded her that one of these bites was of a mango (which she loves) and another was a strawberry (and she eats an entire pint of strawberries on her own every week at the Farmer's Market).

She whined, "I only want broccoli." Clever girl, asking for a vegetable that she doesn't usually like much but that we also did not have in stock, guaranteeing that we wouldn't be able to call her bluff. We ignored the broccoli request and stuck to our rule. She started sobbing about the broccoli (Eric was tempted to go to the store and get some broccoli just to see what would happen, but we held strong). We told her we would play Uno after dinner, but we needed everyone to finish taking a bite. She persisted. We took her Jessie doll away (because of the fit she was throwing more then her refusal to eat the food). She yelled at us (this is her newest expression of frustration -- she just lets out the highest pitched scream she can muster. So nice to be three and just be able to just let loose when someone is really irritating you!) She got a time out for the scream.

During time out, we regrouped. We told her to calm down. That she needed to eat her one bite, that it wasn't a big deal. And then I said, "guess what, Kailey?" She seemed relieved for the break and interested in the change of subject. I continued, "I got an owie today" (knowing that Kai loves owies). Now she was really curious and concerned. "How?" she asked. And then she said, "I want to see it." I knew she would ask to see it. She loves owies. I had her hooked. "I can show it to you, you just have to take your bites and then we can finish dinner and do other things like look at my owie and get a band-aid." Kai considered. She knew this was a critical decision point. She had refused the video, the Uno game, persisted when her Jessie doll was confiscated... but, the owie. It was hard to pass up the chance to see an owie, even in the interest of winning the stubborn battle (which, incidentally, is not a battle she has ever actually won... so, that may have factored into her decision making).

She relented and opened her mouth. I popped in a bite of mango. She ate it and demanded, "I want to see your owie." "Try a bit of meatball," I countered. She narrowed her eyes at me and opened her mouth and ate the meatball.

I showed her my owie. Luckily, it was a nice sized owie and didn't disappoint. "Ohhh.. mama. owie. Let's get a band-aid."

Battle over. Score one for the Owie Bribe. I have to remember that one. (And you thought the bribe was going to be a cupcake... the picture was just one from a recent birthday party. No relation to the actually bribery that we employ in this household. From now on, it's owie bribes all the way).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Preview

Kai is now at an age where she remembers holidays from years gone by and anticipates the upcoming celebrations. Despite the fact that I am not really a person who gets into the holiday spirit (any holiday, that is -- except birthdays. And Thanksgiving. Who doesn't like holidays that are all about pampering yourself or eating really awesome food?) I sort of love how she gets into the holiday spirit. At the moment, she is eagerly anticipating Halloween and talking about how she wants to be Ladybug Girl. Or Butterfly Girl. Or Princess Ceta (from Bug's Life). Or, ideally, all three. Sigh.

She also wants to go trick-or-treating. And she loves Halloween decorations outside of people's houses. She always yells out whatever the decoration is -- a witch! a ghost! a pumpkin!!

So, this evening, Eric came home with this mechanical ghost that is activated by noise and flies around making scary noises. He told Kai he had a Halloween present for her and she yelled, "OHHHH..what IS it?!?!" She was very excited. He showed her the box and she screamed, "OHHHH... I'm SOOO excited. I cannot wait. I LOVE it." She examined the box a bit more and said, "it's a scary ghost. It will scare us." She paused as Eric started opening the box. Then, with more urgency, she said, "it's scary." Eric took it out of the box (we didn't think she was actually afraid. Moments earlier she had been going on about how much she loved it). Suddenly, she charged into our bedroom (where I was) and started screaming hysterically, "don't open it. It's a ghost. It's scary. NOOOOOOOO." She was freaking out. Seriously. Terrified. I could feel her heart pounding away through her shirt.

We told her it was a toy, Eric showed her how it made noise, she clung to me screaming, "it's too scary. It's a ghost. NOOOOO."

We put it away. She cried and cried. Sobbing. Seriously freaked out.

She talked herself into being completely freaked by a Halloween toy. All by herself. From excited to terrified in 10 seconds flat... based entirely on her own understanding of the holiday without any prompting from us.

Seriously, this kid has the power of persuasion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The other day at the playground, Kai decided to play "carwash" (because she had recently been through the carwash with Nonnie). I drove my "car" up to her stand, and Kai said "Hi - what happened to your car?... Did you go camping?"


Later the same day at the playground, Kai was spinning her way down the corkscrew and started talking to herself, "I don't know why I do this everyday!"


Kai carries around a little purse, and we were sitting outside after a hike and she started going through it. "What would you like? I have ALL sorts of things in here!"


Driving to school earlier this week Kai announced, "when I grow up, I'm going to college" (we think she got this idea from Toy Story 3... ahhh, such good parenting. Introducing the concept of college through Pixar). "What's college?" I asked her. "I don't know!" she replied. Well, at least she's going!


We have started playing Uno with Kailey -- she is great at it. The first time she saw us shuffling the cards, she was fascinated. "What are you doing?" she inquired. I told her I was shuffling. About a week later, we were playing again and I started shuffling and asked her, "do you remember what this is?" Kai paused, scrunching up her face, then replies, "Flappering?" Well, that would be a better word for it.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer Vacation

I am back dating this post because I want our camping pictures up and I was completely remiss in posting them or writing about our awesome camping trip this summer. We had such a great time. Kai and Penny spent a lot of time pretending they were camping and using the cars as their pretend tents (despite the fact that the real tents were pitched right next to the cars!) Everyone loved swimming, cooking meals together (especially the salmon that we roasted over the open fire... yummy), and exploring. The threat of a forest fire didn't drive us out (although, it nearly did) but the rednecks with their ATVs and semi-automatic weapons did! We ended up having to pack up a night early and spend the last night at a developed campground (the other nights we were deep in the national forest).

It was really a fantastic trip -- hope we can do it again next year!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


(this picture really has nothing to do with this post... just like the picture!)

Kai pulled out an old toy tonight -- the one that has five pop-up doors, each hiding a different animal, and you have to do something to open each door (push a button, turn a key, flip a switch from side-to-side, flip a switch up or down, etc). She hasn't played with the game in well over a year. Obviously, at this point, she has no trouble getting the little animals to pop-up. But she was trying to close all 5 doors at the same time by laying on top of all the doors at once. She tried it several times, unsuccessfully.

Finally, exasperated, she shouted, "This toy is ADORABLE."

"Kailey, what do you think adorable means?" I asked her.

"It means this toy is NOT WORKING." She said.

"It means cute. Adorable means cute." I told her.

"No it doesn't. It means I don't like this!"

Ahhh vocabulary. It's so adorable!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Kailey continues to be very interested in letters and numbers - wanting to know how to spell all variety of words. She knows her letters (upper and lowercase) and the sounds the letters make -- and has started to understand the concept of sounding words out, which is pretty cool. We were in Starbucks recently and she was pointing at a sign and trying to sound out the word "Frappuccino". She kept pointing at the letters and saying, "F"... "FFffff"... "R"... "RRrrr" ... "A"... "Aaahhhh"... Finally, after several minutes, she scrunched up her face and turned to me, confounded, and demanded, "Mama, what does that SAY?" I told her it said "Frappuccino" and she said, "WHAT?!" (I love when she yells "WHAT?!" -- it cracks me up. The way she says it is totally incredulous). I told her it was a made up word, which seemed to satisfy her (because, that crazy word couldn't be a REAL word).

Given her fascination with all things letters, I decided to check out a bunch of "Bob's books" from the library for her and also downloaded the app so that she could practice some new words. Kai can now read the first book in the series all by herself and identify those words in other contexts (bringing the list of words she can read and spell up to about a dozen: cat, hat, sat, mat, sam, and, the, Kailey, Mama, Dada, stop, sad... I think that's about it. She can also "read" construction signs that say "road work ahead", although, I bet she couldn't do that out of context (I haven't written the words down to find out).

But, as much as she loves letters and numbers, she also likes learning to read pretty much by herself and in her own way and she is frustrated by the fact that she doesn't know ALL the words already (as in all of them. Seriously). She doesn't like to not know a word, and she doesn't like to get help in learning it either. I think she believes she can just pick it all up through osmosis, or something. If I point to a word she knows, she is happy to yell out what the word is at the top of her lungs. But, if I point to a new word she doesn't know, she gets very grumpy about it and mutters, "I don't know". She hates not knowing.

And she hates to be wrong. Sometimes she will mix up a word or concept - and, if we point out her error - she will insist that she intended to say it incorrectly. "I was just KIDDING, Mama. Silly Mama," she will say to me (as though I am the one that misunderstood the joke). She reminds me a bit of her Aunt Katie in this regard (who will never live down the day that we asked her to just say the words "I'm wrong" out loud without any context -- just to say them and demonstrate that she could, in fact, speak the words -- and she wouldn't/couldn't do it... genes are weird.)

The combination of Kailey wanting to know everything without first admitting to not knowing something is a bit of a challenge. The iPad has been somewhat useful in this regard because she doesn't mind if the computer knows something that she doesn't. She just really doesn't like me to tell her something that she didn't previously know. It's like admitting weakness, or something. So stubborn... wherever did she get that from?

But with her stubbornness comes a dogged determination that I so love... and watching her master new skills - like reading - is just incredible.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Kai has been a bit obsessed with cake decorating videos for a couple of months now. She has them all memorized, and frequently decorates "cakes" at her play kitchen, announcing each step: "first, we cut off the dome," she'll declare. She talks about the different colors, about squeezing the pastry tubes from the bottom, and about the crumb coat.

So, this weekend we decided to tackle a real cake. Kai was so excited. The first time we mixed up the batter, we weren't able to actually bake the cakes (oven wouldn't work) so we tossed the batter and tried again the next day. The videos never provided any instruction about the actual baking of the cake -- so the previous day's efforts were quite instructive. Kai had paid close attention, and when we tried it again, she knew all the steps. She pulled out the measuring cups and the cake pan and told us, "this is for the oil, this is for the water, and this is for the eggs... I'LL crack the eggs! And I'LL do the mixing." We let her at it. She wanted to eat the batter as much as she wanted to mix it, and we had to keep reminding her to keep her hands out of her creation.

Waiting for the cakes to cool was realllllyyyyyy hard and Kai kept popping open the fridge to check on how her cakes were doing.

Finally, it was time to decorate. "FIRST, we cut off the dome." She told us. "Let me get my knife." Once the dome was off she said, "and we can snack on the dome... can I snack on it?" You sort of have to watch these videos to know how funny this all was -- she was literally quoting the videos nearly word for word (when the cake decorating helpfully let's us know that we can "go ahead and snack on the dome" of the cake after we cut it off). Kai snacked away.

Then we did our crumb coat. It was rather crumby... but, no worries. That's the whole point! Kai loved spreading the frosting and wanted us to help as little as possible.

And finally, we started the actual frosting and decorating. Kai was so proud of her creation, which we took to school today to share with all her friends:


Ack! I missed a whole month of posting. How did that happen? I think that's the first time since Kai was born that I haven't managed to get at least one post in during the month. So, a quick update on July -- we had a great month. Lots of visitors (Grammy and Amy) - and Kai had a great time with both visits. We also drove to Oregon to help out with the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) -- well, not the event itself. Just watching Leo and Soren. It was agreat weekend. Kai did fantastic during the long drive (12 hours in the car is no joke.. but downloading a new movie before we left home was our salvation. She did fantastic as she memorized all the lines to "A Bug's Life"!)

I'm so glad we went because it was really fun to watch Kai follow her big cousins around like some sort of star-struck groupie. And they were so amazing with her -- sharing all their toys, including her in all the activities. Particularly the wagon rides around campus at break-neck speed resulting in several spills. Kai's inclination when she gets cuts is to cry and yell, "I'm BLEEDING" with the upmost drama... but, with the twins, she did no such thing. She observed them bounce right back up, right the wagon, and jump back on and she followed suit. Although, the next time they approached a corner she yelled, "SLOW DOWN!"

The kids had a great time handing out popsicles and ice-cream to the conference-goers. Kai was a bit aggressive with her popsicles. She would thrust one at any person who walked by and, if they passed her by, she would pursue them... continuously jabbing the frozen treat at the person and saying, "POPSICLE". Luckily, she's three -- so, most found her adorable instead of objectionable. And, she loved doing "her job".

This month we are going camping with Amy, Dave, Leo, Soren, Doug, Sarah, Penny and Max -- it's going to be mayhem in the forest! Pictures to come!

Monday, June 27, 2011

More artwork by Kai

Kai is quickly improving on her version of a "smiling sun" -- which now has become a person, of sorts. Complete with "clickety clack" shoes (this is what Kai calls shoes with heels). Also, she tells me that one of the people in the picture has an "owie" but that she drew a band-aid on it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Expert Witness

I've mentioned before that Kai is referred to as "mini Angie" at daycare in reference to her lawyering tendencies. Indeed, Kai may be an even better witness then a lawyer. She is quite good at sticking to her talking points and ducking the question before her in order to avoid blame.

The other day, I set Kai up with her breakfast cereal and proceeded to leave the room and continue to get ready for the day. When I returned, Kai had her bowl upside down on the table and was splashing in the puddle as milk dripped onto the floor. As soon as she saw me, she started and frantically -- guiltily -- started waving at me and saying, "hi, Mama! Hi! I'm just saying hi to you!"

"What are you doing, Kai?" I asked.

"What?" she responded.

"What are you doing?" I repeated.

"Huh?" she repeated.

"KAI -- the cereal. Did you dump it out?" I asekd.

"What?" she said, doing an impressive imitation of someone who is hard of hearing.

"Kai -- I know you can hear me. What did you do?" I asked her.

"What?" she said -- which, really, takes nerve at this point. She totally had a straight face. She was looking right at me. She just wasn't going to give.

"Let's just clean it up." I said.

"OK!" Kai agreed, looking relieved.

Your witness, counsel. She's a tough nut to crack!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More artwork by Kai

This is the first picture Kai has done that isn't either coloring in the entire page or a random assortment of letters. She tells us it's a "smiling sun". I love it!

Kai, the songwriter

A song about sea otters (and dolphins)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tonight, at Bedtime

Kailey decided she wanted to sleep with about 10 stuffed animals at bedtime tonight. "No," I told her, "pick 2."

She protested, "I want them ALLLLLL."

"Two or none," I replied (this is my version of "choices" that they talk about for toddlers).

She glared at me.

"Two or none," I repeated. "Which do you want?"

"Two," she replied, considering her pile of stuffed animals, and selecting the dog and the ballerina. Then she grabbed her Jessie doll and said, "this one is for YOU, Mama" with a triumphant look in her eye.

I laughed and let it be three.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Kai is obsessed with letters. Most of her drawings consist of random assortments of Ts and Os and Ms and Ks and Es and Is and more Ts (she likes Ts) and As. Every once in awhile she inadvertently spells a new word and, when I point it out to her, she gets super excited and starts pointing to every other collection of letters on the page demanding, "what's that spell?!" She can spell "Kailey", "Mama", "Daddy", "Ava", "Cat", "Dog", and "Stop". She has gotten quite good at writing her name - so good, in fact, that I didn't believe that it was her own handwriting when I picked her up at school this week and collected her artwork from her box.

She sees letters all the time, pointing to branches in the tree that are crossed at a certain angle and yelling, "Hey!! There's an "L"!" She'll see some grass on the sidewalk and declare the pieces to be a "T" or an "I". She asks me how to spell words constantly, repeating each letter after I say it.

And, just now, she was standing next to me on the couch and licking her finger and then "writing" letters on the window. Gross.

Future writer? Obsessive compulsive disorder? Just a simple fascination with letters and words (and the power of reading and writing)?

Who knows -- but the letter obsession is pretty entertaining.