Toy Machine

Me: Ada, why did you dump out all of your toys???  Your room is a wreck!
Ada: I needed the toy boxes.  I made a machine.
Me: What kind of a machine is it it?
Ada: It is a machine that spews out toys!


She Plays Hard...

Today's Adaism(s):
{Preface: I nurse Dax in the car after school most days}
Ada: Can you wait to buckle me in my carseat until after you finish eating Dax?
Me: I'm going to go put Dax to bed, baby- are you OK in here watching TV for a little bit?
Ada: Fine. Go.  You just go.

Ada has been drawing her face just about daily lately:
With glittery "Hello Kitty" pen.

With letter stamps.

With black {THANKFULLY} washable marker.
She's less proud in this one, because this is where I stop thinking it's cute, and begin getting perturbed.  

And I realized after going through my phone pictures this week, it's likely it stemmed from our most recent trip to Chick-Fil-A on "Family Night"- where they have a clown making balloons and painting faces.  

I also mentioned in my last post that I wanted to take a few pictures of Ada's abandoned play scenarios.  I came upon this first scene at bedtime one night, and decided to stage the other recent ones I've stumbled upon lately that have made me chuckle-
All of her doll house toys in a large gang guarding their house.  Even the cars and furniture are in on the action.  I love how they're all facing the same direction- watching some approaching danger?

One of these things doesn't belong here....

A pony stand-off.

Barbie and penguin riding into the sunset.  Do you think this was in LA or Antarctica?  

And, lastly- Murphy's moved back indoors!  The house is just an absolute disgusting wreck (in my opinion) with or without him inside these days... so we decided to go ahead and let him realize his dream of becoming an indoor dog once again.  He was, after all, our first child!  He'll be NINE this year!  
He's adopted Ada's baby comforter. 



Me: Ada, don't color on your face, baby.  That can make your skin hurt.
Ada: NO, MOM!  I don't have skin!  Kids don't even need skin.  Only SKELETONS NEED SKIN.
{There ya have it.}

Ada is completely resistant to doing any sort of learning related activity at home with me.  Which is sort of problematic, since we are considering stay-at-home-mom options for next year- you don't really want to yank your pre-schooler out of pre-school just 2 years before Kindergarten if she refuses to let you educate her!  

But, I think we may have found a solution.  Technology.  Who knew that you could use Technology to engage young children, and trick them into learning things?!  {Sarcasm
Confession: I've been avoiding it.  I used to kind of secretly judge moms who utilized these resources.  Thinking to myself: children these days are so dependent on computers, apps, internet, TV.  They should be playing, exploring, reading, learning. Churning butter. Milking cows.  Building life-sized, livable homes with plumbing out of Lincoln Logs.

I downloaded an app in a moment of weakness on my phone this past weekend {after 5,001 different approaches to help Ada remember to quit skipping from 14-18 when counting to 20.} She sat, for over an hour, correctly identifying letters and sounds that we had no idea she knew.  She whipped through 26 letter puzzles. She happily discussed things related to learning. 

She still skipped 15, 16, & 17 when counting.  

So, we rushed out and foolishly dropped $600 on happily purchased an iPad.  And this girl is obsessed!  And I am now one of "those" mothers.  Oh well!

Speaking of technology, I've been wasting even more money utilizing my Sweetish Baby profits to purchase some more geeky things!  I purchased a subscription to a website for my Sweetish Baby stuff.  I'm not ready to advertise the domain just yet- I want to develop it a little more before I bear my soul!  :)  It's not going to be just Sweetish Baby.  

I describe the website as: 
a "platform" for the boutique.  It'll be one of several different sections of a webpage where I will post craft tutorials, health/nutrition, & budget tips {all centered around all things domestic- easy healthy recipes, eating healthy on a budget, inexpensive entertainment for your child- probably won't blog about that impulsive iPad moment!- etc}  Eventually, I'm operating under the assumption that the goal will be to generate enough traffic that I will be able to "monetize" it. {Allow/attract advertisements.}

And, worst case scenario: if it flops, I only lost a week's profits from the monograms and bows! :)

And, I also purchased PhotoShop Elements.  {One of my pseudo new year's resolution was to begin taking better photographs of the kids and Sweetish Baby merchandise/website posts- so this was a business investment!}  Here are some " doctored up" pictures of Dax's awesome afternoon in the swing on Sunday-

I love these KIDS!


Videos: Defying Authority & A Dance Party

(Those lucky 10 family members that receive these updates via email, remember you need to go to our actual blog site, The Daily Dowell, to view these videos!)

This is what Dax thinks of being told "no"-

This is Dax's version of a Dance Party-

Luuuuurrrrrvvve this boy so much!  


Dax- 10 months

My DaxyBear is 10 months old!  He is just about the most adorable thing EVER- he and Ada are pretty much tied for "Cutest Baby Ever To Crawl This Earth", in my opinion.  :)

He accidentally took a step a few days ago- he was scaling the living room (that kid runs circles around the perimeter of the room- with one hand on furniture, a wall, or windowsill at all times!), took his hand off, but continued walking.  He scared himself a little, so immediately dropped to the floor and crawled the rest of the way.  

He says "Ada"- especially in the backseat of the car when they have nothing to do but stare at each other and make faces.  He babbles all kinds of other important messages, too.  He signs "more" and "all done" and "eat", and is learning "drink" now the he *finally* learned how to actually drink from a sippy cup.  For some reason, he could not figure that one out!  

He's sort of becoming a biter. :(  He's been biting me (my shoulder, ankle, boob) since he was about 4-5 months old.  Then it turned into occasional daddy bites, and then Ada bites, and now 2 days in a row at school he's bitten friends.  He's had to have the "Teeth Are Not For Biting" book read to him by his teachers, like, 6 times now.  I am *hoping* he's teething, and that is the explanation for the sudden increase.  His teachers say its never out of malice- that he gets this look in his eyes that says "Oh, you look chubby and tasty!" and then goes in for the kill.  Poor victims.  

If Ada is going to be my artsy-fartsy, creative, quirky free spirit- Dax is going to be my engineer.  This kid  LOVES to spend his time making things fit, taking things apart, and solving the mysteries of the world.  (Last weekend at dinner he devised a way to keep Casey's palm open so he could snatch Cheerios out of it without Casey closing his hand back.)

He still loves bath time and hates getting out.  He is fascinated by the washing of Ada's hair, and now constantly tries to take her rinsing cup and dump it out on her head after watching me do it to her for 10 months.  

I adore this little boy, and can't believe there is only one more monster photo shoot before he turns 1. (For which I am in the midst of planning a MONSTER BASH for!)  Here are our pictures from this month's photo shoot- it's becoming virtually impossible to maintain that consistent black background!  Plus, we accidentally gave Murphy the larger black blanket, so I'm working with scraps, here.  :)

Look at those sweet puppy eyes!

I adore this one.


Lately, in Phone Pix...

I am so bad these days about taking quality pictures of the kids.  One of my many pseudo-New Year's resolutions was to begin doing so- in fact, I am about to purchase PhotoShop with my recent Sweetish Baby profits!  Which I think will be some motivation to get out the "real" camera.  But for now, you'll have to survive on my phone snapshots!

Before we get to those, though- I have more Adaisms.  They all happened today, and I want to write them down before I forget them- because she had Casey and I ROLLING!  All of these happen either on a car ride, or about to begin one:

Casey: What's the name of that hospital in Katy?  St. Joseph? St. Jude?
Me: St. Christus?
Ada (from the backseat): SAY CHEEEEESE!

Ada: Daddy, I want my jacket- I'm so very cold.
Casey: It's in the trunk, honey.
Me: No, I've got it- here you go, Ada.
Ada: DADDY- IT WAS NOT IN THE TRUNK.  You said it was in the trunk, and it wasn't.
Casey: I'm sorry, Ada- I really thought it was in the trunk.  But you've got it now, so it doesn't matter.
Ada: Anyway, cars do NOT have trunks.  Only elephants can have trunks.

Casey & I, having a conversation...
Ada: DOTTIE! (Her pet dragon) You POOPED in your PANTS!  Oh my goodness.  Here, wipe with this.  And put these on.  Oh my goodness...

While getting everyone and everything back into the car after a family trip to the mall, I turn around to find Ada letting her cup of pineapple juice (from dinner) loosely hang over onto Dax's side of the stroller, and he was sucking at it FURIOUSLY.

And now, here are some cute pictures I've taken lately of random happenings---

I nurse Dax in the car everyday after school, and he figured out which contraption turned the windshield wipers on last week.  I couldn't keep him focused because he wanted to keep playing with them.  High, low, off, ultra-high.  Repeat!

I found Ada had unwrapped every piece of gum in a new package, and constructed a "sidewalk" on the counter....

I usually carry Dax in the papoose when we grocery shop, but recently purchased a fancy new one (that helps support his hefty weight better than the old one!), but doesn't let him face forward.  So he gets bored... so he got his first taste of the "car cart" at HEB!  (He used to refuse to ride in the shopping cart, which is why I papoose him in the first place).... 

...And he LOVED IT!  He sounded like a fire engine barreling through HEB with all of this squeals of joy!!

SQUUEEEAAALLL!!  And look at Sweet Ada, she is such a wonderful sister.  Love them both so so much!!!


My Student Council Kiddos

Totally random, but this is a picture of my Student Council kids.  This is actually only about half of them- there was a big Calculus test today, so being the stellar students that they are, many of them utilized today's "Enrichment" period to prepare for that instead of coming for the Yearbook photo!  :)  Love them.
This is the actual photo I submitted for the yearbook...

... but THIS is the picture that does our club a bit better justice!


She makes me laugh!

Ada is seriously hysterical.  I know kids are just notoriously random and funny- but the things that come flying out of my 3 year old's mouth seem to be ultra-ridiculous, sometimes!  Here are some recent ones off of the top of my head (while I pump on my lunch break)-

Ada: "Lord, thank you for our food, for our cozy bed, for our friends..."
Me: "Ada, are you saying your prayers, sweet girl!?"

As we looked at a human anatomy book smack dab in the middle of Barnes and Noble, Ada shouts "YOU EAT FOOD AND POOP IT OUT YOUR HINEY, AND YOU DRINK DRINKS AND TEETEE IT OUT OF YOUR VAGINA!"  (She loooves the human body, BTW!)

(I can't remember if I've posted this next one:)
Ada: "I'm a princess mom, you're not.  There can only be one."
Me: "That's fine- because I'm the QUEEN!"
Ada: "Yes.  I'm a princess, you're a queen, and Dax is a ... GOOFBALL!"

After attempting 3 times for write the letter A (each time accidentally making an H- which she can't technically write, either) she says "Welp.  Can't do it.  I want some pizza now."

Ada (at least twice a day): "HEY MOM!  COME CHECK THIS OUT!" {insert some hysterical scenario she's placed her stuffed animals in or something.  Yesterday the entire toy box was out on the ground, and everyone was facing forward in rows "watching a movie."  Sometimes she takes the DVDs out of the drawer and organizes them in some sort of maze.  Once, she took out an entire box of organic wipes and constructed a trail around her room.)

Speaking of playing- I always find little remnants of a good, hard play around the house- animals in precarious situations (usually a group stand off or timeout).  Barbies in the barbie car with their hand in a wave, and a penguin in the passenger seat.  An entire grocery store sporatically set up around her room.  I really should snap a picture next time, because it makes me smile!

Me: "What is it!?"
{insert very genuine tears, it was actually heartbreaking!}

Ada: "Look at the picture I colored on my {car} window, Mom!"
Me: "OMG."

Ada: {insert some snotty statement}
Me: "Ada, don't you talk to your mother that way!"

Ada (playing drive-thru in her new play house): "Whatchu want, Momma?"
Me: "I'll take McGriddle cakes, please!"
Ada: "Nope, I'm out."
Me: "OK, I'll have a smoothie."
Ada: "I don't have any smoothies, today."
Me: "Um, how about a Frappacino?"
Ada: "Nope."
Me: "What do you have?"
Ada: {insert something random that she then furiously prepares for me}

There are thousands, millions more!  I love her SO darn much!


Jackie's Story

In this gift bag is approximately $2300-
It is for one of the most beautiful, kind, intelligent, wonderful, DESERVING girls I have ever had the privilege to know.  I first met Jackeline Reyes at the beginning of last year in Chemistry- I knew immediately I was going to fall madly in love with her {which I did!}. She is so sweet and quiet, yet has this underlying spunk that you can't help but notice and adore.  She ended up being one of the smartest kids I've ever taught, and hands down the best student I had last year {possibly ever???} 

I was beyond thrilled to see her sweet face in my 2nd period Anatomy class the first day of school this year- although I could tell she was feeling... off.  I couldn't place it.  Was she sad?  Was is it her health?  A few days into school, Jackie stayed after class to let me know that she'd be missing a little school.  It was all of the above.  It was cancer.  It was Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. 

She immediately began aggressive chemotherapy several times a week.  She lost her beautiful hair.  She underwent chemo treatments for months- feeling ill, feeling down, yet continuing her Senior year on the "homebound program."  Never ceasing to amaze me with her high As on Anatomy assignments, tests, and projects that she did 100% on her own.

I mean, this is bad enough, right!??!?!  It gets even more heartbreaking.  I ran into Jackie and her mother after school one day while they were at Katy HS ironing out some homebound details.  After questioning them a little with what was meant to be small-talk, I realized "struggling" was probably an understatement.  Gloria Reyes cleans homes for a living- yet Jackie's treatments are all downtown and take a huge chunk of time.  Add to that fighting Houston traffic to and from the med-center... ick. 

I found out that Jackie's father is not in the picture.  Not because they are divorced, or he ran off- because he passed away from Pancreatic cancer when Jackie was a toddler.  It is just Jackie and her mother, trying to survive this horrific tragedy, in the wake of their already-tragic-loss a decade ago.

So another teacher (Jen Blair) and I decided to take action.  We sent an email to the staff explaining her situation- hoping to raise a few hundred dollars to help the Reyes girls out during the holiday season- pay a bill, purchase a few Christmas gifts, etc.  The response was astounding.  Hundreds of dollars began pouring in.  People were writing checks for $100.  Putting wads of anonymous $20s and $50s in my box.  Teachers who I KNOW are also suffering from cancer and the treatment's effects donated.  People that I KNOW are struggling financially donated.  I reached out to Casey's company, Aerotek- and received an outrageous donation from them, too. 

I have to recognize two donors.  LizAnn Wheeler (who works with Casey) gave $250, and Hunter & Ashleigh Gaulke donated $350.  I.  Was. Floored.  The blessings that these people were giving was beyond my wildest dreams.

Jen and I met at Jackie's house at the beginning of the holiday break to give this generous gift to Jackie- only to find out that she and her mother were in a car accident the day before on their drive home from radiation.  Totaling their only car.  This gift couldn't have come at a better time for them.

Jackie occasionally blogs at My Cancer Journey.  Her reasoning behind sparse posts is that she gets "lazy" and "procrastinates" ... that shows you right there how little this girl complains.  She just amazes me, and I cannot wait until she returns this semester with a clean bill of health so I can love on her every day!


Christmas Break

Christmas Break is over as of tomorrow morning at 5:30am.  I'm more depressed than usual- I just love these kids SO much, and could just hang out with them all day, every day.  OK- maybe not ALL day, EVERY day- but that's what nap time is for!  Here is a sweet video I shot the other day:
I just have to make it about 6 weeks, and then Casey's company is sending us on an all-expense paid vacay to Mexico (even our day trips and spa days and golf are covered, yay!)- since he's so kick a$$.  I can do that!  (Then Spring Break.  Then Good Friday.  Then Finals.  Then SUMMER!)