26 Months - Little Helper Guy

December 8, 2011

Dear Teo,
Every morning you wake up at the crack of dawn and tell me with cheerful enthusiasm - "Mama, it's play time!"  While I am still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, you are gently nudging me out of the bed, "Mama, get down, please.  You on my sweeper truck."  Sometimes it is a garbage truck or a fire truck.  You set up a cab and driver's seat with the pillows, and off we go, sweeping streets, collecting trash, saving people, making the world a better place.

Another pretend play theme that has really inspired you is gift giving.  You like to wrap up your toys in one of your baby blankets or in one of my scarves and give them to me and Papa to unwrap.  One night you had a great idea.  You wrapped yourself up as a gift.  I opened my gift.  What could it be!?!  It has a fuzzy head.  It has elbows.  It has a soft belly.  Oh!  It's a little boy!  I've always wanted one of these!  This is the best gift ever!  Then you and I wrapped ourselves up as a gift for Papa.  The three of us went on like this - being gifts for each other - for a good 20 minutes one evening.

So much of your pretend play is about helping / cleaning / working / fixing.  Sometimes I see boys your age doing violent pretend play ("This my Tommy gun.  I shoot you."), and I try to imagine how a child would come to that theme at such a young age.  Television, I'm sure.  I am glad you are growing up with the awareness that there is strength and power in being kind. 

One other thing you pretended was . . . MOMMY BROCCOLI.  I swear you came up with this on your own.  You told me your bee pillow pet was Mommy Broccoli, and she wanted to wear one of my shirts.  You picked out a green one, and I dressed Ms. Broccoli.  She took a bath in a "steamer basket," and then gave a piggyback ride to baby squirrel.  I think with a creative mind like that, you'll probably grow up to be a novelist or something. 

Here you are playing with Oceana and Miles on Thanksgiving. I can't believe I didn't take any more photos on this wonderful evening.  Papa made Thanksgiving dinner this year, and we invited Grammy, Auntie Sarah, Oceana, Miles and his parents (Bill and Paula), and our friends Mark and Karen to join us.  The food was fabulous, and we all had a great time.  I got to play a few piano duets with Mark and Paula, and you and Miles played a little, too.  We played hide-and-seek, jumped on the bed, and had a wild and happy time.  

 A little prince - exploring Mommy's jewelry box. 

A happy day at Mt. Pisgah.

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands.

-Jack Johnson

25 Months - Pumpkins Patch and Halloween

November 21, 2011

Dear Teo,
We made our annual pumpkin patch excursion, this time with our friends, Paula and Bill, and their son Miles.  We've known Miles since he was a few months old, and the two of you are friends (your understanding of friendship is always expanding, which is fascinating to watch).  

Picking out a pumpkin is serious business!

I'm not sure who was more excited about the tractor - you or Papa!
(No, Michael, you can't have one for Christmas.)

Feeding one of the baby goats.

Eating (I mean, kissing) Papa's nose. 

We went to another pumpkin patch / apple orchard with friends, Caroline and Lucy.  We went on a hayride, drank cider, climbed on a hay maze, and picked out some produce from their farm stand.  

And then there was this old, beat up tractor - you had a whole story about it needing a new battery, you used your tools to fix the radiator, and you told me what all the levers were for.   No joke, you spent about an hour on this thing! 

For Halloween, we got you a fire fighter costume, which you wore almost every day this month EXCEPT Halloween!
It was fun to get into my old belly dance clothes to go to a Halloween party.

Shakin' your sillies out!

On Papa's bike.

At Bounce Gymnastics.

Play-dough Happy Cake

 Playing with rice in your sensory box.

Sitting in your "Tree House" at a nearby park.

Second Birthday

November 1, 2011

Dear Teo,
Choo, choo!  You turned two (over a month ago, and I'm just now sitting down to write about it!).  We started the day out by painting a cardboard box train with Oceana. 

 You opened some special presents from Opapa, including this John Deer tractor, a set of tools and some farm animals (all of which you love and play with regularly!).

 This is the cake I made with carrots Papa grew in the garden.  

 And this, my little love, is how you spent at least half of your party - hidden away in the bushes, examining the flora and enjoying some quiet time. 

 Two of your favorite adopted aunties.

 Making a crown with Papa.

The Little Prince. 

 Oceana's creative use for water balloons.

Blowing out your candles.

Happy Birthday, sweetie! 
And thank you to everyone who helped make the day special. 

2 Years Old

October 17, 2011

So much happened last month that I barely know where to begin!

We spent a few days in Portland so that I could attend an infant massage instructor workshop.  You and Papa got lots of quality time together while I was in class.  We also had some time together as a family to go to the Portland Zoo.  The animals seemed to be only moderately interesting to you.  The big highlight was riding the zoo train.
There is also an old steam engine outside the zoo grounds called "Peggy."  You were able to climb on it and pretend to drive it.  You adored Peggy and cried hard when we had to leave.

Another big event this month was our visit with Uncle Levi, Aunt Adrienne, and your cousins, Indigo, Jaden and River.  We met up with them in Redmond and stayed for a couple of nights at a resort.  You enjoyed hanging out with the kids.  You and River spent a long time working on a project of your own design, putting bits of grass, sticks and leaves in the crevices of a tree trunk.
We rented some bikes one day, and on our ride we saw a knuckleboom loader.  Weeks later when we saw one in one of your construction books, you said, "That like one we saw with Uncle Levi."  You also occasionally tell me, "I like Uncle Levi," or "My thinking about Jaden / Indigo," or you ask me, "Talk about River?"   I'm sure I'll say it a million times more, but I wish we lived closer to them!

Blackberry picking with Lucy and her mama.  Lucy was interested in holding your hand, and you nonchalantly allowed this. 

We've been meeting up most weekends with Miles and his mama at the library.  You are no longer interested in going to music time (I think it is just more kids and commotion than you like), so we have a nice routine of returning last week's books, playing in the courtyard (shown below), getting new books, and eating a bagel at the cafe. 
With Miles in his wagon.

Current favorite book: Curious George Goes to a Costume Party.  There is a line that makes you absolutely crack up every time I read it: "That's not a ghost, it's a cowboy!  That's not a cowboy, it's a monkey!  That's not just any monkey, it's Curious George!"  Endless giggles!

Pretending to be a digger (or doing some meditative Tai Chi).  Little wise one.

Hanging out with Grammy.  Best buddies. 
 A visit from friends, Mark and Karen before they headed off on another adventure.

 An absolutely fantastic day at Alsea Falls. 

 Potty training your baby doll.

You, being your sweet, funny, wonderful self. 

Family Photo Shoot by Kelli G

August 28, 2011

My friend and co-worker, Kelli G, has been doing our family photos since I was pregnant with Teo.   Here is another batch of great shots she took this summer at Hendrick's Park.



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