"Imaginative play is a precursor of conceptual thought – in which possibilities are explored upon the inner 'stage' of a child's imagination." – Erik Erikson

I guess Danielle is at the age where imaginary play is important. Several articles I read and also Parenting magazine tell me that it is good to pretend. It even made it into the what to expect the toddler years book so I guess it is normal. All that reading has made it easier for me to tolerate the constant stream of noise that is associated with imaginary play. Danielle seems capable of speaking about 95 percent of the time that she is awake. You just have to know if she is talking to you or talking for one of the my little ponies or lizard. Sometimes she asks us to leave her alone so she can go play. She yells "don't come" and then goes into the basement with her tea set. A few days ago she decided that she wanted to be a princess and wear her bug pajama pants all day.

Not one to stifle creativity, especially when the process involves less work for me, I let her wear those bug pants for two days straight. Maybe she will let me replace them with bug dress- people don't like toddlers who are wearing bug pants.

Thinking about imaginary play makes me realize that I still do this important developmental skill. I regularly try to have imaginary play. Just the other day I imagined that my house was really clean and organized. John likes the idea of having pink walls in my imaginary play, and we have a tiled back splash in our kitchen with granite counter tops and hardwood floors. For three hours I tried to imagine it. The house still didn't get clean though so I clearly need to work on the imagining more. I'm not sure but I think I wasn't pregnant in my imagining- would you be pregnant for imaginary play? I hope not. Danielle was coloring quietly at her table and I was rocking in my green chair that I love. Can you covet something you already own?

Now if only I could get Danielle to let me have a chance with that great hat.



Well Saturdays are nice around our new house. Mostly they involve lots of manual labor. After one week of living here Danielle was finshed- but I was also a little bit fed up with the heat. She kept asking to go home- referring to our old house- we decided maybe she wasn't having enough fun. So she hates living here- I guess that is normal for kids in a move
So I finally did something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Danielle is signed up at a baby gym. I haven't found any gyms here with childcare but I did find the gymboree kids gym. Has anyone noticed how hard it is to find a class for a two year old? At the last gymboree they called her age group "beasts" and it seems no one wants to see a child until they are three years old. I also couldn't find any swimming classes online. No dance classes start before three. I still haven't convinced John to call the mixed martial arts people. I think Danielle could be good at mixed martial arts. She did go through a hitting phase.
After an hour of running all over the place we went to a very special lunch. I am a little relieved that McDonalds isn't running their beanie baby promotion anymore- Why do you have a little display with a pony in it if there are no ponies in the store? Clearly these people don't know what it is like to be two. We asked for the boy toy because it was a car. Danielle insisted on sitting in the Ronald chair. I guess if it is too small you like it in terms of high chairs. Danielle was excited for her kids cone (crease cone) and I was excited that she didn't notice when I leveled the cone into her happy meal box while she was looking out the window. Aparently they don't actually have a kids size cone at McDonalds these days.
Gymnastics start at the beginning of September. Danielle already likes to jump off of things, so I figure she has a leg up. They start at 18 months though, so she is probably out of Olympic contention.


Chocolate Milk

Some really great parents feed their children all organic foods and lots of whole grains. These parents never have trouble trying to get their kids to be healthy. Everyone who has ever talked about their children finds out that they know lots of these people. A number of them actually don't have children yet, but when they do- watch out. They know all the tricks.
Since I don't claim to be one of these people I always look compromises. I guess my child left to her own devices would just run on the podium at church or maybe run away in a public store. At least she trusts I won't leave her I guess. I am glad she understands bribes and consequences. For instance she knows that if we go to Home Depot she gets a treat. Only if she sits in the cart (which is only worth a treat half the time). Also if she splashes in the bath and it gets on the floor or on mommy bath time is over.
Since I only recently stopped giving her bottles, I had to come up with a new bribe. I guess Danielle only liked milk from a bottle. She drinks chocolate Nesquick at Sara's house just fine, but I guess I can only buy the yucky kind. So she went from drinking the maximum amount of milk her pediatrician said was fine to none.
Enter dove promises. Gone are the days when she faked a sip of milk because we told her she had to. Just a few weeks later, Danielle drank three glasses of milk today. Full glasses. Then she clapped her hands together in glee and went to the fridge to get her chocolate.
I am conscious that she get all the nutrition she needs, including yummies.


Death of a Lowes Customer

Well we tried to buy a fence from Lowes the other day. Earlier we had tried to order it but were told to come back between 6pm and 5pm. So we came in at 4:45 and Bob told us to go outside and look at what they had to special order. I guess there was a book out there. After looking I couldn't find the book so we picked something they had in stock. We went back in and Mr. Bob was gone. Then we went to the customer service desk. They said they could find someone to help us order the fence. The employee they found looked suspiciously wet. Maybe he had also been looking for fences in the 90 degree weather outside. He said he couldn't help us because the general something manager had to order the fence since it was in stock.
So at 6:00 we left and went out to dinner. I have always been loyal to Lowes over Homedepot but I think people here are determined to change my mind. Last time I tried to buy a dryer at lowes we waited for 40 minutes to not be helped.
The next day we ordered an in stock fence from Home Depot. They are delivering it this weekend. And they have candy in their store so Danielle wasn't crying. The employee walked with us to show us what he had of the fences and they took our 10% off coupon. It took less than one hour. For 59 dollars they are delivering it to our house.
and he walked outside himself. in the rain. and didn't get mad when Danielle tried to steal the rocks from his display. Why do some stores make it hard to be loyal to them? I've noticed since moving here that people regularly don't want to wait on you. the economy here isn't very good so you think they would try to help you- but we've had surveyors not show up after trying to get things done. That's Pennsylvania I guess.


Before. Well, before it is done

Here are some pictures of our dining room/future office. We decided to copy Mark and Sara because we liked their Ikea built in desks so much. Mark helped. But what should I do with the light? It is too low right now and John always hits his head on it (when there isn't furniture obstructing the way.) Diane said it would look cool if we painted it a different color. I think she recommended black. Do you have any advice? Do you hate it or love it? There is no in between after all.
Stay tuned for the next few steps. sadly, the fantastic window coverings with tassles had already been taken down when we took this photo. Luckily they are still in the front room so I might be able to capture a picture before I have to burn them.
Or if you like them maybe you could win them in a bloggy giveaway. They are green silk drapes after all, and they could fit over a very large window. Much larger than the ones in our front room, as a matter of fact.



Danielle and I went to John's convocation. We made it through a few of the speakers before Danielle informed me that she was ready to go home. She can be quite persuasive when she wants to be. We played out in the hall even though she wanted to go back to the park and also go to the "beach." I think we could have made it through at least an hour except there was no food or drink allowed so my chocolate bribe didn't work. And we lost three of the twenty plastic dinosaurs.
Danielle was a little bit put out when we had to leave the park to visit Daddy anyway- I didn't realize anything was better than seeing daddy, but going on the swings and chasing rabbits apparently rocks. Even when it is 90 degrees and you are getting swarmed with gnats. While we were at the park I saw a family driving up through the trees on what looked like part of a small walking path with cobblestones. Their power blue Oldsmobile barely made it- but I think they were happy to be able to park right by the playground and pull out their cooler. Nothing like a drive in park I guess, especially with those bench seats and handle roll down windows. Those were some of the first mullets I've seen in a few days, and I never realized how much I missed them.
Maybe I'm glad we decided to live a little further away from that park.
Danielle of course found a rock as soon as we got to the park. I'm glad we've never been at a place where she gets in trouble for displacing rocks- although if she keeps it up I'm going to have to start bringing them back to the church building.


New Hampshire

Right after moving in to a new house I would recommend driving to New Hampshire. We are now less than six hours away which is pretty nice, and we don't have to drive through New York. Last time I drove up there on my birthday and it took just about 8 hours- 2 of which was spent parked on the freeway. I took a picture.
I couldn't face all the boxes so after moving in Sunday we left on Wednesday. We were able to find some clothes, although they weren't clean.
Danielle really likes Grandpa Ed. I think they are kindred spirits in their love of chocolate. He was in the hospital while we visited, and John helped set up the house for him to come home. Parkinsons has really affected his balance. I went to the baby store with Aunt Sara and got a juice box holder. This is my new favorite item. The one at is fancier than the one I have and I am considering buying another one. My sister in law Kathryn told me about them at family camp and I saw them. I had to buy one and Danielle loves it. Gone are the days when Danielle squeezes juice all over herself before taking a drink. You can just hand her the holder.
It was nice to see everyone and have John help Mark a little with getting ready for Grandpa. And Danielle got to see grandpa, who shared chocolate with her. She asked for him on the way home.


This 80's House

I thought everyone should know that just a few hours after starting our first home improvement project with Uncle Mark we finally found the SD card for the camera. John found it. After I looked for a few hours. So I won't have before pictures for the office (when it is done that is). Mark visited even though our house is still in quite a state of disarray. He worked really hard the whole time. So hard I want to take a nap just thinking about it.
After hours of slaving away installing three ceiling fans in the bedrooms upstairs Mark wanted to shower. I guess he didn't want to use the dirty towels that John and I have been using. Danielle shares with me but I try not to shower very often. Just because I store my towel a pile on the floor doesn't mean it isn't company ready.... maybe. So finally we went to the linen closet and the only towel we could find was Danielle's hooded Valentine Towel from the pottery barn. You'll be happy to know I got it on clearance and she looks so cute in the hoods. Actually maybe it is from the outlet.
The next day when Mark pointed out that rather than look for a towel for him I fell asleep on the couch like a wonderful hostess I felt bad about not being able to find a towel.
I should have looked to this 80's house. Since the last owners, an elderly asian couple, left all the window coverings and some other special prizes we will have lots of fun adventures. This 80's house just keeps on giving, and Mark should have known that this 80's house always has towels. with lace. They're on the windows in the bathroom- especially for a situation like this. Even if I wasn't the best hostess ever, our old friends who owned the house before us are looking out for our guests. Thanks house! (I added the air freshener clip to the window- they had some really stinky air fresheners in when we moved in so it had to be changed)


My favorite things

I am loving a few things right now.
1. Crinkle cookies from Aunt Sara. Yummy.
2. My armoire turned pantry from IKEA. now if only we could figure out how to the put the doors on.
3. Friends who come help us move. Even if we didn't get any pictures :-(
4. Our Fujitsu ScanSnap. That is some seriously fast scanning and I am not kidding.
5. The Jersey shore.
6. Reading home improvement magazines.
7. Rubber Lizards that Danielle brings to church with her.
8. Gesticare prenatal vitamins since they don't make me sick.
9. Being able to say I am having my baby "next month" and still wearing high heels.
10. Finding John a homeowner T shirt.


Dear Waitress

Dear Waitresses across America.
I really appreciate all that you do.
Please stop touching me.
This includes rubbing my back and shoulders. Each time you come to the table you can feel free to shove the food in front of my face if I'm not looking. I don't care if it surprises me. I think I might actually prefer being surprised by food to being touched on the back. No rubbing, my massage, no side hug from the back, please.
What it is about pregnant ladies that invites touching? The other day I went out to dinner and every time the waitress came to our table she ended up touching me. This was probably the first time I actually wanted the waitress to check on us less.
So to that waitress, you should know that I don't want a hug or congratulations. Even if I look like I could use a massage you don't have to fill that need. Plus you forgot to bring more bread and my aunt wanted to eat it with Jarlsberg cheese which is yummy. Thanks for bringing me my daughter's backpack when we forget it. Why am I the only one that gets a hand squeeze as well as the backpack? I am not sure if the unwelcome touching reverses the positive return of the backpack or not.
I hate strangers touching me. Waitresses- you are still a stranger even though I trust you to bring me my food without poisoning it.
Also, I would like to publicly tell everyone that asking about pregnancy is fine. As long as we aren't in the bathroom. When I go to the movies I don't want to be cornered in the public restroom and talk about the spacing of my children. Why does everyone ask if this is my first baby? People with kids still go to the movies I promise. It almost makes me want to skip washing my hands just to get away from ladies who tell me their labor stories while I am trying to get back in before something interesting happens in the movie.
Thanks -Janae