23 Things: Gabby Grace at age 2!

Happy Birthday, Gabrielle!! You can officially say "I 2!"

Right now, you're napping in your crib following a successful purple-themed birthday brunch in your honor. I love throwing parties for you and after today I think you love parties being thrown for you just as much. As we opened presents, you would say "nother one," and then start tearing the paper like you had a job to do. You blew out your '2' candle all by yourself before grabbing your cake with both hands...who needs forks? And if I wasn't getting the message that you're now a big girl, you demanded to sit at the kids table rather than in your high chair. OK, OK, I get it.

But I can't believe it. So many cliches, so little time, but it really does seem like just the other day we brought you home from the hospital, a ride during which I tried to squeeze between two carseats in the backseat for the first and last time. In no time, you've grown into a walking, talking toddler who I can't help but want to wrestle into a hug every time you walk by me. In trying to describe your squishableness, someone said the other day that she just wanted to put you in her pocket. That is exactly what I'd like to do, forever.

Because that's a tad impractical, I'll just write my 23 things post to cement in my head what you are like at age 2. Here goes:

1) You are still my mama's girl. Being a mom is the best, but the best part about being YOUR mom is that I'm the one who can make everything better. I love being that person.

2) Your vocabulary is crazy. The other day you used the word "comfortable." Maybe it didn't sound like that to the average Joe, but we knew it right away. It still takes us a few tries to understand some of your words, but you are persistent in being heard and will repeat with more force each time. Goshee = GALOSHES!

3) You're slowly developing a sweet tooth and M & Ms are your favorite.  You wake up each morning and say "snack." That's called breakfast, Gabs.

4)You love being read to. Sometimes, when we're in the throes of our morning routine and I'm running around like a crazy person trying to get everyone out the door, you're following me around with a book yelling "wead it!"I usually oblige one or twice a morning, but it's never enough. Your favorite books are lift-the-flaps.

5) Your nighttime routine is very specific! You like to read 4 or so books with the binkie in your mouth and birdie tucked under your arm. Then, when I try to stop reading, you yell for me to read your baby bible. "BIBAL!" (How can I resist that?!) Then we go into Faith's room and get/give smooches to Dad and Faith. We can never forget Howie, so we have to track him down and smooch him, too. Then you lay your head on my shoulder and say, "Song!" I'll start in with the ABCs, get about halfway done before you say, "CUBS!" This means you want us to sing the "Go, Cubs, Go!" song that they sing at Wrigley Field after the Cubbies win. This makes your daddy very happy. We sometimes sing a little more and then I put you down in your crib (no big girl bed for you yet!) I tell you I love you, that God loves you and that I'll see you in the morning. What do you say to me? "BUH BYE!"

6) You are the most teenage-like baby I have ever met in the mornings. When I hear you stirring in there, I come in to greet you and get you ready for the day. You are not having it and typically respond to whatever I say with "NO!" even if I haven't asked a question. It's cute, yet frightening at the same time.

7) Your favorite things to play with are babies, putting them in strollers, high chairs, toilets, beds, you name it. You also like to dribble balls, play "Row Row" (Your Boat), hide behind the curtains, copy your sister, blow bubbles, jump on beds, jump off the couch, sing ABCs, get tickled by dad, help set the table, squeeze your own ketchup and do everything by yourself.

8) Far and away your favorite food is spaghetti. I'm not a big pasta person, but you had so many helpings of this at Nama and Papa's house last time you were there that they finally had to cut you off and tell you there was no more. "MORE GETTI!!"

9) If I'm making it sound like you're a little tyrant it's because you are. We've helped you get to this point by responding and catering to your every need because you are the baby of the family. But you like ordering people around and I never have to worry about you holding your ground. The other day when your grandparents were getting ready to leave, you pointed at the door and said, "GO!" Not exactly hospitality at its finest!

10) We had your parent teacher conferences last week and they had nothing but good things to say. You are only two, so that helps. But seriously, your teachers "Jordy and Ma-sha" (Jordan and Marsha) just adore you. They are so amazed how quickly you learn sign language (mom, dad, more, apple, bird, book, etc.) how well-behaved you are with other kiddos (no bites or hits to report) and how much you like to DANCE! (that's my girl). They were also amazed at how crappy you slept the day I forgot to bring a binkie. Whoops.

11) Speaking of the binks, we know it's time for it to go soon. But you nap and sleep so well, it's going to be a sad day in the Lindquist household when we have to say goodbye. The cost savings will be great though, as Howie usually chews 1-2 a week and we have to buy more.

12) We accidentally started potty training. You wanted to try on your new Bubble Guppy underwear and there was no turning back to diapers after that. After two days of many successes and just 1 accident, I'd say you were ready.

13) You got your very first scraped knees when you fell down on one of our walks around the neighborhood. I felt AWFUL, but I think dad felt worse when he tripped you walking out of daycare the very next day and you fell AGAIN. Good thing you like Band-Aids so much.

14) For some reason you are terrified of swings. After a few trips to the park early on, all of the sudden you will not get in a swing for the life of you. I tried on Easter and I think the people at the park thought I was torturing you with some odd swing ritual. Now when I ask if you want to go swing, you say, "I no yike it.!"

15) In the not afraid of at all category, we have water. You could splash until the bathroom was a swimming pool and you'd be giggling maniacally the whole time. I can dump water over your head and it doesn't phase you at all. This is so completely different from your big sister, it's comical. The 4-year-old who asks for a towel if there's a water droplet on her face and the baby sis who splashes water in her own eyes for fun.

16) That big sis loves you very much by the way. I thought she would grow out of wanting you to play with her all the time, but she still revolves her life around you: waking you up, sitting next to you at all times, picking you up at daycare, hugging you all the time (it's not just me who appreciates your squishiness). I also love the way she talks to you as though you understand everything she says.

17) Most parents don't relish when their child will watch a full cartoon, but I need both hands and mild concentration to cook dinner, so my apologies if you're not top of your class someday. That said, your favorite cartoon is Super Why, (does the fact that it's on PBS make it better?). You lovingly refer to this show as "WhoWhy."

18) All moms and dads think their babies laugh is the best sound in the whole world. We are no different, but yours is more of a heh-heh-heh than a hahaha! It sounds mischievous and uncontrollable all at the same time.

19) I used to love taking you on stroller rides around the neighborhood, but you are officially done with that. "I walk!" You do walk the whole way, which must be a million steps for your little legs, and you do it at your pace, pointing at every airplane, bug, car, tree, dog and odd sidewalk crack along the way. Thank you for helping me to stop and notice the sidewalk.

20) For some reason, you are not into smiling for pictures. You like to make mama work for it. Every time I get out my phone to snap a photo, you say, "I see it!" before I even take the picture. Then you get mad when there's nothing to show. You have a beautiful smile, Miss G and I just want to share it with the world. Say cheese!

21) In case I haven't mentioned that you're a baby genius, you're a baby genius. You know all your colors and can count to 10, except for that pesky number four you always forget.

22) You have the most beautiful, long blond hair. It's straight as an arrow, so we constantly have to push it out of your eyes or pull it back in a ponytail. I cannot wait to curl it someday, but since you say "ow," before I even touch you with the comb I'm guessing you're not going to want me to style it.

23) I know there are so many things I'm forgetting to mention, and I'll probably think of them right after I publish this. So in summary, you are just a great kid and we love the personality you bring to this family, both with your likenesses to your sister and all your differences that make you you. I'm so eager to unlock more of who you are as we go. It's going to be a heck of a ride.

A Mother's Day Moment to Remember to Forget

It was shaping up to be another memorable Mother's Day. The day started off with me opening a brand new pair of TOMS, my traditional gift from Mr. Lindquist.

Next up, we picked up our kids from my sister's house and were on our way to brunch at the zoo. I didn't know it yet, but the decorations would be chic, the food fabulous and the location perfect for a stroll after breakfast.

Don't mind Faith's open mouth of food. She's in that "trying to ruin all photos" phase.
I began to open my cards on the drive there. A sweet one from my husband. 

A funny one from the girls that sings I love you.

And then the one that got me: a "fill-in-the-blank" card from four-year-old Faith. Now, perhaps you saw these posted on Facebook in recent days. They give silly answers like, "my mom weighs 33 pounds," "my mom likes to say: 'Come on, Henry'" and "my mom likes Cofe," adorably spelled wrong. See for yourself. Hopefully, they won't mind me sharing!

I opened mine and began to read.
Aww, my preschooler thinks my middle name is James (her dad's middle name).
Wow, she got my age right (32).

Then I got to the "My mom likes to" part. And to my horror, I read:



Whoa. Back The Truck Up! I like to WHAT?!?

At first I laughed. Then I frowned. Next I wanted to cry. And finally, I was MAD! 

Where in the WILD WORLD did she come up with that? Sure, I like to watch TV occasionally, who doesn't? A little "Dancing with the Stars" here. A little "America's Funniest Home Videos" there. But I'm a freak about watching adult programs while the kids are awake. I'm also the first one to say we need to turn off the news while we eat. I only let the kids watch one cartoon a day. The only time I watch TV for myself is long after they're asleep.

And, I like beer as much as the next guy, but the only time I drink one is when we have tacos or Chinese take-out on Friday nights. And I usually ask Rob to split it with me because I know I won't finish the whole thing.

But I NEVER, EVER do these two things TOGETHER. Like, never. And I know that. Rob knows that. Faith, somewhere in the recesses of her brain, knows that. But her teachers don't KNOW that. They only know what a four-year-old fibber tells them. And, here's the worst part, THAT'S NOT ALL.

I kept on reading. Two fill in the blanks later, "I like it when my mom "lets me GO DOWNSTAIRS BY MYSELF." Innocuous enough on its own, but when coupled with "My mom likes to watch TV and have beer"? Not. So. Much.

Hopefully you're laughing by now, and not considering reporting me to the authorities, but if you are, please read on.

I've let my darling daughter go downstairs to play by herself twice in her life. Mainly so I could get some cleaning done upstairs. And this is how she thanks me?!

After I got over the shock of the whole thing, I needed answers. From a four-year-old. Long story short, she couldn't remember why she said that. I asked her what else mommy likes. "To play with me," she responded. 

Ya couldn't have gone with that answer!? And while we're at it. There's an entire blank line left for the  "my mom is good at." I feel as though this answer could have been expanded upon, but I digress.

Here's why her answers stung. I do everything for my girls. Play hours of hide-and-go-seek in which they hide in the same spot 14 times in a row. Read Pinkalicious after Purplelicious after Emeralalicious (really?) books. Act as the baby, jailer, random audience member for any number of Faith's make-believe games. Barbies. Trips to the Children's Theatre. Ultra specific hair styles (low half pony with a blue hairband). You get the point.

Honestly, I would have preferred, "My mommy likes to: "stuff her face full of Cheez-Its," "engage in dance moves she's too old for," ""raise her voice when the Cyclones lose."

To clear up any confusion, Faith and I went over a like of things mommy likes that very night, in addition to anything and everything I do with and for my girls.
-Going on walks with Howie
-Talking on the phone with her friends/sisters
-Listening to dad's RunIowa podcast
-Pedicures with her mom
-Shopping for bargains at garage sales
-Country Music
-And continuing to believe in the Cyclones no matter how times they lose

And last but not least, mommy likes Mother's Day cards that don't say she likes to watch TV and have beer!

A View From the Top

I took a few pictures today, then realized they were all from the same angle: me looking down. It should be mentioned that all four of these things were happening simultaneously. Not much more to say, except that this girl is enjoying the view from the top. Pardon the short post, but I need to be working on homework (you suck), cleaning (you suck) bills (you suck) and planning Gabby's birthday party (you're cool). I'm out.

The "Overachiever of the Day" award goes to Mr. Lindquist, who after running 13.1 miles by himself on a desolate trail, came home and mowed the lawn, all before noon. I, on the other hand, managed to make macaroni and cheese all by myself, but did not do the dishes. 

Pickpocket much? This little lady loves nothing more than to remove every card from a perfectly organized wallet and then leave you searching for your debit card for 20 minutes. Gotta love her anyway!

Somebody's dad took her to "Free Comic Book Day," but instead of 1 free comic book, they came home with 20! Miss OCD is the Ying to Miss Pickpocket's Yang. She was also treated them like they were characters in a play. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

This puppy dog has never met a load of laundry fresh out of the dryer he didn't like. Good thing he was fresh out of the bath this morning. There was an incident involving cottage cheese, don't ask.

Why is there no picture of me from the top, you ask? A) I don't have a selfie stick like my mom. (Yes, my mother owns a selfie stick. Should make for fun Christmas cards. B) I've got a few grays and don't need you pointing them out. C) Rob was mowing the lawn and ain't nobody else in the house taller than 42 inches. Maybe if they all stood on each other's heads and Howie held the selfie stick….to be continued...