Running from the Law: September 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Baby Mim - 26 Months

Dear Baby Mim,

Here we are...a few months past your second birthday and you seem more like a teenager these days than a two year-old. At your 2 year well-visit you weighed 27 pounds (50th percentile) and were 35 inches tall (90th percentile). You had a head circumference in the 98th percentile, which means you take after your daddy. You were fit as a fiddle and our pediatrician continued to be totally impressed by just how incredible and lovely you are. Your amazing personality just continues to blossom and every day you get sweeter, sassier, funnier and more adorable. Everyone you meet is charmed by you and totally wrapped around your little finger within minutes and we wouldn't have it any other way. 

I'd have to say that the biggest change over the last few months has to be your vocabulary. All of a sudden, you seemed to have found ALL the words and started speaking in complex sentences, asking questions, telling stories and singing songs. You love to talk and have the sweetest little voice - I could just listen to you talk for the rest of my life. But not only do you love to talk, you're really smart and just astound me with the things you say and know at such a young age. You skipped over 2-word sentences and went straight to 7. You love to narrate what's going on in your books and on your shows. You tell me all about what Daniel Tiger is doing and what's going to happen to the little mouse in The Gruffalo. You ask me how work was, tell me you miss/love me, tattle on your brother, tell me what you want to eat, laugh at my jokes and answer my questions about your day.  You're a pro at identifying objects and animals in your books, you know every color, can sing the entire ABC song, have impeccable manners, can carry on conversations and you never forget a thing! You can count to 10 with ease (and sometimes 20 when you think we're not paying attention), a skill I attribute to countless hours playing hide-and-seek with Mac. You love to be read to and the pile of books in your bedroom is getting quite out of hand, as you keep stealing them from your brother. 
And speaking of singing, you are far and away the most musical kid I've ever met, another trait you get from your dad. You love singing and dancing and songs. You put music on the electronic keyboard every time you go downstairs. You dance anytime music is on and you get the biggest smile on your face. You constantly ask for "Shake It" (Taylor Swift) or "Superman" (theme song) on my phone. But cutest of all, you sing! Your favorite songs to sing are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the ABC song, Happy Birthday, Superman, Row Row Row Your Boat, Old MacDonald and Wheels on the Bus. You not only know all the words, but you can actually carry a tune! It's incredible! 
One of the things I love the most about you is your compassion. I'm not sure if it's a girl thing or just you, but you have more compassion and emotional understanding in your little finger than your brother has in his entire body. You do not like when anyone is upset and are concerned about our happiness in a way that has completely surprised me. If I scold you or your brother for something, you become very solemn and almost ashamed. You're very concerned when Mac gets in trouble and you want to be with him - even if he's in trouble for hurting you. You don't get in trouble nearly as much as he does, but you have your moments. However, you apologize easily, quickly and with such regret in your voice that it amazes me. You do not like being in the doghouse and will turn up the charm and apologies to immediately get out of it. You're also incredibly sensitive to my feelings and frustrations. If I'm not smiling, stern or visibly upset about anything, you are quick to ask, "Mama, you happy?" which just melts my heart. If my answer is no, then you smile, give me a huge kiss and say, "You happy now?" I mean, I can't even. I don't know where this came from, but please don't ever stop.  

Physically, you're quickly catching up to your brother in strength and height. You're getting so tall these days and losing the baby fat quickly because you're so active. You're not quite as coordinated as you think you are and end up with so many bruises and black-eyes. I'm not sure you know that you're only two - you insist on doing everything that the big kids do and you get so frustrated when you can't keep up. You run everywhere (there's no walking) and refuse to crawl up or down stairs (must be upright), both of which have given me multiple heart attacks. You love to twirl and swing and jump. You love slides, the higher the better and insist on climbing up all by yourself. You've been taking gymnastics for the past year and absolutely love it. You are also quite the little fish and have taken to water in a way that surprises and terrifies me and your dad. You refuse to wear floaties and insist on being underwater as much as possible. You'll probably be swimming all by yourself by next summer at the rate you're going. You're also quite the little daredevil. You love jumping off the diving board (no matter how high it is), which shocks everyone that sees you! You have zero fear. Lord help us. 
You are still a very good eater, but you've become a very SLOW eater. Sometimes it takes you over an hour to finish a meal...and I think you'd sit there for two hours eating if we'd let you. You love chicken and fish, mashed potatoes and mac & cheese, bananas and grapes. You've got a serious sweet-tooth (you get that from me) and eat ice cream with such excitement that by the time you finish (by drinking the melted ice cream and licking the bowl), you're covered head to toe in the stuff and need an immediate bath. You are pretty good at using utensils, but you do get in trouble multiple times a day for banging your fork/spoon on the counter, which drives me nuts.
For the most part, you are the sweetest little thing, but every now and then the Terrible Twos strike and we are all shocked by your temper, attitude and defiance. You've been getting sassy lately when we ask you to do something you don't want to and you can throw a fit (albeit a fake one) with the best of them. Although they never last long. When you want something, you know exactly how to get it and do not stop until you do. It's hard to get mad at you because you're so stinking adorable about it all and it doesn't happen too often. Mainly we just laugh at you and give you kisses and whatever you want, which pisses you off and you say, "No kiss me!!" And then I have to kiss you a million more times because it's so cute. Occasionally you'll get sent to time-out, which you don't seem to mind at all, but then you fake a sad face and tell me, "Mimmy in trouble. Sorwee mama."
I know I'm totally biased, but I think you are just one of the prettiest little ladies I've ever laid eyes on. I am madly in love with your blonde curls. No one really knows where they came from, but they are absolutely adorable and I hope they stick around for a while. You also have the biggest, prettiest hazel-colored eyes that shift in color from brown to green to gold, depending on the light. I still have yet to be able to capture the unique color of your eyes in a photo. But despite being pretty and your mama putting you in dresses, you are one of the dirtiest kids I've ever seen. You are always sticky and messy and covered in dirt, snot, food, bubbles or something disgusting. You love jumping in mud puddles, playing in the sandbox, digging for worms, rolling in the grass and dumping cups of sand/rocks/mud on your head. You need a bath every single night and sometimes I have to literally scrub you down to get all the grime off your skin and the muck out of your hair. You're such a dirtball.
Oh Mimmy love, you are such an absolute delight and add so much sunshine to our lives. You are funny and sweet and kind. Sassy and opinionated. Easy-going, silly and lovable. Your personality is just the best and I thank my lucky stars everyday that I get to be your mama. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being mine.

Your mama

Monday, September 12, 2016

Flags of Valor

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on the United States, America's Heartland Remembers put 7,021 flags on display at Art Hill in Forest Park. Each flag has a photograph and dog tags of a fallen member of the military killed in the war on terror. The flags were arranged in rows, spanning the entire hill, and were a spectacular, powerful, heartbreaking and haunting sight. I took Mim to see the flags and we were just in awe - it was so humbling and overwhelming. We spent a lot of time looking at the photographs of the service men and women and visited the flag representing all those that died in the 9/11 attacks. My heart hurts just thinking of explaining all of this to her someday. I so badly want her to grow up in a world without hate and violence, but I'm also proud that there are so many unbelievably brave and honorable people willing to sacrifice so much for that goal. May we all never forget.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Apple Picking at Eckert's Farms

Last weekend we had the chance to spend the day at Eckert's Farms in Belleville picking apples and enjoying the carnival during the opening weekend of Applefest. Even though it's still hot here in the midwest, we've started seeing and feeling glimpses of fall and I couldn't be more excited. Apple picking has been a tradition for us (last year's photos), but we usually wait until mid/late-October, when the leaves are turning and pumpkins are ready for picking too. But, this year we decided to hit the fields early and beat the crowds, ensuring that we got lots of choice apples for pies and applesauce. (Don't worry, we'll be going back for pumpkins next month.)
After checking out the tractors and grabbing our bags, we got in line (with friends! hi Liz!) for the tractor ride to the fields. All the kids love the tractor ride, which is the highlight of the trip for Mac. Once we got to the fields, we let the kids run loose and start picking! Right now, Jonathan apples and Gala apples are in season - both were delish! The Jonathans were a bit more tart and the Galas were sweet and perfect for eating right off the tree. I love that they encourage you to eat as much fruit as you want while you pick and you don't have to pay for it! As expected, Mac ate about 6 bites out of a dozen different apples and Mim ate at least 5 apples down to the core. She was an apple-eating machine! 
Both kids helped fill the bags and we ended up with about 34 pounds of apples! No one got stung by a bee, no one got sick from eating too many apples and no one got run over by a tractor, so overall I think it was a really successful trip. I've already made applesauce, apple crumb pie and apple tartlets and still have about two dozen apples left! Apple sangria, baked apple chips and apple butter are next on my list.
Over the last couple years, Eckert's has become one of my kids' favorite places in St. Louis...and for good reason. Not only do they love picking fruit (and eating it), but there's so many other fun things for kids to do there. From the giant tractors, mini tractors, putt putt holes and sand pit in the waiting area to the pony rides, goats, trains, funnel cakes and rides in the carnival area, we can make a full day out of a trip to Eckert's. Plus, the restaurant is absolutely delish (make a reservation and use the NoWait app) and they're really understanding of crazy loud kids. And did I mention the frozen custard? YUM. 
After a quick lunch at the restaurant, the kids were dying to ride the ponies. Mac rode a pony named Maggie and Mim rode Pumpkin - the exact same two ponies they rode when we were there for blackberry picking. They haven't stopped talking about their ponies since. We also had to feed the goats and cows, check out the rides and play in the sand. We left just before nap time and both kids conked out in the car on the way home. Win-win. 
If you're in the STL area and interested in visiting Eckert's for yourself - use the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Eckert's! 
Good luck and happy picking! 

Is apple picking on your fall bucket list?

*A big thanks to Eckert's for hosting us this weekend, inspiring this post and sponsoring the giveaway! We love supporting local businesses.