Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dear Santa...

I sat down with Tess this evening to write her letter to Santa Claus. Jaime already bought presents yesterday, so it's a good thing Tess hasn't changed her mind about what she wants. Cause she's all about tantrums these days, and Christmas morn could have been an ugly one.

The letter gets right down to business: "Now bring me a dress at Christmas." So, I asked if she thought she should maybe say please and thank you. And so she said to add that in to the letter. I live with this girl, so I'm used to sitting in the living room and hearing her rude yell from the bedroom while watching tv: "Daddy...Daddy...I'm hungry...Bring me something...Daddy...Popcorn..." But I don't think Santa has spent enough time around her to know that while rude, she does mean well.

And she proved that right with the rest of the letter: "Please go to my friends." Sounds like an easy task, but she has lots of them. Lots and lots and lots. Girl friends and boy friends. Plus he needs to go to my friends' houses. That's a much shorter list, fortunately for old Santa.

My favorite part of the letter is where she signed her name. You can make out the T. The E isn't so bad either. She couldn't really figure out the S, but I'm a big fan of the way she does the A.

And that's all. Merry Christmas to you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Death to the Vizier...

We waited a REALLY long time but finally upgraded from a crib to a toddler bed for Tess. I picked the bed up at the store today and put it together while Tess was watching Toy Story 3 in our room. It may or may not have taken me the entire movie to put the thing together. Stupid wooden slats needing to be lined up between 2 boards and I've only got two hands and as soon as I get one slat lined up on one end, the slats on the other end start popping out, and then the pegs fall out and @#$%@!!! There was a little bit of swearing until I remembered that I was in Tessa's room with the monitor that sends a signal to the receptor in my room (where Tess was watching her movie). Anyhow, speaking of awesome kid movies, Tess and worrying about what she picks up...Jaime posted this on Facebook and it keeps making me laugh:

Here's my vignette for the day of life with a 3 year old: You think you're just letting your daughter watch a harmless innocent show like Care Bears version of the Nutcracker, and the next thing you know you're in the grocery store avoiding weird looks from strangers while she practices her ninja moves in the cart and shouts "THE VIZIER WILL DIE WHEN I PUNCH HIM, MOM!"

When this happens, your first reaction is: what the h*** is she talking about? 2nd reaction: Did she just say "vizier"? 3rd reaction (remembering that stupid Care Bears DVD) Ohhhh....

From previous posts (here) you'd think we're really into fighting in this house, but it's all Tess. I don't have the heart to tell her that putting your arms out in front of you while yelling "PUNCH" over and over isn't going to do any damage to any Vizier.

Back to the bed...I put it together in record time without making Tess aware, and when Jaime got home, I had them both close their eyes and come into the room for the big surprise.

It actually took Tess a minute to realize there was something different in her room, but when she noticed, she jumped onto the bed and exlaimed: "Now I can get out of bed...at night! This is just what I've always wanted!" Yeah! That's what we've always wanted too! We finally can't keep her caged in!

She was so excited about her bed, in fact, that she chose not to eat all of her dinner and act like a little monster just so she could go to bed early.

When I laid her down in the bed, I reminded her that we don't get out of bed until it's sunny. So far so good:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the season...

Jaime does joy school every now and then. And last week she made gingerbread cookies with the kiddos. There was a little leftover dough, and as you've seen from previous posts, I'm pretty handy in the kitchen. So, Tess and I decided to make gingerbread monsters:


Post-baking masterpieces (I'm a little annoyed they turned into cute little chubby monsters)...Except for the snake which ended up looking like something that would be worse finding baked in the oven than a snake:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Ultrasounds...

It's a boy! And here is the proof. I apologize if male genitalia makes you blush:

I think this is the head, or the face, or jaime's spleen:

Good lookin kid. Can't wait to force him into playing basketball!

Still working on potty training with the girl. Just to give you an idea of how it's going now--she's banished to the bathroom while I type this for having an accident in the living room. One of the victims of this particular accident: her sticker chart where we document every time she goes on the potty. Yep, she just peed on it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

She's not a baby anymore cause she can talk...

Tess celebrated her 3rd birthday today. We also participated minimally. After church, she made sure to tell every single person we walked past that it was her birthday. She's going to be as bad as her aunt Kellie--who celebrates her birth week.

For her birthday, she asked for candles. So, I got her some fancy ones that have the flame the same color of the candle. She thinks that we celebrate birthdays just so we have an excuse to light a stick on fire and blow on it. She LOVES it! So here are some pictures of our humble birthday bash.

Waiting patiently for the candles to be lit:

A couple of pictures of her blowing/spitting the candles out:

She won't admit to it, but in a pitiful attempt to turn back time, Jaime is sending Tess to bed in clothes that fit a much younger child. Looks like Jaime is having a hard time coping with her widdle baby being 3.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A couple of things...

We went up to Kentucky this weekend for the wedding reception of our friend, Laura. It was a really nice reception and we got to see a bunch of friends we never get to see. Afterwards we drove down to my parents and spent the rest of the weekend at their place and had a fun visit with them. Anyhow, we came home last night, and I know I have a bad memory, but apparently so does Tess. We got inside and dropped our bags and then I had this conversation with her...
Me: I need to use the restroom and then I'll help you with blah blah blah
Tess (following me to the restroom): We have two potties in my bathroom
Me: I know.
Tess: There are two of them (shows me on her hands). One is a little potty for me.
Me: I know.
Tess: Two potties. (Looks at me as if to say "Stop interrupting, chump") The other is a white potty.
Me: I know.
Tess: The white potty is for you. (Apparently I really wasn't catching on, so she started talking very slow) It's big...and white. That potty is for you.

And now we've moved into the bathroom.
Tess (very excited): Look! There it is. That potty is for you.

...I just couldn't get over how determined she was to give me this refresher course on the bathroom. Fortunately, the conversation ended with her finding some other lost soul in the apartment to set straight and didn't end up like this:

You just can't get a few minutes to yourself when she's awake!

And another thing. If you bothered to check out our new banner, you'll have noticed a new ultrasound there. Perhaps you remember back to Tessa's ultrasound and how ultrasounds are just inkblot tests. Well here is the one we just had:

I sent the picture to my Dad and he said he was gonna need some help telling what he was looking at. So, I tried to help him out, and below is what I see. How about you? Jaime and my mom are really big fans of this picture:

Here is another of the little alien waving at us. I love ultrasounds:

And one more conversation with Tess dealing with the monster inside her mom. I had this one with her while Jaime was leaving the house:

Tess: Goodbye, Selvin inside Mommy's tummy. I'll miss you. (Then as an afterthought) See ya Mommy. (It's a long story--not really--but we have been calling the thing inside Jaime, Selvin. I know a Selvin, and I knew Jaime wouldn't like the name, so I started calling the baby that. And it's back-fired because Tess now calls it Selvin too.)
Me: You know, when the baby comes, we're going to give it a different name.
Tess: Nope. He has a name already.
Me: But we don't know if it's a boy. It might be a girl.
Tess: It's a boy in mommy's tummy.
Me: How do you know that?
Tess: Cause his name is Selvin. I believe it.
Me: But we don't know what it is. Don't you want a little sister?
Tess: No.
Me: Will you love the baby if it's a girl?
Tess: No.
Me: You want a little brother?
Tess: Yes. Selvin.
Me: Why do you want him to be a boy?
Tess: Cause he's not a girl.
Me: Should we name him Trimpi-nursher? (Tess made that name up a couple of weeks ago.)
Tess: Uh, that's a girl's name.

Obviously. She must think I'm some kind of moron when we talk. Sorry Tess and my old friend, Selvin. We won't be naming the baby that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I updated our banner...

That's all. I updated the banner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Me: 1, Dora/Diego: 0

What's happening now at the Alley home:

After 20 minutes of heated debate, arguing, and both sides showing their angry faces, Tess has finally accepted "muchas gracias" as the correct pronunciation of thank you very much. She was adamant it was "munas gracias", even claiming both Dora AND Diego had told her so.

And yes, I will argue with a 3 year old for 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rita's in Atlanta...

One of the things we were afraid we'd miss from philadelphia is now only a couple of miles from our home! this is from the date we all went on friday night. Tess paid so she got the first lick. after having kid, I understand much much better why my mom didn't like sharing drinks with us when we were growing up. I do remember her giving in from time to time. I don't know what she was thinking! The couple of times I've had a drink after tessa, I've felt like I needed a tetanus shot afterwards.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The next great thing...

Tess showed some interest in the camera the other day...and by "interest", I mean that she demanded to be allowed to use it. I thought it would be interesting to see what happened, so I got out our older camera and showed her how to take a picture and sent her on her way. Her first photoshoot was pretty impressive.

It started out with a portrait of her favorite Dad:

And her best girl. She really captures both our essence and personality.

At one point while Tess was running around with the camera, I heard Jaime say, "Um, my eyes are up here, weirdo!"

I submit to you the greatest self-portrait ever taken...by a 2 year old...who is a quarter Samoan...in Atlanta...and is deathly afraid of slides.

The rest of the shoot seemed to focus on things that are important to her. Or maybe me:

A portrait of her comfy star blanket. It's a great self-portrait:

Her name. Referencing the egotistical nature of society today best exemplified by Facebook, Twitter and Blogs:

Her diapers. A love-hate relationship:

The Southwest (it's pretty):

Finally, she got a little crazy. I'm not sure what this is at all, and that's when I knew she had made it as an artist. It might be my face.

***Before any Ansel Adams fans get really angry, Tessa didn't take that picture of the Southwest. I hope I insulted your intelligence by typing that. I also hope at least one of you is dumb enough to think a 2 year old took that photo!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

30 and still friendless

This happened to me a couple of days after my birthday:

*Tess inches her way closer to the cookies in bags on the couch
Jaime: Those aren't for you, Tess.
Tess: Not for me?
Jaime: No. They're for Daddy's friends.
Tess (not fooled for a minute): DADDY DON'T HAVE NO FRIENDS!

Apparently she is convinced of that and explained to Jaime yesterday that Tess has friends and mommy has friends, but daddy doesn't. Poor lonesome me.

And then to add insult to injury...after very loudly explaining to us that it was ludicrous that she not be allowed to have cookies based off of made up people, she cornered me when Jaime left the room. Then she looked me straight in the eyes with an intensity I've only seen in starving animals stalking what could be their last meal. And finally, in a hushed tone so Jaime couldn't hear, she calmly (yet in a very condescending manner) explained to me that she knew I didn't have any friends and would die friendless in a nursing home if I didn't give her those cookies!

I'd like to get inside her head at some point. When Jaime told her why she couldn't have the cookies, it really was like Jaime had just tried to pull one over on her. I imagine her thinking to herself: Okay morons. Nice try. Daddy's "friends" need cookies. Since when did we start feeding cookies to the Xbox and TV ?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are your kids this crazy?..

Tess: Jesus is not a baby anymore.
Me: Nope. He isn't.
Tess: He is a prophet.
Me: He is the Savior. He saves us.
Tess: He saves us?
Me: Yes. And he makes us happy.
Tess: Sometimes we have to be mad.
Me: Um...But we always try to be happy.
Tess: Sometimes there are two men and they come to fight us and we have to be mad.
Me: We shouldn't fight them. We should try to be nice.
Tess: You don't have to fight them, Dad.
Me: Thanks.
Tess: When the two come, I will get them with my sword. Yes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First blog post from my phone...

She is a smart one. She has learned to write the letter T, and we find her creating T's all over now. like on the fridge. And, big surprise...she knows how to spell her name now! We found her dumping out all the bananagrams letters when Jaime's family was here, and then she spelled her name. That was after she started picking up handfuls of the tiles and let them trickle through her fingers while exclaiming: "taxes! Taxes!" (she had watched disney's robin hood the day before)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Massage Colon...

In honor of our pioneers, we went to eat at a Taiwanese restaurant today. We'd never been to one, and we'll probably go back despite the second picture. I ordered this pineapple fried rice, mainly for the presentation:

The menu made this item look amazing, and it was pretty tasty. But when they brought it to us, it had a generous helping of brown fur sprinkled on top. Or at least it seemed like fur. It might have been ground up spiders. Or ground up pineapple tree bark. If you can identify this, let us know what it was...unless it really was fur or spiders.

Speaking of presentation. I have been "cooking" a lot lately (one pudding pie on Sunday and chicken tacos on Wednesday). A lot. It's made me consider starting a cooking blog. I took pictures of my pie to get the blog rolling, but Jaime said my presentation is no good. I made sure to do the whole food bloggy thing of taking pictures at sort of strange angles:

and zooming in real close on the food and having super blurry backgrounds:

But no, it wasn't good enough for Top Chef Jaime. Apparently pudding isn't supposed to look like this:

Doesn't all pudding come out with a few strange bubbles in it? Jaime refused to eat it because of the looks. But I got her back. The main ingredient in my chicken tacos on Wednesday was days-old pudding pie. Choke on that, Jaime! You've got to see the above image large. It's pretty amazing how I messed up something as simple as combining powder with liquid and stirring!

Anyhow, back to our day. After leaving the restaurant, I had to stop and take this picture:

We joked before going in to the restaurant that we hoped we wouldn't have to visit that place after eating the food. But after eating ground up spider fur, it might not be a bad idea.

Later on, we decided to continue honoring the pioneers by seeing a soccer game. Jaime got some groupon tickets for the game. When we got there, they were going to make us pay $5 for parking, but we showed them. All we had in the form of cash was $2.25. And they didn't take it. Usually, I would ask Tess for the money. I took her with me to a shoe store the other day to find running shoes, and somehow (because I am one of THOSE dads) we ended up with no shoes but a Dora the Explorer backpack instead. When she brought it to me, she said, "Can we bring this home, Dada." (She calls me Dada when she wants something). So, I said to her, "Do you have money to pay for it?" And she said yes, reached in to her imaginary pocket, pulled out the exact imaginary change and then held her hand up to me. She pays for most of our expenses these days the same way.

Anyhow, I couldn't get her to pay for parking because she had fallen dead asleep in the car. For the first 30 minutes of the game, we played Weekend at Bernie's with her and she never woke up:

This last picture is when she finally did wake up. Cheering on the Atlanta Silverbacks. Or the Silbacks or Soda Babs or Braves as she called them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dedicated to Erin...

I actually had this whole thing written up before your comment on my last post. Very good timing!

I love photoshop. It may seem strange or cheating (it's definitely cheating), but I sometimes take a picture, load it on to the computer and think, "Well, that's not the way I remembered that," or, "That's not how I want to remember that." For example, I was trying to get a picture one day of Tess catching bubbles. But I was taking the pictures on an old phone, and I couldn't get fast enough to get the bubbles in between her hands:

So, I went in to photoshop and made it the way I had intended...the way I wanted to remember it:

A few more examples. Like this one at the beach in Jersey. This image by itself doesn't do the beach justice:

But a simple stitching together of multiple images did the trick, and this is how I wanted to remember it:

Here's one of Tess showing us all the stickers she put on herself:

But this is how I remember it:

(I don't want to brag too much, but you can see in the original, Tess didn't have the top of her head. I really shouldn't brag about that actually, since it was a very easy fix...)

This is a really old one of Tess walking down our driveway at Easter in 2010:

But in my mind, it was much more like this:

Really the whole purpose of this post was for those last two photoshopped images.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tseas or Saste

We had the missionaries over for dinner on Wednesday, and while we were chatting before dinner, one of the missionaries asked Tess if she knew how to spell her name. It was a bizarre conversation:

Him: Tess, do you know how to spell your name?
Tess: It has an S!
Him: It sure does. Do you know how to spell the whole thing?
Tess: It has an A!
Me: You're right, but do you know how to spell it?
Tess: It has another S!
Me: What else?
Tess: A T!
Me: And...
Tess: E!

I thought it was really strange, but also pretty amazing that she knew all the letters. Although, I'm not entirely sure she does know how to actually spell her name. Here's a picture that had a similar result as the conversation above:

So, I thought, "She's either a mixed-up genius, a smart-aleck or a little dummy." But then I started going through her emails, and found this forwarded message from one of her co-workers that somewhat cleared things up:

Subject: From Cambridge University. Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !!"

We srue do lkie our sarmt ltilte Tssea. We mghit eevn lvoe her at tihs piont.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Delicious Frozen Dairy Delight...

Did you see the episode of Modern Family where Manny's friend tells him to put salt in his chocolate milk to make it taste better? Well, Tess wasn't convinced the salt alone would do the trick. So she added pepper to her Frosty...when I wasn't looking. She's a little too fast for me. Guess which of us then had to eat the peppered bite. Tess refused.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to jump...

From Tessa's self-help sessions: How to jump towards a better you:

I was pretty excited a couple of days ago when I came home from work and Jaime showed me Tessa's new trick. Tess has done this weird one-legged jump/skip thing up to this point. But now she's a pro at jumping. Even teaching lessons!

Also this week, I came home one day and Jaime says to Tess, she says: "Let's show Daddy what you learned today!" I was expecting something like spelling a word or solving a quadratic equation. But then Tess proceeded to roll on the ground--just one roll. Yep. Jaime taught our daughter this week how to roll over. I wasn't weirded out until Jaime gave her a biscuit, patted her on the head and said, "That's a good boy!"

Also this week, we were eating some Ramen noodles. It was a combination of a chicken packet mixed with a spicy one. After taking a couple of bites, Tess says to me, she says: "Mmmmmm Spicy! Yummy yum yum!"
To which I responded: "That's what I like to hear!"
To which she said very matter-of-factly: "I like to hear the birds go tweet, tweet, tweet."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Body Art...

Tess has become obsessed with stickers lately. It's pretty cute, except after seeing the girl in this photo, it made me fear how much she likes body art:

But it's just stickers. So, I said, "No big deal. She's a kid."

And then she got home from her vacation in Virginia. Never again, Virginia. Never again.