Maggie in the Middle

Four years old
Four years old

Dearest Maggicita,

I went to a psychology meeting this morning at your school that was listed as “URGENTE” on my info slip.  I thought for sure it would have something to do with you not getting back into the swing of things with your Spanish after being in the states for so long.  Nope.  I was wrong…

Apparently you feel (through the drawing that the psychologist showed me) that Daddy and Momma pay more attention to Ana and Cohen.  Classic middle child syndrome is in effect.  You are “expressing” that you are sad about this.  Well, guess what?  We are going to work really hard to change that, because we love you SOOOOOOOO much.  It hurts my heart that you would ever feel this way.

You love time to yourself.  Well, watch out.  You are going to have some company today at your dollhouse.  And who knows, maybe I can fit into one of those princess dresses.  🙂


your momma who doesn’t always get it right

Maggie in the Middle

sweet momentsAugust 2013

August 2013…

Ana (6), Mags (4), Cohen (2)
Ana (6), Mags (4), Cohen (2)

Ana Grace, last night you read the Bible story to the family.  Your reading is getting better and better, and as you read, you even like to point out how you would have written a sentence differently.  From the eyes of a momma that teaches reading comprehension, you make me so proud!  You complained of not being able to go to sleep (maybe too much Inka Cola at house church?).  We told you to go up to bed and try to sleep.  An hour later we were hearing a voice talking.  I went to check and see which child was “sleep talking.”  You had turned your bedside lamp on and were reading aloud.  The story I got to listen in on was “Are You My Mother.”  We are so proud of you, sweet big sister.

dressed for Arequipa Day
dressed for Arequipa Day

Maggie Kate, you love to get away with not working.  We are having to learn how to discipline you in this area since it isn't fair to your big sister.  Your teacher told me that you are more advanced than the other kids in many areas of learning, but you use an excuse that I hear too often.  You say, “But I am not big enough.  I am not 5 yet.”  You use this excuse when you don't want to do work or homework.  You are a little stinker!  But that work ethic didn't show in your memory verse this month.  You memorized (with much ease, I must say) your verse in Spanish.  Every day you would quote it aloud to whoever would listen.  When it came your turn yesterday at our celebration worship, you spouted it out in front of everyone with ease.  My goodness, it makes us proud.  You are a big girl!  And I cannot wait to see all of those “smarts” used for the glory of God.

dressed for Arequipa Day
dressed for Arequipa Day

Cohen Timothy, my little love bug.  You are at such a precious stage, and it will break my heart when you no longer want to hug and kiss me as much as you do now.  You are fascinated with moving vehicles, and you love to say the word of a vehicle you hear over and over and over until someone acts excited with you.  🙂  You are sure to place your cars and trucks into a purse and then put your purse in a backpack when we go out of the house.  You are talking so much, and it is so fun to be with you every day in this stage.  You also quoted your memory verse yesterday in front of everyone.  When by yourself, you say, “Jesus… dijo… camino!!!” and then you clap for yourself.  This morning you lined up all of your chairs, and said, “Thomas Train!”  Your sisters would have been putting their babies to sleep at that age.  I also don't want to forget that you love to say our visitor's name, Catherine.  But you say, “Cafrin.”  So cute!  We are so proud of our little boy, and we love you so much.

in your “train”
sweet momentsAugust 2013

A “McKinzie 3” Update

they think they are so funny

I feel like I haven't done a good job with documenting things the kids are doing.  We have had a busy January, but I put my foot down this full week of February and decided that I would jot down some things about each child.  They are growing and changing so quickly.  School will start the first of March, so I don't have much longer with all three in the house all day…

Ana Banana

she turns 6 next month, so hard to believe

I really can't believe this girl right now.  She is our long-legged girl.  🙂  She just seems so incredibly grown-up some times.  Honestly, she is forced into the grown-up part many days.  She helps me so much with her younger siblings.  Whether it is getting Maggie dressed in the morning, pouring Cohen's milk for him, or straightening up their play areas, she is my little “Momma 2.”

Some things to note about Ana:

1. She is taking swim lessons this month for 50 soles, 3 days a week at the Olympic-size indoor pool in our district.  She has had a blast taking the lessons with her two gringa friends, Shaye and Bailey.

2. She requested to get her hair cut to her chin.  Ana has the thickest hair, and she has decided that it is easier for her to manage when it is shorter.

3. She is super independent.  We love it, but it sometimes gets her in trouble.  One morning, she decided to make everyone cinnamon toast before we got up.  This means she used the toaster oven by herself.  To make a long story short, I woke up to the smell of burnt toast, and she received a very stern warning to never operate the oven alone… ever.

4. She has been learning ancient Greek with her Daddy on specific nights of the week.  She loves spending that time with Greg.  I have been working a lot with her on sight words.  This school year, we will be having a disciplined schedule for her to learn to write and read English well.

5.  She starts 1st grade in less than a month.  We are enrolling the girls in a new school two doors down from us.  It will be so much easier for us to drop off and pick up, but this is the first year that Ana is old enough to tell me she doesn't want to change.  She tells me that her friends are at the other school.  This girl has no idea how used to change she will be when her elementary years are all said and done.

Maggie Moo

Oh, Maggie.  She has grown so much in the last few months.  What is fun to see is how much she enjoys hanging out with her sister.  They fight like sisters as well, but it is neat to see them make-believe with each other.  I think “Momma and Baby” is the most popular game between the two of them.  Maggie's little personality is so different than Ana's, and it is really showing out these days. To sum Maggie up in two words: clown and stubborn.  🙂

1. Maggie was going to take swim lessons but got scared the first day.  I didn't push too hard.  She was the smallest out there, and there is one teacher to about 15 kids.  She has decided to take lessons with Cora next year.

2. Maggie has been eating like a horse lately!  She is our petite child, but I do believe there might be a growth spurt going on.  She is so funny when she is eating something she likes.  She will say, “Thank you, Momma.  This is soooooo good. Ummm.”  She has a little bit of the “What About Bob” factor going on.

3. The girl is a clown!  She loves to make people laugh, and she really does have a knack for being funny.  She gets a kick out of getting laughs, and those laughs only fuel the fire.

4. She was playing with the Fisher Price animals above, and she said, “Momma, these are the Peruvian Wonderpets!”  I thought that was so clever since the animals are a llama, chicken, and rabbit.  Ha!

5. She calls her “Baba” (what she has called her blanket since she could make the sound) her “Bobby.”  I have no clue why she changed the name.

6.  Maggie LOVES playing with the dollhouse right now.  She plays by herself and pretends with different voices way more than her older sister ever has.  We have loved seeing this part of Maggie develop.  Greg thinks it might be the introvert in her.

The Cohenator

He is my precious boy and he is SOOOO big.  I just can't believe it.  He is wearing a lot of 3T clothes (which is Maggie's size by the way), and he just walks around the house like a little boy.  He is not my baby anymore.  He reminds me of Greg sometimes, but more often than that, he reminds me of my brothers.  He is almost like a little Collin.

1. He is talking more and more.  He jabbers a ton, but he will try and repeat things that we ask him to.  My absolute favorite “conversation” with him happened last week.  I was holding him in the kitchen.  He jabbered away at me like he was telling me all about it, he pointed to the tea kettle (which is obviously what he was talking so much about), and all of a sudden he makes a high pitch squeal.  He was imitating the tea kettle from the day before.  I thought he was so clever!

Some new words: he is now calling Manuela, “Lehlah;” “tock” for truck; Awesome (thanks to Jeremy Daggett); “Nigh, Nigh” for Night Night.

2. He is really funny right now with Shaye's name.  Whenever he is in the depths of despair, he will just moan and say, “Shayyyyyyyye.”  (That is our teammates' oldest daughter.)

3.  When he is really tired, he will look at us and say in a very pitiful voice, “Ooo, Ooo, Ahh, Ahh.”  That is the signal that he wants his monkey (who he sleeps with every night).

4.  For the entire month of January he slept in his pack-n-play in Ana and Maggie's room.  He did great.  So great that when I moved him back to his room after the Daggetts left, he did not like it one bit.  I guess we can rent a house with one room for the kids now if we need to. 🙂

5. He has such a thing for my pots and pot tops in the kitchen.

6.  He has started whacking his sisters when he doesn't like something they are doing.  They will tell on him, and I ask him to give them a hug.  He hugs and kisses on them very well.  He is a swooner, that kid.

7.  He loves pointing out trucks to me outside.  And he loves playing with anything with wheels inside (including the baby stroller).  His new sound is “Vroom, vroom.”

Well, there you have it.  A little update-a-roo.  We love our little ones.  The time has flown here, and when the time flies, the kids grow up so fast.

Can you make up a good caption for this photo?
A “McKinzie 3” Update

A Three-year-old Funny

Three-years-old is so much fun.  After having Ana go through that stage and now seeing Maggie at three, this is the age where kids say some really funny stuff.  My older brother's family has a tradition where they take their four sons to the Dollar Tree to pick out Christmas gifts for the family.  This year, my three-year-old nephew, Daniel, picked out a placemat with a rooster collage for his daddy.  When he saw it, he said, “Look Daddy.  You will love this.  It's a blanket with pictures!”  I realize this post is about my three-year-old, but that story made me laugh out loud.  On to Mags…

Ana was straightening her bedroom (the one that she shares with her little three-year-old sister).  I am sure she asked Maggie to help clean up.  I was sitting outside of their bedroom, and Maggie came out.

Me, “What's wrong?”

Maggie, “My belly hurts.”

Me, “Your belly hurts like you need to go to the bathroom?”

Maggie, “No, my belly hurts like I don't want to clean up.”

Ha!  That little stinker.

A Three-year-old Funny

MK 3—years old

Maggie Kate, what a joy you have brought to our family, our middle child. I am so late documenting this milestone. You are the one that always gets to invite all the interns to your birthday party. I have plenty of pictures to post from your party, but I wanted to record a few things about you at this stage of life.
1. You are our “payasa” or “clown.” You love to goof off and get people to laugh at you. You are sooooo silly, and you get such a kick out of making people laugh.

acting silly in the tub

2. You are super social. I thought Ana was social, and then you came along. Half the time, I think you are trying to make life “your own” because you want to be something apart from Ana. You show a lot of independence with this attitude, and sometimes it gets you in trouble.
3. Your love language is affection. You want to be held and cuddled. When you get in trouble you will repeat that you are sorry over and over again until we give you some affectionate affirmation that things are okay.
4. You love school (this has been your first year). And your Spanish is coming along just like your sister’s did. I love hearing you talk in Spanish with the Peruvians, and I especially love hearing you pronounce a word with your Spanish accent.
5. When putting you to bed, you ALWAYS need a “big” hug and a “big” kiss. If I don’t master these two actions, you will pester me until I do.
6. You love singing a song from one of our Barbie movies. You walk around the house humming it at the top of your lungs.
7. Something I wish I had on video is of you and your sister reenacting The Little Mermaid. Your sister started singing Ariel’s song, and you came in with a big, deep voice and said, “Sing for me!” You then proceeded to use your hands to motion the voice out of Ana. You crack me up!

the two of you have had several “weddings” also

8. You tell everyone (even Daddy) in our family, “You’re pretty!” You love to tell us that to make us feel good.
9. You have a blast with your sister, but you also share your fights. I love seeing the two of you grow up as close sisters, though. You are so sweet to each other most of the time.

10. I would say Cora Smith is your BFF in this stage of life.

11. When you are in trouble, I will many times refer to you as “Maggie Kate McKinzie.” It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, then, that when you really want my attention you say, “Momma Kate McKinzie!!!” Classic. It makes me laugh every.single.time.
12. You wanted a “Booty and the Beast” birthday party.
13. You are so excited about our trip to the US. You don’t remember the last time we visited, so we are excited to see your reaction to so many new things when we go.
We love you, Maggie. You are full of expression, full of love, and full of life. Our prayer for you is that you grow into a beautiful woman of the Lord one day. His richest blessings are upon us in giving you to our family!
And now, pictures of your party…

my attempt at a homemade Beauty and the Beast cake
look how much you have grown!
Taylor was so sweet to dress up as Belle for the party
your meal choice– you love pizza.
you with our sweet neighbors, Nadia and Anita
and with Areli and “Vina” (what you used to call Etelvina)
our fun game so that everyone could be “Beauty”
you and Taylor danced it up as the “Belle’s” of the Ball
you got your first Barbie (from Areli) and were elated
Momma and Daddy got you Belle, from the Disney Animators Collection
all those silly interns posing as the characters from the movie. What fun!

To see ALL of the pix from the party, click here.

MK 3—years old

Savoring the little moments

Our sweet little middle child turns three this week.  Unbelievable.  Greg and I joke a lot that we can’t wait for our kids to grow up and go to college so that we can have our lives back again.  Ha!  I think any parent that has experienced time with multiple small children can empathize with this feeling.  But the truth is, where has the time gone?  Maggie is my Peru timeline.  I got pregnant with her shortly after we arrived and she has played a major role in this “Peru book” of my life.  I don’t know Peru without this girl.  I will blog more specifically about her later this week, but I wanted to record a moment that happened tonight that I know I will cherish.

One of the interns this summer brought my girls some Disney movies they had never seen.  Classics like Lion King and The Little Mermaid.  I absolutely love how well our girls play together right now.  In getting ready for bed, Ana stopped and said, “Maggie, you want to show Momma what we did?  When you were the witch and I am Ariel?”  I thought to myself, “This should be good.”

All of a sudden, Ana started singing the Ariel “Ahhh-Ahh-Ahhhh…” tune.  Maggie, my little almost-three-year-old, says in a deep voice, “Sing for me!”  It was hilarious.  They were lovin’ it.  Maggie even had her hand up close to Ana’s mouth so that it looked like she was stealing her voice out of her.  I love that they play so well.

Little moments like these happen all of the time.  I take them for granted.  I guess with Maggie’s birthday approaching, it has really hit me how fast the time really does fly.  I look at Ana, the baby I brought to Peru, and she is tall, eager to soak in whatever is around her, and the big sister to two younger siblings.  Maggie is training to star as the next Ursula, she speaks Spanish, and she has become the family clown.  Cohen is walking around, going over toward his sisters to cuddle and give them hugs, and is able to call us by name.  Oh my.  Slow down.  I don’t want to lose the little moments, but I know I eventually will…

Savoring the little moments

Back to School 2012

March is back to school here in Peru. Ana started Kindergarten and Maggie started her first year of preschool. They were both beyond excited, and they both had a great first week. Ana loves school. I wasn’t worried about her. I wondered how Maggie would do, but she went and returned to the house just fine. She is such a little independent thing! They both go from 8:30 to 1:30 every day (Mon-Fri). It is a different world in my house. It has been quite some time since I just had one in the house. Cohen is now my little morning buddy, and I love it! I can totally remember having Ana and thinking, “How do people do this with more than one?” Well, two kids later, and I am THANKFUL to have one. I can actually get some quiet time in the morning while Cohen naps.

Here are some pictures from the first week. One pic is of all the books that I had to put clear, plastic covers on. This doesn’t include the notebooks and trapperkeepers! It took me forever. Their Christmas present from Pop and Gram this past year was monogrammed backpacks. Aren’t they cute? There they are on the first day. I cannot believe that Ana started Kindergarten, but she has been in school full-time ever since she was 17 months old. We are so proud of Maggie. She has taken the challenge, been a big girl (we got her potty-trained during the summer break), and hasn’t cried one time. It will be fun to see her speak more Spanish. This is where she will learn it. I told them the other night when tucking them into bed, “I know that one day you two will be able to talk about me right in front of me, and I won’t be able to understand.” Pretty soon, Maggie’s Spanish will surpass my abilities. 🙂

the books…


I cracked up when I saw that my almost 3-year-old will have technology class…


Can you see their names?


If I have a say, they don’t get much cuter than this! (AG-almost 5 and MK-2 1/2)


For journaling purposes, every day that Maggie came home last week, I would ask, “How was school? What did you do?” Her answer, “I had fun. I play in DIRT!!!” They have a sandbox and she thinks it is the best thing ever. Is this a city girl or what? She isn’t going to know what to do with herself when she visits the farm later this year. 🙂

Back to School 2012

Magical Princesses

The Title of this post in Spanish is “Magicas Princesas.” It is a song that brings me to tears by Jesus Adrian Romero. He writes it from a father’s perspective, but it is a song dedicated to his two daughters. If you see him perform this song, they always have a slideshow on the big screens showing his daughters going from babies to young women. As a parent of two little girls, it definitely strikes an emotional chord within me. I use this blog to record things I don’t ever want to forget, and this post is dedicated to the two Magicas Princesas that live in our home…IMG_0414_2

First of all, these girls can laugh and have the best time together…


1. I have a sister, but there is enough of an age gap that I never got to play with my sister like Ana and Maggie get to do. I have two older sister-in-laws that say that their best friend is their sister (both are very close in age to their sister). I absolutely adore seeing these two grow a friendship. They not only share a room, they share a bed. Some nights there is tickling and hysterical laughter coming from their room after bedtime, and some nights someone is crying. That is what friendship is made of, right? Tears of happiness and sadness.

2. These two love being princesses. Ana in her high heels, Maggie in her tutus. Maggie even calls her tutus her “princisas” (she is trying to say the Spanish word for princess). They love playing in their dollhouse castle, and right now Tangled and The Twelve Dancing Princesses are the favorite movie selctions. Ana has requested a “Princess” birthday party this year.

3. They love to help me in the kitchen. I have to admit that on some level I get annoyed with it somedays. I love baking and cooking and it is a way that I do something for me. But many meals, (Ana especially) they insist on doing something to help. I have to check my perspective and think, “One day they will be doing the cooking (hopefully for me!). And the more they learn now, the more independent they will be later.” Ana loves to help measure things. Since she knows her numbers she puts things into the microwave for me. She also is big enough to get my ingredients out of the fridge for me. Maggie likes to press the start button on the microwave, but her main job is turning the timer off when it starts beeping on my oven. I don’t want to forget the image of her dashing down the steps in when she hears that beeper! She is also a pro at putting a bag of pasta into a pot. I think my favorite team work between the three of us is snapping beans. We have that one down!




1. Some days I cannot believe how fast Ana Grace has grown. She still loves to crawl up in our laps, and when I look at those long legs I cannot believe how tall she is. Right now, Ana still loves art so much. We bought her art supplies with some of her Christmas money, and in the month of January, she used all of the paper. She loves making cards for others. She also draws me a picture about once a day. I am going to put an “art line” across the white wall in my kitchen so I can display more of her art. My fridge is only so big. What I love so much about this is that it shows a piece of what God is doing in her heart. She loves to give cards to others. If someone has a birthday, if someone is sad, her first thought is, “I can make them a card.” I love this about her. On a side note, this little artist made me a 3-D birthday card for my birthday. Greg and I were very impressed.

2. Speaking of art, she also loves music. I sing to the girls every night before bed, and there are some nights that Ana wants to share a new song she has made up. I love it. She loves to dance with the music in the kitchen with me. Her favorite requests are the Disney Princess album and Veggie Tales.

3. Ana loves being outside. One thing I really miss is a yard for our kids to play in. We have our rooftop, but it isn’t kid friendly. We have beautiful parks, but unless the timing works for naptimes I am unable to take all three by myself. This girl loves the outdoors. There aren’t too many days when Ana doesn’t ask to go to the park or go for a walk. She loves it. She also loves riding her three-wheeler she got as a 2-year-old. We are thinking this birthday girl (she turns 5 next month) may be getting a big girl bike. It is quite a sight to see those long legs peddling that small bike.

4. Ana is a bottomless pit when it comes to eating. She will finish any meal when it comes to getting dessert afterward. She also will eat her meal and be hungry 20 minutes later. I am thankful she likes fruit so much. She is one that will go in the kitchen and help herself to a whole apple. She chomps away until the core remains. Her favorite food right now is Tortellini Soup. She could also eat a “sandwich and chips” every day for lunch. For example, I might say, “Ana, do you want some left-over spaghettie for lunch?” She will answer, “Yes, and with some chips and a sandwich.” (She doesn’t get her request but she always tries.) Her favorite dessert is cookies crunched up in ice cream or an Oreo milkshake.


5. I love to work on school stuff with AG. She has loved reading her first set of Junie B Jones books with Greg. Greg has commented that with her short hair she looks like Junie B. 🙂 What do you think?


She is practicing her letters and reading sight words right now. She writes well, and has been learning things that I know she won’t get at school: days of the week, months of the year, English phonics. One day I may be homeschooling her full time, and I won’t mind it. I enjoy working with Ana. She starts back to school in March and will complete Kindergarten.

6. Ana is bilingual. There are words she only knows in Spanish. Their are phrases that she translates from Spanish to English. This is part of being a biligual kid living in a culture where they speak a different language than their parents. One phrase I don’t want to forget is Ana saying, “Things pasen.” Pasar is “to happen” in Spanish. She will tell Maggie, “It is okay Mags. Things pasen.” She also thinks of soccer whenever she hears football.

7. This girl loves her style. I have told Greg that if we really needed to punish Ana we would just need to tell her she couldn’t dress herself for the week. Her “thing” is a skirt with tights, boots or her sparkly shoes, a “cute” shirt, and a matching headband. Do you see that picture of Junie B?!?




1. HOOT. That is the word I use to describe Maggie. She loves to get people to laugh, and once she figures out she is the star of the show, she milks it for all it is worth. I LOVE how that picture above captures Maggie’s smile. Her laughter is infectious, and she loves nothing more than for someone to be laughing with her. A favorite memory is of her running down the stairs in her tutu one Sunday when the house church was here. She came out into the middle of the room, held her hands out like she had just finished a gymnstics routine and shouted, “Hola!” to the same effect as “Tah-dah!” I died with laughter that day.

2. Maggie has been potty training and she has done very well with it. She gets an M&M whenever she does her business, and she is sure to cash in on it. I mentioned her liking her tutus. I think one of my favorite memories of late is of Maggie walking around the house in her tutu made of pink sheer material with no underwear. Quite a sight.


3. Her favorite food is soup or pasta, hands down. Today she asked me if she could have soup for lunch. I said, “You love soup.” She said back, “Yep. I love sopa (the Spanish word for soup).” She could also eat eggs every morning for breakfast if I allowed it. I make waffles about once a week. She can eat her wait in waffle, butter, and syrup. She also enjoys eating her “pan” (Spanish for bread) on Manuela days.

4. She pronounces her “C’s” like a “T.” It is really quite adorable. Her brother is “Tohen.” Her Daddy loves “Toffee.” And our teammates are “Shaye, Torah, Tyle, and Tarissa.” She also loves a special treat of getting to drink “Toke.”

5. Speaking of “hoot” and “t’s”, let’s make the word “Toot.” Ana was the easiest going child. ever. Maggie has been a little bit of a different story. She tests her boundaries quite frequently. And now, she just goes ahead and asks, “Do I get spankeens?” The answer is usually yes. She can be the sweetest child when she is well-rested, but if she has not slept well or lacks in the nap department, she is the moodiest thing. She takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon. We sing a song of her choice, she gets her baby and baba, and I have to wait to hear her say, “Don’t let the bed bugs get you!” She then giggles and waits for me to say, “Ok, I won’t. Don’t let them get you!” And then I have to let her say, “Night Night, I love you.” I have walked out of her room enough times without going through that ritual to hear her cry and cry until I say it. It is pretty funny to hear her all choked up saying, “But I didn’t tell you “I love you.” (imagine her barely getting that out.)

6. Right now Maggie loves books, playing with balls, dressing up, and play cooking. She will start school in March with Ana. She is starting a year too early according to the Peruvian calendar, but we will just have her repeat it. She needs the social interaction, and this is how she will learn Spanish. Right now I am working on her colors, basic shapes, and numbers in English and Spanish. I can’t wait to see how she like school this year.

7. Also one thing that I want to remember about Maggie living specifically here in Arequipa is what she does when she hears a whistle. Here in Arequipa, the night watch man that patroles the neighborhood is called a “watchyman.” He walks the streets blowing his whistle. Whenever Maggie hears a whistle, she will shout with excitement, “Watchyman!”

We love our princesses!

Magical Princesses


terrible two

Maggie Kate is two years old, and Maggie Kate is a M.E.S.S. We have already had one daughter go through this stage. Did it better prepare us for Maggie… no way, Jose. I know that these moments will just keep on coming, but today I had a “terrible two morning,” and I have several things before this that I want to record about her.

First of all, she is absolutely hilarious right now. Her expressions, the complete sentences she has started to say, her reaction to things, figuring out independence. “Terrible” is not the best way to describe her because she can be the sweetest child, but if the definition of terrible includes getting into everything when we are not looking it describes this stage perfectly.

1. I am going to copy and paste a prayer that she said in Spanish the other day for lunch. Many ask if she can speak Spanish. It is AMAZING how a child picks up another language so quickly. She knows who to say “hola” to and she knows who to say “hello” to. Maggie comes across as an extrovert right now. She typically is not shy to do things or say things out loud…

to our last group of summer interns: Maggie said the prayer before lunch yesterday in Spanish with no prompting. This is what she said: “Grasus por Bela y Nana y Mam. Daddy y Toe-in (Cohen). Y Mahnay (Manet Castaeda), Ohhp (Hope Rice), Beff (Stephanie Brown) and Beelow (April Souza). Grasus por ohmida (comida) y ehsuz (Jesus). AMEN!!!

2. We are learning that we have to discipline her very differently than AG. Greg is a stickler when it comes to letting our children “cry it out.” He knows crying is inevitable, but enough is enough. So with Ana we could tell her to be quiet, and she could stop the crying. Maggie… totally different. She just keeps crying and blubbering, “I sawwee (I’m sorry),” really loudly over and over. There is no quiet to it. We have to acknowledge that she is sorry and comfort her to get her to calm down. I have found that I just have to hold her for a minute and she immediately stops. It is just so different than Ana.

3. The girls love gummi snacks. I have been keeping them in a drawer that both the girls could reach. I thought I had a pretty good handle on them not getting into the drawer. As I write this, those gummis are up high… very, very high. I had one of those moments the other day when I didn’t know where Maggie had gone. I have come to learn that that ALWAYS means she is doing something she shouldn’t. Me: “Maggie, where are you.” MK: “Downwheres (downstairs).” (but she totally said it like her mouth was full of something) Sure enough, she had gone downstairs to the kitchen, right after I had allowed them to have a package of gummis, and she was stuffing her face with as many as she could before I found her. I died laughing inside. She really is brilliant I think.

4. If Ana leaves the table to get something and her food or drink is in grabbing distance Maggie WILL take it at her leisure.

5. I caught her eating Cohen’s puffs the other day.

6. She has started taking her diaper off because we have tried the potty a few times. Big mistake. (See next one)

7. This morning I awoke to Ana telling me that Maggie had taken off her diaper and there was poop everywhere. Sure enough, I walk into the room and the first thing Maggie says is, “Momma, I go potty and there poop on my BaBa (her blanket).” I started the day with a big fat load of poopy laundry (did I mention that she smeared it on a pillow that she had taken the case off of?).

Later in the day, while I am in Cohen’s room tending to him, I hear Ana say, “Oh no. Maggie!!! Momma!!!” She had turned the hot water dispenser (we have a water dispenser for cold and boilong water) on and their was a river going down through my kitchen. Her fingers hurt (imagine that). I took her up to her room for timeout (and held her so she would calm down) only to discover that her hair was crunchy in the back. Me: “Maggie, what is in your hair?” Maggie: “Soap Momma.” Sure enough, I discovered the hand soaps down in the floor in my bathroom and in the girls’ bathroom. I discovered a totally empty hand sanitizer bottle and all of Cohen’s Baby shampoo emptied out.

8. I remember reading I’ll Love You Forever to Ana and seeing the picture of the two year old boy flushing the watch down the toilet. I thought, “I wonder what it would be like to have a child like that?” NOW I KNOW!!! First Maggie will stand at a toilet and flush it over and over again if she is not monitored. Second, we have found multipe items in the toilet that don’t belong there. I shudder to think about what I don’t know about.

9. Another new thing for her is putting things in the bathroom trashcan. Like the entire roll of toilet paper.

10. She painted her nails on her own the other day… and her leg… and her forehead…

11. The picture at the beginning of the post is from when Jeannie and Diane were here. I had bathed Cohen, and Maggie decided that she would take herself a bath after I left the bathroom. That was the heaviest diaper ever. She just climbed right in, clothes and all.

This girl is a mess, and we really do love her, but I sure hope that Cohen takes after his elder sister in this stage of the game.


Kid Update August 2011

My how they are growing. There are so many times when I think, “I have got to write that down.” Well, here are some things lately that I just don’t want to forget about my kids and the stage that they are in… for now.


Anastasia Grace (4 1/2 years old)

Ana’s independence is really coming out right now. She wants to make her own decisions and do things without help. This ranges from what she chooses to wear for the day to going to the refrigerator and helping herself to whatever she pleases without permission. She is definitely learning boundaries. It is a fun and difficult time. On one hand, I love to see her getting bigger and learning to do things on her own. On the other hand, she can sometimes be a little too big for her britches. That is part of learning.

I have started asking Ana to do help with some chores now. One of her main chores (that I love) is that she hangs socks for me. I don’t have a dryer. Everything is line-dried here.

ana socks

A couple of weeks ago Greg and I had a date night. Ana has always been such a daddy’s girl and wants the same amount of attention that her daddy gives to me. She told Greg that she really wanted to go. Greg promised to take her on a special date the next week. Ana was so excited when I picked her up from school. I loved our conversation. She told me exactly what they were going to do. I explained to her that when a boy asks her on a date, he decides where he will take her. If he wants to ask, she needs to wait for that to happen. When we got home she insisted that she needed to wear her scarf (it was in the 80’s outside). It dawned on me a little while later that I had worn a scarf on my date with Greg. She had it in her head that scarves are what the girl wears when going on a date. Greg took her to McDonald’s and then gave her a choice: popcorn and a movie or games and ice cream. She chose the games and ice cream.

ana date

One evening we were eating dinner and the subject of coffee came up. Ana looked at Greg and asked, “Daddy, I want a crapuccino.” (I guess she took capuccino and frapuccino and mixed them up.)

Ana has been ultra-sensitive about things since Cohen entered the picture.

Ana is so sweet and loving as the big sister. She talks to Maggie and Cohen like she is a momma. She gets home from school and immediately says to Maggie, (in high pitched voice) “Hi sweetie! How was you day? Are you happy to see Nana?” And they hug. Precious. I will have Cohen laughing, and she will want to take over. She wants to be sure that I know when she has made him smile or laugh. She is such a big help to me as the oldest.

She still loves art. And I continue to be impressed with her ability. I know I am biased, but this is something she freehanded and colored after we studied the story of Daniel last Sunday:

ana art

It has really struck me lately how she is following in my footsteps. She really does watch what I do. The scarf story above is one of many examples of this. I like to go up on our rooftop to do my quiet time. I keep a prayer journal and love the chance to get away from the house noise. One afternoon I was journaling, and Ana came up to the roof to see what I was doing. I took the time to explain my journal and why I do it. She said, “I want to write a prayer to God!” I suggested that since she couldn’t write quite yet to draw a picture for God. It was a sweet moment to share with her. I pray that I can be ever mindful of the little eyes that watch me.

Margaret Kathryn (2 years old)

Maggie is something else. She loves people, and she is a talker! We cannot get her to be quiet at times. She gets an idea in her head and says it or asks it over and over again.

mags dress

Just recently I got out all of Ana’s old 2T clothes. Maggie loves wearing dresses. She also loves her Elmo apparrel. We will find her shoes, Ana’s shoes, and our shoes all over their room and the TV area because Maggie loves to try all of them on. She loves accessories.

She heard someone say Amen after singing once, and now she wants to say it after every song we sing with the church. Our church group calls her “Hermana Amen.” And she is just that. After every song we sing together she says it and we all repeat after her. Hilarious.

Her talking is exploding. It is amazing to me how she has already picked up on so much Spanish. She says “gracias,” “no mas,” and “si.” She seems to always understand Manuela when she talks with her. My favorite is hearing her call people by name. Some of my faves: Budiff and Bedo (Judith and Alfredo), Bela (Manuela), Anamam (Abraham), Evina (Etelvina), Dido (Cirilo)…

She loves watching Barney, Backyardigans, Elmo, and Max and Ruby. Here is how our conversation goes every morning after I wake her up: Maggie, “Momma, juice peez.” Me, “OK, we have to get dressed first.” Mags, “Momma, I wanna mawch Bawney.” Me, “Not right now Maggie.” Mags, “Melmo?”… “nanawhns” (Backyardigans)… “Muby (Ruby), Momma.” every.morning.

The girl loves eggs. She would eat 3 every morning if I fixed them for her. She also drinks her weight in whatever we give her. Her favorite beverages are juice, nokna bilk (chocolate milk), and doke (coke)–which she doesn’t get very often.

She is definitely in the “mine” stage. She doesn’t even like it if I prop Cohen up on her pillow. “My peellow, Momma!”

She wants to be so much like Ana. I love seeing them together. It is a great blessing to have two girls in close age. They share a bedroom and that has worked very well so far. Many nights they get into trouble for giggling and playing too late. I look forward to seeing them grow up together.

mags art

Cohen Timothy (4 going on 5 months)

I have decided that this is not my favorite stage of babyhood. He is in between the sleeping all the time stage and sitting up and playing with toys stage. He is right on the verge of sitting up by himself for long periods of time. I sit him on the couch and he holds himself still for long increments of time. He has just started trying to grasp objects in front of him but he can’t figure out how to hang on to them. He also has been caught sucking his thumb. We still swaddle him and use a pacifier so he hasn’t gotten much of a chance to be a thumbsucker yet.

Unlike the girls he HATES to have his diaper changed at night. He cries like I am hurting him every.single.time. It always makes me laugh because he is so delirious. All I have to do, though, is change him, nurse him, and put him back in the bed. He goes rigtht back to sleep.

He is almost sitting up. He can roll from his belly to one side.

cohen situp

I am going to give him rice cereal very soon. It is much earlier than with the girls, but my babycenter email says that a child needs to be 4-6 months, double their birth weight (which Cohen is more than double), able to sit up fairly well (check), and takes an interest in you eating (latest development).

His hair is growing out, but he is definitely sporting the beginnings of a comb over and rat tail. We will be sure to trim those before they get too long. 🙂

cohen closeup

Kid Update August 2011