Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Birfday a Momma!

My 34th birthday was one to remember!

Tess found out a week before that my birthday was coming, and she'd been excited ever since. She'd already sung me numerous renditions of "Happy Birfday a Momma." (I didn't know she knew that song!) Apparently "birthday" for her is one of those loaded terms that comes full of expectations. She heard mention of the word "birthday" and immediately started talking about "a BIG cake, a candles, balloons, hats!"

When I got up on my birthday Ryan and Tess were nowhere to be found, so I figured Ry had something up his sleeve. I was getting ready in the bathroom when Tess walked in with a bouquet of roses and said, "Happy birfday a you, Momma!" She then proceeded to spill her guts: "A balloons! A BIG cake! A candles 4, 5!" Then she got a concerned look on her face, threw her arms in the air and said, "A no hats ANYWHERE!" Ryan said they'd been to 3 stores looking for party hats to appease Tess' birthday sense, sadly, with no luck.

We made up for the lack of party hats by spending the day at the Baltimore National Aquarium. I've been wanting to take Tess there since she's developed an interest in the ocean. I wasn't sure how she'd do there, but Ry took the day off from work and we braved it all together.

Knowing how she builds things up in her mind, we were very careful how we presented the idea to her. "'s like a zoo for fish." No good. She'd be dying to see the zebras and elephants the whole time! "'s a fish place." A little generic--she'd probably think we were going to Wal-Mart and expect to see the toys. "'s a fish museum." This is the option I went with, which worked fairly well. She did keep asking to play with the balls and milk the cow like she did at the Children's Museum in Richmond, but luckily the dolphins played with balls and we even found a cowfish to fit the bill!

Overall, Tess handled it better than expected. It is a bit of an overwhelming experience, since it's kind of dark inside with huge tanks of big fish and sharks swimming around everywhere. Her favorite animal of the day was the rescued, 3-flippered Green Sea Turtle, which was swimming around the huge open tank in the middle of the museum.

(It was at this exhibit I sadly realized I'd brought camera, but left my freshly-charged battery sitting in the charger at home. So all these pictures are from someone else's trip. But we saw the same things.)

At the end of our 2-hour visit, we took in the dolphin show. Tess was pretty oversaturated with fish by that point, but I think she enjoyed it. Her favorite trick was when the dolphin shot straight in the air to get a ball.

We got caught in a huge thunderstorm on the way home, stopped for crab cakes for dinner and finished up at home with cake, candles with the numbers "3" and "4," a final singing of "Happy Birfday a Momma," and presents. We were all exhausted, but happy. What a great way to spend my day!

In other happy news, my obgyn appointment went well today. I'm now scheduled to have my sonogram on July 22nd, so we'll finally find out if Tess is getting a brother or sister!

And I'm happy to report that after an artistic dryspell, Tess has resumed drawing. For a while there, she just was not at all interested. Her favorite subject matter is still happy faces, but she often adds additional details, including hair, arms, legs, glasses and ears. I love seeing what comes out of her little head.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dad's Day

Tess has the most amazing dad a little girl could ask for. He is such a hard worker, incredibly patient, and a natural teacher. He's told me that his love for Tess borders on infatuation--he just thinks the world of his little Tess.

When he's at work, Tess talks about Dad all day long. One of her new favorite questions is "Dad like it?" So, if we go to the park, she asks whether Dad likes the swings, the slide, and tunnel. If she sees a toy, she wants to know if Dad likes it. If we get a treat, she wants to know if Dad likes it. I think if she knows Dad likes it, it must be a good thing. It's funny that there are certain things she likes specifically because Dad likes them too: Life cereal, popsicles, "mem"onade, and spaghetti.

Tess knows how much her Dad loves her because whenever he is home, it is Tess time. He honestly doesn't even change his clothes before he's down on the floor playing with her. We eat dinner together, and then Dad gets her ready for bed. He changes her diaper, puts on her PJ's, reads her book and listens to her songs, and brushes her teeth all before I come up to give her a good night kiss. In the morning, he's first to get her out of bed and she usually tags along while he gets ready for work. She likes to eat Life cereal with him for breakfast, she likes to watch him shave and get a dab shaving cream on her nose, and she likes to pick out his tie for the day.

Tess' latest renditions of Dad include glasses.

Tess knows that weekends are "special days" because she gets to spend them with her Dad. When I asked Tess what Dad likes to do, she said: "P-L-A-Y! Play toys. A-play with Tess. A-watch a show. A-play a 'puter. A-draw a picture a-gether with me."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle: Two Interpretations

In all seriousness.

And a more free-spirited take.

My favorite part of Tess' performances is how she bows
and says, "Thank you, thank you!" at the end.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two and 1/2

A very happy un-birthday to our favorite sweetheart, Tess!
If you ask her how old she is, she doesn't hesitate to say, "Two and half!"

Tess practicing her big-sister skills.
From the amount of Balmex she's gone through, I'd say that Elmo has one mean diaper rash.
I'm not sure how to tell her that Elmo is supposed to be red.

She certainly seems grown-up for a 2 1/2 year-old. How did that happen in a mere 30 months?

Two 1/2 Year Old Tess

Favorite Silly Words: "a-skoodle," "a-noodle," "a goodle," "a-boo-head"

Favorite TV shows: Curious George, Umizoomi, Pingu

Favorite foods: cheese, chocolate milk, smoothies

Most looking forward to: "A beach vacation!"

Response if you ask her what she wants to do today: "Mommy play."

Her plans to help the baby: hold the baby, hold the bottle, play toys, watch a show, change a diaper, give hugs, take a bath, push a stroller, build sandcastles

Favorite songs: "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "I am a Child of God"

Favorite things to play: Kitchen, dollhouse (especially at Nana's house), kitty, cash register (aka "calculator"), chalkboard

Favorite places to visit: library, pet store, smoothie shop, gym, spray park, playground

Favorite treats: M&M's, marshmallows

Friday, June 11, 2010

Papa Love

We were lucky to spend a little time with Papa Murdock during his work trip to D.C. Tess & I met him in the city on a beautiful Friday evening. We toured the American History Museum and relaxed by the fountains in the Sculpture Garden.

Tess was her characteristic shy self for the hour or so we were in the museum. But once she warmed up, she didn't stop chattering to Papa the whole visit.

This picture gives you an idea why Tess nearly did a nose dive straight into the fountain. She was very busy making "leaf boats" to set sail on the pond, and kept getting more and more brave around the water.

At one point she lost her balance, and Papa barely saved her by grabbing the back of her shirt. She literally had water droplets dripping from her nose--that's how close she was to becoming part of the water feature!

Papa spent the night with us, and the next day we dragged him to all of Tess' favorite local hot spots. We fed ducks and baby geese at the marina; played, relaxed and wrestled in the park; and took in a few more sprays at the spray park.

It's a good thing we're headed on a big plane to Idaho this summer, or Tess would've been pretty heartbroken to see her Papa go!

Love you, Papa!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Strawberries Remembered

Remember our disastrous strawberry-picking adventure?

Here are a few pics of how it SHOULD have turned out:

Tess has some cute friends. At least they had a good time.