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Thursday, February 21, 2013

2 Years and Counting....

It seems appropriate that this entry chronicles Levi's 2 year anniversary home and also is our last post before our family move to Germany, where I'm sitting as I write this.  Definitely one chapter closing and another beginning.  But more on Germany later....we'll save that for next month.  This entry is to reflect on the funny little soul that keeps us on our toes all day long.  

Funny would really be the operative word.  That is how I will remember Levi at this age: very funny and very silly.  Now that he can express himself we have entered the wonderful age of funny childhood quotes.  Yes, I have a book, and yes, I write them down.  Honestly though, somedays it feels like everything he says makes me laugh and it is hard to pick which will translate 20 years from now.  I think sometimes what is funniest is his timing and the fact that he says something you never expected him to even think.  I know that is typical of this age.  Maybe it is just Levi's delay with English that is making it so unexpected?  Like a great Hitchcock film, he built lots and lots of suspense.  (But, as opposed to Hitchcock, the outcome isn't nearly as scary or suspenseful...Hmmm, or is it?....Now I'm thinking about that....When I hear "Uh oh.  Biiiiig mess."  Or "Boogie all gone!" there is definitely suspense involved.)

Actually, "Boogie all gone!" is how we began 2013 and is a good example of our days.  Here is the dialogue from that morning:
Jan. 1st, 6:45 a.m.: (And if you can't figure out which lines are mine and which are LT's then we are in trouble.)
"Boogie all gone."
"Boogie all gone?  Where did it go?"
"Boogie all gone."
"But where did it go!?"
"In mouth...Terrible!" 

One of my favorite things is that Levi remembers when you laughed, what made you laughed, who else laughed, and will talk about it for weeks.  Sometimes he will ask you to laugh again.  We may have the makings of a class clown.

Other Firsts and Quirks:
Knows his shapes well and can even say "Trapezoid, Octagon, Pentagon"; Great dr. visit with no crying (as discussed pre-apt., just like Daniel Tiger); Made up our own Memory game with some Thomas cards - loves it; Resurgence of the Terrible Two's - whisked him out of the bath dripping wet for Time Ins a few times and he once lost "Train Show" privileges for 12 days!; Loves talking about how Mom, Dad, and God are with him all night if he gets scared; Got big eyes and was fascinated with the idea that he could pray to God anytime he wanted and that God is always here; Working on having a napkin in our lap or at least one that is his throughout a meal; Has a new "little boy"-like laugh; Favorite game around the house is to "Run away from Mama again!" saying, "Vi run...Mama...Tickle Vi.  Tickle pickle."

Lots of imagination with his toys: (While tapping his green wakeup clock with his German Shepherd figure says:) "Geegee eat green clock!"; Drew me a picture and told me it was a "whale" (I suppose there was a whale-like shape in there, though just about any blob can be a whale-like shape.  I was proud nonetheless.); Fascinated with toys needing help and getting into trouble or a disaster.  Lots of crashes and, "Oh no!  Help!"; Very concerned with his trains being "happy."  Lots of "Blue train, happy!  Red train, happy!"

More common or silly sayings:
  • "More treat food"
  • "Geegee came back!" or anyone else who has come back - using past tense.
  • Everything is going to happen in "2 Green Clocks" (a.k.a. 2 mornings), esp. seeing Aunt Jenny, Aunt Miriam, and going to Cracker Barrel. (Once he told us we would go to Sodor and eat at Cracker Barrel in two green clocks.  Hmmmm.)
  • Yelled in the middle of a prayer at Ethiopian Church: "Pooey!"
  • "Bye bye, Geegee.  Vi sleeping." as I carried him to nap time.
  • Favorite phrase for quite a while thanks to predicaments in Thomas the Train: "That's Teeeeerrrrrible!" And frequently as he plays: "Excuse me train." or sometimes (including in the checkout line at OfficeMax) "Out of my way!", "No thank you, Blue Train, you're welcome." and "Thank-you-you're-welcome."
  • While looking for me in the garage, "Meagan!" and then while riding in the cart at Kroger, "Meagan!  Meagan!"  Oh, boy.
  • Me: "Levi, what color do you like best?"  Thinks a minute..."Red!"  "Red is your favorite color?"  "Ok!"
  • Talks a lot about "Trouble!" and "Megoo Trouble" (not sure what that is, but it's apparently "Trouble, trouble.")
  • Lots of "Vi do it self."
  • Me: "Remember when your dogs tried to chew up  your markers?!"  LT: "Terrible dogs."
Favorite pictures - 

Snuggling with "Neenie" in the green chair - his morning routine when she is in town.

The day Neenie and Papa left after Christmas, Nana and Pa had the brilliant idea of sledding for the first time!  Perfect timing to distract from one set of grandparents leaving and make a wonderful memory with the other set.  Goodness, this boy is blessed.  (And fearless....2 and 3/4 years-old and no problem pulling his own sledding or sledding on his own, forwards, backwards, etc.)

First time sledding:


And quickly wanting to go by himself:


And immediately on the way home from sledding:

The Smiths and Hollingsworths came over for a visit and Levi was fascinated by Baby Truman.  He wanted to do everything Truman did that got attention and for weeks he talked about everything Truman had played or done.

I think this was one of Truman's first times coloring?  Levi finished the picture after they left and was very excited to send it to them in the mail.

Gettin' some love from Rita.

Love feeling cozy in our log home after a beautiful snow....

Levi's first real dentist appointment.  I was absolutely 100% positive that this was not going to go well and no actual cleaning would get done.  But he had a real, true appointment - cleaning and all!  This hygienist, Melissa, is obviously The Toddler Whisperer.

Levi LOVES watching this video.  I think even he was amazed that he did it.  


Fun with the doggers.  Vicious doggers!

Swinging in his room with his Butler Bulldog (both courtesy of Ikea).  He likes to practice pumping his legs saying, "Legs in, Legs Out" very proudly.

Ah, potty time.  Truly, it is going rather well.  I don't think that Levi's body is ready to have enough control to actually "hold it," but he is great at going whenever you ask him.  As soon as he starts "staying dry" for any period of time we will plan a weekend intensive....

And attempting to put his own diaper on - sideways.  NOT a good look.

This is how I will remember Levi at this age, 2 1/2 to 3 years-old: doing puzzles.  The puzzle obsession is intense and has even overtaken trains and cars.  Since we don't necessarily have expectations for what talents he will have, it is really fun when you see one naturally pop out.  (Now, there are definitely things where so far Levi has not shown talent.  His singing is still pretty tuneless and he generally kicks balls behind himself instead of in front.  Cute, really.  Now, as for dancing, the boy does have some moves....)  As I've mentioned before, his directional abilities are quite amazing, and that has definitely translated to puzzles.  That coupled with his great memory make for a mean combination.  He does a puzzle a couple times, memorizes it, then does it constantly to see how quickly he can get it done.  

This picture was taken at 6:33 one morning after he woke at 6:30.  Before he would change his diaper, have breakfast, or even come out of his room, he had to start on puzzles....

Then at 6:38 - completed jigsaw puzzle.  No help whatsoever on any of his puzzles anymore.  (Though he will sometimes demand that I "take a turn.")

Going back for more....

One day I took a couple pieces from all his puzzles, put them in a bag, lined up all the puzzles, and then he would pull pieces out and find the corresponding puzzle.  That way he could do them all at once!  Not really very hard for him, but was at least a way to make them new.

He did this giant puzzle multiple times a day for weeks.  Again, all by himself, here putting the last piece in... proud!

One of his absolute favorites is his "America Puzzle."  We've starting learning about states by talking about our relationship with that place.  We've added quite a few since this video.  This was our starting group:


We still adore going to the Children's Museum.  The Hot Wheels exhibit is his absolute favorite, naturally.

And the real live train you can climb inside is a close second.

Party with friends!  In trying to see everyone before we left for Germany we had a couple nights of pizza parties with friends.  First, with our Ethiopian adoptee crowd, the Bells and the James.  What a beautiful group of kiddos we have!  5 Ethiopians in our house at once - a new record.

And the next week, a party with our dear friends, the Motts!  We have the absolute best time at their house on play dates every couple weeks.  It was nice to thank them and return the favor.

Craft time this month...I keep getting more creative trying to impress my VERY hard-to-impress-boy.

This one is great for early writing skills - Letters or numbers in shaving cream and then have them squirt it off with a condiment bottle.  

Box "garages" with numbers on top!  We would sit back from them, call out a number we were aiming for, and let the cars fly!

A classic - Giant Kiddo Body Tracing.  Levi had NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in actually coloring himself.  Instead he got as close as he could to one little section and told me he was making letters "like Neenie."  Um, okay.  I left it out for days and he refused to color on it at all.  

Pompom Numbers.  A brief and moderate hit.  We'll try it again with maybe a letter and number of the week.  It seems to appeal to his organizational tendencies.  

Color mixing with our daily messy bath.  We make railroad tracks with paints and shaving cream.  When he mixes up the railroad with his vehicles we find out how the colors combine!  He's very good at telling you that red and blue make purple now.

Falling stars!  He has to tell me which star he wants to fall.

Practicing our knife skills with play dough....

And play dough snowmen!

Categorizing our Thomas playing cards - All the Thomas cards go here...all the James cards go here....the Percys here....etc.

And this is a Levi original.  I have nothing to do with it.....No idea what gives him these tendencies, but he still loves lining things up.

Running on pillows!  Great for balance.

Food color/water dripped on ice that has been cracked with salt.  It's the craft that keeps on going.  First you watch the ice crack, then you enjoy dripping the colors, then you watch the ice melt, and finally at the end we stuck rolled up paper towel over the side to watch the colors climb up.  

Love this picture.  Such cultural contrasts: chillin' with Ming Ming while sporting his Ethiopian shirt.

Chair pictures, Month 24!  A fun progression of how our photo shoots really go.  And I included his first chair picture from Month One, too.  Baby Levi to Big Boy Levi!

A typical early morning session of imagining with trains...Got a lot of his favorite phrases in there "Out of my trains all happy....Oh no!...Teeeerrrible!"  Hearing him talking in these shows me how very far his language has come this past month or two.  As I write this, he is SO much clearer now!


And creating "perils" for himself and Tigie...


And one of his silly rambles when he talks about seeing people after "2 Green Clocks" which characterized this month...


And my favorite new dance move....