And so it goes.

It has been some time since an update; things have been busy. But that’s only part of the delay.

The other part is that I’ve been deciding on whether to wind things up, and the answer is yes. From the start I knew the blog had to have a lifespan, and I’ve been toying with how to decide when to call it quits. Molly is starting to become fully Molly, and it’s less a blog about a new baby and more about a person — a person whose privacy and safety will always come first. Molly turned 3 years old recently, and any day now it’s going to become impossible to keep her anonymous on the web.

What’s more, I’m increasingly finding myself choosing between doing things with/for Molly and doing the blog. So the best thing for us now is to say thanks to everyone who’s been following along, and hang it up.

I won’t of course leave you with nothing. Here’s a very big Molly swimming at out-of-town grandma and grandpa’s hotel pool; they came into town for Molly’s big birthday party.

Out-of-town grandma made a birthday cupcake dress! Molly insisted on wearing it to school, along with the appropriate accessories.

This was Molly’s big present from mom and dad: the bus bed. Dad built it, mom decorated it. We had it out in the driveway for the party!

Features include interior pockets, a hammock, a dashboard with steering wheel and several buttons that play sounds and light up things. The headlights work, they’re about night-light brightness. And of course Molly’s guests thought it was a blast to play in/around/on.

Here it is (finally) up in her room. I built the walls to break down, but it was still a bit of a chore. Glad it’s in — she slept on it last night and today for nap!

The next-door neighbor girl (the older one) and her dad made Molly a pinata! Hooray! Whack!

And there was a cake, thanks to local grandma picking it up for us. A cupcake cake. With ice cream inside.

It was a great party, and Molly loved every minute. 🙂

And I’ve loved every minute of doing “Raising Molly.” I’m so glad I’ve kept this blog. Molly’s first three years are pretty much all here, and I already enjoy perusing them. She’s grown up so quickly, and has been so much fun so far. I just can’t wait to see what she’ll give us tomorrow.

The future looks bright, indeed. Thanks, everyone. 🙂

Bringing every girl and boy, a basket full of Easter joy

This is about as behind as I’ve ever been on the blog, apologies. I have a long list of excuses, but they won’t fit with all the great photos, videos and stories I’ve got to share. 😉

The big event was of course Easter, which had several incarnations for Molly since we know she’s a fan.

We colored eggs; Molly eschewed the little wire egg holder that came with the kit in favor of fingers.

Her fingers were well colored by the end of things.

The following video only makes sense if, like Molly, you’ve seen the Easter Bunny segment of “Elmo Saves Christmas” about 1,000 times.

To her eternal credit, Molly realized they were eggs and ought to be eaten. With just a little salt, she did. 🙂

The local rec center had an egg hunt geared for the under-5 set, so we headed over and signed in. While the coordinators put the finishing touches on the hunt (mostly scattering eggs in the ball field), there were games to play inside. Molly gave the beanbag toss a go.

There was a “make a bunny” craft table, which (with help from mom) produced a fine rabbit by the end.

And there was a “pin the tail on the bunny” game. Molly dutifully stood in line for quite some time for a chance at this one. 😀

There was a brief appearance by the Easter Bunny herself — who was subsequently stalked and hugged incessantly by Molly.

Finally, someone told us to start heading out to the ball field. They lined all the little ones up with their baskets and bags, and after a short countdown, it was “Go!!”

Molly liked the “running and yelling with everyone” part so much she at first neglected to pick up eggs! Of course, as a strategy it paid off, because she found herself with some room in the middle of good pickings.

After pretty much no time at all, the field was bare, and Molly suddenly noticed the cow from the chicken restaurant was there, too! I mean, we thought the Easter Bunny got mobbed. Molly’s such a fan of the cow. 😀

The cow also brought his “friend,” another cow. Molly didn’t know this one, but decided he must be OK.

The whole event went swimmingly; afterwards everyone retired to the playground, where Molly successfully went several rounds on the monkey bars with startlingly little help from mom and dad — only to bonk heads with an adorable girl she’d been playing so happily with. Molly came off the worst, so we headed home for an ice pack — frozen peas in a sock — which made her feel much better about things.

Easter didn’t quite end there; on the day itself, local grandma came over and we had a chilly hunt around the yard…

…Which culminated in a proper Easter Basket, filled with tons of goodies!

We doled out candy bit by bit ever since, with Molly referring to the basket’s content as her “Easter joys.”… As in, she asks to get up next to the counter to “look at her Easter joys.” It’s adorable. 😀

Molly’s hit a few gymnastics classes since I last blogged, and has been having a blast. I’m not sure there’s much I can add to set up the video, it’s so much fun to take her.

One morning we hit the zoo, where Molly mostly wanted to eat snacks on park benches and comment on all the people going by (“She’s at the zoo with her daddy. He’s with his mommy. He’s got juice!” etc.). She also had a little commentary on the kangaroos.

…And she made a fast friend outside the carousel. They were just cute together. 🙂

Speaking of friends, Molly’s neighbor has been walking her dog on a leash fairly often in the nice weather. Molly: “I want to do that! I want to walk Talker on a leash, please!”

So, Talker got a little more action than perhaps he expected when he woke up that day.

Yes, you heard correctly. On the trike. 😀

Mom also got us all some plants to try growing this summer — two of Molly’s faves, tomatoes and sugar snap peas! Molly was very into watering them.

Then we took them out and re-potted them into bigger buckets. After much soil-scooping, there was more watering to be done.

Right now the peas are near a trellis, and the tomatoes are inside Molly’s playhouse — it’s warm and bright in there, which should get them through to the end of May as long as we remember to water them. I’m not worried Molly will let us forget that. 😀

With all this spring activity, Molly remembered she liked going camping in the tent. With it still being super cold at night, I set her up one evening in the living room, where she proceeded to get her buddies all warm and snug.

After everyone had blankets and “comforters,” Molly joined them. With snacks!

We turned out the lights, and we brought the little electric lantern into the tent and read books. Lots of books. Ultimately we ran out of snacks, and Molly requested more apples.

Hard to imagine, but I’ve got one more video that doesn’t fit in anywhere else. Here’s Molly playing along, showing off her great rhythm. 😀

Summer livin’

Mom and dad found some new dress-up costumes at a garage sale. The winner so far is the mermaid, who also likes to wear fairy wings and drive a Jeep.

 

In other news, we’ve been having great weather lately. I mean, it snowed today, but until then it’s been in the 80s and sunny. So we picked up the neighbor’s old blowup slide pool for a song, and have been having a grand old time with it. Molly’s first trick was to swing off the rope from the top — turn up the volume on this one, I shot it with the phone:

 

Then of course, we needed to add water. Dad had a great idea to heat it up a bit:

Yes, it’s a 10-foot-long solar panel. It was a Craigslist purchase, and I have two. It manages to dump a few gallons of super hot water, then it just raises our 61 degree ground water to 72 in one pass. Which is better than nothing, considering I hooked it up in about sixty seconds.

Molly approved.

…and the neighborhood followed!

We actually did this a couple of afternoons in a row… we’d inflate and fill the pool, and the neighbors would wander over. Mom and I set up a few chairs in the shade, and we all talked while the kids splashed around. Pretty easy living!

Here’s a cute one of one of Molly’s little buddies. He’s about a year younger, but he’s a big boy!

Bonus video: the weather turns cool, and Molly tries to get Rojo to fetch. 😀

Sprung!

The peach trees have decided: it’s spring.

Molly’s been spending a lot of time outside, in part because of the great weather and in part because the girl next door got a hamster.

I found out after Molly and mom got back from a visit. Molly ran up to give me a hug, and offered, helpfully, “When you squeeze hamsters, they poop.” 😀

Molly wants to go play with the girl next door almost all the time now. And she cries when it’s time to leave. Things eased up a little when the girl got a new waterslide — and we bought the “old” one for a song — but it turns out, slides and hamsters notwithstanding, they just like to play together. The other girl’s 4 or so, and I think they’re communicating pretty well.

Here’s Molly getting dressed to go over and visit. She knows exactly how cute she is. 🙂

I was going to offer a few videos of Molly working on her reading with mom, but frankly this one of her “reading” by herself is a lot more fun.

 

…And finally, here she is after a lot of reading, and frankly just before we all konk out for bed. 😀

“Bam! Crash! or Bonk!!”

Sometimes Molly’s “Milestone” kind of moments ease into being. For example, at some time over the past few weeks she’s become really competent in eating cereal and milk with a spoon. No spills, hardly. 🙂

And, for another, she’s gotten pretty good at making shish kebabs without poking herself. Eating them, not as much. But she likes to make them. 🙂

But yesterday she showed some sudden big-kid stuff that pretty much blew me away. Yesterday she went to her first gymnastics class.

And took to it like a fish to water.

It’s for 2-1/2 to 3 year-olds, but since there was only her and one little boy signed up, they’re going to join with the 3-year-old class next time. Not sure how that’s going to go for the little boy, he wasn’t too into things; but for Molly, I expect it’ll be great. Yesterday, with the boy pretty much demurring, it was a one-on-one private class for Molly.

She loved this.

 

After the first little dance, the older instructor left; Molly ran from station to station — “I want to try THIS one!!” — getting help on the basics, and getting into everything. Clearly the instructor was impressed, and having a good time with Molly.

Molly was taking lessons quite well — listening to the instructor, which was something I wasn’t sure she’d go for. But she made me SO proud.

 

Here’s her first go on the bar; she ran over to it, terribly excited.

 

By the time our 45 minutes was up, Molly had mastered grabbing hold, swinging her legs up and flipping off — she’d land on her hands and knees, and go “Wow!!” 😀

Bonus video: Molly’s not only learned how to say a new word, but I think she’s really internalized what it means. Here she’s decided to quiz the scarecrow. 🙂

O’Molly

Like what seemed to be everyone else in the city, we went downtown for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Molly loves parades.

Staked out a good spot, bought an Irish flag to wave, and settled in. 🙂

Molly had a great time, and lasted well into the thing. She liked the pipers and drummers best, of course….and marched along!

 

She also enjoyed the step dancers. There were several different troupes, a few of which managed to be dancing when they went past.

 

In parades past Molly’s been skittish about loud noises. She had a few this time around, and seemed to enjoy them. When all the big motorbikes went by revving their engines, she covered her ears, but looked up at us grinning! And of course she jumped for joy at the fire trucks.

Molly eventually was right out in front, almost in the street, watching it all. She stretched her arms out to a clown at one point, beckoning her for a hug — and she got it! I missed that shot, but just barely got off a picture of a similar event with a giant puppet. No fear from Molly, she stood patiently for a double high-five!

About halfway into the parade this gaggle of pre-teen girls squeezed their way in front of us. Molly took it as an invitation for her to squeeze in among them herself, and proceeded to do so. She sat down, introduced herself, and watched the parade with the “big girls.”

By the end there had been several hugs. They all said “Goodbye Molly!!” when they left. 😀

Today we zipped back to the zipline place. Molly leapt into action, right from the first attempt.

 

Molly also found the climbing wall, and more specifically the rope web the staff had made. Very cool, and Molly climbed right up it. Perhaps more impressively, when she was finished climbing, she pushed right out from the wall in full appreciation that the rope and harness would hold her.

I’m not sure I was this cool a kid at her age. I mean, I got cool later. But look at this! 😀

Rollin’

I’d picked up a toy stethoscope at the kids expo — it actually works! — and been holding it back for just the right moment. Molly yesterday asked for a “special new toy,” so I figured, heck. 😀

I told her I had something for her, to use whenever she wanted to be “Doctor Molly.”

She looked me straight in the eyes, even before I opened the box. “It’s a stethoscope,” she said. 😀

And she put it right to work!

…She said “Where’s the robot’s bump-bump, bump-bump?” 😀

In other news, mom’s been cycling to work every nice day we’ve had. Molly finally noticed, and responded by wanting to ride her big-girl bike with mom!

It’s a Strider bike, with no pedals. Below is video from day one and day two, and on her second day out she’s even getting some gliding going on!

 

Her sense of balance is getting great. It’s fun to watch — she’s learning how to do it, and I’m incredibly proud. 🙂

Molly’s also establishing herself as more “in charge” when it comes to the dogs. Here she is feeding Rojo — and getting him to sit. 😀

 

Yesterday, when Molly woke up, she said “Where are we going to?”

So I offered her several options, including the zoo and pool. She said “I want to stay home today and play here.”

So we did. 😀 Lots of swinging, lots of playing with toys inside and out. Lots of talking about bugs and flies and things, lots of reading. It was a great day, and a good reminder that sometimes it’s OK not to have a full calendar. 😀

Here’s Molly doing some home cookin’ out in her playhouse; she’d gone out and started playing with her pots and pans, then stopped and said “I want my new oven. You go inside and get it for me, I’ll stay here and not get into trouble.” 😀

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