Friday, March 30, 2012

it's been said

{after a Sunday full of all the senior citizens telling her she looks like Shirley Temple}
Belle, sounding a little nervous: Hey Mom, am I Shirley Temple?
Me: No, you just look a lot like a little girl with curly hair named Shirley Temple.
Belle: But I'm Annabelle?
Me: Yes, you're Annabelle.
{I subsequently showed her photos of the real Shirley Temple}
{from inside the bathroom, while Lou Lou bangs on the door}
Mom, I hear a baby at the door!
{while I vacuum}
Don't bacuum up Lolly!
{as she babbles on her fake phone - a small board book in this case}
Me: Who are you talking to?!
Belle: {pauses} My huzzzband!
{while making cupcakes in the bath}
Want some cupcake ladder? {batter}
{singing Adele's "Rumor Has It" at the top of her lungs when she's supposed to be sleeping}
{while playing with her Lalaloopsies}
Let's go to french fry games!
Me: Please kneel. It's time for the prayer.
Belle: {giggles} Kneeeel is like Neil! {giggles some more}
{from the show White Collar, a show we love, so she subsequently loves it as well}
{singing in the back seat}
A parking lot! A Peter and a Neil in a parking lot!
The grrraaasss! And Peter and Neil! {from White Collar}
{while going down the slide at the playground}
Ready?! Go?! Set!!!
{flashing a big tooth smile}
Do I look teethy?
I'm going to the church that has xyllophones.
{and she says this last word totally correct, which totally cracks me up every time}
Belle: Who are these kids?
Me: I don't know. It's just a picture of kids playing together I think.
Belle: {thinks, then points} This is French Fry. And this is Gretel.
{while talking on the phone}
I'm calling Hawaii and Gatlinburg to come to my house.
{while smelling her stinky feet}
Ew! These smell gorgeous!
{after seeing a maroon Buick}
Hey! There's a car like Tanner's!
{Uncle Tanner drives his grandpa's old Buick :) }
These oranges are...orangey!
There's three cups Mommy! I don't know what to believe that!
{while driving, Lou Lou starts fussing}
Oh Lolly! Why are you freaking out? We're almost being there!
Mommy! Look! She has bangs like you!
{Maria, from The Sound of Music, after she falls in the lake and her hair gets messed up}

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

my babies

This morning, Annabelle didn't wake up as she typically does: humming or singing a song, either known or made up. She woke up SCREAMING. I rushed in because I knew it wasn't a typical scream, and she yelped, "My neck!" Girl shoves that blanket under head like crazy, and I figured it was a kink. I called the nurse to get any other warning signs I should be looking for (she had nothing), and gave her ibuprofen. She stayed on the couch for six hours. With two bathroom breaks only because I carried her screaming body to the bathroom because I knew she needed to go whether she liked it or not. She's rarely sick or in pain, and I think that more than pain, she was experiencing fear. I broke down in tiny tears a few times while I tended to her. I hated knowing she was hurting and scared, and I hated not being able to fix it. At one point, after I told her I'd done the same thing before to my neck and that it goes away, she sobbed into my shoulder and asked, "When will it go away!?"

Eventually it got bad enough and didn't seem to be fixing at all, even with ibuprofen and rest, so the doctor wanted to see her. And being the uber paranoid mother that I am, I agreed. I got the latest appointment available - an hour out - and started rushing about trying to finish a meal I was making for a neighbor who just had a baby while simultaneously packing the diaper bag and feeding Lydia some mashed bananas. Suddenly, in the whirlwind, I heard Lou Lou choke. This wasn't a regular gag, which she's really good at and typically is able to get up any bothersome pieces of food. This was real live, no breath choking. I whipped her out of her chair, flipped her around, and started pounding her back. She started turning purple and continued to fight for air. I pounded some more and then swished her mouth. I could feel something, but she was hysterical and thrashing and I don't think I did much of anything. I pounded. She coughed up mucus, some bloody. And then I prayed. Hard. Outloud. Desperately. My baby was purple! And suddenly she started breathing again. It was all I could do to not collapse in a fit of sobs. It was all too much.

My babies.

In the end, Jess came home early from work, and we took the girls to the doctor (Lydia was fine and wasn't seen). A friend who was going to deliver the meal I'd been preparing (because I had a child stuck on the couch) called and told me to just stop worrying about it, and she finished the meal. Annabelle's neck miraculously healed itself the minute the doctor walked in (naturally). And all was well. I've spent the evening - still unshowered as I maintained a constant vigil over Belle because she was just so scared - staring at and loving my babies. I don't have words to describe how much I love my girls. I try to form them frequently. But it's usually just a bunch of fluff. This kind of love is so deep seeded, so much a part of my soul, and truly impossible to express. I thank my Heavenly Father daily for their presence in my life. And especially tonight do I thank Him. For their lives. Their beautiful, healthy, lovely lives.

My babies.

Monday, March 26, 2012


It's moments like these,
the unplanned ones,
where I turn around and something like this is happening,
and the camera actually happens to be on the table,
with an empty memory card,
that make the every day moments

Thursday, March 22, 2012

eight months

Lou Lou:

Hot dang. Another month. And this month was went as fast as your now-crawling legs move. That's right - you're officially crawling. You motor around all day long and particularly love to camp out in the bathroom. Belle has learned she has to shut the door when she goes to the bathroom because you'll follow her right in. You've pulled yourself up a few times - but never to the couch. Only on my legs when I'm sitting and on shorter things, like the book boxes at the library. And you do the stink bug move a lot, the one where you basically stand up, just with your hands on the ground. I have a sinking feeling that you'll walk earlier than I prefer. You are busy as a bee. You're always moving, always finding trouble, always putting tiny pieces of everything in your mouth. Unless it's nap or bed time, you are pretty much bouncing off the walls, a fact that made this month's photo shoot rather difficult (and a few days late as I had to wait for an evening that you were in a good mood and that Daddy was home to catch you when you dive bombed off the seat, as follows).
You have zero teeth still. However, that hasn't stopped you from eating. In the last month, you've become a great eater. I think this is because I pretty much let you eat (or at least try) whatever. You love bananas (which I often mix with other things), homemade wheat bread, avocados (you once ate almost an entire avocado in one sitting, no lie), rice puffs, prunes (also mixed with random stuff), yogurt of any kind, and this homemade mac and cheese (I mash it up for you). Strangely, you gagged big time when you tried noodles with marinara. Sometimes we let you play with your food (feed yourself) and sometimes I spoon feed you (like with messy bananas).
I wish I could say this food consumption was aiding in your sleep. It's not. You still like to get up at 3:30 a.m. to have a bottle snack. You hate-HATED the sippy the first time I gave it to you. You death screamed like the world was ending until I figured out you were just mad because it was water not formula. After I showed you that the good stuff was in there, you stopped death screaming every time you saw it.
About that death scream. Holy smokes you've got a scream. And it's not the same as your "I'm hurt" or "I'm hungry" scream. It's your angry/annoyed/give me what I want! scream, and it is LOUD. It's actually so loud it's comical. You are about as moody as they come, and we find it highly amusing. The good news is your mood swings up for the most part. But when it swings down - death. screams.

You say "mama" in direct reference to me now. I'm sure of that. And I swear that when you play with a ball you're saying "bahbahbahbah." You also say something very much like "dada" under your breath when you see him. And what you don't say with words, you very plainly communicate with whines, grunts, and screams. I've never seen a baby communicate so well without words as you do.

You're an enormous mama's girl still, but are doing better with "strangers" (including family). You love-love-love your daddy. You do the happiest dance when he walks in from work. If only you knew how special that makes him feel. You and your sister are still besties as well. She's doing really good at sharing and helping, although she has her moments. You two sometimes have giggle fests, and you especially love crawling after her.
You're a binky addict. We try our best to keep it out of sight unless you're death screaming or really tired. But boy howdy, you love it. You and Daddy play a game where he takes it out of your mouth by biting the handle and you yank it out of his mouth and try to put it back in. Sometimes you mimic him and try to bite it out of his mouth. This game makes you giggle to no end. You also love to give big open mouth slobber kisses, especially if I pucker up in your face. You then consider it your responsibility to slobber all over me.
You love music and reading. (Ah. My soul just sighed.) When you hear music, you whip around looking for it and especially love The Sound of Music. You will sit on my lap for tens of minutes (which is like an eternity for an insanely busy baby like you) and read books. You have favorites as well. You love Peek-A-Love and Whooo Loves You? and get really cranky if I move on to another book before you're good and ready.
You are tall and skinny. You'll probably be out of your carseat by next month, something I really don't want to talk about. Your little tootsies already hang off the end. You wear 12-18 month clothes and are still in a size 3 diaper, although I'm debating upsizing next box. You have a pretty good mohawk of hair now. I constantly vascilate between being absolutely certain your hair is straight like mine and then really sure that you've got the wave too. Only time will tell. Like your sister, it sometimes looks reddish, but I promise - it's not.
You are a little gem. You make us giggle daily. And I find you perfectly lovely. So glad you're ours.

Here she is at one month.
Here she is at two months.
Here she is at three months.
Here she is at four months.
Here she is at five months.
Here she is at six months.
Here she is at seven months.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


If you ask Annabelle where she got her curls, she will promptly say, and with a sly little grin, "Grandma!" Indeed, she did get her curls from her grandma, most certainly not from her stick-straight-haired parents. Lately, all I ever hear is how Lydia is a mini Jess and Annabelle is a mini Grandma Lichelle. I'm sure the hair has something to do with it, but it's more than that. They just look totally related. They have the same smile and nose and ears and face shape. Of course, my mom's eyes are the prettiest of blue and Belle's are chocolately brown, but in black and white, you can see the similarities like crazy.

My mom has one photo of herself as a tiny girl. And seriously. They do look alike, right? I went back and looked at photos of Belle closer to my mom's age in this photo, but she doesn't look so Christensen-y a year ago. It's just recently that she's morphed into a mini-Grandma.

My only question: perhaps a child could bear resemblance to me? The one that GAVE HER LIFE? Come on girls. Morph some more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

round and round

Happy Spring! I realize that we've been having one of the mildest winters in recent history, but I have just been aching for some spring. There's just something about being forced to coop up as opposed to voluntary hibernation, which I am actually a fan of. The week we were in St. George was full of glorious weather. Naturally, we hit up St. George's hot spot: THE CAROUSEL.
I think maybe my favorite thing about the carousel is that Annabelle actually hates riding on the horses. She only did it the first time because "the benches" were taken already. And she was NOT too happy about it. That smile on her face is merely for hamming it up purposes. On her other cruises round and round, she got "a bench." And obviously, was happy as a clam.
Lou Lou was just happy. Because that's generally how she is. Unless she's not. And then she's loud and practices her death scream. But on the carousel? Happy. She'd have been even happier if I would've let her lick the pole. Girl is a human vacuum, so very different than her older sister who was the strangest baby on earth and rarely put things in her mouth. Lou Lou practically crawls around licking the floor. Let me tell you about AWESOME.
And for anyone randomly visiting St. George and wanting to check out the carousel:
- It's right in the center of town, just off Main Street and Tabernacle (it's behind the old Tabernacle building).
- It costs $1 for adults. Children over 42" are  fifty cents a ride, but must buy a minimum of two rides. Let me do the math for you: it's $2 for adults because you have to go with your under 42" child, who has to ride twice, who ultimately costs $1. There you go.
- Children under 42" ride free. Annabelle is only the average size of a four-year-old (no really), so we've got a few months of freedom left.
- If you're hungry, trot across the street to Thomas Judd's store. The lovely one room mercantile is the oldest running business in St. George (since 1911). Get a breadstick with cheese. Will both stop your heart and make your stomach happy all at the same time.
- If you're hungry for food that won't reduce your life expectancy, hit up 25 Main (on Main Street). Their cupcakes are the thing of legends. It took extreme mental persuasion to convince myself that one was enough when I was there last week. Their regular food is delish too.

So, Happy Spring! And somebody find me a cupcake. ASAP.

Monday, March 19, 2012

giggly girls

So sometimes Lou Lou steals Belle's stuff and Belle spazzes and yanks her precious piece of cardboard away and Lou Lou death screams (what we call it to differentiate from just a normal scream) and then we have to quiz the one who can speak to figure out who tried to kill whom first. But more often, these two are giggly girls, separated only by two years and at the moment, a wide vocabulary. I'm pretty sure pregnancy is rough for me just to keep my uterus empty for a few months between children. Because holy smokes these two make me baby hungry.
I am not pregnant. Let me just put it this way: I plan to enjoy at least another full holiday season without descending into the depths of nausea and bloated limbs. Also, my body needs some recovery time. I got diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease in September 2010, had half my thyroid removed in October, received the go ahead to get pregnant in the first week of November (with the warning that it might "take a while"), and then peed on a stick at the end of November to discover, that yes, Jess sneezed in my general direction. And then you all got to hear about how fun pregnancy was until I stopped eating good food. (After that, it actually became quite bearable.) ANYWAY. This is all to say, I AM NOT PREGNANT. And even though I'm mentally pacing the floor, ready to swaddle up a newborn, I'm also in possession of my faculties and know that now isn't quite the right time. And truth be told, I'm really enjoying this little Lou Lou. Such a different chicklet than her sister. She's a girl of my heart, and I'm love-love-loving watching her little personality explode (in death screams). :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

it's been said

{to Daddy, to avoid going to bed}
Let's go have a snuggle break in your bed.
Mom, there's a couch in the dumpster diver!
{while playing with her dolls in Lala Land}
The dolls are going for Kid's Meal. That's for sure.
Belle: These kids come from Asians.
Me: They come from Asians?
Belle: Well...they come from Target.
I like this Nemo movie...did you get it in Tokyo?
Um, where's your phone? Is it in Japan?
I don't like fish san-iches. I like fish-chicken...wait...what are they called?
I like fishhhhhicks. Fish sticks? Yeah, fish sticks.
Me: Let's put away these toys Belle.
Belle: Wait. Not these three. These are my friends.
{from one doll to another}
She's telling you about the strew-drive.
{I believe she's referring to a drive-through, with mixed syllables}
{while playing with her fake wallet}
Belle: Hey Mom, can I order?
Me: Sure, what are you going to buy?
Belle: Um. Sixteen dollars.
{goes through a transaction with an imaginary person}
Belle: Thank you lady. Have a nice great day!
{during a long, fake conversation on the phone}
I told her lots of stories and seed if the car is in the garage.
{and then...}
Hey Lady?! Are you dare? ARE YOU DARE?
I have credit cards. I'm sending dem to you.
{to Lou while taking her out of her car seat}
Me: You're a free woman!
Belle: And I'm a free muffin too!
I not wearing a down-leaf shirt. {long sleeve shirt}
{to my mom when they went to retrieve something in her office}
This is the office? This is wonderful!
{on her way to bed at my mom's house}
Dogs, you can not sleep in my bed.
{while helping me put away dishes}
When I get much bigger, I can reach the cupboard. But I'm not much bigger.
{after climbing up a slide}
Look at me! I strong!
{after twirling and then falling down}
It's better to stand up twist.
These church shoes are really nice. Thank you for buying me these shoes!
{after I grab a hat so Lydia's scalp doesn't fry at the playground - poor baldly}
Lydia needs to wear a hat so she doesn't freeze her head off.
My best has pockets! {her vest}
{after examining my teeth}
You have beautiful teeth! And guns! {gums}
{whispering to me}
Mommy and Daddy love me. Grandma Lichelle loves me. Don Don loves me...The dogs love me!
{while chickpeas roast in the oven}
Me: Can you hear the chickpeas whistling in the oven?
Belle: {listens...eyes get big} They're whistling like Captain Bon Trap!
{from Sound of Music BECAUSE WHAT ELSE IS THERE?}
photos courtesy of dc photography (my very talented baby sister). find her here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I know, right?

The girls and I made the trek down to St. George this past week. And let's talk about this cousins picture.

1. While I don't produce enough milk to feed a small insect, my sister produces cream and could possibly feed an entire country. Her baby is a chunky ball of love. Seriously - look at those cheeks.
2. Marissa found these matching dresses for the girls at Wal Mart at the budget saving value of $5 a pop, so of course we had to go for it (and aren't they so cute?). Here's the irony: she found the two that would fit my girls in St. George. And I found the one that fit Lise in Salt Lake.
3. Lydia Lou is in fact a giraffe. We paired her "dress" with pants because she's so stinking tall and her dress looked like a shirt.
4. My children are white. White, white, white. Rissa's chicklet has a tan that we all envy. Lucky girl.
5. These girls are destined to be best friends forever. And it makes me so happy.

We had a ball in St. George, as we always do. Mostly we just sit around and eat, but let me tell you what, we love doing it. Not ten minutes out of St. George, on the way home, Belle said, "I had fun at Grandma Lichelle's. Can we go back someday?" This will come as a surprise to my mom and sisters as the day we left, Belle was whining and moping and begging to go home. But truly, we love our time there. We're spoiled by my mom, who seriously does dishes twenty-four hours a day, and the aunties, who love on my girls non-stop. I have just one question: WHEN ARE YOU ALL MOVING TO SALT LAKE?

Friday, March 9, 2012


I use Picasa for all my photo editing - it's free and easy enough for the average toddler to use. Just recently, they did one of their auto updates. And I was just fiddling around with some photos for another post and realized that they seriously updated and added all sorts of one click "filters" and photo fixes. To anyone who uses Picasa for their photos, I recommend getting the update and doing a little exploring. I mean, how great is this "pencil sketch" of little Lalee Pants?

Monday, March 5, 2012


Last night I decided I needed to give up one of my two vices: Nutella or Diet Dr Pepper.
I chose Nutella. Because Nutella's made of fat and sugar and chocolate. And Diet Dr Pepper is not. Also, Diet Dr Pepper keeps my eyelids open.
Does anyone else have a seven month old who likes to crow at 3:30 a.m. on. the. dot? Belle did this too, only it was at 3:15 a.m. It's such a hard hour to be woken up too. Right in the middle of some seriously good REM cycles. And only a couple hours before I have to get up anyway. So going back to sleep is misery because I know it will be so short-lived.
Problem is, you cannot possibly be one bit mad at Lala when you see her in the morning. I mean seriously. HAVE YOU SEEN HER?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

growing up

So Annabelle has long been rather consumed with the idea of having long hair. I think Rapunzel has something to do with it. Yesterday she told me that one day it would be "long to my back then my bum then my legs THEN MY FEETS!" In truth, those curls are growing away. They stress me out sometimes because they do this thing where they get long and not curly at the top until it grows enough to form another ringlet. And then the curls bounce back up and I can breathe again. Because those curls have become her. That said, this long hair has introduced her to a whole new world of phone-ee tails and braids. She actually usually just wants "no-mal" hair, but once in a while requests a fancy do, usually to match mine. When she does request these lovely hairdos, there are moments that I'm a little blown away, by how grown up she looks, by how beautiful she is, by the little lady she's sprouting into. She's very much not a baby anymore.

And my Lou Lou. There's something about that girl. I've always thought that there's something about her that knows something in me. It's mostly in her eyes, the way she talks with them, the way the world is swallowed in gulps with every blink. She's doing her fair share of growing too. She's been working on crawling for weeks. And weeks. She's been doing things her way, scooting, and rocking, and doing what looks not unlike the push ups I should do every night. But she's almost there.
I watch my babies sometimes and, of course, wish in certain moments, that I could just pause for a bit. Because while my heart is swelling with pride at how lovely they're growing, it's also doing that aching thing, knowing they'll never be tiny again. And I find myself swallowing pride-sized lumps of irony all day, allowing the time to pass only because it seems it gets more lovely every day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

your personal food ambassador

So I consider it my personal duty to try new food products. I seriously cannot resist them, especially when they involve chocolate. However, as of late, I've eliminated most processed sugar (Reeses Eggs are exempt) and white flour from my diet. Now, it ain't doing a bit of good, and I'm still roughly the size of a barge! (name that Disney movie), but I'm not giving up. Mostly because I am honestly trying to change the way I (and we) eat. Permanently. Not a diet, not a temporary fix. But real change. Here's the trick though: I'm looking for real change that still tastes good. This has involved a lot more cooking and substituting recipes and snacks. And to be honest, we've found some really delicious food and snacks that don't clog our veins and taste delicious. It's more work and trickier to manage the budget, but it's been worth it. In truth, I wish I could drop some weight, but it's become less important as I really do feel better. (Remember when I did this when I was pregnant and felt like a million bucks? You'd think I'd learn.) That said, I've stumbled upon a few new products that pretty much fit my new bill of health, and are rather tasty. And of course, as the ambassador of new food products, I consider it my duty to share:
1. Nature Valley Protein Bars (Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate is my favorite): I try not to be obsessive about labels, but these fit the label requirements - low carbs and sugar, high protein and fiber. They're not super sweet, but they're super delicious and filling. A much better option than, say, a Reeses Egg.

Dang. It.

2. Belvita Breakfast Biscuits: Please ignore the stupid name. I didn't want to try these just because I thought their name was too stupid and rhymed with Velveeta. But they kept calling out to me with their boasted 18g of whole grain per serving. Then they went on sale and a coupon came out for them, making my box just over a buck. So I gave them a try. (Tip: Most new products will go on sale and have a coupon with their first few weeks to try and entice people. So if you want to try random new junk like me, wait it out a bit and see. I bought all three of these products on sale with a coupon.) Back to the biscuits - super wheaty and full of good grains. They're kind of like those Biscoff cookies on Delta flights (and available in most grocery stores these days), but far less sugar. They're a graham cracker on steroids, basically. Yum.
3. Mio Water Enhancer: Don't be fooled by it's spacey packaging. If you just hate swallowing water like me because you find it bland and boring, and if you don't mind artificial sweetener (like me - um, hello Diet Dr Pepper?), give these a try. I just use a teensy tiny squirt in my water sometimes to give it that little umph that will convince me to, you know, swallow. And although this will be frowned upon in some parental circles, I use it to get Belle to drink water sometimes too. Colored water does wonders for a toddler's will to drink.

And there you have it. Some semi-healthy new product options. You are soooo welcome.


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