Friday, May 25, 2012

first swim

So we decided we'd have summer. And we christened Papa and Grandma Cheney's pool this week. I have to admit it was quite a delight watching these girls. It was the perfect illustration of how different - but lovely lovely lovely - my girls are.

If anyone remembers, Annabelle was somewhat terrified the first time she went swimming. She did pseudo swimming lessons last summer and got much more comfortable, but she's still the most cautious little thing. She sticks to the stairs like glue.
This week's swim was no exception: she sat on the stairs and tried on goggles for most of our time out there. "Look Mom! Swimming glasses." "Goggles?" "No, swimming glasses." And only when Grandma pointed out that she could walk out on a long stair, did she venture from her safe spot on the top stair.
I half-expected Lou Lou - like her sister - to show some sort of fear of such a large bathtub. Um. No. Girl started kicking and splashing the minute her toesies touched the water.
Kicked and splashed and giggled about. When she got splashed by an auntie's cannonball, she smiled. Face full of water and everything.
These girls are pretty much the best things. Evah. In all their sameness and differences, they are perfect perfect perfect. Just the way they are.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ten months

I'm not really ready to talk about your tenth month. This is waaaay too close to a year. How could you possibly be so big? Nevertheless, it seems you just get better every day, if that's possible. You're the happiest smiliest thing in the world. We really can't get enough of you. Do I say that every month? I think I probably do. But it's the honest truth.
This month, you started walking. I'm not quite ready to say that you are walking, per say, but you can walk - unassisted, with or without an object to get you started. You can take like ten or fifteen steps. And even then you often just sit down and crawl (you don't fall) because crawling is just so much faster for you. You love LOVE to play-crawl with your sister or your Daddy. Or anyone really who will play chase with you. You totally understand the concept too - you crawl away as fast as you can, then look back to make sure someone is chasing you, then crawl away again. You'll also crawl after someone when you know they're playing with you.
You have a really awesome courtesy laugh. Full bellied. Big smile. And you do it at the drop of a hat. Sometimes you fake laugh just to get us to laugh. You want to do everything we do, especially everything your sister does. Papa calls you his favorite twelve-year-old. :)

You still have no teeth. Blah. You're teething like crazy. We can tell your mouth is just aching. And you have been sleeping horridly. While I'm not looking forward to losing your adorable gummy smile, I'm hoping that when those teeth break through, you'll get some relief. Although it's just downhill from here, because if you're like your sister, you'll be slowly growing teeth for the next year.
You love mirrors. You get a huge kick out of yourself. Grandma Lichelle has a floor length mirror that you spent considerable time at while visiting. While at her house, you also learned to love dogs. At first you were really worried about the situation as a whole. But by the end of our first trip this month, you were chasing Miley (the small dog) around. Speaking of trips, you went to St. George and then two weeks later to Bryce Canyon National Park for the annular eclipse (we also had a pit stop in St. George). In fact, you turned ten months on the day of the eclipse. You've become a pretty good traveler as you're much more adept at grabbing toys from the toy bucket in the car and entertaining yourself. I think the fact that you have loads of solid foods in you all the time helps you as well as you're not hungry and whiny.
Speaking of food. You love to eat still. You'll eat anything. You seriously try anything we're eating. Some of the random things you've tried (and liked) this month: stuffed peppers, black bean burgers, hamburgers, avocado chicken salad. I still give you a fair amount of pureed fruits and veggies as it's the quickest way to get food into you (without teeth to help). You can drink out of sippies and straw cups. This is mostly because you steal your sister's. You watch until she's done drinking her juice, scoot quickly over, and finish up her leftovers. You also guzzle water from your own sippy though. I think you like sippies because you see Annabelle using them.
You love taking a bath. You have for quite some time, but you actually know what I'm talking about when I say the word "bath" now. If you're fussing, I just have to mention a "bath" and you settle right down. I can see that you understand a lot of words these days. You look for the correct person when I ask you where they are (Daddy or Annabelle). When I ask you what you have, you'll open your hand (or your mouth) and show it to me. If I say "shoot it" sometimes you'll spit your binky still, but often you just remove it and put it down. You still occasionally say Mama, Dada, and num num (for a bottle). But you mostly just speak in jibberish. You love to say the B sound. Bubbles, balls. When I was practicing with your sister, we got to B, and when I repeated the sound for Belle, you giggled and yelled, "Buh, buh, buh, buh!" It's one sound we can almost always get you to repeat.
You still love reading. You get REALLY mad during scripture reading time because it's not a picture book. You can find your favorite books out of stacks. Unfortunately, you love them so much, you've started tearing. I've had to start putting some up high and leaving just board books down for you.
You are still a mama's girl, but not so ridiculous. You've learned to really love the relatives on both sides. If I'm not in the room, you're happy as a clam with them. You love your Daddy lots and lots too. After we went to St. George for the weekend, when you first saw him you lunged and basically wouldn't leave his side the entire evening. If you're really cranky, we can count on some quiet time with Daddy to settle you down. You really like that Daddy.
You're pretty much the bee's knees. We love you Lou Lou. Every little thing about you.
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.
Here she is at eight months.
Here she is at nine months.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the ring of fire!

So did all y'all see THE RING OF FIRE? I use all caps there because we say those four words with special emphasis around here. It involves a guttural man voice and crazy inflection. Belle does it particularly well. Anyhow, we traveled to Bryce Canyon National Park to get "the best" view of it this weekend. Here's how our days went:

Friday: We drove to Bryce, scoped out spots for pictures of THE RING OF FIRE, then drove to St. George, arriving in the wee hours.
Saturday: We spent the day in St. George with my mom and sister.
Sunday: We drove back to Bryce - via Zion National Park - and joined the throngs to watch the RING OF FIRE appear. We then drove back to Salt Lake City with the throngs. We got home at 3 a.m.
Monday: We stumbled around like zombies. Not the children. They slept the entire way home so they were refreshed and ready to run us ragged when they woke up. :)

It was actually a lovely weekend. The girls and I have made trips together in the last few months, but we always leave Jess at home working. This time, we had Daddy along for the ride. And holy smokes, it was fun. We've got a truckload of photos. And so many of them need explanation. So here goes.

On Friday, it was fuh-reezing at Bryce. Of course, I didn't bring socks for Lou (I seriously never put socks on my girls because I'm awesome and think they should experience frostbite at an early age) so I pulled some of mine out of the depths of our luggage and strapped them over her pants. One of them repeatedly fell off. It become a total comedy show. Observe:

 Annabelle has taken a recent dislike to posing in photos. Observe:
Unless she's not sharing the lime light. Observe:
 Lou is like REALLY a happy child. Especially when she's free of that dang car seat. Observe:
Jess' sisters traveled down (and back) on Sunday for the eclipse. So all the girls went to Bryce Point, spot of the best view of the eclipse, while Jess hiked into his previously chosen spot in Sunset Point's little canyon. Of course, by this time, my girls were pretty much running low on energy. I parked my folding chair in the shade (because Belle couldn't really care less about the eclipse at this point), plopped Belle in it with a bag of Goldfish, and we waited for THE RING OF FIRE. And then I smelled something foul. A quick look in the pants of a certain ten month old confirmed my worst fears. Lou had totally dropped a bomb. At the top of a mountain. Crawling with people. The nearest private place was at least five miles away. And the goodness was about to come right out the top of her pants. So I did what any other self-respecting mother about to be poop-leaked on would. Plopped that kid down in a bush and changed her. I've never changed a diaper with more speed than I did at the top of that mountain.

With twenty minutes to go, Belle fell out of her chair and informed me she was ready to go. I agreed to walk down to the parking lot with her, where we were told that even if we wanted to leave, the shuttles weren't leaving until THE RING OF FIRE was complete. So we actually did end up seeing THE RING OF FIRE despite the toddler's exhaustion level. Then we hopped on a shuttle. We were then informed the shuttles wouldn't be going to the spot our car was parked (and where we were meeting Jess). I smiled sweetly, wiped the dirt of my kids' faces, and asked nicely if we could be dropped off at our stop. The shuttle driver - a gem of a grandpa - was happy to do it. And we made it back. Jess arrived at the car minutes later with these:
I know. Whoa. Pretty spectacular, right?
I don't have pictures of this, but we did end up in stop and go traffic at 12:30 a.m. just outside of Nephi for an hour. I wanted to crawl out of my car and totally destroy every miserable traffic cone blocking off a lane of NOTHING. So completely aggravating. Not to mention the state of our minds. We were tired and delirious and ready to be home. But alas, we made it. And we'd do it all again. Because it's these little moments - the ones with stinky babies at the tops of mountains combined with the ones where our universe just puts on an incredible show - that make for some pretty perfect memories. Can't beat 'em.

Monday, May 14, 2012

it's been said

{during General Conference, while I mindlessly
downloaded fonts and listened to the good word}
Belle: I wanna go somewhere,
Me: Not right now. We're watching Conference.
Belle: You're not watching Conference.
Me: Um. I'm listening?
I'm a good girl. Well, sometimes I'm naughty. I'm naughty when I want some-sing.
{at least you're honest}
Belle: Who gave us these eggs?
Me: Grandma Cheney.
Belle: Grandma Cheney?
Me: Yes, Grandma Cheney.
Belle: Uh...Jodi?
Me: Yes, Jodi gave them to us.
{to the tune of I Am Like A Star, while holding a square frame around her face}
I am like a square shining brightly!
Belle: What does Daddy speak?
Me: English and Japanese.
Belle: And what do you speak?
Me: English.
Belle: And what does (great) Gram speak?
Me: English.
Belle: And what does (cousin) Tymon speak?
Me: English.
Belle: {thinking} And what does Blacky (Tymon's dog) bark?
Me: Good question!
When are we going to Old Gravy?
I love you more than MOST!
{after I throw on a pair of ill matching pajamas pants}
That does not look great.
{when Jess and I walk into the room that she's playing in}
Hey guys! Join the family!
{a few hours after I attempt to explain the meaning of the word "navigating"}
Are you navi-gum-ating the car Mom?
I spy with my little eye, something in my hand that is red!
Belle: I spy with my little eye, the color pink that's on my baby's shirt!
Me: Is baby's shirt?
Belle: YES! YOU GOT IT! It's my baby's shirt!
{after watching Numbers Ahoy! during which the sharks lose their teeth}
When I was a shark, my teeth falled out. You know that?
{after searching for a toy}
I don't know exactly where it is...
{as Lydia crawled into the bathroom, which she was occupying at the moment}
Welcome to joining me in the bathroom!
{as we go up our three flights of stairs to our apartment, to me}
Hey! Are you holding on to the railing Missy?!
How does your life go?
{I think she meant, "How's life going?"}
{running out to our car}
Where's the freakin' car? Where's the freakin' car?!
{during a tantrum}
Me: Why are you crying Annabelle?
Belle: Because I'm FREAKING OUT!
I'm gonna go to the bathroom real fast Lou Lou, so don't freak out.
{while pushing her stroller past me and Lou Lou}
Sorry. I'm a wild load.
{as we finish up a hike}
Let's go home, have a bath, then painting my finger nails. How does that sound?
Rosie and Clare-Issa (dolls) are my best friends. They each are my best friends.
Peter and Neil (from White Collar) are my boys.
{while Lou slimes her with food}
Lou Lou! Gross! You must have to not do this!
{while we waited for Daddy to come back from a little trail during a hike}
Um, I'm hating Daddy going away.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

full hands

And what, may I ask, could be better than spending my every day with these girls?

Lately, I've just been struck with the immense blessing it is to not only be a mother but to be a mother to these girls in particular. I have a sense that we knew one another before. Quite often, when logic and reason defy my options in parenting, something in my soul speaks to something in theirs. And things just click. When I stop listening to what "should" happen or what I "should" do and listen to my heart and what my girls are telling me, everything falls into place. And I think that's really something special. Tender mercies for certain.

I often have people stop me as I haul the girls around town running errands and say, "Boy, you've got your hands full!" And I always reply, "Ah, but it's the best kind of full, isn't it?" I know that someday they will grow up and leave me. I can't bear the thought right now, however, and I choose to simply enjoy these minutes and days that shuffle by us in a flurry. There will be sleep someday. For now there are babies. And I can't think of a better trade.

Being a mother is my most lovely dream come true. And I'm so grateful.

Happy Mother's Day all ya'll.
*Photos by dc photography.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

random photos

So there are often photos I/we take that I love but aren't necessarily worthy of a blog post. While we were in St. George, there were several photos taken (mostly by my sister Danielle) that fall into that category. So I thought I'd throw them all together. Random photos with random descriptions.
My mom and sisters are expert roll rollers. I stink at it. Lumps of shapeless dough. Loaves of bread I can do. Rolls, no. So my mom and sisters were rolling rolls (it's seriously a tricky art), and Don Don asked Belle if she'd like to help, thinking she'd have Belle help her weigh the dough balls. But then sweet Belle started rolling. I watched her help. In her face was a mixture of pride and wonder. It was one of those priceless moments. She tried so hard, and she got a few lovely - and lumpy - rolls out of it, which of course, my mom was all too happy to throw in the oven with the perfectly round ones.

Lou and Annalise are four months and one day apart. For this reason, they're destined to be BFFs. I've decided. Already, you can tell they want to play with each other. Or maybe eat each other as both of them enjoy tasting the world to fully experience it. Rissa put Liser in the exersaucer to play, and before we knew it, Lou had crawled over and started playing with her. I think Lou was excited to find a friend that would willingly share with her (her sister isn't so polite usually).
Annalise a little bit loves Annabelle. Here they are hamming it up at Nielsen's Frozen Custard.
We went to THE CAROUSEL again. (By the way, my sister Kristen and I have decided that it should always be referred to as THE CAROUSEL in all caps. It's just THAT AWESOME.) This picture cracks me up because it's so Belle. Just chilling on "the bench," not the actual horses. By herself. I should also mention that THE CAROUSEL became a major bargaining tool while in St. George. As in, "If you put on your clothes without kicking and thrashing, you can ride THE CAROUSEL!"
It was the perfect temperature in St. George for snow cones. Don Don took Belle all by herself one day, and they sat on the grass and licked their cups clean. Okay, Belle never ever finishes a snow cone. But you get the idea. I love how special Don Don makes my babies feel, like playing with them is the only thing she has on her agenda for four days straight.
I love this picture because you can really see our eyes. So drastically different right? And yes, those would be crow's feet. It's called thirty years old.
A blurry scrunch face. I think if we all smiled like this at each other, we'd all be a lot happier. Girl is just the happiest thing on four legs.

Annabelle took this shirt to St. George for a specific reason: to show Don Don because she knows she loves horses (she rode English until she got a back injury doing it). When we got there, Don Don was wearing a horse shirt. Belle was thrilled and made me change her shirt so they could match.
My sister found this Lalaloopsy dress-up on sale at Wal Mart and had to buy it. Belle was so excited to dress up like that big headed doll we've come to love. But then she said it was scratchy. Which secretly relieved me because I bet I'll never have to convince her out of the outfit to go to the store.
Lou Lou found a girlfriend. For realz.
Liser can be a moody little thing. But when she's happy, boy howdy, SHE'S HAPPY. Look at that round little face of love. And let's not talk about her skin tone. It makes my babies jealous.
Just standing around. Because why not? She can take a few steps without sitting or falling down. Ack.
We seriously wore Annabelle out every single day in St. George. There's just way too much fun to be had and she pretty much refuses to nap. She hasn't slept like this - on my chest, limp with exhaustion - since she was just a baby. I have to admit, I didn't mind one bit.


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