Tuesday, June 26, 2012

a breath of fresh air

So despite the fact that Jess has enough work for a fourteen month year (no really), and things on the home front are full of ridiculous first world "problems," like two epic birthday parties in one month and a fun - but time consuming - new church "job," as Belle calls it, we up and went to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons this weekend.

You see, this is the most stressed and maxed out our little family has ever been. The load honestly just keeps getting heavier every day, on every level. And even though our stressors are mostly silly and fairly easy to manage, we were in desperate need of some sort of break. And while a vacation with two babies and ten hours of driving in three days is never really a "vacation," it was so very nice to have actual hours of time together. Full conversations! Because truthfully, we haven't had many of those lately. The scenery - and the bear! - wasn't too bad either. (Yes, Jess was as close as it appears he was to that dang bear. Mauled husband, party of one?)

Thank you Jackson. For being the breath of fresh air that we needed, quite literally.

{WARNING. Photo dump ahead.}

Monday, June 25, 2012

eleven months

Lou Lou:

Your eleventh month has been a pretty tender one for me. You're getting so close to a year old. I feel like I haven't captured moments like I should've. I feel like I haven't snuggled you enough, stared at you enough. I suppose it's just the difference of being my second baby and having to share my attention. But my goodness has the time completely slipped away from me. You are both my little tiny baby and my toddler all in one. I have one month left before I lose you to official years. And I'm trying so very hard to freeze moments and store them in my mind for later, when you're big.
This month you started real live walking. You rarely crawl now because walking is much quicker. You have the cutest waddle of a walk too - nice and wide so you can keep your balance. You also often grab your blanket whenever you leave a room, and it trails behind you. I love that little vision in my mind of you with your blanky following behind you.
You are obsessed more than ever with reading. Any book will do. Many times a day, I feel a little tug on my pants, and I look down to see you holding a book up, and then you jabber some jibberish, which is to ask me to read to you, and you have these eyes. Dang those eyes. It's impossible to resist. I always plop myself down and read whatever it is you've brought me. My favorite is the Sunday school manual, which you're seriously obsessed with. You lugged that thing around with you all day once. But mostly you love books with flaps and the Llama Llama books. I'm fairly certain you think the llamas are dogs because you head bump them and try to lick (kiss?) them like you do every single dog you see in any book. You ADORE reading time with Belle. She's the one learning to read, yet you are much more of a fan. I don't know what it is, but when you see the reading stuff come out, you go BALISTIC. You also bring me puzzle boards and ask to do them. It's actually really funny doing puzzles with you - I put pieces in, you take a few out. And repeat.
You know where your (and other people's) nose is. But you only tell us when you feel like it. When we ask you, we can see in your face and hear in your giggle that you know but just don't want to perform. I like that about you - your own little will that fits you so perfectly. But sometimes - when you're feeling particularly happy - you'll whip out that index finger and jab us in the face. You're a total ham. You smile the scrunch smile to strangers. People seriously cannot resist you. Of course, you don't want them to take you. Just to love you.
You LOVE LOVE LOVE dogs. You totally freak out when you see one. That "oh!" face and clapping and giggling. But you only like some of them. If they are strange dogs - new dogs - you don't want them to come near you. But the familiar ones - Grandma Lichelle's and Cousin Ty's - you're happy to let them lick you. You also do a little jig when you see balloons. And you do a total dance concert when it's bath time. It's probably your favorite time of the day.
You got a horrible virus this month. It started with a raging fever (which we hoped was teething - nope!) and ended with a really awful rash all over that has left some scarring (it should fade as your sweet baby skin is continually healing itself). The rash didn't bug you, however, thank goodness. It just scared your momma to bits and ended with a pointless visit to Instacare during Sunday school.
You still have no teeth. Gum gum gums. But you still eat like a pig. You seriously will eat anything. You're not so keen on purees, mostly because I think you know that we aren't eating it, so why should you have to? You have to eat everything your sister does. Your sleep - eh. Some nights you sleep all night. Some nights you wake up screaming. Teething? Pack N Play? Hungry because your gums can't chew enough food? Who knows.

You're a dare devil. You jump off things, climb ladders, slide down slides, step down stairs. You want to know how to do whatever we're doing. Now. And so you try again and again and again and again until you master it. You love your sister. A lot. I can see in your face how happy it makes you when she shares or plays with you. She's doing a lot better at being your friend, and I think it makes you feel incredibly special.
You say "mama" and "mommmeeeee" when you're really desperate. I once thought I heard Belle yelling for me during nap time, but it was you! "Mommeeeee!" You say "Dad" (sometimes Dada) all the time. When he comes home from work, you run to him (literally, run) and say, "Dad, dad, dad, dad." For quite a while, you've been obsessed with the B sound. Bah Bah Bah. Whenever we practice with Annabelle, you get particularly excited when we practice B. But I think I finally figured it out. You're saying Belle! If ever I ask you to say her name, you say, "Bah!" and smile real big.

Only one month left baby. Let's slow down a little. Let's just be a baby for a few more minutes. Mommy loves you more than she has words.

NOTE: If these photos look like wonky, it's because they are. Due to a certain husband's work schedule, I did these solo again. All of these were shot literally from the hip, not looking through the view finder or looking at all at what I was shooting. With a flash that - if it were a cat - would be on probably its twelfth life. Um, yeah. Piece of junk. So sorry about the weird lighty/awkward angles. I didn't get the profile shot of her face either. I tried. But the camera wasn't having any of my dance moves slash take a picture at the same time garbage at that point. Oh, and that outfit? Hmmm. That's pretty much what I pulled out of the closet this morning. So we rolled with it. We're pretty much just rolling with it all the time around here these days. :)
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.
Here she is at ten months.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

dad's day

I think my favorite thing about Jess is
how he unabashedly loves his girls.
No reservations about it.
Just love, loves them.
Every bit of them.
And they know it.
Happy Dad's Day, all y'all. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Oh hey!

So the only time I generally go this quiet on the blog is when I'm busy building a child in my uterus and thus no longer possess the energy to do much more than sleep. And even that is exhausting. And so I suppose I should just say it: I'M NOT PREGNANT.

It's just been one heck of a month. Jess is working more than he ever has before, which means I'm sometimes a full-time mom (my hat goes off to those who really do it full time, holy smokes). And then there was that small issue of management deciding our apartment needed every single pipe replaced. Cue dozens of holes, lots of dangerous tools, and an abundance of loud, scary noises. So we pretty much exhausted our outings options and had naps in the car for three days. And for two girls who have a pretty serious routine and schedule, it was a wee bit of a nightmare. Oh, also Jess' car sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. So that's fun. OH, and there was that one time when after burning an afternoon at the park, I reversed my car straight into another one. Yeah. Wait. Don't forget those two days that Lou had a raging fever - teething, we hoped! - which turned out to be some random virus that ejected itself out of her skin in the form of a really gross leprous rash. I don't know where she gets these things. It's like she sucks on shopping cart handles or licks the bottom of her shoes. Or something...

Guys seriously. We're rolling in it these days. Someone get me a rolling pin. (For all the good times.)

But in the midst of all this, something lovely happened. And it wasn't just that Lalee started freals walking.

Or that she found her girlfriend in the hall. Freals.

Or that I made up a word. Freals.

It's that my baby sister came to visit. Let me tell you a story.

When I was twelve years old, my mom surprised us with an announcement we didn't expect in a million years. We'd just moved into our home (the one she still lives in), and we each had our own room. It was designed to fit our family perfectly. But the announcement? There was another baby on the way. SURPRISE! We practically bounced off the walls with excitement. I remember the moment they called from the hospital to tell us if it was a boy or girl. We each got on a phone receiver - I was in the master bathroom, because what home built in the early 90s DIDN'T have a phone in the bathroom? - and my dad broke the news: it was a girl. AGAIN! I think secretly we were all relieved. Our sisterhood would've been so weird with a brother. And so little Danielle was our caboose. She was darling and tiny and the most spoiled thing you've ever met. I doted on her and packed her on my hip pretty much all day. I think my mom had to fight me for her own baby sometimes. To this day, I quite frequently call Annabelle, Danielle. Because, you see, Danielle was truly my "first baby."

Now she's grown up. She's in college. I'm an old mom. But my sisters and I, including the baby, are the best of friends. It's just that she and I are separated by a tiny decade. And as irony would have it, she's become a pseudo mom to my babies. They adore their Don Don. And after weeks of misfortune after misfortune, she was the most lovely breath of fresh air. We ate and shopped and played and zooed (new verb). I hate that she left.

I'm so happy to have her for my baby sister. And so very grateful my babies have her for their auntie.

Also, the new Rocky Shores at the zoo is pretty great. Freals.


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