+ I went to a pure barre class on Wednesday night. If you were to watch this class, you'd probably think, "What's the big deal?" But if you were to take this class, you'd think you were dying after two minutes, after a half hour you'd think you might vomit unvoluntarily, and then two days later, you'd wake up and think, "Where did my legs go?" Because seriously, mine don't work. Of course, I have an illness, and I can't wait to go back. The good news is there isn't class next week, so I have some extra time to recover my calves.
+ Lou Lou went to her 15 month check up this week. The minute our pediatrician walked in, she started speaking in Japaspanglish to him. He talked back. Seriously the best pediatrician. Lou's super tall, has a giant head, and is a skinny little twig baby. And healthy all around.
+ Annabelle and I had the following conversation yesterday:
+ It snowed this week for the first time this year. My snow bunny, Belle, put on her boots and gloves and tried to make snowballs. It was fairly wet snow however, so she mostly just giggled and got freezing cold and wet. And wherever we go, she spots the snow patches and MUST stomp in them or she can't continue living.
+ I made my favorite loaded baked potato soup this week with gluten free, all purpose flour. It worked! Glory! It's slightly more grainy than regular flour, but the soup was gloriously delicious. Annabelle didn't prefer it, and I was all, "Bummer. Give me your bowl." Slurp slurp.
+ Sometimes Lou cries out in the night. So one of us walks in, she spots us, shuts her eyes, then crashes (literally) down in her bed, eyes shut, apparently dead asleep. It's hilarious and slightly annoying. I think she just needs to know we're there.
+ This summer, Grandma Cheney brought back mini flamenco dancer dresses for the girls from Spain. Recently, Annabelle has developed an obsession with this pretty little number and she wears it constantly. I don't allow it out of the house, but if we're home, she's a dancer.
+ This song is so very lovely. Go listen. And then listen again.
+ For those of you like me who find cow's milk fairly revolting, try out Almond Breeze Coconut/Almond milk. Holy smokes. Nutty, fatty, goodness. And way more calcium than regular cow's barf, I mean milk, so don't even start with me.
+ I'm almost done Christmas shopping. No really. Granted, I bought the girls' big gift (a doll house) like six months ago when I found a killer deal. But I've also scooped up some other random trinkets. And Jess and I are giving each other a real house. (Yay! Christmas in my own home!)
So um yeah. That's all I have to say about my lack of bloginess. No good explanation. Not only have I not finished my Yellowstone report (I know, you're dying for it), but I've also added stuff to my Etsy shop (baby announcements here, Christmas printables here, more Christmas cards here), and we up and went to Zion (and left our kids for a night!) - all these things I haven't reported on yet! We're also knee deep in red tape (mixed metaphors happen to be my favorite thing, right there with mixed chocolate) with our new house, and packing, and cleaning. And then there's the not packing and the not cleaning that I've gotten really good at. Like I said, no explanation for the lack of bloginess. And so I shall start here:
My youngest sister, the shining hope of the Christensen clan (as we call her, as she's good at ev.ery.thing she does) is a budding photographer. Girlfriend is good. When we visited a month or two ago, I asked if she wouldn't mind snapping some of me and the girls for Jess for his birthday. She very kindly obliged, even in the crappy light I made her take them in. But seriously guys, she worked some mighty miracles that day.
Because taking photos of my children together is kind of like taking pictures of a cat and a mouse. Literally. Lou runs like a wild banshee, Belle chases laughing.
Belle will stop and pose, but Lou? Um yeah right. Girlfriend is nuts and bolts. So not only are these photos amazing (and I love them so much), but she defied the impossible. She captured my girls. Together. Looking cute.
I know, right? I don't know if she knows how much these photos mean to me. These photos make me so very happy, down to my tippy toes. They capture the joy and love and happiness that are my girls. These photos make me so proud and in love all at once. I don't know if she knows that when she's taking photos, she's literally capturing life. Bottling it up for me and for others. Preserving moments that cannot be repeated. Because things change and babies grow. But not in her photos. And I think that's pretty amazing.
You can find my sister's photography (dc photography) here and here. If you're in SLC, I really think you need her to take your photos (because that means she visits us!). :)
These last two were per my request. Every day I wear around my neck an A for Annabelle, an L for Lydia Lou, the pendant that reads "every day i love you," and that little redheaded baby. That's right - Jess. Jess' mom gave it to Jess' grandma when he was born, her first grand baby (and her husband's namesake). Just last year, Gram gave it to me.
* Has developed a heavy aversion to her bed. She used to be best go-to-bed baby ever. She had a trophy. Put her in bed, say good night, sleep. Wallah! But she has been stripped of her honors. Now she pretty much wanders around like a drunk person until she falls asleep. Because we. Can't. Handle. The. Screaming. If we put her in her bed awake, she screams like the world just ended, and you caused it.
* But other than sleeping, she remains the happiest clam this side of the Mississippi. No really. You can't be around this kid for any period of time without getting happy. She's like a happy pill. But legal. And without any obnoxious side effects, except LACK OF SLEEP.
* She used to say "pease" when she wanted something or when we asked her to. Now? Now she does this:
Wha? Two hands over her mouth. Sometimes she does it over her whole face and stretches her face all crazy. It's her own sign language I think? It's fairly adorable.
* Other than that, she speaks Japaspanglish. No idea what she's ever saying. But she knows what she's saying. She carries on and on. And you'll ask her to repeat herself, and she does. She repeats her foreign syllables in exactly the same patterns. Just in some awesome dialect not familiar to our ears. I secretly never want her to learn real English. This version is to die for.
* Her obsession with reading persists. All day long. Read. Read. Read. You know, I didn't ever imagine that I could grow tired of reading. I love reading. But there are days...um yeah. I grow tired.
* Her face is always dirty. This is mostly because she chews on her hands constantly. If someone could please help her grow teeth? Please?
"Mom? Will it be okay that I'm wearing these shorts?" Her voice was quiet, a little shaky.
We were driving to Annabelle's first tumbling class, a fairly informal class offered by a local recreation center, but her first class ever to attend, all by herself. We'd been talking about this class for weeks, especially as her best friend was in it already. She could hardly wait, and I took her to Target (because where else would I go?), where she got to pick out a special tumbling outfit. In the days that followed, she told everyone she talked to about her tumbling clothes. "If you want, I'll show you 'em?" She was so excited. I was so excited too. I knew that my Belle needed something all her own, something she didn't have to share with her sister one bit. A chance to run and play and laugh. And a chance to do something by herself, without Mommy's help.
But now, as we drove, I saw my sweet, cautious daughter turn into the bundle of nerves that her mother often becomes. She was nervous about her shorts. Oh, how she is my daughter! I looked back quickly as I drove and saw a face fighting tears. And then my face had to fight them too. I reached back and gave her knee a squeeze. I told her that her shorts were perfect, that she was perfect, and that she would have so much fun. She bit her lip and smiled, trying to be brave.
When we got to the class, she wanted me to go with her. I told her that I had to stay outside the door with the other mommies but that she could see me through the window. She said she wanted to watch for a minute. Because I know and understand this girl, I let her watch. I knew that she was afraid of looking funny. I know that she hates to do anything unless she's confident she can do it right. She doesn't sing a song until she knows all the words. She won't read her books until she can read every word. She won't join a group of friends until she's observed them all for a while. It's who she is. And so we watched. She smiled as they stretched. She saw her friend and watched with intense eyes, memorizing how the kids were interacting. She paid special attention to the teacher. When they used a big parachute to throw balloons around the room, she decided it might be fun to join. I walked her in. We took small, timid steps, but we kept moving forward. Her teacher saw her and said, "You must be Annabelle!" and with a big smile motioned her in. Then her best friend spotted her and ran to give her a hug.
Annabelle smiled at me and followed her friend to her "circle on the floor." She sat down and one more time, asked if I could stay. I told her I couldn't but that I'd be right there, right outside watching. She told me she'd be okay. And so I watched. And although it's just a little thirty minute class for toddlers, my heart nearly burst with pride.
She listened to her teacher so hard I thought her ears might fall off. She tried every trick and instruction, and she tried with that focused determination that is Annabelle. She was brave and beautiful. And she was so happy. I realized as I watched her, proud of every floppy handstand and sommersault, that this was just the beginning of a lifetime of happy separations and sweet victories. In all the playing and learning and being that we do, I always hope that my babies are secure in who they are, in how they're loved and supported, and that that love that will help make them brave and strong. I want them to know that even when Mommy or Daddy aren't literally there, we are always figuratively right by their side, cheering them on, proud of their every victory. As I watched her succeed that day, my heart felt like it really might explode. I am that mom, cheesy and sometimes dorky, but I was so proud.
When class was over, she ran out to me and hugged my legs. She held up her hand that had a stamp on it, and said, smiling and slightly out of breath, "Can I go again?"