Thursday, November 20, 2014

sleep sleep sleep

So apparently our kids are tired. Like all the time? I dumped all my phone's photos on to the computer and discovered so many sleeping babies. Two things:

1. When we took away Lou's sippy, she began the era of nap refusal. She will not officially nap. But she will randomly fall asleep still. In fact, when she's really tired, I just throw on Tinker Bell, scratch her back for a minute, and she's out. Just don't even suggest the word nap. Or map. Or anything resembling the word nap. If she can be tricked in to it or lulled to sleep by the car, she'll snooze. Just don't ask her to admit to it, and she'll probably conk out. (She's not at all stubborn. Why do you ask?)

2. Annabelle hasn't napped for a long time. That said, kindergarten wears her out. So much learning and playing and figuring out this whole new world of hers. She occasionally falls asleep randomly in the car and often falls asleep before the last words of the family prayer are said at night.

In any case, I love me some sleeping babies. Even when the babies aren't so much babies anymore. :) They'll always be my babies, and I'll probably be taking creepster sleeping photos of them until they move out. :)

Click here to see this same scene three years ago. I die.

Out right in the middle of reading Snowflake Bentley. We read it on the first day of snow. :)

Even vikings get tired.

Good a place as any...
I like that tiny tiny smile. 

They kind of have twin faces. Remember? :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

books books books!

Book order time!
It's that time of year when I over-buy books because Christmas that's why. I always aim for a few books for each baby for Christmas. And then I usually end up with a few more. Because boooooooks that's why. They will always get books from their English major, editor as a side gig, lover of all words mother. It's just how it will be. And so far - they don't seem to mind. :)

I mentioned this last year, but I typically buy them each a book they've grown to love this year (from library trips) and then I try and snag an additional book for them that they might not be as familiar with. This year they're getting a bunch of books because I have no self-control when it comes to literacy. So to spare you some of my obsessive compulsive disorder, I thought that I'd just pass along our favorite fairy tale recommendations (with some additional links for non fairy tale faves).

Without further ado.

I started reciting fairy tales when Lou was small. It occurred to me then that these stories - these simple (however often layered with didactic meaning) tales with their predictable plots and morals - are often at the core of most of our literature. If you think about it, most of them provide a pattern for future reading and writing. And so I started rattling them off. 

Side story: When I first recited The Gingerbread Boy from memory, I got to the end - the part where the gingerbread boy gets gobbled up - and couldn't come up with anything. How did that ending go? And so out came, "And the little old lady said, 'That's what you get for running away!'" Ha. We still tell it like that, and I find it hilarious. Running away = getting eaten by a fox. Go me.

Anyhow, because these stories can get a little repetitive and redundant, I started telling them super goofy. Jess and I also both use these stories to distract the kids on trips or while hiking (also when weaning Lou off the bink). Good as any movie if you're in an imaginative mood. (Admittedly, sometimes I'm not and the three little pigs build their houses so fast you wouldn't even believe it.) We let them fill in the blanks sometimes, and they've also started telling them silly on their own. I love the creativity that starts spilling out of their mouths. (Pigs houses made of sea shells, a gingerbread girl with candy corn hair, Goldlilocks is best friends with baby bear, the gingerbread boy just wants to go to school! let him go!) I also started checking out re-told fairy tales at the library. Here are two of our faves:

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Bernatene

Okay. This book is not only delightfully illustrated, but it's also so very clever. It's a fairy tale in a fairy tale. Or rather many fairy tales in a fairy tale. My fellow English majors will love. It all begins when Priscilla the princess is accidentally switched with Pigmella the pig. Fairy tale magic and clever references ensue. :)

Ninja Red Riding Hood by Cory Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

This book is a companion book to The Three Ninja Pigs (also wonderful, although you don't need to read it first to understand this book). The Big Bad Wolf is having trouble scaring up a meal, so like the three ninja pigs before him, he goes to ninja school. Little did he know...Red is quite the ninja herself. Spot on rhyming and a darling conclusion. 

For our non fairy tale favorites this year, see The Bear Under the StairsChicka Chicka Boom BoomThe Doubtful Guest (bahahaha), and A Home for Bird (it's impossible to not fall in love with this one - impossible). Also The Day the Crayons Quit (a preschool graduation gift, and so clever) and I Want My Hat Back (a Grandma Lichelle reading favorite - my rendition just isn't as good :) ).

And in case you need some more ideas (please observe that each year I buy just a few more, oh bless my soul):


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

the weather outside

So fall in our little corner of the world has been SPECTACULAR. I've hesitated to mention it because I don't want to jinx it - it seriously feels surreal. It's November 11, and snow. I love snow. I do. But it makes life a little more tricky, especially where we live (at the top of a steep driveway that sits at the top of a steep cul de sac THAT NEVER GETS PLOWED). So this beautiful weather has been basically the best. These photos are from Jess' cousin's wedding. The most perfect weather for a beautiful day.

Annabelle's camera smiles crack me up...

And also Lou's...haha.

Annabelle caught the bouquet!
(After all the eligible ladies dodged it and let it drop
and Belle picked it up off the floor with a cheer! :) )

This post would not be complete without a grainy selfie
taken in a super fancy bathroom with the aunties. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

our everything

If you're close to us, you know this; if you're not, you can probably guess. We've been ready and willing to have another baby for a few years now. I've spoken in veiled terms about the past few years, but it's been a rough go. Things just didn't go the way we planned in so many ways. But we've learned so much about a bigger plan; we practiced patience. Heaven knows I'm just about as impatient as they come, so I can use all the practice I can get.

In many ways, not being pregnant during those rough months was a blessing because pregnancy is not easy for me. No not one bit. But I've never stopped wishing and hoping and praying that we might get one more miracle. My thyroid disease makes things tricky. Indeed, it places our Annabelle and Lydia Lou in the miracle category.

In my heart, I don't feel like we're done. I feel like another baby will come our way someday. But as I thought about this the other day - as I often do - I realized this: if this is the family that Heavenly Father wants us to have, I couldn't ask for anything more. These two babies - these sisters that were no doubt angelic best friends - were meant to be here together. They are incredibly amazing babies with kind and wise souls that came quick and just when we needed them. They are everything to us; and they are everything we could've ever dreamed of. 

And then there's this - they are everything to each other. These two girls could not be more different from one another than they are. Where Annabelle is calm and collected, Lou is wild and unpredictable. Where Lou is the epitome of happiness and there isn't a thing in the world that will get her down, Annabelle is deeply sensitive and tender and feels the sorrows of the world in the deepest parts of her soul. Where Annabelle is cautious and observant, Lou is unabashedly brave and confident. They are the kind of opposites that provide almost exact balance for one another. They are the best kind of sisters - they rely on each other, buoy each other up. They drive each other crazy one second but then I'll hear them quietly apologizing and hugging it out the next. They live in the same imaginary world, yet each of them give the other space for their way of interpreting things. They respect each other. They love each other. They protect each other. And together, they can accomplish anything. I suspect the two of them will be conquering the world together always.

I'm not done hoping. But if these are the babies allotted to us, I offer up all the gratitude in my heart for two such as these. For two girls who are their own little jigsaw puzzle, their pieces fitting just right. For babies who fill us with joy and love until we burst. I couldn't ask for more.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

scenes from a halloween

Halloween. It's now a real thing because I have kids old enough to realize they can dress up and oh the possibilities and can I wear my costume now forever today tonight can I sleep in it. 

The bun hair do - which is most close to Periwinkle's - hurt her head.
So she went with pretty curls for the other outings.
They each chose their costumes months ago - and miraculously, they each stuck with their idea. Annabelle insisted on being Periwinkle, Tinker Bell's sister. I started looking for this costume about four months ago. I found it online once - but in a too tiny size. And then I could find super fancy homemade ones if I was prepared to mortgage my house to pay for it. And I could find about forty billion Tinker Bell costume varieties. But no Periwinkle. One day my sister-in-law sent me a link with an I FOUND IT! Miracle! It was in the UK, sold through ebay, and I clicked BUY IT NOW immediately.  

We've had these small swords for a while now.
Lou has them hidden - literally - and when Jess starts wrestling,
she'll disappear and come running out screaming,
sword in hand. It's kind of awesome.
Lou is not just a viking. She's Hiccup. From the movie, How to Train Your Dragon. She's not Astrid, the female lead. She's Hiccup, the male lead. And she instructed me months ago that I was to be Toothless (his dragon). Her costume was an find, and I did indeed track down a cheap little Toothless Beanie to play her pet dragon. And Target's dollar spot provided an excellent sword and shield. 

This little group of kindergarteners is pretty fabulous.
So grateful she got such a fun class and the most perfect teacher.
For a holiday that I put very little importance on (what are we celebrating really?) and try to downplay as much as I can, we managed to get some serious mileage out of those costumes. These photos are from multiple Halloween outings, including the ward trunk or treat, visits (plural - both in costume) at Gram's, the kindergarten Halloween party (I'm the room parent = pipe cleaner crafts galore!), Halloween at the Zoo, and regular ol' trick or treating.

I really think Halloween is a dumb day. But I can't get enough of these babies. They were so proud and happy and full of sugar. FULL OF SUGAR. So happy they were so happy. 

Click here to see this same scene, two years ago. It's magic.

I don't even...

And the best part of Halloween? It signifies the beginning of the best holiday season of all. Let the twinkle lights twinkle. It's game time folks.


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