Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Lately, I've been feeling like some days are just plain crazy. I only have two kids, and somehow I feel overwhelmed at the thousand routines that is our daily life. (I started cloth diapering for both girls last week. Yes, I really am going crazy, I think.) I absolutely love it, and wouldn't trade it for anything, but sometimes I can feel my blood pressure rising.

Yesterday was definitely one of those days. I'm afraid today might follow suit (no one slept much last night), but Elaina just fell asleep for her first nap, and Chloë is quietly singing and reading books, so I'm going to sit down at the computer for a few minutes.

Elaina has been really fussy lately. Like whiny, needy, angry fussy. I keep wondering if she's getting sick or cutting teeth, but there are no fevers, ear tugs, or drooling to offer an explanation. So we've been doing lots of extra cuddling and tickling and reading books, but sometimes I do have other things to do.

After dinner last night, Bryan was working on a project, and I sat down at the computer for five minutes. Five. Maybe six. Elaina was pretty happy on her tummy on the floor, and found a newspaper to crumple. Chloë was wandering around, as she often does. She asked me for a snack, and I told her she could finish her dinner, which we had left on the table. So she went into the kitchen, and Elaina was doing great playing on the floor. Yay, a minute of quiet! Then I realized that the minute of quiet had turned into several minutes of quiet. I heard a few very small noises from Chloë at the table, but I assumed she was quietly eating the rest of her dinner.

I turned around to see Elaina happily chewing on pieces of newspaper that she shredded. She had newsprint all over her hands and chin, and was quite pleased with her new game. If it hadn't been a choking hazard, I would have let her play with that newspaper all evening. I think that was the happiest she'd been all day. So I grabbed the camera and snapped a shot.

Camera still in my hand, I went in to the kitchen to see how Chloë was doing on her dinner.

The stick of butter was no longer on the butter dish. I had to turn around so Chloë wouldn't see me trying to hide my laughter. It look me a few seconds to control my expression, so I could address her in all seriousness. I was glad I had a camera in my hands.

I gave the girls baths, and got everything all cleaned up. I sat down to upload the pictures from my camera, when Chloë said, "Oh. Uh-oh. It's red. All red." She had a sprung a spontaneous nose bleed, and was wiping blood everywhere.

So after another clean-up session (and by this time Elaina was screaming again), Bryan could sense that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. He got the girls all ready for bed, and I sat down and had three cookies and a margarita.

In retrospect, yesterday really wasn't all that nuts. Kids make messes. It's what they do. But praise the Lord for His kindness that life isn't always so messy, for strength when it is, and for joy in all things.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bonners Ferry Weekend

We went to my parent's place in Bonners Ferry earlier this month for the Persied Meteor Shower. The weather was beautiful, the skies were clear, and at night we laid under the stars to watch the shooting stars.

We ate chicken roasted over mesquite, we played instruments, we sat outside in the shade, we played in the water, and we went on lots of walks on my parent's land, carrying weapons and on the lookout for the cougars that had been spotted.

This is Elaina's Trail.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2 Years, 2 Months

Maybe I'm biased, but I think she's beautiful.

Two months after her second birthday, and I'm pretty sure she thinks she's much older than she is. It probably has something to do with the fact that her most frequent playmate is a solid year older than she is.

But Chloë is assertive, tough, and crazy adventurous. She recently figured out how to open the front door, so now we have to lock the dead bolt to keep her from wandering outside and down the street. She got all the way to the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps before I realized where she was. And of course a sweet lady happened to be walking by, so she stopped to ask Chloë where her mommy and daddy were. I mumbled my apologies and brought my daughter back inside.

She loves going to the park. She likes the slides (as long as she doesn't fall off the ladder), but I'm pretty sure she could swing all day long.

She also loves the water, loves high speeds, and bounces back up after most tumbles and bonks. She's such a trooper.

She loves Elaina. She loves talking to her, and showing her things, and holding and patting her, and sharing her toys, and making her laugh.

This makes my life so rich.

Chloë is very sweet and affectionate, offering hugs and kisses to the people she loves. I love it when she wakes up in the morning, and I pick her up, and she rests her head on my shoulder and pats or rubs my back. She is sometimes hesitant to kiss her uncles or grandpas, since their whiskers are often too "scratchy!". So hugs and high-fives are a good compromise.

She can be very bold and outgoing, but sometimes she gets really awkward and shy. She doesn't like to perform for the camera, so I usually have to be sneaky about pulling out the camera. But sometimes she sees the big black thing, and when I ask her to repeat whatever cute thing I was trying to capture, she gets very distraught and hesitantly obeys my request.

She likes to talk. There is usually some sort of dialogue when she is playing by herself or reading her books. The other day she was building with her duplos, and I heard her say "oh for goodness sakes." And then a minute late she congratulated herself: "Good job." She also remembered her polite response to her toots during breakfast, and quietly said "excuse me." She usually has no trouble communicating exactly what she wants or needs, although I do get confused with words such as "pencil" and "pretzel."

She discovered that an empty Gatorade bottle is her new favorite toy. I think it makes her feel very grown up.

Way back in March, when we were in Seattle to see Samuel play a rugby game, we hung out in the hotel room while Samuel used a rolling pin to massage his wounded hamstring. So when we were at a friend's house a few weeks ago, and Chloë discovered their toy rolling pin, she didn't pretend to make a pie. Of course not. She sat down and rolled the pin back and forth across her thigh. "Like Unc-ah Sam-yoo," she told me.

Eating sushi. I think this is such a Katie face.

She is very aware of our daily routine, which is usually to take our time though breakfast, then slowly get ready for the day, daddy home for lunch, then maybe get out of the house or have someone over for a playdate, then naptime, and then daddy home for dinner. Of course if I actually get ready for the day first thing in the morning, she says, "where goin', Mama?" If I tell her we aren't going anywhere, she asks, "kids comin' over?!"

Talking on her toy phone.

"Hello 'Saiah. Oh. Yeah. Oooooh, yeeeah. Alriiight. Talk to you later!"

I painted my nails last week, and Chloë spent the entire day asking me for "pink nails, Mama?" She was thrilled when we finally sat down to grant her request.

She loves shoes and babies and purses. Here she is, all ready to "go shopping."

This kid is such a joy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our Summer

What a summer it has been. I've been trying to take advantage of these beautiful warm days, and work hard and play hard, and I feel like we've been doing a pretty good job.

Last weekend was our church's second annual family camp, and it was a a wonderful time. We did the group camping this year, with a dozen or so tents around the parameter of a small field, and a common area in the middle. There were lots of young kids there, and Chloë thoroughly enjoyed herself, running around with the other 2 and 3 and 4-year-olds. Elaina was pretty content to chill in the baby backpack, or on a blanket on the grass... although she figured out how to wiggle over to the edge of the blanket so she could munch on fistfuls of grass. There was lots of swimming in Lake Coeur d'Alene, and some great evening fellowship (and lots of s'mores!) around campfires.

A few days ago it actually got up to 99 degrees. Quite warm for us here in Idaho. But I love it. Chloë helped me make some cookie dough (and every time we measured or stirred something, she politely asked to "lick it?"), but I never got around to turning on the oven, because it was (gasp) 80 degrees inside our house.

The weekends we've been home, I've been making a point of getting out early on Saturday and hitting up the yard sales. I've come home with all sorts of wonderful loot (most of which Bryan doesn't mind), including camping dishes, lots of great Disney movies, and of course lots of clothes and shoes for Chloë for the coming winter.

I wasn't going to bother with as much canning and jamming as last year. We were gone for a good portion of our backyard raspberry picking season, but I managed to pick enough for three batches of jam. Not quite the eight batches that I made last year. I decided I wasn't going to go u-pick cherry picking, but then a couple of weekends ago at the Farmer's Market I stumbled upon a 28 pound box of cherries just screaming my name. They were, after all, cheaper than the u-pick cherries. So of course I gave them a good home. I made some pies and gave some away, and the rest are pitted and in my freezer awaiting their fate.

We've had a young lady stay with us for the last couple of weeks, and it's been a blessing to have another adult in the house. During the day, my conversations had been limited to the topics of interest to a 2-year-old. So it's nice talking about life a little. And of course Chloë adores Angelene, which is a delight to see.

I wish I had some pictures to share, but I guess we've just been having so much fun that we've forgotten about the camera. We've been going to parks, going to the pool, going out for ice cream, going on walks with the double stroller, and of course, spending lots of time with friends. Summers are never long enough here in North Idaho.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Couple Of Videos

My mom sent me a message on facebook a couple of days ago begging for more pictures or videos of the girls. Sorry Mom, but I've been slacking with the camera lately. Here are a couple of videos to hold you over until we see you in a couple of days!

We've been letting Elaina try "real" food every day. She loves it.

At the end of the video, Chloë comments on the framed wedding pictures on top of the piano. "They got married!"

Here's a sweet picture of the girls after a long day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

6 Months Old

Half a year old. My cuddly, drooly, sweet, chubby, happy little girl.

She has been trying so hard to crawl. She'll get up on all fours occasionally (sometimes it's actually all fives, because she will require the assistance of her forehead), and lunge one direction or another. She gets obviously frustrated when she accidentally flings a toy out of reach, and then can't retrieve it. She also rolls around all over the place, and I can't leave her alone on our bed anymore.

We have all been enjoying the warm summer. We don't have air conditioning, but since our house is shaded by big, beautiful trees, it rarely gets above 75 inside. We open the windows in the evening, and let in the cool breeze. If it does get too warm in the afternoon, we resort to letting the girls roam around in just their diapers.

Elaina likes to nap in her swing.

We've stopped trying to use the swaddling blanket at night. Elaina kept wiggling out of it after a few measly minutes, so we decided it wasn't worth the effort. She hasn't been sleeping quite as soundly since, and still thinks she needs to eat about 5 hours after falling asleep. But I don't mind. She's such a sweet, cudly baby.

What we do mind (just a little), is her 5:30 AM opera solo. She likes to poke and slap and claw at our faces, while singing us some shrill tunes.

We can usually wait it out a bit, or pop her pacifier in her mouth, and get some more sleep. We just are not morning people. Apparently Elaina didn't get that memo.

This kid has lungs. Oh my goodness, she has lungs. Sometimes I worry that the neighbors are going to hear her extremely loud wails and shrieks of abandonment (I left her in the other room, after all). Sometimes she's perfectly content to be left alone, but other times it is the end of the world if I set her down and leave the room. She doesn't hesitate to let me know if she is displeased with her circumstances.

Her eyes are still blue, but darker than they used to be. She has a little bit of a brown spot on the lower part of her right eye, but I guess we'll have to wait and see what they do.

Another warm afternoon. Chloë usually asks to join Elaina in the crib for a while. It's pretty adorable.

Sometimes Elaina does practices her duck-lips pouty face. It's hilarious.

We haven't started the rice cereal yet, but I've been letting her have tastes of my food. Last week, her first official solid food was part of a waffle cone. I was munching on a cone without the ice cream, and Elaina reached for it and pulled it to her mouth, and then happily licked and slurped it to a sog. She also likes a big piece of carrot, celery or red pepper to gum during dinner. Last night, she was very pleased with the flecks of herb roasted potatoes that I shared with her.

Still drooling all over everything, and chewing on anything, but no teeth yet.

A warm evening when the Beckers were over. Elaina was pleased. Aaron, not so much.

She loves her bouncy chair (still with the right leg kick) and the Johnny Jump Up, which is fabulous for when I need to get a few things done. She is very happy to be out and about when it's time to run errands, or visit friends, or go on vacation. She doesn't seem to mind the carseat for extended periods of time (thank you, Lord), and loves chillin' in the stroller, taking in all the sights. As long as I stay away from dairy, she is one happy, chill, and all-around fabulous baby.