Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings to you this holiday season! We hope you're staying warm, and enjoying lots of good food and time with family and friends.

Our lives have been full and wonderful this year. On February 1st, Elaina Halcyon Blakey was born at home weighing 7 lbs, 14 oz, and measuring 20 ½ inches long. Chloë adjusted amazingly well to her role as big sister, and is very loving and kind. Sometimes we have to remind her not to smother Elaina with hugs and kisses.

Elaina has grown and changed tremendously in the last 10 months. She is stubborn and affectionate, loud and silly, and just the right amount of chubby. She flails her arms and sticks her tongue out when she gets excited. She signs “more” and “please,” says “mama” and “dada,” speed crawls, climbs stairs, and walks along furniture. She uses her two teeth to gnaw on crackers and baby mash. She likes to cuddle when she's sleepy, and loves playing with her big sister.

Chloë turned 2 in June, and is such an energetic joy. She is my constant companion, and talks a lot. She loves music of all kinds, and enjoys singing and making up songs and melodies, and spins and dances frequently. She likes to “read” books, draw, and wear my shoes. Her favorite foods are beans, and chocolate. She still has a quarter-sized hemangioma behind her right ear, but it hasn't changed much in the last year and doesn't give her any trouble.

Bryan started his seventh year as a web developer at EMSI, and continues to love his work. His company sold to CareerBuilder this year, which should be good for the future growth and sustainability of the company. Last year CareerBuilder was ranked in the Top 10 Best Tech Companies to work for, in between Apple and Google.

I continue to love my work as a stay-at-home mom and wife. I let my nursing license expire since I plan on continuing with my current career for another decade or two. I joined our church's choir now that I'm not working evenings as a nurse, and have loved having music a regular part of my life again.

We drove to Seattle in March to visit friends and watch my brother Samuel in a rugby game. We flew to Iowa in June to visit family, drove to Oregon for a wedding and vacation in July, and spent some time at my parent's farm in Bonners Ferry in August. We usually spend every Sunday at Bryan's parent's house, enjoying lots of food, rest, and fellowship. Besides that, we have been spending time in our cozy home, enjoying the good and simple things in life. November marked our six year wedding anniversary. God has blessed us richly, and we are very thankful for all He has given us.

Merry Christmas from the Blakeys:
Bryan, Bess, Chloë, and Elaina

Monday, December 17, 2012


We drove the three hours to Sandpoint late on Thursday night, and crashed at my sister Katie's house.  My brother Samuel had come along for the trip, and we got up early on Friday morning, and geared up for spending a day in the cold snow.We drove up the windy switchback road leading to Schweitzer Mountain Resort, hauled our belongings into the lodge, and set up camp.  Between the four adults, we took turns sitting in the lodge with Chloë and Elaina, entertaining them as well as we could.

Bryan took Chloë outside for a while to play in the snow, while I stayed in the lodge with Elaina while she napped.  It's a good thing we had the trusty old iPhone with us, and got a few pictures.
Chloë is a little bit obsessed with eating snow every chance she gets.  But Bryan did manage to get her to take a break long enough to make her first snow angel.

Then Samuel and Katie stayed in the lodge for a while and Bryan and I got to do a few runs together! It was the first time I'd been snowboarding in two years, and only my second time in four years, so I was just a little bit excited. 
I sure do love this man.  It's fun thinking back to the first couple of times we went snowboarding together: poor college students who saved our pennies to buy lift tickets, and then did our best trying to impress each other with our mad snowboarding skills.

It was quite nostalgic being back on the mountain where I learned to snowboard.  15 years ago (wow, really?) my family would go up to Schweitzer with a homeschoolers' group.  I think we paid a meager $17 per person for rental gear, a lift ticket, and an hour-long lesson. Dad would camp out in the lodge and wait for us to come in for a cocoa break, cold and tired, but happy. 

This time I was the one packing the cocoa (and coffee and bourbon) and sandwiches, as well as diapers and a play pen.

After lunch, Bryan and I took both of the girls out to play in the snow.

All packed up at the end of the day, waiting for the rest of the people we came with.

It was a great trip. My neck is still surprisingly sore.

Monday, December 10, 2012


My family was all together for Thanksgiving this year.  It was wonderful having everyone around, helping prep food, or clean, or assist with the babies. 

Dad called dibs on doing appetizers this year, and he made some killer smoked salmon spread.  Chloë loved it.

AJ joined us for the fun, and the men folk got busy peeling potatoes.

Our attempt at a family photo.  I guess it will have to do.  It's a rare occasion that we all are in the same room together, and rarer still when we all look halfway decent.

Dinner at my parent's house! Besides AJ, we had Sorelle and Sean join us.

Elaina really enjoyed her first Thanksgiving.
Samuel sculpted a face with his mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Then we all crammed into our basement for our Thanksgiving Tradition: watching The Fugitive.
It's really not a comedy, but apparently these four thought something was hilarious.

The day after was the Oregon State vs. Oregon football game.  We were all decked out in our Beaver gear, so we tried to get a quick photo.  Not much luck.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

10 Months Old

Elaina is loving the world of solid foods, and recently has been eating a lot of meat and rice mash, or avocado and rice mash, or various crackers or cereals.  Her two little teeth don't seem like much, but she uses then as often as she gets the chance.  We had some Advent chocolate last night, and her daddy let her suck on it, and she left some cute little teeth marks in it. She really loves joining us at dinner and eating like the rest of us.

(Elaina has no trouble communicating her approval.  Arms flapping means something is good.) It's no surprise that Chloë loves to help feed Elaina.  And Elaina loves the interaction with her big sister.

In fact, Elaina loves being with Chloë pretty much all the time.  When Chloë is sleeping, Elaina seems bored and lonely, and wants attention from me.  When they're playing together, Chloë will sometimes get a little bit frustrated with Elaina's constant attention.  Elaina will try to smash Chloë's book while she's looking at it, or sweep blocks everywhere while Chloë is trying to organize them by color or build them into something.  Most of the time Chloë is really very patient with her curious little sister, and they really do have a lot of fun together. 

Elaina is all over the place these days: crawling everywhere, scaling the staircase if we leave the door open, walking along furniture, trying to climb into the dishwasher when it's open, and hanging on to my pant legs while I'm in the kitchen.

She still doesn't really sleep through the night very well.  Maybe it's because she doesn't like being by herself (all alone in her crib, bless her heart).  During the day, and when it's close to naptime or bedtime, Elaina is a snuggly little thing.  She really likes to cuddle.  And she loves her binkie. Occasionally she gets so sleepy that she'll just fall asleep propped up in someone's arms.

Maybe it's just growing pains, but for some reason, Elaina has been quite the squealing grump lately.  She figured out how to make a whiny distressed sound, and I just wish I knew what was bothering her.  She doesn't seem to be teething, but I reckon a baby has a hundred reasons to fuss.  This is her serious face:

But when she's happy, her mouth is open, and her tongue is doing something interesting; usually hanging half-way out of her mouth.

She makes this sweet little noise when she's in a good mood.

She seems to be the happiest when there are people around, and when she's getting lots of attention.  She loves it when her daddy comes home from work, and demonstrates her approval with flailing arms and happy squawks. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bitter Beer Face

I caught Elaina making her bitter beer face a couple of days ago.  She's done it occasionally over the last couple of months, but I managed to snap a few shots this time.

Elaina, almost 10 months old.

Now for comparison, here is Chloë when she was 10 1/2 months old.

I'm not exactly sure why my babies do this, but I think it has something to do with teething.Whatever the case, I think it's hilarious.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Singing and Dancing

It's no secret that Chloë likes music.  She is constantly singing songs she knows, or making up her own little melodies.  A couple of weeks ago Bryan took me to see the local production of the musical Annie, and so naturally I found myself singing this song around the house.  Chloë picked up on it right away, and now it is one of her favorites.

There is a lot of dancing in our house.  I've only barely introduced her to a couple of ballet moves, but usually she just likes to groove to a rhythm.  

I found some tap shoes at GoodWill last month, and showed her a clip of Shirley Temple tap dancing.  I think she just might be on to something here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

First Snow

We had our first real snow last week.  So I got the girls all bundled up and we went outside to play in it.

Elaina wasn't very sure about it at first.
But then she got used to the stuff.

Chloë was most interested in eating the snow.  "Good vintage," as her daddy taught her last winter.
So much snow to eat!  I tried to get Chloë to make some snow angels with me, but she was mostly just interested in eating the snow.

I even put a little snow on Elaina's snow suit to see what she thought.  She munched away at the cold stuff very seriously.

I took Elaina back inside and let Chloë stay outside for a little while (in our fully fenced and gated back yard).  I noticed she had wandered closer to house, and was enjoying the view while she snacked on snow.

She eventually came inside, and got all dried and cleaned up, and then she had some hot cocoa.

I'm sure we will be doing this a lot in the next 6 months.