Saturday, December 31, 2011

wrap up

2011 was a crazy year for us. We started it out dreaming of where we would be that fall, since my husband was already looking for a job, even though his post-doc lasted for another seven months. We didn't anticipate spending the last third of the year with my parents. Or some of it jobless. Or the toll that would take on our family. And leaving our friends with the move was harder than I had anticipated.

At the end of this unexpected year, my husband and I are apart. (And we don't do that lightly.) He's back on the East Coast, waiting to attend a house inspection and start his new job. I'm still in Texas, waiting for our closing date on the house, enjoying a final month with my parents.

A lot of family rhythms were disrupted with the move. And given the temporary nature of our stay with my parents, and the complications of mixing two families under one roof, (and my inability/unwillingness to give up the chance to talk to my mom every night!), many of those habits were shelved. Blogging was one of those.

I've missed a lot of events. I have pictures of many of them. I have various goals for my remaining time with my parents, and doing some catch up in my family history is one of them. (I've determined that instead of setting annual goals right now, I'll set January goals. Goals for 2012 can be set when I have a better sense of what my new life will bring me.)

Was it the second New Year's Eve that I spent with my husband that I finally admitted I liked to go to bed early this night, and start the New Year off well rested, with my goal sheet and an early morning? I do like to go to bed this night, and start the New Year off fresh. And it only makes more sense tonight, given 9 o'clock church tomorrow morning.

So watch in the next few weeks, as I catch up since June of last year. We went to the beach, there was a ballet recital, we moved, had preschool, visited family, and had some fun...

(All these posts will be backdated to today - 12/31/11. That just makes my life make more sense.)

2011 finally - han, han

One of the happiest things in Babs' life is when she can hold hands with another child. Kiddo is her favorite. She will go anywhere, as long as she can hold Kiddo's hand.

This picture is of them holding hands on the way home from the park when we were out visiting my sister in Colorado. Many times, when Babs wants up, I can defer her by offering to hold her hand. It is sweet, and reminds me how much I love her. She loves people, and I love watching her love others.

Our trip to my sister's was perfect. We were both tired from our thanksgiving family adventures, so we sat on the couch while our husbands worked and our children played. And magically, they seemed to entertain themselves. What a perfect vacation.

2011 finally - the Nutcracker

Per my request, my mom took me and my daughter to the Nutcracker ballet this year. She took me many times in Boston while I was growing up, it was a special thing for us to do together. We probably should have waited until Kiddo was older to attend such an event, but she loves dancing now.

We got all dressed up, and found our seats. It was a small theater, so we could see really well. Kiddo loved the dancing, but couldn't understand why she couldn't dance on the stage as well. She also had a lot of questions about the plot in the beginning party scene, then the subsequent fighting with the mice. (That night, she reiterated that she hadn't liked the mice. I told her I didn't like it either. I only liked the beautiful dancing part.) I'm not sure the people around us appreciated her four year old behavior, but she really did very well.

She spent the first half of intermission dancing in the aisles, because she had dancing to express, and I hadn't let her in during the ballet. (More than once I had to grab her and sit her back down because the dancing in her soul would not be stilled!) After the ballet, she had a fun experience. One of the dancers is in our ward, so Kiddo got to go backstage to meet her, and get a picture with her. (She is also the daughter of Kiddo's Sunbeam teacher.)

Kiddo has spent the last three weeks since then trying to figure out how to dance on her toes. I keep telling her she'll have to wait until she's older.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

song request

We sing Babs songs before putting her down to sleep. Recently, she's taken to making requests. I often refuse. I feel that "wheels on the bus" is not sufficiently calming for pre-bed. The tricky part to requests is that if I don't sing what she wants, she yells "No, No, No!" and perhaps tries to smack me.

There is one she has been requesting a lot recently, "caiaguh." Tonight as she asked for it, I recognized that she had asked this before, but still couldn't attach it to any song. I told her sadly that I didn't know what song that was. I took a deep breath and started to sing the primary song that popped into my head, "I am a child of God."

As I sang the words "...a child of God" I thought "Of course! she is saying 'child of God'." This was the song she was requesting. And after putting it together, I was impressed by how well she was saying the song she wanted.

I was humbled that I was prompted to sing the right song, and that allowed me to discover what she really wanted (because she requests it a lot). I felt blessed that I received this inspiration that helped me be a better mom to my sweet, albeit demanding, child. As I continued singing, I reflected on this moment of inspiration, and often struggled not to cry in relief of this obvious sign of my Heavenly Father's love for my daughter, and for me.

In addition, I am so grateful that the song Babs wants is the song that teaches her the most important lessons:

I am a child of God, and He has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do to live with him some day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear Santa,

Tonight Kiddo wrote a thank you note to Santa. (I guess all that practice from her birthday party paid off.) I quote (to the best of my memory):
"Dear Santa,
Thank you so much for the doll house and the furniture. I really love them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I would like some dolls please. And an opener for the toilet. It doesn't open.
My cousins and I loved our presents.
I love you,

Her cousin then asked her what she was doing. She told him she was writing a thank you note to Santa. He said Santa wouldn't be able to read it (as she only scribbles). She did not believe him.

"Santa will love it," she insisted. "When he reads it, he will say 'I love this, Kiddo.'"


She, like her cousin, likes Santa best from afar. This is how she feels about him in person:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

looks who's 4!

Kiddo had her birthday this week. It was a fun filled day of preschool, friends coming over (for visiting teaching, not the party, which was a few days later), presents, cake, and lots of excitement.

She loved it all, the attention, the gifts, the cake, the cake making... Well, she didn't love sharing with her sister, but took it in stride (mostly).
Here she is with the scarf her dad knitted for her.
I haven't posted much about it, because this has been one of those weeks. And all of my pictures lack something (focus? non-red eye? centered subject matter?).

But what the day didn't lack was an excited little girl, ready for the next new year and adventure. Kiddo is so very good humored, and thrilled about life. She loves to anticipate events, and the enjoys them just as much as she thought she would.

I love her, and am grateful for the joy she brings into my life every day.

Friday, December 16, 2011


This is my house. Or the one that the bank will own in my name for the next 30 years, assuming everything goes smoothly from here.

Are you excited? because I am.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

her heart

Kiddo received a longhorn stuffed cow for her birthday from her grandpa. She spent some time tonight studying the box it came in, when I would have preferred she was getting ready for bed. She wondered why there was a picture of the bear with a heart being put inside of it. I told her it was so the cow could love her, and she could love it back.

As she was settling to go to sleep tonight, she informed me that her heart was different than the bear's. I assumed this comment stemmed from the fact that in the picture the heart is, well, heart-shaped, and Kiddo is a student of anatomy, and knows what a physical heart looks like. She explained it to me like this "My heart is different from the bear's. My heart is ... squeezy."

And that's true.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


There's this super game called MadGab, where you read a set of nonsensical words or phrases, and the people listening to you have to guess what you're really saying. For example, say "Had vend kale lender." What do you think that means?

Did you guess "advent calendar"? That's right. I love this game.

And it's a good thing, because starting Monday morning, Babs decided it was time to talk. She must have added 30 new words that day. And she keeps adding more each day, trying new words, and new sentences.

The tricky part is she's only 19 months old. So her pronunciation and inflection is often off. Her sentences and words sound mostly okay, but usually only after you've deciphered them.

Today she said "Ah nee a wahp." Yes, she wanted, or more precisely, needed a wet wipe, because she loves wipes.

Mad Gab, all day long. Part of the reason I love the game is because I'm good at it. I had no idea this talent would be so useful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

early indoctrination

Aunt M (an enthusiastic alumna) took Kiddo to a basketball game this week. Kiddo loved every second of it. She loved the yelling, the cheering, the popcorn, the licorice, the drink. She loved the little dress she got to wear, and staying out late.

She's still my little girl though, because as we sat together that night, and she told us all about the fun she had, she asked me to come sit next to her. "Here, mom, you can sit next to me on the beanbag. There's room." (Except there wasn't. Grandma got kicked off in order to make room.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks

LinkI've spent the last 8 Thanksgivings with my Aunt and Uncle (except the year Kiddo was born, but I saw them two weeks before). It's a little weird to not be there this year (but great to be with my husband's family). Part of the Thanksgiving tradition is to write two blessings on napkins.

Here are my two: 1) a home when we had no job, and 2) a job!

(Looking over past years, we've been grateful for a job more than once. I hope to stay grateful as the years go on.)

The extended (but not comprehensive) list is this:

I'm grateful for a good husband who I love more each and every day.

I'm grateful for two beautiful daughters, who make me laugh every day. Especially Kiddo who insists that we laugh lots every day, and Babs who at 19 month is delightfully funny because of who she is.

I'm grateful for a safe place to land when we had no job and no home. Not only was it a blessing to not pay rent or other typical bills, but Babs quickly fell in love with Grammy and Grandpa, and Kiddo made wonderful friends through Sunbeams, preschool, and ballet. There are few greater blessings than good families.

I'm grateful that my husband is now employed, or will be at the start of next year, in what appears to be a stable job, in an exciting place to live. This job should be permanent, for which we're also grateful. It should also allow us to renew some precious friendships.

I'm grateful for prayer, and the support system that comes through membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's how we've thrived throughout this year, and will in our new place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

introducing Babs

We had preschool at our house this week. One of the little girls showed up a little before every one else. As they were playing, Kiddo took a few moments to introduce her little sister.

"This is Babs. She is one year old. My grandma and Aunt M came out to visit us for her birthday. Well, that was in our old house. Well, Babs likes dogs. She says woof when she doesn't see dogs. She also says it when she sees dogs."

Thanks to the amazing Wendolin for another set of amazing photos!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

going boop

Babs is all about sufficient attention. Almost every time she falls, or runs into something, she starts false crying/whining. She won't stop until you ask her "Oh, did you go boop?" [a hybrid of bonk-boom-bump]. She will whine "yeah," then stop crying and go merrily on with life.

Unless she feels that it was more serious than that. Then she'll climb down, and continue her whine to the next adult. The same question must be posed to her, or else the whining continues. She may move on to another adult if one is available.

And, if the self-pity merits it, she may rub her eyes, like the crying "babies on the bus" to underscore the seriousness of her plight.

There is nothing real in these whole interactions. She is not really hurt. We are not really concerned that she is hurt. But we act out the lines wholeheartedly to provide her with that sense of being cared for and loved that she apparently wants and needs (oh, and to stop the whining).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

her dancing heart

Kiddo wanted to turn on some music so she could dance. Since my mom was teaching piano lessons, I told her no. But I suggested that "You have music in your heart. Dance to that."

She thought about it a moment, then she explained to me, "Your heart is deep inside of your body. It makes beautiful music. You can dance to it." And she did.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

how to eat salsa age 18 - 24 months.

When Kiddo was about 2o months old, my parents took her and me to a mexican restaurant. She reached for the salsa, and they asked incredulously, "Does she like salsa?"

"Oh yeah. She eats it by the handful."

A few moments later they learned I was not exaggerating as she started to scoop handfuls of salsa into her mouth.

Babs has always been more into utensils, and less into eating with her hands. She picks up the salsa bowl and drinks it straight.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Babs, October 31

Did I mention she likes lollipops?


This is the net result of Halloween: a very tired girl with a bag of candy. To get here she had a preschool Halloween party and a very successful trunk-or-treat.
This is the requisite shot of my two sweet girls. Babs wasn't to keen on the bee suit, but was very keen on the lollipop we used to bribe her into it. (She'd been carrying it around for about 45 minutes by then.
This is us heading off to our one house we visited for trick-or-treating. That is a sweet little girl.

morning apple

My dad likes a grapefruit with his breakfast. So does Babs. Except she calls it "ap-pul." But she will leave any one to climb on his lap and split the morning "ap-pul." Grandpa's given up trying to convince her it's a grapefruit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

pumpkin carving

Saturday, around lunch time, Grandpa remembered he needed to carve pumpkins before Grammy got home. So they started working. Note my silly girls in the back "reading" the extra newspaper that we brought out for seeds.

Here is the pumpkin display, including Kiddo's work.

This is the pumpkin my husband carved. It's the favorite of Babs. She walks up to it, pats its face, and tells it "hi." It's very sweet.

the sins of the parents

Our razors have been on the bathroom counter the whole time we lived with my parents. Kiddo has shown minimal interest in them, so although I knew it was a bad idea, I didn't make the efforts to fix it.

Then her daddy showed her how he shaves.

Friday night I walked in on her trying to shave her own perfect little chin (no shaving needed). It resulted it two cuts, that given her behavior (and my knowledge of razors), were very painful.

I of course told her that she shouldn't have done that. But it was hard to find the words that taught her what to do without making it seem like it was her fault. Because it wasn't. But she had done something wrong, but it wasn't something she knew was wrong. That was the hard part, trying to tell a good hearted, hurt little girl that although she'd made a mistake, and should never do it again, that she was also without fault; those were words I didn't have.

As we finally got ready for her to sleep (after much weeping, wailing, and assorted sadness), she prayed. My sweet girl, who when she actually expresses her own thoughts in her prayers only gives thanks (thanks that I won't have any bad dreams), said "I'm sorry for using the shaver."

The shavers are out of reach. The cuts are not healed, but Kiddo's not thinking about them any more. But I'll be glad when they fully heal so I can not stare my failings in the face every day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

primary program

Sunday was our ward's primary presentation. Last year I was deeply involved in our branch primary presentation. (Seriously, if you need a good laugh, click that link.) I wondered if the craziness of that presentation was normal.

I am here to report that it is not. This year I was again involved in the presentation, although this time it was as a teacher, so I just kept kids in line. There are a lot more kids in this primary (about 100 each week), so there was plenty of crowd control needed. But no one was asked not to participate. There was not almost a wrestling match between an adult and a 10 year old about appropriate Sunday behavior.

Because of the numbers though, my sweet 3 year old did not get a speaking part (none of the Sunbeams did). Given her level of participation last year, this just did not make sense to her. At the first practice, this was just painful. She would pop up after every kid and ask, "Is it my turn?"

But in yet another example of the tender mercies of the Lord, she was asked to give the scripture/spiritual thought the week of the second practice. So, she got to memorize a scripture (James 1:5), say it in a microphone to the entire primary, and say the prayer (which was not her scripted prayer, yay!).

The Sunbeams did have a special musical number, in which, by all reports, Kiddo held the Sunbeams together, because she sang loudly, clearly, and knew all the words. And she was just as active in singing all the other songs. Many parents pointed this out to me afterwards.

Her real moment to shine though came after, when she went to primary. One of our friends reported to me that while most of the leaders were still in the chapel, cleaning up, Kiddo saw her opportunity. She went straight to the podium, and welcomed all the children to primary, and remembered to tell them what a great job they had done in the presentation.


Babs started waking up during the night during this most recent growth spurt. She insisted each time she was hungry. We'd head downstairs, groggy, feed her some yogurt or some cheerios, then try to get her back to sleep.

This happened more and more frequently, until three nights ago, when she woke up about 2:30, and never really went back to sleep. Enough is enough, my husband and I said to each other, and decided that night, we would ignore her if she woke up.

Something happened as she was being put to bed, so my husband just put her down, and let her cry going to sleep, until she cried it out. Then she slept through the night.

She did it again last night, hallelujah.

But the real miracle was this morning, when she woke up happy. This is the first morning since we moved that she has not woken up crying/whining for someone to come get her. She was happy! And that makes me happy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

more work

Recently, as I implored my Heavenly Father for insight on how to feel less overwhelmed with my life, he told me to start working. He did not mean to find a job. Instead, He implied that I should pull out my long-term to-do list, and start accomplishing things. As you can imagine, it's been great instruction.

I also felt I needed a long term project. After pondering this for a while, I decided I needed to turn my dissertation into a journal manuscript (publication is another matter entirely). I talked to my husband, and Friday mornings are my work time, while he takes care of the girls.

This is our first Friday. I've now been thinking great intellectual thoughts for about three hours now, and am thoroughly enjoying myself. But as I heard him greet the girls as they woke up, and listen to their stories, and do the things we do in the morning, I missed my role as the center of their universe.

I am glad to share that position with my excellent husband this morning, and other Fridays for a while, and I am sure later this afternoon I'll be tired of the limelight again. What it really assured me is, as much as I love to use my great brain, I love to use it for them, to be a mom all the time, and to be the first and strongest influence in their lives. I get about five years of this for each child. I am trying to take full advantage of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

favorite sentence

Babs can say "ah-wu-u" and it melts my heart.

It's often followed up with a kiss. It is said frequently to her dolls, and sometimes to me or daddy, or grammy.

I love her too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

same and different

Kiddo has a set prayer. It consists of about four sentences, all taken from prayers she's heard. She uses this prayer for almost every meal, family, and personal prayer she offers. Plus, she almost always offers the prayer, because she wants to.

(Just when we think it will never change though, she offers beautiful sincere prayers overflowing with heartfelt gratitude. For example, just last night she went on at length about how grateful she was she could go camping with her dad, then go on a walk in the morning, and step in poop, and show it to everyone. Not her poop! she points out. But I digress.)

Occasionally, her daddy tries to help her branch out. For example, Wednesday evening she said a blessing on the food, using her set prayer. My husband then told her he would pray, and he was more specific in his gratitude. After he finished, he said "Do you see how our prayers were different? I included specific things I was grateful for."

The next night, we were gathered for dinner again. This time he said the prayer. Kiddo immediately volunteered that she would pray. He started trying to convince her that one prayer was enough, but she insisted. Then she offered her set four-point prayer.

After finishing her prayer, she looked guilelessly at her dad and asked, "Do you see Dad, how our prayers were different?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

success in motherhood

I was sitting between both my girls in the back of the car the other day and noticed that Kiddo's knees were scraped up. They've had scratches and minor cuts all summer, from one thing or another.

I asked my mom, "Is is okay that I look at her scraped knees and think: I must be doing something right?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

first sentence

Babs now has a sentence that she can use.

It's "Ah wann dat." [I want that.]

Is that an improvement from "I need dat?" Kiddo's first sentence? Probably not.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

whula hoop

For my birthday, my husband got me a hula hoop (my request).

Kiddo calls it a whula hoop. I can't get enough of it. I was being good, and pronouncing it correctly until I heard her do it right once. And I realized, I can't stand to loose this word yet. I let her lose "bobbin," but I'm fighting for whula, through occasional mispronunciations.

I'm also reluctant to lose smarshmellows.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

an unexpected afternoon

Both my kids are asleep. Babs has been asleep for 2 1/2 hours, which may be a record for her since she turned 6 mos. old. Kiddo is taking her third nap in as many days. This means she'll be up with us late again tonight. But right now, it's really quiet and peaceful in the house.

Yet, I don't know what to do with my spare time. I've already read my scriptures, and here's a blog post, and I don't have any projects on tap... Of course, I also never have this sort of quiet in the afternoon, so I guess that's why I don't know what to do.

I hate having this free time, and feeling like I'm not using it to it's fullest potential. I suppose since I'm a busy mom of young children, watching TV and eating cookies seems like a really good idea.

(Too bad I'm living with my parents, so I'm under the "every minute must be productive" brainwashing they do around here; and I really want to lose a little weight, so I'm trying so hard not to eat cookies. I guess I'll figure something out, or go pinch a baby to wake them up.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

W is for "onesie"

Kiddo announced to me yesterday that she would bring her comfort onesie to preschool for show and tell for the week of "W." Then we had an uncomfortable conversation (one of many) about how things are not spelled how they sound. Yes, it starts with a "w" sound, but it actually starts with an "o."

This is her presentation she planned to give:
"This is my onesie. I wear it to bed. My grammy and I fix the holes in it. Well, actually, I made the holes in it, but my grammy fixes them. Actually, I fix them with her. It has purple flowers on it, and white polka dots."

She could have appropriately finished with "I love my onesie."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

who they are (in photos)

Here we are at a historical park near the chiropractor. Babs loves to push. Kiddo loves to ride, and read. Pamphlets are great reading.

She was getting older, hair longer, and swimming for a month this summer meant that Kiddo needed a trim. Which also means the baby curls are (mostly) gone. Mom insisted I needed a before shot. Here it is. Note two things: 1) Babs coming in for a free hair pull. 2) Kiddo patiently trying to minimize the pain, but just letting it happen. Babs has got a really good big sister. Hopefully she recognizes this as she gets older.

(We're also hoping that hair pulling and her newest game "Push" won't generalize to other children, like for example, those in nursery. What are the chances?)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

my musings on work

Kiddo talks on a regular basis about what she'll be when she grows up. Sometimes she says she'll be a singer when she grows up, but then informs me that she's a singer now, which is true.

While visiting Grandma she told us some other thing she wanted to be, and I said "you could definitely do that." And Grandma added she could be anything she wanted, as long as she was willing to work for it. That idea really resonated with me, and so I've been pushing the idea to Kiddo whenever possible. Now she tells me, she can be anything she wants, all it takes is work.

She sang a song about this the other day, it listed all the things she could be, a dancer, a doctor, a nurse, a carpenter, a mama, a missionary, and some other things. Then the chorus basically said "all it takes is work, work, work."

Which is why I've decided that I may never accomplish anything else in my life, because the work of it is just so daunting. This idea of work may explain why I am still not in shape. Apparently reading articles, and wanting to be fit, and exercising once every six weeks for five minutes is not enough. I'm pretty sure that those activities do not count as work.

Also while visiting Grandma, I spent a lot of time bouncing my baby, trying to get her to sleep, and read the one thing posted on the wall, which says something to the effect of "Without dreams nothing happens." And as I read it over and over and over and over I started to struggle with the idea, and finally decided that it bugged me because things happen with work, not dreams (e.g., I still don't play a wind instrument). (Note to brother in law, who posted the thought about dreams: I think they're important. I'm sure I would have been bugged by any sentence that was the only thing I had to read to take my mind of the monotony of rocking and rocking the ornery baby hours every single day.)

But, I do work on raising my children well. And so far that's turning out okay, but it's still pretty early in the process, and they have agency too, so I can't really judge my success there.

And I work on keeping my covenants, and so far that's a success too.

So I guess I do some work. And I surely have worked in the past.

I plan to do more work. I'll let you know how it works out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

days of the week

Kiddo, with a little help from preschool, has learned the days of the week. She's also learned that on certain days, we do certain things.

On Sunday we go to church.

On Monday she has preschool. (She came down the stairs this morning singing a little song about preschool and how much she loves it, and she really does.)

On Tuesday she has "BALLET LESSONS!!!" (that's how she says it).

On Wednesday there is more preschool!

And on Thursday, as she told her grandma tonight, after dialing her phone number with only a little help from me, "Well, we just hang out and go to the grocery store and stuff." (In other words, it's really boring to talk about, but she seems to enjoy it just fine when it actually happens.)

her two moms

Although I always refer to my mom as "grammy" when I'm talking to the kids, apparently my example speaks louder than my words. When I'm talking to her, or more specifically looking for her, I say "Mom" (after all, that's who she is to me).

Babs calls Grammy "Mom" with the exact intonation I use. It's pretty funny to hear that come out of her little mouth.

She calls me "Mama," so there's no confusion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Grammy plays the organ in church. Kiddo wanted to sit on the stand with her, so we let her. During prelude I had sufficient opportunity to go over the rules. She could sit in one of four chairs, or on the floor in front of them, only. She could not lead the music. She could not stand near where someone else was leading the music. She could not wander around the stand. She could not play the organ. She could sit in one of four chairs, or on the floor in front of them, only.

Soon it was time for the meeting to start, and my husband and I and Babs sat in our pew, hoping for the best, but staring intently at her, suspecting the worst.

As the first notes of the opening hymn started playing, I saw Kiddo slowly push off her chair. I was sure she was heading towards the music stand. I was wrong.

She instead stepped lightly to an wide open expanse of the stand, closed her eyes, raised her arms out, and started to twirl.

I whisper/shouted: Get her! With a shocked look on his face, my husband made a start for her, but my dad was quicker out, and collected her, and helped her sit down. The eventual compromise was sitting next to grammy at the organ, but not playing the organ.

We weren't surprised by what she did. We were surprised we didn't anticipate it.


Babs has always been my rough and tumble baby. During Family Home Evening last night, she was wandering around the room, carrying the phone. She wandered near Daddy, then before anyone could even anticipate it, she raised it in the air and hit his cheek, hard.

He had time to cry out and cover his cheek before she hit again, this one luckily landing on his hand. There was one more good smack before we got the phone removed from her little hands.

This is not the first time she's done this, but never with something with more substance than a plastic magic wand. And usually to Kiddo, who just laughs and laughs. I think the cry of pain and immediate attention of three adults was an unexpected reaction to her usually fun game.

Friday, September 16, 2011


As we were playing this morning, Kiddo opened her pretend suitcase and exclaimed,

"All my pretend things are broken! It's junk!"

In other news, my husband and I got to the temple this morning, while the kids enjoyed the morning with Grandpa and Grammy.

An enjoyable time for everyone.

p.s. with the help of her pretend animal dog, all the stuff has been repaired.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Daddy went out and bought Kiddo a bike today (courtesy of Grandma). She's been asking for a while, and when it came up again a day or two ago, we decided to make it happen.

She was so excited when she got home from the store, with her bike, helmet, and bell. She had a great time with Daddy acquiring the bike.

And tonight she got to ride it. We think she enjoyed it. It's a pretty monumental day for us. I feel like I should have more to say about it, but I don't.

So instead I'll share what I don't want to forget. As she tried to bike through the alley to get from the garage to the sidewalk, she highcentered. The ditch down the center (for drainage) is deep enough that the training wheels kept the wheel from actually touching down, so she was pedaling really fast, but not going anywhere. It made me laugh.

It was a perfect little suburban scene. It was nice to be part of it (even if my role was to stay out of the way).

little growler

My sixteen month old is really frustrated a lot these days. (Consequently, we are too.) She has so many ideas and demands, and just can't communicate most of them, even with her 25ish signs and words. For example, she wants to listen to music all the time. But she gets mad when we start the iPod up, because we don't let her hold the machine, but instead plug it in to speakers. (I finally figured this out today, and then let her hold my iPhone while music was playing. As the music played, she kept looking at me and grinning, so pleased to be holding the player.)

She likes to pull things out of the trash, go outside, takes toys from her sister, be held all the time (up, up, up) and do the things a small toddler likes to do. As is common with someone her age, she gets reprimanded often. "Babs! Don't do that!"

Today she started growling back. If we get mad at her, she growls at us. This is not a positive development.

On a much sweeter note, she is very concerned with the location of her family. She checks in about every half hour with a "Dada?" so I can tell her his whereabouts. (Apparently she does the same when I am gone, except it happens more often, and there is crying involved.)

After dinner, she climbed up the stairs, realized no one was there, and called out for her sister repeatedly, until my husband and I understood her. She loves playing with Kiddo. I then got her and brought her to Grammy's room, where Kiddo was playing (nursing her sick pretend animal back to health).

what she looks like, part 2

My mom was also there for the conversation about Kiddo's sister.

She had a different interpretation of the comment. She thought Kiddo was talking about a future little sister. I basically ignored her interpretation.

And then, for three days straight, Kiddo asked me about her new sister. Babs' little sister. What was her name?

You don't have another little sister, I insisted.

Yeah, but what's her name? she wondered.

She does not have a little sister, or a little brother, or even one in waiting. But she sure thinks she does. Her description would still be spot on though, for either one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

what she looks like

We were running some errands on Friday, and Kiddo was keeping up a steady stream of conversation. I make efforts to always listen, and was amazed, as always, at all the things she had to say. Then she popped out with this comment:

"Hey, I know what my baby sister looks like."

"Oh really, what does she look like?" I asked.

"Well, she has a head, and two ears, and two eyes, and a two little baby hands, and a nose, and some feet, and, oh yeah, she has two lips. And she has some hair."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

preschool (at last)

Today was the first day of "Mommy and me" preschool. The first day was supposed to be Monday, but the teacher got sick, so today was the big day. Kiddo has a new backpack, and a pencil case, and crayons, and is basically set to go to school.

There are five little girls, and reports are that they had a marvelous time. Going to preschool taught us that Kiddo's favorite food is hot dogs, so we're all learning here. (She has never eaten a hot dog.)

Next week it is at our house, so that will be exciting, for all of us. Luckily, I only have to teach one day because of Labor Day. Or unluckily, because then Kiddo only gets one day of fun.

She is so ready for this.

Three Little Rigs

We went to the library this week to check out the offerings. I was disappointed to see that while the building is nice, the children's section is possibly smaller than that in our old town. It's definitely more cramped, and well, I just didn't think that was possible.

We still checked out books, and Kiddo still loves to look at as many as possible. One book we came home with was "The three little rigs," obviously a take on the three little pigs. As you can imagine, three little rigs head out to build their own garages, the first with lumber, the second with bricks, and the third with steel. Instead of a big bad wolf, their is the big bad wrecking ball.

That evening Kiddo asked me to read her books to her. As we read of the first rig's encounter with the big, bad wrecking ball, Kiddo suddenly turned to me and insisted "No mom, don't read the mean parts, only the friendly parts!" I suggested getting another book, but she wanted this one, so I attempted to describe the pictures in a friendly way, when most of them had a malicious looking wrecking ball either leering into a garage or showed a garage being knocked down. We muddled through.

Yesterday I noticed her sitting, reading the book to herself. Each time the garages were destroyed I heard her say "then the garage got knocked down, but everyone was o-kay," just as I had, nice and friendly.

The resolution of the book was the hardest. It was clear from the picture of the wrecking ball and his two wicked sidekicks in a vat molten metal that things did not end well for them. How to make that friendly? "Then, they all took a bath."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

long time coming

When I was expecting Babs, often people would ask Kiddo if she was excited that she would have a little sister she could play with. She was, but then, it turned out that her little sister could not only not play with her, but also took up a ton of her parents attention in addition.

But Kiddo is an excellent older sister, and put up with the intrusion in her life, and now doesn't remember life before Babs. And their relationship has changed over the last few months. Now that Babs walks, and communicates (some signs, some words, and lots of personality), they do play. And they play a lot. And they really enjoy each other, most of the time.

The other day Kiddo insisted on holding Babs' hand (much to Babs' dismay), insisting that "holding hands is what best friends do." I don't suppose the road will always be smooth, but I hope by the time they're grown up, they can still be best friends.

(Hey, did you notice the milk cup in Babs' hand? Yeah, I abruptly weaned her 2 1/2 weeks ago. She woke up in the middle of the night again, and I said: you're done. With serious support from my husband, she never nursed again. After 48 hours, she actually seemed relieved that we'd put our foot down... Kind of like making her sleep through the night. I'm loving it.)

family birthday

My husband and I celebrated seven years of marriage recently. Yay!

I tried to involve my kids, by making a family birthday cake with Kiddo (okay, it was my idea, but my mom actually made the cake). Kiddo was sure it needed to be chocolate. And it needed seven candles, which miraculously my mom had.

Ending the day with chocolate cake? That's a good celebration in my world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

twinkle, twinkle

Babs was singing to herself this morning, with my husband and me.

I swear she was singing the tune of "twinkle, twinkle little star."

I am more sure that I am not being delusional, because my husband joined in for the last line.

He heard it too.

touch your ear, and listen

Kiddo loves saying prayers right now, but they tend to be repetitive. But every once in a while, she actually goes off her script, and says some beautiful things.

We've been really trying to help her feel at home at my parents. We've changed the room she's sleeping in, and will change it a little more to help her feel completely comfortable there. We're trying to give her ownership of her space so she feels less lost.

Tonight, among many other things, she was grateful for "the paddle that we're going to move" (it makes her nervous), for her "own little room", and that "we can call grammy's house our own home." It's what she has really wanted and needed, a place to call her own, and now she has it. I'm grateful we've taught her to pray, so we can know the hopes and gratitudes of her heart.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

future planning

Kiddo knows that my husband and I were married in the temple, and that we expect she will be too. This leads to the question of who will she marry, which she's asked a number of times. We've finally settled that daddy is off limits, as I already married him.

As both my husband and I and my parents recently visited the temple, the question came up again last night. While Kiddo and I were hanging out in the pool (her quite literally, on the side) she asked me, again, who she would marry. I told her honestly I didn't know.

She informed me she would marry D. And that next time she visited him, she would ask him to marry her "after he grows up to be a daddy, and I'm grown up into a mommy." (Clearly, her sense of order is still developing.)

This lead to a sad discussion for me about how moving means not only changing houses, but also not seeing our friends again. And my heart broke again that my kid cannot visit her one friend, that Babs cannot see her friend, and I cannot visit mine (although I had more than one).

Here they are at the beginning of their budding relationship: He's adorable, so if he'll just accept our religion I'm all about their marriage. And the food we'll have at their reception!On the plus side: we have not spent the last month dying of heat, but instead enjoying the central A/C of my parents. And next week, Kiddo starts a small co-op preschool that will provide her friends, little girls who I'm sure she'll love. And she loves church. And I'm being welcomed warmly into my new ward. And Babs loves Grammy (as do the rest of us, but this is special).

words, words, and more words

Babs is a talking machine.

She says often: up (up, up, up), mama, please (pease), more (moh), up, no (yno, yno, yno!), up, hi, bye, ball, all done, milk

She says sometimes: thank you (tane to), mine, dada, bock (as in what a chicken says), meow, and fish noises, and woof

She has said: monkey, her sister's name, welcome

She signs: more, all done, eat, milk. And while it's not the official sign, she does a really good "want"

All this at not quite 16 months. I thought her sister was talkative.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

thoughts from Kiddo

Kiddo is always good to share, even if it's one of her three remaining bites of her family cake (another story for another day). This is a cookie back at our old place.

On the way to the zoo (while visiting Grandma) she told me that she had lost her pretend suitcase. I asked her where it went. She told me that it fell out the window of the car. I wondered if it was necessary/appropriate to lecture one's child about responsibility for one's belongings, if that belonging is pretend? (It has since been recovered.)

Yesterday my mom said on the phone, "I know, I have tons on my forehead." "Mom," Kiddo announced, "Grammy has tongues on her forehead!" Surprising news indeed.

Primary has been nothing but a learning experience for Kiddo. She's only been two weeks, but knows so much more. Two weeks ago, she told us all week about having a spirit body while being with Heavenly Father and then getting a human body when we come to earth. That is good doctrine.

Last week the lesson was on forgiveness, which means they learned the Bible story of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers, but he forgave them. Kiddo informed her class that when she was a baby, she had been sold to the circus. By her dad. But she forgave him. So we're all happy now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

becoming me

My parents have lived in this town, in this house, since I graduated from high school (a few years shy of 20). The longest stretch I lived here was about a year after my mission. But I also spent many of my college summers here. And I've obviously visited quite a few times. So the oldtimers in my parents' church congregation know me, and have watched me grow up as an adult. I'm easily recognizable as their kid, who now shows up with my kids in tow.

Except now we live here. It's temporary, but what does temporary mean any how? We have no idea how long we'll be here, or how short we'll be here. So we're balancing the actions of settling in, and hoping to leave again very soon.

The settling in is for the kids. They need stability, and to know what to expect. So I'm joining a preschool group for Kiddo, and probably signing her up for dance classes. I'm trying to find friends. We're attempting to get to know people.

This is truly a "bloom where you're planted" experience. This is where we are, so this is where we live. But that means somehow convincing the people at church that I have an identity past that of my parents' child.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Kiddo has what can be politely described as a solid distrust of all males, including those she is related to, but don't see very often.

Babs must be our ambassador to make up for that. Uncles are her favorites.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

what's it worth to you?

If you're watching youtube with your little sister, and she keeps hitting the space bar, thus starting and stopping the video, what is it worth to you to block her from the keyboard?

This is the price Kiddo is willing to pay.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Kiddo has a lot to say, and I'll admit, I don't always pay perfect attention to her. (Ahh, possible insight to why she doesn't listen to me.) We were at my grandparents today, along with my brother and his family, and an aunt and uncle. Kiddo was playing in the yard with two of her boy cousins. She yelled something to me about the yard, it sounded like "I'm going to play in the yard."

I "yeah, okay"d her to let her know I heard her, vaguely wondered why she was telling me she was playing in the yard when she was already there, and had been a while, but really I was trying to get back to whatever adult conversation I was having.

She made her announcement a second (third?) time, and for reasons I still don't know, I looked at her. There she was, standing in the middle of the yard, skirt up, underwear down.

At this moment she announced a fourth time, and this time I finally heard her, "I'm going to potty in the yard."

Not on my watch. I quickly ran to her, pulled up the undies, and carried her inside. She spent most of that time insisting she was not going to the potty, and me telling her that yes, she was. Luckily, the bathroom was the biggest she's ever seen, with two soaps! (to go along with the two sinks), so the novelty erased our previous argument. (Is it just me, or do I spend a lot of time arguing with my three year old? Is this normal?)

As she eventually went #2, I'm especially glad I found the proper venue.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

leaving on a jet plane

After at least a month of packing, possibly more, I left my home Tuesday morning (at 4:45). I took my two kids with me. Grandma, who had come for my last push of packing, came with us. I left my husband to finish packing, finish his job, and put all of our thing in storage before driving to my parents. I will fly to my parents' home soon. For long time followers of this blog, exactly two years previously, we put all our stuff into storage while moving into someone's basement. Both times it was because one chapter of our life closed before the next opened. (Would we call this not a prologue or epilogue, but logue?) It is just as hard the second time.


At the airport, I was holding Babs, and Grandma was pushing Kiddo in the stroller. A TSA employee came up to us specifically to tell me that Babs looked exactly like her Grandma, and nothing like me.


In our packing, we ran across another clear plastic backpack. I thought it would be adorable if both girls had one as we walked through the airport. While a nice idea, I failed to account for the fact that Babs' balance is not up to a backpack, no matter how light. Putting it on her caused her to fall over enough that I just took it off. Maybe next time.


For the last long while, every time we've gone to our grocery store, Kiddo spends time looking at "the big girl stuff" which is the aisle section devoted to toys (also oatmeal and fruit snacks, so we go there a lot). I've never bought her anything from there. We go to the grocery store too often for her to expect a toy each time.

But as we were leaving, and we wanted something special for the plane, Grandma took us to the grocery store, and bought her a big girl toy: a polly pocket car, girl, and accessories. Kiddo was excited beyond belief. She carried the unopened package all afternoon. She slept next to her polly pocket. She never let it out of her sight.

And then at the airport, she had to put it through the x-ray machine. There was much weeping and wailing. And then some more. And some screaming. No matter how I explained it, or I tried to talk to her about it, or a TSA employee tried to help, she just cried harder about not letting go of her backpack. After multiple tries, I was done. I snatched the backpack out of her hands, placed it on the belt, said "this is how it works," and herded her towards the people x-ray. Stunningly (miraculously) she stopped crying, and went through security.

A thoughtful employee on the other side of security tried to encourage her for being brave, but the reminder of the separation was too harsh, and she started wailing again. I smiled and said "we'll be leaving now" and hoped she would calm soon (which she did).


Our seat assignments were two center seats in row 7 and 8. No employee was able to fix this, and sit me next to my three year old. They told me I would have to trade with someone. I was very overwhelmed. I took advantage of seating for families with small children to establish me and my child next to each other. When the man showed up who had the window seat, and I asked him to sit one row back in the middle seat, it was clear that he was not excited about the idea. But I was unwilling to move until he actually said no. He silently sighed, then said okay, and moved back. I am grateful that his better nature won through, and he let me sit next to my child. I hate going through this process so often when I fly. Just assign me to a seat next to my kid.


After a long, but uneventful, flight, then a thrilling bus ride (if you're three), and a ride in Grandma's silver car, we finally got here. And here will stay, visiting family and friends for the next week.

Tonight Babs was crying, because she'd been up, with only a 20 minute nap, for 12 hours. I was trying to bathe her given how much time she'd spent running around outside today. Kiddo asked why she was crying. Did I say she wanted to go home? I told Kiddo, no, I said she wanted to go to bed. And I thought, she probably is crying because she wants to go home, but that's too bad, because there is currently no home to go to.

I am exceedingly grateful for excellent family, who will provide us with one until we have a new one to go home to.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

just a girl

We hung out with our Indian friends for the last time today. The boys were desperate to go outside and play with their water guns, even if it was over a 100 degrees outside. All the children happily tromped downstairs to the yard, but unfortunately there were only two water guns. R and D (the boys) shot everyone with the water guns for a little while, then Kiddo realized she didn't have one. So she got to borrow one for a little bit.

I'm not sure she knew the word "gun" before this. I had to show her how to use it. Then, even though she had been shot at for the last 5 minutes, she didn't think to aim it at anyone else, she jsut took it around the yard and watered the flowers. She's just a girl, not a boy, and that moment showed it to me again.

Then she found some chalk, and was very excited to draw on the sidewalk, relinquishing the gun without a second thought.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

oh, so you really were hurt?

My friends were over for dinner tonight, and after dinner, while she did the dishes, he played with his boy Mac and my girl Babs. (My other girl, Kiddo, was off to the park with a neighbor girl.) Since Babs hasn't roughhoused with a dad in almost four days, she was eager to have lots of fun. Enough that after a little while, I could even leave the room.

I returned when I heard her hysterically crying. She had fallen, and was not happy. I scooped her up, where she immediately settled her head on my shoulder, cried a bit more, then was fine.

I took this opportunity to put her to bed, as she was also very tired.

Just before walking into her room I noticed a large red spot on my shoulder. Oh. She was bleeding on me. No wonder she was so sad...

A quick check indicated that nothing was seriously wrong, just a split lip or something. At least I know she deserved to cry.

Monday, July 18, 2011

a strange sort of intimacy

My apartment is about 5 feet from one neighbor on one side, and 5 feet on the other side.

This means that during spring and fall we hear each others' conversations because all our windows are open to enjoy the beautiful weather. This means that while I've only talked to them once, I know the names of the kids who live next door, and I know that their boy, who is a little older than Kiddo is a whiner. And his dad has no patience with that.

But, they know that we have to convince our oldest to use the potty any time she goes, and that she doesn't like to pull up her underwear.

This also means that my daughter can look out her window and watch our neighbor's parties in their backyard, with them 10 feet away.

I suppose we learn these sorts of things about our neighbors in the individual house neighborhoods of suburbia, but there you can pretend that you have privacy. Here there is no illusion.

Is that why we don't talk to each other? Because we already know what's going on in their living room, we don't need to visit?

running argument

Kiddo loves her sleeping bag. It currently hangs out on her bed. She always wants me to curl up with her in it, or lie next to her on it, or just touch it. But it's a sleeping bag, so it's hot to be around. And our house is hot, her room especially because she likes to close her door.

Today she asked me again to sit next to her on her sleeping bag. "See, mom, there's room for you." (And there was.)

"Kiddo," I sighed. "What do I always tell you about your sleeping bag?"

"I don't know." (It's possible she never hears me.)

So I give her my reason that I give every time I try to avoid the sleeping bag: "It's hot. If I lie on it, I get hot. Sleeping bags are hot."

And she replied as she always does: "No it isn't. There is no steam coming from it."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

practice makes perfect

Once she was finally dressed this morning, Kiddo looked beautiful. She was wearing her favorite dress (it has pockets!), and asked me to put that ribbon in her hair. With the curls at the end of her beautiful long hair, well, I was smitten, again. So I took her picture.

The pictures don't do her justice, and it's not just because she's doing a silly smile. I sighed and thought, I just don't have Wendolin's talent... or her equipment or experience, my mind added. I thought about how talent is an perfect starting point, but practice is really important to expertise as well. Then I realized that one of the truly important reasons for me to stay at home as a mother is because then I can actually spend enough time at it to actually get good at it.

There's hope for me yet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

about friends

My husband tried to explain the move to Kiddo tonight.

Her first question was where is our new house. (This may have been where I got derailed when I tried.) He told her we didn't know, but we'd stay with Grammy and Grandpa for a while until we got a new house.

He told her that all of her things would come with us, and be in our new house.

"New things in our new house?" she asked excitedly. "No, old things in our new house," we replied.

She asked if her old room would be in our new house. No, but you'll have a new room. Then she wanted to know what color it would be. We told her probably white, and she got very excited about the prospect of dancing on a white floor, until we told her it was probably the walls that would be white, not the floor.

Daddy then stressed that while the place would change, it would still be our family, Daddy, Mama, Kiddo, and Babs.

But I felt like we were missing a key fact, so I pointed out that we would have new people at church, and make new friends. (For personal reasons I just could not say out loud that we wouldn't see our old friends. I'm finding that idea pretty much unbearable right now, so I'm mostly ignoring it.)

"New friends?!" she exclaimed. "We can make them out of paper!"

(This comment significantly reduces any guilt I've felt about not providing her with enough friends.)

real gratitude

Kiddo said the second blessing on the food for dinner tonight. (You don't have multiple blessings? You must not have young children.) She was grateful for her pretend suitcase.

I've never thought to be grateful for something I imagined. I probably should.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

how not to pack

I did a lot today. We visited a friend for lunch and the park. I explained a summer school assignment to my french speaking friends. (Considering I learned French in order to teach people about God, I was truly unprepared to explain ideas like: "setting" and "characters" "climax" and "plot.") I fed my family. I did the dishes. I did a little laundry. I straightened the house for the people coming to view the apartment (with the help of my excellent, hardworking husband).

And I figured I should pack at least one box. It was almost full, then I talked to my husband about what else we should put in it, and then decided that the contents of the box fit better in a plastic tote we had. Thus I unpacked the box. How many new boxes did I pack today? None.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

T minus 13 days

This is an accurate representation of Babs, and her older sister, for the next two weeks. Zoned out in front of the television. Except when I'm dragging them outside to "help our friends." Because I need to pack. I leave in two weeks. That's really soon.

It's no wonder I don't post any more. I'm too stressed to think of clever things to say about my family, and cute stories. They're still happening. And wouldn't it be great if I wrote them down so I'd remember them?

Okay, so on that note, here's a picture of Kiddo.

This is her waiting to get on the plane back to our house in February. She was dragging her backpack to resemble all the people who were dragging their suitcases behind them.

We told her recently that soon, we were going to visit Grandma, and then Grammy and Grandpa. (We left out that we were never coming back. It's seems really abstract for a three year old. We'll tell her soon.) We also tell her quite often that we're packing. So it is no surprise that she asks at least once a day, "Are we going to Grandma's now?"

To express her excitement, she carries her "pretend suitcase" with her every where she goes. Which really means that she holds her fist behind her back, as if rolling along a suitcase. She stays in character though, and won't do things with the hand that is carrying the suitcase.

Almost, I thought I should buy her her own suitcase. Then I realized that would just be one more thing I would need to keep track of as I fly these girls around in the next few weeks, so her real suitcase will have to wait a while more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today we spent a lot of time drawing, because, in Kiddo's words, she's a good artist (true). At one point she told me she was drawing a picture of her tithing. She correctly identified that she would give Heavenly Father one dollar, and she got to keep nine.

Last visit from Grandma, she gave Kiddo $10. Eventually we got around to teaching her about tithing, and she paid her $1 to the church. She was explaining this to me as she drew her picture. She reminded me that she gave her tithing to our branch president.

"And he gave it to Heavenly Father," continued Kiddo. At first I agreed with her. The principle was correct. But then I felt I should be more precise, and tell her he gave it to the church.

"It's used to build temples, and churches," I taught her.

"I'm going to help build a temple," she said. I was starting to tell her how yes, her money was going towards temple building when she continued, "I'll bring my [toy] tool set."

that's the way...

Kiddo wanted croutons (called "tons" when she was little, so cute) and dressing for lunch, one of her favorite foods. We always insist that some greenery (or other color) of food is eaten with it, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Today, I was telling her yes she could have croutons and dressing, but she'd also need to eat some cucumber. I started to explain that she would need to do this because... when she filled in the blank for me, "Because that's the way life is."

Hmm. I hadn't realized I'd told her that so often.

But it's true. Sometimes things just are, and you have to accept it.

For example, I'm really leaving in less than three weeks. And I'm really not very packed yet. And there is only one more week of normalcy in our house, because then my husband is gone, then I leave. My heart has that tight anxiety feeling.

We're jumping into the dark. Employment for my husband ends (amicably) in three weeks. There is no new job on the horizon. We are packing all of our things into storage (again!) and moving in with my parents. I will seriously miss my friends, and many things about where we live. Yet, it's a great blessing we won't have to drain our savings to live in this very expensive part of the country. Plus, my parents are great, and have a big house, pool, and functioning ward, so it's not like it's a bad thing to have an extended visit there, but this isn't how we wanted this all to work out.

And maybe this isn't how it will all work out. Maybe the job is coming in the next three weeks. Maybe it's coming in the next three months. As a good woman in the church told me last Sunday, "The Lord knows where the job is." I laughed, and said "I believe that. I just wish He'd let us know." Today is good for me...

But apparently today is not good for me, because we still don't know. When we know, that's when it will be good for us. That's what we believe. That's what the Spirit has told us. And we can continue to believe that we are being blessed, because we are.

For example: look at my kids' cute friends from church (missing two, sadly they were not feeling well that day)
And my amazing friends from church (sadly missing one, her kids kept her up all the night before)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

coming to America

For the first time since Kiddo was born (and possibly earlier) our family went to see fireworks last night. Our little town, although within sight of NYC (on a clear day), still puts on it's own show. The sight is five blocks from our house, so just before 9 we headed out to the park. (We unfortunately left the camera at home.)

The fireworks were wonderful. We were very close, so they were extra loud and bold. The wind was gently blowing in our direction, so we were covered with ash by the end. Babs wasn't a fan, so she insisted on being held, rocked, and having her ears plugged (plus a good deal of hair holding) throughout the show. Kiddo started with her ears plugged and eyes closed, but by the end was cheering on every single last firework. She loved them.

I sat there, and thought about how much I love fireworks, how grateful I am that I was born in America (and not just any America, middle class America), and how that was exactly how I wanted to celebrate my country's birthday: sitting there in my little town with people who mostly had not been born here, but had chosen here, and love it all the more because of it. I love this place.

sharing the love

Kiddo likes to watch TV from our hallway; it's safer there. It's where she retreats when there are scary parts (like, say, Wonder Pets). Today, during some VeggieTales, she felt the need to run off. Moments after she left the couch I heard a triumphant cry from Babs.

She was beelining it for the open spot because Kiddo had left her jammies and onsies. And Babs has figured out that those are worth having. So she snatched them, then cuddled up with them on the floor.

A few minutes after returning to the TV room, Kiddo noticed Babs using her comfort items. She took them back. I felt bad for Babs, but couldn't declare those particular items as ones to share.

Do I give Babs her own set of jammies? Do I assume that she just likes them because of Kiddo? Do I shake my head in wonder that not only is there a totally non-traditional lovey, but that my kids seem poised to share a single one? Yes, the last one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Babs and the phone

This is what Babs knows about an iPhone: you have to squeeze your head and shoulder together while using it. She seems to have missed that when I strike this pose, I typically am not holding the phone, but it have it squeezed there too.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

to pigeon hole

What do you see in this picture? A beautiful 14 month old, with overly long bangs? With a sweet smile, anxious to use a spoon, but still using hands because they're often easier? An adorable not-quite-baby? Yeah.

I see an impish grin, of a very small girl who is getting her own way again by sitting in an adult chair, and the family table, because she wouldn't eat in her booster chair, and insistently threw all her food off her tray, and signed that she wanted out until I let her out. She immediately started eating once conditions were more to her liking. I see a girl who tends to be difficult, and make trouble. Her daddy and I often emerge from interactions with her with a big sigh, and the comment (or at least the thought) she's going to give us some trouble as she grows up. I see the impish grin on her face in every picture I have of her within the last two months.

And I don't want to expect this from her, and thus create a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy. I don't want to expect a fight from her, because I've seen how kids grow into their expectations, whether they are positive or negative. No matter how oblivious you think a child may be, she senses and responds to what you think you'll get. If those expectations are negative, it will slowly weigh down the child. We may already struggle but I don't want to pigeon-hole my daughter into being a troublemaker.


The other day, she brought me our board book about Jesus. She has always been attracted to this book. I mused about how she seems drawn to spiritual things. She has started pointing out her picture of Jesus, so I can respond "Yes, that's Jesus. He loves you very much." (She points a second time if I skip the second sentence.) As I thought about my impression that she is drawn to spiritual things I thought: That is a pigeon hole I can live with.

how we're doing

The girls seemed to have braved their hand-foot-mouth days with valor. Babs was miserable for three days, as I assumed, but she had a fever, and who likes that? Now that Kiddo is better, she is filled with an unending desire for medicine, which we couldn't convince her to take while she was sick.

While sick, Babs mastered the fine art of an enthusiastic tantrum. Often, when I put her down (on her feet) she will drop to her bottom, then, should circumstances be good, she will throw herself completely flat. (I watched her glance over her shoulder to determine whether it was safe to throw her head on the ground. That time, she decided a good cry while sitting would still get her message across.) Since she's getting better though, we will soon learn how satisfying a good cry is when one is all alone.

And we seem not to have shared it with anyone else that we know, so that's good news.

And my gratitude for basically healthy kids has grown again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

z-o-o spells zoo

Kiddo is intensely interested in how to spell things these days. Many words that come up in conversation will be followed up with "how do you spell that?" We help her sound it out, and then move on with life. She can separate the first sound from the word on her own, the rest of the word needs more help. We posted some sight words around the house, but Babs and her little friend Mac made short work of most of them. She knows all her letters, and all the sounds they make. I'm trying to help her grow within her abilities without pushing her, because really, my three-year old does not need to know how to read. (But we've still got six months of this year, so who knows what will happen.) She does not seem to remember how to spell any of the words after we dissect them, so we have repeated quite a few words in our spelling adventures.

And then there's the word zoo. She saw it two visits ago. I helped her "read" the word, then moved on, not thinking much about it. But every two or three days she announces randomly that "z-o-o spells zoo" and then asks "remember when we went to the zoo with..." and fills in the visit and visitors that she is thinking of.

Here are some pictures of our last two trips.

At the fountain. I let my kid stick her hands in, it's true. Most other parents don't appreciate this choice I make. It's just too hard to keep my kid out of water.
Kiddo only loves a few parts of the zoo. We rarely go anywhere else in the zoo unless we're with someone who hasn't been there before. We visit the above-mentioned fountain, the train, the plastic statues she can climb on, and the farm animals and feed the birds. She also has a love-hate relationship with the carousel.

Here she has finally managed to convince a bird to eat off her feeding stick. She is wet from a misting station, not sweat (although there's plenty of that there too).
Here is Babs at the statues (which you can't see). Moments after this picture was taken, as I was taking to my dear friend who was at the zoo with me, a good mom came up to me and said, "Do you know she is eating rocks?" Shoot! They are her favorite size for chewing.

A few weeks later we were back, this time with cousins! Her brothers were there too, but my picture of them has L with his eyes closed, so I thought I'd spare him. But everything is more fun with cousins, and it was very nice to have extra help with my little wanderer (Kiddo that is, Babs doesn't move very fast yet).

Here we are on the train. We usually have to wait about 10 minutes to get on the train, which is really hard for Kiddo. She slowly tries to move up in the line, and yells "Let's get on the train!" while I try to tell her about waiting in line and waiting our turns. Mothers around me smile understandingly as they are either a) having the same conversation with their own kids, or b) have had them earlier.
It's nice to have such a fun place to visit.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Two days ago, I found the girls both reclining on opposite sides of the couch. Kiddo was sucking her thumb and buttoning her onsies. Babs was pulling at her hair. Apparently they both needed comfort that moment. I tried to take a picture instead.

I missed the picture because Kiddo got up to dance. They missed the comfort because I wasn't done making dinner. We all make choices.

Babs the last few months

Some photo documentation of things I would have otherwise forgotten:

We think she was trying to climb up onto our bed, which is about 3 1/2 feet off the floor. What we know is that we heard a loud bonk, then some louder crying. Pushing the hair away showed us a major bruise and almost cut. (It didn't actually bleed out.)
It had mostly cleared, just a little scar, when she bumped it again two days ago. Now she has two small lines on her eyelid. We're just grateful it's the eyelid.

Here's her first go at corn. She really liked it. Now though, she prefers to have the kernels cut off.

My great dream for our new place is that the water drains, instead of pooling in the sink. This will disappoint my daughters though. Note that Babs is on tiptoes in order to reach the water. She gets so excited. It is about the only thing in the bathroom more exciting than the plunger. But there are fewer opportunities to play in the water right now because I've decided that I need the bathroom to be alone time, and Kiddo has been grounded from water games currently.
One consequence of me closing the girls out while I use the bathroom is that today, when my husband was on child duty (and I was at church), Babs would periodically walk to the bathroom, pound on the door and yell "Mama!" wondering where I was.

If it's possible, Babs likes candy and chocolate more than Kiddo does. It's genetic, and environmental. But I plan to have the environmental side improved within the next few years. (It's an actual plan, not a wishful thinking plan.) I can't do anything about the genetics though.
(This picture was a good idea until she lunged for me, smearing chocolate all over the floor. That seems to often happen with moments caught on camera with Babs. If I get the picture or just choose to wait to try for the picture, there are usually real repercussions to me choosing not cleaning up the mess immediately. There is a lesson here if I'll just learn it.)