Christmas 2011, a set on Flickr.
Our first Christmas in our new home was just wonderful. Here are a few snaps before Hurricane Wrapping Paper took over. Hope your holiday was a special one, too.
Suddenly, things take shape. What, in the so recent past, was scribbles and blobs, now is people, animals, buildings--all with recognizable features and big smiles.
This is pizza cat. I hoped it might be some sort of super hero, but it's just a cat that really likes pizza. Pepperoni, I think.
She's pretty amazing, our girl.
She's Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic, and definitely looks the part. Today, she made her first paper heart basket, with (lots of) help from Mom.
After seeing a photo on the internet of a little girl dressed up for the feast of St. Lucia, she has big ideas about wearing a crown and serving us breakfast in bed. I have a feeling this will be more work for me than her, but it may be a fun thing to do, making her dream come true.
OK, and her mom's dream, too. I mean, how cute is that?
Instructions found here. I used cardstock and it worked fine.
"A cat. A cat, Mom!"
No matter what I did, I could not convince her to be something clever.
But I've learned. You don't argue with a kid about her costume. It's what she wants (as long as it's appropriate.) It's her night, after all.
I got lucky at Kid-to-Kid and found Anya a snuggly dog costume for less than the cost to make one, so we had a theme going.
I wore my raincoat and boots, and pinned as many small stuffed cats and dogs as I could find to my umbrella. Turned out, that was a good idea as it was drizzling during the official trick or treat hours in town. The kids didn't seem to notice, but having a costume on made it easier to "collect for Anya" (read: cash in on the whole free candy thing so mom and dad can raid it when they go to bed.)
A few friends joined us for sloppy joes before we braved the chill, and about an hour of walking around tired us enough, and weighed the bags down adequately to call it a night. Many neighbors and friends came by for treats here, too.
I love having a Halloween neighborhood, and I love having kids to take trick or treating. Simple pleasures.
She looks like me.
She loves things I love. Music. Art. Dancing. Good stories.
She's got a lot of fears. Heights. Zombies (even though she doesn't really know what they are.) Changing tables. Being alone.
But she's really brave, too. And she keeps trying. She works to conquer her fears.
She loves people. She wants to be everyone's friend. She believes everyone is her friend, even when they don't know who she is. She wants the whole world to love each other. She doesn't understand why some people do mean things. But she forgives them, right away. Because they are her friends.
She gets bored easily, so she sings songs she makes up, paints a new picture, dances to some music, explores and comes back with a handful of flowers, for me.
She says, "I love you!" Often. And she smiles. It warms your heart. She giggles, and everyone around her smiles, too.
I watch her, and I wish I could know more. I wish I knew what I was like at her age. I wish I knew what worked, and what didn't. How to solve the problems I can't figure out. I wish I knew what my mom felt when I was the four year old, and she was the one struggling and enjoying every minute.
Then, she does this. As I'm snapping away, she sticks her tongue out, and I see it. She's got something of her, too. Her grandma's sense of humor, apparently, is in the genes.
And I know, I'm blessed.
Rowan began her second year with a bang--literally. A certain adult, who shall remain nameless, overstressed one of the supports of her toddler bed and snapped it, and then spilled coffee all over her carpet. So much for an easy morning! But we got it cleaned up (and grabbed the wood glue and a clamp), got in the car, and were at school in plenty of time to meet old friends and new. Rowan loves school, and would happily go all day, every day. Anya loves to visit and explore, but is still ready to head home with Mom.
In Anya news, as she came into the bathroom this morning, I greeted her with, "Hi, Anya! How are you?" And she responded, "Good!" First time--new word! She's been a little slower in language than her big sister, but pretty much anyone would be compared to Miss Talkypants. :) (At Rowan's 18 mo. checkup, the nurse thought I was crazy when I said Rowan had about 200 words--until she started talking in complete sentences!!!) Anya currently says "EH!" for just about everything, though she now does regularly say "Hi", "Bye" and "Anya!" Just like her sister, when she's hungry she lets us know by pointing to her mouth.
She does that a lot.
If you've wondered where I've been, it's here, in front of this score. Besides taking care of my family, I've been studying the score, lining up the performers, rehearsing, and preparing for opening night. Today is preview, tomorrow we open. The music is difficult to play, sing and conduct, and the show is almost non-stop music. It's witty and irreverent and sad and touching, and I'm going to have a real challenge to not laugh out loud during performance, which so far, I have failed at miserably. But, I do really think it will be an excellent show. It's my first gig conducting a musical, and it's one of the toughest to conduct. A fun challenge, I'm really enjoying it, though not so much the insomnia that comes after my brain gets all riled up and full of Sondheim.
We'd love to have you join us. Tickets can be purchased here.
Some days, I work and work and work, all day long, and when J gets home, he has to ask:
"What did you do today?"
Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids--they're things that aren't noticed unless they're not done.
But today, we had PBJ and leftovers for lunch, the only cleaning done was the dishes, and not one load of laundry was washed.
Today, I finally took the cover off my sewing machine, and got to work. New curtains for Rowan's room.
"Wow! They look GREAT!!! Good job, Ronica!"
That was very nice to hear. Then, he took me out to dinner, and brought me a glass of wine while I gave the girls a bath.
Yep, I earned it.
So yeah, haven't been here in a while. Sorry.
Been busy. Kids, life. Fires in the fire pit, sliding on the slip and slide, breakfasts and lunches and dinners and baths and bubbles and sandbox and playdates. Popsicles and sunscreen, trips to the library and walks through the neighborhood. And every night a bath to wash off the mud and the grass and the sand and the marshmallow gunk.
Summer. Loving it. Loving our new house, loving our family, loving our time together. Grandma and Grandpa B. are coming soon, and there will be parties and fireworks and lots of things cooked on the grill.
This photo was taken on our recent trip to Raleigh, NC. We had a ball, just eating and going to museums and shopping and enjoying being somewhere else, but still being together.
I'm sorry that blogging has pretty much dried up, but there's just too much life to be lived right now, and I don't want to miss a minute.
It was a long week without him, while he was doing business in Beijing and enjoying some tourist time in Xi'an, but he's home.
We've survived with careful planning, praying for patience, some extra treats, plans with friends, and lowered expectations. Made it through the beginnings of summer colds, thunderstorms, and preschool field trips with only a few text messages.
At 11 PM, I bundled the sleepy girls into the car, and pulled up just as his plane was landing. He pulled gifts out of his bag, momentos of his trip to the other side of the world. Then he dug into a plate of good old American leftovers, popped open a beer, and relaxed on the sofa, watching a Chinese movie.
Jade is supposed to bring you luck. It must have worked. He's home.
I can hardly believe you're already a year old. Crawling like crazy, pulling yourself up to stand, eating everything you can get your hands on (including chalk) despite still having only 2 teeth. Your nature, so calm and sweet, happy to play with any toy, busying yourself for long periods, then crawling over and pulling up on my pant leg for a hug.
You came into our life a year ago today, and it was like you'd always been there. You fit.
I can't imagine my world without you, my lovey. Happy Birthday, Anya.
The night before, Rowan threw up three times. (Once down her Dad's back, once all over his front, and one more for good measure.) After all the preparation for Easter, I was worried we'd spend it at home, in jammies, eating mass quantities of ham by ourselves. But happily, munchkins bounce back pretty quickly. Though she looks peaked here, by noon she was feeling fine and excited for her Easter treat (Root beer in a crystal glass.) I didn't push the photo session--it is what it is.
More photos on Flickr.
I didn't order the tickets until the last minute, so we ended up in the nosebleed seats, and apparently my daughter has inherited my fear of heights. But happily, she took my advice (in through the nose, out through the mouth... breathe, just breathe...) and was soon dancing, clapping and singing along. We had a wonderful time, just the two of us. And no, I have still not decided which mover I have a bigger crush on... (though Scott's in the lead. I've always had a thing for long hairs.)
I could have been folding laundry
or making the bed
or preparing lunch
or unpacking another box
I shaved my legs
put on white capris
and painted my toenails turquoise blue
(which doesn't suit me)
I saw the forsythia blooming
the sun is shining.
And she is a fan. Big. As in gained a full pound in 2 weeks.
With Rowan, I was so careful. One new food every 5 days, for allergies! Because it's so common to be allergic to green beans!!! As a result, she hates repetition, except for PBJ. Leftovers cannot be served the next day; she won't eat them. Sometimes, she won't eat them again for weeks. It's rather annoying. (And wasteful. And I get tired of eating the same thing for 4 meals in a row because she won't help.)
With Anya, whatever. We went from purées to chunks in days (she did wait until she was 9 months old to eat anything but Mom-juice, so she had more coordination than she might have at 6.) I gave her whatever we had handy. Bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado. Potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, salmon, beef, chicken. Crackers. Cheerios. Gerber puffs, Baby Mum Mums. Applesauce and oatmeal. She doesn't eat much yet, but she finally eats. And apparently, she enjoys it. Though sometimes it's tough to remind her that the food goes in more easily when she actually opens her mouth. She loves to feed herself, though, so gets a sprinkling of chunks on her tray to eat, carefully, one by one, mashing them with her toothless gums and grinning.
This was beef stew (with a bit too much paprika, oops) and applesauce on a Thursday at 1:30 PM. I think she liked it.
Now, we get the new house. YAY! The right person had to come along, and as it was, two did, so we got to pick an offer. Better late than never!
So in the next couple of months, I've got a lot of packing to do.
But tomorrow? I am NOT going to clean the toilets. In fact, I don't even think I'll make my bed.