Saturday, October 29, 2011

We are the Champions!

Where were you when OUR St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series? 
We were at our ward's Trunk-or-Treat, watching the game on a big screen. 
And now we're off to a wedding. See you all later!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Love this girl.

Nora is fifteen months now, and is growing up so fast. I officially weaned her a few weeks ago. It was a battle of wills, but I finally won out. I abused her generous empathy, by saying I was hurt (which I was!). She gave me sweet little kisses, and an understanding heart. Now during her bedtime routine, we read stories on her rocking chair until I put her in her bed. She cries for a few seconds, and then reads some more in her bed until she falls asleep. 
I've been struggling with knowing what to feed her now. She was never big into baby food, and now it's just as hard feeding her vegetables- except now I feel guilty since I'm not supplementing her diet with breast milk. Things she loves most are eggs, cheese and meat. Yes, very balanced. Speaking of balanced...
Nora loves to stand on her head and peek out. She is a really good climber, and is exceptionally coordinated. She's already figured out how to maneuver the Sit 'n Spin in nursery. I'm pretty sure my boys were both pushing three before they figured that skill out. ;)
But unlike the boys, she took her time learning to walk. She was thirteen months before she finally embraced it. I love naked baby bums, and her funny little stance here as she walks.
Usually when I pull the camera out, Nora cooperates by saying, "cheese!"
Another recent word added to her rapidly expanding repertoire is "pumpkin." Some others she says are  Mom, Dada, tickle, uh- oh, button, pretty, duck, dog, mine, flower, bug, bus, book, down, and "he go," ("here you go"- when she's giving you something). I didn't witness her first word pairing, but Paul told me that on the way home from Sam's Club, she got a firm grip on the giant bag of mozzarella and said "My cheese." She held on to it the entire trip home. :)
You might have to enlarge this one to see her teeth, but she still only has four- two on top and bottom. She has an endearing little gap between them too. :)
We went to the Magic House the other day for the Halloween event. Nora loved looking at her reflection and saying "duck!" She loved seeing all the other kids' costumes too.
I think Nora is a girly-girl with a healthy dose of boyishness. She loves playing cars and trucks with her brothers and a crush on Buzz Lightyear, but she also has moments where she wants every single one of her bows to be in her hair, and goes crazy whenever she sees a doll.
We are all in love with her- especially Paul. It's so sweet to watch the bond between these two- it's very different from father and son. Paul will often just stare at her and sigh, "She melts my heart!" And she of course reciprocates his love. It is so much fun having this little girl around!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Peter's Third Birthday

 It's hard to believe this was just three years ago, when this wonderful little boy joined our family. We were all anxious to meet him, and have loved getting to know his giant spirit ever since. Peter is a really terrific kid.
 We started out the day with a breakfast of bacon and eggs, per request. 
 Peter opened a few presents, all of which he greeted with excited giggles and gratitude.
 His Grandmas and Grandpas must have been on the same wavelength as us. He had a very superhero-filled birthday. 
 I picked out this purple dragon for him, which he made sure to bring that day for sharing time at preschool. He named it "Stand Back." 
 The last present of the day was this Spiderman "castle." The boys have been playing with their new superhero toys together non-stop. 
 Peter wanted pizza for dinner and a Batman cake. We had Patrick, Abby and Gloria over for the festivities, which was a lot of fun. We went around the table, telling things we love about Peter. And every other turn, Peter would interject something that he loved about someone else at the table. What a sweet kid! 
 I couldn't help but recall last year's drama with the candles, when he ran away from the lit cake screaming. This year, he blew them all out excitedly. It's amazing how much of a difference there is between two and three. Peter has grown up so much this year. 
And if you ask him how old he is, he'll hold up these three fingers. :) I have to say, it's really fun to have a three-year-old in the family again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Bliss

It's usually about this time of year that I'm reminded how wonderful it is to have a yard and to be outside. Peter and Nora and I have gone to the Farmer's Market several times already this week while Benjamin is at school. It's close, it's free, and it's lots of fun.      
 There's slides for Nora to go down backwards on,
several mini tractors for Peter to drive...
 ...and for Nora to get a ride in....
 ...and a giant pool filled with corn. 
 I love Peter's euphoric expression in this one...
...and this one...
 Nora scooping and dumping.
 Another obvious reason to love October is my birthday, and I had a great one! Just look at this ice cream cake that Paul MADE all by himself. It was amazing. I would also be remiss if I did not mention that I didn't cook a single meal all weekend. I feel loved!
My main present to myself was the front room makeover. Too bad my NEW COUCH isn't here yet. Probably just a few more weeks. :) I'm getting excited!
And this is going to go on the wall above the chairs. It's a huge, beautiful REAL etching of Jerusalem that has been sitting in a tube for years. Paul "inherited" ;) it from his parents, and we finally framed it.  I love how you can still see the deckled edge over the linen mat. In no way does this picture do it justice. I love it!
 The other day, Peter wanted to learn how to write his P's, so I drew about 83 (yeah, I counted) of them all over the driveway and walkway for him to trace with sidewalk chalk. His focus and determination really seems to be growing these days. As you can see, he also still has quite a sense of style and ability to match.
Nora likes to run out into the street these days, and so we have to remind her often not to. Here, Peter is demonstrating how she'll die if she goes into the road.
 Nora stays interested for a moment, but then her eye takes her back to that squirrel across the street. Hmm...somehow it's harder to reason with her, especially where something furry/shiny is involved.
Bucket heads...
 A pretty accurate depiction of their relationship these days...
I guess it can't be all roses and sunshine around here, because we've had sewage backup in our laundry room in the basement the past few weeks. We finally called a plumber, and this is what he found; a three-foot-long stick and lots and lots of smaller ones,
as well as Peter's old winter hat and pacifier. Hmmm...somehow I vividly recall that snowy day when Benjamin came in to tattle on Peter, who had dropped his hat into the hole outside. I guess they must have tried using sticks to fish it out. Gross. No wonder the exit line was blocked. Hooray for working plumbing, something I no longer take for granted since living in this house! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Father's and Son's Campout

  Our Stake's Father's and Son's campout was the night before I left for Brazil.  Naturally I thought it would be a great idea to start a 2-day journey across two continents with a lousy night of sleep in a cramped tent and two excited little boys.  All kidding aside, it was an absolutely delightful expedition.
 Peter was so excited to go on his first campout.  Before dinner we explored the woods and creeks in the early autumn evening.

 This was dubbed the scary tree and it took a lot of coaxing to get brave Peter to pose for a picture with it.
 Peter is an all-around ham these days.  He's more interested in getting a laugh out of an audience than anything else.
Well we don't have any pictures, but I was able to play mandolin with our official unofficial stake acoustic band at the campfire side.  It's always nice to pick tunes with good friends, though by that time of the night the boys were more interested in heading back to the tent.

The cost was unpleasant international travel and a few exhausted days teaching a class.  The prize was priceless memories with my two beautiful and adventurous sons.  I hope this was the first of many such adventures.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011


I feel like as a Mom, I can only do so much to educate my children. At least that's how it's been with Benjamin. I've taught him a lot, but he's generally only motivated to learn when the right incentives are involved- that's been the case with reading and math. But it's always been hard for me to figure out how to encourage his creativity, which I find odd since I'm an artist. So I've never pushed it. I figure he should at least gain an appreciation for the arts, which I think he has started to.
So now that he's forced to draw in kindergarten, I've finally gotten to see what's been stored away in his little mind, and it's been SO fun! I just had to share a few since I'm not sure if or how I'll hold on to many of the hard copies. I don't think he'll ever be creating great masterpieces, but any progress is good progress in my mind!
TWO lightsabers. General Grievous is fighting "some guy."
THREE Tron cycles. And three pumpkins (maybe to appease the confused teacher who didn't understand the maze of trailing lines?)
More Tron cycles. Notice how they're getting a little more refined! :)  
First attempts at writing sentences.
He got the hair color right for everyone. :)
He did this one at home all on his own: "I was in space."