Monday, January 27, 2014

Ten Months

 Lydia is ten months old, and continues to grow at lightning speed. She's pulling herself up on everywhere, cruising along walls, and getting into everything.
Nora is the best at getting Lydia to smile or laugh. It is so much fun to watch these two play and giggle together. Nora can even be a little rough with her at times, but Lydia is largely unfazed. It's clear that she idolizes her older sister.
Lydia has three teeth now, greatly lessening the prospect that we'll make it a whole year with nursing. Her nights have been getting pretty bad lately too, and I've wondered if it might have something to do with the tiny pearl stud earring she ripped off my ear last week and swallowed. I'm not sure if it's still in her, but I also haven't been willing to pay the price to know for sure. So gross...
Her first (and only) word that she frequently communicates to us is "hot," which she does by saying "tah-tah-tah" and bouncing her hand up and down. She waves and claps and loves to shake anything that makes a noise. She's mellow and silly and completely wonderful. We sure love her!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

All Over the Place

 I haven't really felt like I have anything noteworthy to blog about for a while. But I do think that writing about even the mundane is important. January has just been a long month. It usually is, but this one has really thrown me off. I feel like I've had a million things up in the air waiting to drop, and I'm just trying my best to juggle it all. Paul has been sort of restless at work too, which I guess doesn't help.
But we've been motivating each other, and getting projects done. We finally painted our half-finished hallway, which has been in that sad state for...two years. Kind of pathetic, but it felt SO good to finally check that of our list. We also got started on building the bookshelves that will go along one of the walls in our bedroom. I'm so excited to get our bedroom in a more finished place. In reality, it functions as our family room, a.k.a. dumping ground. Since there's no way around that, at least in this current house we're living in, I'm trying to find solutions to make it at least a pretty and restful family room. :) We'll see if that can be achieved.
Preschool this month has been going. We did stuff when we felt up to it, and didn't when we weren't. Peter and Nora wrote this book together one day. I typed, they narrated and illustrated (let's just ignore the state of Nora's hair, ok?).
 Peter was really proud of his finished book and already has plans for volume 2. It was a great project.
 Peter continues to love swimming and gymnastics. He has moved up to the higher classes, separate from Nora, but they still go at the same time. He would prefer to just do swimming, but he's a good sport about going to both.
 Nora is really gaining a lot of confidence and focus from her swimming and gymnastics classes. Her teachers have noticed her increased ability to listen and follow directions, and it's been fun to watch.
 The weather has been crazy volatile. We've had mostly cold days with a few really mild ones sprinkled in. We've used up all our snow days (including the spring one) so from here on out, we'll be making up days in the summer. Benjamin was home for Martin Luther King day, then he had the next day after that off for snow. We did a little school work all together while Benjamin was home with us, and it was surprisingly easy. Part of the day was spent determining the differences between each of their eyes...can you guess who's who?
 I love how they're all blue, but the color and shade varies slightly between each of them.
We also happened to see Sid the Science Kid while at the Magic House this week. That was a fun exhibit, and we'll definitely be going back soon.
It's been a good month. We do have fun things to look back on and great things that we've accomplished. I guess it's sometimes harder to see that until you write it down.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Talking about the Weather

I feel like my winter post must have been heard, because by some tender mercy the temperatures here jumped up 95 degrees since last week. That's right. There was a NINETY-FIVE degree difference (real feel) between last week and this. No wonder our pipes burst!
It's kind of an interesting thing watching your kids grow and getting to know them in the process. I feel like I'm understanding Nora better and better all the time. She really, really does not like to be cooped up. She has been so moody and lethargic these past few weeks, but as soon as she could go outside to play, it was like a light switched.
 She must get it from me...
 Peter on the other hand could stay home all day long, inside, by himself if I let him. 
It's actually a wonder that these two get along as well as they do! They really have bonded, having all this time together to play.
I love watching these two sisters grow closer as their relative age gap decreases.
They are seriously the cuddliest little girls, that is when Lydia isn't pulling Nora's hair.
 Lydia learned how to clap the other day, and now she does it all the time. It's adorable.
Something that was not so adorable was the bird that found its way into our house a few days ago...probably through that fresh hole in the drywall downstairs. The plumber did say it smelled like something was nesting, and now we know why. We've got to get that hole fixed!

Thursday, January 09, 2014


I finally broke down and got a smart phone. I suppose I'm a big subscriber to the principle that you should "fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without," and I've resisted moving on into the current decade because what I had worked just fine for my needs. I think it was mostly driving me crazy having to text with the old keypad, and having to print out directions anytime I wanted to go somewhere relatively unfamiliar. I've had it a week now, and it's been nice. And it's especially great having a decent camera ready wherever I go.
As Winter Break began winding to a close, winter came to St. Louis in full force. We woke up Sunday morning to a steady snowfall, with temperatures dropping to about -40 with windchill. The amount of snow might not have been that big of a deal, but there was absolutely no melting happening, and the roads were a nightmare. Nora was the most disappointed at not being able to go to church, as this was to be her first day in primary. She has been waiting for this day since she was barely three, and had gotten herself ready to go before anyone was even up.
 Instead we had home church, and I gave in to my baking bug (I assume it's a hibernating, fattening up, survival instinct?) :). I'd never made a puff pastry from scratch before, but I was pretty proud of how it turned out. We had a beef stew pot pie for dinner...
 ...and baked brie. Not the prettiest, but yum.
 And we made pumpkin pie for dessert, because why not?
 School was cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, extending our break to a total of eighteen days. It was so cold though, that the kids really didn't get to play in the snow much at all. They'd go out for maybe fifteen minutes, then come right in wanting a hot bath. Lots of wet things, lots of mess, for not a lot of play.
 Here's an idea of how deep it really was. Maybe a foot.
 Meanwhile, Lydia grew three teeth when nobody was looking. What is happening to my baby?!
 On Wednesday Benjamin finally got back to school, even though our road was still completely covered in snow. We pulled him out early to get to his doctor's appointment that day. He's going to need tubes put in again, which we'll get in a few weeks. His hearing has been awful, making me feel like an awful mom for having to raise my voice all the time when I'm talking to him. It will be so nice to have that fixed, for him most of all!
 When we got back from the ear specialist, there was a sound a lot like running water coming from the back wall. I knew exactly what it was, since we hadn't had cold water in our kitchen sink for days, and the temperature had finally gotten near 32. Our pipes had burst. I frantically picked up all the stuff off the wet basement floor, and tried to shut off the water to the house but I honestly had no idea where to look. Finally, a plumber showed up, shut it off, and several hundred dollars later, we have functional, hole-free pipes. I'm mostly sick about that hole in the drywall and the potential mold behind it...I'm a little too familiar with where all this is headed.
I'm trying really hard to just embrace St. Louis and all its seasons. I'm trying really hard to just accept winter for what it is, but this particular one isn't making that ideal so easy! Happy thoughts...happy thoughts...Spring will come...

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Highlights from 2013

 Benjamin learned how too ride a two wheeler for the first time! It was evident that we needed to upgrade to something a little bigger.

 Paul started a new hobby with a new guitar.
 And I worked on one of my hobbies, finishing up a commissioned painting.

 Lydia Jane was born! My Mom came to stay with us, making the transition to four kids much easier!

 Mostly we adjusted as a family. The boys joined Paul for "Take your Kids to Work Day."

Peter finished his last day of Montessori preschool, when the school was finally closed for good. It was a sad day for all of us!
Benjamin finished first grade.

 Paul's parents came out for Lydia's blessing, and got to participate in all the excitement of a tornado.
 The kids finished swimming lessons- for Nora, it was her first time!

 We took a trip out to Utah...
...and had lots of great times with both our families.

 We gathered all of my siblings minus one in Yellowstone for a reunion.
And Benjamin started second grade.

 Peter and Nora started at a new preschool.
 And Peter learned how to ride the two-wheeler.
 We took another trip with some of Paul's family- this time to Nauvoo.

Not feeling content with our new preschool, we pulled out and started our own preschool - at home.
 I turned 30. Nora smashed her finger that day and threw a party at the emergency room.

 We drove out to Viriginia to visit two of Paul's brothers...
 ...and to celebrate Thanksgiving with some of my family.

 My tiny baby got huge and learned how to pull herself up in her crib. Nights have never been the same since...
Winter came a little earlier than usual, and the kids made their first real snowman all on their own. 

It has been a truly blessed year. It is amazing to look back and see how much the kids have grown, how many miles we've traveled, and how many good memories we've made. I sure love this life and the people I get to share it with!