Monday, October 24, 2016


Now that this little two-year-old is running around talking so much, I think she's ready for a spotlight of her own when it comes to recording the things she says.  Maybe not so much with the funny, full, complex sentences yet, but still plenty of sweet things to remember.

And actually, it's amazing that she's jumped from piecing together two or three words at the beginning of the summer to the full sentences she uses now.  She didn't talk as much earlier on as Nell did, but now it seems as if she was just biding her time until she felt like she had the whole language thing figured out.

She hates going to sleep at night {and staying asleep is a concept foreign to her, it would seem... yes, we are losing our minds slightly, thank you for asking}, hates the Big Bad Wolf and other frightening fairy tale characters, and will often leave simple carbs behind on her plate in favor of gobbling up brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, grapes, strawberries, or clementines.  {And she can eat five or six clementines in one sitting for a snack!}

She loves spinning and dancing around, whether indoors or out, and is quite fond of "doing bayey" (ballet) in the living room along with her big sister.

{photos from back in late August}

Over the summer she said "nummies" when she wanted food, and coughed with a particular sort of desperation anytime she wanted water.  (Dramatic?  Yes.)  There was something particularly cute about seeing her walk around the house wearing my "fip fops" on her feet, a grin always on her face.  And sometimes when I would ask her to do something, she'd look at me impishly and declare, "No obey!"  And when she was impressed by something big, her attempt at saying "Big big big," her eyes always wide, would be "buh buh buh!!!"

Her language skills have grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple of months, though, and now she will utter sentences like, "Mommy, I hungee!  I want food!  I want water!  Can I have a snack please?"

She loves dressing herself in anything and everything available (nothing is off limits, not even dirty laundry!), but shows a particular affinity for shoes.

She loves joining Nell and me on the couch for a good book, some nursery rhymes, or best of all, a songbook, but is sometimes apt to decide to "read" or sing it all by herself, turning to me with her finger on her lips and saying, "No, no, shhh shhh Mama.  Mine!"  To her credit, she's has a good repertoire of songs, with a few favorites of mine being "Oh my dahin Tementine" and "Tendew fwephew, tendew fwephew, yet me hep you count youw sheep..."

When she saw me enjoying the treat of a root beer float one summer afternoon:
"Mommy!  Ice cream soup!"

She refers to all bugs as "bumblebees," and is usually terrified of them.

Roosters are "cockadoos," and monkeys are still "hoohoohahas," even though she's perfectly capable of saying rooster and monkey at this point.  She is particularly excited by cows, but says "moo" anytime she sees a picture of a horse, too.

Ree counts to ten with great enthusiasm, will proudly tell anyone who asks that she is "Two!" -- and has asked me several times if we can name the new baby "Two."  She talks with great excitement about the "new baby! new baby!" Only time will tell if she remains as enthusiastic when life turns upside-down come mid-March.

If you ask her when the new baby will be born, she'll usually reply, "Ummm, in twenty minutes."

We had a slightly traumatic encounter with heavy machinery unexpectedly clearing trees near our house one morning in preparation for a new development going in behind us (sigh), and Ree brings this up every couple of days, quivering a bit, a frightened look on her face: "Big big digger!  I scared!  A big big digger!  Cut down frees!"  Then she rallies, smiles, and reassures herself, "All done cut da free!"  And life goes on.  But if you ask her what she's scared of, diggers and bumblebees will probably top the list.  Although at bedtime she's been known to mention sharks and whales as fearsome creatures likely to be lurking in the shadows, as well.

During a brief bout with a stomach bug, after what was probably the first puking episode she remembers having, she looked at me with surprise and declared, "My tummy was coughing!"

A few of my absolute favorites of her words:
"Yook!" (Look!  Uttered approximately five hundred times a day, of course.)
"Otay!" (Okay!)
"I weddy!" (I'm ready!)
"A yibidit more?" ({Can I have} a little bit more?)
"Pea-unts" (Peanuts)
"Heyyo!" (Hello!)

Her L's are mostly Y's, but while she'll shout "Heyyo!" to her little friend "Yucy," Lucy's sister is, inexplicably, "Lili," with both L's clearly pronounced, which I find fascinating.

And to finish up with a bit of evidence of her ever-expanding language abilities...

When I put on a flannel shirt one morning:
"Oh Mommy!  Peedy! (pretty) I like your dess (dress) so much Mommy!"
{I guess I keep the standards low around here...?}

While I was helping Nell with one of her Bible verses for AWANA:
Nell: "Can you say it too, Mawie?"
Ree: "No.  I'm just a little baby.  A teeny tiny baby."

Barging in one morning for that oh-so-necessary hello while I was showering:
"Mommy!" (Eyes wide, clearly impressed.)  "Wow!  You have a big big bum!"
{Two things one can apparently not have as a mother of young children: privacy, and self esteem!}

As I was putting on my black heels -- a clear sign that I was going to play a concert:
"No Mama!  Don't go! Tay here!  Why are you wearing concert shoes?  Tay here!"

Walking up to me while I was making dinner:
"I just need a hug wight now."

Screaming inconsolably in the middle of the night:
Me: "Ree, can you tell me what's wrong?"
Ree: "I just yove you and I just want you and I just need you."

Aww.  What a sweetie.  Still, I'd prefer if she'd sleep at night and give me loving affirmations during the daylight hours.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's a ...

It's been a busy and fun Fall for us so far, but Friday was a particularly exciting day.

It was the long-awaited ultrasound to see the newest member of our family, expected to arrive in mid-March!

My sister-in-law Hannah had a fun idea to do a little gender reveal family dinner night, so the ultrasound technician slipped the pertinent info into a sealed envelope, which we gave to Hannah.  

I had mostly been thinking how fun and exciting this would be for our girls - Nell talked very excitedly about cutting the cake and seeing what color frosting was inside for days leading up to the event.  I didn't fully anticipate how exciting the day would feel for me, though!  By about 4:00 in the afternoon, I was going crazy to think that Hannah knew and I didn't!

Finally dinner time arrived, and we headed over to Hannah and Andrew's house.  

Over pizza, salad, and wine, we discussed our predictions and guesses.

Nell made a sudden change from Team Pink to Team Blue... and was so excited about the pink and blue balloons I had bought that she couldn't stand still:

Ree continued to say "girl," whenever asked:

Then we were finally ready to cut the cake!

Nell helped me hold the knife and cut a slice.

There it was ... definitely pink icing!

Hannah gave me the card that had been inside the envelope.

We are all really excited at the prospect of having a gang of girls on our hands come March!

Nathan declared, "Good!  I am pleased!  I don't like change!"

Thank you, Hannah and Andrew, for planning such a fun and celebratory evening with us!  

I can now say that with each of our babies, we've done things slightly differently.  With Nell, we waited until she was born to find out that she was a girl.  With Ree, we found out right at the 20 week ultrasound.  And this time, we let Hannah know first and plan a fun evening for us!  I think each way has been fun and special, but there was something so wonderful about having a whole evening to celebrate this baby; when you're still feeling queasy about half the time at 19 weeks pregnant, sometimes you just need a mid-pregnancy pick-me-up.   This was just perfect!

We are so excited to meet our third daughter in March.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day of Home Preschool

Despite the fact that I tend to believe in the "better late than early" approach to academics for young children, I have a four-year-old who is dying to "do school" like some of her little friends who are in preschool these days.  So, today was our first day of home preschool!

We started the day off with a brand new book for the occasion:

During the course of the morning, we read several books, made bread, used perler beads, and worked on learning to play the game of Mancala.  She wanted to do more, more, more, and is eager to keep working on her handwriting, and asks me reading-related questions all day long.

I asked Nell a few questions in the days leading up to beginning preschool with her, and enjoyed hearing {and recording} her answers.

Q: What do you think people learn in school?
A: Reading.  Doing flips.  Doing all sorts of things.  Painting toenails yourself.  Learn how to not be naughty.  Learn how to drive a car.  Learn how to take care of plants.  Getting a new wheel for your car if you have a flat wheel.  Learn to crack eggs!

Q: What do you most want to learn in preschool?
A: Learning flips.  Doing ballerina things.  Ballet.  I want to go to a ballet dance class like Sadie and Nora do.  I want to learn like the number twenty and eight and forty all sorts of numbers.  Art, like painting leaves like we did today.  Gluing and cutting things.  And read books like about Nancy who lost her memory.  And learn to read by myself.  I don't know how to draw a dump truck; do you think you could teach me that?

Q: What are your favorite things to do?
A: Everything.  I love to go to my swimming lesson.  Play my violin.  Dance.  Play outside.  Read books.   Play!

So many things about our home environment are already things I consider valuable "preschool activities" -- like our morning basket time, the many books we read, the violin practice we do, folk songs and hymns we sing, cooking and baking, outdoor play, art, and small chores about the house.  But this eager girlie wants "preschool," and the usual daily activities are not quite enough to convince her... so I'm off to keep working on my list of new things to do in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

a morning at the beach at low tide

This morning was a perfect morning for a beach trip, and we got to enjoy a spectacular low tide.

A little girl on a big beach... magical.

There were hermit crabs and snails in tide pools everywhere.  Ree was fascinated, but I had to save a few snails from her curious probing fingers and thumbs.

Small green and pink pails were quickly filled with treasures, including plenty of water so the little creatures could survive their experience in the hands of a two-year-old and a four-year-old.

Nell made sand castles and surrounded them with carefully selected stones.

Ree did some sand sculpting of her own, totally engrossed -- that little tongue!

My sister-in-law joined us for the morning and the girls couldn't have been more pleased with her company.  They were both particularly fond of scattering sand all over her towel and clambering into her lap uninvited!

It was a good morning, complete with lunch on the beach while some sea gulls circled us menacingly.

And oh, the treasures that made their way home with us in those pink and green pails.  Shells, a few sea gull feathers, and many, many rocks.  Nell is very fond of rocks.

As we arrived home and she walked inside with rocks in hand, I commented, "You love rocks so much; maybe you'll be a geologist when you grow up!"  Her face fell, her lower lip quivered, and she replied, "No!  I'm going to be a princess!"

And on that note, this worn out beach bum transferred to her crib without a peep...

...And the future princess settled down to "just read books" and immediately dropped off to sleep.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nellisms, vol. 7

Oh man, some of these quotes are from a while ago.  Like maybe a year ago.  I jotted them down in notes on my iPhone and they've lain there neglected for too long!

Photos have similarly been neglected on my hard drive for a couple of months now.  It was a cool day in late spring, and Nell was wearing a dress my mother made for me when I was her age.  Naturally, I pulled out the camera -- in spite of the fact that she had just spilled water down the front of it, as you can see in some of the pictures!

Here are a few gems from a year ago, when we were traveling by plane to California and I attempted to buy good behavior through the bribe of Trader Joe's lollipops:

Sarah: "Shhh, please be quiet on the airplane!"
Nell: "But it's callin' to me and I'm callin' back to it!"

And, after licking for a little while and making no apparent progress:
"How do you get a lollipop into your tummy?"

* * *

and a great quote, at age three, shortly before that flight to California, and clearly not yet understanding the principles of travel by air:

Nell: "I want to take my toy briefcase to see Grandma and Grandpa!  Oh, wait.  I can't take my briefcase because if I'm holding it then I won't be able to fly."
Sarah: "Well, you don't have to fly, silly goose.  The airplane flies and you get to sit in a seat on it."
Nell: "I know, but I have to fly to get up in the sky and get on the airplane!"

And then I explained the purpose of airports.  And asked her if she had ever flown before, wondering how it was possible she thought a hand with a briefcase in it would be her greatest impediment.

While I was trying to close the door and have a moment of privacy to use the bathroom:
Nell: "Okay, Mama, I'm just going to go in the yiying woom [living room]."
Sarah: "Great."
Nell (popping her head back around the corner): "Okay, I'm just gonna go get my phone."
Sarah: "Good, okay."
Nell (back again to clarify): "My PRETEND phone."
Sarah: "Yep."
Nell: "Okay I'm back!"
Sarah: "When am I going to get some privacy around here?!"
Nell: "You won't!  Because we're kids!"

{Quite insightful for a girl of, at the time, three!}

* * *

Sarah: "Can I have a snuggle?"
Nell: "Not right now."
Sarah: "Ok.  But I love your snuggles!"
Nell: "Oh, ok then.  Maybe we can snuggle for three days.  Or maybe seven.  Okay?"

* * *

Looking over my shoulder while I read a recipe on my phone, pretending to understand what she saw:
Nell: "Whoah that is intesdin.  That is weally weally intesdin."

* * *

Playing with a shape-sorting toy cube:
Sarah: "That's called a trapezoid.  Can you say that word?"
Nell: "No I can't.  I'm too big for that."

And now for a few more recent quotes!

* * *

Holding a block up to her ear like a phone:
"Oh hiiiii pretend doctor.  My baby is just crying all night.  What should I do?"

* * *

Driving down the highway:
"Maybe someday we should just get me a teeny tiny little motorcycle."

* * *

Trying to say 'girl':
"How can I say guwul instead of guwul?  How can I say it?  I'm so little.  Can we talk about it?"

* * *

Sarah: "What would you want to do if you had a million dollars?   Is there anything you'd want to buy?"
Nell: "Some juice.  I'm thirsty."

* * *

Pondering deep thoughts:
"I wonder what it feels like to be born?"

* * *

Playing out a grim scenario with a small toy figure and bus:
"Oh sorry guy you're gone forever!  Crush crunch crushed by the bus!"

* * *

"Can I brush my eyebrows with a toothbrush?"

* * *

Overheard narrating as a playmobil girl:
"Please may I have some fingers?  I don't have any.  Please may I have a lot of fingers?"

When my foot was broken back in March:
"But how can it be broken?  It still looks like one foot!"

"I'm so glad that I get to help you when your foot is hurt.  I just love helping you!"

* * *

At tea/snack time, matter-of-factly:
"After my tea and apple I'm gonna get mawwied and have a baby."

* * *

After our friends the Hansons had a new baby named Maeve:
"I want a new baby sister!  Her name is gonna be Baby Maeve Mike Mulligan."

* * *

An apparent product of the patriarchy:
Sarah: "Okay, so the lady who teaches your nature class is named Mrs. Dunfee.  Can you say that?"
Nell: "No, no, I can't say that.  I can only say Mister."

* * *

And further revealing of her understanding of gender roles:
Sarah (absentmindedly to myself early one morning, after being out late the previous night at an orchestra rehearsal): "Why didn't Daddy clean up the kitchen last night?"
Nell (because she hears everything, which I should have known!): "Because he is not a helper.  And also he is not a girl."

{After that I told Nathan he should be sure to sometimes do dishes when the girls were awake to see as well as helping around the house after they are in bed at night!  And we did have a good laugh about her little statement!}

"Sometimes when I do my little smile and then I turn it into a really big smile, then I can't find the first one again."

* * *

Wobbling her head around from side to side:
"I'm being a wild wild wild girl!"

* * *

Admiring the rose gold watch Nathan got me for our anniversary back in December:
"I just loooove your shiny watch.  I must have one when I get bigger!  I just must!"

* * *

Sarah: "Are you going to finish your salad for dinner?"
Nell: "Well my tummy is weally full."
Sarah: "Is it too full to have one of the cookies we made, too?"
Nell: "Weeeeell the lettuce will scoot back so the cookie will have room."

* * *

Singing to herself outside: 
"Oh it's so lovely, it's a beautiful day!  Oh it's so lovely, it's a beautiful day!"

Sunday, June 19, 2016

the best polaroid in the world

Sitting on my desk is the best polaroid in the world.  A little me, hair in braids, a romper with ties at the shoulders, arms flung around my Dad's neck.  

Yesterday I called home to talk to my parents, and my Mom wasn't home.  This meant that Dad, who usually hands the phone over to Mom immediately as "the more qualified parent" (his impression of things, not mine!) was the only one home, and subsequently we talked on the phone for almost an hour.

I shared my worries about money, about the fact that I over-fertilized our lawn through my ineptitude and thus have probably killed it, about a certain daughter's tantrum I wasn't sure I had responded to correctly.  He listened, as he always has, never too quick to dole out excessive amounts of advice, but always ready with empathy and reassurances that things tends to work out well enough in the end.  And when he does offer advice, it's always good.

{I wrote this about my Dad three years ago, all of which is as true today as it was then!}

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad a girl could have.

~ ~ ~

And Happy Father's Day to the best Dad my own two girls could have, too.  He managed to come home from work a little earlier than usual today so he could play music with the girls, share a pizza dinner with us, and even pose for a picture with minimal complaining.

Marie learned to say "Happy Daddy Day" for the occasion.

Where would the world be without good fathers?

Happy Daddy Day, indeed.