Friday, March 24, 2017

Reeisms, Vol. 2

This girlie continues to say the funniest things, pretty much on a daily basis.  I manage to remember a few of them, at least!

{Photos taken a few weeks ago, all dressed up for our little friend Maeve's first birthday party, wearing a vintage Polly Flinders dress that was a gift from a friend when Nell was little.}

This soon-to-be-three-year-old has personality in spades, and keeps us on our toes... and keeps us laughing as well!

Some of her words are still mispronounced, and are of course making their way into our family lexicon in their altered states, so that I hear Nathan asking her at bedtime, "Do you want to wear your fwabiddy jammies?"

Strawberries are fwabiddies, blueberries are boobiddies, and most of her L's are still Y's and R's are still W's.  When she wants something to eat sometimes she asks for "A yittle bit but not a yot."  I'm also fond of hearing her sing "Mary had a yittle yamb."

"Little," is often her adjective of choice, and usually used in multiples, so it's "I hurt my yittle yittle yittle foot," or "Daddy is your yittle yittle yittle yittle mouth feeling better?"

Her other substitute sound is F, so that when she has an itch it's "My ear is fassy!" (scratchy), back in December our Christmas tree was the "Fismas Fee," her toy train tracks are "fain facks," and the trash truck gets greeted each week with excited shrieks of, "The fash $#%* is here!  The fash @!*$ is here!  I'm going to wave at the %&*$!" Naturally, we find this particular word of hers to be a combination of humorous and potentially embarrassing at any given time.

She calls a water fountain a "water mountain," and my metronome she refers to as a "nick nock," which of course is exactly the sound it makes.

And for some reason, for several months she constantly sang her own version of "Polly put the kettle on," the second part of which went, "Stinky doodle off again, stinky doodle off again..."  We have no idea why, but in the meantime I took to calling her "Stinky Doodle" from time to time, a nickname she quite enjoyed.

At Christmas time, she was given a candy cane, which I temporarily permanently confiscated, since sweets abound at holidays and I try to be selective about what the kids have.  Ree went to Nathan and said, "Daddy, my Mommy took my candy cane.  Can you get it from my Mommy and bring it to me so I can eat it all up?"  Nathan thought that was pretty funny; no doubt the first of many times she'll wonder if she can get a different answer from a different parent.

While snuggling in bed with her at bedtime Ree whispered to me lovingly:
"My Mommy is cozy, my Mommy is cozy..."

* * *

In her sleep when Nathan went to move her slightly:
"No, no, I have a meena (banana); I don't need help!"

* * *

Barging into the bathroom while I was taking a bath, smiling at me out of the corner of her eye:
"Can I touch your body?"

* * *

Talking on a wooden block she pretends is her phone:
"Oh hi!  No, I don't want any of that; that is poop.  Poop!"

* * *

In some kind of minor trouble:

Apparently unimpressed by all the construction projects Nathan has had going on around the house:
"Daddy is ruinin' this whole house.  This is a nice house but Daddy is ruinin' it!   Is he going to ruin this part too?  Is he going to ruin over here?  And over there?"

* * *

When she was sick one day, right after I took her temperature:
Me, to Nell: "Poor Marie has a fever this morning."
Ree, pointing: "It's wight here, under my yittle armpit.  See it?"

* * *

On a windy, bitterly cold day, she yelled right at the wind in frustration:

("You bad!" has been her insult of choice lately, occasionally used on a parent or on her big sister, the latter of whom takes it quite personally, poor girl.)

* * *

Hearing a lot of birds chirping loudly up in a tree one morning at the Audubon sanctuary:
"Those birds!  They havin' a party up there!"

* * *

Some sisterly negotiations I overheard:
Nell: "Can I have a turn Marie?"
Ree: "In forty five years."

{pretending to be a mouse with little whiskers}
After falling down on the living room rug one day:
"I just hurt my... my... everything on my body... but... it's ok!"

* * *

Nathan: "Marie, can I have a snuggle?"
Ree: "Yeah.  One snuggle, and then one kiss, and then... ALL DONE."

* * *

Trying to play Go Fish with both girls one morning:
Me: "Will you let me help you, Ree?"
Ree: "No! I want to help YOU!"

* * *

In the kitchen one evening as I'm cooking dinner, trying to tide a fussy kid over for the last few minutes until we eat:
Me: "Hey Ree, can you see if this noodle is ready?"
Ree (looking curiously at spaghetti noodle in her hand): "Are you weady, noodle?"
(Looking up at me): "Yes, it's weady."
(Eats noodle happily)

During my pregnancy:

Listening to music:
"I hope the baby is dancing in your tummy!  I hope she is doing that!"

* * *

One morning while I was still in my PJ's:
"Oh Mama I yove your dress and I yove your pants and I yove your slippers!"
{The "dress" was a maternity pajama shirt, but I'll take a compliment wherever I can get it, I suppose!}

* * *

"Mommy, your belly button isn't, isn't, isn't... isn't really a nice round circle anymore."
{Admittedly this was quite true at nine months pregnant!}

After being epically inconsolably for a while at bedtime one night, then suddenly calming down:
Ree: "Mommy?"
Me: "Yes?"
Ree: "I am happy."
Me: "What makes you happy?"
Ree: "My Mama and my Daddy and my yip bom (lip balm)."

* * *

At bedtime the night after Daylight Saving:
"But... why is it really so morning?!"

Completely inexplicable:
"Yook Mama, my owie yooks yike an eensy weensy 'pider!"

* * *

When Nathan took out his drill for a house project, and clearly Ree had become accustomed (albeit usually with fear and wailing) to much louder power tools:
"Oh Daddy! (Pleasantly surprised) Daddy that is not too soundy!"

And managing to be at the same time among the funniest and the worst things she's ever said, when the girls and I were on a plane after visiting my family in California in February, Ree was outraged when the woman in front of her reclined her seat, causing Ree's tray to move slightly as well.  She unbuckled herself in the blink of an eye, stood up on her seat to her full impressive two-and-a-half-year-old height, and yelled, "NO MA'AM DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!"

And while I wanted to disappear under my own seat in utter humiliation, it did occur to me to at least be glad there were no trucks (*&$%!) involved in the situation.


We love this crazy girl.

Margaret Elizabeth

She's here!

Our third daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, arrived at 1:58 am on Friday, March 10.  She weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz, and was 19.5 inches long at birth.

Like both her sisters before her, she was born with a head of dark hair, beautiful delicate features, and oh-so-kissable cheeks.

She is adored by her parents and big sisters alike.

... and admiring Aunts and Uncles, too!

My heart is so full, and I'm so grateful that I get to have a newborn all over again.

In some ways it is harder to fit in the snuggle time and enjoy all the sweetness with a third child, when life is already so busy.

But in another way it is almost all the more sweet and poignant, because with each moment where my cheek is pressed up against hers, or each deep breath I take to breathe in her delicious aroma, I'm loving our little Molly but also enjoying the wash of memories of a baby Nell and a baby Ree not so very long ago.

We are all doing well, attributed in no small part to the fact that Nathan, for the first time for any of our three babies, has paternity leave this time around.  I am so grateful for his presence at home as we adjust to life as a family of five, and I know the big girls are relishing some extra time with him.

Time is flying by all too quickly... this little lady is two weeks old already!

Life is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Looking Back: Advent in Our Home

Advent and Christmas have long since come and gone, but I didn't want to let some of the memories go unrecorded here in our corner of the internet.  If nothing else, I'll probably enjoy looking back on this next December and remembering some of the things we did -- so that we can make sure to do the successful ones again!

We set up our Advent calendar, and as in previous years, I put a paper slip inside each little door with the day's special activity written on it.  The girls eagerly anticipated opening each door and seeing what we would do that day in our observance of Advent and preparations for Christmas.

Beside the Advent calendar, I set up our nativity scene, which remained mostly empty in the early weeks of Advent, save for a few animals.  But I set a bowl of straw beside it, and when I noticed either girl doing something particularly kind or sacrificial for someone else, they would get to go choose a piece of straw and put it into the manger scene to prepare a soft bed for the baby Jesus.  

One simple craft that we did that ended up being very fun and successful was our star garland.  The perfect craft for preschool ages, this one spanned several days as we first painted sheets of paper with Christmas colors (a perfect activity for both Nell and Ree), later traced star shapes onto the papers (I did this) and then cut them out (Nell did this; she enjoys cutting and is getting quite precise with scissors), and finally punched holes in the stars and used a blunt needle to thread them all onto gold twine (Nell did this as well).  

After wanting to do one for a couple of years, I finally got started on our own family Jesse tree this year, making my own ornaments out of felt.  I tried to stay a day or two ahead of our daily readings so I'd have the ornaments ready to hang.  I wish I could say I finished all of them, but I did manage to make a pretty good start and get about half of them made.  Next year I'm hoping to finish and have a complete set that we can use year after year!  I was mostly pleased with how they all came out.

{Except perhaps for the fact that when I finished the one for Moses and the Ten Commandments, Nathan took a look and said, "This probably isn't a good time to tell you that all ten of the commandments were inscribed on each tablet as that was the way a covenant worked..."  Well, whoops!  I should have asked his advice ahead of time!}

We celebrated St. Nicholas Day with oranges and chocolate coins in the girls' shoes, along with choosing some generous activities of our own for the day -- I always think St. Nicholas Day is a good day in Advent to take donations to a charity or food bank, or to give the kids additional chores to earn money for a Samaritan's Purse gift, or something of that nature.

We were all too pleased to find that the purple dresses from Aunt Emily last year still fit (albeit with slightly shorter sleeves and hem lengths, to be sure!), and were again the perfect dresses for Advent attire on more than one occasion.

We walked downtown for the town Christmas tree lighting, which ended up being way less fun for me than I might have anticipated as Nathan had to work late, I was running behind getting the girls ready and loaded into the stroller, and I ended up jogging a mile in non-running shoes in cold temperatures while quite pregnant to try to make it for the initial tree lighting.  Nonetheless, the girls loved seeing it, and on the walk back home, we stopped into a downtown bakery for gingerbread men!

What's December without some snow?  We had a few light snowfalls, and enjoyed playing in even the smallest dustings of snow.

As always, plenty of our special Advent activities involved music -- this is not only {hopefully} enjoyable for the kids, but also pretty much unavoidable since both of their parents are professional musicians kept quite busy with work during December.  A highlight of the season for us is always the service of Lessons and Carols Nathan puts on at the church where he is music director.  The whole family was there: Nathan conducting, myself playing in the orchestra, Ree in the nursery... and Nell was able to sit beside Nathan this year and have a front row seat to see and hear everything!  

St. Lucia Day makes for the perfect evening to drive around and see Christmas lights, which we like to do with the girls in pajamas.  I only have this one picture, and not a good one at that, but Ree's eyes were full of wonder at the arguably garish display of lights on one particular street in our neighborhood.

Another December activity that's become a favorite of mine is making gingerbread pancakes on at least one morning in December.  We use the Martha Stewart recipe online, and they are so delicious I'm tempted to make them year round!  It's nice to have two eager little helpers in the kitchen with me.

December is such a very busy time for both Nathan and myself, and I continue to struggle with staying on top of work obligations while also creating a meaningful season for my children and attempting to keep our home not only reasonably tidy but hopefully beautiful and cozy as well.  We did manage to get most of our decorations up, although this year the outdoor lights and porch garlands didn't happen, and neither did our usual stair garland.  But the girls did enjoy putting up our outdoor Christmas village scene atop the organ.

And we got a tree up, too, of course!  The girls scampered around eagerly while Daddy put the lights up, and then they got to help hang ornaments.

Each year I finish the task by myself after the girls are in bed, hanging the highest ornaments and putting on the finishing touches -- often while enjoying a glass of wine.  I'll admit that this year I felt inexplicably stressed and discontented, saying to Nathan, "It's just not bringing me joy!"  Nonetheless, it was objectively beautiful and we did enjoy it.  I have to work to suppress a bit of cynicism (or perhaps it's the realistic despair of an overwhelmed and tired mother?) in me that whispers, "You're just going to have to put all these decorations and ornaments away again in a month or so..."  Sigh.  Christmas is a lot of work.

I tried to get a few nice pictures, and had even hoped to manage Christmas cards, but that never quite materialized.

I was, however, tempted to just use this charming photo for Christmas cards: real life at our house sometimes, to be sure!

We pulled off our annual Christmas party and really enjoyed the time with friends, which included carol singing, instrument playing, lots of food and general merriment.

Possibly one of my favorite humorous December memories was the evening of the party, as Nathan put an image of a crackling yule log on our TV via YouTube.  The girls then proceeded to watch it with such fascination!  Nell declared to Marie, "Ree, this is a movie about a fire!"  And Ree responded, "Yeah!  I yove it!"

Finally, we spent the last few days before Christmas finishing up some handmade gifts, which included lotions and lip balms, and some hand-stitched Christmas trees Nell did with yarn and burlap which we framed for family and a few friends.

Then it was Christmas Eve!  I took the girls to church while Nathan was working all day at his own church services, Nell sang "Ding Dong Merrily on High" in the little cherubim choir, and I hurried back home to tuck tired girls in bed and make cardamom bread and other foods for Christmas feasting.

In all, looking back, it was a good Advent, I think.  In reality, while I was living it, I felt overwhelmed by the chaos of my home, frustrated that I couldn't keep the house cleaner or get more done, tired and overly busy, and as I always do that time of year, a little sad that Nathan works more in December and it's harder to find time to do things all together as a family.

But then, in the midst of my frustration, I'd hear Nell saying "Purple is for preparation...!" and I'd be grateful for the reminder from my four year old that Advent is not and never will be about already being ready enough.  Thank goodness for that.

{Maybe I'll share some photos of our Christmas season here next, despite the fact that it's already February!}