Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick 5

It's hard to believe it's the end of September already, mostly because the temperature around here spiked up and has stayed in the upper 80s for the past week.  But it's true.

1.  My biggest and best accomplishment this week has been completing the Names Project.  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and that very week found letters on sale at Hobby Lobby for $1.50 each.  Putting up your children's names is pretty popular these days, and I've always wanted to do it.  I finally made it happen and I love how it turned out.  I am really proud of myself for seeing an idea I liked and carrying out to completion.  And as an added bonus, it took Alaina all of one day to finally learn to confidently spell her own name.

2.  My grandparents came into town last week, and we were able to spend some time with them on Saturday.  Always fun to see them; Alaina talks about "GGma and GGpa" often.  Asking if they have white hair, and things like that.

3.  Alaina has discovered knock-knock jokes.  The problem is I can never think of any.  So we have three that we say over and over and over...  Alaina likes to start by either telling me that she'll say "knock knock," or instructing me to say "knock knock" so she can say "who's there." 

4.  Yesterday we went to Lee's work and had a picnic lunch.  He's been saying for months that we should do it, and it's always been a good idea, but I just didn't make it happen until this week.  He's been talking about how nice the grounds are, and they truly are.  The thing is, I always thought he was talking about eating in the courtyard by his building.  It's a very nice courtyard, with a waterfall and shady walk way.  But he meant the pond, which is right next to his building.  It's a very cool park, with a "castle" that had a picnic table right inside.  Makes me wish we had gone there more often through the summer. 
Daddy and Alaina
Eating inside the "castle"
The "castle"...I think it's actually a really old building of some sort.  Very cool.
Daddy and Alaina looking at the creek
How Joya looked for most of the picnic.  She has been SO CRABBY lately.
If Alaina is running around outside, then she probably has a stick in her hand.
Alaina posing with the statue.  There are several statues around this cool park.
 5.  I guess there's no getting around talking about this.  Perhaps the biggest thing in our lives right now is the fact that we've again decided to take steps toward buying a house.  We were hoping to get out of school debt before taking on mortgage debt, but we can't ignore how low the rates are right now.  They won't stay that way forever.  So we're diving into that world.  This week we had a meeting with a mortgage counselor and are now just waiting to be approved.  It is both very exciting and fills me with anxiety at the same time.  I hope it turns out well.

That's a wrap.  See you next week!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quick 5

What glorious, end-of-September weather we're having!  It's amazing how much nicer the weather is when you're not 38 weeks pregnant...

1.  Alaina is starting to grasp the meaning of choices.  She'll be playing with a toy or coloring a picture and she'll bring it to us and ask, "Is this cool or awesome?"  Or when we're eating strawberries, "Is it yummy or tasty?"  I believe the next phase will be teaching her exactly what a synonym is.

2.  I'd like to give a big THANKS to Aunt Mindy for teaching Alaina about the naked dance.  While we were in Missouri, Aunt Mindy helped Alaina get on her swim suit one day.  Apparently as soon as Alaina was completely disrobed, she did a little dance.  Aunt Mindy noticed the naked dance and said something about it.  Now every single time I'm trying to get Alaina dressed, she sings a little song that goes, "Do the do the naked dance!" (to the tune of the Shimmy Shake, for all you Wiggles fans out there.)  She never did that before.  And sometimes it really slows us down.  So thanks, Aunt Mindy.

3.  Joya has been crawling around for quite awhile now.  She has this crazy army/ninja crawl and can move at a surprising speed.  However, the other day I happened to catch her crawling up on all fours.  As soon as she saw me, she dropped back down to her belly.  Like it was a big secret that she knows how to crawl on her hands and knees.  I didn't realize that 11-month-olds had secrets.

4.  We had Part II of the Great Car Saga this week.  It involved crazy, unreliable start ups, a day in the car shop, and a chunk of change flying out the window.  I'm hoping that all the work we've done in the last month will last us at least another two years.  Car troubles give me a tummy ache.

5.  Alaina won the coveted honor of taking home Cubbie Bear this week.  It's the little brown bear mascot for her Awana Cubbies class, and when I asked her why she got to bring it home, she said, "Because I listened!"  How reminiscent of Paddington Bear in they still do that?  Anyway, having Cubbie Bear makes me nervous.  I'm trying to teach Alaina to be kinder to it than she is her other toys because it's borrowed, and I'm assuming going home with someone else next week.  Mostly I won't let her take it into the bathroom with her.  However, she has never really attached herself to any toy, so it's kind of fun to see her so invested in this one.  I hope it won't cause problems when it's time for Cubbie Bear to move on.  I see a lesson in the cycle of friendships in our near future.

The end!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quick 5

Friday again?  Here we go:

1.  What better way to start out a Quick 5 than with this cuteness?

2.  The real excitement of our past week actually took place all last weekend.  On Friday Lee stayed home from work so he could watch the girls while I went to Live Audience Friday.  There is a radio morning show that I've listened to since high school, and they have a live audience in every Friday.  You have to show up at 5:45 (yes, in the morning) armed with treats, and in return you get a catered breakfast and a morning of fun.  You feel like you know the DJs, even though you don't really.  I had such a good time, even though technically I went by myself.  The other audience members were friendly, and the morning sailed by.  Then Friday afternoon we took the girls to my parents' house so we could go to a Rockies game with our good friends Kelvin and Leah.  It was the first time we had done something just the four of us since probably 2006.  (For some reason there are always little girls around.)  Our girls spent the night at Grammy and Grandad's, and Lee and I did a song at a wedding on Saturday morning.  Full weekend, but really really fun all around.

3.  Here is a shocking announcement: we are creatures of habit.  Every afternoon at 3:30, Joya gets a bottle and Alaina gets fruit snacks.  They are simple, cheap Great Value brand, but she likes them.  And I really like the purple ones.  So every day, when I open the package for her, I eat a purple one.  And then she proceeds to give me all the purple ones out of her bag.  It is so sweet that it breaks my heart every time.  She knows I like them, and she wants to share them.  (Especially if it means I don't ask for her yellow ones.)  I always look at her and hope that I am selfless enough to know when someone else has a favorite and that I'll always choose to give it to them, just because they like it.

4.  MOPS started up for us this week.  I'm trying to start a MOPS group at our church, but it's been slow going, so since our target start date is January 2012, I thought we'd just attend the group we went to last semester.  I was so proud of the girls.  Of course Alaina had no problems.  Joya, however, has not been as easy going about nursery situations as her sister.  Even at our church, she clutches my neck and howls when I try to hand her over to the ladies that she really should know by now.  So I was prepared for the same theatrics at MOPS.  Well, she didn't make a peep.  She willingly went to the nice ladies who work in the infant room, and she even took her bottle from them like she's been doing it all her life.  She was just chilling when I went to pick her up.  Of course, only time will tell if it was fluke or a new habit, but I have high hopes.

5.  It's amazing to realize that we are one month away from Joya's first birthday.  I've been starting to gather things for her party, and made an appointment for her one-year check up.  I wouldn't say this past year has flown by, but it hasn't felt long either.  I just know that once they turn one, their babyness quickly melts into toddler-hood.  It feels like we've climbed to the top of a roller coaster and are about to tip over the other side.  I can't even imagine what she's going to be like as a toddler.  She'll start using words, and walking, and taking toys away from her sister rather than just crying when her toys are taken from her, and developing preferences.  I think the real show is about to begin.

Technically this is the last week of summer, so enjoy it!  We'll never see the summer of 2011 again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quick 5

Any doubt that fall weather would actually come this year has been driven away by cold, drizzly rain.  I love it.

1.  Our Labor Day weekend was rather quiet.  On Saturday we went to my parents' house with the intent on spending a day at a pool, but 70 degree temperatures quickly nipped that plan in the bud.  So we went on a picnic instead.  It was kind of a chilly picnic, especially since I didn't dress my girls right, but the sun was out and the fresh air was pleasant.
In the absence of a jacket, the picnic blanket kept Alaina "comfy cozy"
In the absence of a blanket, a nearly-forgotten nursing cover covered up Joya's chubby legs
 2.  Speaking of chilly, the weather this week was wonderful!  Except for the fact that it completely caught me off-guard regarding the girls' wardrobes.  I frantically had to dig out pants and socks.  And then I realized that maybe Alaina's clothes won't work so well for Joya this fall.  Baby sizes are easy, because they get bigger in three-month increments, and you can really fudge the difference between 6 and 9 months, or 9 and 12.  But there seems to be a HUGE difference between 12 months and 18 months.  Which means I need to get a few things for Joya.  I scored a box off of Ebay, and yesterday I went to my favorite second-hand store to get the poor girl some warm jammies.

3.  Speaking of warm jammies, it has been a rough week sleep-wise for Joya.  Part of it is the teething thing, and I think the other part has been that she's just plain cold.  She sleeps in a light-weight sleep sack, but it hasn't been enough.  I try to cover her up with a blanket, but she wriggles around too much, so it usually only stays on her for a grand total of 10 minutes.  And then she wakes up and cries.  When I go in to find her paci, her little arms are so chilly.  I think, until she gets older, I'm simply going to have to dress her in sub-zero weather jammies.  It may seem overkill, but she won't snuggle under the covers like normal people, so the covers need to go where she goes.

4.  Alaina has thoroughly been enjoying Cubbies.  She even got her Jumpers patch this week.  I took a picture of her in her vest and also because it was crazy hair night this week.  The crazy hair didn't really come through in the picture.  And her crazy hair was quite vanilla compared to the really crazy hair that was there.  I'll know better for next year.

5.  I'm sure that this is only because it is the only thing she knows, but the other day I asked Alaina what she wanted to be when she grew up. 
"A mudder," she replied.
Melted my heart. 

Amazing that it has been 10 years since the 9/11 tragedy.  Like most Americans, that day is vividly burned in my memory.  I hope you all take time to pray for those who are still really hurting this weekend.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quick 5

This feels like it has been the week of major FAILS.  Kind of in the "when it rains, it pours" fashion.

1.  FAIL #1 - Dinner on Monday.  I found a recipe online for crock-pot orange chicken.  Chinese style.  I love Chinese food, and rarely get it, so I'm always fascinated by Chinese-style recipes.  And it seemed so simple.  So I did it.  And it was AWFUL.  Gross.  I like to experiment with new recipes, and 80 % of the time they turn out edible but unimpressive, 15% of the time they are amazing, and then there is the 5% of the time that makes you want to rub your tongue with sandpaper.  This fell into the 5%.  I vowed to never again make any form of crock-pot orange chicken.  Then my friend Sara posted a different crock-pot orange chicken recipe on Pinterest, and even with my recent failure in mind, I'm thoroughly tempted to try again...

2.  FAIL #2 - I've slowly been getting rid of boxes that we've been carting around for our entire married life.  They've traveled with us to each of the five places we've lived so far, and we never use what's inside.  So I've been taking a quick peek, then throwing out the entire contents, no matter what it is.  A week or so ago, though, I found an old disposable camera that had 3 pictures left on it.  So I snapped three quick pics of the girls, trekked to Wal-Mart and dropped it off at the photo center.  (Side note: because sending out actual film is so old-school, it takes a full week to get it back these days.  Normal people simply print their pictures right there, so Wal-Mart seems to no longer process film.)   So Tuesday I went and picked up the pictures.  And the quality was terrible.  Mostly unrecognizable, with a few decent ones out of the 27 exposures.  They were from the wedding reception we had in Kansas City back in 2004.  And it cost me $7.00 to get those terrible pictures back.   I thought it was going to be fun to see what was on the camera, but the fact that it cost $7.00 overrode any joy.  Film goes bad, people.

3.  FAIL #3 - Major car fail.  After said Wal-Mart trip, I swung through the gas station to fill up the ol' iron belly.  I completed my transaction, got back in the car, turned the key...and nothing happened.  I checked to make sure I was in park (I was) and tried again.  And again.  And again.  Then called Lee.  Then asked if someone would give me a jump.  A very nice man tried to help, but jumping didn't work.  I then began to freak out a bit and called Lee again.  He had to leave work and call our friend Kelvin to come help us sort it all out.  It ended up involving a not-cheap tow and some work on the car.  It was also one of my greatest fears: being stranded with the girls, without any baby supplies.  I've not been good about making sure the diaper bag is in the car lately.  We run errands every day, but we're always home within an hour, so I've just been lazy.  But it was creeping up on lunchtime and Joya was screaming in the car.  I had just happened to buy some baby snacks at Wal-Mart, so I got the girls out of the car and between the two of them they devoured almost the entire bag as we waited for help to arrive.  So now I will always carry the diaper bag, as well as a bottle and a small container of formula with me, even if I'm making a two-minute trip to the mail box.

4.  The bright side of Fail #3 is that our car insurance covers emergency roadside assistance (the tow), and we have a couple of extra checks coming our way that will cover the repairs.  While I wish we could have used those extra checks for other things, I'm thankful that God knew that we would need that money right now for the unpleasant business of car upkeep.

5.  And brighter still, here are my girls in their rainbow dresses that they wore on Sunday.  How can you not feel more cheerful after looking at this?

Have a pleasant long weekend everyone!