Sunday, June 28, 2009

Able hands...

I could title the times that Jim and Shari stay with us, "Able Hands". It is what they have. Jim can fix just about anything that needs fixing, and he does. He goes beyond that though, and he creates. This time he created the most wonderful barn for Sam and Amelia's beloved animals. I had been drooling over some barns online for the longest time and Jim looked at them one time with me and said that he could combine them to make the one I, I mean the babes:), really wanted. So, he did. Isn't it lovely? Years of imaginative play to come, and what better gift is there than that? He also finished assembling a rocking boat/ walking bridge that Joelie had started. It is so much fun to see the babes practice their balancing skills! Again, years of play ahead!

Meanwhile, Shari uses her able hands inside the home. She cooks and she washes and she folds and she gets things cleaner than I ever will (of course, she does use clorox--hee, hee I couldn't resist Shar:).
They both inspire me each time we are with them to use my hands to serve others. It's a beautiful gift and we are so thankful for it. Jen

Saturday, June 27, 2009

These are the days...

No really, they are. No matter how frustrating or flighty (ahem, Amelia) or OCD ( little Sam), or whiney they can be-- they are just so adorable and funny and curious and unique and affectionate. Oh, little ones, how we love you!
June was such a mellow, rainy month. Adventures to the park, gardens, or back yard in the mornings, naps while it rained, snuggles and a show while we waited for the rain to stop and then outside to splash in puddles as we walked our daily walk around the neighborhood.
This is how they sit during most bath adorable!
Amelia will go to great lengths to watch buggies! I walked outside and found her wedged in this pile of sticks. She looked up at me and said, "Ants!"
Sammy at the Red Butte Children's that place.
Amelia and Vera after "Art in the Park" class. Whew, art in the park with two two year olds by yourself is not something I'd try to tackle again! Thankfully, my mama will be here for the rest of the classes--yay! Honestly, I just love the part where the babes get to make a big mess with glue and such and it's not in our house:)
More exploration at the gardens, what a handsome little guy:) ...

Anyway, we are loving summer and we are loving having two year olds. I mean, it's exhausting but there is just something so wonderful about this age. I guess it's seeing them grow into children and leave their babyness behind. It's such a gift to be able to watch and experience that first hand, that the (mostly emotional) exhaustion is well worth it at the end of the day. Hope you are all well and are enjoying your days,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hearts overflowing...

I think I can speak for Joel and I both when I say that our hearts are overflowing after our weekend in the mountains together. It was such a rich, full, restful time. We talked, and talked, and talked, and talked (and, believe it or not,not much of the talking was about our precious little ones!) and read and read and snuggled under flannel sheets in the crisp mountain air. We took long drives and discussed our books and dreamed and planned and laughed. Oh man. Good times. I am so thankful for it all. For the friend that offered for us to use their cabin, for grandparents who nurtured and loved our babes, for uninteruppted time with Joel to give us clarity on so many things and just time to rest. Thankful, thankful, thankful.

Oh, and happy happy fathers day to my sweet man and my sweet dad!!!!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The three amigos...

Sam, Amelia, and Vera. They have been friends since their very beginning. Before, really, as Anne and I would walk together in the park with our pregnant bellies. So many of my memories of the babes first months have Anne and Vera in them, and that's so nice--to share those first months and now years of motherhood with a good, true friend. Oh, sniff sniff--I don't know why I am getting so sentimental! Anyway, they saw each other at their first Art in the Park class today and their reunion was so adorable--hugs and squeals all around and Shari said Vera even gave Sammy a big smack on the lips:) They had fun creating catepillers--well, Vera did, Sam and Amelia were a little grumpy. Then, there was much puddle splashing, running around and playing in the fountain, and then plane and car rides. Such a wonderful summer morning and so fun to share it with Jim and Shari too. Yay for the comfort of friends and family!

Then it was home for naps and then a long, long walk with grandma with pauses to collect treasures and throw rocks into puddles. Then out to the garage to watch grandpa work on some WONDERFUL creations (just wait till you see them--this mama is so excited for some toys coming our way!) and then off to bed.

All of the grown ups (minus Evan--thanks for staying with the babes again friend!) went and had a wonderful dinner out to celebrate Jim and Shari's anniversary and Shari's birthday.

Fun times for all,

P.S. Funny happenings that I don't want to forget:

1. At music class we were playing ring around the rosey. Sam kept leaning away from me and looking across the circle towards a little girl who has been in the class with us for 8 weeks now. I said, "Sam do you want to hold Julia's hand?" He walked right over, grabbed this little girl's hand and gave her the dreamiest look before we started the next round. All the mamas in the circle just cracked up!

2. Jim and I were driving the babes to the museum and we were laughing about something. About thirty seconds after we stopped laughing Amelia busted out from the back seat with, "What's so funny?" Another first.

3. We are loving hearing Melia say, "Bless you" after people's sneeze. Tonight in their nursery I sneezed and she said, "Bless you , mama" and I almost ate her up it was so adorable.

4. Today I was telling Amelia to stop pushing off of the picnic table with her legs b/c I didn't want her to fall backwards. After a few times of not obeying she looked at me and said, "Sorry teacher." ?!?!?!?!

More to come, I'm sure!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grandparents are here, grandparents are here! It has been so much fun having Jim and Shari here. There have been late night giggles, trips to the park and the Children's Museum and music class, many walks around the block, book reading, craft making, card playing, friend visiting. It is such a treat to have company during our days and the babes are just so happy to be surrounded by their beloved ganma and ganpa. Amelia loves it so much that she climbed out of her bed, walked downstairs and climbed in bed with them at 4:45 this morning!!! Door knob locks are now firmly in place....oh my.

Joel and I are heading to a cabin in the mountains on Friday to spend a night or two. Alone. I am so excited/anxious. It will be our first night away from the babes since they came home from the NICU so I'm feeling both happy and sad!

Anyway, better run for now. Hope you are all doing well, Jen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our little orderly guy discovered today how fun it is to line up his cars, one perfectly placed behind the other. I was reading to Amelia and looked up to see him diligently walking back and forth to his basket of cars to line them up one by one. He was very proud of his work and I was so happy to get a picture of what I am sure will be a favorite activity from here on out:)

His free-spirited sister had no concept of his careful work and soon was knocking them right out of line. Amazingly, he didn't freak out and played a bit with her before starting his line-up once again.

All for tonight,

P.S. His big pot-belly in these pics came from his eating an enormous amount of yogurt and applesauce just a few minutes prior to this! His favorite food by far.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I reached into my bedside table tonight to grab my camera and upload some pictures for you. Maybe tell a few stories to go along with them. I was amazed to find that there were no pictures ready to be uploaded! Me? Not take pictures in days? How can that possibly be? Well , here are a few word pictures for you of things I don't want to forget and then some video as it is really hard for me to post without having some kind of images to go along with my words!

* Today we took a long walk around the "neighborhood" with Amelia pushing her little stroller and Sam pushing a push toy thing. Anyway, while Amelia dotes on her baby dolls and bathes/rocks/nurses/cuddles them, she does not put them in the stroller. She uses the stroller to collect things on our walks. Today by the end of the stroll she had collected 4 snails, 2 squished box elder (?) bugs, various dried fruit that had fallen from trees, and about 5 rocks. Sam participated in the collecting:) We finished the walk by letting them splash in puddles until I managed to coax them inside to take a bubble bath. Anyway, I just love when I make myself slow down and let them explore at their speed. It is s l o o o o o o o w , but wonderful.

* I wish I had pictures of them giving good-bye hugs to their bud Vera yesterday. They are all growing up so much and it is bittersweet to see them all change. How thankful I am for friends, big and small!

* I wish you could have seen Sam watch a bulldozer working at the park a couple of days ago. He looked so adorable standing there holding an armful of sticks he had collected, eyes wide as the digger worked really close to him. Once again, I forced myself to s l o w down and let him watch until his little heart was content. We then moved on to riding the 1950's little rides they have at the park for kiddos. Sam rode on the cars and the planes and he had this little tiny smile on his face the whole time. He was trying so hard not to smile (he hardly ever does this but it was really cute) but you could tell he was SO happy. The first time he rode on the cars (a few weeks ago) his mouth literally hung open in amazement for the entire length of two rides. I was laughing so hard I cried. Amelia spent most of the rides alternating between smiling really big and saying, "Off. Hurt. Off. Hurt."

* I'm actually glad I don't have a picture of the scene today before naps. Two toddlers in the car in hysterics. At home trying to get them in the house and remain calm while they simultaneously melted down. It was crazy. I did not remain calm. I think I have already kind of blocked it out from my memory but I do remember praying afterward that God would draw me closer to Him and away from the situation in those moments so that I will be more gentle and less toddlerish myself! It reminded me of how I felt when the babes used to have fussy hour together in the evenings and nothing seemed to help. Only now they are bigger. And louder.

* Mmmmmm. Joel made a yummy dinner tonight. Turkey tenderloin, salad, corn, mashed potatoes. I know that was a random thing to write but I can see the dishes from here, waiting to be done and so I better go.

Here is the first video. Why oh why is it so hard to get the boy to sing his ABC's on video? Here are the little sillies:)

Here is our little letter lover again in action...

Lots of fun with boxes...

More soon, Jen

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Garage Sale gold mine...

So, this morning I headed out to the Avenues to go to a few garage sales. I was looking for Sammy some summer clothes and and a few other things. Anyway, I stopped at the first one I saw and soon my eyes beheld a lady unpacking cloth diapers onto a table. I zoomed over as quickly as I could with out knocking any other shoppers over and asked how much she was asking. I was trying to stay calm and level headed. You don't often find a table full of cloth diapers at a garage sale!! She was selling some used All in Ones for a dollar a peice (!) so I bought five and loitered for a really long time deciding whether to buy more. I called my cloth diapering pal Anne and she met me there and I bought five more and went home. JOel was like, "Jenny, go get some more. Even if they don't fit the babes now you can sell them or let others use them or just save them for the next babe. You chronically under buy and then regret it." So, back up to the Avenues I went. I was so nervous that they would all be gone that I called my friend Jennifer to talk to me on the way. I got there and saw that all of the ladies were packing up. There were no diapers left on the table. Upon calmly asking if there were any left she said that they were packed in boxes on the ground and that I could go look at them. She was flustered, in a hurry, ready to go. I quickly inventoried the boxes, asked Jennifer if I should offer the measly $40 I had for all of the diapers remaining and she said to give it a try. So I did. And it worked.

Here, my friends, is my cloth diaper jack pot: $50 total for all of this wonderfulness. The Kissaluvs alone are worth more than that. Hurray!!!!

All for now,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I went to take them dinner. He had had surgery on his hands and I thought it would be nice for his wife to take a night off from cooking and they could just relax. I had no idea if he understood my phone call telling him that I wanted to bring them food at 4:00 today. "Okay, okay, thank you, thank you my daughter," had been his reply. When I walked in their door bearing my "gifts" they laughed and looked at their dinner table shyly. Oh boy. Maybe he thought I said I would be there at four to eat lots of their food?! Khoula loves to cook and she pulled out all the stops. Cooked onions, tomatoes and eggplant stuffed with a yummy rice mixture, homemade yogurt, watermelon, and the ever present Fanta. The table was set for our whole family but it was just me (Joel was at work and the babes were with Evan at home finishing their nap.) So, though I was not at all hungry and had told Evan I would just drop the food off and be on my way, I found myself sitting down and eating. And eating. And eating. Then I helped them learn the meaning of the word "favorite" and then the English teacher in me kicked in and somehow I found myself in their living room drinking tea and delighting in simple conversation and their excitement of learning how to make comparisons (You are older than me. That chair is bigger than this one, etc. etc.). They would smile and clap and write it down when they understood. I left an hour and a half later with my arms full of food (the rice yumminess, some kind of pastry she made, some yogurt, and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins) as well as a necklace made of wooden beads that she had made while living in Iraq and a pink shawl from Jordan.

Oh how often it is that when we go to give, we leave with our arms and hearts so full,

Monday, June 01, 2009


A pizza picnic on the front lawn today after a long walk to the post office (more muslin blankets on the way to Isaac, Shanny!), to Bed Bath and Beyond (a shaker to put my baking soda in for cleaning counters, etc) then to Whole foods for milk, yogurt, raisins and pizza! How much do I love doing all of my errands on foot? A lot. A lot a lot a lot.

Ready to go. Look at those roses! Oh how I wish my grandma could see them. I think of her every time I look at them.

Joel taking the babes to get a treat and eat it at the park yesterday. Mmm mmm.

Amelia searching for buggies in the mountains. We had family church there yesterday:)

Evan and Sammers taking it all in.

New blocks! I have been waiting and waiting to find these unit blocks on sale and finally Amazon came through--yay!

Memorial Day with the McKinneys. The babies adore Eli who is just a month younger than them and cute as a button.

These summer days are flying by. Spending so much time outdoors just makes the hours speed up! Vocabulary is speeding up around here too(did you like that segue?). We were driving the other day and the TRAX train was beside us and Amelia said, "Hi train. What you doing?" Love hearing more and more of their little thoughts coming out. Better run as it's nap time and there is an ENORMOUS pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded:) Jen