Monday, July 27, 2009

Mammy in the mountains...

We went on an impromptu trip into the mountains today. It was sunny and hot, we were heading to the park and I felt the mountains calling. The shady trails and cool, cool water. So, we drove up and found a spot and settled in. My mama was a bit frantic some of the time, as most Mammy's would be I think with two toddlers so close to rushing water. I don't blame her one bit. But she enjoyed being there, as did we all, even with one of Sammy epic melt downs when we had to leave. "Moooouuuntains!!!!! Rooooocks!!!!!! WHAAAAAA!!!More Mountains! Moooooore Rocks!!! WHAAAAAAA!!!!!"
It's funny, I remember when they were younger and Shari and I would always be pointing their little heads towards the mountains saying, "Do you see the mountains? " Their little world view just couldn't yet comprehend that those hikes we went on equaled those big hills in the distance. Anyway, in the last few months they have fully awakened to the reality of the mountains and all of the fun that goes on there in those hills. So, now they are forever saying, "Go mountains? Go mountains! Daddy, mountains(they think he is always there:)? " I love that they are mountain lovers. Today when we drove up and parked, Sam said, "God made mountains. God made trees." Oh, bless your little precious heart Sammers, yes He did. And my aren't they wonderful. Especially when you are there with your Mammy who is wearing a polka dotted dress. Oh how we are going to miss you mama.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer livin'

So, I'm ready to hear your favorite things to do with little ones during these hot, summer months. I need some fresh ideas for whenever my mama leaves next week and I am certain to hit a wall!
Amelia will demonstrate for you a few of our favorites:
Inside activities:
Stringing beads. Amelia has just started being able to do this on her own. I bought these at a garage sale and now realize they have really small holes compared to other toddler/ pre-school stringing beads. Poor Amelia, I should really get her some more age appropriate ones!

Making cards. Here she is coloring and putting stickers on a card for her baby cousin, Isaac. She likes working with stickers. They drive Sam CRAZY.

Her beloved peg board. This has been a favorite quiet time activity of hers for a very long time. Love it.

A big, magnetic wipe off board with magnets and markers is always a fan favorite.

We also enjoy running around the house and screaming when we "get you!", reading books, listening to music and dancin, and watching an afternoon "show" . Well, Sam is into watching shows. Amelia lasts about five minutes usually. Which makes me happy. And sometimes sad.

Outside Activities:
Riding tricycles until mama deems it too hot outside and we go inside (Yes, I know, it's time for bigger trikes.)

Eating lots of juicy fruit. Apples, nectarines, blueberries, and strawberries have been the summer faves. Especially blueberries. Anyone have some favorite ways to use blueberries? I smashed them up and mixed them with plain yogurt and honey to make popcycles and they were pretty yummy.

Going on morning outings to the gardens, to our music and art classes in the park, etc. before the heat really hits.

Other of their favorite activities not pictured are: Swimming in the baby pool ( no need to suggest taking them to a swimming pool--I am so not ready to do that on my own), playing at park play grounds ( they love it, I'm still not a big fan), playing in wide open spaces, taking a walk in the cool morning/evening air.
Happy hot,hot summertime days to you and I really would love to hear your ideas! Jen

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To Sam and Amelia:

So, your Dadoo and I are on a little weekend getaway to the mountains again. You are home with your Mammy, happy as clams I am sure. We have had such a lovely time driving through the mountains, reading books both serious and silly, eating at little local burger joints and little "country stores" clearly aimed towards yuppies on vacation. He and I , we have lots to talk about. We talk about you two and all of your little quirks and your strengths and weaknesses and how we can help you grow and feel loved. We talk about God and all that He is teaching us and ways He is growing us and how we want you to know Him. We talk about dreams and plans and friendships and family. I wanted to write down a few things that we have talked about when talking about you guys, a little update of sorts on your 27 month old selves:


Sammy: You are talking more and more and one of our favorite things to hear you say is "Flit flots?" when looking for your shoes:) You are very intentional with your words and don't babble on and on like someone else that we know:) I love to hear you say "Whats. This.?" Or "What. Is. It.?" You also say "No like it" when eating something disagreeable which is really cute. For the most part,though, you are such a fabulous eater and sleeper still.
Your favorite foods are probably applesauce, plain yogurt, "Cereal and milk!"and sweet potato fries but you'll eat mostly anything we put in front of you, especially if it has "dip" with it. Can I just say again how thankful I am that you love to sleep and have an amazing ability to sleep through all of Amelia's shenanigins during the night?
As far as temperment goes, you have had a good stretch of happiness these past few months. Not nearly as many fall on the ground and start banging your head on the floor tantrums, which is nice for us all. I think this is coming from being able to communicate more, just getting a bit older, and your mama becoming more confident in the area of discipline.
You still share with people in a way that just makes me want to kiss your cheeks a million times. You are becoming more and more protective of Amelia. You have always wanted to make sure she has whatever you have been given, but now if you see someone you aren't familiar with holding her you let it be known that they should really put. her. down.
You still are so observant and love to flop down on the grass and look up at the sky for a while. You also love to go on long walks pushing your little push toy. You are very serious about the whole thing, pointing out lots of "messes" along the way and bees, and tall trees, and dogs and diggers and planes and "bike cycles". You carefully remove any stick or obstaclel in your way and then get right back to pushing. As you can imagine, these walks take a very long time but you never grow weary. Being outside is still your greatest desire--digging in the garden, chasing Willow, picking leaves off the bushes, finding snails and letting them crawl all over you, swinging at the park and flying down the slides, locating planes far off in the sky and looking for birds and owls and "Animals in there?" little nature boy.
Anyone who will chase you around the house for long periods of time will win your heart immediately. You will sit and listen to your daddy read from the "God book" for surprising lengths of time. Your attention span always amazes us. You like to watch "Kipper dog", "Little Bear", and "Letter show and Counting show" (sesame street) dvds. You know your ABCs, identify all of the letters, and can count to 20!! You also love to listen to music and know lots of words to the songs we sing at music class and at home. In other words, Sammers, we think you are brilliant:)
Seriously, though, we love you with all of our hearts and are so thankful to be your mama and daddy. We can't wait to see how God shapes your thoughtful, obedient, loving little heart.

Oh my. What a little character you are! You are our ongoing commentary through out the day, just babbeling constantly with a few intelligable words thrown in the mix. You always greet us, even in the middle of the night, with your signature cheerful, "A Hiyeeeee!" You are still quite the little mama and like to nurse you babies and animals frequently. You are very into naming every one's anatomy, which can be a bit awkward but we have decided that with your love for anatomy and babies, maybe you will make a fabulous midwife someday:) You play and play with your little animals and the barn that your Grandpa made you. Mostly, you make the animals talk to each other, saying things like, "A hiyeee! Cute! what happened? " and lots of other things we can't understand. You are just about the most joyful person I have ever been around, with lots of deep laughs and chuckles and free spirited revelry. The flip side to your free little spirit is that obedience just isn't your cup of tea, you have no desire to sleep, and if you are quiet for more than 2 minutes someone usually starts sprinting around the house looking to see what you have gotten into. But boy do make us laugh:)
You aren't really into sitting down and eating, but do enjoy sweet potato fries, "cereal and milk!" ,"special treats", fruit and carrots and peanut butter and honey sandwiches and oatmeal.
You love all things tiny. Tiny babies, tiny animals, tiny food, even tiny poo poo that you see in Sam's diaper. "Ohhhh, tiny poo pooooooo. Sooo cute!! Touch it?" I don't make these things up, I just report them. Like your "sister" as you call him, outside is the place to be. Lately splashing around in your baby pool au natural is the favorite activity of the day, but you also still love a good bug hunt, picking and smelling flowers, pushing around your stroller and collecting things in it, digging in the garden, and swinging at the park.
You are so affectionate and still love to be held, take a ride in the sling and give lots of hugs and squeezes and pats on the back.

We love you, you precious, wild little girl and know that you will bring joy to the lives of many!


All for now. Have to straighten up this wonderful cabin and head home. Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend! Jen

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yesterday mom and I took the babes to the park and had the most wonderful afternoon. We took some of my favorite pictures EVER of Sam and Amelia, and here they are...sniff,sniff.
View this montage created at One True Media
Summer days

Enjoy! Jen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Same Kind of Different as Me"...

If you haven't read this book, go read it now. Seriously. Go get it. It's a short read but one that won't leave you for a long time. One that will incorporate itself into your soul and change you. I have read so many books like this lately, I can hardly believe it. This has been the spring and summer of soul reading. To name a few, "There is no me without you", "Mountains beyond Mountains", "All Over But the Shoutin'" oh man.

What does this picture have to do with reading soul books? Well, this picture was taken at about 1 am. I was finishing "Same Kind of Different than Me" and literally sobbing as I read it. (Yes, Joel and Amelia can both sleep with the light on and apparently sleep through me sobbing my eyes out.) Anyway, I just kept staring over at them and my heart was almost bursting with love. You know, those times when you hear a story about the kind of growth and beauty that can come from heart ache and sorrow-- and you know that your life will probably see some of that pain and sorrow too someday (if it already hasn't) and you are thankful for the knowledge that God is in the business of returning beauty for ashes but you are also thankful for the peace and joy that is your life right that very minute? Yep, that's how I was feeling. So, I got up and found the camera and took a picture.

All for now,

Now, go get the book. Then tell me what you think about it:) Oh, and have a box of kleenex handy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ceeelebrate good times, come on!

I had a wonderful 29th birthday on Saturday....29! I'm looking so forward to my thirties, I think me and my thirties will mix really well, but I'm going to try and enjoy every day of this 29th year! Joelie and my mama are both wonderful at making birthdays extra special and so a great day was had by all.

Here the babes are waiting for dadoo to come back from the store with my balloons.

Here he comes, looking oh so serious about his balloon mission! He knows his wifey MUST have balloons at any celebration:)

Here come the babes to deliver them to their sleepy mama:)

Sammy is tellin a story about something...

A big birthday hug:)

After this, mom and I went on a yard sale bonanza. I bet we went to at least ten sales and found some great, great deals and had so much fun!!!! Then I came home to more treats! Cards in the mail from sweet family and friends, this fabulous picture drawn by our artist in residence (Evan), a yummy fruit boquet from Bub and Robin (mmmmm, I've always wanted one of those), and then dinner out with the fam.

I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of mom, boo! Anyway, thank you facebookers for all of your birthday wishes and for everyone who made it such a wonderful day! Jen

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Life as usual, just better.

Everytime my mama comes to visit everyone asks," So, are you guys doing anything special?" and the answer is usually something to the effect of, "Just living life with the babes." We carry on with our routines and adventures, but it's just sweeter with her here. And easier, I might add. And more fun. With lots more giggles. It's pretty much wonderful.

We still go to the park, but I don't have to sprint between the swing (Amelia) and the too slick slide (Sam). Have I mentioned that playgrounds make me tick? I am usually not a nervous mama, but playgrounds with two two year olds make me crazy, unless they are an appropriate toddler size. But, look at Amelia's face as she swings. So, we go.

We still go to the park with friends. This was lunch today after art in the park. It was such a fun morning! The city gives out free brown bag lunches every day to all kids under 18. So we got three bags for the littles and had a fun picnic.

We still go to the fun, fun farm and ooh and ahh over all of the animals. "Oooooh, so cute!" as Amelia would say:)

We still go to music class and ring bells and bang on drums and sing lots of songs.

We do all of the things we normally do when their Mammy isn't here, it's just that the norm becomes more special whenever she's around. Anyone who has ever been around her knows that is true.

All for now, Jen

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Oh, my little guy...

At 27 months old, our little Sam got his first hair cut yesterday! Mom started it by cutting his bangs in the morning so that the hair would be out of his eyes. Then, as he ate dinner she started snipping a little more in the back. By the time she had finished we were laughing so hard we couldn't see straight. We just couldn't decide if it looked like a cute little surfer cut or a feathery 80's rock band cut. So, off to Great Clips we went:) Sammy did perfectly, happy as a clam sucking on a "special treat" as she evened everything up. As you can see in the last picture, it isn't super short but it's still a big change! I love that it's out of his eyes and a bit cooler for summer, but boy did I love those long locks:)

Thanks for your encouragement on my last post girls, it really did help! I even thought of you guys during class today, thinking, "Keep going Jen, they're all rooting for you!" The 2nd class was a little less humiliating, though only because I was sitting in the back row this time! I still don't understand why I am the ONLY one in the class whose legs seem to give out every time I try to stand up on the bicycle. I asked the instructor afterwards if I was doing something wrong or if I am really just super weak! She said that it will take time to build up my muscles and to learn how to rely on my core and not just my legs when standing up. Ah well, at least I'm burning calories while I work on getting better. Onwards we go!

Hope you guys have a wonderful 4th! Jen

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I'm so dizzy, my head is spinnin'...

So, I went to my first spin class today. I could sum it up in one word--humiliation--or I could tell you the whole story. I think the whole story is funnier and so I'll tell ya.

Background. I haven't worked out in ages. I have recently returned to the gym but my work outs were such that they usually allowed me to be reading a book while on the bicycle, tread mill, etc. So, I decided to amp it up a notch and try a class. Spinning sounded fun. Music, a guy inspiring you up front, no crazy coordination skills needed...sounds good. So I signed up and got there this morning at 9:15 ready to go. Ahem.

I was the last one to arrive in the room and there was only on bicycle left--very front row, very center bike! I noticed quickly that I was a fish out of water. First of all, I had no water bottle and no little towel and no spandex. Also, everyone was buzzing. Talking and talking and talking. I still don't know what that was about. Anyway, I told the instructor that this was my first class and that my seat felt too high. I felt like a dork saying that but I didn't need any more handicaps and had no idea how to fix it! So, he did. Then we started. It was going along fine until he kept saying, "Okay, stand it up!" and everyone would stand up on their bicycles and keep riding. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! After about 2 minutes of this, my legs were literally giving out and I had to sit down. I was the only one in this jam packed room that was having to sit down! I kept trying to stand back up and wham, my legs would just quit! I knew I was not doing well when the instructor got off his bike and walked between the bikes encouraging everyone. He would clap in people's faces and say things like, "PUSH IT!" "GEAR DOWN! (I still don't have the slightest ideas how to work that gear knob)" "PUSH IT PUSH IT PUSH IT!!!" When he got to me, though, he would just pat my back and say," Doin' good" in a voice that relayed I was doing anything but good. I was just surviving.

My new goal was just to make it to the end. I gave my feeble attempts to do the sprints, but I didn't even try to stand up again. Who were these robots around me? These ultra thin blondes with sculpted abs and leg muscles? I almost threw up several times and so I guess that's something to be thankful for. I didn't throw up nor did I fall off the bicycle. Two good things. That's about all I can say. The 80 year old guy next two me? No problemo. He sailed through the class and then he grabbed his yoga mat and headed off with about half of the class to yoga next door. Seriously? Then I saw about five of the super thin blondes on TREADMILLS after the class. What?! Then, I saw the rest of the gang picking up their kids from kidsclub. They are mamas too?! Don't they ever hide in the pantry and eat cookies while their little one has a tantrum in their bedroom? I mean, I don't, but I've heard of that happening.

Ah well, a little humiliation is probably good every once in a while. It makes me want to do better in the physical discipline department. It was a bit of a wake up call. Once I got the babes back in the car and sat there for a second in shock, and then reminding myself that my value as a person doesn't just come from how good I look in work out clothes or if I can stand up on a stationary bicycle and spin my heart out while U2 belts out, "It's a beautiful daaaaay!" I am more than that, thank the Lord. But I do want to be strong enough to do it and so, believe it or not, I am signed up again for Friday. Partly because Joel gets sooooo proud of me when I do things like that that don't come naturally. I am a sucker for trying to make people proud. Must be the middle child in me:) But mostly, because I know my body needs to be kicked into gear, and there's nothing like being stuck in a room full of motivated, strong, abnormally fit people to make ya do it.

All for now. My mamas here!!! Jen