Sunday, August 28, 2016

Everyday Life 8.28.16: happy things

I'm short on time this week, but I am going to take a few minutes and write out some things that are making me happy these days:

Emily's curls, especially after baths.  Beyond adorable.

James and church... he talks about it ("Lillo Bibow Chapow") and he's starting to re-enact services.  I'll hear him in his room: "Good morning, chapel!"  Then he'll jabber a bunch of stuff I can't decipher and pray (usually over the food), and talk some more, and sing some songs.  He gets a red hard-cover book and uses it as a guitar; strumming, singing loudly (not songs that we recognize), and swaying back and forth.  

Cooler weather!  It was in the 60's and rainy on Joe's birthday (Thursday).  It's so refreshing.  The colors are starting to turn already, too.  Even though the days are still warm sometimes you can feeling the difference at night.  

James and his fascination with leaf-blowers, weed-whackers, and mowers.  He'll get a tall piece of grass and leaf-blow with it, or take the broom off the patio and weed-whack the grass behind our condo...complete with sound effects.  

Emily talks!  And she's only 13 months.  I've been trying to work with James on using a happy voice and I've said it so much that sometimes Emily says "'appy voice!  'appy voice!".  She calls James something like Dede or Gigi and she's quite clear on words like Daddy, wow, and no. 

Time in the mountains last week.  We were able to go and spend a day at some friends' property; it was quiet, amazingly beautiful, and so refreshing.  I have many good memories up there from years ago and I didn't think that I would get to go back after they moved, so it was an unexpected and lovely gift.  


Taking the kids to the library.  They love it.  Our library has a lot of fun toys; I can pick up and drop off my books and let them have some fun play time.  Once day we'll do some more reading too.

James and Emily just started playing together in the last week or two.  They'll "chase" each other around the house and laugh together.  I love it and it keeps them occupied so I can do other things (like make dinner).  Below, James gives Emily tastes of his ice cream.


James' mealtime hugs...very sweet if a bit awkward and potentially messy.  He will ask for a hug midway through a meal and lately he sometimes says "Ah wuv 'oo!" as well.  (Emily tries to get in on it by tipping her head as though giving a hug, even though nobody's there...)

Date with Joe in honor of his birthday.  Actually having time to hang out together, just the two of us. His kindness and acceptance are such gifts.    

Preparing for our annual fall trip.  This is partly happy and partly stressful, but getting to travel is a wonderful thing for us.  Can't wait to be by the water. 

And...piano time has become violin time for the next few months.  I will be rejoining CYS for the fall concert set; Mendelssohn 5, Schubert Unfinished, and the Mozart Magic Flute Overture provided some strong motivation.  Playing beautiful music makes me feel's like water for the soul.  I can't wait to be back at it, even though this music is h.a.r.d. and there is a lot of it.  I need to learn some more about focused practice techniques and how to make a little practice time go a long way.  

That's all for this week!  Between travel prep and re-routing my extra time to violin practice, posts may be a bit more rare but I'll try to keep sharing bits of life as I can.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Everyday Life 8.12.14: photos and random thoughts

I don't have a lot of words today (not ones of general interest, anyway...I shall spare you my rant on the lack of good photo software in Windows 10 and my thoughts and concerns on how to prepare for and enjoy a road trip with toddlers) so I'm going to do a random photo post and just write whatever comes to me.  Here goes...


I think the weather is finally starting to cool down.  Last week we had a couple of days cool enough for jeans and a light sweater!  This was taken on a walk at a nearby lake.  Getting outside is soooo important for me.


I'm realizing that there are so many things that I can be teaching him, and he learns so fast; it's actually kind of overwhelming.  We stopped the other day to watch the bees and I told him a little bit about them.  Now it's part of visiting this particular park: stop and watch the bees get their nummies.


Emily adores the fridge.  She's often fussy in the evenings before dinner and wants to be with me right when I'm having to make dinner.  Measuring cups and plastic containers and lids keep her busy for a while, but the fridge is the big attraction.  She's also getting better and better at pulling herself up.


The sprinklers came on while we were walking the other day!  I showed James what to do with them.  So fun.


Little Miss Personality.  She's hilarious.  This morning she was practically falling asleep right before I put her down for a nap but she was still smiling and laughing.  Some evenings we've tried keeping her up to do Bible/singing time with James.  Sometimes it works but sometimes she's just too tired and fussy.  She is so cute in hats.  She does better with cool hats than her older brother did at this age...he wouldn't usually keep them on any longer than it took him to reach up and pull them off.


I love watching them.  They're just starting to get better at playing together and entertaining each other.  James has some rather funny strategies for keeping Emily out of his toys.  If she's getting too close to his stuff he'll say "Emmy need hugs?  Emmy need hugs?"  (The logic seems to be that if I give her hugs she won't be there to mess with his toys).  Earlier today I didn't come and pick her up when she "needed hugs" so he said "Emmy need books!" and got her some to play with.  So precious.  (If we're being honest, there was also the time when James got his head stuck under an upside-down box because Emily climbed up and sat on it.  The box had cutouts in the sides so it was kind of like a tunnel but still...  Poor James.  It was hilarious.)


He built this garage by himself!  My big boy.

Joe is such a great daddy.  It's good for me to see how he loves our kids and wants to give them good gifts.  He's been talking for weeks about getting heavy-duty metal sand toys for James and yesterday he finally tracked some down.  He and James took off after dinner to pick them up.  James is quite happy with his new toys.  So is Joe.  :D

In other news: Joe and I just finished watching Wives and Daughters.  That made for a few enjoyable evenings.  It's a good movie...relaxing enough to not be stressful when you're tired but meaningful enough to be well worth watching.  Besides, the costuming, locations and scenery are just gorgeous.  I love well-made period pieces.   Also, for the record, I am currently reading Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh, Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick, and The Lost Heiress by Roseanna White (re-read).  

All for now!  I just heard Emily and soon it'll be time to get James up.  I'm going to grab some coffee and a bit of ice cream--black walnut divinity is the latest flavor I tried.  I love it, but if you don't like walnuts you certainly wouldn't.  :)


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Everyday Life 8.6.16: the kids these days

Sunday afternoon.  It's been a good week but one with lots of people time, which has led to my feeling more than usually introverted.  I'm happy to be here with a cup of tea and some chocolate walnut biscotti for a bit of writing time.

~ ~ ~

There are so many little things that I don't want to forget about life right now:

 Emily's randomly curly hair that's just getting long enough to reach the bottom of her neck when it's wet.

James' growing love of stories.  The way he loves to read Joe's Bible.  He's quite fond of James Herriot's Treasury for Children (a beautifully illustrated book of animal stories) but he's mostly interested in looking for the cars...hmm.

The way Emily is so incredibly flexible and likes to stick her foot in my face while she's nursing.

James' love for visiting Grandma's house.  I told him we were going to go later in the day and next thing I knew he was pulling out the diaper bag to get ready to go.

Emily's love of animals, particularly dogs.  She barks ("arf! arf!") when she sees one and sometimes she barks just looking outside.  This afternoon we were outside for a minute and the dog upstairs started barking and Emily barked right back...hilarious.  I think we need to work on other animal sounds, though, because last night she barked when she saw a goose.

James' fascination with climbing ladders, thanks to his favorite book (the Little Golden Fire Engine Book).  He climbs a rock wall ladder at the park (by himself!) and likes to climb up the side of his chair, up the side of the rocking chair, up to the changing table via the potty chair and diaper genie...fortunately this passion hasn't translated yet to figuring out how to climb out of his crib.

~ ~ ~

Emily is almost as adept at James now at making what I call the screaming vacuum noise.  I've taken to asking them to please be quiet vacuums...

James is learning to count!  I've heard him get all the way up to 12, possibly 13.

Emily is crawling!  Still not her preferred method of transportation, but she uses it in tall grass and is getting better at it.  She's also pulling herself up and Joe tells me that she climbed up on James' toddler bed today.  Oh dear.

James is finally pacifier-free. (!!!)  Last week we decided that most of his few remaining pacifiers were too damaged to use safely (he was biting through them) and ended up just taking them away.  He did much better than we'd expected but it did complicate bedtimes for a few days...poor little guy.  Lots of snuggles helped.  Now naptime is a little more touchy but bedtimes are better and we're so relieved to not have to grovel on the floor searching for the missing paci in the middle of the night!

~ ~ ~

My "piano time", as James and I call it, is one of my favorite parts of my days.  It's part of our morning routine.  After brekkies, walk, "gate time for Jamesie and nap time for Emmy-Bear", and my shower, I pour a cup of cold brew with milk, let James out of his room, and sit down at the piano for 15-30 minutes.  Scales and arpeggios for warm-ups (I cycle through keys, playing all major and minor scales, major, minor, dominant and diminished arpeggios, and scales in thirds in one key per day) and then I work a bit on my pieces.  It's good to pull out the metronome, work hard on something specific, and feel myself making progress.  James likes it too and recognizes the music I'm working on if I play a recording of it.

~ ~ ~

Tonight we're off to Joe's mum's place for a snacky dinner and some worship time around the piano.  It's been years since we've done that, but it was kind of our signature thing as families: when we got together we would often end the evening around the piano singing our favorite worship songs.  We've missed it.

All for now!  Joe's getting the kids ready so I'd best be off.


some mountain beauty from a few weeks ago