Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dog Days

I am still loving me some summer these days.  I have never ever no not ever been a fan of our unbelievable heat and humidity, but this summer has been particularly fun for me and the girls.  We're still spending lots of time outside with popsicles and water hoses, and I'm spending my afternoons reading really obscene amounts of fiction and occasionally working on a project or two.  We happily enjoy our air conditioning with all kinds of shenanigans. 
 And our garden is producing!  Today we enjoyed our first two cherry tomatoes... no time to take a picture of them, as we were too excited to wait before devouring them... and I had all but given up on my tomato plants.  Perhaps I was spoiled by Early Girl tomatoes in previous years?  It just seemed to take forever this year for our garden to grow!  We also harvested an entire bucket full of hot peppers, and apparently I'll be pickling them, because I had no idea how prolific our pepper crop would be this year.  I have absolutely no sweet banana peppers left because Nora likes to pick them before I even know about them and inhale them.  She ate three the other day before lunch.
I am not at all a critter person, but I'm trying desperately not to discourage critter-love in my children.  They know they'd better not bring a worm nearby, but I'll generally tolerate other critters -- especially if they have legs.  The other day, I saw what I thought was a grasshopper; instead, it was the tiniest lizard I have ever seen.  The girls call all of our lizards "Lizzy", and somehow, Phoebe worked up the nerve to try to catch her. 
I was amazed when she managed to catch her four times!  Phoebe worked up this precious little house for her lizard (which featured lots of flower petals in a small sidewalk chalk box), but the lizard kept plotting escapes.  Phoebe was undaunted, and repeatedly caught that tiny little Lizzy. 

Speaking of critters, the girls were absolutely delighted to learn that they would be meeting some real live horses when we visited some friends in Mississippi.  We had a sweet, sweet time reuniting with these dear friends of ours.  I loved seeing my girls among their children, and we returned home with precious memories of exploding whipped cream, games of Risk played in character, and kids running barefoot for days. 
When we returned home, I found myself a little more relaxed.  So relaxed, in fact, that I just let the girls go nuts when they discovered that I hadn't dumped out the swimming pool from the morning's playtime.  They thought I was totally off my rocker.

Phoebe now thinks that she gets to go playing in the pool while dressed any time she wears her striped dress.  (She doesn't.)  Nora was far more into painting the sidewalk with our dollar store brushes.  And Ruthie got a rockin' diaper while she was out there, bless her little heart.

And since I'm hopped up on last night's Nyquil-residuals, I think I'm going to end this here.  Happy Weekend, y'all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Getaway

June was loooooong for us.  Seriously, I felt like there were something like fifty-two days in June.  By the time we flipped the calendar to July, I was worn out.  I was so unbelievably thankful that we had planned to take a little trip with my parents to our Happy Place. My kids had been counting sleeps for days, and I was right there with them -- I could not wait for a three day respite from cooking and cleaning, and it thrilled me to know that I was going to get to spend three days by the pool with the people I love the most.
The trip did not disappoint.  We heard our first, "When will we get there?" on this trip, and the trip up was particularly fussy for our little Roo, but from the moment we got into the car, I had this miraculous, unexplained peace.
My mind had been racing for weeks, and I had been struggling to find mental rest.  I was anxious over the littlest things.  Yet amazingly, the Lord provided a beautiful rest for my mind on this trip.  For literally the entire time I was away (well, with the exception of the fifteen minutes where my husband and dad took the girls to do fireworks on hotel property) I was totally at rest.  It was a precious, gracious gift from the Lord.
The whole trip was a treat.  We spent three days in our swimsuits.  The big girls went down the waterslide something like thirty times apiece.  I marveled at the simple play that my children love.  We ran through fountains and tossed water balloons.  I devoured a fluffy fiction on the balcony. We made friends at the playground. We shot off illicit fireworks and stayed up too late.  Ruthie got over the terror that struck her every time she got anywhere near a pool.  We really enjoyed one another.
Several days later, I'm still just struck by how wonderful this little trip was.  I've had fresh eyes for my home and my family this week, and I've enjoyed more moments of rest.  God is so good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ruthie is Sixteen Months Old

Sixteen months old.  Where does the time go?

At sixteen months old, Ruthie is...
  • a champion sleeper.  She does fine if she misses her morning nap, but clearly prefers to take two naps each day.  I've noticed her talking a little more in her crib before settling down, both before her naps and before bedtime, but she seldom fusses.  She loves to sleep with a Mousie (or two, if there's a rogue one in there), her nay-nay, and at least one blankie.  Nibbles is usually on board as well.
  • still the proud owner of six teeth.  Teeth, oh teeth, where art thou?  She is officially the slowest to get her teeth.  (I think I will weep when those bottom teeth finally come in; her little smile is oh-so-adorable!)
  • saying lots of words, but seldom repeating.  Some fun new words she's saying are ball, duck, bug, moon (to request Goodnight Moon) and Anna (for a character in one of the books she loves).  She also seems to understand more of what we're saying her, and she jabbers a pretty good bit.  The big girls love to try to teach her new words -- usually names of princesses.  Ruthie also loves to give us a good, earsplitting shriek every now and again.
  • very determined to feed herself, and much prefers to eat with a fork or spoon than with her fingers.  She's fairly accurate, too, although she is incredibly messy. 
  • twirling and flying on command.
  • still uninterested in longer story books and anything that requires sitting still for a significant amount of time.  Ruthie is almost always on the go!
  • lavish with kisses and, now that she's mastered them, nose-noses.  
Yesterday, I was having a serious talk with Phoebe in the kitchen when Ruthie rounded the corner, soaking wet and dragging a stuffed puppy, also soaking wet.  She'd been playing in the potty, which a certain two-year-old forgot to flush.

Oh, how I am so in love with this sixteen month old Mouse.  She keeps me on my toes and my knees and fills my heart to overflowing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Swimming Lessons and Nap Riots

We've just wrapped up ten days of swimming lessons and I am beat.  I think the kids are too, but perhaps overly so, since Phoebe and Nora have been practically bouncing off the walls since I tucked them into their beds an hour ago.  I busted Phoebe bouncing on Nora's bed; I'm pretty sure that violates every single naptime rule we have.  I'm giving them twenty more minutes before I call naptime a bust and take everybody out to Happy Hour.

The past two weeks have been unbelievable.  Michael's mom and dad graciously opened up their home and pool to nine children under six and their four mommies for two weeks.  Every day we've invaded at 9:45 and not left until after lunch.  We pretty much took over.  And it was wonderful.  My house looks terrible, I can barely form complete sentences after about two o'clock, and I haven't exercised in a week, but it was so worth it.  We invested in lessons with an incredible teacher (local friends, I would highly recommend her to you) who now has all of our kids jumping in and swimming out of the pool.

I'm amazed at how a little daily diligence can reap huge rewards.  The kids worked their cute little tails off during their hour each day, but really:  an hour a day for ten days turned our kids from total non-swimmers (Phoebe and Nora both loved to play in the water, but were limited to hanging onto Mommy and Daddy) into really successful swimmers.  I'm looking forward to being able to work with them even more this summer.  Even timid little Phoebe jumped in eagerly and swam across the width of the pool today, multiple times.

One of the fringe benefits of swimming lessons has been getting to spend time each day with some sweet, sweet friends.  It was energizing and encouraging to be able to share this time with them, and I am going to deeply miss our daily Mommy Dates.  Tara talked me into ordering some fabric for drapes and bringing out the sewing machine again, Carolynn lovingly braided my girls' hair (and taught me how to do it, too!) just about every day, and I was delighted to get to know Amber, someone I've been told I should meet for a long, long time.  We're hoping to swim frequently this summer, and I'm hopeful that maybe some iced coffee will magically appear at all of our swimming dates.

Ruthie is still absolutely terrified of the pool (as in, she shakes when we bring her out onto the pool deck and tries to bury herself in my chest whenever anyone goes off the diving board), but I'm really looking forward to having two swimmers to take to the pool this summer.  What a fun way to kick off Independence Day weekend -- with some aquatic independence!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Miss PattyCake

Around our house, Miss PattyCake is the supreme celebrity.  My dear friend Carolynn introduced us to her at some point in the last couple of years, and we are in love.  All of us.  This sweet lady and her DVDs have helped me get many a meal finished or laundry load put away.  The girls adore her and are spellbound pretty much any time she's on.
A few months back, we were beyond thrilled to get to see our hero in concert with Mops and Pops.  (No, Mops and Pops weren't in concert... they just took us!)  While we waited to meet Miss PattyCake, Pops sneakily shopped the merch table and snagged all three girls a Miss PattyCake t-shirt.  (These have temporarily bought me a reprieve from making them MissPC dresses, glory be.)
The girls looooooove their shirts.  Like, they ask to wear them the second they come out of the dryer.  And honestly, they're usually asking me about it before I've even tackled their laundry for the week.  The other day, I noticed that Ruthie actually really loved her shirt, too!
After lunch, she fished hers out of her laundry basket and brought it to me, signing please.   It was dirty.  I said no.  I tossed it back in the basket.  And then, she brought it back to me.  And I tossed it back in the basket.  And then, she brought me her sister's shirt.  And then yesterday, Ruthie spies the shirt, folded, inside her laundry basket, and starts trying to pull it out through the holes.  She was absolutely beside herself when I put it on over her outfit.

Roo has also made the connection that the shirt is Miss PattyCake... so now, she thinks that every time she wears the shirt, she needs to watch as well.  She is so precious it's ridiculous. And right now, she just happens to be in her sister's shirt, which was hijacked out of the laundry basket...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Once upon a time, a certain mommy somehow neglected to put a waterproof mattress pad on her potty-training-daughter's bed, so after a particularly wet naptime, the mattress need some, ahem, airing out.  Sometime after suppertime, my super husband dragged the mattress back inside and I attached the pad and sheet while the mattress was laying in the kitchen.

And then Ruthie discovered the fun that is mattress-on-the-floor.  Of course, her sisters joined her pretty quickly, and we had a full-on jumping-on-the-bed party at 7:30pm.  No little monkeys bonked their heads in this party, and no mamas had to call the doctor.  But the giggles were good medicine for a tired Mama who'd had a really long day with a teething baby and a non-existent naptime.  And way fun for the kiddos.

We've also had an unbelievable amount of fun outside so far this summer.  I think that, prior to this year, I was a total sissy about the heat.  And really fearful about my kids getting too hot.  But I decided we were all going to put on our big girl britches and play outside... and it has been wonderful.

We've been hitting the pavement in my triple jogger every day around nine, so we all come home sweaty, stinky, and ready to hose ourselves off.  Saturday, Michael surprised us by taking a break from his yard work and tracking us down in the truck to shoot us with a super soaker.  It rocked my world.  It's a total jackpot when we find a neighbor who happens to be watering the sidewalk as well as their lawn... the kids flip out when we run through the sprinkler while strapped into their seats.  We look like a traveling circus.  If I had a dollar for every time a neighbor asked me if I really had three in there...

I honestly thought they would be major whiners and complainers about the heat, but once the temperature hit ninety I laid down the law that there would be absolutely no complaining about the heat.  None.  And y'all, they haven't complained.  It's been a good check for me as well; if I won't let them grumble about the mercury, I can't do it either.  It's my little three-child accountability group.
We've been staying cool with frozen treats (the favorite is banana pops, although they are unbelievably messy in the hands of Ruthie), tons of ice water, and the sprinkler.

The other day, I let the girls take over control of the hose after I finished watering... to say they loved it is an understatement.  I'm always amazed at what their precious, creative little minds come up with!  Phoebe engineered some sort of water spout involving the playhouse and pretended to be Rapunzel, and Nora filled a bucket and turned herself into Cinderella.  Ruthie ended up free of her clothes.  Oh, these are sweet days!

I am humbled to know that the Lord chose me to do this.  He is gracious and merciful, and abounding in love!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

15 Months

Okay, I realize that month-day posts are really lame... and since I post about twice a month, that means it's super-lame over here... but I'm evidently too stubborn to give up the ghost.  And honestly, I really like being able to easily click around and see what these sweet babies were doing every month for their first two years of life.  So there.

Ruthie is, remarkably, fifteen months old.  And not a big sister.  It's very strange to me that I'm not big as a house with a baby brother or sister for her.  I'm so thankful that the Lord has given us a little margin between babies this go around.  For that reason, I think that she's really seeming like a baby still to me... and I love it.  Ruthie, stay small!

At fifteen months, Ruthie is...
  • still a great sleeper.  Honestly, her sleep habits have been a blessing lately.  Sleeps twelve hours or so at night (I often have to wake her in the morning) and is taking a morning nap that lasts about forty-five minutes (I almost always have to wake her up from this one) and an afternoon nap that generally lasts anywhere between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half hours.  I think she's wearing herself out in this heat!  [Okay, so I started this post this morning... and she proceeded to throw herself a good old fashioned hissy fit at her afternoon nap...]
  • still holding strong at six teeth.  Seriously.  She's crabby and sort of on a hunger strike, so I keep thinking that we'll see three or four pop through... but nothing yet.
  • a scrappy little girl who totally keeps up with her big sisters.  She now joins in the dancing in the kitchen, and will occasionally twirl on command.  She also loves to climb up on the sisters' bench at the table, and generally believes there's absolutely nothing that they can do that she can't do.  She's mastered climbing up our little playset and sliding down by herself.
  • a lover of books, but they still have to be board books for her to enjoy them.  Unless it's a Carl book, and in that case, she'll read those over and over again.  Recently she's started saying "hush" when we read Goodnight Moon.  Precious!
  • responding to yes or no questions and stating her opinion with great success.  She's going through a pretty frustrating period of wanting to communicate more... I have to keep reminding myself that she will grow out of this.  She's saying a few more words, though I can't think of them now.  She doesn't really love to play the repeating game yet, but she babbles a lot.  She also makes animal noises for cows, dogs, cats, and birds.
  • starting to experience some separation anxiety, especially with Mama.  
  • sort of not into eating right now.  I'm not sure if it's because she has bigger and better things to do or if she's just slowing down her appetite.  Perennial favorites are strawberries (the bigger the better), yogurt, cheese, veggie straws, raisins, hot dogs, and noodles.
  • seems to be particularly interested in cars (loves this transportation book we have), and she loves to push this little scoot car around the house and yard.
  • loves to play in her Mouse House (the pack and play) and will often say "yes" when we ask her if she wants to go... score!  Because she's done so awesome with this, I've neglected to blanket train her... but I'm pretty sure that's right around the corner.
  • loves to wear hats and glasses, and to carry around purses. 
  • loves to pretend play with her Mousie and baby dolls -- she'll give her dolls bottles, or she'll let Mousie taste food.  LOVE the adorable little eating noise she'll make!
...and that's about all my brain can handle right now.  Does anyone else feel that the heat is sucking the life out of you?  Or at least your brain cells?  At any rate, happy fifteen months, Roo!