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!