Welcome Summer.

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We welcomed summer a little early this year with our family trip. We met up with Dee Dee, Richard, Kevin, Shawna & The Lairds in Yosemite National Park for 5 nature and breathtaking view filled days.

I was a bit worried about how the drive up would be – but our kids were AWESOME. Seriously, they were so good in the car…it makes me think we should do more road trips. Originally we had planned to stop in Fresno for 1 night and then meet up with our family the next day, but because we made so few stops and the kids were just chillin, we decided to head on up to Oakhurst and stayed in the Yosemite Best Western Plus. It was a GREAT option. Our two-bedroom suite room (rm402) was huge and there is a little play structure/bbq pit right outside the patio and a little pool we took the kids to. We ate at Pops (yum for dinner- just ok for breakfast) and it was an excellent way to start our trip!

The next day everyone flew into Fresno and we went to meet up with them and head to the rental house in Yosemite. Although the house was a bit more rustic than our previous years house in Big Sky – the location was absolutely awesome. It was right inside the park – so we were able to really get around and see and do alot inside the park (Last year – we didn’t even see the upper loop at Yellowstone – we really want to go back and do that!)…

WOW – I started this post on June 22 – and I am just now getting back in here to finish it. Hmmm…let’s see what I can recall.

Yosemite is beautiful. We loved hangin with our family – and felt like on this trip we got to spend a whole lot more time with people because we were so close to the sightseeing and able to do some meals together. Unfortunately, a hiking trip isn’t super awesome for someone with a broken foot (Jeremy), and Audrey had a high fever most of the trip due to an ear infection which kept her from sleeping most of the nights – but health issues aside, we still had a great time. Bella LOVED hanging with her cousins (especially Chandler). And Audrey just enjoyed exploring new stuff constantly.

We continued on to Bass Lake with the Lairds. That was so fun. We played on the lake – rented boats, and the boys even took the kids on a fishing trip (where they caught loads of fish!). The adults played poker with Connor most nights. (He is growing into such a great teenager!)

Awesome. Hazel just got skunked. Someday I will finish this post and talk about how crazy and fun our summer has been. But for now, I am going to go make a solution of hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/soap so I can get some of this stink off of me. Someday I will catch up…some day.

Why having kids is so awesome.

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Today when I was taking my shower (because that is when I ponder the most…) I was thinking about some of the things my kids have taught me or helped motivate me to do that I didn’t do before I had kids.
1> To appreciate silly sounds and moments. (even secretly laughing when my daughter says poo poo…oh come on, I know I did it as a kid…I think I turned out ok…)
2> To truly appreciate time that I have to my self and any free moment without having to feed, clean or care for someone else, even if it is only for a couple of minutes.
3> To learn to control my temper and try very hard not to yell (this one I am still working on…but having kids has definitely helped me figure out how important it is…)
4> To realize it is completely ok for people not to get what they want sometimes. In fact, not getting what you want sometimes is really really good, because it makes you appreciate it when you do get what you want.
5> To realize that the above is a really really hard lesson for a kid to learn so I am going to have to be very patient when they whine and cry while learning it.
6> That they make me want to be a better version of myself daily so that I can be a good example.
7> To forgive myself at the end of the day when I make a bunch of mistakes. Because I make lots of them…parenting is really hard.
8> Having a shower by myself is something to be appreciated.
9> Eat better, so that I can live longer and see them grow. Make better health habits.
That is all. Just wanted to write it down so I remember.

Audrey the Parrot

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Just wanted to write myself a little note so that I don’t forget. Audrey is really coming out of her shell right now. Her talking is just exploding – and she cracks us up on a daily basis with something new she says.

She loves to parrot back the last part of anything that any of us say. This can range from I love you (she replies loudly – laaaa you) to just about anything that Bella says…ie- Mommy COME! She walks around the house loudly singing ABCDEFG or EIEI-O, or Up abo the worl so HIGH! and when she is exited about something screams YEA!!!! (like Bella) At the table she will loudly let you know what she wants ie- KE-UP PEEEEEAAASE (ketchup please).ย  It seems that she has realized that people understand all this blubbering around that she does and she is so pleased by that and can’t wait to see what else we will understand, so she will just talk and talk (and talk and talk) all day long nonstop so that we can do her bidding ๐Ÿ™‚

Her very favorite thing to say is “I DO IT!” and then she follows that with a YOU DO IT (sounds very mafia – ish) is the only way I can describe it. She started saying the You do it – because we would follow her up with that. It is absolutely hilarious.

She loves to be in the thick of things when it comes to Bella and her friends. She’s quite the tough and curious toddler.


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She is really entering a fun stage right now. She learned to spin and can climb and get into everything, and even learned to open our doors – so it is a challenge to keep up with her – but she is so stinkin’ cute at the moment.

Unfortunately, she has a new favorite word. NO! I’m sure this is my fault as I feel like I am saying it constantly to her. I am going to work on saying “YES” to her as much as I can now. (She does know how to say that, too.) She is going through the phase where she arches her back and kicks each time you try to strap her into her carseat/stroller or put her on the changing table. (Good Times!)

She is a wild one! Today we took out the bouncy house and she will climb right in and try to jump around and then dive out the entrance (head first of course). She has no fear. She accidentally did a forward roll while inside – and we all thought that was pretty hilarious! She loves to be outside and explore the backyard – and she loves a good bath, too! She is quite the flirt, too. At a restaurant or when we are out and about, if I am holding her, she will try to make eye contact with people and flash them her huge smile. As long as no one else tries to actually hold her, she loves the attention…And she loves to flirt with Rafa our housekeeper. You can’t help but smile back at that kid. I wish I could just bottle up some of her energy for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚


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This past week/weekend, Jeremy was out of town on a surf trip to Costa Rica. I decided to have Annie come on Saturday so that me and Bella could have a little date, and then I could have a little downtime. The girls were really great the whole time he was gone – and I just wanted to write down a little of the conversation I had with Bella on our date. (We went to the Y to go swimming and then to Gordy’s bakery for a sweet.)

We were talking about school and how you go to school to learn all kinds of things, and that when you go to college you learn about whatever it is you decide you want to do for a job, and you go for a longer or shorter time depending on the job you want. We were also talking about how some jobs are more interesting than others.

Bella: When I grow up, I want to be a scientist, veterinarian and whatever Daddy does.

Me: Oh, those all sound like great jobs.

Bella: How long will I have to stay in school to learn to do these jobs?

Me: Well, to be a Vet you will have to learn about all the different animals and their different body parts, what types of medicines they can take – you’ll get to study their blood and poop and all kinds of things. There are many different types of animals, so I think it will take a bit of time. I wonder what kind of animals you would take care of in your practice?

Bella: Hmmmm…Maybe someone would bring in an Okapi. Mom, I know that is your favorite animal, so before I fix him, I will call you so you can come over and meet him. Ooooooooohhh, or maybe someone would bring in their pet butterfly. I will need to learn how to take care of butterflies and what medicines they can take. I love butterflies! Or maybe a fish…

This led us into a long conversation about the different animals she could treat (dog and cats were eventually brought up, but elephants and worms were on her list, too)

I just love the way Bella thinks! Never a dull moment.

As much as I would love it if she said I want to do what you do, sometimes I think she forgets that I work in a job besides “mom” too {although being a mom is the most rewarding job I have}, I was really excited to hear her say she wants to do what Daddy does! Maybe when she gets older, he can teach her a thing or two about the water business! That is, if the vet and scientist thing don’t take up too much of her time. ๐Ÿ™‚

So behind…

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I’m so behind on my blogging. So much has happened – Easter, my mom and Richard visited, Dianne visited. All of these big events are passing by so quickly – and with work being super busy, I just haven’t had time to keep up with recording all of these wonderful moments.

We have been enjoying these moments, though. I guess that is what is truly important. The girls are growing, playing and keeping our lives ever so exciting. Audrey has {of course} been sick with ear infections – but I’m thinking she might finally be getting over them. (That is, if I can force her to take her antibiotics and actually get some down her throat…she HATES taking medicines – I literally have to hold her down, squirt it down her throat and then hold her mouth closed – it is absolutely awful – and believe me – I’ve tried hiding it in food, letting her do it, and a host of other methods for getting it in there…)

I’m finding that I don’t take as many pictures as I did with Bella at this age – I think that it is because I am just enjoying the moments with these two so much that I don’t think to grab a camera…it could also be that I am afraid what trouble Audrey or Bella would get into if I turned my attention to a camera instead of what they are doing when I am playing with them. ๐Ÿ™‚ But – the other day when Dianne was here I finally took a few funny photos.

These are from playing in the cul de sac.

Bella is getting really good on her scooter. She loves it – and will ride along with the stroller now instead of walking. She does some fancy footwork and all – and takes the hills. I love seeing that huge smile on her face when she goes down the hill. She has taken a few good falls, but she is growing braver and braver, with many physical things – even at the park like the wheel monkey bars and such, and she will take the falls and get up and keep going. Jeremy put training wheels on her bike and she is starting to try that out as well. I’m really proud of how she is trying so hard even when she has a hard time accomplishing these things! I’ve seen so much growth in Bella over the past couple of months – I really can’t even put it into words. I can’t believe she will be 5 soon. But at the same time, I can tell by the way she acts she is entering a new level of childhood that includes so much more cooperation, growth, understanding, discovery – she amazes me daily. She is also growing into a little comedian, and “getting” why some things are funny and making real jokes.

Audrey is in that 12-18 month growth period that I absolutely adore. She is a little mimic – and can mimic most one syllable words that I say. Like Bella, she seems to be pretty verbal at a young age. She is also really tough! She falls and gets up like nothing has even happened most of the time. The other day at the park, she knocked her head, bloodied her lip – got mad, started crying so I went to pick her up – but after less than 5 seconds she said, “DOWN!” – She was like, I’m done with this fussing mom, let me down to play! And off she went. She will wander far away, too – she likes to explore. Audrey loves to climb all over the play structures (and pretty much anything else) and loves the slides. She is not that into the swing – as she would rather explore right now. She LOVES to go outside and check out everything in the yard. She is also a great eater. She likes all vegetables, fruits, pretty much whatever you put in front of her. We still do not give her dairy products, since she seems to have tummy issues with them – may try them again in a few months. She seems to be growing just fine without them…As Jeremy said the other night – I need to write it down/take pictures/videos, because we are going to forget how darn cute she is right now – she is just soooo happy and smiley. This morning, before her nap, she was hanging out in the living room just laying down, kicking her legs (which is really rare, she roams around almost nonstop) and checking out something on the ceiling – so I decided to lay beside her to check it out – she just looked over at me and giggled, then got up and ran around the couch trying to get me to chase her. And when you pick her up…she snuggles, and pats you softly on the back. It is so sweet. Today, at the park, Bella picked her up to give her a hug, and she leaned in for a snuggle and started patting Bella on the back. Seeing the two of them embrace so sweetly melts my heart. I hope and pray as they grow that they will be best of buds like I am with my sister.

Anyhow – finally photos…I’ll try to update sooner next time. (If you click them, you can see the big full version.)

Audrey’s 15 month update

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We are well. I am almost afraid to type that. I was just reading through my last post. We were no where near done with that sickness when I typed. Bella ended up puking for two and a half days. But now…hopefully, spring has sprung and we will get to enjoy some of this fine weather and just be well for a bit. (After I finish the pile of work in my inbox…)

Moving on…

Audrey had her 15 month check up today. She lost about a half pound from the tummy bug, but the doc said while it would be good to have her gain a bit, she is still in the normal range. Audrey ate a ton today, so I am thinking she is trying to catch up as well. Her stats:

Height: 30.5 – 47%
Weight: 19lbs 7oz – 24%
Head: 46cm – 53%

It was a pretty mellow appointment. I don’t feel like I have nearly as many questions like I did when I would go to the doc with Bella at this age. We did talk about Milk – since she is not currently eating milk products (they upset her tummy). The doctor wasn’t concerned at all. Said that as long as I feed her lots of fruits and vegies – and try for calcium rich foods, she’ll be fine. I may try cheese again in a few weeks, and am going to continue with the coconut milk for the time being. She is getting a little birth mark on her side – the doc checked that out and said all was ok. She seems to be growing right on target. She took her shots pretty easily, just nursed for a few minutes after for comfort and then proceeded to have a pretty normal day.

Audrey’s personality is really coming through right now. She is very demonstrative and very good at communicating what she wants to you. She says eat, nurse, night night, more, all done, down, up, book as commands very clearly to me. In many ways, this makes taking care of her pretty easy, as there is little guess work – however, when she doesn’t get what she wants (and she knows you understand) she gets pretty mad and throws a fit. She is still pretty easy to distract though. She is starting to do silly little things and when she catches you laughing she really enjoys it. Tonight, we all had home madeย popsicles after dinner, and she held hers out and said, “Cheers” – and everyone was quite amused (this is the first time she had ever initiated it…) then she of course couldn’t get enough of it. (Neither could we! ๐Ÿ™‚ At lunch today, I let her take a frog bath toy up in her high chair and she was trying to feed him her lunch and saying “num, num, num” to pretend he was eating. She was cracking me up.

She is also pretty daring at the park. She loves to climb the stairs of the play structure and then slide down the small slide all by herself. She is getting better at walking (although she still has that cute drunken sailor swagger…) This morning, Bella was playing music and spinning after breakfast and Audrey watched her and then tried to do it too (it looked more like a large circle walk). Pretty cool to see her try though! I noticed she tried to do this over and over again throughout the day.

She is such a happy baby, and so easy going – you would think she was this amazing sleeper. She is getting a bit better with that – but I just don’t think she requires as much as Bella did. She will go from 7:30 or 8pm or so until 6:30am and then take a 1-2 hour nap during the day. After all the sickness, she was up again at night but we are currently letting her cry it out again, and she seems to be doing ok with that as each night she does it less and less…But, putting her down to sleep is a dream…she is so tired at the end of each day, I normally just nurse her, read her a couple of books, sing her skinamarinkydink, and lay her in bed and I’ll say “night night” as I leave and she normally goes to sleep within a few minutes.

I feel so blessed to have this sweet baby girl in my life. She adds so much fun and excitement to our days – and her sweetness and snuggles melt my heart daily. I’m so grateful.ย  12-18 months is so interesting to me because it seems like something new is happening daily. I really do look forward to seeing her grow and learn more – but sometimes I wish I could just bottle up these moments or make time stand still, because she is SO darn cute right now.

We are a sickly bunch.

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I swear – we have had about 10 days in 2013 where everyone in this family has been healthy. Currently, we are in the midst of a pretty awful stomach flu. I think, as usual, Audrey is getting hit the worst with it. Poor babe. She just can’t seem to catch a break with the germs. I had been waiting to wean her until I knew she was well from her last cold, and I am now so thankful that I have not, as she hates Pedialyte – so pretty much nursing has been the only thing keeping her hydrated the past few days.

Right now Bella has it too, but she seems to be getting a fairly light version of it. (I am almost afraid to say that, we’ll see if I am up all night with her after typing this though…)

Anyhow, in the midst of all this yuckiness – I wanted to jot down some things I don’t want to forget.

My little complicated Bella. I love her so much. I get so many snuggles and kisses (and plain old joyful moments) from Audrey right now, and I remember how at this age I got the same from Bella. I’m hoping Audrey will keep them coming. I miss my snuggle time with Bella. Having a baby sister has forced her to grow up in some ways to quickly. I think often Bella acts out a little when she notices that Audrey is getting so much attention (the babe simply requires it), but I’ve really been trying hard to be patient with Bella and show her love and kindness while being firm and carving out some special time just for us. I find it difficult to deal with an “attitude” or contrary outlooks from a 4 year old point of view – and so I really have to work at holding my tongue and remembering that she is just a kid. This past weekend, Bella and I had a long overdue Bella/Mommy date. We went to the beach and laid on the sand. We had a picnic, chatted, watched the waves – then walked down and fed and chased the birds and dug for sand bugs. Then we hit the park for a quick trip, until it was too cold. It was glorious. I loved every single moment of our afternoon. I love how she observes the little things around us at the beach. She loved the undivided attention. I loved our quiet time laying head to head on the sand looking up at the sky. I want to carve out some time to do this more often, as I think it is as important for her as it is for me.

There is so much joy in having both my girls together and seeing a friendship that I hope will continue to form. And there is so much joy in snuggling and playing with Audrey who is discovering so many new things through toddler eyes and learning new words daily. And there is so much joy in tightening my bond with my first born. I am truly blessed.

This is something I want to hold on to while I am being puked and pooped on this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Seriously, I’m an idiot if I don’t put my hair in a ponytail all day, even when sleeping…especially when sleeping. Vomit wipes off skin – but hair requires showering. TMI?? LOL)

Audrey is Walking!

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I haven’t blogged lately because we were traveling (went to Colorado and had a lovely time with Grandpa George, Mi Mi, Aunt Christi, Uncle Jason & Caitlin) and then we all came back sick (and three of us still are…) and I am so behind on work, that when I get on a computer that is what I am trying to do…

But I wanted to record a couple of things real quick:

AUDREY IS OFFICIALLY A WALKER! She walks like a drunken sailor with hands up and on tip-toes, falling all the time…but she is over crawling and loves to walk everywhere. This has been going on since about a week ago – and she loves it! Other news about her – talking more and more, saying Bella’s name very understandably, loves to say BYE! Still nursing…growing, growing, growing – sweet as ever!

Bella had a doc appointment today and she is 38lbs, almost 42in – growing, growing, growing too! After a few hard weeks, we are back in the swing of things. She has been so helpful and cooperative the past few days. So sweet – helped me clean out the car, helping with Audrey, playing the funniest pretend games. The other night we were at her “pet shop” and she was really pushing for me to buy her “cat” even though I told her I am allergic. Was totally cracking me and Jeremy up. She is really into cutting up old catalogs and making a store out of them for me to shop in. Today, she drew her name in the sand at the park! So cool that she is interested in letters – and then she made birthday cakes out of sand for Audrey with a little girl she had just met. She drew a sun on the cake with her finger and then sang, “You are my sunshine my only sunshine” to Audrey. So sweet – melted my heart.

Christmas Photos, Audrey Update

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We had a great Christmas. Everyone was miraculously healthy. We traveled to Texas and drove to Houston and visited the Neill family first and had a wonderful time in Houston, and then traveled to Spicewood to hang with my mom and Richard, and then rounded out the trip at the Lairds house allowing the crazy cousins to play, play, play…it was a busy, exciting (tiring ๐Ÿ™‚ trip. The kids were spoiled rotten with all of the presents from Santa and Grandparents and really the pictures tell a better story than I can.

Now we are back. I have been sick literally for the entire year of 2013 so far. I just can’t seem to kick this yucky bug – so I am way behind on blogging about my precious girls (and work, and house chores…), but I wanted to take a minute to update today since Mi Mi is visiting and helping with the girls and I have a quiet moment while Audrey naps.

Audrey: She loves to talk! She is learning new sounds and words daily – says Wa Wa, Apple, Tree, Beee–a (Bella), Dee Dee, Mi Mi, Da Da, Poo Poo, Pee Pee, Woof Woof…but still no MaMa (what’s a girl got to do to get some props? ha). She will stand up and walk about 10 steps, and loves to push her walker – but still prefers crawling really fast to get around. She LOVES to climb. She is very agile – makes it up the stairs in no time. She can also climb on the horse and rock back and forth – it is really something to watch. She has so much energy! When we got back from Christmas her sleep schedule was really off – nursing in the middle of the night and such, and so me being sick and knowing she was perfectly healthy – I finally decided to let her cry it out at night. It was so hard for me to listen to (and I’m sure she wasn’t thrilled either) – but I’m happy to report that after a week of fighting it for about 30 minutes twice a night, she is now sleeping through the night for the first time in a year. Whew…of course, I think she just came down with my bug yesterday – she is all snot nosed today…so we’ll see how long this lasts. She and Bella are now bathing together in the bath – they both LOVE it. Bella has taught her to blow bubbles with her mouth in the water. They have this beautiful bond that melts my heart. Nobody makes Audrey happier than Bella…and Bella LOVES to play with her baby sister as well. I really hope they will continue to be good buds as they grow.

Bella: Had an amazing Christmas! She was all about Santa this year – and got makeup (the real kind that show up as she said) and a make up doll head – so she was thrilled. I’m really proud of her too, because we have rules about it (must be done in the bathroom, must be removed after playing with it when moving to the next activity) and she has followed them to the tee. She is really into her dress up stuff that Mi Mi gave her, and she is also loving the kid i-pad (innotab) that Dee Dee gave her as well. She is growing so much. Mi Mi is visiting right now because Jeremy went on a hunting trip and she came to help out. They have been having a blast together as usual heading to the beach, zoo, etc…Bella wrote out an entire list of activities that she wanted to do with Mi M

i. It was awesome because she would ask me the letters of the words she wanted to write and then she would write them all by herself! I was absolutely amazed at her progress, but here is the MOST exciting news of all though: we started with the BOB books, and she is truly learning to READ! She gets the concept of looking and sounding out the letters and can READ the first two books all by herself. She is very interested in learning it right now and so I’ve been sitting with her for about 30 minutes to an hour the past couple of days and hope to be able to continue with it as long as she has interest. I AM SO PROUD OF HER!

I have to run off to a meeting with Bella’s preschool teachers now – but I think this is enough of an update for now. Hope to update more soon!