Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I don't have much to share this week. I spent most of the week out by the pool working on my tan. Or inside cutting stuff for VBS crafts. Good news. My tan is looking fabulous and I am all ready for VBS!

2. Lucy went on her second ever sleepover Monday night. My sister has a girls' sleepover every year with the girls from her daycare (+Lucy). She's done doing daycare, but still did the sleepover. Lucy loves being one of the big girls and couldn't care less about leaving me. She had a blast doing make-up and hair and photo shoots.

3. I took the advice of some of my friends and got the two-seater cart at Meijer this week. And I stole borrowed some quarters from my brother's change jar to get the girls each a banana to keep them occupied. Lucy only ate a couple bites of hers, so Lena got to have two. It kept them happy through most of the store. Success!

4. I saw this on Pinterest this week and loved it:
I've always loved the story of Joseph. So often we read the story from start to finish and think, "That lucky Joseph had it so good." But when Joseph was rotting in prison for a crime he didn't commit, he had no guarantee that he would ever get out, let alone become the Pharaoh's right hand man! For all he knew, he would spend the rest of his life in jail. I love that he still praised God through it, and continued to serve him. I continually struggle with the fact that we live with my parents, won't be able to afford Christian school for our kids, and can hardly pay our bills. Maybe we're just in a waiting period and God has something wonderful in store for us. Or maybe we're called to be poor and nothing will ever change. But I love that God knows the big picture and we can trust him.

5. This week's pictures from my phone that didn't make it on facebook:
Shaving time.
Lucy picked a huge bouquet of flowers from the backyard, then found 4 vases and arranged the flowers in each of them. Future florist? :-)
I told you she seriously loved that dress.
6. Ok, I'm sorry. I can't think of anything else and Justin and I are trying to pick a movie to watch on Netflix. We can never agree. I want chick flicks, he wants war movies. Wish us luck. Haha.

Lena: 18 Months

Oh my Lena. I've been putting off writing this post, because I just don't feel like I can do her justice. She has so much personality and so many funny quirks. I never want to forget them, so I shall immortalize them on the trusty internet. I think I'm just going to do bullet points instead of trying to make it all flow seamlessly in one long entry.

A few boring stats to begin with:

  • She has 6 teeth: 4 on top, 2 on bottom. 
  • She's transitioning from 2 naps to 1. Generally she wakes up between 6 and 7. Naps at noon for 2-3 hours. To bed for the night at 8. 
  • She pretty much only eats cheese, fruit, and sweets. 
  • She has a bottle of lukewarm milk every morning, but refuses to drink milk any other time of the day.
  • She's still a tiny midget. I don't know her official stats (doctor appointment at the end of August), but she barely fits in 12 month clothes. One day this week, I put a 12 month skirt on her and it fell right off. I went back upstairs and got her a 6 month skirt. It fit perfectly.
And now the fun stuff:

1. She peeks under the bathroom door whenever someone is inside. And she usually says, "Potty? Potty?" the whole time. Haha.

2. She absolutely loves animals. She calls most animals "puppy!" Although anything small and white is Lola to her. We saw a tiny white chihuahua at the park once and she shouted "Lola!" over and over. Haha. When she's being really grumpy, I youtube videos of kittens and puppies to calm her down. Works every time.

3. She has a love/hate relationship with Lola. She's constantly yelling at her. Haha. Lola has a bad habit of scratching the carpet and Lena has heard us all yell at her enough times that whenever Lola starts doing it, Lena yells "Lola!" The other day Lena was bothering Lola and Lola swiped at her, scratching her ankle. I bopped Lola on the head and said sternly, "Be nice!" For the next half hour Lena yelled at Lola, "Be nice, Lola!" 

4. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I love to see the differences between Lucy and Lena. Lena is so independent, and such a daredevil. We are so going to be in the ER with this kid. She loves to climb and jump and explore. Lucy always found one thing that worked for her and stuck to it. The stairs for instance. Lucy would sit down on her buns and slide down each stair. That's what I originally taught Lena, but she wants to go bigger and better. She insists on standing up, holding the railing, and walking down the steps like a big girl. She's so much more fearless than Lucy ever was. I always have to keep my eye on her. Haha. 

5. Another difference between her and Lucy is her vocabulary. I wrote a list of all the words she knows here, but keep discovering more. She's such a chatterbox, always talking, always mimicking. She repeats the last word of every sentence I say to her. It's adorable. She doesn't label things on command, though. If I point to a dog in a book and say "what's this?" she won't answer me. Even with words I know she knows. If she ever sees a dog on TV or anywhere else she shouts out, "puppy!" but she doesn't do it on command.  

6. I realized I didn't include the words that she sings in the list of words. She sings let it go (just that phrase), lullaby, okayyy bye (from Frozen), twinkle and Jesus.  

7. She's starting to grasp the idea of counting. If I ever say "one," she says "two." Haha. And she babble/counts in that sing-song voice. Usually "two, fi, ix."

8. She adores being outside. She's always asking to go out, and Justin and I have to speak in code whenever we talk about it so she doesn't hear the word "outside." Haha. She's totally obsessed with her swing and would sit in that thing for hours on end if I didn't get so sick of pushing her. She also loves the slide. Yesterday for the first time, she realized she can go down on her belly head first. That's how my nephew broke his collar bone, so it makes me a little nervous! Haha.

9. She doesn't watch TV, much to my chagrin. Lucy was obsessed with Elmo by this age, and would sit captivated by him for a good half hour. Lena will watch maybe ten minutes before she gets bored. I know it's so bad for her to watch TV at this age, but sometimes I'd really like an extra 30 minutes of sleep at 6:00 in the morning. Haha.

10. She continues to be an early bird, which I will never understand. Although as I get more diligent about cutting out her morning nap, she's started to sleep in a little bit more - 7 instead of 6. Blech. But she is a great sleeper, so I really shouldn't complain. She lays right down in her bed without a peep and goes to sleep no problem most of the time.

11. She is still a major mama's girl. She prefers me over anyone else, and cries "mommy" 95% of the day. Haha. Or so it seems. I do love it most of the time. Sometimes it gets a little exhausting. She's such a sweet cuddler, though. She loves to lay her head on my shoulder when I pick her up, and she snuggles right up to me when we rock at night. I cherish those moments.

12. She is not a fan of other people. Even people she knows well. Whenever someone says hi to her, her immediate response is "no!" She doesn't willingly let anyone else hold her most of the time - even Justin. My sister is coming over every day next week to watch her while I work at VBS and I predict there will be a whooooole lot of crying. Haha.

13. She's recently started to be a little more interested in reading. She has a select few books that she likes and will sit with me for a very short time to flip through them.
This is the part of the book where the baby is sleeping, so she's saying "shhh."
14. She is such a cheeseball and cracks us up every day.

We love our Leany-bean so much and are so grateful for the joy and laughter she brings us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lena's Words: 18 Months

I was reading through some old blog entries recently, and came across Lucy's 18 month update. In it, I wrote that she knew 14 words. I know that Lena is more verbal than Lucy was at that age, but when I actually started to write down all the words Lena uses, I was shocked by the number! She's 18 months old today, and I probably won't be on top of things enough to actually write her 18 month update, but I'm going to transcribe all the words I've been writing down for the past couple of weeks. Just for fun. :-) She'll repeat anything after you. These are the ones that I've heard her use in context without prompting. And I'm sure I'm forgetting some. So crazy! It's funny how she tends to be more like Justin while Lucy is more like me. But Lena has definitely been more verbal from a younger age - which she does not get from Justin. Haha. Love it. Anyway, here they are:

  1. Mommy
  2. Daddy
  3. Luke
  4. Grandpa
  5. Grandma
  6. Niki
  7. Lucy
  8. out
  9. up please
  10. phone
  11. no
  12. there you go
  13. where are you?
  14. there it is
  15. yeah
  16. did it!
  17. book
  18. nope
  19. wow
  20. whoa
  21. nigh night
  22. crying (she says this every time Lucy starts crying)
  23. potty
  24. candy
  25. pop
  26. chips
  27. cheese
  28. roll-up (I make her cheese roll ups often)
  29. down
  30. hot
  31. brrr
  32. truck
  33. tractor
  34. shhh (complete with holding her finger over her lips)
  35. on (she can’t say off, so says on for everything)
  36. blanket
  37. wash
  38. plate
  39. hi
  40. bye
  41. Lola
  42. puppy
  43. shoes
  44. eyes
  45. teeth
  46. baby
  47. Ellie (her lovies)
  48. bath
  49. Lena
  50. why?
  51. thank you
  52. yuck
  53. all done
  54. owie/ouch
  55. outside
  56. swing
  57. water
  58. bubbles
  59. slide
  60. juice
  61. Kleenex
  62. belly
  63. love you
  64. binky
  65. trash
  66. uh-oh
  67. oh no
  68. mess
  69. heavy (when lifting something – or when I grunt after lifting her. Haha)
  70. eat
  71. food
  72. open
  73. hat
  74. oh man!
  75. bed
  76. wait! (she shouts this and runs after me when I walk away)
  77. peek-a-boo
  78. away (as in, put it away)
  79. loud (she uses this appropriately, but I also think she thinks that’s what my blow dryer is called)
  80. made it
  81. do it
  82. window
  83. play
  84. more
  85. ball
  86. all wet
  87. find it
  88. socks
  89. spoon
  90. pocket
  91. yogurt
  92. windy
  93. [don’t] want it (she doesn’t say the “don’t” part, but that’s what she means)
  94. drink
  95. pool
  96. stuck
  97. feet
  98. toes

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. This week pretty much consisted of three things: preparing for VBS, Town and Country Days in Sparta, and Jordan and Karla's wedding. So bear with me if I don't make it to 7 this week. :-)

2. I have such great memories of going to Sparta's Town and Country Days as a kid, and I love revisiting it now with my own kids. Yesterday, we did some of the "kids' day" festivities: the petting zoo, water tables, fire trucks and tractors, and the carnival. We drove by the carnival earlier this week and Lucy was enthralled. Friday was dollar day, so I promised Lucy we could go on a few rides. She insisted that she wanted to go on the Ferris Wheel, but that is way too scary for me, so I told her she'd have to ride with my nephew Tayton. Haha. She was totally planning on it until we started driving to the carnival, when her tune suddenly changed to "Maybe I'll go on the ferris wheel when I'm 5 or 6." Haha. She found a few rides that she loved, though.

I took Lena on the carousel with me. She loved sitting up on the big horse and even liked going around the first few times, but as the carousel picked up speed, Lena got more and more nervous. She eventually started screaming "all done!" Haha. Poor baby.

3. Last night was the big wedding! Justin's little brother, Jordan got married. Justin and my brother Luke (who graduated with Jordan) were groomsmen, and Lucy was the flower girl. She's been counting down the days 'til the wedding for a year! We bought her dress a long time ago and she's been dying to wear it. And she couldn't wait to get her hair and nails done. She is such a girl. A super adorable girl. Haha. She got her nails done with the bride and bridesmaids on Thursday. I was worried that she wouldn't sit still or would be too ticklish, but she loved it and did really well.
She got a little bored while waiting for them to dry. Haha.

Finished product! Lucy picked out her own colors and LOVED the flowers. 
4. Luke's fabulous girlfriend, Esther, came over Friday afternoon to do our hair and make up.

Lucy has been talking all week about how Esther's going to curl her hair. She loves her long hair and loves it even more when it's curly. Haha. So imagine how thrilled she was when she saw this:

Karla made a headband to match her colors and complete Lucy's wedding ensemble:

5. Finally it was time to go to the church and do this thing!
Lucy did NOT want to take pictures.
Finally got her in one at least.
Snacking before the ceremony. I was SO nervous she was going to spill on her dress.
Cheesing it up with Daddy just before going down the aisle.
Up until this point, Lucy was SO excited about walking down the aisle and throwing her flowers. But when I told her it was time for me to go sit down, she got very nervous and said "I just want to sit by you." I convinced her to stay with Justin and prayed that she'd walk down the aisle happily. 
The poor ring bearer did NOT want to go down the aisle, so Lucy was really confused about what she was supposed to do. Haha. She ended up going down somewhat hesitantly, but did crack a few smiles (I just didn't capture any). Whew!
Lucy did great during the ceremony. It was fairly long and I was worried about her being quiet. But she played a game on my phone the whole time and got comfy with her head in Esther's lap and her feet on mine. Haha.

Time to party! We blew bubbles, then Lucy got to ride to the reception on the party bus with Justin. I forgot to get a picture, but heard she had a blast!

One of the fun features of the reception was the mashed potato bar! Definitely the first time I've ever eaten mashed potatoes out of a martini glass! Haha.
6. We danced the night away (my camera doesn't take very good pics in the dark, so I don't have much documentation). Lucy wasn't a huge fan of the loud music, but she loved watching the dances and running around with her cousin Annabel. We stayed until almost 11. And she was out within 10 minutes of getting in the car:

Leading up to the wedding, Lucy always wanted to wear her flower girl dress around the house. I repeatedly told her that she could wear it as much as she wanted to after the wedding, but not before. So when we got home and scooped her out of her carseat and up the stairs, I asked if she wanted to change into her pajamas. She sleepily murmured, "No. You said I could wear my dress as much as I want after the wedding." Lol. She slept in it all night and I'm not sure I'm ever going to get it off her.

7. Sorry this was so wedding-centric and pictures you've already seen on facebook. You know I have to record it for myself. :-) I'll try to be back with my usual witty repertoire again next week. ;-)  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I did better with my book-reading this week, keeping it mostly to after the chores were done and the girls were in bed. I read four books:  Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher. It was pretty dumb, but cute enough. Then I read A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin. She's one of my all time favorite authors, and this book didn't disappoint. I loved it. Then The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander. Another pretty cheesy one that I enjoyed well enough but wouldn't call earth-shattering. And finally A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson - it was pretty good. I know I need to branch out of my "inspirational fiction" genre if I want books that aren't so predictable, but I just can't find good romance books that aren't full of sex unless I stick with Christian fiction.

2.  I had a rough day at the grocery store with my girls on Monday, as many of you have already seen on facebook.

Lena refuses to sit in the cart. Even when I buckle her, she still manages to get to her feet and scream "mommy" because she wants me to hold her. I am not coordinated enough to hold her and push the cart at the same time, so I tell her over and over to sit down and continue to cram her legs back into the holes while she screams. And Lucy usually starts out fine, but starts to melt down as we shop. Her feet hurt. She wants to walk. She doesn't want to walk any more. She wants in the cart. She wants out of the cart. It drives me crazy that I can't just say "Lucy stop crying. Lena sit down" and have them obey me. Where have I failed?! Anyway, I had so many sweet and helpful responses from my facebook friends. It makes me grateful, once again, for the facebook community. Social media gets such a bad rap (for good reason), but it also has its perks.

3. I tried a couple new meals this week. On Monday, I made creamy chicken and spinach pasta from pinterest:
Picture from
Doesn't it look good? It wasn't. There was absolutely no sauce so it was dry and disgusting. Of course that was one night that we were laying the law down on Lucy and insisting that she eat what she was given, so Justin and I both choked down our helpings in an effort to encourage Lucy. Haha. On Friday, I made some homemade alfredo sauce that was amazingly delicious (and amazingly unhealthy) to put on the leftovers. That made it much more palatable!!

I also tried sweet potato and black bean enchiladas for the first time. I've seen these on pinterest, and for some reason thought they looked really good. I'm not usually an adventurous eater. I actually just combined a bunch of recipes because I couldn't find one that I really liked. I microwaved a couple sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, slid them out of the shells and diced them, then added black beans, a smattering of salsa, and a bunch of shredded cheese, rolled them up into tortillas, and used the McCormick enchilada sauce that I use for my regular enchiladas.
I thought they were really good! Justin said they were ok, but he would've preferred meat instead of sweet potatoes. And my parents were not fans. Haha. So I probably won't be making them again anytime soon, but it was fun to try something new!

4. Lucy does not share my sentiments about trying new things. Remember that handy dandy incentive chart I was so sure would encourage her to eat better? Yeah, not so much. Almost every night without fail, she refuses to take a single bite of her food and goes to bed hungry. This week we got smart and told her that she can't get down from the table until she takes one bite. The first night was the yucky pasta. It only took her about 10 minutes to decide she didn't want to sit there all night, so she ate one dry noodle. The second night was the enchiladas, though, and she spent almost an hour crying, singing, and talking to herself alone at the table before she took a minuscule bite of tortilla smothered in sour cream. Haha.

5. I have a problem with getting restless by the end of the week. Thursdays are always my depressed days. I'm bored with my life and irritated that we don't have any money and sick of cleaning the house. So this Thursday evening, we picked up a Little Caesar's pizza, ate it at the park, then went to McDonald's for 49c ice cream cones. Family fun night for under $10! The girls thought it was the greatest thing ever, and I was relieved just to get out of the house!

That's the 49c cone! Isn't it huge?! And Lucy wears this crown everywhere now. The grocery store, McDonald's, etc. 

I might have gotten a snack size McFlurry instead of a cone - which might cost more than 49c. ;-)

6. Last night we decided to take the girls kayaking. We borrowed a kayak from a friend and headed down to Long Lake. In the five minutes it took us to put the kayaks in the water, I got around 13,000 bug bites. Ugh. I had Lena with me, and Justin had Lucy. At first, Lena thought it was great. She loved sitting in the boat looking at the water. But then a switch flipped and she started freaking out. It was 7:00 on a quiet, peaceful lake, until Lena's screams started echoing over the water. People were probably coming out of their houses thinking someone was being murdered. Haha. It was actually my first time kayaking and I was already nervous, so when Lena started standing up and climbing on me, I was sure she and I were both going overboard. I tried everything to calm her down, but eventually gave up and paddled back to shore. Justin put my kayak back on the car and prepared to go back out with Lucy while Lena and I drove to the other side of the lake to play on the playground. When Lucy learned where we were going, though, she insisted on coming with me. So our night of family kayaking ended up being the girls and me playing on the beach/playground while Justin fished in his kayak alone. Ha!

7. I think Lena is finally giving up her morning nap. She's usually such an easy sleeper. I lay her down. She goes to sleep. No drama. But this week she cried every time I put her to bed. And she was up all night for no apparent reason. She stands in her bed screaming "mommy!" over and over. On the occasion that she does wake up in the night, all I usually have to do is pick her up, rock her back and forth a little bit, and put her back down. But this week, every time I tried to lay her back down she clung to me like her life depended on it and screamed the second she hit the mattress. After one such night of being up so much, she slept until an unheard of 8 am the following day. So I let her skip her morning nap, and she was totally fine. On Thursday, I put her down for her morning nap as usual and she slept 3 hours, then refused to take an afternoon nap. So for the past few days I've been skipping the morning nap and she is totally unfazed. I know she's the right age (almost 18 months), but I'm gonna miss that morning nap. It sure better mean she'll start sleeping in longer in the morning!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. We had a rough start to our week. Lena got a terrible summer cold and was absolutely miserable. She was up numerous times in the night, hacking her guts out, had a fever for 3 straight days, and would not let me put her down. I carried her all day, every day for at least 3 days. I eventually was so desperate to save my back and get some stuff done, that I attempted putting her in the hip carry in my hot sling. She freaked out and screamed like crazy, climbing up me and clawing at me like she was dying.
It was a brutal few days. On Wednesday, she suddenly turned the corner and has been so much happier ever since. Whew!

2. Last Saturday, we had plans to go to the beach at Grand Haven, but Friday night is when Lena started to feel sick and I was really worried about driving the hour to Grand Haven only to have her melt down. We had already told Lucy we would go to the beach, though, so she was heartbroken at the idea of ditching the plan altogether. So we made the brilliant decision to go to Long Lake instead. The girls loved the super warm lake water, Lucy loved the sand (Lena was terrified), and we had a blast for a good hour and a half. Then Lena was done and it started to storm, so we called it good and went home. That beach is seriously only 10 minutes from our house. We really need to go more often.

3. I got on a reading kick this week and read two whole books in as many days. I started with The Bachelor's Bargain by Catherine Palmer and absolutely loved it. Then on Thursday, I needed a break, so Justin stayed home with the girls and I went to the library all by myself. I read the back of every book in the inspirational fiction section and left with 4 more books to read. One of them was Love Finds You in Calico, California. It was pretty cheesy, but still a fun read. I just started another one today that I'll likely finish before bed tonight. It's how I roll.

4. I was asked to be the preschool teacher for VBS this year at our church. I helped in the preschool room last year, but it was an epic fail. Lena refused to go to the nursery, my back couldn't handle carrying her in the Bjorn all day, and then Lucy completely melted down. I quit after 2 days. Haha. This year, Niki is coming to my house to watch Lena every day, and I think Lucy will be much better equipped to handle the classroom setting. I agreed to do it, and figured I'd get some kind of curriculum to follow. This week, I found out that I have to write my own curriculum. I was given a general outline, but I'll have to plan the story, crafts, activities, etc. Alrighty then! Haha. That's right up my alley, though. I'm not too concerned. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. :-)

5. I feel like Lena had a verbal explosion this week. She suddenly talks all day and can say most anything. Of course, I don't understand a lot of what she's saying, but she's clearly trying to communicate. Her new favorite word is "why?" I feel like she's way too young for this stage! One day she said, "candy?" and I said, "no," to which she responded, "why??" Ha! I said, "Where did she get that from?" and Lucy piped up, "probably me!" Haha.

6-7. We had such a nice 4th of July. It's my second favorite holiday of the year for good reason. We had beautiful weather - 75 and sunny - and such a great group of people to celebrate with. Our friends the Howards live in Pennsylvania, but always come home to visit for a good chunk of the summer. Their kids play so nicely with Lucy and she adores them. Plus we love hanging with Becky and Brian. The kids all swam:

We played Bocce Ball:

We ate TONS of good food:

We played cards and games, the kids brought half of Lucy's toys outside and played together for hours:

And we ended the evening with sparklers, s'mores, and a bonfire:

Lena loved the sparkler and was not nearly scared enough. She wanted to grab it and put it in her mouth. Haha.

Lena thought it was the greatest day ever. My parents and I spent all morning cooking, so she went from my mom, to my dad to me mooching food. And she continued to eat alllll day.
She ate tons of whole cherries - pit and all!
She thought the sparklers were awesome, loved the big fireworks we could see across the field, and was in her glories with all the people to play with. She got to stay up til after 10 to do fireworks, woke up at her usual 6:30 am, but went back down for a nap by 8 and slept til 11! Lucy was up 'til midnight and slept til 10:50 this morning. My kind of morning! :-)
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