Friday, August 31, 2012

a nice day for a white wedding.

In the middle of August, we packed up and headed down to Indiana. Every semester, Chris has teaching duties and student duties. During the summer, he only teaches, and since the class is condensed "practicals week" and "finals week" happen the same week, making for one crazy week. This summer that crazy week fell right before his sister, Jenny, got married. So me and the kids packed up and headed down to Indiana a week early, giving mama some help, letting Carly get a whole lot of playing in, and giving daddy space to finish everything he needed to. It was nuts for him. He literally got done Thursday evening, hopped a bus to Detroit, jumped on a plane to Chicago, and made it late that night for the wedding Friday morning.

Me and the kids, however, had a nice week, full of pedicures and manicures, shopping and playing, campfires and s'moreos.

The wedding weekend was a little wild with the twins. It was a lot of traveling for a couple of babies who really don't like their carseats. We went a few hours up, an hour over, an hour down . . . Chicago is spread out. We stayed the night in a hotel, they got passed around a lot, and off the vague little schedule they had begun to thrive on. They did great for what we put them through, but remind me never to have baby twins during a family wedding again. Carly? Couldn't have had more fun. She is always up for a party.

Friday morning we headed to the Chicago LDS Temple for the sealing. It was a really beautiful, breezy day, not typical for Chicago in August. Carly was incredibly excited to see the temple. We pulled in and she exclaimed, "I love the temple!" We headed inside and told her she was going to stay out and play with some family, and she DID NOT like that. She started crying and said, "But I want to go inside the temple, too!" How do you say no to that? So I took her in to the front lobby. I showed her pictures of the Savior, she saw the people dressed in white, and her eyes grew wide at the sight of the beautiful chandelier. It is amazing that even a little child knows the temple is a sacred place, just by entering its lobby.

It was a beautiful sealing. Really beautiful. The sealer said words I really needed to hear and taught me a lot. And it wasn't my sealing! Its nice how that works.

[third wheel . . . she didn't get that she wasn't needed for every picture.]

[one amazing self-take. we love to see the temple.]

After the temple, we headed to Aurelio's for a fabulous luncheon of Chicago-style pizza. We get Aurelio's whenever we visit Chris's grandma in Chicago, so it was a nice choice on the luncheon. Especially since Chris and I got stuck at the temple grounds meeting the needs of the babies and showed up way late, so other people were done eating and ready to take our kids while I ate my body weight in GF pizza. We headed back to Indiana after the luncheon, in what was perhaps the longest 2 hour drive in the history of the world. Chicago suburb 5:00 traffic plus screaming babies equals one crazy party. We nearly left John on the side of the road. But he looks so dang cute in that bow tie, how could we?

Saturday evening they had a ring ceremony and then the reception. That afternoon Carly went with grandma to help finish decorating and reportedly had the time of her life. That night we got all dolled up in our purple and gray and headed to the "big wedding party!", as Carly called it.

[Carly watching the first dance.]

[dancing with new uncle Christian. she is a big fan.]

[dance the night away.]

Everything looked really beautiful. There was dancing, a photo booth, yummy food, and lots of people who wanted to hold my babies and entertain my 3-year-old. It was a nice night, where we kept the kids out too late but didn't care too much. Even this old mom and dad stole a dance to our song:

It was a wild weekend, but it was a perfect weekend. 
We love Jenny and Christian and couldn't be happier for them.

Life is hard with our crazy crew, but it only takes a weekend full of family fun and a visit to the House of the Lord to remind me why I do this.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

celebrating three.

A year ago, the week of Carly's second birthday, I was puking 5 times a day, couldn't get off the couch the rest of the time, was waiting for Zofran to work its magic instead of making me feel like I was riding on a propeller, and leaving Carly to largely fend for herself. We sent Carly to her grandparents for a week while we found a medicine that actually helped, and I spent the anniversary of her birth away from her. Remember? She didn't know. She doesn't remember. But it hurt my heart whenever I though about it. It hurt me that I couldn't be there for her.

Flash forward a year and, wow, things have changed. She has darling twin siblings who adore her and whom she adores, and a mom who is mostly coherent, and a daddy who managed to skip out early from work to come home and celebrate her big day. 

What a difference a year makes.

A week before her birthday, I gave Carly a few options of what we could do, and she picked the zoo. For a week she talked about going to the zoo, and as her birthday approached, I couldn't help but notice it was supposed to be a very rainy few days. And it was. It poured the night before the big day, and didn't let up that morning. I tried to really talk up an indoor children's museum in town, but she was stuck on the zoo. I explained that it was raining, and she said "Its ok to get a little wet. We can wear our rainboots and rain coats!" Chris came home and sided with her, and after thinking about it, I thought the children's museum would be packed on a rainy day, so I was won over. We headed off to the zoo in the rain.

[the birthday clown in the hizz-ouse!]

It actually ended up being the most perfect day. The rain let up, it was nearly deserted, and it was cool enough to wear jackets, making me very excited for impending Fall.

Carly had a great time.
She got to splash through puddles and see lots of animals.
And the lions got to stare at my babies like they were perfectly grilled steaks.

That night we asked Carly, if she could go anywhere for dinner, where would she go? 
Her answer: Sams Club.
She goes there on dates with her daddy and loves getting hot dogs, a pretzel, and water.
So, Sams Club it was.

We came home for cake and presents. I lit the candles and carried her piece of cake over to her. Her eyes grew big and she whispered, "Wow." Her awe was the sweetest.

She was nice and spoiled by her grandparents, but mom and dad only got her one thing:
a pink bike.
She had only been talking frequently about a pink bike for who knows how long, and really increased her interest after Chris got his bike.
The bike went straight outside, and Carly hopped right on.
Pedaling is a whole different story, but it will come, right?

The day after her birthday, we hosted a little party. We kept it small, inviting a few friends with kids Carly plays with, having lunch, playing, and hanging out. I pitched a different "theme" idea to Chris every other week for a few months, seeing so many cute ones on Pinterest. But in the end I thought of one all by myself (what?!) and loved it: Carly's Favorite Things. We had her favorite lunch foods, dinner food, and snacks. We decorated with her favorite colors and plates from her favorite tv show (Dora), and gave party favor buckets full of some of her favorite things. It wasn't Pinterest-perfect, but Carly was excited. Really really excited. She was particularly fond of her pink and purple cupcakes. Before the party, she kept asking to eat one, and I kept saying no. She came out in the living room a little later with bright purple lips. "Did you eat a cupcake?" I asked her. She looked shocked at my knowledge and replied, "Just a little bit." And so it begins.

The game we played was a Pinterest find, however. I filled balloons with little candies and prizes, and the kids were supposed to pop them to get what was inside. Well, it was all fun and games until Carly's little friend K became totally traumatized by all the popping. She was screaming and shaking and wouldn't get close to the balloons. We'll probably save that game for an older crowd.

It was a good weekend.
We had lots of fun celebrating our girl.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

tip top shape.

Carly went in for her 3 year check-up yesterday.
She is 3 feet, 4 inches tall (97th percentile!).
She weighed in at 31 lbs 12 oz (perfectly average).
We couldn't ask for a healthier, smarter, spunkier girl.
And with stats like that, this mama has collegiate volleyball on the brain.

A major event took place at the doctor's office today, an event Chris and I have been apprehensive about for quite a while.

If you know Carly, you've seen that dear White Towel she drags around everywhere. Well, it has been her beloved towel for quite a while now, and is showing the signs. It's strings are falling out, it has gaping holes, and it is dirty beyond anything any Pinterest trick can help it with (trust me, I've tried). We got White Towel for our wedding 6 years ago, and we have searched high and low for the same one, and even tried some that were "close enough", but nothing could replace him. A friend mentioned she had the exact same dish towel, and she was kind enough to send it our way (thank you, thank you Tennille!). It was bizarre when I opened it, to see White Towel in such pristine condition! I knew Carly's doctor appointment was coming up, so we started telling her Towel had to go to the doctor too, to get all his holes and strings fixed.

Today, after her check-up, I quickly switched Carly's old towel for the new one (she was carrying it in her purse, of course). When we got out to the parking lot, I showed her that the doctor had "made towel all better!". Her face was lit up and she grabbed it and . . . smelled it. Chris's mom had suggested we wash it in our laundry detergent first, to get the smell right, and she was right. Carly took a big whiff and beamed "White towel is all better!" And on the way home she said, "But mom, Towel has no more strings to pull." And I told her that was good, because towel wasn't sick anymore.

I think she is pretty happy to see her dear Towel back in tip top shape.
She keeps holding him up and asking, "Do you see any holes? Do you see any strings?"
The love of a girl and her towel is sweet.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

interviewed: Carly turns 3 years old.

As part of the celebration of Carly's big 0-3 last week, I sat her down the night before her birthday and gave her a little interview. I fully intend to ask her a similar set of questions every birthday eve until she finally packs her bags and heads to college. I'm sure that day will be here before I know it.

What is your favorite color: "purple" (this is a new, sometimes she still says pink)

What is your favorite toy: "my little pink stroller"

What is your favorite fruit: "strawberries"

What is your favorite TV show: "Dora the Explorer!"

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch: "peanut butter sandwich!" (with jelly or honey)

Favorite outfit: "Rapunzel dress" (Not sure where she got that from, I can't get her to wear it!)

What is your favorite game: "soccer"

What is your favorite snack/treat: "apples . . . and Dora fruit snacks"

What is your favorite animal: "a whale"

What is your favorite song: "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam"

Who is your best friend: "Grandma!"

What is your favorite book: "The Going to Bed Book"

What is your favorite cereal: "Crumbs" (?)

What is your favorite thing to do outside: "play baseball with daddy"

What is your favorite drink: "milk"

What is your favorite holiday: "sunny day!" (After I explained it to her, she said: "Santa day!")

What do you like to sleep with: "my best friend Red Baron and my white towel"

What is your favorite breakfast: "I told you . . . a peanut butter sandwich!" (She doesn't quite get the differences between meals.)

What do you want to eat for dinner on your birthday: "purple cupcakes!"

What do you want to be when you grow up: "a baseball player with my daddy . . . but I already growed up to a big girl."


Throughout the whole interview, she kept taking a paper and pen and saying, "Now, let me ask you a few questions . . . ".

She's right.
She already growed up to a big girl.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

all about C @ 3.

My firstborn is turning 3 tomorrow. The crazy thing about 3 is that it is like, a kid. Not a baby. Not a toddler. We're talking 100% kid. And Carly is one fabulous kid.

Carly is loving. Lately when we put her to bed, we face all sorts of negotiations: "How about 4 more baby hugs and 1 more kiss . . . or 5 more baby hugs." And you count out the hugs . . . "How about one kiss on the cheek and two more baby hugs" she says, holding up two little fingers. It is impossible to fight a negotiator like that.

summer-loving girl.

Carly is fun. She is active. She loves to run and be praised for how fast she is. She loves to be chased and tackled and tickled. She loves playing sports, and I look forward to seeing what she develops a passion for. She is strong and tall and lean. I'm kind of all for volleyball, though soccer would work too. She has an outrageously fabulous imagination. It is fun to catch her talking to imaginary people and singing made-up songs. She loves to draw and paint and color with chalk. She loves to swing. And she loves to swim with her daddy. So. Much. Fun.

reading in bed with mom.

Carly is smart. She recites books. She remembers everything. She says things and I just think, "How in the world did you get so smart?" She is a big talker and talks talks talks your face off. And recently we have entered the world of "Why?" She asks "Why? Why? Why?" and we go on these long trains and countless times my last answer ends up being "Because Heavenly Father wants us to." But that usually stops her. Maybe that should just be my first answer. She is curious and likes to learn about everything.

big girl Rapunzel braid.

Carly is a sweet big sister. She has a real sweet tenderness for Quinn that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. More recently she has started to like John, since she can make him smile real big and she was even the first one to get hard-core laughs out of him. She is protective of "her babies" and when people come to look at them, she'll say "This is Quinn and that's John. They're my brother and sister."

with her babies.

Carly is strong-willed. Remember way back when right after Christmas when we started the "3 day potty training". Ha! Joke. For Carly it was the "7 month potty training". After a few hellish weeks, she got #1 down. But that dang #2, or "muds", as it is officially called in the C House, is literally just now becoming a smooth process. Carly was afraid to go, so she would hold it and hold it and hold it. And we would pump her full of fiber bars and dried apricots, so she wasn't stopped up. When she had to go really bad she would start acting emotional and dramatic and screaming and all sorts of crazy stuff. We lovingly dubbed it "Poop PMS" and got a glimpse at what she might become once-a-month in 13 years. So finally, I just quit. I stopped asking. Stopped trying. Stopped pushing (ha! no pun intended). I made a chart that if she went in the toilet 5 times, she'd get to pick a toy. And guess what? Poop PMS is all but gone. At the splash pad the other week she was playing and came to me and said "I have to go muds." We went to the bathroom, she went, and she went back out and kept playing. This is UNHEARD of over the last 7 months. I was seriously elated and outrageously proud. She just has to do things on her own terms.

loves her sister.

Carly loves Towel. Her beloved white dishtowel . . . she really loves that thing. It goes everywhere with her. And you do NOT mess with White Towel. Before the babies came, she'd say, "The whole family . . . mommy, daddy, Carly, and Towel." In fact, I often call it "he", it is so much a part of the C House. When he "takes a bath" (goes in the washing machine), Carly cries softly and moans, "I miss my white towel." It is a long hour plus. The other day, she said, "I love my grandma. I love my papak. But THE MOST, I love white towel." That thing has wiped her blood, dried her tears, and calmed her fears. And it is falling apart. White towel's stray strings litter our carpet and cover her bed. When she finds one, she picks it up and puts it back on the towel as if it will stay and says, "Here ya go, towel." He is now transparent, and I just don't know what we're going to do when he completely waists away. Breaks my heart just thinking about it. The love of a girl for her towel is sweet.

silly goose.

Carly is a crack-up. Some of her best quotes:

One day I was super frustrated with crazy babies, and Carly was having poop PMS and I was just at a melting point. Carly was crying and wouldn't blow her nose. So I said (not my best mom moment), "Carly! Just blow your freakin' nose!" She sobbed harder and said, "I don't have a freakin' nose! I have a Carly nose!"

She put on a dress one morning and spun in it and said, "Its so beautiful! Can I wear this dress when I get married in the temple?"

I asked her if she wanted to watch a show on my phone: "Well, your phone is really so small so I can watch it on the TV."

Chris and Carly were leaving the bathroom after her bath:
Carly: "Uh, oh. We can't get out. Mommy's helmet is in the way."
Chris: "What?!"
Carly: "Mommy's helmet is in the way. Her purple helmet."
{The purple helmet . . . was my shower cap. Yes I wear one; fast showers are key for me, and washing my hair is not always an option. I am not ashamed. And Carly sees me get out of the shower in it. I died laughing at this. She still calls it my helmet.}

finishing her gymnastics routine.

Chris was getting Carly dressed and Quinn managed to grab Carly's underwear. Carly got upset and yelled at her: "Quinny, those aren't your panties!" Fighting over clothes already.

I was dressing Quinn after a bath. Carly came over and was stroking her head: "I like Quinny . . . [long pause]. Mom, do you like John?"

She has started this pitiful "I wish . . . " thing. Like, we will see a cute puppy and she'll say in this sad sweet voice, "I wish I had a little black puppy." And all I want to do in the whole world is go buy her a puppy (though I NEVER want a dog. I have enough living things to keep alive and clean up after). Or she'll see people at the swimming pool, "I wish I was a swimming girl" and you just want to drop everything and take her. Hopefully she grows out of how dang cute she is, or we're in trouble when she's a teenager.

Carly was rocking John on the rocking chair. She came running to me in the bathroom and said, "Come look! John is broken!"
"What is broken?" I asked.
(For the record, he had just slumped over in the chair. He wasn't broken, thank goodness.)

She and Chris were talking:
Chris: "We're on the earth."
Carly: "No, I'm on the chair and you're on the bed."
Chris: "Well, the earth is really big. Our whole house is on the earth."
Carly: "Ok, dad. We can pretend."

lunch under the table in her fort.

I watch this girl every day in awe. I can't believe how grown-up she is. She is a truly amazing human being, and I'm grateful for the sweet little person she is.

Happy 3 years, Car. We're glad you joined us.