Sunday, August 28, 2011

The long walk home...

Well, it's not usually a long walk. But with this "help", the trek between the el & home takes a little longer than usual.

Notice how Beary Bear's strapped to her arm. Saving her from the huge "push or hold BB" dilemma blocks before.

YouTube Video

Music in the city

It's no surprise to anyone here that we love living in Chicago... Especially this time of year. One perk is the many summer festivals and live music.

Hands down, our fave venue is Millenium Park (shown in the first video during a recent visit from my family's former xchange student, Jana). Free. Amazing skyline. World class performers. Need I say more? Unfort, since the arrival of our monkeys we don't make it as often as we'd like.

The second video is a free concert right in our 'hood. As you can tell, it's quite the draw for all the families.

How cool it is to be able to share such diverse music and culture with E & A!

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beach Day!

We're soaking in the last days of summer around here... Which means hitting the beach as often as possible. Yesterday we introduced Aunt Katie to "our" beach and finally documented some beach-side adventures!

Learning to wave jump!

Not yet a fan of the water... But finding plenty of sand adventures! (most likely searching for Beary Bear here)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 1, 2011

A sensitive soul...

Underneath E's sassy, spirited, effervescent (my Mom's descriptor), Fancy-Nancyesque facade we're starting to see a sensitive soul. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of the above stated 'tude/fits to go around, but these little rays of *unprompted* sensitive, caring, thoughtful sunshine are brightening more parts of more days of late. I thought it worth noting a few (for possible reference next time she is dragging her sister across the yard because she just. won't. come. when i call her!). A few exhibits:

- After talking about the famine in Somalia and the reality that many children don't have enough to eat, she pondered quietly for a few seconds then offered: "Well why don't they all come here and we can give them food?" When we explained that it takes money they don't have to travel here, she thought a little longer and countered: "Then why don't we just send them food?". Duh.

- One of the joys (and challenges) of city living is the real-life exposure to people with obvious needs. Almost every time we drive somewhere we encounter someone asking for something. Sadly, my hardened, adult eyes (and heart) often *don't see* them. But E rarely misses an opportunity to remind me to give them some food (we try to carry granola bars or the like) and is sincerely puzzled and concerned by the fact that someone wouldn't have a home when "There are so many houses all around us!".

- She's actually starting to ask us if we would like something BEFORE. HER. or letting us pick between two choices before she does. Now, this doesn't always mean she'll happily give us our selected whatever without a fuss... but at least she's starting to think about it, right? Here's how this might go. E: Mama, which color would you like to color with? Blue or pink? Mama: Pink. E: Uhhhh.... But I really like pink. Are you sure?! Baby steps...

- And we're even hearing more unprompted pleases and thank yous. Hallelujah!!

Now, lest I leave anyone with the false impression that this is the norm (and we've thereby overcome the toddler years...) scroll back to the top and re-read the dragging her sister across the yard reference. Which is way. more. the. norm. My point in posting is to not forget these emergent glimpses into this beautiful little girl's heart. Our prayer is that the Lord would continue to call her and guide us in this journey!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Future Skateboard Queen?

If I had a crystal ball I suspect it would show Annikah as a future skateboard queen. She is fearless, agile, and handles spills, bruises, and even her sister's tackles with relative ease. And she is enamored with our local skate park. We drive or walk by at least once daily and if I'd let her I think she'd jump right out of the stroller/car and join in the action. For now we'll stick to the fire scooter.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A little about our little A

Nearly 18 months and not close to 18 blog posts in her honor... Let me help you get to know Miss A in her current glory (warning, this may creep into for-her-record-book detail).

All in all, she's a sweetheart who charms the hearts of most who meet her. I know, that sounds like a biased statement... But really, Miss A's personality is precious. She waves to strangers, and bats her eyelashes at restaurant staff. She cuddles, kisses, and takes directions with smiles (we're bracing for the impending 2yo change).

But don't be fooled, she will be the class clown who never gets caught (or always gets away with it). She's not shy about pushing the limits... But she always does it with a smile. And if discovered silently getting into mischief, she simply bats her eyelashes as if to say, "Who, me?"

She & Beary Bear are
inseparable. We're talking write-a-story-book-about-them proportion. Like, I'll choose not to eat or go play in the sand if it means no Beary Bear (though he's been in sand, water, dirt... And I hate to think about what else). Like, he was once lost and found in a public garbage can on a walk and nap time had to wait for the Dryel load.

She loves to eat (though always
on her terms) - and therefore fits in quite nicely around here!

She doesn't want to be left out of anything. Especially if it involves her older sis getting attention from her mom or dad! That said, she & E are becoming great playmates. They can be found racing their baby strollers or shopping carts around the house, sliding down (or diving off) the outdoor slide, having a tea party, or hiding (and giggling) under the covers in E's bed.

- She also sleeps - a lot! Like, down at 7:30 or 8 and we have to wake her at 9:30 or 10. Really. Then it's back down for a 3ish hour nap. Maybe this is the secret benefit of her still sleeping in the Pack-n-Play in the basement (ahhh, the city life). Maybe also why she's tall. And happy?

- And she still likes to clean & organize. She takes trash to the garbage can without prompting and she closes the gate, doors, and puts things in their place at her own discretion. We hope this pattern remains into her teenage years!

- Finally, she's starting to talk. Some. Though I may be the only one who can understand most of these words (listed in order of appearance/frequency):
Uh oh
Bye bye
Please, shoes, drink = eese
Bear, ball = ba
Night = ite
Kiss = iss
Signs - please, drink, all done, more
...of course we laugh, who needs words when eh, eh, uh, uh, accompanied by pointing and head shaking/nodding get your point across just fine?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating Rye's B'day

Wow - have I really not posted since January 14? Looks like I'm failing miserably at that goal to post at least 2x's per month in 2011. Oh well. Life's been full in the last 2.5 months - there was snow that seemed to stay forever, Annikah's first birthday, a trip to Cancun for Rye & Sarah, guests, work, playtime, basketball... and last week, Rye's 32nd b'day! I'll start by sharing some snapshots from this fun (though low-key) day... and maybe I'll work backwards through the other events before summer arrives!

Happy b'day Rye! Here's to another fabulous year together. XO

My annual cheesecake... this year E insisted on getting a candle too. A is obviously not happy to be left out (a common theme around here these days).

E insisted Rye would like this balloon. In fairness, she also selected a sports one and orange & blue stars. Oh, and a princess one too.

The best $5 entertainment... that lasts for days! Really, these balloons WERE for Ryan.

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Make You Smile

Several of these videos are a little old... but I just stumbled across them and found myself instantly glowing. Granted, I'm biased... but I think they'll make you smile (or laugh) too. Enjoy!

Elynor & Lyla: Best Buds

One of my fave things about E's current age (and sadly, there are days when I have to really dig deep to find these...) is watching her friendships grow. Here's a peek into one such friendship with her buddy, Lyla. Their birthdays are only 2 weeks apart and they've been friends (well, I've been friends with Lyla's Mommy, Allison) since they were approx. 4 months old. With very similar strong-willed personalities, there are times when their friendship is contentious... but for the most part, they dance, chatter, and giggle together.

Hard at work (gotta earn their keep)...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A peek into December

Wow, have I gotten bad about posting on this blog! If you still check in here, thank you for your faithfulness. I wish I could promise to be more consistent in 2011. But, well, life happens... and it seems the reality of my life is it's often about all I can handle (or more than I can...) to LIVE life. So documenting it, is, well, an added bonus. I will continue to TRY to post periodically, but it's mostly for the purposes of keeping some records for my girls to look back at someday... think the scrapbook/journal that I will never do.

So with that out of my system... here's a quick peek into our December. I apparently didn't take many pictures. Good reminder to ask my mom/sister for some shots from Christmas in Greenville (consider that your nudge, ladies... if you still check in here;).

Standing & pushing things all over the place... but no unassisted walking.

Dance party with Aunt Katie.

Proud of her homemade Christmas tree (Mama proud to have created this activity on a cold afternoon).

Brrr... Yes, she's THAT bundled up to play on our back porch. Thankfully she has her Daddy's MN blood. And thankfully we are having a heater installed back there this week - every square inch matters in this house!

After our cold (but fun) community caroling concert at Millennium Park. E's fave song was Mele Kalikimaka - we sang it for the entire week following.

She's now an official American kid (and she LOVES french fries).

One of our Sunday morning dates (translation - get out of the house so Daddy can sleep in).

Our fave Christmas gift (A's fave was the paper).

A glimpse into E's first Christmas program (we were shocked she participated, as she tends to get stage fright).