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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Exercise for the Heart

Addie: Mommy, did you know that I can give rea-yee rea-yee big squeezes (a.k.a hugs)?
Mommy: Yes I know. It's one of the things I love most about you.
Addie: Dey make me super strong!
Mommy: Oh really?
Addie: Yes. Dey are exercise for my heart. Dey keep me helfy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Perfection

Story Telling


Some evenings we eat dinner outside and tell stories by the fire, and some times Mommy gets lucky with a particularly magical story... like the one where we are all looking at the tiny dragons flying in the sky. Priceless.

Stylin'


Two mismatched socks (not shown), shorts, long sleeves, winter boots, winter hat, a single winter glove and a butterfly on her nose... this girl was stylin' all day long.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ellie's Solar System


She feels bad for Pluto and decided to include him so as not to hurt his feelings.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I will miss you!

Today is Ellie's last day at Sunset Academy, the preschool/kindergarten that she has been going to for nearly 4 years now. This morning, while snuggling in bed with the girls, I asked her how she felt about it, expecting her to be a bit anxious and sad. She is super excited. Instead, it was Addie who broke down with the biggest tears I've seen in a long time.

Addie: But I'm going to miss her when she is gone! I yike to give my sissie a hug pretween kasses.
Ellie: Well I'm not gone yet! And today I am going to ask my teachers if I can go to your classroom lots of times to give you extra hugs. Would you like that?
Addie: Yeah! That would make me happy for today but I will miss you.
Ellie: I'm going to miss you too.
Addie: I love my sissie and I want to go to the same school as her because I will miss her.
Ellie: The good news is that we will still see each other at home and you will always be in my heart when we are at school.

.... and so on and so on... Poor Addie. Today is going to be a difficult day for her, but next Tuesday is going to be even more so.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gramma

I would have to say that one of the best surprises about parenthood is watching my children grow their relationships with their grandparents. Maybe it's because she's my own mother, but their relationship with Gramma strikes me as an amazing bond. I knew that she would love being a Gramma, but I had no idea how much they would love her in return. And boy do they!

Gramma loves spending time with the girls and they are always anxious to spend more time with her. She calls them on the phone and has conversations with them. They often think to call her in return if they have a special announcement to make. It feels like Gramma is always volunteering to spend more and more time with the girls and they would go in a heart beat if it weren't for the fact that Mommy and Daddy miss them so much when they're gone.

Gramma's time with the girls is filled with just "being together" time. As long as they're together, they're happy. Whether it be planting flowers and strawberries in the garden or cooking in the kitchen, as long as they're spending time together they are happy. Very happy.

I love watching the girls' faces light up when Gramma walks into the room. I love how they think their full names include "Gabble Gobble" at the end - a Gramma's inclusion. I love that they come back singing songs like Annie's Song (aka "Gramma's song").

All in all, the girls are quite lucky to have as many grandparents as they do. They are so loved, which is good because they have so much love to give in return. It makes my heart sing to watch them grow their relationships with their grandparents - each slightly different than another, and each special in their own way.

Nana & Grampa

Oh Grampa and Nana... can the girls love you any more than they do? I don't think so.

We've always said how pleasently surprised we've been with Grampa's relationship with the girls. He is a top-notch grandpa, and loves to spend time with his girls. Nana too. The girls get to see them a lot and I love that they are a constant in our lives. I can't imagine their childhood without their Grampa and Nana.

One thing that I love dearly about these two is that they're always coming up with educational and fun activities to do with the girls. Whether it be a trip to the zoo or counting butterflies for a preservation group, there is always something new to learn. Heck, even if they're stuck at home the time the girls spend with them is filled with learning activities. Grampa taught Ellie how to add and subtract numbers using his magic rocks. He taught Ellie how the values of different coins and how to add them up. Even Addie knows the names of the coins. Nana has a set of musical instruments in her home and the girls love to pull them out and have a good old fashioned jamming session.

How they can turn even a quiet afternoon play time into amazing educational fun time is beyond me. Don't they ever run out of ideas? Apparently not. The girls love how whenever they spend time with Nana and Grampa, it's always something different. We love it too.

Grandpa Lou & Grandmommy Jeanne

Grandpa Lou and Grandmommy Jeanne get to visit with the girls only a couple times a year, but we try to make the most of our limited time. This year they came out for Uncle David's wedding and so our time was even more limited with them because we had to share their attention with new family members, but that didn't stop the girls from enjoying their visit.

Grandpa Lou's relationship with the girls is unlike any other grandparent. He has a way that is a bit stand-off-ish, though I don't say that as a bad thing at all. In a time when the girls are so accustomed to people making a fuss over them, it's refreshing for everyone (the girls included) to just be relaxed around Grandpa Lou. He doesn't go to the girls. Instead they come to him. The girls are always on the lookout for ways to act more mature, and Grandpa Lou seems to give them another opportunity to do so. I can tell that they love him for it.

Grandmommy Jeanne also interacts with the girls on a more mature level. She doesn't change her tone of voice when she speaks to them, which gives them a feeling of being respected like any other adult. That may sound strange, but when you're so accustomed to hearing people's voices change when they speak to children, it's quite noticeable when you are around someone who does not do that. This trip Grandmommy Jeanne spent hours upon hours upon hours playing one-on-one with Addie, doing what Addie loves the most - playing with Strawberry Shortcake.

We are going to visit Grandpa Lou and Grandmommy Jeanne for the 4th of July this year, which we're very excited about. The girls have told us that they're so excited to see the fireworks with them. They're also excited to go swimming and to show Grandpa Lou and Grandmommy Jeanne their new-found talents in the water.

We may not see these two often enough, but when we do, it's always an opportunity for the girls to shine and be as big as they possibly can be.

Pappy & Grammy

My blog has never been intended to document every aspect of my children's lives. I use my blog to help me focus on the positive side of parenthood. It helps me to remember what makes my heart sing and toss aside any frustrations I may have. That being said, because there are so many aspects of my daughters' lives that don't get mentioned here, sometimes I have to remind myself to include a bit more than the "everyday." The grandparents are probably the best example of how I don't do due-diligence with my typical blogging style, yet I have loved the relationships my daughters have developed with them.

So... Here it goes.... In no particular order (well technically, in the order in which the photos were taken).... We'll start with Pappy & Grammy...

To say that we don't get to see these two often enough is an understatement. We typically get to see them once or twice a year, but we make the most of their short visits. Luckily for us, they're both going to retire soon so we anticipate seeing more of them.

As soon as Pappy and Grammie show up, the girls know it's a special day. They bring gifts. They bring candy. They bring pretty clothes and fancy dresses. Grammy buys them ballerina outfits and fun sparkly clothes. The girls get to have ice cream when they're in town. They get to climb up onto the couch and give Pappy and Grammy hugs. They love to read books with them.

I'm not sure what it is about Pappy and Grammy's visits that make them so special. Somehow they are able to turn even the common activities into wonderful fun adventures. There is no doubt that the girls know that they are loved dearly by these two.

Pappy has a way of whistling his loving affection to the girls. They just beam with pride whenever he shows how impressed he is with something they do. Grammy has a way of making them feel like princesses and talking about grown-up topics like fun clothes.

Pappy and Grammy live in a house on a lake and though we aren't able to see them this year, next year we look forward to visiting them. Both girls have been practicing their swimming because they're so excited to show Pappy and Grammy their talents. They strive to impress the special people in their lives, and Pappy and Grammy are definitely included on that list.

To say "we love you" just doesn't do any justice to the instant connection the girls feel the moment Pappy & Grammie walk into the room.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Say goodbye to...


... Kindergarten Ellie. Hello 1st Grade Ellie!

Sniff. Sniff.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Class Distractions

Picture this...  There is a class of tiny ballerinas jumping around trying to be real dancers.  They're concentrating as hard as possible.  Some even have their tongues sticking out.  Then a Mommy arrives early and sits on the other size of the window that allows parents to observe the class.  Daughter sees Mommy.  Daughter stops paying attention.  Daughter is delighted that Mommy is there and is constantly checking to see that Mommy saw whatever it was she just did.

It sounds like a typical dance class, right? 

Now reverse the roles.  This time it's Mommy in class and Ellie is on the other side of the window.  She's waiting patiently but not in the way you might expect.  Instead of sitting and observing (maybe she doesn't know the proper ettiquette) she is dancing right along.  Now it's Mommy who can't pay attention to the instructor.  How could she?  Do you see how cute her daughter is being? 

Needless to say, there were many times when our eyes met and she would blast me the biggest smile ever.  She knew she was being silly.  She knew she was messing me up.  She knew she was making me smile.  She knew and she loved it. 

Then again, so did I.

Wordless Wednesday


January 2010


May 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

The World According to Addie (3 years old)

Can she really be big enough for this type of post? Where does the time go? Seriously!!! If I had to sum up Addie in 3 or 4 things, they would be:
- Squeezes (aka Hugs)
- Singing
- Her "other house"
- Wearing dresses

Alas, it's never that simple is it? Here is the world according to our little snuggle bear. The answers and drawings are provided by Addie herself.

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My name is ADD-YINE RWAIN VINCEN GABBLE-GOBBLE


I am TWEE AND HALF. SOON I AM AS BIG AS YORI-ELLE! MAYBE TOMORROW?

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This is how I spell my name.


This is what I look like.

I have BWOND HAIR AND BWOWN EYES. I HAVE PINK HAIR AT MY ODDER HOUSE. I have a great big smile that melts the world. I am almost always smiling.


I love my mommy because I LIKE TO GIVE HER SQUEEZES. SHE LIKES TO SNUGGLE WIF ME.

I love my daddy because I LIKE TO GIVE HIM SQUEEZES. HE LIKES TO TICKO ME.


I LOVE MY SISSIE BECAUSE I LIKE TO GIVE HER SQUEEZES.


SHE LIKES TO PAY WIF ME AND SHE MAKES ME YAUGH ALL DA TIME.

My favorite toy is ALL OF DEM? I like to sleep with a different animal friend every night. Never the same one twice. Some of the more popular animals are my PEGASUSUS, unicorn and giraffe.

My favorite friends are JULIA AND BEH-YA (Bella)!!! I YIKE BEH-YA BECAUSE I LIKE TO GIVE HER SQUEEZES. I AM MISSING HER BECAUSE SHE IS IN A DIFFERENT CASS DEN ME BUT MAYBE TOMORROW I WILL BE BIG LIKE HER AND WE CAN RUN AND RUN! I YIKE JULIA BECAUSE SHE MAKES ME YAUGH AFTER BEING SO SI-YEE.

The best things about me are I AM GOOD AT GIVING SQUEEZES and AT MY ODDER HOUSE I CAN DO THAT!

I am good at...

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... giving good squeezes...

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(they always come with sound effects and great expressions of concentration.)

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... singing...

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No, I mean really good at singing...

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In fact, I sing ALL the time!


My favorite color is PINK. AND PURPLE. I HAVE A PINK CAR AND A PURPLE BED AT MY ODDER HOUSE.

My favorite animal is GIRAFFES AND I LIKE BABY CARTWHEELS TOO! I HAVE A BABY CARTWHEEL AT MY ODDER HOUSE. IT'S ACT-SHELLY A BABY MICE NAMED CARTWHEEL. SHE GOES SWEAK SQUEAK AND LIKES TO HAVE HER EARS TICKLED. DO YOU WANT TO COME OVER TO MY HOUSE TO TICKLE MY MICE EARS?

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My favorite song is THE BELLE SONG.

My favorite book is THE CIRCUS SHIP. CAN I COUNT DA AMINALS?

If I were a super hero, I would be PINK AND I WOULD WEAR A PINK CAPE BECAUSE I AM A GRRR-O. I WOULD FLY HIGH INTO THE SKY BECAUSE MY CAPE HAS MAGIC. I HAVE A MAGICAL CAPE AT MY ODDER HOUSE...

When I grow up I want to be A PWINCESS WIF RAINBOW HAIR. I HAVE RAINBOW HAIR AT MY ODDER HOUSE. WHEN I GROW UP I'm GONNA HAVE RAINBOW HAIR WIF RAINBOW PIGTAILS WITH RAINBOWS ON DEM! DO YOU WANT TO COME TO MY HOUSE TO HAVE RAINBOWS IN YOUR HAIR TOO?

My favorite place to visit is MY ODDER GWAMMA'S HOUSE. MY ODDER GWAMMA'S HOUSE IS PINK AND PURPLE AND MY ODDER GWAMMA HAS PINK AND PURPLE HAIR. SHE HAS A NEW PET. IT'S A PINK MONKEY! MY ODDER GWAMMA LIKES IT WHEN HER MONKEY WEARS HIS PINK AND PURPLE SHOES.

The most beautiful place I have ever visited is MY ODDER GWAMMA'S HOUSE. SHE LIVES NEXT TO DA WATER. THE OCEAN AT MY ODDER GWAMMA'S HOUSE IS PINK AND THE SKY IS PURPLE. I HAVE A PET FISH AT MY ODDER GWAMMA'S HOUSE! AND A PURPLE OCTAPUS.

If I could visit any place in the world I would go to PARIS TO SEE A PINK EIFFEL TOWER. I WOULD GO TO TA-WA-GON-DA TOO!

I would like to help the world by GIVING DEM A BIIIIIGGGG SQUEEZE. I'M RE-RE GOOD AT GIVING BIG SQUEEZES. DO YOU WANT TO SEE?

How many people are in the entire world? NINETEEN-SEVENTEEN!!!

How many people are in their houses right now? UH, I DON'T KNOW BUT I HAVE A PINK HOUSE AT MY ODDER HOUSE!

What we will remember most about Addie at this age is...
... most definitely your "other house." You have the most vivid imagination and are always talking about this magical perfect place you call "AT MY ODDER HOUSE." It's an entire world you've created in your head and it's filled with nothing but pink things, with a hint of purple every now and then. You talk about this place ALL the time. The best thing about this place is that it gives you the ability to do everything you wish you could do. Make Ellie happy with all the bunnies in the world? That can be done at your Other House. Give Mommy rainbow hair? Just come on over to her other house! Fly in the sky with wings of your own? No problem. You do it all the time at your other house. You tell us how you learned a new pink song at your other grandma's house. You have pink hair and a pink elephant and eat pink food and drink purple water. You have seen pink waterfalls for real, of course when we ask you where, we already know the answer. You like to invite us over to your other grandma's house all the time so that we can see the pink trees that you planted or the pink birds that are happy in the pink trees with purple leaves. No doubt, your imagination far exceeds any that we've ever seen before, and apparently you think (and probably dream) in pink.

But that's not all we will remember about you. You absolutely adore your big sister and are proud to be such a good little sister. You tell us that Ellie is lucky to have you and that you're lucky to have her. We agree. You seem to go out of your way to do whatever it takes to keep your sister happy, often giving up something you want knowing you'd rather have her happy than deal with her being upset at you. In fact, this is the norm for you. Nothing phases you. You are happy as long as everyone around you is happy. Nothing upsets you more than the thought of disappointing someone you love, but you're also quick to offer a good hug. Scratch that - a good SQUEEZE. You are SOOOO proud of your hugs that you will go up to a stranger and ask them "DO YOU WANT SOME OF DIS?" It's not until we explain that you're offering a hug that they know how to respond. And your hugs? You don't simply put your arms around the other person like 80% of the population does, nor do you simply squeeze like 19% of the population does. You have your own patented style, complete with full-blown sound effects. Mostly grunts, but it's quite apparent that you give it all your might. There is nothing that makes you more proud than your squeezes.

You also love to sing and sing all the time. ALL THE TIME. You amaze everyone who knows you with the level of songs you know the lyrics to, and it seems that even when all else is quiet, you're singing to yet another new song. You love to wear dresses, preferably with tights. If clean tights don't exist, then tight pants might suffice. Regular pants are only acceptable with a skirt on top, but you'd prefer to wear shorts under the skirt than pants. Not sure we'll ever understand your rationale.

You are a brave little girl who isn't phased by much, but you feed from the confidence that your sister has. If you're unsure about something, and Ellie says it's ok, then you believe her with all your heart. Problem solved. You are very confident and very silly. You love to make people around you laugh, and no doubt you are the source of many smiles and lots of laughter in our household.

You know how life works... when someone is feeling down, usually all it takes to put a smile back on their face is a good squeeze. Sometimes our most important place in the world is to make others feel loved.

Wonderful Weekend

We had to push off our monthly date nights until next weekend and thank goodness we did! Our weekend was packed with good Niffer stuff like going on walks, gardening, tea parties and of course wearing hats. Perfect in every way.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Wordless Wednesday



Planning Their Weddings

I'm not sure how we got onto the topic but the girls have decided they're going to have a rainbow wedding.

Complete with rainbow wedding dress. Ellie likes the one on the right, Addie likes the one in the middle.

Their "best friends" would be on their sides and each would be a different color. The maid of honor would be in pink, of course.

Don't forget the bouquet.

And the cake!

Ok, admittedly, I'm sure that a rainbow wedding could easily get out of hand and a bit tacky but I have to admit... I think they're on to something. My wedding (LOVED it) was just about the complete opposite of a rainbow. My bridesmaids wore silver. I love the dresses above (can't decide which one I like best, honestly) and the idea of the bridesmaids being rainbow colors. Hmmm.... Renew our vows, perhaps?

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Spring Tulips

This year the tulips were not very happy, but I managed to get some cute photos anyway. Maybe if I'm lucky we'll find a big field of flowers to sit in front of and have super pretty replacements, but for now... consider this Niffer one happy camper.






Ellie's Stories

These are some classics...


"I love mommy so much that I am going to give a card for her."


Polar bear is asking "Who are you?" and the caption says "Polar bears don't live in the Antartica."


"If I were in Australia, I would save a koala."


"Kangaroos have pink babies when they're born" with a special note from teacher saying "did excellent with some very tough words."


"If I went to Europe, I would go to the Eiffel Tower."  A girl after my own heart.


"I am going to watch fireworks today."


"This is for you Dad."


"This year I will be a better listener."


"I love my family."  The image has "let it rain let it rain let it rain."  I like the way she thinks.


"Giraffes have a strong kick."


"Yahoo!  I am going out of the school yard."


"Koalas are slow."  I agree with the teacher.  I love it.


"Humty dumty sat on a horse."