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Two

My little Penelope is two!

With her birthday a week before Christmas, I still have a lot to figure out in terms of keeping the celebration of her separate from all the other festivities of the season, but right now all festivities are fun and exciting and make her pretty happy.

So for her birthday we had some family over for a Peppermint Party.

She was very excited about the cupcakes and even tried to blow out the candles. Our peppermint cupcakes were made with a white cake mix with pink food coloring and crushed candy canes sprinkled on top.

We played “candy cane hunt” (like an Easter egg hunt with candy canes). Poppy was maybe a little young to really get into this game, but Charlie loved it and Poppy enjoyed putting the candy canes in the cup we had out to collect them.

Then we opened presents and played!

At two years old Poppy is walking independently, loves to play with dolls and look at books, and is finally becoming a lot friendlier to people other than Mama. This past year we have definitely seen her turn the corner from babyhood into being a full-fledged toddler, and her personality is really starting to take shape. I can already tell you that she is more of a daredevil than her big brother, but also very sensitive and empathetic. She thinks Charlie is the most fun and hilarious person, but won’t hesitate to stick up for herself if he gets in the way of her fun. While her communication skills are still limited, she is very emphatic when telling stories. And she’s turning into a real Daddy’s girl, which Chris is falling for… hook, line, and sinker.

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl! It’s such a joy to watch you grow!

Halloween Recap

Happy Halloween!

There’s no denying that kids make all the holidays more fun. I’m not usually a Halloween fan, but sharing in the excitement with Charlie this year made for some fun memories.

We went to the orchard a couple weeks ago to pick out some pumpkins.

Then we carved them. Charlie wanted a monster and a monster truck. So I did my best.

I was impressed that he was actually semi-helpful in scooping out the pumpkin seeds and he stuck around the whole time I was carving the pumpkin rather then running off to do something else.

And of course the main event required costumes. Charlie has become a big Star Wars fan, despite not being allowed to see the movies yet, being only 4. But somehow he still knows all the characters and loves to pretend he is a storm trooper. So for Halloween, we went with a Star Wars theme.

Our town has a great family friendly trick-or-treating event on Main Street each year, so we spent the evening walking up and down the street, admiring all the other people in their costumes, and collecting a bucketful of candy.

My favorite moment of the night: after dinner Charlie asked for some dessert. I told him no, because he would want to eat some of the candy he got trick-or-treating once we got home. At which point his eyes got real big and he said, “We’re going to get candy!?”

I have a feeling he’ll know what’s going on a bit better next year.

These Days // 24

I’ve had a lot of questions recently about my blog. Mostly along the lines of, “Have you quit?” or “Have my updates stopped working?” This make me feel three things.
1. Disappointed in myself for letting this little space slide for so long.
2. Surprised that anyone even notices.
3. Flattered that people apparently enjoy my ramblings enough to check in and make sure they aren’t missing something.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post to catch everyone up on my life for quite some time. But it’s been so long I can’t wrap my head around where to begin or what to include. So instead I’ll just let you know what’s happening these days.

expecting: Baby #3. Yep, we have a new little man preparing to make his big debut into our family in late January. This is also a big part of why I haven’t blogged in forever. Pregnancy saps a lot of energy and brain function. And when you have two other kids to raise, anything that’s left goes to them. It’s a happy reason be exhausted though, and I’ve been thankful to have a relatively healthy and boring pregnancy so far.

planning: a renovation to help make room for this baby. I’m reluctantly coming to accept that the baby will probably be here before the extra space is, but that doesn’t stop me from coming up with more ideas of projects to do around the house.

growing: a small summer garden. It’s been a fun project, and is pretty much winding down for the fall. But I have lots of ideas of what I’d like to do to expand and make it better next year.

styling: tiny pigtails and ponytails. Poppy’s hair is getting long enough to play with a little bit and I just can’t get enough of it!

teaching: preschool to Charlie. We’re dipping our toes into slightly more formal schooling this year with some reading and math curriculum. So far we both enjoy it, so I’m calling that a success!

hoping: I can get back in the swing of writing and sharing here more regularly. I’ve missed it. We’ll see!

Nine Years of I Love You’s

Today we celebrate 9 years of marriage. The celebration will be more in our minds than in reality. After all, there is life to live, laundry to do, two kids to feed and keep alive and get to sleep at the end of the day. But there are plans for a weekend brunch to look forward to. We know how to party.

We say “I love you” frequently. We always have. Sometimes it almost feels more like a habit than a phrase as full of meaning as it is. But maybe, really, that’s what love is. A habit. A way of choosing someone over and over and so much by default that it can be easy to forget how much power it holds. But the power is still there. And the power is in the habit. And that habit is what is going to hold your love together even when things get hard.

It’s interesting to look back on our lives together and reflect on how things have changed. In in these years of saying I love you, I feel like the meaning has shifted, slightly. The old meanings are still there, the bubbly, joyous, make my heart go pitter-patter meanings, but there are added layers now. A bit more reality and determination. A lot more humility.

I love you used to mean “You’re perfect for me!”
Now, I love you means, “I know I’m not perfect, but I hope you know I’m trying my best for you.”
Now, I love you means, “I know you’re not perfect, but you don’t have to be for me.”

I love you used to mean, “Life with you is going to be glorious!”
Now, I love you means, “Life is hard, and sometimes boring and frustrating, but I’m glad I’m spending it with you.”

I love you used to mean, “I’m excited to help you live out your dreams!”
Now, I love you means “I know you’re disappointed that your dreams haven’t quite come true, but I still believe in you.”

I love you used to mean, “I think you’re brilliant!”
Now, I love you means, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but thanks for still supporting me.”

I love you used to mean, “I’ll never let you get hurt.”
Now, I love you means, “When your heart hurts, mine does too.”

I love you means “I’m sorry.”
I love you means “I forgive you.”

I love you used to mean, “You’re my favorite.”
Now, I love you means, “That hasn’t changed.”

Who knows what the next 9 years will bring and what layers it will add to our “I love you’s.” I do know that we will keep on saying it. The habit is strong.

Happy Anniversary, husband of mine. Thanks for the 9 years of I love you’s.

My Yard in Spring

I like to think that I’m the kind of mom that takes her kids out on adventures to commune with nature. That I encourage curiosity and exploration. But the reality is that we rarely leave our backyard. (And then we only venture out on the pretty days.) Sometimes I worry that my children will miss out on all the important things nature has to teach them.

But then we spend a little time looking closely (and I might whip out my camera as well) and I realize that there’s an awful lot of nature to experience within a few feet of my backdoor.

So maybe I won’t worry that my kids aren’t getting enough nature. Maybe we’ll just pay more attention to what is happening in our own backyard.