Saturday, February 26, 2011

We ♥ Buddies

We helped out our friends this weekend by watching their kids while they packed up their house. They have four kids, but one was sick, so we just took three. Madeline is 6, Sean is 3, we have Bella who's 2, and little Charlotte is about 7 months - it was a full house! We had a super-great time! We got McDonald's happy meals (we are NOT above bribing!) and took them to the park to enjoy the sunshine. The kids were so well-behaved; they played together really well, and the older two did a great job including Bella in their games.
The three older kids watching How to Train Your Dragon; it's a new favorite at our house, and we can definitely quote it by now!
Bella playing with Madeline's Barbie and one of her red shoes - Madeline kept asking if she was doing a good job sharing with Bella - she was wonderful and so patient!
We had agreed to puppy-sit for other friends of ours who were out of town. Lucie REALLY likes sitting on top of Steve when the babies are going crazy. I'm not sure if she's going to survive this weekend.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

All Grown Up With No Place To Go

In honor of us keeping the little human alive for 22 months (it was actually last week), here are some of her "accomplishments" that I haven't had a chance to share with Grandma yet...

She can say "shoe" and "ree" (which is 'movie'; don't ask me why there's an "r")

She can ask "What's this?" and bring me a fresh diaper when she needs to be changed.

She can make animal noises and put all of her puzzles pieces back in the right space.

She is adjusting to the time-out chair pretty well, but still has trouble obeying the first time. (This probably shouldn't be listed as an accomplishment, but it's an update anyway.)

We are REALLY, REALLY looking forward to her 2nd birthday, although I will admit that I have it built up in my mind as this magical moment when she'll suddenly understand everything I want her to do and the behavior problems will be over. (Cue the laughter of seasoned mothers!)

Oh well, a girl can dream!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We (Temporarily) Found Serenity

This past weekend was the best. weekend. ever. It was exactly what Steve and I needed, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Steve found a lodge that was called Serenity in the Mountains, which kind of made me giggle, but it was beautiful!

Here are some highlights...

The tub was amazing! When we got in on Friday afternoon, I got to soak in it for about an hour! I have never seen a tub this big - you could stretch out your legs completely!

Each suite had its own living room with a fireplace and full kitchen. Saturday night after dinner, we turned all of the lights off, turned the fireplace on, and sat on the couch in our robes. It was so relaxing, and a great wrap-up to the weekend.

The bedroom was a completely separate room, so at night, we closed the door from the living room and it was total darkness!

We only managed to get one picture of the two of us (and it's not a great one), but here it is...fully rested and ready to go home and see our baby!

We had some great food, romantic dinners out, more sleep that we've had in a year, and time to reconnect as a couple. We will definitely be back!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Family Tree

Mel got me a do-it-yourself family tree for Christmas, and I finally sat down to work on it this weekend. The kit provides a nice drawing/picture of a tree, along with leaves and branches that can be labeled and cut out to "form" your family. There wasn't too much room, so I just started with each of our parents and then worked down from there. It turned out really nice!

As you can see from this next picture, Steve's side of the family has grown much faster than my side. So thankful that Bella has a tree-ful of cousins!

Our little family! It will be fun to add leaves as we grow!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eating Playdough and Self-Portraits

There are many things on the list of "forbidden items" that the little human really loves...two of those things are playdough and our camera. I dream of the day when my artistic and beautifully creative daughter is able to produce all sorts of breathtaking creations. Today is not that day. An "art" day for us includes her biting off the tips of the markers so hard that there are just gnawed nubs remaining, and Bella ends up covered in color like she just ate a painter's palette. She's just at that stage where she explores everything with her mouth and playdough is no different. I usually hide all of the cans, but she discovered one today and also managed to get the lid off. Pictures don't do it justice, but she came to me with her tongue sticking out so that I could scrape the pink goop out of her mouth.
Once we got the carpet cleaned up of pink playdough, we played with the camera for a little bit. Normally, the camera is completely off limits since Bella will rarely allow anyone to "help" her by holding the camera for her. That's just a recipe for disaster in my book, but today she was (briefly) content to let me hold the camera while she pushed the buttons. I turned the screen around so that she could see what she was capturing. Here's a picture of the two of us snuggling and a picture she took of herself while leaning veeeeeeeery close to the lens.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Girl Likes Her Gear

We got a new car seat for Bella today - half because we'll need a larger one eventually, and half because I hate the pink and butterfly design on our current one. I had it all set up in the living room to adjust the straps and Bella insisted on sitting in it. She grunted and fussed at me until I strapped her in, and then she contentedly finished her movie.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love And Respect

I've been trying all week to post a video of Bella in the bathtub, but it won't load properly, so I'm going to wait until later and share this book I've been reading, Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I'm only about halfway through this book, but I feel as though it was written for Steve and I. As I've been reading, I feel as though this has been the underlying problem to any of our arguments.

The book's central idea is that what a man needs most in his life is respect, and what a woman needs most is love. It sounds simple, but it really hammers out a man's need for unconditional respect. The book, for me, has been extremely humbling. There have been many times as I've been reading that I've thought, "But what about Steve?"

I would say our marriage is pretty awesome about 80% of the time - we get along well, we've learned how to communicate with each other, and we simply enjoy being around each other! I respect him completely - as a man, as my husband, as the father of my child. The problem comes in the everyday moments. See, I am extremely selfish and prideful, and I usually think I'm right. I'm not saying that to be cute. I really do think I'm right about 90% of the time.

You can imagine how this can be difficult in a marriage partnership. I'm realizing that the eye rolling, deep sighs, or raised eyebrows have all contributed to disrespecting Steve. It's not like I thought those were great responses before, but this book has helped me realize just how damaging they can be as Steve works to be the leader of our home.

All that to say that I'm learning, and I'm very excited about what I've been learning. I've also been excited about what Steve may learn from the book, as well, about how to communicate unconditional love in a way that I will recognize. Steve and I have often felt that our natural personalities make it very difficult to follow our God-given roles in the home. This book is giving me concrete, practical ways to show my husband respect.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Okay, NOW I'm done...

...well, I may never be completely done, but I love how it looks! I added a mirror to Bella's room that is hung at her level, and she squeals every time she walks by. I think that wall is completely done now - I added a lamp, the alphabet letters, the picture frames with Steve and I holding her as a baby, and the mirror.

I found a picture in my Martha Stewart magazine of a mobile made with a bunch of ribbons, and I wanted to try it in the playroom. I moved the tree tent down to the playroom after painting the bedroom, and the ceiling of the tent is sheer. (I know, way too much detail!) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to put a mobile above the tent so the kids could look up and see the ribbons hanging down. Here is a close-up of the mobile.

And here's a shot of the mobile over the tent...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper

Bella has become fascinated with laundry and vacuuming. When I'm switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer, she'll stand next to me and reach out for the clothes. She is a great helper and stand there the entire time until I've handed her the last piece of clothing to put in the dryer! Then she helps me close the door and I lift her up to push the button. She has also started belly-laughing whenever she sees the vacuum. Now if only she were tall enough to push it herself...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wrapping Up Loose Ends

I was going to make these individual posts, but it just seemed easier to wrap the week up with one. We added some final touches to Bella's room on Monday. I had bought some "stick-on" letters, but didn't get a chance to put them up when I first took pictures.
I used the letters to spell "Bella's room" on the wall right as you walk in the door. The "b" is light pink, so it didn't show up very well in the picture. My favorite thing about it is that it helps offset the green.

I used the other letters to write out the alphabet above her door. It adds some color and also fills up some of the big empty space along that wall.
Our blog book arrived! Steve's mom bought me this as an early birthday present. You can go to a website and order your whole blog in book form. Steve's sisters have done it each year and really like the way it documents the family happenings. It's like having a scrapbook without all of the work. It's not as colorful inside, but it's still awesome! Thanks, Mom!
For some reason, I can't get this picture to rotate the right way, but here's a picture of the inside of the blog book. It was just really cool to sit down and look at everything that had happened in the last year. It motivates me to keep up with the blog so that I can do this again each year.

This is the first half of our "cousin counter." We have big pictures of Bella's cousins taped underneath the counter so that Bella can see them. We want her to be used to seeing their faces when we get together for the summer. I still have to order some pictures of the other half of the cousins.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

O Happy Day

Bella was in an extremely good mood after church on Sunday, so we let her walk to the car instead of carrying her. She was laughing and giggling the whole way, and we made a fun game of it - she trotted all around people and I ran interference. Hopefully, we didn't annoy too many people. While she was waiting for us to unlock the car, she plopped down in the flower bed at church to drink my tea and point at the trees. Good times!