Monday, November 14, 2011

Delicious and Daunting

The prospect of returning home to our own space and schedule is both delicious and daunting.

(I neglected to bring my journal with me to Idaho. Well, I guess 'neglected' is misleading. My suitcase was crammed and I purposefully selected my journal to stay in Ohio. I figured my blog could be my journal. That is why you are getting more "Elisa's thoughts" posts than usual. Hope you don't mind too much.)

How delicious it will be to return to our own beds and rooms, our own daily plans. As usual, the leisurely days have given me the break I needed and motivated me to get right back in there with learning activities for Gwen, exercising at the gym, cleaning, cooking, studying, and completing other organization or crafty projects. I am eager to get back into a routine of productivity. I am looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving just us. I'm looking forward to the culinary preparation that goes along with it, especially the hours of poring over recipes to decide which new ones I'll try this year and add to our traditional favorites. That is really going to be fun! I'm looking forward to play dates with friends, chatting with my gal friends whom I've missed so much. I'm looking forward to driving with 2 girls in the back seat, on our way to the gym or the store or wherever--just in control once again (I guess I'm a control freak because a month of being passenger has started to bug me). I'm looking forward to reintegrating myself in my ward, which will have so many faces I barely know and some I've never seen. It will be delicious to serve again, to contribute. I'm looking forward to preparing Christmas offerings for friends, Christmas gifts and packages, and even the obligatory cards. I am looking forward to the rotation of seasonal decorations that are just 'ours' and already so full of memory. It will be delicious to tidy our home, make it beautiful, and count each little blessing.

All the while, I am daunted by the prospect of weaning Gwen off of her 'shows', her new toys (which I think she thinks are hers), and her adoring fans. I'm also daunted by the prospect of weaning Caroline off of those same adoring fans. The girls are going to be going through attention-deficit-shock. I've really enjoyed the time with family, the opportunity to get to know my in-laws better, to spend one-on-one time with Elise in a Rasputin dance off on the Wii, to be tutored by my oh-so-talented MIL on a sewing project, to teasingly remind my FIL that Caroline cannot have cake and ice cream yet. It has been wonderful. The best part, though, was actually seeing how content and happy Eric is every night has we cuddle and whisper in bed. He has really enjoyed this break and I've loved seeing him so relaxed and at ease with the world. No worries to furrow his brow. Such will not be the case when he is in a rotation AND doing interviews AND preparing for boards AND serving in his calling AND trying to maximize his time with us. No, it will be a rough coming month for Eric, and I am going to miss the peace in his handsome hazel eyes. I am definitely daunted by the return to responsibility.

But, ready or not, here we come. Tomorrow will be a day of laundry, packing, putting away things we've gotten out, and walking through again and again to pick up any last item we may have missed hiding behind pillows or stacks of books or toys. (I'm sure we'll forget something. Isn't that to be expected?)

We'll be home in Ohio on Wednesday. How deliciously daunting. (hopefully I don't get a tummy ache like this guy is bound to get...)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

She has Achieved Forward Motion!

Caroline is army crawling!

and she's pretty proud of herself. You can just see the wheels turning in her head as she considers the world of toys this opens up to her. I don't think Gwen appreciates the progress. That's the latest achievement, but why stop there?

She also finally went from 'liquid' solids to solid solids (that improvement has occurred over the past 3 weeks) and as of yesterday has even added chicken to her repertoire! She has 2 bottom teeth to display with those big grins too. She sits up tons better and has transitioned to the high chair for meals. And, as Eric will argue, she has said her first word. "Thda-thda". You can take a guess as to why he considers that her first 'word'. I still have my doubts. :)

since the blog is serving as a journal of sorts, I wanted to be sure to document these developments. She is 7 months now, for the record. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Have a 3-year old

Today is Gwen's 3rd birthday. I can't believe it. Well, sometimes I can because she seems so much more grown up these days.

Today was the second installment of birthday festivities. We actually celebrated the cake portion of her birthday a couple of days ago before her cousins left. We wanted to do that part with friends and it was a big hit! Well, actually, it was pretty funny because Gwen asked Edward repeatedly the day before if he wanted to come to her birthday party... and each time without any hesitation he said "no". I think she was starting to get pretty sad about that. I guess his parents had to train him a lil bit, because when she asked him again on the day of, he said yes. and she was finally happy and said "yay!"

Gwen was excited today to see her Thomas cake come out. I spent about 6 hours making the cake. Made possible by so many helping hands tending lil kiddos. Gwen helped 'roll' one homemade marshmallow fondant rock, but after that she only wanted to eat them. I loved how the cake turned out: both delicious and beautiful! Definitely there are errors, but they aren't big deals and it was really perfect for the girl. She loved her Thomas and her Island of Sodor. And I was proud. :)

She knew what birthday cakes were all about this time and when she saw me put on the candles, she said, "but mom, it needs the yellow stuff on there so I can blow!" Yes, you're right Gwen. Blow out those candles!
She looks almost meditative here, don't you think? Planning a candle-blowing strategy, perhaps?

When I told her she could have first dibs on a part off the cake, she didn't hesitate. "I wanna eat Thomas" she told me. So that's what she did. :)

lol, her teeth were blue from the food coloring in the fondant!

Edward and Frederick enjoyed some Thomas cake.

and Caroline was happy too!

Then today, on her birthday birthday, she opened presents.
she was surprisingly timid about unwrapping. It was a very 'delicate' process.

She loved the pink fluffy purse with the frog that holds blocks spelling her name. He has his own lil blanket, which she thought was pretty cool!

Eric and I gave her some cheapo jewelry... and we probably should have saved it for later, because she didn't want to open any other presents. She told us "no thank you. I just play with my jewelries". Lol.

so we compromised by putting the jewelries in her new lil (used) back pack so she'd open this beautiful book about Jesus Christ from her G-gma. I love Simon Dewey paintings!

My MIL went all out and made this gorgeous quilt for Gwen. These fabric 'dolls' have clothes so she can dress them.

Gwen was in love as soon as it finally dawned on her what she could do with all this picture, I think she was still at the 'overwhelmed' stage. :)

She is such a lil girl now, not so much a toddler. She is smart, independent and generous. She loves to take care of people, especially Caroline. Drama is definitely her friend. She actually enjoys being sad, I think, and will put herself into solitary saying "I just need to go be sad" on the stairs or in the corner...or at the very least, she'll bury her face in her hands and say, "I'm so sad" with big alligator tears.

I love our beautiful daughter, her enthusiasm for life, her tenderness, and her desire to learn. Happy Birthday, Gwen. We are so blessed you have you in our family, in our lives, in our hearts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treating

Eric, Elise and I took Gwen out for her first 'real' trick-or-treating this year. It was really fun to see how excited she was for Halloween. She actually understood what was coming and kept asking every day for a week "are we going trick or treating today?" She told anyone who asked that she was going to be a princess for Halloween. and she was a lovely one. Nothing creative here, we just put her in her favorite princess dress up. She couldn't have been happier. She tried out all her poses:
Caroline stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa because she was in desperate need of a nap. She was really grouchy and since putting on clothes is one of those things she really detests, we didn't push our luck to attempt getting her in her bumblebee costume for pictures. (Don't worry, we'll get her in it for some pics later, even if it wasn't technically worn for Halloween.) Plus, it was cold outside and we didn't really want to take her out with her cold. We all decided it would be more fun for everyone if she sat this one out. So we took Gwen alone. She kept asking what our costumes were... I don't think she was impressed with my "turquoise coat" costume or Eric's "plaid shirt and hat" costume. Apparently, next year we're going to have to dress up to take her out.

She was so cute at each house. She'd yell "TRICK OR TREAT" as soon as we approached the door... and then would just stand there shyly when the door was finally opened. Then once her candy was in the bag, she'd yell "THANK YOU" and take off running for the next house, often dropping her bag and not even noticing. She wasn't as excited about the candy as she was about the knocking and 'trick or treat'-ing. Then when we got home, she wanted to share her suckers with everyone. It was really cute.

Eric and the Apples

Eric helped out his folks by harvesting their apples... I suspect we'll see these apples turned into sauce while we're here.

Eric is such a ham... I just like these pics because he can't resist performing and making some goofy faces at the camera.