Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing—Benjamin Franklin


Moving on out

We are in the process of blog relocation. Here is the new address:  http://odetosomethings.wordpress.com/

Same thing, just a new face. 

Our life, the musical

E has been all about singing lately. He has started having singing conversations with me and let me tell you... it is pretty much impossible to get mad at someone when you are singing the words.*

However, the best part of his singing is how it has changed our bed time routine. It used to be scriptures, prayer, story, song. Now it is Mommy scripture, E's version of the scripture, prayer, Mommy story, E's much longer story, Mommy song, E's much longer song that more often than not turns into a story that turns into a song that turns into a story. Needless to say, bedtime is now the most interesting part of our day.

(Please excuse Gigi's burping through the entire thing)

Also, I will say again... I don't know why on earth we bother to buy her toys.

*Bryce and I have decided that we are going to make our kids sing their arguments to each other when they fight. Discipline and a show!

This is why everyone needs to be a parent

E started preschool. I know it will be great for him, but it panics me more than a little to think of him going out into the wide world if only for a few hours a week. There are thousands of "what ifs..." running through my head. It got me to thinking about all the things I have taught/have yet to teach my kiddos, good and bad. Being a parent is an interesting experience that is for sure.

I'm convinced that the reason God trusts us with children is for us rather than our kids because man alive! I'm a mess sometimes. It is a good thing He has my back or my kids would turn out nutty. My point though is that parenting is supposed to be about making your child the best possible version of themselves, right? And because you so often are teaching by example, that means that parenthood is essentially about making ourselves our best selves and hoping and praying that our kids follow the good stuff and ignore the bad. 

As a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, you have to watch your every action, word, and even thought because they will pick up on it (and copy it at the worst possible time). Every move you ever make at any given moment is monitored by a little being who is soaking it in and forming their personality and moral code largely based on yours. You slowly learn that every imperfect move you make will be duplicated and magnified 100 times. And then reflected back at you, right where you can see it best.
   That time when you break your toe and let a word slip and your child repeats it in preschool.
   That time when your child runs screaming from a butterfly because he's seen you do it.
   That time when your child hears/sees something he shouldn't in a movie because you thought he was asleep and consequently he has nightmares for weeks.
   That time you say a disparaging word about another to your mom on the phone and your child announces it to someone else.
   That time when you speak sarcastically and your child--taking it literally--does something borderline insane.
Everyone has parent-of-the-year-award stories. Because whoever you are... if you are a parent, someone is watching. You have a 24/7 private detective observing you, sometimes five of them at a time. That is a lot of pressure. Thankfully, we haven't had too many disastrous moments ourselves yet, but the older E gets, the more I see my bad habits in him.

But one of the hard parts of parenting for me is that it isn't only the things you do that you have to be aware of; it is the things you don't do as well. If you aren't kind to others, how will your kids learn to be? If you don't keep your anger in check, how will your kids learn to? If you aren't honest, how will your kids learn to be? The best way I know to teach my kids to be strong enough to deal with the pressures of life is if I am. Granted--and very thankfully--we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who can cover our bases when we fail (as we inevitably will), but the fact remains that whatever I want to instill in my children has to first be a part of my life. 

In essence, every day of my life I spend trying to make these little people who they need to be, and who they need to be is a way better and way stronger person than I currently am. Solution: become way better and stronger myself. This to me is the greatest challenge of parenting, but it is also the greatest blessing. As I make them stronger, I make myself stronger. As I help them grow and become better people, of necessity, I grow and become better myself.

Parenting is no cake walk that is for sure and it is only going to get more interesting from here on out, but I am awfully grateful that Heavenly Father is giving me a shot at it because boy am I learning a lot! And boy do I love my little teachers!

Fun and family

My mom and grandma  got to visit for a couple of days. E loved every minute with "G-mom," Grandma, and Jack Jack (the dog) and Gigi of course had one or two good naps on both grandmas and tried to eat Jack more than a few times. Poor Jack.

The last adventure

Here's the highlight reel of the last adventures of summer (maybe the last adventures for a long long while as Bryce is officially starting work).



We took a jaunt over to Hanging Rock Park and had a blast. This was our greeting committee first thing on the trail. Luckily someone warned us in advance (because he had almost stepped on it) and we were able to keep our distance. No thank you, Copperhead. However, we didn't see another one the rest of the time so all was well.

 There were a couple of fun waterfalls and some great views.
E was a trooper the whole time and walked for a good portion, but his poor little feet got so tired by the end. He talked about the waterfalls for days. Not to mention "hiccup-trucks" as we saw about 500 of them while we were roaming around.



We also went camping with a few friends (a thing
we haven't done in years. I'm pretty sure E fell in love the second we said, "You can go play in the dirt over there." and it just got better when we broke out a sleeping bag, tent (or "little tiny tiny house"), and started a fire. He was sold. Gigi wasn't quite sure what to think, but we all lived to tell the tale and had tons of fun.

Whoa thunder!

Storms here are fantastic. Fantastic and unpredictable.

For the first couple of months we were here it rained at least once a day almost every day. And I'm talking huge, thunder and lighting, feels like you are under a waterfall rainstorms. Which would be annoying, except for the fact that they only last for about five minutes.  How does one plan for that? Answer: You never ever do you hair and you never leave the house without an umbrella regardless of how clear the sky looks. 

E isn't so sure how he feels about these storms. On the one hand, he sometimes gets to run around and get completely soaked to the bone (always a win). On the other hand, he has to deal with thunder that makes you feel like the apocalypse is nigh and shakes your whole house (less of a win). We had a rare longer storm the other day and E was not pleased. At first he just commented on the thunder, but then one of the big earth shaking rumbles happened and as soon as he heard the crackle he screamed like a banshee and headed for the hills (the hills being mommy and daddy's bed). Coaxing a little boy out of his fears while the thing he fears is still going on so loud you can barely talk? Not an easy task. The thing that finally did it was that in a stroke of all-too-rare genius wherein I explained that just like he gets a little too loud when he is excited, the thunder is way too excited to be helping the rain come down and make things grow. It was a stretch, this I fully admit, but it totally worked. We spent the rest of the storm with him informing us and making sure Ginny knew that there was nothing to be afraid of because "the thunder is just excited to have a party with the lightening." The few times he debated being panicked about it again he announced, "It is being a little too loud, isn't it mom? Thunder, calm it down."

In other news, Gigi is crawling. She's been mobile for a while now (a constant reminder to me of how thorough you have to be when baby proofing the house because she wants to get into everything). She's gone from rolling everywhere about a month ago, to a sort of froggy crawl, and now she is looking like an offensive lineman.


Five years and counting

Whoa. Ok. Sorry for the blog dump for the last few days, but I've been married for five years as of yesterday. Can you believe it?


Bryce and I had date night a while back wherein the challenge was to summarize our story in seven words or less. We started out doing our love story in general, but then it morphed into first date, first kiss, the proposal, our first baby, etc. Needless to say it was one of the funniest date nights we've ever had. We had way too much fun reliving all the memories, so I thought our anniversary is the perfect time to share some of them.

Bryce: "I'm sorry, you have to die."
The line that brought us together. Actually, if we're being completely accurate, it is a quote from the movie we saw when we first met. The three of us--Bryce, myself, and our the friend who introduced us--sat solemnly in our small row, nodding to the ultimate tragedy and truthfulness of what the actors were discussing while everyone else in the theater laughed hysterically. Trust three humanities majors to take it to heart.

Me: "Not a date. None of them."
Bryce swears he took me on tons of dates before we were actually dating, but when he discussed dating me, I had no idea he was even interested. I will argue until my dying day that none of his the "dates" he took me on were legit.

Me: "Fish tank, clean dishes.... had my heart."
Bryce used to come over to my apartment all the time and do the dishes when I had completely given up on salvaging the mess my little roommates had made and I was boycotting the kitchen entirely. He would stand in there and sing his guts out doing the dishes I was too stubborn to do and then offer to clean my giant fish tank as well. Not to mention coming to buy all new fish with me after The Great Boiling. (The Great Boiling being the term we used in our apartment to describe the hottest couple of days of my existence when our air conditioning stopped working and half of the fish went belly up because it was just too hot to live. I didn't blame them.)

Bryce: "Yeah, I kissed her on the forehead."
Said in the most sarcastic voice imaginable because we weren't actually dating (because for the second time I wasn't entirely on board yet), but we were watching a movie with some friends and when he was sure no one was looking, Bryce leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. One of our other friends caught a glimpse of it and asked suspiciously if he had just seen Bryce kiss me on the forehead, however Bryce--knowing I didn't want anyone to know yet that I was considering dating him again--answered dripping with sarcasm as if it were the most ridiculous thing in the world for him to kiss me, made our friend doubt it and move on in a hurry. Our friend was awfully upset when he found out that his eyes had not deceived him.

Bryce: "I knew it, but you didn't."
This is the story of our life as Bryce always has a way of knowing what I'm going to do/say/decide long before I myself do and then when I tell him my breakthrough he is already well aware. However, it is especially true of our courtship.
I told him we couldn't date (even though we were practically dating already)... he took me on dates until I admitted it.
I told him I loved him... he said, "I know."
He told me I was going to marry him... I denied it vehemently and then picked a date the next day, which was a good thing because he had already taken my sister and mom ring shopping with him and ordered the ring.

Me: "Surprise. You cheater-pants. Best surprise ever."
After we picked a date, Bryce decided to propose to me properly and thus planned a surprise trip out to see me. I had been calling him all night and hadn't managed to get a hold of him--very unusual since we spoke on the phone every night for three months while he was in a different state. I was getting a bit worried, to the point that I had my sister on the line complaining that he was probably dead somewhere. My sister of course knew exactly what was going on and so wasn't surprised when Bryce finally called on the other line. When he answered, he made his voice sound as scratchy and groggy as he possibly could and claimed that he had fallen asleep and his phone wasn't working quite right so he hadn't heard my call. He neglected to mention that he had been sleeping on an airplane. We had our normal chat, but instead of saying goodnight, he asked what I could see from my front door. He was persistent so finally I stuck my head out and there he was, standing with flowers and a ring box. I ran to hug him, not bothering to look at the ring box until I realized that my parents were sitting in the car staring. Only then was he able to get on one knee and actually ask me.

Bryce: "The crustiest kiss you'll ever get."
On our honeymoon we ended up finding a random monastery around our hotel in Wolf Creek, UT. There lived the cutest old man on the planet, Father Patrick, who after we bought honey from him asked if he could kiss the bride. And boy did he. Best experience of the trip.

Haley (Quoting Bryce): "We're headed right where we're going."
Bryce had a conference in Amsterdam and I decided to tag along. We found out I was pregnant with E just before we left and boy was that fun. In short, Amsterdam has a lot of foreign food (read: a lot of different smells) which made it hard for my baby sick self. In the end, Bryce and I would walk by restaurants so I could briefly stick my head in and see if I could handle it before we could go in. The pastry shop down the road probably saved my life because it was all I could eat. Such a shame to miss all that interesting food. However, the funniest part of the trip came because I had the best sense of direction in the world (which is completely out of the norm for me) and Bryce decided right then that we were having a boy. He figured if I had any idea where we were at any given point it had to be the extra Y chromosome. The quote though actually comes from a day we were wandering around semi-lost and I asked Bryce if he had any idea where we were, to which he answered, "Of course I know where we are. We're headed right where we're going." We've gotten a lot of mileage out of that one.

Bryce: "Barf! You can do it! Barf!"
Bryce's encouraging words to both myself and him as we were trying our best to welcome E into the world. Mine was exhaustion and pitocin, his was food poisoning. We're still not sure who was more sorry for the other. 36+ hours later, it was all worth it.

It has certainly been a great adventure so far. I sometimes can't believe that this is my life. I honestly couldn't have imagined anything better than having two beautiful kids who keep me on my toes every second of every day and a husband who does his best to keep us all alive and sane. Thanks, Wonderful! For five amazing years!

The Great Dismal Pirate Adventure

I just realized that I never blogged our great adventure to the beach. So in the quickest of quick picture posts... Here is our trip:



We headed up to the beach for a bit because our friends needed help moving, so we thought we'd make an adventure of it. Gigi got to see the ocean for the first time and was less than impressed, but E loved it.

Next we headed to the Great Dismal Swamp because honestly, who doesn't love a great dismal swamp?

And finally...
Roanoke Island Festival Park. So fun! E was the most excited about the "pirate ship" and still keeps asking if we can go back to the museum with the ships. 

A realio-trulio-cowardly Haley

As a follow up to the last post...
One of my favorite stories my grandma used tell is The Tale of Custard the Dragon wherein Custard, the realio-trulio-cowardly dragon lives in a house full of bravery and "cries for a nice safe cage" on a regular basis. The poor little thing manages to be quite fierce when a pirate comes "climbing in the winda," but after that he goes right back "crying for a nice safe cage." 
In reading the story to E just a bit ago, I've decided socially speaking, I'm going to embrace the Custard way of life. Yes, more often than not I'm crying for a safe cage of my own--the cage being our nice little family bubble most of the time--but sometimes when I really need it (usually when the mama bear claws are ready to come out), I can buck up and be legitimately brave and do what needs to get done. I can hide in my nice safe cage where I feel comfortable and only bring brave-Haley out to gobble the occasional pirate when I need her. (Only nasty pirates of course as anyone who knows me at all knows that I'd rather join than eat most of them.)

God hath given you one face...

...and you make yourselves another. --Shakespeare

Warning: this post is not an update and it doesn't have any cute kids in it, so for anyone who reads my blog (all three of you =) feel free to skip this one and tune in next week. This one is more for me. 

Having been forced to be somewhat of a recluse--with the baby and moving to a new place where we don't know anyone--has been an interesting experience for me. I'm pretty sure in the last three-or-so months I have thought, "Huh! I didn't know I did that," about 4,000 times. Lots and lots of realizations on my part. 

Preface: When I was a little girl I was painfully shy--hide behind the couch when people knocked on the door kind of shy. A neighbor heard me speak once and she about died of shock because she genuinely thought I couldn't. I would talk non-stop to my family, but in public... not a peep. When we moved to Utah, it got slightly better, but only to the point where I could speak to someone who directly spoke to me. I managed to make some friends, but only a very few I considered close. 


As a result, I had a moment in school where I found myself looking around the group of girls I was hanging around with and realizing I had nothing in common with most of them, nor did I particularly enjoy the things we did together. I decided then and there that I was no longer shy. It took a while to work my way into it, but I started initiating conversations in class, meeting new people, even seeking people out. I went through a tomboy phase, an intellectual phase, a life of the party phase, an apathetic phase... none of them lasted very long (nor, I might add, were they very successful) and finally I settled somewhere in between. 

I started to see myself as an outgoing person, even though I had to force myself into any outgoing tendencies I had created. It became such a habit that I didn't even notice.

Until recently. For the last couple of years, I've been dealing with some anxiety issues (somewhat related to my stress-a-holic tendencies), many of them socially related and not paper bag breathing worthy (usually). As a result I have been dissecting how I went from the person I was to where I am now. Then it hit me: I am shy now because I always have been. And though every other person who knows me may have seen that, I had trained myself to think differently. I tried my best to ignore so many of my tendencies that made life more difficult, but that doesn't mean they weren't there. I am still the painfully shy person that I always have been. I don't run and hide behind the couch anymore when people knock on my door, but that doesn't mean I don't want to. 

I started to think, 'Ugh! Yet another thing to add to the goals list,' but in the end I realized that yes, being shy is problematic in so many ways and I will always have to fight it to some extent because not being able to call and order pizza or be in a room with more than five people at a time is ridiculous. However, there is also absolutely nothing wrong with being shy. It doesn't mean I'm holding myself back or that I love others any less. I am still a friendly and loving person. I still enjoy people. It just means it takes me a bit longer to be comfortable in certain situations and with certain people, and attempting to pretend or force the comfort on myself only serves to make me feel more uncomfortable and take even more time to become legitimately comfortable. 

So in the grand tradition of all silly Haley problems, I helped create this one myself; and it may be a little backwards, but I am shedding my outgoing shell (which more than likely only I thought existed in the first place) and embracing my own shy little self. Welcome back shy Haley, I've strangely missed you.  

E, our master story teller

My Grandma used to tell us stories all the time when we were little and we loved them so much that she put them all in a book for us. E and I have been reading through them and thus he roams around the house telling stories to his animals, to Gigi, or to me. He's actually pretty good at them, only his versions always have different endings. This is my favorite story of late.




Gigi's latest

Basically this is how our little Gigi girl spends most of her time these days:

And I'm barely exaggerating. At least half of her life is spent with her tongue out. So funny. 
video

And just because he is so darn cute... Here is E singing a song.

video


All the much in the wide world

I'm not sure when or how I got started doing this, but every now and again I'll ask E, "Do I love you this much?" spreading my arms out more and more each time while he answers, "No!" to each one until my arms are as far apart as they can go and then I ask, "Do I love you all the much in the wide world?" and he says, "No!" and it usually ends in a wrestling match until he admits that I do indeed love him all the much in the wide world.
The other day he started doing it to Gigi. There really couldn't be anything cuter.

video

Driving

I am the slowest driver in the world. Maybe literally. Partly because I'm pretty sure everyone in the world is out to get me or my kids, partly because it is the only time in my life I don't feel bad about taking a slow pace, but mostly because the police force of the country is out to make sure that I get a ticket every time I even think of speeding. I have never been able to cry, talk, or otherwise negotiate my way of a ticket--and I have had plenty of opportunities. Most of the time the tickets are for ridiculous things; I have even gotten a ticket for going three miles over before. No joke. Whether it is my terrible luck, or just fate making sure I never start to enjoy speeding... I cannot seem to avoid being pulled over.

On the same note, driving is always interesting right after you move because you have to search for all the speed limit signs to make sure you aren't going faster than you should, add to that the fact that all the trees here hide the signs from you, and you have a recipe for plenty of speeding tickets. I got my first one the other day. Not knowing the speed limit is not a good excuse. I know this. However, that didn't stop me from shaking a fist of fury about the unfairness of life and all that good stuff. E, being the amazing little man that he is, did his best to comfort me from the back seat telling me things like, "It's all going to be ok, mom." and chanting to Gigi, "Calm it down, calm it down." while I had a good cry and tried to move on.

I thought it was all in the past until I got behind the wheel again and heard a sweet little voice from the back asking, "Mommy? Are we speeding?" Ever since every time we start picking up speed I have to affirm to him that we are definitely following the speed limit this time. Who needs a police force when you have a three year old?

Say what?

E wants an explanation for every single thing in life lately. When we're walking through the grocery store it is a constant stream of, "What is that? What is he doing? Why?" Sometimes the explaining is easy (what is the name of every vegetable we pass) and sometimes not so easy (why a man is filling his entire grocery cart with whole milk and muttering to himself) and sometimes people step in to answer for you, which is always the best. E has noticed that if he asks loud enough, most people will answer him themselves. This is a good and bad discovery. On the one hand, it saves me from coming up with an answer that will satisfy him. On the other hand, it creates some interesting moments with complete strangers. One thing is for sure, having a toddler can cure you of all  your embarrassment pretty quick because honestly, after "Mommy! I won't play with my penis!" it is all uphill.

There are definitely some pretty fantastic moments to go along with the embarrassing ones, so you take what you can get I guess.
I was snuggling in bed with E the other night and he put his little hand on my face and said, "Mommy, you have beautiful lips. And beautiful teeth. You are a princess."
He was covering Gigi up with a blanket and informed me that he was making her a princess so that she could "go to the temple and get married." He may or may not have decided that the picture of Bryce and I at the temple on our wedding day is "when dad made mommy a princess forever!"
He gets in trouble all the time for trying to sit in Gigi's Bumbo chair or get in her bed. I can't count how many times we have had the "you are a big boy so you won't fit" conversation. Just today he informed me: "I'm making myself little little so I can fit in Gigi's chair." He proceeded to scrunch himself into the smallest ball he could manage. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, shrinking himself has yet to work.
He tries to get away with things by blaming it on his animals. "That was just the horsey bonking you on the head." "The frog just wanted to eat the cookie." His poor animals spend a lot of time in time out.

Apparently E is rubbing off on Gigi because she thinks she can talk. She jabbers on about this and that pretty much constantly and somehow makes her will known despite the lack of words. She is not only a talker, but a smiler/laugher/general good mood keeper. She always has this look like she is going to go conquer the world in about a minute.
She is rolling over and prefers standing to sitting any day. She scoots herself all over the floor and I keep telling Bryce that she's going to be crawling by four months at this point, but praying that I have a long time before I have to deal with that hurdle.
She also has an obsession with her toes. She doesn't suck on fingers or thumbs, and rarely wants a binky... no, no, my child sucks on her toes. It is not uncommon to see her curled up in bed, half asleep and chowing on her big toe like it is a pacifier. At least it'll be an easy habit to break once she starts wearing shoes.

Our day at the natural history museum...





Turns out it is hard to get a pictures when there are so many exciting things around.

Fort-tastic

E's favorite thing to do lately is to make a fort over Gigi and snuggle in beside her to play. He could do this all day long, and often times does which is fantastic because Gigi loves it too.


We broke out the Bumbo chair the other day (which Gigi adores) and E decided that he needed one too, so we brought out his little on-the-go high chair and they sit and play all day long (when they aren't in a fort that is).

Gigi has also begun the monkey thing. I thought that this was only an E thing, but Gigi is proving that apparently past the age of three months it is normal for my children turn into a monkey. You barely have to hold them. They just squeeze their arms and legs and latch on. It definitely makes carrying them a whole lot easier

Also, we finally got some good pictures of our damsel in distress. It's amazing she still has an eye.




What did I do for entertainment before I had kids?

So, I know I say this all the time, but it is true: I have the funniest child on the planet. This is him "keeping an eye out" for everything. I'm not sure where it came from or why on earth he does it, but I am sure glad that he does. One of my favorite things to do in the grocery store is ask him to keep an eye out for something.
This is the usual position you can find the kids in these days. At any given point in the day E is snuggling, kissing, hugging, and otherwise smothering Gigi with love. On the one hand, I'm so so glad that they love each other so much. On the other hand, I'm afraid for her life half of the time. It's a mixed bag. They do love each other so much though.

Dog pile! One of the better things I've taught E. Of course it backfires whenever I sit on the ground, but it is awfully fun. We regularly have dog pile parties. Which promptly end when E starts to play dog pile with Gigi.

The other day we were saying prayers and E was amazingly grumpy. He is also the most stubborn being on the planet when he wants to be. When I finally got him to say his prayer while kneeling on his knees in his reverent voice (a feat that is nearly impossible when he is being difficult), he put his own twist on the prayer. I would prompt him to say, "Please help us to sleep." and he would repeat, "Please help us not to sleep." And proceeded to negate every single thing I said. I'd like to say that I was a good mom and held it together, but alas, I was completely lost in the giggles for the rest of the prayer. I finally sobered up when it ended in "Not in the name of Jesus Christ. Not amen." and managed to have a chat with him about how to be reverent, but man alive! He is a funny kid.

The other night he was afraid of shadows. It was my fault because I mistakenly left my dress form out in his room. Who doesn't find the shadow of a headless body creepy in the middle of the night? When I came in to comfort him I did the usual things and told him that if the shadows scared him to tell them that Mommy would come get them if they got scary again. He then informed me that it was all ok because "Horsey was chasing them away." About a minute later he started grabbing at the air and making chomping noises. When I asked what he was doing he informed me that he was "catching the shadows and eating them all up." What can I say? It is effective.

Since we got Swimmy, E has been so excited about everything the fish does. The other night he told me: "Aw! Look how cute! He's saying his little fishy prayers"

E has never been a big fan of pants. I don't know why exactly, but whenever given the chance, he will strip down to his skivvies. He's decided that if he doesn't like his pants, no way does Gigi like hers. He has informed me several times when Gigi has been crying, "She's sad because she doesn't want to wear pants." Oh dear.

"He's on it!" That is his favorite phrase whenever I ask him to do something.

There was a fly around the house the other day and he announced, "There's a flyer! I need to kill it! I love to kill it!!" Apparently I need to be a bit more careful about my bug aversion.

Ever since Gigi came home E has had a thing about "mangers." Basically he rounds up all the pillows he can find and arranges them in a "manger" for Gigi and then borderline forces me to put her in there. I guess I should be grateful that it is the manger that sticks instead of the fort that he has tried a few times (E covering baby sister with pillows=a mommy heart attack), but sometimes it is a little inconvenient. The other day I said that we couldn't put Gigi in the manger right then and he announced, "Yes we may can put her in a manger because that is what mommies and daddies do." Who knew, right? I get enlightened all the time about things that mommies and daddies supposedly do or should do in E's mind.

As for Gigi, she is laughing all the time now and by laughing, I mean chortling. She sounds like an old trucker man. No joke. 
We call her our damsel in distress because more often than not her hands are in the general vicinity of her face and usually plastered to it. At one point she favored attempting to poke her eyes out and then she would weep and wail and give me a look that clearly says, "What on earth are these things and why are you allowing them to attack me?" She is always sleeping with her palms jammed in on either side of her face. It can't be comfortable, but she doesn't seem to complain about that one. E refuses to allow her hands anywhere near her mouth if he can help it. He grabs them gently and says, "No no, Gigi. We don't eat our hands." He is full of helpful hints like that for her, and for me for that matter. "Mommy, Gigi doesn't like you to do that." Or "Gigi, you shouldn't be kicking me. It's just not nice." Or "Mommy, Gigi wants to wake up now."
She is still growing like crazy and would love more than anything to be beheld every second of every day. She has a smile that makes the whole world brighter. She yells quite a bit, but rarely cries. We were laughing the other day because the rare times she legitimately cries, we all panic and frantically run around trying to fix it. When you hear it so seldom, it is the most heartbreaking thing. 

She thinks she can talk and frequently makes her opinion known. I've never met a baby with more personality in her little eyes. She's been alert and aware of the world around her from day one and I've sort of had the feeling since we first met that she is commiserating with me. 
E still thinks she is his personal responsibility/toy/teddy bear. It makes him awfully rude in public (he yelled at a nice old woman in the grocery store because she dared to try to peek at Gigi), but it makes him the sweetest brother so I can't complain too much. Gigi adores him. It doesn't matter how upset she is, he can make her smile. He tells me all the time, "Mom, tell baby Gigi  she's so cute." Or "Isn't Miss Pea beautiful?" Is it possible I prayed my kids into being immediate best friends? I guess we'll see when she is old enough to steal his toys.

Information overload

Whoa. That is all I have to say. Whoa.
Life has been so crazy around here that I haven't had a minute to think, let alone update the blog on all the goings on. Be ye warned, this is going to being an information dump. So, in order of appearance, here are the goings on of the last month or so:

My sweetest of the girls was blessed the Sunday before Bryce's graduation. She wore a beautiful dress that her grandma made for her and not only did my sister and her family get to be there, but Bryce's parents were there just in time too. All-in-all it was a fun family weekend and despite the fact that the house was in semi-shambles due to the move, we crammed everyone in and had a blast.
 
Bryce graduated from law school. Wahoo! It's been a long time coming, but we're finally officially done. He looked great in all his graduation robe glory. E was amazing through the entire ceremony. He applauded when he was supposed to, kept fairly still and calm, and except for asking, "Where's Daddy? Do you see him?" at the top of his lungs quite a few times, he miraculously managed to stay quiet up until the very end. Thank heaven for Grandma and Grandpa being there to keep him entertained.

We had about a week before the move so we finally made it to Luray Caverns. Fantastic. Other than some potty episodes of epic proportion (Gigi's amazing exploding diaper that went from ankle to neck, and E announcing in the middle of the tour deep deep underground without an exit that he had to go potty and getting a special escort) it was a great trip. I'm not sure what was more exciting for E, the cave or the geese and ducks outside.
Those were some seriously aggressive geese though. Bryce had to get physical a couple of times and I definitely stood guard and shook the finger of fury while E and Bryce made a quick getaway with the bread.
As many fun adventures as we had, I'm pretty sure E would've been just as content to hang around with Grandma and Grandpa all day long. Not to mention Gigi's reaction. We started joking that grandma and grandpa were a sleeping pill for her. We'd hand her off and she was instantly out cold.
 

And then there was moving.... This time it wasn't across the country, but we still had our fair share of adventures. We have yet to have a move where something truly terrible (usually health on top of something weather related) didn't happen, but all and all this time was fairly tame. Maybe because we didn't have to do all the moving ourselves. It was still eventful though, don't get me wrong. No horrific storm, but this move we had an even better disaster: pestilence. Cicadas. No thank you. I was praying that we'd get out of Dodge long before they hit, Bryce was praying that we wouldn't. Luckily, I won. We saw of few of them--enough to creep me out, but not enough to freak me out--but managed to steer clear of them.
The move went pretty smoothly and the kids did great. I don't know what on earth I would've done without Bryce's mom though. Man alive! We are so lucky to have such a great family. We had a couple of days without furniture so we got pretty creative with naps. I told E that he could either be a cat and lay in the sun (blankets in front of the sliding glass door) or a bat and lay in the dark (blankets in his bedroom). I've had a kitty on my hands ever since. Daddy also kept us entertained with an awesome fort. When we headed back to the hotel room after being in the new apartment E immediately said, "I don't want to live in this house. There is just no room." He's definitely enjoying running around.
Many a tear has been shed over E's friends not being around, but he is definitely looking forward to "pretty school" or preschool and making more friends. The complex we ended up moving into (a last minute miracle) has quite the population of other young LDS couples--which we had no idea about upon signing the contract--and we're definitely aware of how much Heavenly Father loves us because of all the little miracles like that that have happened. We're so excited to be in our new home and start settling in.  

Last but not least, a new fishy friend. Swimmy the fish. Usually referred to as Mr. Fish. E saw the old fish tank and immediately began requesting a fish--since I killed the last one he has never been the same. So, we took a trip the fish store and picked a good one out. We tried to convince E to name him something different, but he picked Swimmy from the get-go and Swimmy it stayed.
Whew! And thus ends my update spew. Lots of stress, lots of fun, lots of stuff... Welcome to a new stage in the adventure.

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