I am officially done with winter despite the snow all around and the freezing temperatures. The sun is shining and the birds are singing a different song. Things are starting to feel happier. I am, too.
Our Winter in pictures.
He asked Santa for a real dinosaur. This is as close as he could come.
She tapes up anything and everything.
Gus burned both of his hands very badly on the glass of our fireplace. He had mitten hands for quite a while. This didn’t stop him from figuring out a way to use the ipad, though.
And with snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes, these were a few of my favorite things.
Here’s to Spring.
I look at Helena today and remember how eager I was to meet her. I could feel the labor slowly, rhythmically taking control and knew I would be holding her in my arms in a matter of hours. Those hours passed by in the dark pacing and rocking and swaying, just the two of us, while the rest slept. Then the reward of those beautiful eyes looking at me for the first time, blinking and searching out love. The prize of my hard work her warmth against my chest.
My heart breaks and mends itself over and over and over- from that first cry from those tiny lungs to first steps to first days of school- invariably, I suppose, until it stops beating. From the moment you hold them, you will be letting go. If you couldn’t tell, I struggle with this. With every passing milestone, I wax poetic. A tightness in my throat, a stinging in my eye. I try so desperately to hold onto that babyhood but know it is like trying to hold light in my hands. There then not.
So on the eve of her childhood I will tell you about this baby, my sweet Helena. She searches you out, craving to be near someone. She adores being with her brother even though he can be very mean to her. Her sister knows just how to make her giggle. She is still pretty stingy with those laughs, by the way. She started walking at ten months and now tries to run, twirl in circles, and dance. Her first real words, beside mama and dada, were “thank you.” She has three teeth, two on the bottom and a large one on top. Thankfully, it’s mate is almost through. My pickiest eater by a mile, all she eats is fruit, pancakes, chicken tenders, eggs, peas, and noodles. She weighs 16 pounds and is a little short, giving her the appearance of a small doll walking around. She still has that beautiful smile she had at three days old- the one that squinches her eyes into little crescent slits and lets you know she sees the love in you.
Miss Helena, you are happiness and light. One of three beautiful stars your Daddy and I have cut into the fabric of our life. And even though I lament the loss of your babyhood, mainly for fear of forgetting it all, I can’t wait to see you grow and shine.
It has been quite a while since I checked in about this one. Helena has gotten so big. Well, she still only weighs maybe fifteen pounds and she just started wearing size six-month clothes, which are still a little big for her.
She is big on motor skills, though. She went from sitting up to crawling to standing and cruising around the furniture in about two weeks. her big trick now is to climb all the way to the top of the stairs. All sixteen of them. Without anyone noticing until her shiny, smiling face peeked around the corner while I was folding laundry.
She loves playing peekaboo by herself. She adores her blankie and pink seahorse, Maj, we got at the Shedd Aquarium. She likes having conversations with Olive and seems to get the best response when her fist is full of snacks. She is a little bit of a picky eater and can tell when there are peas in anything but loves spinach.
The laughs come a little bit easier now but she can still be stingy when she’s not in the mood. She saves those giggles for things that are really funny, like when I put Cheerios on her highchair tray.
Hard to imagine in three months there will be snow and cold. Harder still to think about this sweet baby being a one year old.
Evelyn had her first dance class yesterday. I love how there is so much thrill and anticipation built up inside that she starts to talk in a very high pitched voice and hyperventilates. “I will be so exciting!” says she.
Dancing is easy and natural for her, an outward expression for her feelings inside. Not a day goes by without some whirling around. She certainly has more grace and rhythm than I do and I hope she enjoys taking classes to nurture that.
Before falling asleep last night she told me, with such a content smile on her face, she wished she had dance class everyday.
But we can dance everyday, darling.
“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the disheveled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.” - W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire
My Dear Gus.
So many words to describe you bouncing around on my tongue, none daring to come forward. Let’s just say you are certainly acting your age and have been these past few months. Two is nothing compared to three and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I think you delight in pushing all of my buttons at once. Hello. My name is Gus and I work in a button factory.
The spitting. The kicking. The hitting. The screaming. There was a night last week, and I’m not proud of this, which I dragged you downstairs to the garage and told you you could sleep outside with the raccoons. This was after you kicked me in the face for making you use the flavor toothpaste you originally picked but no longer wanted. You decided to go directly to bed after that.
There is no way to choose my battles at this age because everything is a battle. I hope we survive the war that is Three.
Of course I love you fiercely. You are that bubble headed baby with the three-toothed grin. You are my green eyed boy who gives the best squeezy hugs. You are funny and clever. You are the boy in the grocery store talking to other shoppers about how awesome the popsicles in our cart are, all while wearing a bunch of bananas on your head to make them laugh. You are social yet so imaginative and self-reliant when left on your own.
You love to read books and sing songs before bed. All the songs have to be sung. You love Captain America and Batman. You still let your older sister tell you what to do (That one is tricksy, I tell you. She’ll get you into mega trouble if you don’t watch out). You whisper when you talk for the first and last three hours of the day. Playing in dirt is just about the best thing to you and you eat pretty much anything that isn’t moving. You draw the best monsters ever.
You are exasperating every day, my Gus. Then again I love you the most I’ve ever loved you every single day.
Happy Birthday to you.
And she’s off to 4K! This one does not deal well with change (she goes B.A.N.A.N.A.S. when a piece of furniture gets moved or a room gets painted) and, although she is excited to go to school, she still really misses her preschool and cries about it at night. She is doing much better than those first few weeks of preschool and I’m sure she will settle in soon to her new school. For now she thinks it is so awesome she can accessorize her outfits each day with matching earrings for her pierced ears. Such a big girl. And a ham, I might add, as I did nothing to inspire these poses except hold up a camera.
Well this summer came and went with little fanfare. It seems as though this particular summer really slipped through my fingers. I feel like I’m left holding a melting popsicle in the searing, chalk covered driveway trying to keep the sticky mess from running down to my elbows. I couldn’t keep it together and it happened so fast. But for that little moment it was good.
Quiet. Ordinary. Simple.
We took a trip to Chicago for a few days with our friends and their family. We spent some time up north at the lake. We took a train ride. Babies learned how to sit, then crawl, then stand. We did swimming lessons and spent our days at the pool. We rode bikes. Training wheels were discarded, left in her dust. We sat by fires telling tales of the everyday and caught lightening bugs by the jars full.
Here is our summer in photos.
It was good.
Seven years married. Sixteen years together. One house. One dog. Three children.
Numerous smiles. Countless laughs. A few tears.
One set of promises.
I, Andria, take you, Scott to be my husband. I vow to always be open with my heart and to be honest, respectful, kind, and forgiving. I vow to be your safe haven and your home and to listen deeply when you speak. I vow to nurture you with my gentleness and to uphold you with my strength. I vow to weigh the effects of the words I speak and the things I do and to never take you for granted. I vow to trust you and to always believe in you. Scott, I promise to faithfully love you without condition with all that I have, completely and forever.
May it encircle your finger always as my love will your heart.
One life together.
Evelyn: Mom. Mom. Mooomm! Where are we going?
E: I don’t want to go there. I just want to go to my home. But I will be sooo excited to see Grandma! Hey Mom! Squirrels don’t swim. Don’t you EVER make a squirrel swim because they can’t. They don’t like being wet. Gus! Hey Gus! Take off your ear head cell phones, I need to tell you something! Guuus!
Gus: No response, as he has headphones on.
E: Gus! Don’t you EVER GET A SQUIRREL WET!!!! Mom. Mom. Momma. HEY MOM!
E: What is that tractor doing?
Me: Planting corn.
E: Umm. WhatEVER. Corn is not a flower. It is not a seed. We eat it.
Me: Yes, corn is a seed. You plant a corn kernel, like the ones we eat, in the ground and it grows a corn stalk and gives us more corn. Then we can eat it or save it for more seeds.
E: What-ever. I don’t like corn. Oh yes I do! I like carrots. Do camels like carrots? A Bird! I saw a bird! Do you think a squirrel would go to swimming lessons with me? What number is a five with a five? FIFTY-FIVE! What number is a four with a zero? FORTY-TEN! I’m just kiddin! It’s forty-zero. Are we going to go over the bridge? We live by a bridge by the river. The WIS-con-SIN RIVER! In Fairy du Sac! Do you think sharks would like glitter shoes?
And so on…
Anyone up for a road trip with us?