Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rosemary's memorial service

It's been quite some time since I've blogged. On November 18th 2015, Emmett was born. It's amazing to me how this new baby comes into your world, you don't know anything about him, and then soon enough the family would be totally incomplete without him. Getting to know Emmett as he has developed into the 2 year old he is today has been such a joy. He is definitely the biggest ham of the family, quite an entertainer. He loves to smile and laugh and he's quite good at both of those.

We've been living in Washougal for about 9 months now. It has been a really positive move for our family. We love our house, we love our neighborhood, and our little town isn't too bad either. The neighborhood is great because there is no through traffic, which makes it much safer for family walks and bike rides. At the end of our street there's a little Forest that's fun to walk through. The forest does get stinging nettle growing in it during the summer, and the children have come to refer to the entire Forest as stinging nettle. How is an excellent bike rider ripping around the neighborhood on his 14 inch bike. Eleanor rides really great on her balance bike, and is absolutely ready to ride on a pedal bike we just need to spend a little more time working up her confidence. Eleanor just celebrated her 4th birthday, and to work on that confidence I took Howie's old 12 inch black bike and spray-painted it purple, put some Frozen stickers on there, and tied on some pink and purple paracord tassels to the handlebars. I wield it into the living room on the day of her birthday and when she came out to see it she said oh my gosh a Frozen bike! I love my new bike! She didn't appear to notice that the bike was just her brother's bike with a makeover, but a few minutes later she exclaimed my bike has the seat from Howie's bike!

Eleanor has quite the sense of humor as well. She loves to invent hypothetical situations, and then declare them to be so silly. Sometimes she'll get her face right up in your face, and offer you some silly piece of insight in a soft dramatic voice. Usually when she gets to the Crux of what makes her situation so silly, her face will take on the cutest little look of sarcasm I've ever seen. I wish I could bottle it up somehow and keep it forever. Eleanor seems to be a natural princess. We tried not to push her too hard in any particular direction, but she just loves pink and purple and princesses. And daddy sure loves his little princess. She goes to preschool Tuesday and Friday from 9:15 until 12:40. The owner of the preschool is the wife of the con of our contractor, guy, who is done a lot of work on our house including the guest house outside.

How he started kindergarten last year, and seems to have taken very well to it. After his first day of school, we asked him how his day was, and he said it was the best day ever. The next day we asked the same question, and he said he's all done with school. But overall he seems to enjoy School, and is doing very well there. His teacher Raves about him for being adorable, well-behaved, and ahead of the curve academically. On the first day of kindergarten the kids are asked to count as high as they can. Howie counted to a hundred, which is the goal for the year. Within the last couple weeks how is reading ability has really taken off. He can read Beginner Books now which is really fun to do together. I bought a an app for Howie on his tablet called code carts.  It's designed to teach children the basic concepts of writing code. He beat all 50 levels in 2 days.

Random story, when Howie was three he fell asleep in our minivan on the way to my parents house. Suddenly he woke up with a bit of a gasp, and exclaimed I almost got a little bit sleepy.

This last Christmas, my whole family came up to Washougal and it was awesome. The Walkers, Skelton, birdie and Casey, and my parents all came up. Everyone except birdie and Casey stayed at our house, and it worked out pretty well. This gave me a deeper appreciation for having a larger house. My parents stayed in the newly built guest room outside. Construction had literally finished the day before they arrived. I felt really proud to have them in there. The Walkers arrived 5 days before Christmas and then everyone else mostly arrived on Christmas Day. Our minivan had gone into the shop a week before, so we were in need of a rental vehicle. We decided we may as well rent a giant 15-passenger van, because at the weekly rate it just wasn't that much more than renting a minivan. It was a ton of fun having all three families in the van, the baker's Walker and Skelton. We had some fun outings including the Oregon Museum of Science and innovation. Earlier we had gone to the Oregon Zoo with the walkers, but that ended up being a little rough because it was 33 degrees out and Evelyn was very uncomfortable and very vocal about it the entire time. Poor little girl. It was really a wonderful Christmas, and so great to be altogether in our home. I had so many great conversations and interactions with my family which meant so much to me.

Today was my grandmother Rosemary memorial service. Her death hadn't really felt real to me yet as I hadn't been around. In the memorial service my emotions we're finally stirred up, and I was able to grieve her passing. I got to see extended family members that I did not even see, and had a lot of meat conversations with them and old familiar Twin Lakes faces. It was a very beautiful service, with very heartfelt words spoken. There were lots of laughs and lots of Tears. Debbie and Sue talked about things their mother had taught them it was cute and very funny at times, and a refreshing change of format for a memorial service. My dad spoke about his mom, and told the story of how Rosemary and Harold came to Faith on the same day. Most everyone's seemed to mention how outward Rosemary was with her faith, and how explicit she was with regard to Jesus. My dad also put together a very nice slideshow of her life which brought a lot of tears to my eyes. My mom talked about Rosemary's final 3 years how they decided to move her from her home into their home, and how six months later they decided it was time to move her from their home into de una more.

Julie invited everyone over to her house after the memorial service and most of us went. We ended up hanging out there all afternoon which was really a blast. Katie and the kids stayed home and Washington. Katie was willing to bring the kids down to California for the memorial service, but at 7 months pregnant, I figured carding three kids and car seats through the airports just didn't seem very practical.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ripping on the scooter

Howie is now 3 years and 2 months old, and Eleanor is 19 months. Eleanor has of course been walking for several months. She can mumble a few words, though fairly slurred. She often pretends to speak sentences by repeating the first syllable a couple times before saying the whole word, such as "heh heh help!" When she spills her drink at the table, she yells "ma ma mess!"

Eleanor is SO snuggly. You can pick her up almost any time and she'll lay her head on your shoulder, and get all smushy on you. These days I've been holding her a little longer before she lays down for bed, just to soak up the snuggles while they last.

I often say, "Who's my pretty girl?" and Eleanor pats her chest and grins.

Howie and Eleanor are fantastic together. They love to play together. I've heard Howie introduce Eleanor to strangers, saying, "this is my friend, Eleanor." So cute! Howie is an expert interpreter of Eleanor language, often telling me what she wants. They sleep in the same room, and they are completely immune to each other's noise. Even the most livid screaming from one will usually not phase the other. I hope they always have a good relationship.

Eleanor is presently in the 95th percentile for height, and Howie had dropped to the 50th percentile for height. He doesn't seem to have grown much recently, though I don't measure him. Maybe he's got a growth spurt coming up.

Howie is such a sweet little boy. The other day at the dinner table, he suddenly exclaimed, "I love you with the fastest heart, Mommy!" Katie tried to reciprocate the feeling but Howie said, "no, you don't Mommy, you don't. You love me with the slowest heart." These has become a common exchange.

For all his sweetness, he does throw some tantrums. However, we were at the park today and there was a little boy about Howie's age, totally out of control, doing the opposite of everything his grandmother said. He was picking up and throwing wood chips everywhere, not because he was upset, just to make trouble. He made Howie look like an absolute saint.

Howie speaks very enthusiastically and clearly, people often comment on that.

I bought Howie a Razor scooter yesterday. The box said ages 5+, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Well, he's a total stud on that thing! He instantly took to it. People at the park were commenting on how impressive he was today, and they couldn't believe when I told them he just got it yesterday. I'll try to post a video.

Howie also does well socially. He LOVES to see his cousins. On our last trip to Oregon, after a long day it was time to leave the McCourts house and Howie began softly weeping, "I wanna see my cousins." We're most likely going to enroll him on preschool soon to get him socializing with other local kids.

One again, here's hoping I don't wait so long to blog again!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crawling and feet tickling

It's been too long! Gotta keep blogging.

Eleanor is about to turn 1 in a couple weeks, and today I saw her crawl for the first time. She's been army-crawling for three months or so, but tonight finally got up to her knees. Eleanor has an infectious smile, her face all scrunched up as she grins ear to ear and rapidly breaths through her nose.

Tonight I read her a few little books before bed, which is something I hadn't started doing yet. I totally regret not starting earlier, because she absolutely loved it. She kept pointing at all the pictures and doing baby talk. On nearly every page she would turn the book over to reinspect the cover, then turn it back to continue reading.

She still only has the two lower teeth, so she won't eat much of anything but pre-made baby food. For some reason she won't touch a mushed up banana or avocado, it sometimes even make her dry-heave. However, she does like eating baby crackers, so that's a good step.

Howie is such a boy now. We went and got haircuts together just before Christmas, and he just looks like such a big kid now. Of course, he's got a LOT more growing left to do, so he's still my little boy.

Howie communicates with us really well, and he is polite most of the time. Mommy has instilled good manners. He often says "no thank you", even if he's frustratedly asking the baby to stop bothering him. And when asking for something, say for example getting down from his chair, he often begins with "Daddy may I please get down please?"

Howie is a daddy's boy. A few days ago, I was sitting next to Howie at the table along with Katie, Cy and Julie. Howie leaned over and rested his head on my arm and said "I love my daddy." It almost made me cry it was so precious.

Howie makes Eleanor laugh really hard sometimes, especially when they're in the stroller together. He'll tickle her feet, and play peek-boo with her, and she belly laughs over and over. It's neat to see these two little creatures we brought into the world having their own interactions with each other. It makes me imagine all their years of sibling interaction ahead. Maybe one day they'll drive to highschool together. Then I'll tell them how he used to tickle her feet.

Monday, August 18, 2014

He's just on a level, so high above us

Howie (26 months) is really showing his smarts these days. He looks at Katie's big family picture and recites the names of a dozen people he's only met a few times. He sees car license plates and starts naming characters on them. He shouts out keywords on every page of certain books before I read them out loud, many of which are words he couldn't possibly understand but has memorized. We drive past Yogurtland and he says "I want ice-cream". It's so fun to watch his fresh little brain developing. If only it didn't coincide with the tantrum phase, which yes, is also beginning.

My favorite thing he's saying now is "I wan Howie do dat."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Title here

Eleanor is such a ball of fun at 6 months old. She absolutely loves it when you look at her. She makes the cutest scrunchy face smile and kicks and flaps like crazy, while frantically panting. I wish I could bottle it up and give it to sad people, because you can't help but laugh and melt. She likes to say "hi ta" a lot, which I like to think means Hi Dad. She's been able to roll over for a few weeks, most easily onto her tummy. She has Gigi's nice olive complexion, lucky girl. But everyone says she looks like her dad, so I'm afraid she's doomed.

Howie is a blast. He spend a lot of time jumping in his trampoline. He gets pretty bossy in there, I suppose that's his kingdom. He says "I want daddy go" which means he wants me to get in the trampoline. Then he wants daddy up, and daddy down, and finally daddy out. Little punk.

Howie has indeed started barreling down the road to talking. He knows too many words for me to count now, and repeats everything we say. He impressed me the other day by noticing the Walker's car parked in our driveway, touching it and saying "Uncle Ben car". I couldn't believe it! He hadn't even been awake when they'd dropped it off the night before.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Howies words

It seems as though Howie is right on the edge of talking. Don't get me wrong, he still can't even pronounce most sounds and has yet to speak a complete phrase, but it feels like he's gonna wake up one morning and change all that. He has a small vocabulary of words that he says, albeit not perfectly. But the real indicators are how much he understands us saying, and how receptive he is to learning new words. For example, the other day I pointed at a tree in our backyard and said, "Howie, this is a tree," and he responded by saying "tree!"

So at 22 months old, this is Howie's main vocabulary:
Elno (Eleanor)
No, Oh no!
Ya, Yep
Outide (outside)
Ba (ball)
Wing (swing)
Goggy (doggy)
Choose (shoes)
Beet (feet)
Broccoli (probably his best word)
Dee (please, or cheese)
Wa-wa (water)
Ga-go (cracker)
Why (rice)
Eh-mo (airplane)
Eh-ka (helicopter)

Whenever we're playing in the backyard, he points to the sky and says Eh-mo or Eh-ka every couple minutes when something flies by.

And then there's his animal imitations, which are hilarious. He's got down a doggy, cat, duck, lion, monkey, horse, and sometimes a cow (when asked for a cow, he usually does a cat). His duck impression is the best one, he really belts out a throaty quack.

I'm gonna miss this phase when he starts to fully talk, because his babblings and partial words are so fun and cute.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ellie's smile

Eleanor is just over two months now. Today she got some shots, and then joined Cy, Julie, Katie and Howie for a tour of Avago. It was kind of funny, ocne I started showing them the Avago test labs (which essentially look like an episode of Hoarders, but electronics themed) everyone seemed strangely eager to return to the beautiful sunny day outside.

My favorite thing these days is that Ellie has started really making eye contact, and gives cute little grins and coos when she sees us. It's spotty, most of the time she's just starting off at nothing. But several times throughout the day she'll lock eyes and give me a big smile.

She's still quite the bobble head, and still like to keep her limbs stiff and curled up, but I can see those things fading. Best of all, she's sleeping way better! Just now (11:45pm) Katie fed her and put her right back to sleep. I'm incredibly thankful she's sleeping better, because my turn is coming soon. Katie returns to work this Friday, so I'm on nights!