Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Golding Girl Trilogy: complete.

Elle Kensington 
8/6/08 at 11:21am
7lbz 7oz

Elise Cabot
12/29/11 at 7:00pm
7lbs 12oz

Emerson Beck
1/26/14 at 10am
7lbs 5oz

The girls that made me what God created me to be. Their Mama. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

A very hungry caterpillar party

I made an unforgivable reproductive error by delivering Elise on December 29th. Four measly days after the excitement crescendo of Christmas-- long enough for family to have traveled back to their homes and the flutter of Christmas activity  to have settled down. But not long enough for a second wave of festivity to be brewing. Anticlimactically situated right in between Christmas and New Years. Potential party guests are out of town or on vacation or just plagued by post-holiday overstimulation and exhaustion. Even the most enthusiastic and well-intentioned of party-planning moms finds it easy to drop the ball when barely recovering from Accomplishing Christmas. So I made the executive decision to delay Elise's birthday party a couple of weeks, giving everyone time to recuperate, family motivated to re-make the drive to our house, and me time to plan/execute. As The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of her favorite books, and she is, in fact, a very hungry caterpillar herself, the theme seemed obvious.

Couldn't bear paying a zillion dollars on Etsy for a one-use birthday shirt... so I made this cute albeit very homemade looking alternative. E loved it, so I was pleased.
Decor was Noveau Caterpillar.

There were caterpillar themed crafts for the kids

A Caterpillar Bean Bag Toss...

Which turned into a great guilliotine-style prop

And Caterpillar Favor Bags

Caterpillar lacing card, rainbow pencil, various toy bugs, and "caterpillar food" (jelly beans)
Food paralleled what the little critter ate in the book:
On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry, etc. 
Apples, pears, plums, oranges, strawberries...

Cheese, Salami...

As well as this friendly caterpillar sandwich guy

"Caterpillar Juice"

And of course, cake.

I was disappointed that I couldn't get the icing to be brighter hued, but at a point I feared the kids would have some sort of adverse reaction to enormous doses of food coloring, so I gave up. Nonetheless, my dessert-lovers found it acceptable.

Candles were blown out, with the maximum amount of toddler-spit possible.

Sadly, the ONLY family shot I have. Oh well.
Presents were opened.

The most entertaining of objects is rarely the gift itself.

And fun was had by all.

Happy 2nd birthday, my Very Hungry Caterpillar. I could eat up your smile, laughs, and hugs every day and STILL be hungry...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Christmas 2013

Turns out the girls must have been pretty good this year after all. Santa left lots presents galore, stuffed stockings, drank his (almond) milk, and devoured the appendages of various gingerbread men cookies. 

We rushed down the stairs in anticipation.

Elle's big requests this year were Magnatiles and Schleich animals that she had played with at a friend's house. Don't let the small boxes fool you-- these modern building "blocks" are ridiculously expensive. But well worth the investment, resulting in hours of independent play. And for a mom who has a low tolerance for her 5-year-old's incessant demands that begin with "Mommy, pretend that..." and end with various very specific and tyrannical instructions which are never acceptably executed, an actual activity would be worth pretty much any price. 

Elise loved the Little People North Pole house, but kept asking me (with palms up in quizzical gesture), "Where baby sheesus (Jesus) go?" So we got baby Jesus from the nativity and he shared a plastic plate of cookies with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the North Pole puppy. 

Santa must have known the magnitude of holiday treats floating around this place when he added the Sparkle Crest to Elle's stocking. If only he knew that Elise considers it an equivalent culinary delight...

I used to give my mom a hard time for getting carried away with gift-giving at Christmas. But seeing their unbridled enthusiasm with every little item, I totally get it now. Moderation is a challenge.

After reveling in Santa's generosity, we dressed and headed to brunch with my dad's family. 

Where great food, company, and more presents ensued. 

The Es were enthralled by the neighborhood cat, who tolerated their abuse with amazing Christmas patience.

Judging by the lack of leg/foot coverings on my children, you'd think we spent Christmas in Hawaii. In fact, it was 38 degrees but they insisted on frolicking outside in warm weather wear.
We returned home for the arrival of Jay's family, and the onslaught of more food, gifts, and quality time with family. I was totally slack with picture taking, but had to prioritize my attention to winning the objects of my affection in the annual Dirty Santa game. 

The Es were spoiled rotten, as usual. We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus over Nanny's coconut cake (one of roughly 2,098 confections up for grabs), and savored the last moments of a spectacular season.

Every year seems to get better. 
If more exhausting...

Monday, January 13, 2014


Two forgotten (although soon to be remembered) memories:
-The complete exhaustion resulting from an unending string of sleepless newborn nights
-The tiny-ness of newborn clothes and diapers

Two favorite phrases:
-Leese luf (love) Mommy!
-No way Jose!

Two favorite foods (in reality, impossible to narrow down):
-Birfday cake (any dessert)
-Edamame. I've yet to see another 2-year-old shell and devour these as expertly

Two favorite books (also impossible to narrow down):
-The Little Mouse, the Big Hungry Bear, and the Red Ripe Strawberry
-The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Two favorite games:
-Hide and Seek: Says "I go hide!" and runs off to a hiding place, of which she has a very small and predictable repertoire. Then runs back to me as if she has forgotten something, and says "Mommy count 1-2-3". Giggles madly when you go through the process of looking for her, and helps out by answering during your rhetorical hunt: "Is Elise behind the couch?".. "Noooooo". Is Elise under the table... "Nooooo". One time I guess I didn't give her enough time to find the perfect place so she came running back out to me-- "No, no Mommy count to hundred!". Clearly picked up the phrase from her sister?
-Playing birthday, always hers. 
"Leese birfday comin up!" 
When is your birthday, Elise? 
'Cember tenny Nife! (December 29th)
Proceeds to loudly sing Happy Birthday to herself

One of the few times in the past 2 years I've caught her without a smile: Getting picked up early from school with a fever

Two hints of two-dom:
-Laughs raucously when corrected. Makes discipline challenging at times. 
-Mostly a great sleeper, but went through a phase of standing up in crib, stripping down to nakedness, throwing everything overboard, and screaming for my assistance

Two behaviors I'm really proud of:
-Follows instructions and most corrections really well: When told not to do something, she typically gives a cheerful and accomodating "Ok, Mommy!"
-Almost flawless with Please and Thank you. Getting better at Yes, ma'am and Sir instead of "Dah" (Yeah)

Two things that melt my heart:
-Before I leave her room at bedtime, she always asks, "Hug Mommy? Kiss Mommy?" Perhaps it's a ploy to delay bedtime. But it's a clever and very effective one, indeed.

-That smile. Oh, that smile.

Two pieces of evidence that she's one of two (soon-to-be-3) of the most brilliant kids on earth:
-After initially being concerned that her vocabulary wasn't on par with Elle's freakishly precocious language skills, E2 completely caught up in a matter of weeks. This kid, who had barely uttered a few words other than Mama and Dada was playing in the playroom one afternoon and started taking her clothes off. "What are you doing?" I asked. To which she replied perfectly intelligibly and rather matter-of-factly: "It's hot in here!" From that moment on, it was full sentences, with words I had no idea she knew, nevertheless could string along in context. Now she communicates like a mini-adult, with this incredible wit and cleverness that makes us all crack up over and over again.
-She knows her abc's, can count to 10, and can "read" several books. (The former two are completely to the credit of Oak Ridge Weekday School). Like her sister, Elise loves to read, and often insists on doing it herself. She remembers enough words on each page to somewhat make sense, and follows the lines of text with her finger like she's seen Elle do when reading. When the final page is turned, she proclaims triumphantly, "The End!" and typically follows with, "Leese read it again!"

Too many laughs to count.

Too much love to put into words.

This was the first of two plates. My 2-year-old eats like a teenage boy.
Too much personality to capture.

Two parents (and one big sister) who never knew what they were missing until she came into our lives.

Two girls who bring more joy to my life than I ever thought possible.

Two incredible years of being your Mommy.

Here's to many many more birthdays spent together. 

Happy birthday Sweet Elise- We Love You!