Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts

A Third Birthday Letter To Clarice



My Sweet Clarice,

Darling, amidst all the paperwork and packing and moving, you quietly turned three years old a couple weeks ago.

We celebrated your birthday by taking a trip to the zoo as a family.  We asked you which animals you wanted to see and you said "E-wah-fants!"  Your voice is the cutest thing right now, high-pitched with a lisp.



Your hair is just as curly and delightful as it's ever been.  You are more active right now, so the curls don't stay in perfect formation.  They fluff and fly as you run around, and form the perfect frame for your sweet little face.  I've been intentionally telling you lately how pretty your curls are, and your blue eyes light up every time.

Your favorite food is definitely "choc-wat".  You went out with grandma for your birthday lunch a few weeks ago, and she told me that when she gave you a hot fudge sundae, you took a bite, sighed, and declared "Choc-wat is the BEST!"  You are a girl after my own heart, darling!



You are still very attached to one particular bear, your pink "first birthday" bear.  I've bought a couple replacements and backups for your bear, because it would be so sad if you lost it.  You call it "Baby", and carry it with you everywhere - and you are delighted whenever you get the chance to treat it like a real baby, by putting it in a stroller or strapping it onto yourself like a baby carrier.  You found the backup a couple weeks ago, dubbed it "Other Baby", and now you carry around both of them.  You came downstairs in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago, scared because of a bad dream, and you were clutching a "baby" in each arm, their heads tucked under your chin.  It was so impossibly adorable, I couldn't even stop myself from chuckling.  You act happy and sheepish whenever I tell you that you are a good little mama to your "babies".

When I think about you at this age, I think of a little girl with big feelings. When you are happy, your smile is so huge it takes up your whole face, and I dare anyone not to smile back.  When you are sad, the whole world is ending, and your blue eyes drown in tears.



Whether you are so happy you might burst, or sad enough to get my shirt all wet, when I pick you up to give you a hug your little arms wrap around my neck.  It's hard to want to put you down.  I walked past the mirror when I was carrying you the other day and realized how tiny you still are.



You are such a joy to me, darling, and the one I can always count on for a smile or a snuggle.  You light up all my days.  You have grown so much in the last year.  You have become such a wonderful big sister.  You have started talking more and more.  Your personality has become even more fun, if that were possible.  But you are still my sweet baby girl, willing to cuddle on my lap and dragging around your teddy bear.  I can't wait to see how you grow over this next year, but I also hope it doesn't happen too fast.  I know I'll want these days back.  I'm loving life with you so much right now, at three.

Love You More, Baby Girl.

-Mama


Where My Babies Slept (Nursery Tour)



T-minus 8 days until we close on our new house!  I wanted to show you the last corner of our first home before we leave it.

This room is one of the harder ones to leave.  It's gone through many transformations over the years, from blue airplanes, to pink and purple flower garden, to orange and turquoise ocean-themed, to coral and mint florals.  Each of my babies have slept in here at one point or another.  This is how it looks right now, how I decorated it for our last baby, Georgie.  It's hard to leave it, especially since she turns one year old in a couple weeks.  I labored over that quilt when my belly was so big I couldn't pick up the needle when I dropped it.  I rocked her when she was only as big as a loaf of bread, right in that chair.

The only thing missing is the rows of family photos that were on the wall right above the bookshelf - I took pictures of it before I took them down for showings, but I accidentally deleted the photos, so aside from one photo from my phone, you'll have to use your imagination.  Still, I'm glad I found time to snap a few more shots of this room amidst all the packing that is happening this week. I want to remember the place where each of my babies slept.






















 

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That's it, guys!  Our whole house, all the rooms in our first home.  We've had so many milestones here, so many good memories, and a few tears.  This house has been good to us, and the Lord saw us through it all and blessed us here.

Goodbye, First House.

You can click the button below to see the entire home tour.  Now, on to our next place!  I'll share "before" pictures of our new house in about a week or so!





Scrunchy Faces And Kisses - Georgie At Ten (And Eleven) Months



Shortly after Georgie turned ten months old, we figured out we were probably moving, and all the craziness that comes with that ensued!  By the time I had a minute to sit down and write her ten month post, it was really too late to share it.  So today we're combining her ten month and eleven month updates!  Thankfully I remembered to take her ten month photos though, so we can still compare!



Ten Months

This is such a fun age for Georgie!  She is so snuggly and loves me so much right now.  Her face just lights up every time she sees me, and it warms my heart.  She is still scoot-crawling, and she tries so hard to go fast, pushing herself with her right leg all the time.

Poor little thing is still teething, so her sleep hasn't been as great this month (though still pretty good).  It's so sad to see her cry and start to chew on her finger.  She still has those two little teeth in the front, and I'm waiting to see when the other sill pop through.

She does a scrunchy-face smile when she is really happy, and it is the cutest thing to me.  She has started to say "mama" and "dada" to me and Derek, so I think she is figuring out what those words actually mean!

Gwendolyn and Georgie look so much alike, and when I compare their baby pictures, it's almost like i"m looking at the same baby.  This month Georgie's hair has started to curl at the ends, just like Gwen's did as a baby.  She also likes to be turned upside down, just like Gwen.  If she is having a fussy moment, I'll just tip her backwards, and she immediately starts laughing!

My favorite thing right now is to give Georgie her bottle, because she tucks her little body against mine, like she's trying to get as close as possible.  I love it so much.  Georgie is such a delightful baby, and Derek and I have said multiple times this month how we wish she would never grow up.



Eleven Months

Georgie's personality is really starting to show, and she is just so funny!  This month her favorite thing to do is shake her head back and forth to make us laugh.  She also has started tilting from side to side to music - it's so cute to watch her little dance!

This month I really started to see the sister relationship between Clarice and Georgie grow.  They sit right across from each other in the car, and Clarice will often talk to Georgie or reach across the car to take her hand.  Georgie laughs almost as soon as Clarice notices her, and I can see her picking up some of Clarice's facial expressions and habits.  It's so cute!



One expression that I know she picked up from Clarice (because Clarice used to make the exact same face as a baby) is a funny scrunched-nose open-mouthed expression.  It kind of looks like a disgusted look, and I can't help but laugh every time she does it, which probably only encourages it!  She's cute when she does it, but I'm trying to train her out of it at the same time.

She has also started "talking" a ton.  She makes little humming and sing-song sounds, and if you make the same noise back at her, she just lights up at the "conversation".  She has started to say "hi" and "bye", "Mama" and "Da".  Her "hi" sounds a lot like Gwen's baby "hi", with a little southern lilt to it, and when she says "Bah", she waves her little hand.  It's adorable!



Unfortunately I think our bottle-snuggle days may be coming to a gradual end, because Georgie is so wiggly now.  She wants to see everything!  Now when she gets her bottle, she prefers to look out at everything that's going on around her.  This makes me really sad, because I miss our snuggles!  Occasionally she'll still fall asleep on my lap, and when that happens, I don't put her down.

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Georgie Bea,

How you have grown and changed over the last two months!  You are growing into your own personality, and I love to see it, but it's bittersweet to see my little baby looking so grown up.  Still, I'm not completely sorry, because you are becoming even more fun.

I realized recently that when I kiss your little cheek, you make a kissing noise back to me.  You lean back, look me in the eye, and say "Mmmwah!".  The other day, you even gave me a "Mmmwah!", and then leaned in and pressed your little open mouth to my cheek.  You leaned back again and looked so proud of yourself for figuring out your first kiss!  It was such a present moment.  You made my day, little one.  I'm so blessed that you are mine!

Love Always,

Mama.




Moving And Other Realizations



Do you ever have one of those weeks, where you feel like you were busy all week, but someone asks you what you did, and you can't think of anything?  That's kind of how moving is.  You feel like everything is crazy and you are constantly doing something, but when you think about it you realize all you've really done is sign paperwork and occasionally leave the house for an inspection.

A Quick Moving Update And Reminiscing 

Speaking of inspections, everything went well, and things are moving forward nicely.  We are closing on our current house on the 18th, and we close on our new house on the 25th!  This week moving started to feel real to me, and the bittersweet nature of leaving our first home is starting to twist my stomach.  Our leaves are starting to change, and the weather is starting to cool down.  It's beautiful here right now.  This would normally be the time that I would utilize our wood stove to warm up the living room, but we're supposed to keep it clean for the new owners.

I think that is one of the things I'll miss most about this house.  That wood stove.  When we were first married, we lit a roaring fire in it and decorated for Christmas.  My sister came over to help and took a picture of me and Derek, still newlyweds, in front of the fire.  When the power goes out, we heat the house with it.  One wintery day when we had a couple feet of snow outside, the lights flickered out, and I even cooked on it and made us grilled cheese sandwiches and caramel fudge on top of that stove.

I'll miss it.  I'll miss warm winter days, snuggled in the wood-warmed living room with my babies.

Birthdays And Photo Sessions

We celebrated Clarice's birthday last weekend, and it hit me that this is the last normal family birthday we'll have here.  We are having Georgie's big one year old party here before we move, but that feels different since we'll have all our friends and family present for an official party.  Clarice's birthday was the last time we'll decorate with simple streamers the night before, and light candles and sing happy birthday on an actual birthday in this house.  We'll celebrate Georgie's actual birthday in a new home.

Clarice's birthday was nice though.  We went to church, then the zoo, where she requested to see the "eweh-phants".  We came home and gave her birthday presents, and she exclaimed "I WUV it!" and "I a'ways wanted dis!" over every one.  Three years ago, she was the baby who kept me waiting after my due date, and I cried because I wanted to meet her so badly.  She hasn't made me cry with sadness again yet (except at the thought of her growing up).  She is such a delightful girl.

(Clarice and me, at the zoo!)

I'm trying to get Georgie's one year old photos done before the madness of moving really starts, so I took some pictures of her today, and on Wednesday we'll get her cake pictures, family pictures, and Christmas card pictures done in one fell swoop.  I get excessively stressed over taking our own family photos, which is why I decided to split them up this year.  However, I'm convinced Georgie's little session today took twice as long as it would have if Daddy had been around.  Daddy is where it's at these days, and he's the one who reliably gets Georgie to smile.  I did some pretty ridiculous things to try to coax a grin out of her today, and nothing.  Thankfully siblings were around to help me, and the blubbering lip trick still worked.

 (This is about how Georgie felt about our photo session today.)

But What About Packing?

I haven't started packing yet, partly because I don't want to live amidst a bunch of boxes for our entire last month here, partly because we can move over most things in the drawers they are already stored in (there are really only a couple closets and a cabinet that needs packing - I think), and partly because I am having a terrible time just keeping up on regular old things like schoolwork.  We are ahead in reading and math, and about a week behind in everything else.  And why?  As I established at the beginning of this post, all we've really been busy with is paperwork.

I guess in September I've learned that paperwork can take up a ridiculous amount of time and energy, fall makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and never move or let strangers into my house again, three is one of the cutest ages, my baby prefers me to hold her but prefers Daddy to make her smile, and selling a house makes you feel like you spent all week working yourself exhausted over a few signatures (because that's exactly what you did).

Oy vey.

(On a hike with dear friends last week, one of the few substantive things I can say we've done lately!)

What I'm Drinking: Pumpkin Spice Tazo Chai, steeped in coffee, with cream and Stevia.  Mmmm!

Has fall finally fallen in your neck of the woods?  What fall goodness are you drinking? Should I be concerned that I haven't packed anything yet?  Why are we moving again?

(I'll be glad we did all this about two seconds after we're moved in, just wait.)

7 Things About Our NEW HOUSE!



Well, what do you know, we are moving!  For real this time!

A few weeks ago, we were driving home from a weekend outing, and something in our conversation made me pull out my phone and check our local real estate website.  I don't even know what we were talking about, but I looked at the web page and saw a new house had popped up for sale.

I kind of liked it.

I showed Derek and he liked it too.  We drove by it.  We called up our realtor, and we went to see it.

It was weird to think about moving again, because as you all know, we put in an offer on a different house a couple months ago that was rejected.  The whole experience reminded me of all the things I loved about our house, and I expected to enjoy another quiet fall in our family home.  But Derek and I both agreed we'd still keep an eye out, because even though I love where we are, we are crowded.  The kids are only going to get bigger, and sometimes I look at our small living room space and squint my eyes, trying to figure out how we could fit another couch in there so we could sit seven people in the living room.  It would be nice to all be able to sit together to watch a movie as the kids grow older.

After mulling it over and praying about it, we decided to put in an offer on this new house.  This house would check most of our boxes, and it would be a little bigger for our family, which is something we knew we were going to need someday.  We made our offer contingent on selling our own house, because as I wrote a couple months ago, I don't want to leave a house we love without having another house we love to move into.  I wasn't confident it would be accepted, because contingent offers are not as desirable in this seller's market.

But what do you know, they accepted our offer!

(Georgie behind the very dusty glass door at the new place!)

(Our kids running around in what will soon be our land.)

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but also not as terrible as I would have thought.  We had ten days to sell our home, and the Lord brought us a buyer in less than four days of our house being on the market.  Everything is falling into place in a way that gives me confidence in what we are doing; I think the Lord is working things out for us!  People have told me that moving is one of the most stressful life events to go through, and while I can see why, it hasn't been as much stress as I expected.  Now I'm just looking forward to getting into our new place at the end of October!

Now to the part you all are REALLY interested in - what's the new place like?



The carpets are pink.

Yes...pink.  It was built in the early 90's, hand in hand with the 80's, when pink carpet was a thing.  When we visited the house for our inspection, the current owner was there, and the first thing she asked was if we would change the carpet.  She was so glad when we said yes, and told us she has just been telling herself it's beige.  Ha!

The toilets are black (and pink).

The bathtubs are pink. Basically there is just a lot of pink in this house.

It's about five minutes from our current house.

When we have considered moving in the past we have always hoped to get closer to town, but over the last year I have felt my heart settling into our small mountain community more.  When we saw this house, we decided we wouldn't mind staying in our current area for the time being.  The benefits to this are that we can get a better place for the price here, we are in my favorite part of the mountains - and this is where our roots are.

We can walk to the local library!

Even though our local library is nothing to write home about, obviously this is perfect for me.

A guy down the street is basically building a medieval castle.

I kind of want to knock on the door and ask him to give us a tour since we're studying the Middle Ages this year.

We have three acres.

I am pretty excited that the kids will have a bigger area to run around and explore!  The property also looks like great Capture The Flag terrain.  Derek already has plans to build the biggest, most glorious swing set you ever did see.

We will be remodeling.

We decided that this time we would do some updates right off the bat (instead of waiting five years like we did with our current house).  First thing to go - the pink carpet!  We hope to paint, update the kitchen, update the bathrooms, and replace all the light fixtures - we will see how far we can stretch the budget.  I am not looking forward to the remodel, because our last remodel was so much work, but I'm hoping to have the bulk of it done by Christmas (this may be definitely is optimistic).



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Overall, I'm quite excited about the new place, but honestly a little sad to leave our old house as well. We've lived in our first house for ten years, and we have so many memories here.  The new place will be in rough shape for a while.  But I feel prepared for that, because over the last couple years, the Lord has really been working with me on contentment.  Those lessons on being content with what I have are not going to go to waste just because we are leaving the place God used to teach me. I feel blessed to have a new place in which to practice being happy right where I am.

Any questions about the new house?  Do some of you veteran movers have some moving tips for this newbie?

(This is the first time I have actually moved in my adult life - packing up my bedroom at my parents house when I got married doesn't count.)




Ferries And Lakes And Orcas, Oh My! (Seattle Part Two)



Back to our Seattle trip!

Sunday

After finding out our whale-watching tour was cancelled a few days before we were supposed to leave, we scrambled and scheduled a different whale-watching tour for Sunday.  I was glad we could find another one, because whale-watching was an expected highlight for us - we just don't get a chance to see ocean life in our land-locked state, and we didn't want to miss our chance!

When we arrived, we asked the rental car guy if native Seattlans would roll their eyes at the tourists pointing at the whales.  Where we live, the tourists always stop traffic for elk, and it's so annoying because we see them often enough to not stop anymore.  He assured us that seeing a whale was still pretty cool, even for people who live there.







(This was the water in the wake behind out boat - look at that color!)

(I wish I had a better lens - orcas!)

(You can kind of see the baby in this one!)



We loved the whale-watching trip!  We saw 15+ different orcas, all part of an orca family in the Puget Sound.  We learned that different sub-species (ecotypes) of orcas will not breed with each other, because each ecotype has it's own culture and traditions that the mother orcas pass down.  They could identify all the orcas by the white patches on their backs.  The mothers lead the groups, and the male orcas will stay with their moms throughout their life, because the mother orcas have more social connections and can help them find a lady orca (ha!).  We learned so much from the naturalist onboard, and I interrogated her about her career path because I have a certain marine-life-obsessed little boy at home who would love that job.  

We also saw a bunch of seals and young bald eagles, which was cool too!

We went with the Puget Sound Express, and though they were a little pricier, they were one of the only tour companies that left from a suburb of Seattle, and we were only gone a half day.  I was just glad we got to go after our other tour was cancelled!

When we got back we went over to Gas Works, which is a park they made out of an old industrial area.  Why don't they do this in every city?  It was so cool!








We dressed up for dinner, and took a couple pictures together by the lake.  Then we went out to dinner at Five Guys after deciding to skip the fancy restaurant after all.







Monday

On Monday we said goodbye to our great little lake cottage, our spider friend, and the Market (I just had to go back one more time).  




We went by the market one more time and bought some loose-leaf tea, but we got a little lost on our way back to the car and stumbled upon Seattle gum wall!  I may have had hard time finishing my breakfast after that.  Blech!




After our Market stop, we had just enough time to ride the ferry over to Bainbridge Island for a quick lunch and walk, before we rode the ferry back to catch our plane!







I have to tell you, I was really impressed with the ferries.  You could hardly tell you were on a boat unless you went to the passenger decks.  I don't know much about engineering, but I feel like the ferries were a pretty amazing feat!

Overall, I really enjoyed Seattle!  One of the guys working at the Market told us that Seattle and our city feel pretty similar to him, and I could certainly see that.  The mountains and friendliness of the city definitely reminded me of home, but the fish market, whales, campfires all over the place, abundant greenery, and lakes and water everywhere were beautiful and different.  If I couldn't live where I live, Seattle might be my next choice!  I loved it.

Goodbye Seattle!







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