Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh yeah, the girls

So I know that when Uncle Jeff asked if I was going to put more pictures on my blog, he didn't mean of my house.  But I had to share those and I don't like blogging more than once a day -- too muddled.  So here you go Uncle Jeff, these are for you!
 All of these pictures are blurry because Abby won't hold still.  It's worse now that she's walking.  And she LOVES to run away from me.  Which, it's not really running, more like speed walking -- and it looks pretty funny.  Oh she also loves the pantry.  I can no longer put anything breakable on the bottom shelf.  

 Why is she holding still now?  Not sure except that she is very guilty.  After I took the picture I dug a marker cap out of her mouth.

I finally remembered that I had washed and hung this princess dress that my mom got for Megan (hand-me-down from her friend AWESOME!).  She has now worn it for 24 hours and wanted to put it back on before bed.  I wouldn't let her.

 And she loves the shoes.  They're big but she walks around in them really well.  She's developing nice little "tickle spots" where they're giving her blisters though.  I give it another day before the tickle spots don't tickle so much any more.

 How did this end up all about Abby?  She's holding still because she's in my lap -- 2nd favorite place to be.  First favorite is on my hip.  You think I'm kidding but I'm not.

She's been brushing her teeth (well chewing really but I figure it works) and carrying things around.  This is Megan's baby (I'm informed every time Abby picks it up even though Megan has NEVER IN HER SHORT LIFE been interested in baby dolls at all) and her name is Charlotte.  We just had some friends move who had a baby girl named Charlotte so maybe that's why.  The real baby Charlotte was not thrown around like this one is though.  It may be her baby but Megan is not a very considerate mommy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I forgot about the house!

Chopper took on a special project while we were on vacation: painting.  We didn't do a lot (2 walls), but boy it makes a difference.  In fact, we've also added a large bookshelf that we bought from some friends who were moving and I made some different pillows for the couch (the ones it came with I didn't love) and voila!  To me there is such a difference in warmth and coziness.  

And yes, I like a warm and cozy house even when it's 106 degrees outside!
 The couch pillows before.  I'm not exactly a fan of fringe . . . 

 And after.  We kept the solids and paired it with a bright fabric that has all the colors -- red, green, some mustard, that sea blue color.  I like it.

 And the loveseat.

 The back dining room wall.  I think the color is "slate green" and I realized when I saw it on the wall that it's about the same color as an old-school chalkboard.  I just can't escape the teaching genes I guess . . . 

 And this is looking from the front door.  New (old) bookshelf on the left as you walk in and then the green wall going to the girls' rooms and then back in the kitchen.
 I love this bookcase.  And it's filled very decoratively.  It's the shelves hidden in office that are stuffed double and full to bursting.

Little little changes have made a huge difference!  And it looks even better when you see it in person.  Yes, that's an invitation to come visit.  October is a beautiful month in Texas . . . 

Quick update

I'm supposed to be headed out the door to the library but the videos are uploaded so real quick --

My family has been asking about Abby's walking and I'm sorry to say that Abby has discovered the camera. This means that when I try to take video of her she comes around to see the picture!  But I did manage these two so you can see a little bit:

She's getting a lot smoother and faster but still kind've walks with her hands up.  She LOVES to carry things and loves to empty the (clean) dishwasher.  Yesterday though, she was fighting to get down in the store.  That shouldn't be a big deal except that she wouldn't walk!  She kept crawling all over the dirty floor.  Sigh.  And she still has to be held 80% of the time.  Chopper pointed out last night that I have one child who wants nothing to do with me (well us both) and one who is attached like a growth.  So what will #3 be like?  No I'm not pregnant, just wondering.

Megan continues to be a 3-year old but her reasoning and thinking powers are getting better every day.  Today she told me that Abby was a clown and when I asked her why she said it was Abby keeps doing funny things.  She's very perceptive but I swear the most frequent words out of my mouth right now are "go to your room" and "don't touch your sister".

Which means that I need to get off the computer and go referee.

Oh yeah, my grandma called me and gave me a lecture (just kidding, but she was not happy) about saying that Somewhere in Time isn't a good movie.  It's good -- but the ending is SOOO disappointing and I just have to stand by that!  Love you Grandma!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lots of Videos

I took a lot of cute videos while we were up in the Michigan.  It might be same old same old to you but you have to watch them anyway because it takes me a stinking long time to upload them!  We all love them around here but then they are about us . . . 

This first one is Uncle Jeff giving Abby flying lessons.  She loved this.  In fact, she would crawl over to him and then just grin like a Chesire cat until he picked her up.  Then she started talking to him in between counting -- it was really cute.

Abby also loves to talk on the phone.  She puts it up to her ear (or close to) and says "hi" and then starts to babble.  I couldn't figure out why she was doing it with TV remote controls and things and then I realized that cell phones any more don't look like phones -- they're just flat with buttons.  So she's smarter than I thought!

Megan is a great little singer and I know I've posted video of her performances before but she is doing so well.  She learns all the words and then sings them exactly as they are sung -- in fact, when I say "Doe, a deer" she gets mad that I DON'T pronounce is "de-ah" like they do in The Sound of Music.  She's got these down cold and now we're working on "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".  Thank you Julie Andrews!!

Finally, Uncle James is trying to get Abby to learn how to cook already.  He was out in the garden teaching her the herbs and she was sniffing them . . . until I came out with the camera.  But you get the idea.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mackinac Island . . . oh and a new calling.

My parents have lived in Michigan for a number of years now but I had never been to Mackinac Island (say Mack-i-naw but don't ask me why) so my mom wonderfully took the girls for the day and I went with my brothers Jeff and James up to the island and saw all the sights!

The island is part of the state of Michigan and is about halfway between Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.  The only way to get there is by ferry and there are NO CARS on the island at all.  Even for year-rounders (of which there are only about 500).  So we got our ferry tickets early in the morning and took off!
When I think of a ferry I think slow boat to China but it actually was very fast.  The ferry took us under the Mackinac suspension bridge that connects the UP to the mainland.  It's the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, even longer than Golden Gate in San Francisco.
 They filled us in on fun facts about the bridge as we rode -- including that 360 cars run out of gas on the bridge every year.  And apparently they have driver assistance for those who are too scared to drive over.  That would've been me I think!
 As we get closer -- there she is!  The Grand Hotel!  Built in the late 1880's, it is a beautiful Victorian hotel that will run you $250-$3000 a night and was the site for the 80's film Somewhere in Time staring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.  It's a terrible movie by the way.
 The island is also covered with beautiful vacation homes, bed and breakfast's, hotels, and shops.
 And the views of Lake Huron are awesome!
 There is a "road" that runs the perimeter of the island and is about 8 miles long.  We rented bikes and rode around it.  Let me tell you, I hadn't been on a bike in about 10 years and it was shaky getting going again.  It didn't help that I think I got the strangest bike on the island . . .
 You can also rent a horse and carriage or ride just a horse itself, or go on a tour in a horse drawn wagon.  Lot's of options but they all cost money of course.  The biking was fun but next time (if there is a next time) I think I'll do the wagon tour and get some more useful information.  Signs like these:
were not so helpful.

 I coveted these houses.  I want a summer home here I think.  Or maybe just a vacation when the kids get older.  It was beautiful and we had absolutely perfect gorgeous weather for it.  I don't think I would want to be a year-round resident and pretty much snowed in all winter though.

 The water is so clear and blue and the lake is so big that there are waves like the ocean.  It was just stunning.

 The big deal on the island is there fudge and it's a soft-set fudge that was fun to watch them make.  I know this is a terrible picture but you can kind've see him paddling it around.  Every shop gives you samples so you can get pretty full of fudge without actually buying some.  But I did anyway.  It was good!  I recommend double-dark pecan.  Ok now I'm hungry again . . . 
 You can't actually go up to or inside the Grand Hotel unless you are a paying guest or buy the $10 tour ticket.  We didn't.  But we did sneak through the bushes (literally) into this garden to get a great view of the front of it.
 We had a good time even though it doesn't look like it.  I really enjoyed spending time with my brothers.  They're fun guys that I don't get to see to often.  And they're both single if anyone is interested . . . 

Anyway, if you're going to be in the area -- I highly recommend it.  It was a great day trip.

Oh yeah, and I was released from Primary Secretary and am now 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society.  I need to catch up on my lessons!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

One of the best things about this long trip was seeing some old friends.  On the way up, I stopped in Kansas to visit my best friend and roommate from college and her adorable, not so new anymore, baby.
She didn't want to smile for me because that book was too good but she was an absolute doll!

 Megan and Abby also really enjoyed playing with their extremely tolerant cat!

On the way back, we stopped in Memphis to see some friends from Idaho who just recently relocated there.  They very wonderfully put up with us even though she was headed out of town herself.  AND she made us a cake!
 Megan thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I may be plagued by bus cake requests for the rest of . . . well forever.  Megan has a really long memory.

And it tasted good!  Although Emmett looks like he's not too happy that I'm interrupted his eating for a picture!

This is one reason why we're such good friends -- they're kind've goofy like we are . . . 

We had great visits both times.  It was so nice to catch up with good friends and it was an added bonus that the girls got a good stretch of time out of the car between our long days of driving.  I think that really helped!

We also met a few new friends at my parents.  A stray cat that showed up.
 We ended up taking her to the pound after she hung around for a few days.  She was a sweetheart though so if you need a cat -- drive to Michigan and pick her up!

And this is "Wally".  He's a friend of Arthur's (my parent's dog) and although I didn't let the girls around him much just in case, he seemed to be a sweetheart.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Need A Vacation from My Vacation!

Are you ready for picture overload?  AND I'm even going to do posts over the next few days because there's so much to share.  Sorry.

So after a 3 day trip up to Michigan we spent about a week and a half with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle James and Uncle Jeff (my single brothers who were home for a little while).  We had a great time and what we did can pretty much be summed up in one word:  OUTSIDE!!!  While Texas sweltered in record drought-inducing triple digits with no rain in sight, we enjoyed 70s and 80s with nice cool nights and some rain.  It was fabulous.  We took full advantage and went outside A LOT.  My girls are going to go into shock over the next week or so when they realize we're back to being mainly indoors at home . . . 

So what did we do?
 We cuddled with Uncle James (ok maybe not we, just Abby).

 We played Barbies (and that one really is we although I only got a picture of Abby -- and Barbie's bum!  Sorry people!  I try to be G-rated here . . . ).

 We enjoyed Grandma's stash of cool things that aren't really toys but should be (and looked good in the process, thanks Grandma for the very cute dress).

 We colored the driveway (and ourselves) with chalk several times over (thanks to the rain).

We dug in the garden and picked vegetables.  Megan got really good at picking green beans, Abby was a pro at putting dirt in the bowl, and I excelled at avoiding all garden work at all costs -- after all, James and Grandma need to bond with the girls right?

 Oops, sorry about the bum shot mom -- this really is G-rated, I promise!

 We played at the park -- slides, swings, climbing -- we did it all!

 Look at the joy on that face.  This girl LOVES to swing.

We played in the rain -- it has been a very long time since the girls have played in the rain and they were in absolute heaven.  And when the clothes got too wet . . . 
 it was perfect weather to be naked in the rain.  My parents live in the middle of nowhere so it was fine.  

We picked flowers and stuck them behind our ears.  Sorry mom about your bushes . . . 

We went to Dow Gardens again so I won't post too much because we've been there before and I think I did a gazillion pictures then too.

 But they did have these glass flower sculptures all around the gardens which were really beautiful.  And for sale.  And way out of my price range.

 This is a nice picture huh?

Oh and of course Megan kissed rocks.  Lots of rocks.  Many times.  We came through this area more than once so there was a lot of kissing involved.

 Hey, she loves rocks.

 We played in the sand and got pretty filthy but I wasn't complaining.  Megan's sensory issues slowly get better and better so she can play in the sand all she wants!  Abby doesn't have sensory issues, she enjoys being dirty I think.

 Abby did a lot more walking (mostly after crawling to within 2 feet of what she wanted).  She still walks with her hands up which better not be good practice for a future life of crime.

 She also tried on Uncle Jame's shoes.  She loves shoes.  All shoes.  She is such a girl.

 Of course there was cooking involved -- homemade pizza, zucchini bread and zucchini cookies.  And mom and I canned relish (ok she did that one by herself), pickled green beans (well, she did that one by herself too actually), and dilly beans (which I actually helped with -- I promise!).

 Abby learned that Uncle Jeff is really good at flying.  I'll post video of this in a few days because it's really cute but I've got to download them all first and I am really exhausted because I spent a total of 40 hours in the driver's seat trying to keep two small ones happy.  For the most part, they were good.  But I did learn some fabulous ways to prevent or put an end to a melt-down . . . 
 One of which was the box of tissues. 
Look at those things fly!  My car was a DISASTER area (I considered applying for federal aid and then remembered that I am a Texan . . . ) but it was totally worth it to entertain Abby.  You should have seen the look on her face when I actually GAVE HER a box of tissues instead of taking it away.  It was like Christmas.

But now we're home sweet home and as much as I love visiting my parents, it feels really good to be back. Now if I can just get a few days of peace and quiet before the normal routine starts again.

Oh stop laughing.