Thursday, February 16, 2017

My Funny (and Feverish) Valentines

I decided after uploading these photos for this post that it is a shame I don't have a picture of me with my other Valentine - the one I married almost 13 years ago.  I'm going to have to institute a new tradition of not just self-portraits but of couple portraits or something because there really aren't many pictures of the two of us together and I am just now really realizing that.  

A few weeks ago, I took the girls out hiking in the hills in East Dublin to take their Valentine pictures so we could make cards to send to grandparents, aunts & uncles, birth families, and cousins.  We had so much fun together (not always the case when I'm wanting to take specific pictures) and the girls were beyond pleased to get to wear their Valentine attire.  

The little banner and was from the Target dollar section and it was such a fun little prop.  My friend Christina made a large red heart out of foamboard after I showed her pictures of Deborah's heart from the past couple of years.  She brought her kids along and we did photos at the same time, sharing props.  Rose kept pulling a John Cusack move from "Say Anything" by holding the heart up over her head.

The medium size pink wooden heart was another Target dollar section find.  They have surprisingly good props there!

This was the picture I ultimately chose for the front of the Valentine's Day cards.  I just can't get over how their personalities are shining through in their expressions and poses (totally their own).

You can see by their genuine smiles just how much fun they were having.  I'm pretty sure Rose and Clara were chanting "Shake she bottom" which is a game that Paul plays with the girls where he makes Rose's stuffed bunny shake her bushy tail while the girls crow with glee and Rose chirps "shake she bottom! shake she bottom!" over and over.  She doesn't understand the pronoun "her" yet so everything is "she" for the possessive and it's hilarious and I'm going to be sad when she figures out "her".

This was actually my favorite lighting of the day and wouldn't you know it was right at the tail end of the photo shoot when we were heading down off the hill.  The girls had done so well for me and been so patient but by this point I think we were all done so I didn't push it to get some poses here other than this quick image I snapped of Rose in the gorgeous light.  The rim light around her curly hair making it glow is just my favorite.

On Valentine's Day, we went to the BART station and found Paul's car to heart attack it.  The girls were so excited about this and had so much fun taping hearts all over the Civic.  We had a number of cars actually stop to tell us that seeing the girls heart attacking their dad's car had "made their day", including two BART police officers in their patrol car.

After that though, we came back home for some coloring in a new coloring book the girls got in Cupid's mailbox (a new tradition this year - we got a little mailbox to set on the kitchen table and put notes, small things in it, etc.) for a few days leading up to Valentine's Day.  Rose had woken up the night before with a fever that kept her pretty miserable for most of Valentine's Day itself, poor thing.  She even took a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day and by 5:30 was just done.  She pretty much refused food all day and was miserable whenever the Advil wore off.  It was very sad.

This photo of Rose's eyelashes & curly hair was my favorite of the day.  I took it when we were blowing bubbles in the backyard for a little bit. I took a whole bunch of her while she was being still and focusing on her bubbles.

Paul gave us tulips, chocolate covered strawberries and thoughtful cards.  He also made me a really cool large serving spoon that he carved out of a piece of walnut wood.  The day after Valentine's Day, Paul had to work late so after I put the girls to bed I took a few photos using my artificial light set up in the guest bedroom of some of the beautiful tulips.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Big Little Adventures for Little Girls

I'm still keeping up with my 365 project and feeling really grateful for it because as I review my pictures from the past week or so I feel so happy remembering these captured moments.  They are such little things, really - weeding and swimming lessons and playing at the park - but they are so big and important in our girls' lives.  

I picked up some bags of peony bulbs at Costco and the girls helped me weed the front flower bed so we could plant some bulbs.  We can't actually landscape our front of back yards yet since we are still working on hardscaping, but we have a few spots where I felt like I could at least plant a few flowers that should grow into good cutting flowers for bouquets later in the year.  At least, that's my hope.  And the girls seemed to enjoy helping with the weeding, or at least being outside and getting plenty dirty with me one day when we had a break in the rain.

Paul brought back a small cooler full of snow from Tahoe so that the girls could show it to the chickens.  The chickens were not impressed until I threw some mealworms on the snow so they would peck around it.

Swimming lessons are always a highlight of the week.  Rose recently started wearing goggles (we've tried them off and on in the past but she always rejected them - this time around she seems to finally appreciate them) and I think it's the cutest.  The girls lessons are in side-by-side lanes with Rose's class on the steps and Clara's class in the deeper lanes.  It's always so sweet to see them smiling and chatting with each other while their coaches are working with other classmates in the pool.

Our backyard has some terrible drainage problems and we have massive puddles that haven't disappeared even though we haven't had any rain in 3 or 4 days.  The girls love it though and just put their boots on so they can stomp through the muddy water.  Inevitably, one or both of them fall down and get soaked with filthy, muddy water and then require a bath.  I don't put a stop to it though because it just seems like such good, healthy kid behavior and I'm glad they are making those memories.  I just keep putting them in their oldest play clothes just in case I can't get the filth out in the laundry.

Rose is still in love with her Snow White dress up dress.  It got a pretty substantial tear the first day she wore it and then it took me a couple of weeks to get out the sewing machine and fix it.  When it was repaired, she was beyond thrilled and she comes to me every single day when she puts it on to thank me for fixing it for her and give me a big hug.  It's the sweetest.

Rainy days have meant lots of dress-up play indoors and looking out the window at all the water.

Rose loves going to Music Makers with her little friends each Wednesday.  We sing, dance, run, and do story and snack time.

I posted some of these on Instagram, but the other day I pushed the couch out of the living room so we had the entire floor for dancing.  The girls are obsessed with the Trolls, Moana, and La La Land soundtracks and have most of the songs memorized.

When the rain finally cleared, we took the girls to the park to take advantage of the nicer weather.  Somehow Clara and Paul started a wrestling match where she would try to tackle him around the waist and he would stick her foot between her legs to trip her up.  She would go down and laugh and laugh, then go right back to trying to tackle him.  Rose joined the fight and eventually the girls were able to bring daddy down together, then they climbed all over him, attempting to keep him pinned while he laughed and tried to get back up.

Another later afternoon, another bath after getting filthy in the muddy yards.

Not an amazing picture or anything but man alive we have had some beautiful sunrises here recently.  Each weekend the girls come climb in our bed to have family snuggles on Saturday morning while Paul is home and we always enjoy seeing the clouds turn pink and orange and gold.  It's too bad we have telephone poles and electric wires marring our views.

And that's pretty much what's been happening in our neck of the woods the past week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Christmas 2016

As I was going through pictures, I realized that I somehow missed posting anything about our December here on the blog!  So here is a quick recap that I will backdate so it shows up in order on the blog instead of in February, lol.  

I'll start with the main event - Christmas morning.  We actually really enjoy having Christmas on Sunday.  It just feels right to do presents and then go to church and remember the real meaning of the day.

Clara was so excited to give this talking bird toy to Rose with a plastic cage.  She picked it out for Rose at the toy store, which obviously meant it was a toy that Clara wanted to play with.  

Clara was not as impressed with the Chutes & Ladders game that Rose got for her.

We got the girls some long, flowy skirts with tops that they can wear to church.  They aren't my favorite outfits ever but the girls adore them and immediately begged to put them on.  Rose also got decked out with her new costume jewelry from dad.

Backtracking a bit more to Christmas Eve.  I didn't take pictures but we had the Hamby's and Ambrose's over for dinner and games and a Christmas movie.  Then the girls went right to sleep.  Although I noticed when I went in to check on them that Clara had pushed her blinds up to peek out her window to see if she could spot Rudolph's nose flying in the night sky (she told me the next day that she had seen him!).  

Earlier in the month, we got to go on the Niles Canyon Train of Lights.  It's one of our favorite holiday traditions that we look forward to each year.  This was the first year that Mrs. Claus joined Santa for the ride and we were lucky enough to spot them getting ready to board the train together.  The Fischlis and Schaders joined us again this year, which was awesome.  The girls loved seeing their San Jose friends and are still talking about wanting to visit them again soon.

A few days after Christmas when work was slow for Paul, we took the girls ice skating at the rink that is just a couple of minutes from our house.  This went SO much better than last year's outdoor skating experience and Clara actually was starting to get the hang of it.  If I didn't already have her enrolled in gymnastics, swim, and Spanish, I might consider throwing ice skating into the mix just for the fun of it.  Maybe next year when she isn't doing swim any more.

This picture of Rose just before she ate it cracks me up.  Ice skating with littles is such a workout because you have to constantly bend over to help them balance and pick them up.

And finally, our annual photos with Santa Claus at the mall.  They were so excited to meet him and looked so pretty in their Christmas dresses.