Monday, March 19, 2007

Jake's Bouncy Ball Birthday



Out of the blue one day while Haley and I were eating lunch together, she stated the following,

"All the things that make me happy are: kisses, hugs, new shoes, fireworks, blessings, and movies. Oh, and I forgot about pizza too."

Sibling Revelry


Jake is finally at the age where he and Haley can play together - somewhat peacefully and for the most part safely - for short periods of time. Sure, he still chews on all her toys, grabs things out of her hands, and often isn't interested in being her pet/patient/baby/prince, but they will still disappear into her room to play once in a while. I'll hear her tell him, "No, Jakie, that's not food" or "Come on, Jake, I'll be the mama and you'll be the baby". Which gives me a glipse at the relative heaven my life might be in a year...could the kids possibly play peacefully with each other long enough for me to cook a whole meal? Put a few photos in an album? Write more than 1/2 an e-mail at a time? For now I'll settle for the sweet, if short, play sessions.

One of Haley's all-time favorite things to do is play dress-up. She has a drawer-full of costumes that I found 90% off at Target after Halloween, as well as a few special princess ones. This is one that Santa brought this year, so she could dress up as "Barbie as Genevieve in the 12 Dancing Princesses." She usually goes through several costume changes per day, and often walks out playing the part of some character and we're supposed to play along. It gets a little old sometimes, and I'm beginning to think we really need to give her some role models besides blandly sweet princesses...
One of Jake's favorite things to do right now is rock - yes, musically, but also literally. He discovered the mini rocking chair and spent a morning learning how to climb in and then turn around to sit down in it. That day was filled with many anxious cries and screeches as various limbs snagged in various parts of the rocking chair. He quickly mastered it, though, and soon decided it would be fun to stand in it and rock while holding on to the back. "Sit down, Jake!" has since become an often-repeated phrase in our house.
Here's Jake standing outside after one particularly heavy snowfall. It's usually too cold to take him out, but this day it was in the 20's so we brought him outside to see what he thought. Jake wasn't particularly impressed, especially when he grabbed a handful of snow with his bare hands. This is the kid who would kick and move around in utero as if in protest whenever I had a drink of cold water. This is not the climate for him!

The Big Dig


In mid-February we got our first big snowstorm, just when Rob thought he wasn't going to get to use his snowblower at all this year. It started slowly, then built up and just didn't stop. Before we knew it we had over 18 inches of new snow. Haley was very excited to go out and help Rob shovel the driveway, although for some reason he wasn't quite as thrilled. We've had several storms since then and every time Haley has put on her entire snow ensemble (pink and purple all the way!) and pulled Rob outside so they could shovel and sweep. She does a good job at keeping the stairs clear!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Family of Four Seeks Warm Weather, Good Friends


In early February we traveled to Charlotte, NC so Rob could attend a conference - the rest of us tagged along to visit our friends April and Dave and their daughters Morgan and Abbie. Haley and Morgan have been friends since they were 4 months old and they seemed to pick up right where they left off (they moved from Grand Forks in 2005 and we've only seen them ONCE since then). Within seconds the girls were playing hide-and-seek and they were basically inseparable the whole time.
Jake and Abbie were born 2 months apart and had a fun time racing down the hallway and cruising around the hotel furniture. We were so excited to spend time outside, having suffered early-onset cabin fever this year. Although it was in the mid-40's and windy, we explored downtown Charlotte by foot and let the girls race around the many office-park fountains. It was inevitable that one of them would slip in - Haley managed to beat Morgan to it. After several fun and relaxing days we had to tear ourselves away and fly back to our frozen home. We miss you, Barnes family!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I guess when we're stuck inside all the time it can only lead to mischief - and silliness. These two kids are seriously silly, and they always crack me up. One of their favorite things to do is flop around on the bed and "wrestle". Our routine is this: I take a cranky Jake to lay down and nurse to sleep. Haley tiptoes in and snuggles up against my back. Jake hears the teensiest rustle of sheets and pops up to peek over me with a hopeful grin on his face. He sees Haley, gives a happy shriek, and starts jumping up and down. She joins him and they flop around until someone gets bonked and I have to send Haley out to read books until I can get Jake to sleep. It's just too cute, these two silly kids.

Here's Haley mugging for the camera, and Jake getting into the fridge and the oatmeal from the pantry. What's that Jake? Does dry oatmeal not taste as good as applesauce?

Was I recently complaining about our dismally cold weather with no where to go? That must have been because I forgot WE'RE GOING TO CHARLOTTE, NC!

Oh, Groundhog


Once the holidays are over, it seems like one interminable slog to Spring here in our northern-prairie state. One of our favorite children's CDs is Catch the Moon by Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb. One of the songs on it is about a groundhog and how he's waiting for Spring, but he "looks out the window, it's snowing again". Every time I hear that song I think, "I know how you feel!" November and December were relatively warm and very dry here, but in the last little while we've gotten a couple of nasty cold spells and enough snow to convince us that spring is nowhere near us. It's enough to drive a preschooler, an almost-toddler and their mom a little bonkers. So we hang out in the toy aisles at Target, snag some samples from Sam's Club, and run around the gym at the church with our friends. It's months like these when I wonder why the entire population of North Dakota doesn't pick up and move to say, northern California. At least those of us with small children...

Girly Girl


I took these pictures the first Sunday that Haley wore her new coat to church. We had seen it at the department store and once she tried it on Daddy couldn't resist buying it for her. She said she felt like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and where else but in North Dakota would you get actual use out of the matching hand-muff?

Jake & The House of Discovery


Jake loves playing with toys, and we love that he can finally get himself to them with minimal fuss. Ever since he was about 4 months old he's seemed frustrated at the fact that he couldn't get to whatever he wanted. He learned to inchworm, then crawl, then cruise around the furniture - and can now reach almost anything he sees. Fortunately he doesn't often look above his eye-level or I'm sure he'd be climbing the book cases. His current fascination is with balls, or anything vaguely resembling them. So he loves his Busy Ball Popper toy, as well as the Roll-A-Rounds balls that have fun things inside them. When we're at the store he lunges toward the huge cage of big bouncy balls saying "Bah! Bah! Bah!" like his life depends on squeezing them. He does the same thing in the produce department when we pass the cantaloupes or tomatoes, which Haley thinks is hilarious. I can't wait to see what the poor cabin-fevered kid does when he actually gets to play outside with balls. For now he just has to think they're a living room toy.


Jake is on the move, and he's fast. He's also very curious, which of course is normal for a 10-month old. He likes to explore the kitchen cabinets and drawers, the computer CPU with its many buttons, and the pile of dirt and debris that I gather with the broom. I certainly remember Haley going through this stage, but somehow it seems like more work with Jake. Maybe it's just because now there are 2 of them, but they are perfectly capable of trashing the house faster than I can keep it clean. One day Jake got into the pantry cupboard (I know, how hard would it be to put on a childproof lock) - and discovered the box of Honey Nut Cheerios. He wouldn't let go once he'd tasted them since he'd only had plain ones up until then. Haley couldn't believe I was letting him make such a mess, and was only too happy to join him in eating them from the floor. Another day Jake managed to reach the packages of applesauce. He stacked them up, banged them together, then bit into one. He was delighted to find he had bit through the foil top and proceeded to slurp it up. It was too cute to stop him, and surprisingly little of it wound up on him.

One evening after dinner Rob went in and started the bath water, then came out to get the kids. Before we even realized it, Jake crawled into the bathroom and into the tub - clothes and all. Fortunately it was just cute and not a disaster, but we keep a much closer eye on him now! And yes, we know we're out of the running for Parents Of The Year.


Jake's other love, besides bouncy balls, is music. And musical instruments. And anything resembling musical instruments. And anything on which he can drum. He stands by the keyboard in the living room and screeches out his distress at not being able to reach the keys. He points and bobs up and down to get Rob to take the guitars off the wall. He puts his whole mouth around the microphone and "sings"/drools into it. And in the basement he makes a beeline for the music room (as does Rob!). Nothing could make his father prouder, and I see many garage jam sessions in the future. Haley likes to join in too, playing and singing Mary Had a Little Lamb over and over while Jake enthusiastically accompanies her on the lower half of the keyboard. Here he is strumming on a mint-green Fender Stratocaster. The only question now is whether he'll play Bach...or rock...

Celebrate Good Times


A few days after Christmas our friend Bill arrived from Utah for a visit - he just had to see what a North Dakota winter was like after spending a year in Iraq. Haley very quickly got over her shyness and Bill became her new best friend. He was such a good sport and she loved having someone to play with - he even played dress-up!

We hadn't had a real cold snap yet, and so were able to play outside. Bill, Rob and Haley bundled up and went out while Jake watched jealously from inside.

A few days later we all went sledding at nearby Lincoln Drive Park - and were very grateful for the warming house. It was fun to be able to go down the hill with Haley this year - last year I was 7 months pregnant. So much can change in one year!

Speaking of years going by, the kids and I surprised Rob and Bill one afternoon with a Pirate Birthday Party. Argh, matey! Haley was so excited about it and had done an excellent job keeping it a secret. Almost as good a job as Rob does keeping his age a secret...

We rang in the New Year with an oh-so-wild evening of putting the kids to sleep followed by watching movies. We were too tired to even toast at midnight - ah, the life of parents of young children. So we'll toast you all now: Here's to a peaceful and happy 2007!