Friday, September 23, 2016

Farewell to Summer

Norah loves all things girly, which means Lucy follows suit. They would choose an old ratty dress over pants any day, and I catch Lucy on a regular basis trying to pull out dresses from the dirty clothes basket to try on. 

So when Ryan's mom gave Norah this sweet white dress, which she tried to wear, I knew I had to take pictures of all three girls before Summer was completely lost. 

Norah and Lucy were in princess heaven. They couldn't believe I was letting them wear their nice dresses on a non-Church day. 

Norah LOVES having her hair curled. She will run around the entire house screaming and crying while I try to brush her hair, but if I ask her if she wants to have curly hair, she will sit still for 30 minutes while I roll the foam curlers in, and then sleep on them all night without any complaint. 

I ran out of big curlers, so her hair ended up looking like an afro in the front. I topped it off with a little flapper-girl looking headband, and she loved it!

I took pictures of them during Jane's morning nap so the grass was still wet from the sprinklers the night before. As Norah roamed off the blanket and onto the wet grass, she suddenly screamed out and I rushed over in time to see a bee flying away. 

I could not calm her down, and when I pulled out the tweezers to try and get the stinger out of her foot, she went ballistic. It took about 15 minutes of complete chaos before I could finally pluck it out. Poor girl. She was devastated, but really enjoyed being pampered. We called practically every family member who would pick up the phone to gain their sympathy while Norah elevated her foot. 

I am allergic to bees, so I didn't know how Norah would react, but she was running and jumping around within an hour of being stung, having completely forgotten about it. phew!

Lucy acted very concerned about Norah's foot, but mostly she wanted to be the one to do minor surgery on her. I can't describe her personality and do it justice. She is one cute firecracker and she makes us laugh every day.

These photoshoots never go quite how I imagined them. Poor Jane was not feeling well (which turned out to be a double ear infection), so I couldn't get her to smile, but she still looks so sweet.

She can crawl, pull herself up, wave 'hi', and say 'mama'. She loves her daddy and frantically bounces on my hip, laughing, as she waits for him to hold her. She officially has four teeth, as of two weeks ago, and is losing that gummy smile that makes her look so much like a baby. I love this small thing so much! Now if only I could get her to sleep through the night... ;)

They danced around Jane for a few minutes and then shed their dresses to go play on the swing set.

They love to be naked. When we pull them out of the bathtub and send them to get clean underwear and a diaper, they leave their towels behind shouting, "naked girl!" I do try to keep clothes on them when we're outside, but sometimes I just let it slide. They were especially cute holding hands and running around the entire yard, curls bouncing and everything. It was like a scene from my childhood fantasies of one day becoming a mom.

Norah pulled Lucy along as they tried to run away from the monster. Something magic happens when we are outside and they suddenly play so well together. I will really miss the warm weather and the chance to send them out in just their skimpies. Now I'm going to bake a spice pie, just to keep my spirits up while the weather turns cold this weekend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Back to School

I just dropped off Norah for her first day of Preschool and I couldn't help but feel a little sad that the summer is already over and we'll be back to the regular routine of school. But then, Norah has been asking me nearly every single day, since her last day of preschool in May, when preschool is going to start again, so you could say she was excited. ;)

When we were in Rexburg a couple weeks ago, I found an old bus on the side of the road so we stopped to take pictures. 

She really wanted to climb inside, but then pouted and glared when she realized it was locked and there was no way of getting in there. She then tried to convince me to lift her up through the driver's side window, which was open, and let her play inside. But I didn't think that was such a good idea, so I was labeled "not the best mom".

We bought a few new outfits for the school year, and she was so excited that they were all dresses. She finally got to try them on at home and give us a little fashion show, complete with princess braids. 

She hardly ate anything this morning as we got ready for her first day. She didn't even care and stayed so still when I said it was time to do her hair. She whooped and hollered around the house as we gathered everything we needed and it was a major flashback from her first day last year.

We pulled up to the house and my dad came out to give Norah a hug before he left for work. One of the major perks of having grandma teach preschool at her house!

There are two new teachers helping my mom this year, who we met at the open house over the weekend and I think they will be exceptional with the students. I'm so happy we have such a fun school for Norah to experience.

I haven't told Norah that this is the last year that my mom is doing preschool, but I'm so glad we will have had 2 full years for her, because she absolutely loves every single day she goes.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Tiny Dancer

Basically ever since we found out we were first having a girl, I had envisioned one day sending her to dance lessons. Last week, that baby girl finally had her first class, and she couldn't have looked sweeter.

I'd been prepping Norah about the details for class and we visited the studio a few weeks before start up, so her anticipation was beginning to compete with mine. I bought her leotards and tights and was so excited to have her wear them. 

The morning of her first day, I made sure to remind her a few times that I would need to pull her hair back to comply with the rules of the studio, and she assured me it wouldn't be a problem when it came time. But three year olds will be three year olds. I finished smoothing out her tights and barely uttered the word 'brush' before she leapt off of the bed and rushed, screaming, to the other room. After much negotiation, I convinced her that getting her hair pulled back was a fair price for going to dance class and, with just a few tears, we were finally off! 

I watched as she sheepishly crept into the studio, with her underwear bunched up under her tights, to join the other girls in a circle around her two teachers and I felt all weepy-like. The two-way mirror wasn't exactly hiding the fact that I was pressed up against the glass filming her with my phone, so she waved at me every time she happened to look my way.

{Such sass! Notice the underwear;)}

The teachers taught them how to stand in first position by shaping their feet like a pizza. Then they did "princess and Barbie walks" across the room with their toes pointed, which definitely got Norah excited.

It was so sweet seeing her interact and bounce around in her leotard. Next week is tap dancing, so you bet I am looking forward to watching that! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Lake Coeur d'Alene

About a month ago, Ryan pitched the idea of taking a vacation to Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. At first, I wasn't too thrilled about driving so long, but the couple of weeks leading up to it, we both became more and more excited about getting away.

We broke up our trip by spending a couple of days in Rexburg while Ryan's parents were visiting Janel in Alaska. We went out to eat at a local bbq place, The Hickory, and left feeling terribly bloated. The girls were much more interested in the grasshopper outside the window than in their food. 

 When we walked out of the restaurant, we saw grasshoppers all over the wall. Lucy kept trying to poke it, of course. 

We tried to put Norah and Lucy to bed in the same room, but very quickly realized that no one would sleep if we did that, so we separated them and put Jane in a storage closet.

Ryan took Norah and Lucy to the store with him the next morning and they came home with giant suckers and smiles to match.

We let them suck on them for a while, and then had to save them for later. They never did finish the whole thing.

We decided to go exploring and spent the afternoon at Nature park. When we lived in Rexburg, Ryan and I would come here a lot, so it was fun to bring the girls. As soon as we pulled up, a HUGE group of ducks and geese started waddling as fast as they could toward our bag of bread.  

You can see how Norah felt about that. ;)
Those geese were aggressive!

Sidenote: Not only did my friend dye my hair brown last month, but she also taught me the secrets of eyebrow shaping (like, actually pluck to shape them...who knew, right?). After three babies, my natural hair has darkened considerably and I thought it was time to embrace the fact that I am no longer a blonde. ;) I'm really liking it so far.

The girls loved running around and picking up rocks and sticks and anything else they could find.

Jane is at the perfect age for pictures. She has started to crawl, but is still not very fast and so she'll stay put long enough to capture some sweet smiles. I sure love this snug bug.

Lucy didn't want anything to do with a group photo, so it was just me and these two girls.

We went back for naps and I entertained myself by taking approximately 300 hideous photos of ourselves myself and sending them to Brooklyn (I'll spare you by not posting here;)). Ryan picked up the last book in the Harry Potter series for me and I finished it that night. 

I heard Lucy rustling around in her room before falling asleep, so I went to check on her and found her rummaging through the closet. She immediately ran over to the bed, pulled out a dry erase marker, and showed me the masterpiece she had scribbled all over the wall. sigh. 

After naps was more exploring out in Archer where we found some hay bales and an old school bus they use for the corn maze in the Fall. I took advantage of that bus for preschool pictures with Norah. These girls were loving the hay and got it everywhere. 

Exploring meant baths all around. I love that all three of them are big enough to be in the bath together, although I still have to protect Jane every now and then.

She seriously is the sweetest chunk. She was sick for nearly 2 weeks before we left on vacation. I took her in and it turned out that she had a double ear infection due to runny nose, due to teething (curses!) I was so glad she was starting to feel better. 

The next morning we headed to Coeur d'Alene, where we would be staying with family friends. We bought a little mirror for Jane so we could see her from the front, which I really loved.

The ride there was really hard. Jane was hardly sleeping and if she did fall asleep, she would wake up only a few minutes later. It didn't help that Lucy would suddenly burst into scream-singing "Tomorrow" from the movie Annie. 
When we stopped for lunch, I got out of the car and my sandal immediately broke, so I hobbled around trying to keep it from sliding off my foot until we found some cheap flip flops at a local grocery store.
We tried to monitor how much liquid Lucy drank (she is a water-aholic), but she peed through so many times that we just started putting her in night diapers and checking every 30 minutes. We had to wash the carseat cover in Rexburg since she had peed through on the way there, and we really didn't want to have to do it again. About 45 minutes before getting to the cabin, Lucy pulled on her straps and they completely came off, so we quickly pulled to the side and re-laced them.

When we finally got into town, it was very smoky all over and the sun was bright red. When Ryan traveled to Coeur d'Alene last year for his friend's wedding, it was very smoky then too, which irritated his lungs so much that he got pneumonia, resulting in a 2am ER visit. So we were very glad when it blew over and the skies were pretty clear for the rest of the week.

Here is the view from the garage loft (where we slept) looking down at Cathy and Jim's cabin. It was so beautiful!

After visiting for a few minutes, we rode the golf cart down the (very steep) hill toward the lake. Norah was so excited every time we rode.

The girls were so happy to be out of the wretched car and played in the sand.

I tried to show them how to skip rocks, but it was a total fail and all of mine just plunked straight down.

Lucy had fallen on concrete a few weeks before, leaving a giant scar on her forehead, so we've been trying to keep sunscreen on it around the clock.

Jim and Cathy have a big dog named Ben, and the minute the girls walked in the house and saw him, they (mostly Norah) screamed and clawed their way up in our arms. So we tried to warm them up to the idea of petting him. Lucy was mostly just copycatting Norah and acting scared, but she was pretty quick to play with him.

We all ate and then went straight to bed. It was warm, so we cracked the windows (which the girls would not stop opening and closing), and put everyone in bed. We had Jane sleeping in the living area, but she woke up several times throughout the night because it got way too cold. Poor baby. Every morning started out at about 5am, and I tried so hard to get Jane to sleep in a little longer, so I really wanted a nap by 9 every day.

Morning view from their back porch.

Cathy had a little play rocking boat that the girls all loved to play with.

They rocked pretty aggressively, but Jane didn't seem to mind too much.

Here is their living room. The tree columns were so cool and beautiful! 

Monday morning, we put Jane down for her morning nap and headed down to the lake for our first swim.

The water was fairly warm for Lake water so the girls were so happy to try out their puddle jumpers again. They loved being so independent!

The swim didn't last too long, however, because they were getting hungry and cold. 

This picture totally sums up their relationship. 
Lucy is always teasing and bugging Norah, and Norah is always bossing Lucy around. 

Norah was so ready for a nap, but it was still so early, so we just lounged for a bit before diving back in. 

Lucy's curls spark comments from other people all the time. They are too precious.

I convinced the girls to build sand castles with me, which they thought was so cool. 
This is my 4th summer wearing this bathing suit, and it is showing. There are several big patches that are disintegrating and sagging. It's pretty much falling off, which meant I just wore a t-shirt over it the rest of the week. I tried to find a new one before we left, but had no luck. I don't understand how some of the bathing suit prints/cuts make it further than the designer's sketch pad, because everything I saw was pretty hideous. 

Ta da! Our castle, complete with a moat and a flag.

We pulled out the kayaks for a quick ride out by the dock and back. Norah was loving it!

Just as we were leaving the beach, I saw something hopping along in the sand. It was the cutest little frog! picked it up and let the girls look at it.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is when I caught seven toads all at once and brought them in the house to keep as my pets. But they scattered and hopped out of the house so fast that I was running every which way to try and gather them up again to no avail. 

The girls wanted to try and hold the little frog, but when it came down to it, they were simply to scared to actually do it.

Here is the beautiful water feature that goes down the hill in the backyard. 

We jumped back in our bathing suits again after naps and I buried Norah's legs in sand. It was supposed to be a mermaid tail, but my talent in sand sculpture was really lacking. 

She still loved it though.

Jane missed a lot of the beach experience due to naps, so we had to squeeze in a picture of her to prove that she actually was there with us. ;)

Norah has recently started making this funny face all the time.

You can tell she really thinks she is hilarious haha! Such a sweetie.

Lucy, Norah's little shadow, had to join in and copy the funny face too.

Cathy came home that evening with bubbles for Norah and Lucy and a stuffed animal for Jane.

The next day, we spent the morning playing 'catch' with Ben. Norah took a bit of warming up, but they thought it was so funny to see him scramble to get the ball. 

Norah's face haha! If Ben got too close to her, she would scream and run away. So we made sure not to throw the ball anywhere close to her because he would charge for it no matter who or what was in the way.

Lucy loved throwing the ball and could have gone on all day.

He was such a good, sweet dog. Ryan said that he put the ball on his lap and if Ryan didn't throw it then Ben would just grab it and act like he had thrown it.

Jane napped while the rest of us went down to the lake with Cathy since she had the day off of work. She sat on the beach with the girls while Ryan and I took a ride on the jet skis. I had never ridden one before and they were just 'a kick in the pants' as Cathy says. :) 
I couldn't help but whoop and holler as we sped around the lake, getting sprayed in the face. I told Ryan that I could have ridden around for a long, long time. It was so fun!

 Norah and Lucy were ready for a nap, but Jane's second nap didn't sync up like usual, so she hung out with Ryan and me. This is how we entertained ourselves. 

We drove to downtown Coeur d'Alene in the evening to meet up with Ryan's friend, Steve. While we waited for him to get there, the girls played at this really huge, really awesome park. 
I was running around like a mad woman trying to keep track of both of them while Ryan and Steve decided on a place for dinner.

Lucy was absolutely insistent on pushing Jane around in the stroller. At one point, she threw her whole body on the ground and cried because she didn't want any help from anyone. I'm pretty sure we traumatized Steve and added at least 10 years to his timeline of when he wants to have kids. 

Red Robin was the restaurant of choice and the girls were so happy about the complimentary balloons, they tried to take them all down.

Being out of our element was certainly showing, and the girls were all over the place. I wrestled Lucy into her highchair and Jane cried for most of the meal. Norah ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, but didn't touch it at all and instead flirted with an older gentleman a few tables away the entire time. I kept looking over at her and seeing that she was making her silly face or laughing and playing peek-a-boo with him. We had previously planned to go to a milkshake place afterwards, but then decided that if we did go, we just wouldn't order for the girls since they hadn't eaten their food. But when we were getting ready to leave, our waitress came over and said that the gentleman had actually paid for two ice creams for Norah and Lucy. It was so thoughtful, so we just nixed the milkshakes for later.

Wednesday, we drove over to Spokane for the day and met up with Ryan's friend, Blake. We played on the giant Radio Flyer wagon at Riverfront Park.

Lucy only went down if Ryan held her hand. 

We checked out the trash-eating goat and the girls rode long enough for a picture.

Ryan pressed the button for Norah to feed the goat her trash, but the vacuum sound scared her to bits! She wouldn't go near it after that.

Blake met up with us and we bought tickets for the carousel, the thing Norah had been anticipating all morning. But when the assistant said Norah couldn't ride by herself and Blake tried to get on with her, she was not happy at all. 

After a few tears, the assistant said he could just stand by her instead. 

They both loved waving at me and Jane as they passed by each time.

Jane was so tired, but happy to hang out with me on the sidelines.

After lunch, Norah and Lucy zonked in the car.

So we drove to the Spokane Temple and parked in the shade while they napped for a bit. 
Jane was wide awake so once Lucy woke up too, I took them for a walk around the temple.

Lucy stopped any stranger passing by to tell them that she was six years old. haha

We hung out at Blake's house (where there were even more dogs for Norah to try and dodge) and everyone played a game of catch, or rather, a game of steal the ball from each other, while Jane took a much needed nap and I lounged on a chair.

We grabbed a pizza from Pizza Pipeline and headed to a park with Blake and Shayla (the girls' new best friend).

I was too lazy to take any pictures other than a few of Lucy.

Ryan knew that I had been dying to take pictures of the girls in one of the many beautiful locations we kept passing to and from the cabin, so the next morning, I got everyone ready for pictures.
But even at 7:30am it was already much too bright, and everyone was cranky from rushing out the door before breakfast.

Norah was not in the mood for pictures.

I very carefully convinced her to make her silly face for me, and she thought that was pretty funny.
Norah age 3.75

Lucy age 2

Jane age 9 months

We just picked up some donuts from the store and called it our breakfast.

We played at a nearby park and the girls were in heaven. Jane was giggling so much while sitting in the swing. We want to get a little baby swing to attach to our swing set at home so she can finally enjoy it too.

The tire swing was a big hit and they weren't even scared when I pushed and twirled them around.

They were giggling up a storm, especially when Ryan joined them.

We headed back home, put Jane down for a nap, and walked down to the lake for some more time on the jet skis.

Ryan took one out and then came back for Norah. I thought she might be nervous about going fast, but Ryan said she was loving it!

Lucy and I waited patiently until they came back for us.

Ryan and I each took a jet ski and one of the girls for a ride around the lake. They both thought it was so fun and didn't have any problem with us getting up to 20mph. Once we realized that their life jackets probably weren't motor safe, we made our way back to the dock for some swimming.

The girls were ecstatic that Ryan jumped in with them.

Lucy is still so stoked about her puddle jumper. She gulps and sounds like she is drowning, but then screams whenever someone tries to help her. She just repeats over and over again, "I'm swimming!"

After naps, Ryan's other friend, Landon, came over with his dog. We played fetch with him off the dock and he swam around to his heart's content. 

Cathy and Jim came home and took us all on a cruise around the lake on their boat. There was a little bed underneath, which the girls loved playing on. 

Jim let everyone take a turn steering the boat and taking the title of captain for a few minutes. 

Even I got a go at the wheel!

Cathy and Jim were such nice hosts and the girls absolutely loved them! They would always try and get their attention and try to make conversation. Lucy loved mimicking Norah, so she would yell Cathy's name until she had her attention and then just talk nonsense for the sake of talking.

We turned on Les Miserables (or "Miserable Bob", as Norah calls it) and started our long car ride back to Rexburg. There were only about 20 minutes when all 3 girls were fast asleep and the rest of six hours was mostly crying.

We made it to Rexburg Friday night, just in time for dinner and bed time. The next morning, Ryan, his mom, and his grandma took Norah and Lucy to Bear World while I relaxed at home with Jane during her nap.

Ryan said the best part of the park was the petting zoo and watching the bear cubs play with each other. 

Lucy was pretty brave about petting the animals, but Norah was very cautious.

They always have a fat little pig there every time we've gone. 

This one was particularly beefy!

They have a few little rides to go on, and Norah was all about that.

Ryan said he got on one with them and it kept hitting the ground haha. So the attendant made him get off after the first round.

We all went to Rexburg Rapids that evening and it was Jane's first time in her swimsuit all week haha. 
Whenever I have a no-makeup day, I make sure to keep this baby fastened on my hip as much as possible to bring me from a 2 straight up to a 10. ;)

Jane wasn't too thrilled about getting in the cold water, but she loved floating along down the lazy river. 

Lucy was distraught when Ryan make her wait for the rest of the family to catch up to them. But then once Norah got close enough, they both kept screaming each other's names and swimming toward each other. 

They liked to pretend they were in distress, which was funny and stressful at the same time.

Jane loved splashing in the shallow end, and the girls kept gliding along in the little lifejackets. 

We finished the night with a barbecue outside and sent everyone to bed. Our trip home the next morning was still filled with a lot of crying, but we made it back with no casualties. 

It was a long and tiring trip, but it was fun to see the girls excited about meeting new people and seeing new places. I felt like Jane was missing out on so much, so we can imagine how fun it would be once they are all just a little bit bigger and don't need to nap as much. But for now, I really enjoy the quiet time when everyone is sleeping, so I don't mind putting road trips to the side for a while. ;)