Friday, January 31, 2014

Books in the living room

We had a few sunny days last week and when there is sun the kids soak it up like cats. One morning they were both looking so especially cute I decided to grab my camera.
Juliet was wearing her first ponytail and she was also trying underpants for the first time. James was so encouraging and kept bring her books. He said "I'm four so I know all these things, but I'll teach you Juliet."

These two sun babies. I love them more than the world.
* Juliet is pretty much 100% potty trained when it comes to poop. I thought I'd put her in underpants and see if peeing in the potty clicked for her. Four pairs of undies later, and she not ever realizing what was coming before it was too late, I decided to give it a few more months. She sure looked cute without a saggy diaper though.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ice Castles {sunshine and ice and every shade of blue}

Yesterday we went up to Midway Utah and explored the Ice Castle. Have you heard of this thing?! I hadn't until my sister-in-law went a few weeks ago and then I started seeing it everywhere. Suddenly, I NEEDED to go.

Their website reads "Built by hand and made from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the Ice Castles are READY to be explored! Carved walking paths will lead visitors through towering glacial formations, caverns, archways, and maze-like tunnels."
The air in Salt Lake has been so yucky, full of inversion and smog. Midway (one place I'd love love love to live one day), however, was clear of any inversion and so beautiful it takes my breath away.
E's family decided to join us, because seeing this in person really shouldn't be missed.
You can choose to go at night, but if you plan on going, I'd recommend day time. The ice is amazing. The sun is amazing. And paired with the blue sky, you can see every hue of blue ever seen my human eyes. Each photo I like more than the last. Blue and cold and so awesome.
James was LOVING it. He said over a dozen times "this is the best day of my life" and "I want to sleep here!" I love this cold weather boy of mine.
Look at all those shades of blue! And walking under and between all the icicles was unnerving and totally awesome.
Icicles of every shape and size where everywhere.
We made the mistake of going on Saturday. If I were to do it again I'd beg E to take a Monday or Tuesday off and go when it wasn't wall-to-wall people.

Luckily with the crowds I still got a photo of two of my favorite people in the entire world.
Views like this were everywhere you looked.
Portions of the castle were called "The Maze" or "Slot Canyons". These areas you weaved in and out of tiny hallways of ice and snow. Any moment you looked up, this is what you saw.
There were little caves and tunnels you could crawl threw. James went again and again, a smile plastered on his face the entire time. This might be one of my favorite shots of him ever!

This boy couldn't be happier.

All the shapes of ice were so beautiful. Looks like modern art.
These two. Oh I love them. Juliet was grumpy (cold weather? teeth?) and only wanted me. Since I wanted to take photos I passed her off to E, and somehow he got her cheered up and even smiling. Magic, that man.
Going late in the day (this was taken around 4:45 pm) meant that the sun was low enough to shine threw the ice.

Best winter post ever, I'd say!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Overnight my baby has grown

Sometimes as a parent, things seem to last forever. Those sleepless nights when a newborn, sick days stuck at home, and kids refusing anything other than their favorite food.

And other times, seemingly overnight, babies grow up. Toddlers vanish and turn into kids. And one day these kids will morph into teens right before my eyes.

It is amazing to watch.

Juliet, my baby, is suddenly not a baby anymore.

Over the last two weeks her language, her body moments, her desires and ideas, her hair, everything has changed.

I will talk about more specifics in her 24 month update, but my gosh! All of a sudden I don't have a baby anymore.

She's big. And beautiful. And opinionated. And awesome.

And look how much she's changed in a single year. I took these photos less than a year ago in the same spot (only ten months) and the difference in night and day. Bye bye babyhood. Hello big kid. 
AND, another then and now. 

As I looked at that photo of Juliet above, with the solemn face, I remembered I had a photo like that of me, at almost the same age. The likeness is uncanny. 

Juliet, almost two.

Me, almost two.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Daddy travels for work

E travels a lot for work. Some months he's gone almost every other week for a night or two. And sometimes he's gone for an entire week at a time. It is always especially hard when it happens to fall in the middle of winter and he's gone over the weekend.

Both of these instances happened last week.

The kids were OVERJOYED to finally see him after asking daily when he'd be home.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Winter Garden

Each year in the middle of the winter we get sick of being cooped up indoors, so we head to Red Butte Garden in our coats to enjoy what a winter garden has to offer.
The winter garden goer needs to look more carefully, but truly there is beauty all around.
I love seeing the garden carpeted in a thick blanket of snow. The year I was pregnant with Juliet we had the weirdest winter, and there wasn't a patch of snow in sight when we visited the garden. This winter is quite a bit more "wintery".

Lots of deep untouched snow to explore.
James brought his "bee-nok-lee-ers".

For the most part the sky was gray and overcast, but right at the end of our loop some blue sky appeared!

These neon red/orange/yellow branches looked like flames against the bleak winter background.
This girl was feeling tired and grumpy near the end of our loop (more teeth coming in), but when I saw beautiful light I put her in the snow hoping for a smile. I sang "Happy Birthday" trying to illicit one, and near the end she showed me how she knew how to blow out the candles. Sweet babe!
And then she was done. Headed home!
Seeing the winter garden year after year is so wonderful. Want to look back?

2010 - James was a month old!
2011 - One of my favorites. Miss my tiny man.
2012 - Such a weird winter, no snow in sight. And only weeks before Juliet was born.
2013 - Right before Juliet's first birthday.
2014 - today!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Juliet is almost TWO! {23 months with Patsy Ann!}

Juliet is nearly two.  When people ask how old she is, I never say "23 months", I always say "almost two". Its amazing really, how fast it goes.

This month has been all over the place on good and bad levels. This feisty little girl is really showing us her personality more and more. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to get it, even if it involves throwing her food across the kitchen, shredding her napkin into a million tiny pieces, making sure she has ice in her water (she's obsessed with ice water), and poking and pinching James.

Boy oh boy she's a handful.

We discovered this month that time outs don't work on her. They work well with James. When he does something he shouldn't (hit Juliet, yell at us, etc.) we send him to his room for four minutes. He comes out and apologizes. He doesn't always stop, but time outs do have an effect on him. Juliet? She laughs. She just happily plays in timeout (where James usually acts frustrated to be locked out of the action), and comes out giving hugs only to continue the bad behavior.
After an epic week of her pinching tender skin, pulling hair and poking her little sharp finger into James's eyes (oww!) we knew something had to be done. James never retaliated, instead often crying in pain (rightfully so, he just got stabbed in the eye).

We tried taking things away, even her beloved lovie. She laughed. We tried timeouts, long ones. She laughed. We tried ignoring her, she continued doing it until we got a reaction. Finally we found something that worked like a charm! Give James a candy when Juliet is aggressive with him! Crazy right?! She was so super upset that she didn't get candy, and James was thrilled and praised for not retaliating.

It took two or three days of James receiving candy every time she pulled or pinched or poked. Sure, it still happens from time to time, but she finally gets it, it's not allowed. Thank goodness.

Other than that, she really has been fabulous this month!
She goes to bed like a champ, asking for her crib and her favorite stuffed animals (currently Baa and Lambie) and waving bye bye. She naps well and never goes down with a fuss. She doesn't love the cold weather, but is getting better.

She adores James (and he has been amazing with her this month!), loves her Daddy and asks about him all day when he's at work. When he returns home she runs to him with her arms stretched wide of a hug.

One developmental milestone we've hit this month is anxiety. She will tell us "worry" fifty times a day. She'll see a man outside in the neighborhood and say "worry". She'll see a photo of dinosaur and say "worry" and a hundred more examples. We just tell her she's safe and it's ok. Hard to see her worried, but amazing that before two she is expressing herself so clearly.

She's talking like mad, singing all the time (mostly made-up tunes) and as happy as can be.

She is amazing and we adore her.
Next month will be her last monthly photo with Patsy Ann. Like I did for James, I took monthly photos and did monthly updates until two, and then switched to every six months, and now only every twelve months. While I do writing monthly updates, it will be a relief to have a break for awhile. Two kids, once a month for two years is a lot of monthly updates.

Finally, from 1 month until now:

Outfit details:
Snow bunny sweater - Old Navy
Skirt - Homemade from a fabric napkin I found at Crate and Barrel
Tights - Target
Vintage clogs - They were mine when I was a baby. I actually have a memory of wearing them!
Hairbow - Etsy, used to be a headband, clipped it and added a barrette (see it as a headband here, seriously cutest baby ever!_
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