Saturday, December 24, 2011

a little laughter

It's a little hard to hear over Brant's loud yelling. You just never know what'll do the trick. Clearly Mabel thought it was all hilarious!

We are stuffed from our festive, yummy dinner with my parents and Grandma. Annie is almost in bed and anxiously awaiting Santa Claus! It's going to be SO FUN this year. I think we're more excited than she is. :)

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

mabel is 6 months old!

Actually, she's almost six months old, but she had her doctor's appointment today. She did great! In fact, she never cried once, and up until now she has screamed through every single doctor's examination. Annie did the same thing til she was two, so I thought Mabes would be same. But no, she giggled and chattered through the whole appointment. Until the shots, that is. But she didn't even cry that long after them, either. :) The doctor said Mabel is beautiful and awesome and all wonderful things! She said she has a very strong core, and is the youngest baby to ever sit up straight and rock in their little scale-chair thing where they weigh her. Annie was an inquisitive little doctor's helper throughout the whole appointment, too. She totally adores Mabel and cares so much about what other people do to her. It's sweet. Mabel's greatest enjoyment the whole day was the crinkly wonderment of the paper on the doctor's exam table. She ripped and (tried to) chew on that lovely stuff the whole time.

Anyway, here are the stats:

weight: 15 lbs. 12 oz  (43rd percentile)
height: 25 1/2" (47th percentile)

woo-hoo! Here's to another fantastic six months! I can't believe she's growing so fast! She is a little mover and a shaker, that's for sure. And a total lovable, huggable, cuddly sweetie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

standing all by herself and the beautiful fall day

 Mabel's been loving the two-feet life lately!

I love this picture . . . Annie chewing mischievously on Mabesy's hand and Mabel with the perfect innocent and trusting expression.

Mabel hugging her ottoman . . .

This is Annie's "I refuse to look at the camera and smile" pose, and Mabel is totally hammin' it up:

We just got home from a lovely early-November trip to the Masonic Village farm market just down the road from us. It's my new favorite place to take the girls, especially on a beautiful day like today. 

We parked at the market and bought some apples, which they grow there on the orchard, and some carrots, broccoli, and the most beautiful onion I've ever seen.

Then we decided to go exploring and drove all around the premises. It's an expansive village--and so pretty in the fall!

When we got back into our neighborhood, the girls and I took a walk down to a secret swingset we found behind a church that's around the block from our house. I took some more pictures; as it turns out, it's beautiful right in our own town, too! :)

And here's some pictures from my friend Ashley's blog of Annie's preschool going to the Masonic Village orchard a few weeks ago for a field trip!

Happy fall, everybody!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

another first for Mabel

(That is, assuming she doesn't remember all the snow we shoveled together last winter, when I was five and six months pregnant.)

We're having a freak, early snowstorm today, predicted to get 6-10". Wow! We'll see . . . But it sure is strange to see snow coming down on colorful leaves on trees and still-blooming mums!

We're staying warm inside today!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm still new at this . . .

Annie and I were having a little discussion about Jesus' death and resurrection this afternoon. You know, really light, easy-to-talk-about stuff. A little ways into the conversation, I realize Annie might not be quite ready to talk about death, even if I'm focusing more on the joyful, resurrection part. But there was much more to it than just that. Here's a part of it . . .

Annie: (becoming sad and little upset) I don't like dying, Mommy.
Me: (trying to steer us into a better place) It's okay. It won't happen for a long time, not til you're much older and your body will be tired. You'll be excited to see Heavenly Father and live with Him again!
Annie: (sadder still) I don't want to live with Heavenly Father! I want to live with you!
Me: But you can! We'll all be there together with Heavenly Father! Daddy, me, Mabel, and you!
Annie: (convinced now) Okay. That sounds good. After my nap, we'll go see Heavenly Father. Can I wear this shirt to see him?

She's now keeping that shirt in a special place in her dresser and reminded me tonight as I was cleaning up her clothes just what it is for. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another Adventure in Naptime, or, The Blessing of a Big Sister

Today I desperately tried to get our overly-healthy lawn moved in the precious time when the girls' naps overlapped. I reiterate, this is really, really precious time for me, and I never quite know how long I'll have, since Mabel's nap schedule seems to change every few days. Anyway, I had about 10 or 15 minutes left of mowing to do when I turned off the lawnmower to listen to the baby monitor. Sure enough, Mabel was crying. Not really bad, though, so I thought, I can finish really fast. She'll be okay for a little while longer. So, feeling pretty guilty, I finished up the lawn, then when I turned the mower off, I was expecting to hear the full-fledged wails of a four-month-old who is totally sick of being stuck in her crib and wide awake. Instead, I hear silence. Then, I hear the sweet little voice of a three-year-old chatting with her baby sister. I hear Annie saying something to Mabel, then Mabel cooing back. It was the sweetest little moment to get to listen in on. Annie was asking her about her nap and what she was thinking about. I come in the house, and this is what I find!

Monday, October 3, 2011

mabel chews on things . . . and sits up!

Hello, everybody! It is chilly here in PA this week! All of a sudden we went from air conditioners to space heaters . . . how did that happen so fast? We're being stubborn and not turning on our furnace yet . . . Brant is sure it's going to warm up again in just a few days. So, fall is in full swing! I dug up most of our rotting garden remnants over the weekend. Wow, it was Little Shop of Horrors in there! With all the crazy rain we've had over the last month, stuff was growing like wild! I must have had at least 60 tomatoes still on the vine, all green and ready to turn red, if only it wasn't so cold outside! And I've picked two pumpkins from our impromptu pumpkin patch, with a third almost ready. We hit up what will probably be the final yard sale of the season on Saturday, too. And, good thing--I found so many fall pants and long-sleeve jammies for Annie! 

Mabel is growing like wild, too! She's still so obsessed with gnawing on everything, but no teeth yet . . . 

Her current favorite toy by far is the crinkly-crackly, reflective, sparkling water bottle!

And I discovered this morning that she can legitimately sit up by herself! I think over the last week or so I've been having her sit up in my lap, or in front of me on tabletops, but I just haven't noticed it. Poor second child, just doesn't get much attention. ;-) So, while Annie was taking her wonderful, long afternoon nap, I thought I'd dedicate some photo time just for Mabel and her sweet, sometimes under-appreciated, adorable-ness.

See? She can sit up while holding her monkey toy (a close second in faves) . . .

And she can sit up without him, too!

We love our Mabel so much!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mabel is 4 months old!

Yay! Our little baby is growing so well! We went to the doctor today for her check-up:

height: 25" (75th percentile)
weight: 14 lbs (50th percentile)

She's right on the same track she's been on since birth, for the most part just an average-sized little one. :) She did so well with the doctor today, and even her shots weren't too bad. She didn't like when she couldn't see me, though, so I had to make sure I was in her line of sight at all times. Otherwise, she'd start screaming like a banshee. But once she could see me, she'd start laughing, even as the doctor was checking her out. Mabel's turning out to be quite the mommy-attached little chica, something Annie never really was, at least not to this extent. She's so sweet about it, though; I don't mind her needing me like she does. :) She is so talkative and social and smiley. Also--and I don't want to jinx this, but---she has slept from about 8p to 6:30a for the last few nights! Before that, she's been sleeping from about 8p to 7a, waking up at 3 or 4 for a short nursing. So, it already hasn't been that bad! She's a great sleeper and eater! She's also become much more interested in toys the last few weeks. She is SUCH a drooler and loves to put everything in her mouth and hold tight onto toys! Just as she's been since the day she was born, she's happiest when she's snuggled up in my arms and nursing. But she certainly has eyes that are alert to the outside world, and since it's cooled down a little bit, she's come out on almost-daily walks with me and Annie. She giggles and chats as she gazes all around her. I love seeing her enjoy being outside!

So, to celebrate Mabel being four months and one day old, our town finally lifted the boil water advisory!! After a week and a day of not being able to use any water from our faucets, we are back! I can wash dishes again! And bathe my children! And brush my teeth with running water instead of pouring bottled water on my toothbrush! And wash my hands instead of using hand sanitizer and wipes. Can you tell which ones I'm most excited about? I'm really not complaining about how things have been, though. In fact, this last week, I have just been feeling so blessed that we got through the flooding so well. So many in our town are homeless, waiting to hear what can be done with their few leftover possessions. There are full shelters and so many waiting to get FEMA aid. Our town daily has cleanup efforts going on and there is so much people need. The National Guard just left last night, after watching over certain roads in town around the clock. I've driven through some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods these last few days, and I just can't believe how much people have lost. There are piles as big as garbage trucks of ruined, rotted belongings along almost all of our streets. I put a bunch of pictures on facebook, but here was some of the worst of it in our town. We were so lucky to have our house at higher elevation, about a quarter- to a half-mile up the hill from two of the worst areas along the flooded creek. Our basement filled up with about 3-4 inches of water on the worst day, Wednesday, when it just wouldn't stop raining. But once it stopped raining, the creek and river got higher and higher, as all the rain drained into them. That's when the worst of flooding in town happened. On Wednesday morning, I noticed how hard it was raining, when I tried to get Annie and Mabel loaded in the car and head up to Hershey for Annie's preschool. I couldn't even get out of town! A few blocks up the road, my car couldn't get through the water, so we turned around and tried another route out of town. No luck. More flooded roads. By that point, I could barely make it the few blocks home. I was a little freaked out. Two hours later, I called Brant and told him to get home as fast as he could, because I couldn't stay on top of the flooding basement. I made him stay on the phone with me the whole time he was driving home, and I just knew he was driving through some high water in that little car of ours. But he made it. I stationed Annie and Mabel in front of the TV, which miraculously (cause this never usually works) kept Mabel totally content for almost two hours! After an hour of the two of us carrying buckets of water up the stairs and out the front door to the street, we called in reinforcements. There weren't a lot of people who could reach us, though, but luckily we have two great guys who braved the rain and stayed all day to help us. We spent about 4 hours carrying buckets up and out. Oh man. It was tiring. And we were barely making a dent. Because it just kept raining and raining. Brant finally started chiseling into the cement that had been poured over an old drain in the basement. For about another forty-five minutes he was tap-tapping away in the water, and finally---broke through!! And the water slowly drained. Ah, relief! It took me another day to get everything cleaned out and re-organized downstairs, but the worst was definitely behind us. Not so for so many others, though, and we are still praying for help for those affected. Our next-door neighbors have a couple living with them who totally lost their house. I was talking to them yesterday, and they told me they're not even sure where their three dogs are, in cages in one of the shelters somewhere. So sad!

Anyway, that's our flood story. So, enough about that now. In happy news, the weather has turned a little chilly today, so I spent some time in the attic finding our warmer clothes, especially for Mabel. So excited for fall! :)

Oh, and here's a picture of Annie and Mabel watching TV the other day. Wow, these two love each other! Annie has her very serious, watching-TV face, and you can tell Mabel is just a little amazed. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

here's a video!

Our neighbors' two granddaughters live with them half of the time, and Annie's finally decided to become friends with them. They were so adorable the evening we were all sitting outside waiting for Irene to move in. They kept asking, "Is it okay that we're playing in the rain??" and chasing each other around our yards.

The rest of the video is just of us hanging out on the floor with Mabes, what we do most days.

Friday, August 26, 2011

first day of preschool . . . and elizabethtown fair

We've been a busy family here this week! What with Brant's first day of going back to school AND this big sister here going to her first day of preschool!!

Here she is, all ready to go do some learnin'!
 I'm part of a mommy-run preschool that a bunch of friends have started for our kids this year. There's five families, and we have school once a week, rotating weeks, so we only teach once every five weeks. Annie and I are both SO excited. The units we chose and divvied up among the moms are so cool. I love this age! Most of the kids in Annie's class are 3 or about to turn 3. This year marks the first of three years of preschool for our Annie. Since she was born on the first day of the new school year, she'll be the very oldest in her grade. Anyway, her first day went well. She wasn't sad to be dropped off, probably because she's been to that friend's house many, many times. (We'll see how it goes at the others'.) And the report from her teacher was that she was very still and quiet the whole time. Hopefully she'll kick things into gear once she gets the hang of it all. But she sure wasn't quiet after I picked her up. The car ride home was filled with reports of the songs they sang and the weather they talked about and the coloring she did and the kids in her class . . .

Last night we went to the Elizabethtown Fair with Grandma and Poppy. Brant had class. Boo. :-( We met up with Nancy and Anne and Scott there, though! Yay! :) Usually our tradition is to participate in the horseshoe competition on Saturday morning, but we didn't that this year. Instead, my parents drove up and we played a rousing game of Carcassonne (our new fave!!) until the girls decided to wake up from their marathon afternoon naps. Then we headed over for some fair food, rides, and animals!

I tried to let Mabel in on the fun in these pictures, too. She was amazed at all the lights and craziness that must have been visible while lying on one's back and being rolled around the fair. She was awake most of the evening and totally happy playing with her toys.

Here they are looking at some mechanized miniature sawmill. Some people have amazing hobbies, like building something like this.

Petting zoo!!

Mabel and the sheep chowin down.

what a naughty, naughty girl

Llamas!! Also, see Anne's balloon here?

It flew up into the top of the tent. So sad.

The Joneses avoid some cow poop! :)

We couldn't keep Annie and Anne from the carnival rides any longer. After closely surveying the train ride . . .

We all decided to hop on!

 . . . twice!

And the evening ended with Poppy's traditional dunk pitch. He got SO SO close, hitting the edge of the target!

Yay for Pennsylvania fairs! We left and got home about 20 seconds before a torrential downpour. A well-timed evening, I'd say. :)

Also, Mabel has started blowing raspberries and sticking her tongue out. Here's a video of my futile attempt at trying to get her to show you . . . but Annie does a good job at the end, too! Oh, and the guy Annie's talking about that I was getting "pretty mad" at was the person driving in front of us on the way home, who was driving SO slowly, while we watched the clouds darken and the rain start drizzling.