Monday, April 27, 2009

Daddy's Girls

These girls absolute adore their Daddy. Joe is an incredible Dad. His arrival home from work is the happiest part of our day!! It's sweet seeing how excited both girls get when they see his car drive home! Even Abi yells, "Da-Da-Da-Da"! We've been loving this gorgeous weather lately and have been eating dinner out back every night. And the girls have enjoyed the play time outside with their Daddy after dinner too. Alathea insists that Daddy is her Prince. She's pretty serious about it. The other day while she had her princess dress and shoes on she looked kinda sad. When I asked what was wrong, she said with a sigh, "I can't dance anymore. My Prince has left me". It was melt my heart cute :) Especially since Joe had just left for work. It's pretty cute seeing him dance with the girls!! I know growing up with three brothers he never pictured these little princesses in his future, but I must say he's been an amazing Dad to these girls!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bedtime Double Trouble

O Sleep, where have you gone?

The girls have been sharing a room since we returned from MD about 2 weeks ago. It's been so sweet watching how much they love the time together. But sleep has not been a high priority for them! I'd say it takes an average of at least 1 hour before they get any sleep. At first we allowed them to talk some, but 3 hours later (I am not kidding), we realized the foolishness of that. We've decided the sweet sister talks well into the night will need to come once they are a bit older (and we should have known that Abi was too young...she can only say 5 words!). But we do allow them to get plenty of time together in their beds in the morning! And its the sweetest thing hearing them wake up and "talk" for 20-30 minutes each morning, happy as can be!

We have moved to training Abi that she is to lay down at bedtime (she used to jump up and down in her crib calling for Alathea....for hours!!!) and Alathea is not allowed to talk anymore.  It's helped a little. But is also means Joe & I have to keep an ear on the monitor most of the night until the little  munchkins actually doze off. And we've gotta keep a close ear, for more than once we've  heard the slightest whisper and open the bedroom door to find Alathea out of bed hanging onto Abi's crib! Or we find a pile  of toys that have mysteriously appeared in Abigails crib. Alathea claims Abigail asked for them (remember, Abi can hardly talk) so she had to help her. On one hand it is so adorable that they want to be together, but on the other hand, Alathea has known for a year now she is not to get out of bed at night...and she's always happily obeyed in this, until now. Oh my. 

Quite early the other morning I peaked into the girls room to see if they both were still asleep. I found Alathea out of her bed, hanging onto the outside of Abigails crib, ever so softly rubbing her head. It was the sweetest sight ever (except for the fact that Alathea was not supposed to get out of bed). Abi kept lifting her head up, looking at Alathea, then laying it back down in exhaustion. I decided to address the issue of Alathea getting out of bed later that morning when they both we awake. When I asked Alathea if she had gotten out of bed that morning, she was honest and said yes. When asked why, she replied very seriously, "Because Abi needed her head petted". So sweet. Hard to argue with that reasoning.

That leads me to tonight...around 10pm I heard Alathea yelling "Mommy, come here!!" And as I opened the door, I found my Abigail crying hysterically and walking towards me. Wait a minute, how is she on the floor walking towards me... poor baby fell out of her crib!! Alathea was quite concerned and to her credit, I think had nothing to do with it. This was all on Abi. Poor baby was quite shaken up. I even saw a dent in a container on the floor next to where she fell. In the 27 months Alathea was in a crib, she never even attempted to get out. Abigail is in the crib not even 2 weeks, and she's already taken the plunge. What different girlie's they are! 

Once Abi was comforted, I laid her back in her crib. I'm making a guess that she won't be standing up or trying to climb out for a while after that fall! I haven't heard a peep from either of them since! (I must admit I keep going in and checking on Abi- to make sure no injury's have suddenly shown up since the fall!). 

Anyways, that is our bedtime update. I'd love any more suggestions from those who have gone before us! It's been a sweet,  yet sleepless few weeks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our Abigail

I love my sweet Abbers. She has brought so many extra smiles to our home. It seems that she has turned from our little baby to a toddler overnight. She  is really trying to keep up with the "big kids". It's been fun to watch Alathea and Abigail really playing together. Abigail has been playing like a big girl lately...she pushes baby dolls in strollers. She colors for more than 20 minutes at a time (as long as Alathea is too). She is determined to feed herself with a fork or spoon. She loves any and every animal. She is an explorer, especially of the outdoors. She'll grab my hand and try to drag me to the door to let her outside. She'll run, pick grass & flowers, carry the soccer ball around and explore in the bushes behind our house for as long as I'll let her...and she'll do it all barefoot if I let her  too (although she loves shoes in the house- I guess that is kinda weird :) Abigail is getting more interested in books, often bringing one after the other over for me to read. And she loves dress-ups...she'll bring me necklaces, barretts, sunglasses, etc to me and has a huge smile on her face when I tell her how "pretty" she looks. Ahhh, my sweet "baby" is acting so grown up. I feel like she's interested in those "big girl" sorts of things much earlier than Alathea, I think to keep up with her big sister! She adores Alathea. And "Da-Da"! She always says his name with such enthusiasm and a smile. She's gotten into the routine of driving Joe's car around the cul-de-sac with Alathea every morning before he leaves for work. It's so adorable seeing two little girls following their Daddy out to his car each morning!

One funny thing that happened the other day is worth mentioning. I went to get the girls up one morning and found Abi in her crib, happy as could be, but with her diaper laying next to her. I picked her up and sure enough, I felt a diaper-less little bum through her PJ's. Fortunately her PJ's were dry, so she must have just taken it off. But I could not figure out how she managed it! She had long sleeve pants and arms to her one piece PJ's. They unsnapped between the legs like a onesie would. No buttons were unsnapped. It's been this great mystery to me ever since. Any idea's how she could have taken it off? It was like she did a baby magic trick!! I did laugh pretty hard, knowing I should expect some sort of trouble because the girls woke up at 7:30am and we don't get them until 8am. They were happily talking to each other, but I'm sure 30 minutes of that and Abi was looking for something else more interesting to do!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our Day in Annapolis

One of the last days of our three weeks in Maryland, we got to take a day trip WITH JOE!! While I love making memories with my girlies, its WAY better to have Joe along with us! And to make it even better, Julie took the entire day off work just to be with us. The Pastor's Conference had just ended, and we had two free days, one of which we decided to spend in Annapolis, one of my all-time favorites cities. If you haven't been to Annapolis, and are ever in Maryland, its worth taking the time to visit there. It's right on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and has its own harbor (I personally love looking at boats, particularly sail boats and yachts, which is what is docked in Annapolis). Annapolis is a picturesque little city...with history, beautiful buildings, quaint shops, adorable restaurants and the lovely breeze from the bay. (I must mention that their are also 2 Starbucks and probably 10 ice cream shops with in the few blocks of added bonus :). The Naval Academy is located adjacent to downtown as well.

We really just spent the day walking around, looking at boats, eating, drinking coffee, feeding ducks, eating ice cream and admiring the city. Rather uneventful compared to our day in DC, but it was lovely! And it brought back many special memories of Joe & I during our courting days. Annapolis was definitely our "city of choice" for our one of our all-day dates! Too bad we don't live closer where we could have a get-a-way there- it is quite a romantic little city. I wish I had taken more pictures of our time, I guess I was too busy enjoying the day to take out the camera. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Aim at Heaven...

I read this quote yesterday:

"If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were preoccupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you will get neither." 

-CS Lewis

After reading this my soul was greatly convicted- of how often my mind is preoccupied with things that matter only in this life on earth. How quickly I am prone to lose sight of eternity! But at the same time, my soul was so encouraged and inspired afresh to "aim at Heaven". To keep my eyes fixed on my Lord and the reality that Heaven is just a few short breaths away compared to the length of life on earth. I want to keep my eyes on what really matters for eternity, to keep myself from being preoccupied with the temporary. This is really a fight for me. But by God's grace I want to do all I can to keep my gaze on eternity, which will then mean my life will live for eternity. I've started by posting this quote on above my sink...a place a spend much time each day :) 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Drama at the Cherry Blossoms

It is finally spring!! These are pictures from another one of our adventures in MD...but this time we had Julie, her boyfriend James, and his adorable little brother Braden along for the ride. Our day started out fabulous...gorgeous sunny day (windy, but sunny).  A fun "train" ride down (the metro), which the girls loved. Half price metro tickets- since it was the weekend.Two very happy little girls.  Some of my favorite people all set out to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in DC while in PEAK BLOOM! I was so thrilled. I had looked forward to this all week. 

When we got off the metro it struck me how crowded the city was. I figured it would be, since it was Saturday during the Cherry Blossom festival. But when it took us over 30 minutes just to  wait in line for the bathroom, I realized it was really crowded. Nonetheless, the Cherry Blossoms were simply breathtaking. I just wish I could have enjoyed them more. I spent a good part of the time we walked around the tidal basin apologizing to people for running into them with my double stroller. It was WAY too crowded for a stroller, and with people stopping every two feet to take pictures, I kept running into them! 

Anyways, we were still enjoying ourselves, until about 3/4 the way around the tidal basin Abi got tired and started to cry, at which point I realized it was past 2pm...time for her second nap, and she already missed her first one. We also hadn't had any lunch and couldn't find food anywhere. The girls were starving. No problem, I thought, we'll just walk the next mile back to the mall and find food there before heading back on the metro. Simple, right?

That was before we had to cross the bridge. That is what I will call it. There was no other way around the tidal basin but to cross it. And it was a bridge to a major road that had concrete barriers on either side of the side walk to protect the pedestrians. That was great, but it meant only about 3 feet of side walk and absolutely NO where to go on either side of that. If you could manage to hop over the 3 feet high barriers, you'd fall in the tidal basin or onto the busy DC  street. 

As we approached the bridge we noticed people were  just inching along. I thought it may take a good 15 minutes to cross. Well, that was before my double-wide double stroller entered the bridge. There was just enough room for the stroller and one other person walking the other direction. I started getting dirty looks right away. But that was mild compared to when other stroller, bikes and double-wide strollers came at me from the other direction. It was like two cars on a one way road with hundreds of cars behind each other. I had NO idea what to do. To top it off Abigail had just dozed off right before the bridge, so taking the kids out meant waking up a very cranky baby. It got so bad, that other Moms with strollers and pedestrians behind me said some of the meanest things. I wasn't saying anything but lots of "I'm sorry's". I felt bad for the traffic jam, but what was I supposed to do with two kids? About 30 minutes into it my eyes were teared up and I really wished Joe was there. Almost ONE HOUR later we made it over the bridge (it should have taken 5 minutes). That was only thanks to a bunch of people willing to help lift strollers over other strollers (I kept cringing, imaging my girls getting dropped into the tidal basin below). 

After the bridge I thought, "That was really horrible, but at least we can get some food now". Well, after walking up and down the national mall, the only places to eat had like 100 people in line! Ok, not doing that. So we headed to the metro station. And I kid you not, there were so many people waiting to get on the escalaters that take you down to the metro, that it never moved. It looked like 500 people waiting just to get TO the metro stop. 

At this point it was 3:3opm, we hadn't eaten, girls hadn't napped, we couldn't get food and we couldn't get home. At this point I just laughed (there were many other times that day I wish I had just laughed). I was preparing myself for laying down on the mall grass and bracing for a looong afternoon. 

But God provided, as he always does. A few blocks away we found a hot dog stand for some food. And a few miles away we found a little known metro station that we could walk right into. And through it all Abigail was still asleep. 

Julie, James & Braden were troopers. We left at 9am thinking we'd get home by 2pm. By the end James was carrying his 5 year old brother, Braden, on his back the miles to the metro station!

Honestly, by the end, my attitude wasn't the greatest. I wish I could say I was cheerful through it all. But once we got home I realized that day would turn out to be one of those great, unforgettable memories in the end, that wasn't so funny in the moment :) 

I wished all week I could go back on a non-crowded day, with out a stroller (not sure how I'd manage that), to enjoy how gorgeous it all was. But I think I'm gonna need to give it a while before I muster up the courage to go back to DC any time soon  :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

A first time for everything...

Praise the Lord we are safely home in Charlotte. I am always freshly grateful for the blessing our of home (and friends who live so close to our home!) every time we return home from a trip. But the reason for the quick post, is that for the very 1st time tonight, Abigail is sleeping in her crib. Yep, I said the very 1st time and she's 14 months old! She started out in a bassinet in our room, then moved into our closet in a pack n play where she has happily slept the past 9 months. We felt it was time we took the leap and put the girls in their room together! Knowing that Abigail (our fall-asleep within seconds sleeper), had to share a room with Alathea, (our stay up for hours singing and playing make believe in my bed sleeper), has been the only reason we have waited so long! So far, they are not asleep yet, but I'm sure eventually they will be :) Alathea's done a pretty good job of being quiet, but Abigail seems very, very excited that she can see her sissy. Anyways, I'd love any suggestions you may have on a 1 and 3 year old learning to share a room and actually getting some sleep :) 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Heading Home

After 19 days in MD we are heading south in the morning, Lord willing arriving in Charlotte in the afternoon. Its been quite the trip... a WONDERFUL week with just my sister and my girls, visiting with more family and friends than I can keep track of, lots of fun adventures with my girls, happily reuniting with Joe this week, a few great messages at the Leaders Conference, getting time with Dad & Rachel and a lovely Easter day with my family today. We've had a blast! What a gift these past few weeks have been. The girls have LOVED being here, but every once and a while Alathea talks about "my house with my white bed" and how she'd like to go there (with Pop-Pop, Rachel, Julie & Rocky too...she told them they could all sleep in her bed :) But I have a hunch that most of all the girls, especially Alathea, will be missing a very happy golden retriever named Boomer. Like you can see in the picture above, she loves him. She spent every waking moment she could hanging out with him, "my buddy", she'd say. Its been pretty cute. Well, we look forward to seeing everyone in Charlotte soon...pray for a safe trip!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The National Zoo

Yesterday's adventure in Maryland was going to the National Zoo.
Rain was forecasted, but due to the tremendous excitement of my three year old, we went anyways...and I am SO glad! The girls loved it and the rain in the forecast must have scared every one away...we were one of the few people there all day.

One of the things I love most about DC...SO much to do and its all FREE!!

Abi getting ready for the long day (both girls love my coffee :)

My favorite: the tiger. He was pretty active.

Alathea's favorite: the gorilla momma with her newborn baby.
You can kinda see her little hands and head in the picture.

The girls at the awesome kid viewing area for the tigers.
They stepped out onto a podium with a glass gave them a great view...

Had to take a picture of how they spent most of the the stroller.
Alathea loved it (and she should have been walking :)
Abi was not very happy about that...she's become quite the active one!

They were both pretty interested in every exhibit.

Alathea didn't care whether the animals were real or not one bit. She was equally excited to see a picture!

Abi's favorite: the elephant

Another spontaneous hug for an animal

my happy girls

Alathea's traditional "flamingo" zoo picture. Every time we go to the zoo the first animal she wants to see is a flamingo. When asked why they are her favorite animal she says, "Because they are pink and stand on one leg"
I love the reason of a 3 year old.
After the long morning at the zoo, we had another visit from our friends Emily & Eva Campbell (we had dinner with the whole family on Sunday night), which was lovely! And then I had an awesome night just me & my Julie...great talk, great food and a great girly movie :)